by Edith Cody-Rice
The Almonte dam is drowning the Appleton wetland forest, residents claim. The Almonte dam, built in the 19th century and privately owned by Thomas Cavanaugh Construction, follows a water management plan for the Mississippi River set by the Ministry of Natural Resources.
The plan, adopted after consultation with all interested parties, allows the mill to maintain high water levels in the Mississippi River, which increases the generation of electricity. The -problem – those higher levels are drowning the trees upstream. The Appleton wetland forest covers about six kilometres on the banks of the Mississippi and is a provincially significant wetland. Its red maples tolerate flooding for part of the year, but need a summer dry out to maintain healthy roots.
The Appleton Community Association is asking the operators of the dam to lower it for part of the year to give the trees a fighting chance and Mississippi Mills council will be asked to request dam owners not to use the flash board system to increase the water level. The Millstone will follow this story.