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The Lower Churchill River

The Lower Churchill River is the portion of the Churchill River downstream of the Missi Falls Control Structure (see map below). It flows Northeast and empties into Hudson Bay. Before hydro development, this portion of the river was a fast moving, high water river, teeming with life. Since 1974 and the completion of the Churchill River Diversion, this 500 km stretch of the river has been reduced to a trickle resulting in massive loss of life. As much as 75 - 95% of flow from the Churchill River was diverted southward to increase production through hydroelectric facilities operating on the Burntwood and Nelson rivers. (Churchill River 2020 Study, AAE Tech Services Inc.)

In technical terms, the Lower Churchill River would, on average, see a flow of 35,000 cubic feet per second (CFS) with highs of 70,000 CFS and, at its lowest 20,000 CFS. The augmented flow program reduced the average flow to 500 CFS!! Even if you can’t fathom what these numbers mean, you can see that the difference is immense. Imagine the most beautiful river you have ever seen (really, close your eyes and imagine) then imagine the water turned down like a tap.  

TCN sturgeon study - Priscilla Spence (1).jpg

Priscilla Spence, Tataskweyak Cree Nation, holding a juvenile sturgeon

About MB Hydro's Churchill River Diversion: Causes
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About MB Hydro's Churchill River Diversion: Image
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