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Letter to the Ministry of the Environment and the Fight against Climate Change: A flow reserved for the Petite Nation River

Rivière Petite Nation

Montreal, March 9, 2022
TRANSMISSION BY EMAIL

Mr. Benoit Charette, Minister
Ministry of the Environment and the Fight against Climate Change
Marie-Guyart Building
675 René-Lévesque Boulevard East, 30th floor
Quebec (Quebec) G1R 5V7

Subject: Ministerial intervention to ensure a reserved flow for the Petite Nation River

Minister,

We believe that ministerial intervention has become necessary to ensure a reserved flow for the Petite Nation River, downstream of the dam operated by the municipality of Lac Simon (dam #: X0002813). 

Currently, the operation of this dam means that the flow of the Petite Nation River decreases quickly and drastically when manipulations of beams, aimed at controlling the water level of Lac Simon, are carried out. In addition, the flow rates are largely insufficient during the summer period because of this control. In addition to the management of the Lac Simon dam, water withdrawals used to supply agricultural activities (accompanied by agricultural runoff) accentuate the already significant water stress in the watershed of the Petite Nation River and the Rouge River.

To this end, Jean-François Venne, the president of Camping Pierre Radisson Canoe Club, vous a envoyé une lettre avec pour objet CAMPAGNE «SAUVONS LA RIVIÈRE PETITE NATION» en date du 27 janvier 2022, lettre sur laquelle Fondation Rivières était en copie conforme. Cette lettre présentait très bien les enjeux que rencontrent les résidents riverains et amateurs de la rivière Petite Nation, ainsi que des recommandations pour résoudre ce problème. Des communications ultérieures avec monsieur Venne nous indiquent que votre cabinet n’a toujours pas répondu à cette lettre, après en avoir accusé réception. Nous réitérons son invitation à prendre connaissance du dossier et à entamer des démarches pour résoudre le conflit d’usage qui vous a été rapporté.

This situation has numerous economic impacts on the populations downstream of the dam, as well as on the aquatic fauna and flora of the Petite Nation River. In view of this, we believe that a reserved flow should be established and that mediation should be triggered by your ministry between the different stakeholders of the river. Failing to reduce the quantities of water withdrawn for agricultural purposes, monitoring of the integrity of agricultural riparian strips should also be carried out to ensure that the Petite Nation River does not suffer, in addition to its low flow, a pollution by agricultural runoff. 

Fondation Rivières will continue to follow this matter with interest. Although protecting access to water for recreational purposes is part of our mission, our first prerogative will always remain to preserve the natural character of rivers. Character which, in this case, can be distorted by significant recreational and agricultural uses. We hope that you will take the time to study this matter, that you will respond to the letter sent to you in January and that you will intervene soon to ensure the integrity of the Petite Nation River and Lake Simon.

Please accept, Mr. Minister, the expression of our distinguished greetings.

Alain Saladzius, P.Eng., FIC
President, Fondation Rivières

Photo: Stéphanie Beauregard

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