Environmental Impact FAQs

What measures are you taking to protect the stream and fish communities?

Why was water removed from the original channel? Doesn’t this impact stream communities?

How will this impact the stream in the long-term?

What have happened to some of the trees in the construction area?

How long is this expected to impact the water levels and activities at the Kelso Reservoir?

What measures are you taking to protect the stream and fish communities?

Conservation Halton is required to ensure that we are protecting the health of the stream and its inhabitants for the duration of the construction period. As the construction began at the beginning of the spring spawning season for some Lake Ontario migratory fish (i.e. Rainbow Trout) CH was required to block them from entering the construction area to ensure no harm to the adults, eggs or juveniles occurred. CH ecologists tracked the movement of these species in the weeks prior to ensure that no spawning fish had entered the construction area. Six natural beaver dams downstream of the construction area were left in place to help slow down the progression of the species upstream. Before spawning occurred, a large dam was placed downstream of the construction area to isolate the work area. Water levels were lowered to aid in the completion of a fish rescue completed by both CH staff and LGL Limited (Environmental Consultants). As a result of the fish rescue 1,076 individual fish were relocated comprised of 20 species including those listed below.

Largemouth Bass White Sucker Pumpkinseed
Black Crappie Rock Bass Mottled Sculpin
Yellow Perch Rainbow Darter Common Shiner
Creek Chub Rainbow Trout Brown Trout
Horneyhead Chub Bluntnose Minnow Blacknose Dace
Brown Bullhead Smallmouth Bass Fantail Darter
Johnny Darter    

All fish captured as part of the fish rescue were relocated upstream (for species typical of lake/reservoir habitat) or downstream (for species typical of stream/creek habitats).

In addition to the fish rescue, stream water levels, turbidity (clarity of water) and water temperatures are being monitored for the duration of the construction period to ensure they stay within target levels. Additional measures to protect the creek from the construction include the implementation of sediment and erosion controls to help prevent dirt from entering the creek from the construction area.

Why was water removed from the original channel? Doesn’t this impact stream communities?

The area immediately downstream of the Kelso dam falls within the construction area and requires large equipment in the immediate area to complete the works. In order to protect the stream, the water coming from the Kelso reservoir was temporarily diverted around the construction area through a concrete channel to maintain stream flow downstream to help support fish and other stream inhabitants. Water within the construction area was lowered in conjunction with a fish rescue. Once all the fish were removed, construction was allowed to proceed. This activity known as de-watering, or removing the water from the stream in a specified reach, allows equipment to enter the dry stream channel and complete the construction works, without causing severe impacts to the downstream areas from increased amounts of dirt and sediment. It also helps to prevent fish and other wildlife from entering the construction area. Once construction has been completed, flows will be returned to the stream and the concrete channel will be removed .

How will this impact the stream in the long-term?

Conservation Halton monitors stream health as part of its Long-term Environmental Monitoring Program (LEMP) and has sites upstream and downstream of the Kelso reservoir. These sites are used to monitor measures of stream health (fish, benthic invertebrates, stream habitat and water temperature) every other year. Changes to the stream in these locations help us to understand how a stream responds to changes in the landscape around it. While there will be changes to the stream habitat in the immediate construction area, the long-term health of the stream is not expected to be impacted. Monitoring data before construction will be used to determine if any changes have occurred due to the construction. Please note that the Kelso reservoir is inhabited by the invasive Zebra Mussel, which may result in different impacts to stream health outside of the impacts associated with the dam construction.

What have happened to some of the trees in the construction area?

Prior to construction, Conservation Halton staff inventoried all trees within the construction and staging area in order to identify the species and document tree health of potentially impacted trees. Trees were removed to accommodate for the space and equipment needs to complete the construction works. Following Conservation Halton’s typical approach to restoration of regulated areas, any mature trees removed to complete this project will be replanted with a representative amount of locally native caliper-sized trees once the construction is complete.

How long is this expected to impact the water levels and activities at the Kelso Reservoir?

Visitors to the Kelso Conservation Area will continue to have lower water levels and recreational activities within the Kelso reservoir such as boating and swimming may be impacted in the summer. There will be occasional closures to the boat rentals parking lots and other service disruptions; these will be communicated in advance.

Normal summer water levels are expected to return in 2020; winter water levels have not been impacted.