mighty Rupert River has lived with a big target on its back for more
than three decades.
first river to be dammed by the massive and ongoing James Bay
Project in 1971, the mighty stream was able to avoid attack until
The plan to divert
90 per cent of its flow northward into the already dry Eastmain
River and then the La Grande system is proceeding this summer.
Unlike 30 years ago, the Crees of northern Quebec are in support of
damming the river– their life’s blood for millennia.
There is a movement
afoot to oppose the new dams but without official native support
there seems little chance of success. Of course, not all the Crees
of northern Quebec are in favour of the plan - but a majority is.
Rupert Reverence, a
Quebec-based group trying to save the river are running a special
trip down the river this summer from July 27 - August 18 with Crees
and other volunteers for a run to the Bay and village of Waskaganish
from the highway that crosses at Oatmeal Falls. Since that distance
is only about 70 miles, it’s a slow pace and a lot of portaging as
most of the river’s big drops occur after Oatmeal. Those would
almost completely dry up as the diversion of the Rupert would occur
upstream near the village of Nemaska.
Eastmain-1-A project includes: the Rupert diversion, which redirects
most of the water (up to 800 m3/s) from the Rupert River watershed
into the Eastmain watershed; the construction of Eastmain-1-A
powerhouse on Eastmain-1 reservoir; and the construction of new
structures at the outlet of Opinaca reservoir. The project calls for
the construction of four dams, 51 dykes, and two diversion bays
flooding an area of 395 sq. km, 12000
metres of diversion canals or tunnels,
and two permanent access roads. The cost of this project has been
estimated at two billion dollars.
For more info see:
and the Rupert Reverence site:
Another falls in the central section of
the river just below the only other bridge across the river.