The Ontario Rivers Alliance welcomes you to our site!
Ontario Rivers Alliance (ORA) is a Not-for-Profit grassroots organization with a focus on healthy river ecosystems all across Ontario. ORA members represent numerous organizations such as the Vermilion River Stewardship, French River Delta Association, CPAWS-Ottawa Valley, Friends of Temagami, Whitewater Ontario, Mississippi Riverwatchers, along with many other stewardships, associations, and private and First Nations citizens, who have come together to ensure the rash of waterpower proposals currently going through the approvals process are environmentally, economically and socially sustainable.
We all want Green Energy, but let’s ensure it is truly Green, and not the “Green-washed” version that is being proposed for many Ontario rivers. Let’s ensure that efficiencies and upgrades are made to existing hydroelectric dams before new ones are built. Let’s ensure fish passage and fish friendly turbines are installed.
Let’s ensure river developments take into account the best advice of climate scientists, and are sustainable for many years to come.
Climate change is upon us, and WATER is quickly becoming our gravest concern.
Our future generations are depending on us.
Ontario Rivers are Under Assault!
Currently Ontario rivers are threatened by a rash of 41 hydroelectric proposals going through the approvals process – with over 2,000 or more potential sites earmarked. The Green Energy Act with its accompanying FIT Program is the only thing that has made many of these rivers feasible for waterpower development – with a 50% bonus to produce power during peak demand. Ontario Rivers are in trouble because our government has put the developer in charge of the Environmental Assessment process, instead of the MOE and MNR, and there is no possibility of a “no outcome”. So, our government has put the FOX in charge of the chicken coop!
The End of the River – Impacts of Small Hydropower:
European rivers are negatively impacted by thousands of small hydropower installations and barrages, with many more to come if the power industry has it their way.
Learn more about why hydroelectric development that holds water back in holding ponds for up to 48 hours is:
1. Bad for the River Ecosystem:
These dams that hold water back for up to 48 hours could have a devastating effect on river ecosystems:
- Lower oxygen levels
- Increase in methyl mercury, nitrate and phosphorus levels
- Water warms in head ponds
- Water withheld from downstream flow for up to 48 hours
- Habitat is destroyed
- River water becomes dirty with silt and nutrients – sound like a recipe for more algae?
Hydroelectric is not “Green” when river flow is held back in head ponds – it is in fact “Dirty Energy”.
Dam It was created by three Grade 12 students, from Kapuskasing District High School, as a school Science Project. This film illustrates the effects of hydroelectric dams and climate change on the Kapuskasing River.
2. Bad for Fishermen & Snowmobilers:
- Turbines chop up and kill Fish and Eels
- Fish migration for spawning is blocked
- Prime Spawning areas are destroyed
- Entire species of fish are threatened
- Rapid rise and fall of river water levels on daily basis makes ice unsafe for ice fishermen & snowmobilers
3. Bad for Our Health & Safety:
- Water held in holding ponds can increase mercury levels by 10 to 20 times and degrades water quality
- Conditions created by dams & their headponds can result in increased incidences of toxic blue-green algae
- Many people rely on river water for their drinking water and daily household needs
- Dams can fail from extreme weather events and flooding
- Rapidly changing water levels and flow velocity can put fishermen, swimmers and boaters at risk
4. Bad for the Community & Local Economy:
Ontario Rivers offer a thriving eco-tourism opportunity for small businesses:
- Prime fishing and tourist viewing areas are destroyed
- Pristine and unique features are replaced with a concrete dam, chain link fence and warning sirens
- Rivers with cycling or peaking hydroelectric dams make boating, swimming, fishing, and ice recreation unsafe within zone of influence
- Tourists will not travel hundreds of miles to see where rapids and waterfalls used to be
If you are interested in learning more, please explore our site and be sure to check out our Blog.
We invite you to join us in our mission.
“Our future generations are depending on us.”