In November of 2011 ORA reviewed the Wanatango Falls Final Environmental Report (ER), and expressed concern to the Minister of Environment over its many deficiencies and uncertainties in our Part II Order request. It is surprising that after 2 ½ years of additional studies, preparation, and negotiating time, that this “Final” ER has not advanced in either its sophistication, readiness, or its economic and environmental viability or certainty. Xeneca is still not ready to bring this proposal through to Notice of Completion. Many crucial decisions have not yet been made so that the public and First Nations are left with many questions unanswered.
Below is a presentation made to the Ontario Rivers Alliance at their Annual General Meeting on 23 November 2013. Check out the notes below as well.
This document is a collection of events and recent developments related to the re-introduction of Lake Sturgeon in the Upper Reach of the Mattagami River near Timmins Ontario.
It was back in 2002 that the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources approached Club Navigateur La Ronde and the Timmins Fur Council to be partners on a project to re-establish lake sturgeon population in the upper reach of the Mattagami River near Timmins Ontario. In the Lands and Forest archives of the early 1900s were records of sturgeon spawning activity observed at Wawaitin Falls by a conservation officer of those early years of the Porcupine mining camp. Log drives, dam construction and subsequent operation combined with fisheries led to population drops to unsustainable levels. Continue reading
Excerpt: “This project has not been planned in an environmentally responsible manner, and has not fully taken into account the interests of local stakeholders and the public. Therefore, it is our position that for all the reasons noted herein, Xeneca has not fulfilled its requirements under the Class EA for Waterpower.”
TIMMINS – Call it the Timmins version of Jurassic Park.
An ancient creature that once lived alongside the dinosaurs is slowly returning to the Mattagami River, an area where it once thrived.
A century ago, when settlers first set up shop in what became the Porcupine mining camp, lake sturgeon measuring up to six feet and living over 100 years were not uncommon in the area.
But due to increased industrial activity, overfishing and a general lack of knowledge on the subject, the once-thriving local population of the fish nearly disappeared.
Recently, lake sturgeon in the entire southern Hudson Bay drainage basin have been designated as a species of “special concern.”
In 2002, various local community and conservation groups concerned about the giant fish’s endangered status and apparent disappearance from the region put their minds together and started the Mattagami Sturgeon Restoration Project.
Fish Spawning Miqration Upstream and Downstream
“There exist serious concerns about unimpeded upstream and downstream migration of walleye, river sturgeon and possibly American eel, reaching and migrating over or through any man-made structure proposed to be placed into the Petawawa River as, to our knowledge no proven design model exists elsewhere with a “migrating success rate” nearing 90%.”
April 10th, 2012
The Honourable Jim Bradley
Minister of Environment
11th Floor, Ferguson Block
77 Wellesley Street West
Dear Minister Bradley:
RE: PROPOSED ALLEN & STRUTHERS (WANAPITEI RIVER) HYDRO ELECTRIC PROJECT
Chief/Council of HENVEY INLET Reserve # 2 & FRENCH RIVER Reserve #13 wish to advise you, that the identified hydro electric
project (above) is on our traditional territory and we do not give consent to proceed. Although traditional territory is made up of common lands held by a collective of Indian reserves under the same Treaty (The 1850 Huron Robinson Treaty) it is clearly understood by the collective that specified areas are identified as being under the jurisdiction of one Chief/Council (Henvey French River Band). Continue reading
First overfishing, then hydro dams. Lake sturgeon, Ontario’s largest and longest-lived fish, now belongs to one of the most beleaguered groups of animals on the planet.
By Peter Christie
Tim Haxton shifts his chair to allow his visitor a better view of the photograph on the computer screen. The dark image of a fossilized fish makes a subtle “S” in the lighter brown mud-stone that surrounds the shape. It is as if the creature suddenly turned to stone during a lazy swim through murky water. The petrified details – even the fine rays of fins – are crystal clear, and the identity of the fish is unmistakeable. “Sturgeon,” confirms Haxton, a fisheries specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR). “This one is probably about 200 million years old, from the Jurassic period. They really haven’t changed much in form or function since.”
The soft-spoken biologist has collected hundreds of photos during his 15 years of studying lake sturgeon, Ontario’s largest and longest-lived fish. His picture of the fossil, however, adds an almost mind-boggling historical view to our discussion of sturgeon conservation: close ancestors of this formerly indomitable animal were swimming the world’s waters before the Atlantic Ocean was born, before birds flew and about 200,000 millennia before humans first appeared. They swam right through the great extinction of the dinosaurs and, despite volcanic eruptions, ice ages and other climatic calamities, have overcome every threat they encountered – until now.
Sturgeon today confront a higher risk of extinction than any other non-insect animal in the world, says Haxton, citing the conclusions of a 2010 workshop of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Decimated by periods of overfishing and prized for their eggs, which are sold as expensive caviar, many sturgeon populations around the globe have been in free fall for decades. All 27 sturgeon species – including lake sturgeon – are on the IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species. Two-thirds of these are considered “critically endangered” because their plummeting numbers or shrinking, fragmented ranges mean that the odds of this fish disappearing for good are “extremely high.” Four sturgeon species may already be gone forever.