Friday, 10 February 2017

A Diverting Experience -Ogoki

Sorry photos didn't copy over for me for this post. I'll sort them out later.
Anthropogenic Changes to a Great Lake Superior

MAN, We Did It!

Changes to the hydraulic features of the Great Lakes have been going on since the early 1800's.

The Lake Michigan Diversion at Chicago ( 1848, 1900, 1928) , is now in the news as they race to keep the Asian Carp from accessing the whole Great Lakes water system.

The Long Lac diversion (1941), and the Ogoki diversion (1943), divert water from the Hudson Bay watershed to Lake Superior.

Long Lac began as an aide to logging operations and then turned into hydro-electric generation. The Ogoki was purely extra water for the Nipigon River power dams at Cameron Falls and Alexander Falls and later Pine Portage. The down-stream power houses on the Great Lakes also benefited.

Between the two diversions flow rate in 1999 averaged 5,600 cubic feet per second and that raised Lake Superior level by + 0.21 of a foot. By the time it p[asses through all the Great Lakes, Lake Ontario raises level by + 0.21 of a foot. The effects change with regulation plans - I am using 1999 rules from Volume No. 136 July 2, 1999 Great Lakes Update, US Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District : Anthropogenic Changes to Great Lakes Water Levels by Frank H. Quinn, Ph D.

In 2007 I was on a site called " Great Lakes Water Wars " that described the Ogoki Diversion. The author was in a DeHavilland Beaver float plane, 150 miles north of Thunder Bay. He watches as the logging roads and cut-overs fade away - then they are flying over "pure unadulterated Canadian wilderness."


"In the middle of nowhere rests a dam."


"It's located in a roadless area!"

The Summit Dam: named because it sits on the divide between Hudson Bay and Lake Superior watersheds.


The Waboose Dam: spans 1700 feet - that's 450 feet longer than the Hoover Dam.

The Summit and Waboose Dams are part of the largest inter-Basin water transfer project built in the Great Lakes.

The Waboose Dam cuts off the Ogoki River, backing it into a reservoir feeding toward the Summit Dam which pours the water at a rate of 4000 cfs toward Lake Nipigon and the Nipigon River power dams and then Lake Superior and the Great Lakes system.

The Ogoki diversion started in 1940 and had its grand opening in 1943. The cost $5,000,000.

From HYDRO NEWS, Volume 30, No. 9, September 1943  Published by The Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario, Toronto, Ontario

Editor: William Rattray
The Waboose Dam
"Might and Majesty both find expression in the spectacle of a massive dam,
and water which rushes over sweeping sluice-ways
to roar into a turbulent torrent on the rocks below." photo by W. Rattray 1943

" It was the winter of 1940 when actual construction work commenced. The keen-edged axe of the lumberjack quickly made a clearing in the bush at Ferland where base headquarters were established. In all, approximately 80 miles of roads were built within the Ogoki area to facilitate the movement of equipment and more than 20,000 tons of different kinds of materials which had to be brought from outside. Of that total more than 800 tons were foodstuffs alone."

"Where sand and gravel for the mixing plants had to be trucked, or excavated rock or earth moved from the shovels, short stretches of good gravel road were built. The main winter roads, however, were simply clearings through the forest surfaced with hard-packed snow and ice. Thus cold weather provided smooth-surfaced highways over which heavy sleigh trains could be hauled. When spring came, however, these roads reverted to the forest primeval and became impassible swamp or rocky, stump-studded bush. By using this winter type road many thousands of dollars in construction costs were saved as well as a great deal of valuable time."
"Caterpillar tractors played an important role in Ogoki construction operations.
They were used extensively in moving freight over winter roads
and in hauling loads of rock-fill as shown above. " photo W. Rattray

"With the use of tractors, pulling long strings of freight carrying sleighs, most of the material and equipment was brought in during the winter months ready to commence operations in the spring when the frost released the ground from its icy grip."

" In summer planes were the principal transportation link between the Ferland headquarters and the various camps. One of these planes based at Ombabika Bay, two miles from Ferland, equipped with skiis in the winter time and floats during the summer, carried more than 1,800,000 pounds of freight and nearly 2,000 passengers within the Ogoki area during the construction period."

"Some conception of the magnitude of the task can be formed from the fact that during the construction period nearly 800,000 cubic yards of earth and muskeg and 140,000 cubic yards of rock were taken out by the tireless jaws of the mighty excavation machines."

"Where it was necessary to construct auxiliary earth dams a great deal of fill was also required. When the job was completed there were 65,000 cubic yards of rock fill, 284,000 cubic yards of earth, and 51,000 cubic yards of rip rap used, in the dams which close low spots in the contour."

"These works, combined with other auxiliary dams at Chappais Lake and Snake Creek, which flows into Mojikit Creek from the west, will create a reservoir extending upstream to the west a distance of 30 miles and to the south in Mojikit Lake. The total area of this reservoir or new lake will be 120 square miles of which 78 square miles only will be newly flooded land."
The new lake level is at the top and this shows the fall to Montreal.
page seven Hydro News
"Daily communication between construction camps and
the H.E.P.C. office in Toronto was maintained by shortwave radio.
 Key points at which shortwave radio was installed included
Waboose, Summit and Jackfish.
"This is the new railway bridge which was erected at Jackfish crossing
where the channel had been enlarged to take care of the increased flow of water."
"Houses for the operators have been constructed at both Summit and Waboose dams."
"Otto Holden, chief hydraulic engineer, W. B. Crombie, superintendent of Ogoki diversion constructions and David Forgan, the commission's construction engineer.  Declaring the Ogoki diversion open, Otto Holden smashed a bottle containing Niagara River water against a stop log at Summit control dam. With an  almost inaudible splash, the contents of the bottle mingled with the water below the dam."

International Lake Superior Board of Control Board Meeting  March 9, 2005  Conference Room E  Jacob Javits Federal Building, 25 Federal Plaza, New York City

...Item 3.  Update on Lang Lac and Ogoki Diversions

"Mr. Caldwell reported that Ontario Power Generation provided the Board with an update on the discharges of the Long Lac and Ogoki Diversions. The Ogoki Diversion into Lake Nipigon averaged 129.1 cms (4,560 cfs) during September 2004 - February 2005. The Long Lac Diversion averaged 60.6 cms (2,140 cfs) for the same period. The total diversion was reported to be 135% of average for the reporting period. Water was spilled northward to the Ogoki River from September through February and from Long Lac from September through November."


Secretary of State for External Affairs to Ambassador of United States

note No. X-259  Ottawa, September 29th , 1953

...concerning the Long Lac and Ogoki diversions in Northern Ontario:

"As stated in the Department of External Affairs Notes No. X-125 of May 1, 1952 and No. X-133 of May 7, 1952, the diversions of these Canadian rivers are harnessed to important hydro-electric power developments serving communities and industries in the area which are consequently dependent on them. In spite of co-operation, however, the Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario has on occasion made arrangements to reduce or stop the diversions temporarily when such action would serve a useful purpose without serious damage to the interests involved. The Long Lac diversion is directly harnessed to the Aguasabon power plant and continuous use of this water is necessary; but in order to ease the anxiety of interests directly affected by the out-flow from Lake Superior, the diversions have been reduced to a minimum by stopping, temporarily, the entire flow of the larger or Ogoki diversion to the Great Lakes basin."

"With regard to the proposal that the International Joint Commission be requested to give priority to this aspect of the Reference of June 25, 1952, the Reference itself asks the Commission to make recommendations with a view to reducing the fluctuations and to bringing about a more beneficial range of stage of water levels of Lake Ontario."...etc..".Accordingly, no useful purpose would seem to be served in requesting the Commission to digress from the orderly conduct of its work ..."

In 2010 consideration is back on the front burner for a power dam on the Little Jackfish. It has been an on again/off again project for many years.  With so many mill-closures the need for more power is not there, unless they are looking toward The Far North Ring Of Fire business?

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