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Save The Saugeen River

This petition had 1,554 supporters

Our Mission

Our focus is to prevent any further damage done to the Saugeen River and to save an ecosystem that once thrived. The management of this river system falls under many Federal and Provincial legislations. After extensive research calls and emails, we have concluded that we must take a stance and educate the public on this. We simply want to save the river from any further damage and have it eventually returned to the natural state it once was.

We Need Your Help

We are asking you to sign our petition to help us with this battle we have fought for the community for over 7 years now.

We are a group of people that are fighting to save the Saugeen River near Ayton. Once our goal is reached, the entire Saugeen River system will greatly benefit from the start in Dundalk to the end in Lake Huron. What happens here has a great impact above and below the dam.


The Ayton Dam has a private power generating plant that has a water agreement in place until 2019.  At that time, the MNR, Fisheries and Environment review the agreement and renew or revoke this deal. Yes, we all agree that producing clean hydro is a benefit to all, but not at the cost of eliminating a thriving ecosystem. We have presented our concerns to the MNR and Fisheries to look closely at this before renewal. This is a poor long term contract/agreement and has no benefit to our river system. Why do they sign such long term deals with the continued controversy on global warming? Did they know ten years ago what our current situation would look like?

The current agreement in place allows the power generating plant to drop the water levels in the dam area up to one meter. For those that know this area of the river, there is NOT a meter of water available without destroying the ecosystem. In fact, if you drop the levels 30 centimeters, the results are irreversible.

Just over thirty years ago, the Mill Pond sustained docks, power boats and a deep well established head of fresh clean well oxygenated water for both plant and other wildlife. Fast forward to today and we are facing a serious offence to this ecosystem. You would be fortunate to run a flat bottom boat, kayak or canoe today. With all the knowledge and education we have now, why is such behaviour allowed when we know better? If we continue down this path, there will be little to no river running thru our community.

Many people in the town of Ayton suffer poor quality of water from their wells when the water level is dropped in the Mill Pond. Our wells are stable and provide clean fresh safe water until the water table is dropped. If your water turns brown or orange when the dam area is extremely low, we feel this is the cause of this problem. When water levels are high and the river is flowing, the wells are fine.

Ayton does not have fire hydrants and was built around the river for the safety of the community.  The water agreement renewal should take the safety of our community into serious consideration as well. If there is no water on the Edmund Street boat launch where the Fire Department has a natural area for pumping water, our safety is at risk. Let`s not forget that the majority of Ayton was burned to the ground in 1939.

Studies have proven that fluctuating water levels in the reservoir not only harm the ecosystem in the reservoir, but do serious damage downstream. Both water levels, varying temperatures destroy fertile eggs, kill young fish and change the natural spawning habits of the fish in that zone.

During the first week of July 2017, the reservoir was at the lowest levels in the history of the mill pond since the pond was drained to build the new County Bridge. Yes, this is public property and not owned by the mill. Several calls and emails were sent to the MNR, DFO (Department of Fisheries) Environment Canada, Municipality of West Grey and the Saugeen Conservation to stop this devastation. Fish were caught in the low areas that eventually turned into a mud bed with no way out. Fish and other aquatic life were dying! After a week of telephone calls and follow up, we found that there was little to nothing that could be done with the existing agreement in place. After explaining and pleading our case that the level was beyond the allowed limit, we were told to take photos and send them in. The damage was done! The MNR did make a trip down and supported our thoughts on the terrible state the river system was in. That is as far as this has gone.

Today: Tom is counting on you

Tom Hutchinson needs your help with “TRACY ALLISON: Save The Saugeen River”. Join Tom and 1,553 supporters today.