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Environmental Impact of Flooding in the Main (Smallwood) Reservoir of the Churchill Falls Power Plant, Labrador, Canada . III. Environmental Impact Zones and Direct and Indirect Changes.

Author(s): Denes Bajzak | B. A. Roberts

Journal: Journal of Water Resource and Protection
ISSN 1945-3094

Volume: 03;
Issue: 03;
Start page: 160;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Reservoirs | Flooding | Boreal | Dykes | De-watered | Vegetation Re-growth | Shore Line Development

The Churchill Falls Hydro Project (called the ‘Upper Churchill Development’) in Labrador [CF(L)Co], was initiated in the late 1960s. At that time, in general, not much attention was paid to the impact of such development on the flooding of vegetation, especially forest stands. Both forested and un-forested terrestrial vegetation types were flooded (244,915 ha creating some 74,075 ha of Islands) in the construction of the Main (Smallwood) Reservoir. The effect of flooding and of the constructions, both above and below the Main Reservoir major dyke system, were the subject of our investigation. This paper, the third in a series, reports on the effect of building the dykes during the early phases of construction with the descriptions of the post flooded conditions below the dykes as related to vegetation. The direct disturbances were excavations, fills, and partial and /or total removal of vegetation cover from fabrication platforms and from gravel and rock extraction sites. No new vegetation cover established in the abandoned quarries and gravel pits. However camp sites and manufacturing platforms were subsequently taken over by Alder growth. The indirect disturbances were the flooding of land areas and the de-watering of sections of the original river and lowering of the water level in some lakes. The results of flooding and the de-watering of some nearby areas are illustrated with aerial photographs and figures showing the environmental impact zones and new shore line development. The flooded trees in large and small pools of stagnant water died suddenly and remain in their original place. New vegetation cover developed on the exposed shore lines of de-watered rivers and lakes.

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