Weir not the right option for city river

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I am alarmed about the plans to build a weir at the outlet of Long Pond, reported in May 27th’s Telegram. 

Throughout North America there have been shifting base lines in river production, with major losses in resident and migrating fish.

Dams and weirs have been the chief driver of these declines.

Why do we continue with the degradation of our river systems when natural solutions are more efficient and cheaper?

A number of years ago, with developments in the “southwest development area,” city council was given professional advice to have a policy of no increased runoff, by retaining wetlands and building retaining devices.

This was resisted by the mayor and council of the time, who preferred engineering solutions downstream.

Results were predictable and flooding was aggravated.

This resulted in further channelization of Leary’s Brook, resulting in faster runoff downstream and increased bank erosion.

Why continue with this policy rather than fixing the problems upstream?

Weirs and dams do considerable damage to river ecosystems, by changing natural flows, retaining and affecting sediment and nutrient and plankton flows and affecting migration of fish of all sizes.

What will be the effects of controlling water levels in Long Pond on the littoral habitats and on the nesting of birds in the Long Pond marsh?

Have studies been made on the hydrological effects on the Rennie’s River, and resulting effects on fish stocks and their food production?

What are the “erosion control measures for the banks of the river” going to be?

Will these be more walls, destroying riparian buffer strips and the normal hyporheic water flows along the river banks, which will have damaging effects on fish habitat and their food sources?           

 It is disappointing that there is rarely co-operation with stream ecologists.

The city suddenly comes up with engineering solutions with no input from ecologists or the general public.

Can we get across that our city rivers and ponds have more value than simply drainage systems?  

R. John Gibson

St. John’s

Geographic location: North America, Long Pond

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