Misner Dam Challenges

Earthweek Cleanup Crew at Silver Lake

Earth Week Cleanup Crew at Silver Lake

Sunday, April 21, an enthusiastic group of residents whose heart and commitment to our waterfront areas is unsurpassed, turned up to do a spring cleaning – this group is posing in Silver Lake Park. Another group went down to Black Creek where to their dismay, people have been doing their spring cleaning by dumping their renovation materials and other unwanted stuff along the Black Creek waterfront. Pictures of that atrocity can be viewed on Face Book – perhaps you may recognize items that could lead to identifying the perpetrators! Thank you to everyone who gave up time on the weekend to spruce up our community areas – this is the spirit that makes us proud to live here.


As we prepare to attend the Town Hall Meeting May 9, there are a number of issues we need to be ready to consider and to problem solve alternatives  no matter what is decided on a go forward basis. The following are some notes sent out to Councillors by Ron Keating.

The challenge before us with Misner Dam must accommodate certain facts.

  1. Flood Management. The terrain drops some fourteen feet in the half mile from Ivey Dam to Black Creek. In the absence of a dam any flood torrent rushing down the Lynn River would pick up major impetus from such a drop, before it crashes into its right angle turn  with Black Creek. And while any reasonable person would raise an eyebrow at the flood projected by the IDF study, we know that extreme weather events are occurring with increasing frequency: witness Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy; the 2011 Red River floods (locally the worst ever); and at this very moment the floods rushing through our northern cottage country. Closer to home consider the 1989 Harrow storm, Essex County (“the greatest  rainstorm on record east of the Pacific coastal Mountains in Canada”). In 27 hours 450 mm of rain fell. (I have attached the “MNR Harrow Storm Internal Study”.)  Are dams a suitable response to floods? The judgement is, yes. Think about all the dams built in Ontario following the 1954 Hurricane Hazel; the numerous dams on the Thames and Grand rivers and their tributaries – precisely for flood management. Manitoba is strengthening its Red River defenses, not abandoning them.
  2. Siltation. We know that Misner Dam has trapped behind it silt flowing down the river these past 157 years. Any proposal to remove the dam must a) deal with removing the immediate movement of that silt into the downstream waters and harbour; and b) address the long-term challenge of dealing with the silt coming down the river year after year, to maintain the viability of the waterway, harbour and local economy. Port Burwell, just down the lake, with its magnificent beaches and dockage, and total lack of any meaningful commercial activity is an object lesson for us all. Its harbour has been overwhelmed by silt.
  3. Water quality. Each year sees more storm sewers built to empty into the Lynn River. Each decade sees more treated sewage effluent flowing into the waterway. The Silver Lake upper marshes and the entrapment of silt contributes greatly to containing upstream pollution from  the beaches central to our flourishing tourism. What are alternatives without the lake and the dam?


Please plan to attend this important meeting. There will be opportunity to ask questions.


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