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Category Archives: Dam Removals

Fullarton Dam Environmental Assessment – Alternatives

Full dam decommissioning and watercourse restoration comply with the preferred management strategy and criteria in the following ways:

  1. Removes all dam safety deficiencies and public safety risks.
  2. Removes dam monitoring, maintenance and management responsibilities.
  3. Removes the risk of floodwaters backing up behind the dam and flooding stakeholders.
  4. Restores stream flow, reduces stream temperature and improves water quality.
  5. Increases stream resilience to a warming climate.
  6. Increases the extent of uninterrupted fish habitat.
  7. Converts a GHG emitter into a GHG sink.
  8. A healthy, free-flowing river provides for the perfect family outing on a beautiful sunny day.

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Vittoria Dam Class Environmental Assessment – Update

You also mentioned there would be an open water area of the reservoir that would remain following the slow one to two-year drawdown of water levels to the concrete sill under the stop logs. The remaining pond in the new concept drawing for Alternative #5 does indeed look much smaller than your original. However, ORA recommends that the remaining pond be constructed as a wetland with the planting of lily pads, bullrushes, and other wetland plant species. Turning the pond into a wetland will provide shade to further reduce stream temperature, protective habitat for the Brook Trout, and significantly improve stream resilience to the effects of a warming climate.

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Vittoria Dam Class EA – Feedback

Brown Trout accessing upstream of the dam was a concern expressed at the last Stakeholders’ Meeting. Is it possible to add an alternative for the outlet of the dam being lowered with a fine wire mesh on top, similar to Alternative 5, but without the pond? That way the stream can flow freely downstream and Brown Trout would have a barrier from the upstream. The pond is the issue…

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Hydro Impacts 101: The Trade-offs

We’ve been sold the idea that hydropower is a clean, green, and non-emitting energy source.
But this is far from the truth!💔🌱

Check out this eye-opening infographic and the full report below to learn more about the hidden environmental and socio-economic costs of these projects! 🌊💰

  • Hydro impacts 101: the trade-offs

Hydro Impacts 101 – The Trade-offs


Mill Creek Weir Removal Project

Credit Valley Conservation Aquatic Restoration Team is pleased to announce that the construction phase for Mill Creek Weir Removal project is complete.

The in-stream concrete weir was creating a barrier for fish passage, placing a sensitive population of Brook Trout in Orangeville at risk. Matrix Solutions Inc. created a design to remove the concrete weir and improve the stream’s natural geomorphology by adding a riffle. Through this process, we discovered that private utilities (water & hydro) ran underneath the creek about 5-7m upstream of the weir. They included these utilities into the design as they were only 0.8m below the creek bed and at risk for exposure during erosion processes. We made the decision to lower the utilities below the scour limit (2.5m) in order to protect them after the weir was removed. We hired Cambridge Landscaping and Construction Ltd to complete the construction. Construction was completed within 2 weeks and resulted in: 25m of stream restored, 60 shrubs planted, 1 barrier removed, and reconnected 5km of upstream habitat for brook trout and other fish species.

ORA is pleased to report that we were a funding partner in this Project!


Hydroelectric is not a Pathway to Decarbonization or Net Zero

Dear Ministers Guilbeault, Wilkinson and Champagne,

ORA understands the urgency in fulfilling the vitally important commitment the government has made to cut GHG emissions to 40-45% below 2005 levels by 2030; however, we will present evidence from independent third-party peer-reviewed studies indicating that an effective path to decarbonization is not through hydropower.

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Is hydroelectric a pathway to decarbonization?

Watch our video to understand how hydroelectricity is greenwashed by Ontario Power Generation as “clean” and “non-emitting” when there are hundreds of independent third-party studies to the contrary. Read our full submission here!

Please sign and share our petition to protect Ontario Rivers and send OPG a strong message! 


Embro Dam Class Environmental Assessment – Alternatives

Update:  The Upper Thames Conservation Authority went with the most popular, Alternative #4, which is to construct a naturalized channel with offline ponds/wetlands – see photo above.

There are very few thriving Brook Trout populations left in southern Ontario, and it is especially surprising to find them present as far south as London, Ontario. Brook Trout are a sentinel species – the canary in the coal mine. In southern Ontario, Brook Trout populations have seen an 80% decline in their numbers over the last 50 years. Their populations have been under increasing pressure from a warming climate as well as agricultural, urban, rural and industrial development.

Removing the Dam and headpond to create a free-flowing and healthy coldwater Brook Trout fishery would be the perfect place for a family to go for walk, play or picnic in the Embro Conservation Area. It would provide a healthy riverine ecosystem and a beautiful natural environment for the entire community to enjoy!!

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Mill Creek Weir Removal Project

The ORA is pleased to partner with Credit Valley Conservation (CVC) in the Mill Creek Weir Removal Project. Mill Creek is home to an at-risk population of native Brook Trout, and the weir is a barrier to fish passage and prime habitat.   Mill Creek is the lowest dam before its confluence with the Credit River.

The concrete weir is broken and cracked, and if individuals from the Brook Trout population were to breach the weir, they could be permanently trapped in a small pool on the other side, with no way back. Removing the weir will remove this hazard, open up 5 km of uninterrupted Brook Trout habitat, and increase Mill Creek’s resilience to a warming climate. The ORA applied for and received a $5,000 Lush grant towards the new detailed channel design. Continue reading


WWF-Canada and Nature Conservancy Support Adding Turbines to Non-powered Dams

It is challenging to understand the logic of a November 2021 CBC article that reports, “The Nature Conservancy and the World Wildlife Fund are two environmental groups that oppose new hydro dams because they can block fish migration, harm water quality, damage surrounding ecosystems and release methane and CO2. But they say adding turbines to non-powered dams can be part of a shift toward low-impact hydro projects that can support expansion of solar and wind power.” Whether it’s a new dam or an older retrofitted dam, they will result in the same negative impacts and produce the same amount of methane for 70 to 100 years or more.

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