Photo by Linda HeronPhoto Credit

Category Archives: Dam Removals

The countdown – Hanlon Creek Crowd Funding Campaign

MEDIA RELEASE: For Immediate Release: 19 July 2019 

The countdown – Hanlon Creek Crowd Funding Campaign

GUELPH – There is just over a week left in a crowd funding campaign to raise the necessary dollars to complete the Hanlon Creek Weir Removal Project, with decommissioning scheduled for September of this year.  So far, we have raised $2,675 and need your help to reach our goal of $10,000 by the 31stof July.

The funds are required to pay for the weir modification and river rehabilitation work.  This is a sweet little project that will open up an additional 3.2 km of Brook Trout habitat and increase Hanlon Creek’s resilience to a warming climate. “What is good for Brook Trout is also beneficial for a wide range of species, including humans, especially in a city like Guelph that gets most of its drinking water from groundwater sources “, said Alex Meeker, Ontario Provincial Biologist, Trout Unlimited Canada.

We have two incredible perks to be offered at the close of the Campaign when a 1st and 2ndplace winner will be drawn.  The 1stplace winner will have the choice of perks – either a guided boat tour for two people on the historic French River in French River Provincial Park – a value of $700; or a stunning limited-edition print entitled “Autumn Cascades” by Mary-Dawn Roberts – a value of $750.  For every $25 donated a ballot will be entered into the draw in the donor’s name.  Check out our Campaign page for more details and to donate:

Hanlon Creek is a coldwater Brook Trout stream, with its headwaters rising within the City of Guelph.  The Hanlon Creek weir was built in 1972 to measure stream flow but has been inactive since the 90s. The Grand River Fisheries Management Plan identified issues and management strategies to improve the coldwater tributaries of the Speed River Basin, which includes Hanlon Creek and the removal of the weir.

Barriers to fish movement exist across Canada.  In some cases, such as Hanlon Creek, solutions are obvious and easy.  Let’s work together to reconnect our streams and rivers in Canada’”, said Nick Lapointe, Senior Conservation Biologist, Canadian Wildlife Federation.

Brook Trout are like the canary in a coal mine – they are a sensitive species that are more vulnerable in a warming climate.  The Hanlon Creek weir causes upstream ponding with an increased surface area that warms in the sun.  This warming of the creek has negative impacts on water quality and the Brook Trout that require clear, cool waters below 24°C.  The weir is also a barrier to fish passage and interferes with sediment transport.

To resolve these challenges, we plan to remove the centre portion of the weir which is impeding flow. This will lower the upstream water level and narrow the channel, resulting in cooler stream temperatures, improved sediment transport, and will allow fish to freely pass.  This will create an overall healthier and expanded Brook Trout habitat.  Most importantly, it will improve the fishery’s resilience to climate change.

The partners in this project are the Ontario Rivers Alliance, Trout Unlimited Canada, Canadian Wildlife Federation, Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry, Grand River Conservation Authority, and the City of Guelph, in consultation with the Grand River Fisheries Management Plan Implementation Committee.

Hanlon Creek is a little miracle!  A coldwater Brook Trout creek blanketed by a cedar forest canopy in a park in the middle of a vibrant and growing city.  This is an amazing opportunity to show how delicate ecosystems and urban development can coexist when we choose to make it a priority”, said Kent Schubert, ORA Board of Directors and Director of the Speed Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited Canada.


The Ontario Rivers Alliance (ORA) is a Not-for-Profit grassroots organization acting as a voice for several stewardships, associations, private and Indigenous members who have come together to protect, conserve and restore healthy river ecosystems.  

Trout Unlimited Canada (TUC) is a registered Canadian not for profit organization. Our mission is to conserve, protect and restore Canada’s freshwater ecosystems and their coldwater resources for current and future generations. 

Canadian Wildlife Federation (CWF) is a non-profit organization conducting its activities through a cooperative approach – working with people, corporations, non-government organizations and governments to inspire collaboration in achieving wildlife conservation.

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Alex Meeker
Ontario Provincial Biologist, Trout Unlimited Canada  Tel: (519) 763-0888

Kent Schubert
Board of Directors, Ontario Rivers Alliance
Director – Speed Valley Chapter, Trout Unlimited Canada  Tel: (519) 856-0369

Nick Lapointe
Senior Conservation Biologists, Canadian Wildlife Federation  Tel:  613-599-9594 x 219

Hanlon Creek Weir Removal Project – Phase II, Guelph – crowd funding campaign

GUELPH – The Ontario Rivers Alliance (ORA), Trout Unlimited Canada (TUC), Canadian Wildlife Federation, and four other partners are announcing Phase II of the Hanlon Creek Crowd Funding Campaign.  We are looking to raise $10,000 by the 31stof July. The funds are required to pay for the weir modification and river rehabilitation work, scheduled to take place in September of this year.  “We have a very short time-line and need your help to reach our fundraising goal”, said Alex Meeker, Ontario Provincial Biologist with TUC.


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Cost Comparison of Dam Repair/Rebuild vs Decommissioning + Before & After Pics

Jeff Graham, P.Eng., President, GSS Engineering Consultants Ltd., prepared this comprehensive table reporting on the cost comparisons between dam repair/rebuild vs. decommissioning.  These are actual completed projects, showing the before and after.   Check out the table:

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MECP Minister’s Decision on Part II Order Request – Riverside Dam

On September 28, 2018, you requested, on behalf of the Ontario Rivers Alliance and other partners, that the City be required to prepare an individual environmental assessment for the replacement of Riverside Dam.  I am taking this opportunity to inform you that I have decided that elevating the project to an individual environmental assessment is not required.

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Springbank Dam – One River Class EA – Preferred Alternative – Joint Submission

Springbank Dam, Thames River, London, ON

Our organizations recommend choosing Alternative 3 – the Full Removal of Springbank Dam and the naturalization of this section of the Thames River.   We submit that full dam removal and naturalization are the preferred solutions from an environmental perspective and would likely prove to be the most cost-effective over the long-term when Life-cycle costs and available provincial and federal funding are considered.

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Riverside Dam Class EA – Part II Order Request – ORA & Partners

The full Capital and Life Cycle Costs of Rebuilding Riverside Dam were not realistically represented in the ESR and could well end up costing the taxpayers more than double what was presented to the public and City Council.  A Rebuilt dam would be considered a new dam, not a repair or expansion of an existing weir, with an assessed High Hazard Potential, and is located within the City of Cambridge in a location that could place multiple residences and businesses at risk in the event of severe flooding or a dam breach.  ORA and Partners submit that this Project goes far beyond the screening process provided by a Schedule B, Class EA.  Consequently, we submit that this is a major project that should fall into a higher level of assessment.

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Howson Dam on the North Maitland River should be Decommissioned

Howson Dam at capacity in the 24 June 2017 storm event.

Linda Heron, Chair of ORA, made this presentation on the 18th of June 2018, to the Township of North Huron’s Reeve and Council regarding the Howson Dam on the North Maitland River.   According to a 19 June article by Adam Bell, Blackburn News, a decision will be made on the future of the Howson Dam by the 27th of July. Continue reading