Blue-green Algae Spotted on Ella Lake, City of Greater Sudbury – February 2013

Blue-green is not just a summer problem.  A bloom was reported on 15 February 2013 and has been confirmed.  This bloom is reported to have persisted since November of 2012.

Media coverage over blue green algae being confirmed on Ella Lake:

Blue Green Algae Outbreak on Ella Lake – Vermilion River – December through to February 2012-2013

Blue-green algae on Ella Lake - November 2012

Blue-green algae on Ella Lake – November 2012

We have just had confirmation from MOE that we have a blue green algae outbreak on Ella Lake; however, we don’t have the details of what the toxicity levels are yet.   In the meantime, please refrain from using the lake/river water for drinking, brushing your teeth, sauna, showering, bathing, etc.  It was reported that this outbreak has been persistent since at least December, so this is a very curious situation and I suggest you refrain from using the water for the rest of the winter at least.  We will let you know more once all the details are known.

You should not drink surface water during an algal bloom, even if it is treated, because in-home treatments such as boiling and disinfecting water with chlorine or UV and water filtration units do not protect people from blue-green algal toxins.

If you have an opportunity to talk to any ice fishermen on the upstream lakes, please inquire as to whether they have seen this blue green algae (scum) coming up through their ice holes.  If blue green algae has been seen on any of the upstream lakes, please call the Health Unit at 705 522-9200 and they will come out to take a sample.   Please also contact Vermilion River Stewardship at to let us know so we can warn the local residents.

VRS will start our telephone tree; however, we may be missing some people living on the river, so please let your neighbours know of the outbreak and ask them not to use the lake/river water for any of the above uses.

For more information on blue green algae, please check out the information on our website at:

Update: Cliffs Amended TOR formally submitted to MOE – Also

As you may be aware, Cliffs is currently undertaking an Environmental Assessment (EA) of the Cliffs Chromite Project.  A number of studies and reports are required as part of the Environmental Assessment process.  One of these documents is the Terms of Reference (ToR), which specifies the studies to be conducted and the information to be provided by Cliffs as part of the EA to meet the requirements of the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act.  A Record of Consultation accompanies the ToR to provide documentation of communications and engagement activities with interested parties.

Cliffs has now formally submitted the Final Amended ToR and Amended Record of Consultation for the Individual Environmental Assessment of the Project to the Ministry of the Environment (MOE). This initiates the Ministry review period, after which a decision on the Final Amended Terms of Reference will be made by the Minister.

Cliffs Chromite Project – Cliffs’ Response to Vermilion River Stewardship – 2013-01-29

Cliff’s Response to VRS regarding our comments on the Amended Terms of Reference:

This letter is to inform you that Cliffs Natural Resources, through its subsidiaries and affiliates, intends to develop the Black Thor deposit in the McFaulds Lake Area in Northern Ontario.   The Cliffs Chromite Projects (Project) consists of extracting and processing chromite ore, exclusively from the Black Thor deposit with incidental contact along the adjacent Black Label deposit, and transporting the concentrate to a Ferrochrome Production Facility (FPF).  The proposed undertaking includes the construction, operation and retirement of the following four project components……..



Vermilion River Stewardship Supports the Idle No More Campaign

Vermilion River Stewardship supports the grassroots Idle No More campaign by First Nations and other Canadians to protect our land, our water, and First Nations’ treaty rights.  Our major environmental legislation has been gutted, including the critically important Navigable Waters Protection Act and the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.  Our fresh water and healthy river ecosystems are of vital importance for the future of all First Nations and Canadians.

“All  people will be affected by the continued damage to the land and water and we welcome Indigenous and non-Indigenous allies to join in creating healthy sustainable communities.”

Vermilion River Stewardship stands in solidarity with First Nations.  We are all treaty people.


Vermillion River to use grant funds for water quality testing

OTFHORIZcolourBy Jonathan Migneault, The Sudbury Star

In a rare occurrence, the Vermillion River Stewardship received all $103,000 it had asked for from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to fund a research project that will sample the water quality of the Vermillion River over a two-year period.

Nickel Belt MPP France Gelinas, who has been a strong supporter for more testing of the Vermillion River, said it was the first time she has seen the Ontario Trillium Foundation hand out the full amount requested by a non-profit organization.

The grant will allow Vermillion River Stewardship to pay two technicians from Conservation Sudbury, who will work with a volunteer to test and analyze the full length of the river. Read more

Save Wabagishik Rapids – Vermilion River

Wabagishik Rapids is a beautiful 1 km stretch of rapids on the Vermilion River, about 1/2 hour west of Sudbury, Ontario. A developer is proposing to build a modified run of river hydroelectric dam that would produce enough power to supply about 1,600 homes. These types of dams have numerous negative impacts associated with them, and are very harmful to the riverine ecosystem. Check out this film to find out more.

Full length film:

Short preview of the full version:

Find out how you can help by going to our Membership page.

Lower Vermilion Source Water Quality Monitoring Project – $103,200 OTF Grant

Vermilion River Stewardship & OTF Partners

Vermilion River Stewardship, Ontario Trillium Foundation and Conservation Sudbury

A BIG THANK YOU to the Ontario Trillium Foundation for awarding Vermilion River Stewardship a $103,200 grant to undertake the Lower Vermilion Source Water Quality Monitoring Project.  This 2 year study is to characterize the lower Vermilion River to identify all negative inputs affecting water quality and water quantity, and to ultimately recommend a course of action to protect and restore water quality on the Vermilion River system.  The study will start in the Spring of this year and will be completed by the end of 2014, with a Report coming out early in 2015.

Our Project partners are Ontario Trillium Foundation, Conservation Sudbury, Beaver Lake Sports and Cultural Club and Penage Road Community Centre.   Vermillion River Stewardship looks forward to working with our partners on this very significant and important project.OTFHORIZcolour



Vermilion River Stewardship supports First Nations in protecting their treaty rights

Vermilion River Stewardship supports the growing grassroots protest by First Nations and many other Canadians against the federal government’s Omnibus Bill C-45 and other legislation which have put First Nations’ treaty rights in grave danger and have gutted major environmental legislation including the critically important Navigable Waters Protection Act.  Healthy river ecosystems are of critical importance for the future of First Nations, and for all Canadians.

We support Chief Spense of the Attawapiskat First Nation in her quest to open up a meaningful dialogue on First Nation issues with the federal government, and are appalled that it has not been possible to accomplish this without the need for a hunger strike.

Vermilion River Stewardship supports First Nations in protecting their treaty and territorial rights, and implores Prime Minster Harper to meet with Chief Theresa Spense immediately.



“As a result of the valuable input received from Aboriginal communities, regulatory agencies, the public and other interested and potentially affected stakeholders, Cliffs has elected to amend the July 2012 ToR.  Please note that the amendment does not change the purpose or intent of the July 2012 ToR, but is intended to clarify some issues identified during the review period and provide additional information where warranted. Should you wish to see the amended ToR, it is available on Cliffs’ Project website at:  cliffsnaturalresources. com.”