Learn more about how dams affect fish populations through this short video! 🐟
It’s a lizard, It’s a snake, It’s one of the most unique fishes in the world: the American Eel!
Known for their elongated bodies and short fins, these fish which were once very common in North American waterbodies, are now endangered. This is largely due to the presence of hydroelectric dams, which block their natural migration routes, making them unable to reach their breeding grounds in the ocean.
Learn more about their impressive migrations, extraordinary life cycle, and current conservation efforts through this short video.
Learn about how dams lead to the accumulation of the neurotoxin methylmercury in fish! 🍣☣️
ORA collaborated with Engineers Without Borders (UW Chapter) to host a youth engagement workshop for 35 grade 11 students in St. Aloysius Gonzaga Secondary School on March 31st. The group included students from the STEM Club and from the Environment Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) Red Seal Program. ORA offered the students a Sector-Partnered Experience (SPE) focusing on real-world environmental issues to be solved. Continue reading
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!
There are currently three pumped storage projects going through the planning and approvals process, that would add approximately 2,000 MW of electricity to the grid. Developing that same Installed Capacity from small hydroelectric projects would involve 200 – 10 MW proposals that would cause untold environmental damage to dozens of Ontario rivers. It is imperative the province does not rush or over-reach its targets and develop new electricity projects unnecessarily.
ORA offers our support on the proposal to enact an Invasive Species Act (Bill 167), and to emphasize the importance of a proactive approach to minimize the possibility of intentional and unintentional introductions of alien and invasive species, and of mitigating the effects of species that have already been introduced.
For the Invasive Species Act to be effective, it is important that this legislation is accompanied by invasive species policies and implementation plans, along with collaboration between the Ontario government, ministries, agencies, municipalities and federal authorities, along with adequate funding, staff and required resources that are dedicated to the successful application of the policies and action plans. It is crucial that invasive species policy be incorporated into all decision-making processes throughout all pertinent government agencies in order to protect the economic, social and ecological integrity within all of Canada. Continue reading
This proposal has a Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) contract which pays a 50% peaking bonus for all power generated. FIT Contracts have a 40 year term. Projects with FIT contracts cannot be told to stop generating if Ontario has a surplus of power – they get paid for all power generated whether it is required or not. Proposed to produce 2.1 MW Installed Capacity, which with seasonal flows will more realistically produce 50% of that – approximately 1 MW of power.
ORA has made a Part II Order request to the Minister of Environment to elevate this proposal to an Individual Environmental Assessment – a much more rigorous environmental assessment. Awaiting MOE response.
Published: 14 March 2014
“It is ORA’s submission that Xeneca’s approach falls far short of their claims in many key aspects of this ER, and does its best to sell the reader on the project, with an approach of convincing the reader to just trust them, let them build it, and then through monitoring and adaptive management during pre and post construction the riverine ecosystem will be just fine. This approach is not acceptable.” Read more below:
Posted 8 March 2014
There is a lot at stake in a battle that has gone on for close to a decade. Through a “Competitive Site Release” in 2004 the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) made some Crown land available south of the Bala north falls for the development of a hydro-electric generating station (Bala is north-west of Gravenhurst). The MNR is very motivated to see this happen, as not only would it help fulfill the province’s mandate for additional power generation from renewable energy sources, but MNR staff would also no longer need to adjust stop-logs to regulate water flows and levels, or be responsible for the maintenance and repair of the Bala north and south dams – instead, the proponent would have these responsibilities. Unfortunately, the MNR appears to be so motivated that they have shown little concern for the many negative impacts on fish spawning and other habitat problems that would be created.
In 2005 a proponent was awarded “Applicant of Record” status, and since then has proposed at least three different configurations, all of which would also create major public safety and economic problems.
SaveTheBalaFalls.com, the local cottager association, and the public have therefore been actively engaged both in the process and also in ensuring the appropriate government Ministries, agencies, and politicians are presented with the many outstanding concerns and issues.
One major issue is that the Bala Falls landscape is central to Bala and the surrounding area’s recreation and tourism economy as the falls are very visible and accessible, and are the main focus of visits – including literally bus-loads of tourists in the summer. They come to view the falls, to climb on the rocks, and to play in the usually serene water at the base of the falls. There are also residences within 200 feet, as well as long-time and very popular public in-water recreation that occurs within 50 feet, both upstream and downstream of the proposed generating station and the treacherously turbulent water it would create.
Another major issue is that the proposed project would obstruct a traditional and historic Portage, which is still in use. As a result of a request by the MNR, written historical proof was provided to confirm that this Portage was in use prior to the initial Crown land patent, and Section 65(4) of the Public Lands Act prohibits such obstruction. In May 2013 the MNR unilaterally declared that this land was suddenly too dangerous for the public to access – even though their own 2011 Public Safety Measures Plan for this exact area had no such concerns. We have responded with reasons why this proposed project would still be illegal under the Public Lands Act, and await a response on this complicated topic.
Two years ago, the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) told us that in the ten years the current legislation has been in place, there have been more than 50 requests to elevate different proposed hydro-electric generation proposals to an Individual Environmental Assessment. Such further study is the required first step to having any chance of an Environmental Assessment (EA) approval being denied. But the MOE has denied EVERY ONE of these 50 requests. That is, there has never been a “Part II Order” request for elevation approved. This places the fairness and efficacy of the entire EA process in question.
The current situation for the proposed Bala project is that not only are major approvals still required from all four levels of government, but there are legal challenges as well.
And SaveTheBalaFalls.com and the community will continue to ask; would it be safe, would it be beautiful, and would there be enough water over the falls to continue to draw people to Bala. We still don’t have answers, so we continue to ensure decision-makers know the problems.
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Posted 8 March 2014
The Energy East Pipeline Pre-Application was just filed by TransCanada, and public consultation is beginning.
Volume 2 of their Project Description, section 1.11, lists the Ontario rivers that would be impacted, which are listed below for your convenience.
1.11.4 Ontario Water (Volume 2)
In ON, the ON West, Northern Ontario, and the North Bay Shortcut segments cross two primary watersheds (the Nelson River and Great Lakes–St. Lawrence watershed) and 41 named river crossings including:
- Winnipeg River
- Wabigoon River
- Dog River
- Black Sturgeon River
- Kenogami River
- Pagwachuan River
- Nagagami River
- Kabinakagami River
- Opasatika River
- Kapuskasing River
- Mattagami River
- Frederick House River
- Blanche River
- Montreal River
- Madawaska River
- Mississippi River
- Rideau River
- South Nation River
Preliminary List of Watercourse Crossings Requiring a Site Specific Design by Province of Ontario:
- Hoasic Creek
- Hoople Creek
- Raisin River
- McIntyre Creek
- Riviere Beaudette
- Riviere Delisle
- East Rigaud River
- Rigaud River
1.11.5 Ontario Wetlands (Volume 2, P1-48)
In Ontario, three wetland areas crossed by the Project have been designated as provincially significant. These include:
- Delisle River (0.3 ha)
- Froatburn Swamp (8.3 ha)
- Glen Becker Swamp (5.6 ha)
- Hosaic Creek (1.2 ha)
- Ingleside (4.2 ha)
There will be up to 72 pumping stations which may carry an increased risk of spills. Locations are yet to be determined through public and First Nation consultations.