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Category Archives: Studies & Reports

Expand on Protected Areas in Ontario – Joint

Protected areas are a proven means of conserving biological diversity and mitigating the impacts of climate change, two of the greatest challenges we face as a society.  They also enjoy broad public support. For example, a 2018 national survey conducted by IPSOS found that 93 percent of Canadians believe that protected areas are necessary. Similarly, a 2019 national survey conducted by Abacus Data found that 88 percent of Ontarians support protecting or conserving more natural spaces and 91 percent supported Canada’s 2020 protected areas commitment. There is no doubt where the public interest lies on this issue.

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Erin WWTP: Designation Request for a federal review under the Impact Assessment Act

West Credit River, by Steve Noakes.

The West Credit River subwatershed supports headwater tributaries of the Credit River and is considered the crown jewel of coldwater Brook Trout fisheries in southern Ontario. The entire footprint of the Project, including the network of underground sewers, will result in numerous crossings of first, second and third order streams. Additionally, the West Credit River feeds into the main Credit River at the Forks of the Credit Provincial Park. This area is part of the UNESCO Niagara Escarpment World Biosphere Reserve (Reserve), home to several sensitive fish species, including the endangered Redside Dace and Atlantic Salmon. Atlantic Salmon, historically extirpated, are being reintroduced as part of the broader Lake Ontario Atlantic Salmon Recovery Program. This Reserve is within 1 km downstream of the Project’s effluent discharge, and Redside Dace (Schedule 1, Species at Risk Act, 2002), are known to occupy the West Credit River within 4 km downstream of the effluent diffuser.

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Town of Erin Wastewater Treatment Plant – Concerns over Brook Trout and Fish Habitat on the West Credit River

Finally, the West Credit River is a headwaters tributary of the Credit River and is considered the crown jewel of coldwater brook trout fisheries in Ontario. This fishery significantly adds to the economic and social fabric of the province, with Ontario fisheries contributing a total of approximately $2.5 billion annually to the provincial economy.  MNRF’s own documents predict that climate change will reduce the number of watersheds in Ontario with brook trout by 50% by 2050.

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EBR-013-1476 – Draft Government Response Statement for the Recovery of the American Eel

The American Eel Needs Your Help!  You have an opportunity to support the recovery of a species that has declined by 99% of its original population, has been completely extirpated from extensive areas of its native Ontario range, and is in steep decline where it still exists.  The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has prepared a Draft Government Response Station for the Recovery of the American Eel in Ontario, and you have until January 11th to sign the Petition below.  More information can be found here.  To add your own comments just click on the letter and type.  Thank you for your help! Continue reading



The Dark Side of Hydroelectric – Greenhouse Gas Emissions

One of the most popular energy sources for Canada and globally has been hydroelectric power generation, and the provinces of Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, and British Columbia are big fans of this particular energy source. One of the main reasons it is so popular is due to the abundance of water in Canada in the form of lakes and rivers that run throughout the provinces.

There was an article by the Montreal Gazette written back in 2011 that took a look at the Romaine River in Quebec and how it was about to turn into one of the biggest construction sites in Canada with the installation of 4 dams, 7 dikes, several large canals, and 279 square kilometers of reservoirs, all at the approximate cost of around $8 billion. What decision makers in Quebec failed to realize or choose to ignore is that harmful greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are generated by reservoirs and they can be extensive and very damaging to the climate. Continue reading


Take a 3D Fly-over along the Energy East Pipeline route in Ontario

Take a 3D Fly-over along the entire Ontario length of the existing TransCanada pipeline slated for conversion to bitumen transport. Every stream, river and lake that the line bisects is identified and displayed. It certainly provides a birds-eye view of what could be lost should a leak occur.   This will graphically explain why ORA has applied for Intervenor Status in the National Energy Board hearings.

This amazing piece of work was prepared by THeIA GeoAnalytics, out of North Bay. Check it out:

 


The Demise of American Eel….

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The Demise of American Eel in the Upper St. Lawrence River, Lake Ontario, Ottawa River and Associated Watersheds: Implications of Regional Cumulative Effects in Ontario

Abstract.—American Eel mortality has increased substantially over the past century due largely to significant cumulative effects of fishing and fish passage through hydro-electric turbines across their range.  Nowhere has this been more pronounced than in waters of the St. Lawrence River, Lake Ontario, Ottawa River and associated watersheds. We illustrate this by examining the cumulative effects of hydroelectric facilities on eels migrating downstream through the Mississippi River and Ottawa River, and outline further impacts eels encounter en route to spawn in the Sargasso Sea. The probability of a mature female eel surviving its emigration through the Mississippi and Ottawa River to the upper St. Lawrence River is estimated to be as low as 2.8% due to turbine mortalities alone (2.8–40%). Mortality risk increases as the eel attempts to run the gauntlet of fisheries in the lower St. Lawrence River and the probability of out-migration survival is estimated to be as low as 1.4%. Some mortalities could be mitigated through improved application of existing laws, development of policy requiring consideration of cumulative effects and improved integration among program areas responsible for sustainable management of fisheries, biodiversity, dams and hydro-electric facilities. We recommend changes to policy, procedures and internal organizational structures provided with clear directions, and call for increased accommodation of Aboriginal perspectives.
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MacGregor, R., T. Haxton, L. Greig, J. M. Casselman, J. M. Dettmers, W. A. Allen, D. G. Oliver, and L. McDermott. 2015. The demise of American Eel in the upper St. Lawrence River, Lake Ontario, Ottawa River and associated watersheds: implications of regional cumulative effects in Ontario. Pages 149–188 in N. Fisher, P. LeBlanc, C. A. Rose, and B. Sadler, editors. Managing the impacts of human activities on fish habitat: the governance, practices, and science. American Fisheries Society, Symposium 78, Bethesda, Maryland.

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Canada’s Freshwater in the 21st Century, 2014, Dr. David Schindler

Freshwater is widely recognized as the most pressing environmental issue of the coming century, as roughly 2 billion humans suffer from scarcity of water for drinking or sanitation. Despite its abundance of freshwater, Canada is experiencing great pressure on both its quality and quantity. Despite impending problems, the Canadian government is de-emphasizing freshwater research, both in its funding for university research and its support for federal departments with a freshwater mandate. This lecture describe some of the current threats to Canadian water, and outlines what we must do to solve them.
This is an excellent presentation and it is beneficial to listen to it all; however, if you have specific interest in hydroelectric or pipelines:
Hydroelectric: go to 34:56
Pipelines and the tar sands:  go to 50:00

June 18, 2014 — Water Institute Lecture Series and Faculty of Science Public Lecture Series
Dr. David W. Schindler, Killam Memorial Professor of Ecology, University of Alberta, retired.


Jellification of our Lakes a Troubling Sign

Studies by Jon Smol and colleagues at Queens University on lakes in Nova Scotia and Ontario reveal a very worrisome trend – a change in the phytoplankton species associated with declining calcium levels. “Without calcium entering the lakes in run-off, some crustaceans at the base of the aquatic food chain, which make their exoskeletons from the mineral, are at a disadvantage, and they’re being displaced by species that have an jelly-like coating. These jelly-organisms are inedible to many predators, and disruptive to the lakes’ ecological balance.” (CBC report). Acid rain combined with inherently poorly buffered soils, especially in SW Nova Scotia, is the major driver; clearcutting is also cited as a factor. View references on our Water Quality Page.

More information:

The Jellification of North Temperate Lakes, Study by Smol et al.

Queen’s University – Paleoecological Environmental Assessment and Research Laboratory (PEARL) – Lakes Turning to Jelly?

‘Jellification’ in Muskoka, Haliburton may affect fish, by Kate Allen, The Star