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.
A presentation made by the Chair at ORA’s 16 October 2021 Annual General Meeting:
Success!! Gorrie Dam was removed in August of 2021.
Before: Gorrie Dam breached in June 2017 heavy rain event – scour hole.
Our concerns are well documented in the attached Briefing Notes report, which has been prepared by our Coalition in the process of requesting a federal review under the Impact Assessment Act.
Since early in 2016, the Ontario Rivers Alliance, Thames River Anglers Association and several other partners have advocated for the removal of the Springbank Dam on the Thames River. We are happy to report that the City of London is moving forward with its decommissioning.
A Consulting Engineer will be chosen to complete the detailed design for its decommissioning as per the recommendations outlined in the completed One River Environmental Assessment, with an aim for construction in 2021. We are looking forward to the project moving forward in 2021!
We will keep you informed as the project progresses.
Update: Eden Mills Successfully installs naturalized opening in Eramosa River weir, by Guelph Today, 23 September 2020
The East Branch Weir Removal Project on the Eramosa River is moving ahead. We are pleased to report that all funding is in place, and the Project will be complete within a few days. An excellent outcome for the East Channel and for the community.
The Save the East Channel group and ORA worked with the Eden Mills Eramosa River Conservation Association (EMERCA) to find an environmentally sustainable solution that would improve flow and connectivity in the East Channel.
Follow the links below for additional information about the project:
Community Group Planning Eramosa River Naturalization Project, Wellington Adviser, 7 Aug. 2020
EMERCA Facebook Page: Facebook.com/EdenMillsERCA
ORA provided a letter of support for the EMERCA grant application for the Project’s funding – see below:
The City of Cambridge is moving forward on a detailed design plan of the new rebuild of Riverside Dam on the Speed River. Construction is planned for 2022 and work set for completion in 2023. Meanwhile, the full price tag won’t be known until the dam’s design plan has been finalized. This dam has been determined to be at “high risk” of failing within the next 2 to 10 years.
ORA worked extensively towards the decommissioning of this dam. Removing the dam would have been much cheaper, safer and healthier for the riverine ecosystem.
Riverside Dam construction delayed to 2022 with higher price tag, CBC News, 8 Sept 2020
Cambridge Council gives go-ahead to plan for Riverside repairs, CTV News, 8 Sept 2020
The motion, presented on Monday night, suggested by the committee calls for North Huron Council to approve an engineering study to determine the future of the dam and set out a schedule for fundraising for the rehabilitation of the structure. If that schedule cannot be met, however, the recommendation calls for the removal of the structure.
Howson Dam spillway to be tested, 23 Nov 2020
North Huron Council approves engineering study on Howson Dam, 9 July 2020
‘It’s going to be black or white’: North Huron council approves funding Howson Dam committee to speak to engineers, experts, 9 July 2020
Ontario has hundreds, if not thousands of dams that are unsafe and no longer serving any useful purpose. These dams are blocking fish passage, degrading water quality, fragmenting habitat, threatening species at risk and sensitive cold water species. ORA is working to take them out. Check out this excellent overview of the problems with hydropower:
The Gorrie Dam failed as the result of an extreme rain and flood event in June of 2017. The dam had failed before, so the ORA advocated for its decommissioning, rather than its repair.
Part of the earthen berm to the south of the dam failed in June 2017. In June 2019, after reviewing a study of alternatives for the dam, the Conservation Authority membership decided to begin the process of decommissioning the structure which is located at Gorrie Conservation Area.
It is crucial that we take action on infrastructure that would put citizens at risk, degrade water quality, threaten our fisheries, or that jeopardize the ecosystem services that healthy rivers provide.
The Maitland Conservation Authority has decided to decommission the dam and will move ahead with decommissioning in 2021.
Maitland Conservation Moves Ahead With Next Steps at Gorrie Conservation Area, 6 July 2020, by Maitland CA.