Archived - Government of Canada Response to the Environmental Assessment Panel Report of the Proposed Eastmain 1A – Rupert River Diversion

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Circumstances

This project is part of Hydro-Québec production commitment to continue to develop competitive hydroelectric projects, as stated in Hydro-Québec's Strategic Plan 2002–2006. This plan reflects both the economic benefits of competitive hydro projects and the environmental advantages of hydropower.

Project

The project is located in the James Bay Territory of Quebec and comprises the following components: (i) the Rupert diversion, which consists of redirecting some of the waters from the Rupert River watershed into the Eastmain watershed; (ii) the construction of an additional generating station (Eastmain-1-A) on Eastmain 1 reservoir; (iii) four dams, (iv) ~ 50 dikes; (v) two diversion bays with a total area of some 395 km2; a control structure between the two diversion bays; (vi) a network of canals or tunnels totalling approximately 12,000 metres in length to direct the flow into the various parts of the diversion bays; and (vii) structures to restore some instream flow to the lower reaches of the Rupert River.

The Environmental Assessment Process

The Eastmain-1-A and Rupert Diversion Project is subject to two impact assessment and review processes: the provincial environmental and social protection regime under the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement (JBNQA) and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA). Section 22 of the JBNQA sets out the framework for the environmental and social protection regime in the territory south of the 55th parallel.

The Eastmain-1-A and the Rupert River Diversion Hydroelectric Project requires authorization and approval pursuant to section 35(2) of the Fisheries Act and section 5(1) of the Navigable Waters Protection Act. These regulatory approvals are included in the Law List Regulations of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA), requiring Fisheries and Oceans Canada (or DFO) and Transport Canada (or TC) as the responsible authorities to conduct an environmental assessment pursuant to CEAA prior to issuing authorizations and approvals.

The Review Panel Report and the Government of Canada's Response

The Panel addressed 83 recommendations to the Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Transport Canada, Hydro Quebec and Cree authorities. The Panel recommended that the project be authorized subject to the recommendations. A total of 22 recommendations are directed to DFO and 11 are directed to TC regulatory areas of responsibility. The Government of Canada addresses these recommendations in its response. As well, the Panel directed 2 recommendations to the federal government in general, 47 recommendations to Hydro Quebec and 1 to Cree authorities.

The Panel concluded that the project was acceptable from a technical, strategic, commercial and economic perspective and that there was no better alternative. The Panel has noted that the anticipated environmental and social effects of the project are numerous and extensive however these effects can be mitigated to a satisfactory level. The Commission has judged that these effects are justified and recommends that project be submitted to the federal responsible authorities subject to the recommendations outlined in the Panel report.

The Government of Canada agrees with the recommendations on issues related to federal areas of responsibility for which it has the regulatory authority. The Government of Canada also supports the intent of the recommendations directed to the proponent and Cree authorities.

One member of the Panel expressed a divergent opinion with respect to the following issues: (i) adaptive management; (ii) the impact on the use of the territory by the Cree communities; (iii) restrictions on the consumption of fish due to the bioaccumulation of mercury; (iv) social acceptability; and (v) loss of natural and cultural heritage. The member expressed the opinion that the project should not be carried out.

Fish and Fish Habitat

Department of Fisheries and Oceans will ensure that suitable mitigation measures, fish habitat compensation, and appropriate follow-up are terms and conditions of the section 35(2) Fisheries Act authorization issued to the Proponent regarding the creation, protection and maintenance of fish and fish habitat in the affected regions of the James Bay Territory.

Navigation

Transport Canada will ensure that appropriate mitigation measures and follow-up programs are implemented through approvals pursuant to section 5(1) of the Navigable Waters Protection Act regarding the protection of the right to navigate and navigational security.

Mercury and Public Health

During the course of the environmental assessment the issue of bioaccumulation of mercury in fish and the Cree population was an important issue. The Cree Board of Health and Social Serves of James Bay recommended that the exposure to mercury related to project development follow "The guidelines for carrying out assessments of the toxicological risks for human health within the context of the environmental impact procedure of the Ministre de la santé et services sociaux du Québec."

The Panel made several recommendations regarding mercury and public health in its report. The Government of Canada will cooperate with Hydro Quebec, provincial and Cree authorities regarding follow-up studies on mercury levels and the general health of the Crees.

Traditional Land Use

Concern was expressed by residents of Cree communities directly impacted by the project on their traditional land use regarding the loss of traplines and areas traditionally used by the communities. Specific recommendations from the Panel are addressed in the conditions of the provincial authorization certificate. Federal approvals and authorizations will address concerns related to navigation and fish habitat.

Adaptive Management

Due to the predictive nature of the environmental assessment process and extensive impacts related to large energy development the Panel has recommended an adaptive management approach to address modifications and imprecision that may arise during the construction and operation of the project. Specific recommendations from the Panel are addressed in the conditions of the provincial authorization certificate. Federal approvals and authorizations will address concerns related to navigation and fish habitat through it's follow-up programs.

Regulatory Process

DFO and TC will issue authorizations and approvals pursuant to the Fisheries Act and the Navigable Waters Protection Act, respectively following the completion of the environmental assessment process and acceptance of the Panel's recommendation by the Government of Canada.

To Fisheries and Oceans Canada, within the context of enforcing the Fisheries Act, the Panel recommends:

General Recommendations

Recommendation 1

That the proponent submit to Fisheries and Oceans Canada the detailed monitoring programs regarding the various aquatic environment components defined in the documents tabled in support of the request, no later than one year after the work has begun. The monitoring programs proposed must specify the sampling methods and protocols, completion schedule and project sectors that will be surveyed. These programs must explain, among other things, the choice of the final mitigation measures, the location of habitat enhancements1 and how the integration of data gathered from Cree hunters' observations will be facilitated and made possible. In addition to ensuring compliance to the commitments made by the proponent, these programs will have to account for the aspects specified in the recommendations hereinafter. Results obtained within the scope of the various monitoring programs shall be submitted regularly to Fisheries and Oceans Canada and used to review the planning of these programs.

Response

The Federal Government agrees with the recommendation of the Panel and will work cooperatively with the province of Quebec and the proponent. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans will require as a condition of its authorization under section 35(2) of the Fisheries Act that the proponent: (i) submit detailed follow-up programs on the aquatic environment no later than one year following the issuance of the Fisheries Act authorisation ; (ii) stipulate sampling methods and protocols for the follow-up programs; (iii) submit a schedule to carryout the program; (iv) identify the project sectors to be inventoried; (v) submit the final mitigation measures; (vi) submit results to DFO periodically.

The Rupert diversion bays section

Recommendation 2

That, in order to establish baseline conditions, the proponent submit to Fisheries and Oceans Canada its monitoring program for fish communities and population dynamics in the Rupert diversion bays, no later than six months after the project is approved.

Response

The Federal Government agrees with the recommendation of the Panel and will work cooperatively with the province of Quebec and the proponent. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans will require as a condition of its authorization under section 35(2) of the Fisheries Act that the proponent submit to DFO a follow-up program on the fish communities and population dynamics in the Rupert diversion bays no later than one year following the issuance of the Fisheries Act authorization.

Recommendation 3

That the proponent submit to Fisheries and Oceans Canada its detailed habitat enhancement and monitoring plan for spawning grounds effectiveness in the diversion bays sector. This program targets lake trout, lake sturgeon and brook trout particularly.

Response

The Federal Government agrees with the recommendation of the Panel and will work cooperatively with the province of Quebec and the proponent. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans notes that the province manages this resource and has conditioned the proponent in its authorization certificate to characterize the genetic makeup of speckled trout between lac Mistassini and lac Mesgouez in the Rupert River basin.

The Rupert, Lemare and Nemiscau rivers section

Recommendation 6

That the adaptive management program for the instream flow regime target specific biological and hydraulic indicators, define objectives to be reached and indicate the application guidelines for corrective measures to be taken if these objectives are not met. As the proponent has committed to use an adaptive management approach for the ecological instream flow regime, it shall propose the modifications required to correct the situation if the values or periods of this regime should prove to be incorrectly assessed as regards fish habitats or would not guarantee the sustainability of fish resources valued by the Crees. These modifications shall be submitted to Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Response

The Federal Government agrees with the recommendation of the Panel and will work cooperatively with the province of Quebec and the proponent. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans will require as a condition of its authorization under section 35(2) of the Fisheries Act that the proponent: (i) conduct an adaptive management plan on the instream flow regime for biological and hydraulic indicators; (ii) propose modifications where fish habitats of fish resources favoured by the Cree do not meet objectives; and (iii) submit modifications to DFO.

Recommendation 7

That the proponent submit to Fisheries and Oceans Canada its monitoring program to regenerate the aquatic beds in the sector downstream from KP 314 of the Rupert River, in order to substantiate its predictions. The proponent shall include in the monitoring the use and colonization of aquatic beds by northern pike and prey species.

Response

The Federal Government agrees with the recommendation of the Panel and will work cooperatively with the province of Quebec and the proponent. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans will require as a condition of its authorization under section 35(2) of the Fisheries Act that the proponent submit to DFO a follow-up program on the regeneration of aquatic vegetation used by northern pike and prey species, downstream of PK 314 on the Rupert River. Should the regeneration be successful, DFO will consider that this recommendation has been met.

Recommendation 8

That the proponent submit to Fisheries and Oceans Canada its monitoring program for the thermal regime downstream from the various instream flow release structures for the Rupert, Lemare and Nemiscau rivers, in order to substantiate its predictions.

Response

The Federal Government agrees with the recommendation of the Panel and will work cooperatively with the province of Quebec and the proponent. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans will require as a condition of its authorization under section 35(2) of the Fisheries Act that the proponent submit to DFO a follow-up program of the thermal regime downstream of flow restoration works in the Rupert, Lemare and Nemiscau rivers in order to validate the predictions.

Recommendation 9

That the proponent submit to Fisheries and Oceans Canada its monitoring and remedial measures program for tributaries that are likely to be subject to erosion and, in some cases, to hinder the free movement of fish.

Response

The Federal Government agrees with the recommendation of the Panel and will work cooperatively with the province of Quebec and the proponent. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans will require as a condition of its authorization under section 35(2) of the Fisheries Act that the proponent submit to DFO a follow-up program and corrective measures for tributaries susceptible to erosion which could hinder fish movements, downstream of KP 314 on the Rupert River.

Recommendation 10

That the proponent submit to Fisheries and Oceans Canada a monitoring program of anadromous cisco between KP13.5 and 25.5 of the Rupert River. The monitoring must include drifting larvae in the spring and the structure of anadromous cisco populations in the fall, as well as the baseline conditions over a two-year period before the partial diversion of the Rupert River. Lake whitefish was chosen as the target species to establish the flow during fall spawning. The results of this modeling cannot, however, be completely transposed to the Smokey Hill site regarding cisco breeding. The cisco seems to prefer slower currents than lake whitefish and its spawning period occurs slightly later. The previous recommendation regarding the adaptive management of instream flow will therefore have to be applied to anadromous cisco in addition to the species already targetted. The monitoring of anadromous cisco migration will have to be defined in collaboration with the community of Waskaganish and affected tallymen.

Response

The Federal Government agrees with the recommendation of the Panel and will work cooperatively with the province of Quebec and the proponent. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans will require as a condition of its authorization under section 35(2) of the Fisheries Act that the proponent submit to DFO a follow-up program on anadromous lake cisco between KP 13.5 and 25.5, to include: (i) spring larval drift; (ii) the population structure; (iii) adaptive management of the instream flow for anadromous lake cisco and other target species. The monitoring of anadromous lake cisco would include input from the Cree community of Waskaganish and the trappers concerned.

Recommendation 11

That the proponent submit to Fisheries and Oceans Canada any relocation of dip netting sites at Smokey Hill. This relocation will have to be defined in collaboration with the community of Waskaganish and affected tallymen.

The Federal Government agrees with the recommendation of the Panel and will work cooperatively with the province of Quebec and the proponent. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans will require as a condition of its authorization under section 35(2) of the Fisheries Act that the proponent submit a plan to re-establish dip net fishing sites at Smokey Hill to be developed in cooperation with the community of Waskaganish and the Cree trappers affected.

Recommendation 12

That the proponent submit to Fisheries and Oceans Canada a monitoring program for the effectiveness of spawning ground enhancements located downstream of KP 314 on the Rupert River. Should these habitat enhancements not meet the objectives set out in the documents tabled to support the request, the planning of remedial measures, which may even include the creation of new spawning grounds, will also have to be submitted to Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Response

The Federal Government agrees with the recommendation of the Panel and will work cooperatively with the province of Quebec and the proponent. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans will require as a condition of its authorization under section 35(2) of the Fisheries Act that the proponent submit to DFO a follow-up program on the effectiveness of spawning grounds located downstream of PK 314 of the Rupert River. In the event these facilities do not meet the stated objectives the proponent will also be required to submit corrective measures, which could include new spawning grounds.

Recommendation 13

That the proponent submit to Fisheries and Oceans Canada a monitoring program specific to the lake sturgeon, including the species' drifting larvae. Specific attention must be given to the Rupert River stretch between KP 216 to KP 300.

Response

The Federal Government agrees with the recommendation of the Panel and will work cooperatively with the province of Quebec and the proponent. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans will require as a condition of its authorization under section 35(2) of the Fisheries Act that the proponent submit a follow-up program for lake sturgeon to include (i) spawning grounds, eggs and spawners presence in specific sites, (ii) larval drift, (iii) population dynamics in the Rupert river downstream of KP 314, with particular attention to KP 216 to 300, and (iv) two fish passage structures (KP 223 and 290).

The Rupert Bay and Rupert River estuary section

Recommendation 14

That the proponent submit to Fisheries and Oceans Canada, no later than one year after the project's authorization, a detailed monitoring program for total organic carbon (TOC) in the Rupert estuary and Rupert Bay.

Response

The Federal Government agrees with the recommendation of the Panel and will work cooperatively with the province of Quebec and the proponent. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans will require as a condition of its authorization under section 35(2) of the Fisheries Act that the proponent submit a detailed follow-up program on total organic carbon in the Rupert River bay and estuary within one year of issuance of the authorization.

Recommendation 15

That the proponent submit to Fisheries and Oceans Canada a detailed monitoring program of saltwater intrusion into Rupert Bay and the mouth of the Pontax River to substantiate the predictions of the simulation model.

The Federal Government agrees with the recommendation of the Panel and will work cooperatively with the province of Quebec and the proponent. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans will require as a condition of its authorization under section 35(2) of the Fisheries Act that the proponent submit a detailed follow-up program on the intrusion of salt water into Rupert Bay and the mouth of the Pontax River to validate the simulation predictions.

The increased-flow section

Recommendation 16

That the proponent inform Fisheries and Oceans Canada about losses for every form of fish habitat located in the Sarcelle powerhouse area of influence, both upstream and downstream, and specify, if required, the measures planned to mitigate or compensate for them.

Response

The Federal Government has received, supplementary information from the proponent describing fish habitat downstream of the La Sarcelle generating station, indicating that no additional compensation and mitigation needs are required. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans will work cooperatively with provincial authorities to monitor this situation.

Recommendation 17

That the proponent submit to Fisheries and Oceans Canada a detailed monitoring program for multispecies spawning ground enhancements planned downstream of the Sarcelle powerhouse.

Response

The Federal Government agrees with the recommendation of the Panel and will work cooperatively with the province of Quebec and the proponent. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans will require as a condition of its authorization under section 35(2) of the Fisheries Act that the proponent submits to DFO a detailed follow-up program on multi-species spawning grounds downstream of the Sarcelle generating station.

Recommendation 18

That the proponent submit to Fisheries and Oceans Canada a detailed monitoring program of lake sturgeon populations in the Boyd-Sakami system.

Response

The Federal Government is of the opinion that a follow-up of lake sturgeon populations is a of fisheries management issue which is under the purview of the province of Québec. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans notes that this recommendation is a condition of the provincial authorization certificate. DFO will work cooperatively, where required, with provincial authorities regarding the follow-up program on lake sturgeon.

Recommendation 19

That the proponent submit to Fisheries and Oceans Canada a detailed monitoring program for the effectiveness of the fish pass developed to maintain the free movement of fish at KP 207, particularly for lake sturgeon, after the commissioning of the Eastmain-1-A powerhouse.

Response

The Federal Government agrees with the recommendation of the Panel and will work cooperatively with the province of Quebec and the proponent. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans will require as a condition of its authorization under section 35(2) of the Fisheries Act that the proponent submit to DFO a detailed follow-up program on the effectiveness of fish passage facilities proposed for KP 207, in particular lake sturgeon, following commissioning of the Eastmain 1A generating station.

Recommendation 20

That the proponent submit to Fisheries and Oceans Canada a detailed monitoring program to establish, after the commissioning of the Eastmain-1-A powerhouse, baseline conditions for spawning grounds located in the area of influence of the Eastmain-1 powerhouses and dam. This monitoring must also document baseline conditions and modifications to other forms of fish habitat (nursery and feeding areas, and migration paths) to define, if required, mitigation and compensation measures.

Response

The Federal Government agrees with the recommendation of the Panel and will work cooperatively with the province of Quebec and the proponent. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans will require as a condition of its authorization under section 35(2) of the Fisheries Act that the proponent submit to DFO a detailed follow-up program, after the commissioning of the Eastmain 1 generating station, on the condition of spawning grounds affected by the generating station and the dam. The follow-up program will also require the proponent to establish the reference state for other fish habitats which may be affected (nurseries, feeding and migrating areas) in order to expand upon the mitigation measures and compensation, as required.

Recommendation 21

That the proponent submit to Fisheries and Oceans Canada a detailed monitoring program to maintain fish populations in the stretch of the Eastmain River between KP 193 and KP 217, that takes into account the commissioning of the Eastmain-1-A powerhouse and the results gathered within the framework of the environmental follow-up program of the fish populations downstream from the Eastmain-1 dam.

Response

The Federal Government agrees with this recommendation of the Panel and will work cooperatively with the province of Quebec and the proponent. DFO notes that the follow-up proposed in recommendation 20 encompasses the development of mitigation measures and compensation for fish habitats in this area.

The sections affected by the structures and related activities

Recommendation 22

That the proponent submit to Fisheries and Oceans Canada a detailed monitoring program for the water crossings characterized by the absence of impassable obstacles close to structures. Structures in the shape of prefabricated arches will also have to be integrated into this monitoring program if their presence decreases the width of the stream and, in the absence of obstacles, the free movement of fish.

Response

The Federal Government agrees with the recommendation of the Panel and will work cooperatively with the province of Quebec and the proponent. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans will require as a condition of its authorization under section 35(2) of the Fisheries Act that the proponent submit to DFO a detailed follow-up program for water course crossings. This program will consider the use of prefabricated arches to ensure fish movements as one of the possible options within the follow-up program to avoid the obstruction of fish passage.

To Transport Canada, within the context of enforcing the Navigable Waters Protection Act, the Panel recommends:

Recommendation 23

That the proponent provide Transport Canada with a comprehensive navigability monitoring program every year for the first five years.

Response

The Federal Government agrees with the recommendation of the Panel and emphasizes that the program must be tabled before work begins. In this regard, Transport Canada's approval under subsection 5(1) of the Navigable Waters Protection Act will specify the terms and conditions related to this recommendation.

Recommendation 24

That the hydrographic charts to be produced by the proponent during the construction and operational phases of the project be made available to all users. The proponent should notify Transport Canada of the measures it intends to take to ensure that the charts are distributed and updated.

Response

The Federal Government agrees with the recommendation of the Panel and emphasizes that it will require that the documents be tabled for approval before they are distributed to users. Transport Canada's approval under subsection 5(1) of the Navigable Waters Protection Act will specify when and over what timeframe the charts are to be produced as well as details concerning the information to be provided.

Recommendation 25

That the proponent set up a mechanism for receiving comments and complaints from user of water bodies that will be affected by the project.

Response

The Federal Government agrees with the recommendation of the Panel. The mandate of Transport Canada is to maintain the navigability of waterways in Canada and protect the safety of their users. Information gathered from the main users through a mechanism set up by the proponent will be used to refine safety- and navigation-related adjustments needed in the case of water bodies that will be affected by the project. The approval under subsection 5(1) of the Navigable Waters Protection Act will set out conditions consistent with this recommendation.

The Rupert diversion bays section

Recommendation 26

That the proponent determine, together with the tallymen affected, which corridors should be deforested in the diversion bays to ensure safe navigation and make it possible to access the shoreline of some bays by water craft. In the event that a corridor outside of the bays (e.g., the original corridor of the Nemiscau River) is more suitable, the proponent should agree on a preferred navigability plan for these corridors with the tallymen and submit it to Transport Canada.

Response

The Government of Canada agrees with the spirit of the Panel's recommendation. Transport Canada will see to it that the navigation corridors and shoreline accesses identified beforehand by users are marked and made safe as soon as navigation is possible on the diversion bays. The obligations stemming from this recommendation will be clearly set out in the approval issued pursuant to subsection 5(1) of the Navigable Waters Protection Act.

The Rupert, Lemare and Nemiscau rivers section

Recommendation 27

That, in the course of monitoring Rupert River navigation conditions, the proponent ensure a depth of no less than one metre over the entire stretch, except for rapids.

Response

The Federal Government agrees with the recommendation of the Panel and, through the Transport Canada approval issued pursuant to subsection 5(1) of the Navigable Waters Protection Act, will ensure that this commitment is met.

Recommendation 28

That, in the bay and estuary of the Rupert River and in critical areas such as stretches that are not affected by hydraulic structures, the proponent be obligated to mark the navigation channel. For the first five years following the river's diversion, the proponent should hire, at its expense, a member of the Waskaganish community to mark the channel.

Response

The Government of Canada agrees with the spirit of the Panel's recommendation. It is part of Transport Canada's mandate to ensure the maintenance of safe navigation conditions on Canadian bodies of water. Accordingly, Transport Canada, through the approval issued pursuant to subsection 5(1) of the Navigable Waters Protection Act, will require the proponent to mark the navigation channels on navigable bodies of water where necessary, at its expense, for the five years following the diversion of the Rupert River.

Recommendation 29

That, together with the users concerned, the proponent improve canoe trails along the Rupert River to make them safe for all users and suitable for their use. The necessary work should be carried out in the first two years following the diversion of the Rupert River by the Cree communities concerned. The proponent should submit a report on the work carried out to Transport Canada.

Response

The Government of Canada agrees with the spirit of the Panel's recommendation. The study of navigation conditions will make it possible to assess the impact of the project on navigation on the Rupert River and its tributaries and to ensure that the necessary mitigation measures are taken to reduce the impact on navigation. Transport Canada will, under the Navigable Waters Protection Act, set out clear and precise terms of this recommendation.

Recommendation 30

That, considering that the proponent has agreed to conduct a study on navigation conditions in certain tributaries of the Rupert River, including the production of baseline conditions, the proponent be obligated to provide baseline conditions, covering at least the tributaries of the Rupert River and other water courses in the area under study that will have a bridge, before construction of the structures begins.

Response

The Panel recommends that, considering that the proponent has agreed to conduct a study on navigation conditions in certain tributaries of the Rupert River, including the production of baseline conditions, the proponent provide this baseline study, including at least the tributaries of the Rupert River and other rivers in the study area that will have a bridge, prior to the start of construction of the structures.

Recommendation 31

That, in the event of exceptional climatic events that would make the use of the Rupert Dam's control structure essential, the proponent develop an information process that would warn users of water being released from the dam spillway, giving them the opportunity to take the necessary measures to ensure their safety.

Response

The Panel recommends that, in the event of exceptional climatic events that would make the use of the Rupert Dam's control structure essential, the proponent develop an information process that would warn users of water being released from the dam spillway, and would give them the opportunity to take the necessary measures to ensure their safety.

The increased-flow section

Recommendation 32

That the proponent establish a program for disposing of wood debris in the increased-flow section of the river. The program should be developed and carried out together with the Crees in order to identify priority sections. The proponent should hire local workers at its expense to carry out the work.

Response

The Government of Canada agrees with the spirit of the Panel's recommendation, and Transport Canada, pursuant to the subsection 5(1) approval under the Navigable Waters Protection Act, will ensure that the proponent implements the clean-up plan at the site of the identified areas of increased flow.

Recommendation 33

That, in order to facilitate navigation and ensure safe travel, the proponent map, together with the Crees, preferred navigation corridors in the increased-flow section of the river. It should also plan to install booms in risk areas, notably upstream from the Sarcelle structure.

Response

The Government of Canada supports the Panel's recommendation, and Transport Canada, pursuant to its subsection 5(1) approval under the Navigable Waters Protection Act, will require mapping of the navigation corridors and will identify the needs relating to the safety structures required in the high-risk sectors.

In addition to the above recommendations, which are specifically addressed to federal decision-making departments pursuant to the applicable acts, the Panel submits the following recommendations for consideration:

To the federal government, the Panel recommends:

Recommendation 34

The issue of cumulative effects affects several jurisdictions, including the federal government, the provinces of Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba, the territory of Nunavut as well as several government departments linked to these various levels of government. Assessing cumulative effects therefore goes far beyond the responsibility of a single proponent. Within this context, it would be imperative for the federal government to implement a large-scale research and monitoring program for the James Bay and Hudson Bay ecosystems. Such a program could be coordinated by an independent body whose structure is akin to that of the International Joint Commission. Such a structure could foster the pooling of efforts and resources of all concerned government agencies, as well as those of the academic community, which is already working on various problems related to the cumulative effects in this sector. Whatever the chosen structure, it would be essential for the various Aboriginal communities affected to be stakeholders in this research and monitoring program, in order to integrate into it traditional knowledge and local expertise.

Response

The Government of Canada agrees with the spirit of the Panel's recommendation. Federal departments implicated in the cumulative effects of anthropomorphic activities on Canada's physical, biophysical and human environments will monitor and/or coordinate, as may be appropriate, research activities in the James Bay and Hudson Bay region with provincial authorities and aboriginal communities.

Recommendation 35

That the Territorial Program managed by the Cree Human Resources Development agency be reinstated.

Response

The Government of Canada is involved in negotiations with the James Bay Cree to resolve past and future land claims implementation issues. It is recommended that the consideration of the re-establishment of this program be dealt with in that process.

To Hydro-Québec, the Panel recommends:
Biophysical aspects

The Rupert diversion bays section

Recommendation 36

That the proponent ensure the transmission of results to Crees and tallymen when performing follow-ups. It should also develop a mechanism which puts the results into layman's terms for the communities affected.

Response

The Government of Canada supports the Panel's recommendation and notes that this recommendation has been directed to the proponent. The Government of Canada will cooperate with Hydro Quebec, provincial and Cree authorities to ensure that the results from the follow-up programs developed under federal regulatory approvals are transmitted to the affected Cree communities and trappers.

Recommendation 37

That the proponent integrate Crees from every community affected by the project into its sampling campaign field teams. The traditional knowledge of users should be recognized when developing and implementing monitoring programs.

Response

The Government of Canada supports the Panel's recommendation and notes that this recommendation has been directed to the proponent. The Government of Canada will cooperate where required with Hydro Quebec, provincial and Cree authorities to ensure that traditional knowledge is considered at the time of development and implementation of follow-up programs under federal regulatory approvals.

Recommendation 38

That the proponent propose to integrate the relevant elements of its project monitoring program with those already planned for the development of Eastmain-1, to avoid redundancy and foster complementarily and efficiency.

Response

The Government of Canada supports the Panel's recommendation and notes that this recommendation has been directed to the proponent. The Government of Canada will cooperate, where required, with Hydro Quebec and provincial authorities in the development of follow-up programs that are pertinent to federal policies and programs.

Recommendation 39

That the proponent implement a communication plan to transmit sampling campaign results concerning the characterization of fish communities and the dynamics of the Rupert diversion bays, in order to keep the users of these bodies of water informed.

Response

The Government of Canada supports the Panel's recommendation and notes that this recommendation has been directed to the proponent. The Government of Canada will cooperate with Hydro Quebec and provincial authorities in reporting results from the fish population composition and dynamics surveys in the forebay and tailrace sectors of the Rupert River to users of these waterbodies.

Recommendation 40

That the proponent monitor mercury in fish flesh for the Rupert diversion bays sector.

Response

The Government of Canada supports the Panel's recommendation and notes that this recommendation has been directed to the proponent. The Government of Canada will cooperate with Hydro Quebec, provincial and Cree authorities regarding follow-up studies on mercury levels in fish in the forebay and tailrace sectors of the Rupert River.

Recommendation 41

That the proponent monitor every habitat enhancements in order to verify their use by waterfowl.

Response

The Government of Canada supports the Panel's recommendation and notes that this recommendation has been directed to the proponent. Environment Canada will cooperate with Hydro Quebec and provincial authorities regarding follow-up on the utilization by waterfowl in the tailrace and forebay sectors of the Rupert River.

Recommendation 42

That the proponent monitor the evolution in waterfowl density in the Rupert diversion bays sector in order to verify if this density is in compliance with objectives given in the documents tabled in support of the request. This information could be used to plan for required mitigation measures.

Response

The Government of Canada supports the Panel's recommendation and notes that this recommendation has been directed to the proponent. Environment Canada will cooperate with Hydro Quebec and provincial authorities regarding follow-up on the waterfowl density in the tailrace and forebay sector of the Rupert River and in the planning of mitigation measures.

Recommendation 43

That the proponent monitor the use of nest boxes by tree-nesting ducks. This follow-up could be done jointly with affected tallymen and spread over a period of at least five years.

Response

The Government of Canada supports the Panel's recommendation and notes that this recommendation has been directed to the proponent. Environment Canada will cooperate where required with Hydro Quebec, provincial authorities, Cree authorities and trappers regarding a 5 year minimum follow-up program on the utilization of waterfowl tree nests.

Recommendation 44

That the planned caribou monitoring program include telemetric monitoring of woodland caribou in various project sectors during the construction and operation phases. The proponent would carry out a survey to pinpoint woodland caribou herds in order to establish baseline conditions.

Response

The Government of Canada supports the Panel's recommendation and notes that this recommendation has been directed to the proponent. Environment Canada will cooperate where required with Hydro Quebec and provincial authorities regarding a follow-up program on forest caribou herds.

Recommendation 45

That the proponent, in cooperation with applicable Cree organizations, perform monitoring of subsistence caribou harvesting in the study area.

Response

The Government of Canada supports the Panel's recommendation and notes that this recommendation has been directed to the proponent. Environment Canada will cooperate where required with Hydro Quebec, provincial and Cree authorities regarding a follow-up program on subsistence caribou harvest within the study area.

Recommendation 46

That, during the impoundment of the diversion bays, the proponent perform a helicopter overflight within diversion bay boundaries to follow the movements of land wildlife.

Response

The Government of Canada supports the Panel's recommendation and notes that this recommendation has been directed to the proponent. Environment Canada will cooperate with, where required, Hydro Quebec and provincial authorities regarding helicopter surveys of terrestrial wildlife displacement during the impoundment.

Recommendation 47

That the trapping or relocation program for beaver planned in the diversion bays be given enough time before impoundment occurs, to allow for an adequate attempt at trapping or relocating beavers which are affected by the project.

Response

The Government of Canada supports the Panel's recommendation and notes that this recommendation has been directed to the proponent. Environment Canada will cooperate, where required, with Hydro Quebec, provincial authorities and Cree authorities regarding trapping out or displacement of beaver affected by the project.

Recommendation 48

That the proponent carry out a new survey of micromammals in order to increase knowledge as to the presence of these species in the study area. To this end, it should improve the monitoring program that it has planned for developed or seeded wetlands.

Response

The Government of Canada supports the Panel's recommendation and notes that this recommendation has been directed to the proponent. Environment Canada will cooperate where required with Hydro Quebec and provincial authorities regarding the inventory of small mammals within the study area.

The Rupert, Lemare and Nemiscau rivers section

Recommendation 49

That the proponent promote a voluntary registration program of anadromous cisco catches downstream from KP 25. This program should begin two years before the Rupert River diversion, and be developed in collaboration with the community of Waskaganish and affected tallymen.

Response

The Government of Canada supports the Panel's recommendation and notes that this recommendation has been directed to the proponent. Fisheries and Oceans Canada will cooperate with Hydro Quebec, provincial authorities and Cree authorities in the promotion of a voluntary program to register harvests of anadromous lake cisco downstream of KP 25.

Recommendation 50

That the proponent jointly develop, with the community of Waskaganish, an information program for community residents in order to promote, strengthen and maintain the use of a fishing site at Smokey Hill.

Response

The Government of Canada supports the Panel's recommendation and notes that this recommendation has been directed to the proponent. Fisheries and Oceans Canada will cooperate with Hydro Quebec, provincial and Cree authorities in the follow-up program designed to maintain the Smokey Hill fishing site.

Recommendation 51

That the proponent promote a voluntary registration program of lake sturgeon catches downstream from KP 314 of the Rupert River. The program should be planned and implemented in collaboration with affected users.

Response

The Government of Canada supports the Panel's recommendation and notes that this recommendation has been directed to the proponent. Fisheries and Oceans Canada will cooperate where required with Hydro Quebec, provincial and Cree authorities regarding the voluntary registration of sturgeon harvested downstream of KP 314 of the Rupert River.

Recommendation 52

That the proponent monitor mercury in fish flesh for the Rupert, Lemare and Nemiscau rivers sector downstream from the control structures.

Response

The Government of Canada supports the Panel's recommendation and notes that this recommendation has been directed to the proponent. The Government of Canada will cooperate with Hydro Quebec, provincial and Cree authorities regarding the follow-up program of mercury concentrations in fish downstream of control structures on the Rupert, Lemare and Nemiscau rivers.

Recommendation 53

That the proponent monitor special-status plant species. Specifically, it should include the effect of seeding where Gratiola aurea will have been identified.

Response

The Government of Canada supports the Panel's recommendation and notes that this recommendation has been directed to the proponent. Environment Canada will cooperate with Hydro Quebec and provincial authorities regarding the follow-up program on vegetation with particular status, in particular with regard to areas to be reseeded and the species Gratiola aurea.

The increased-flow section

Recommendation 54

That the proponent monitor mercury in fish flesh for the increased-flow section. The proponent should include stations downstream from the control structures and Eastmain-1-A powerhouse in its monitoring program. The stations should permit the measurement of bioaccumulation in non-piscivorous fish and assess the scope of the mercury export downstream from these structures.

Response

The Government of Canada supports the Panel's recommendation and notes that this recommendation has been directed to the proponent. The Government of Canada will cooperate with Hydro Quebec and provincial authorities regarding the follow-up program for mercury concentrations in fish in areas of increased flow.

The La Grande Rivière estuary and James Bay coast section

Recommendation 55

That the proponent perform, in consultation with the Crees, a long-term monitoring of the eelgrass beds on the east coast of James Bay, in order to contribute to a better assessment of their condition. This monitoring should include stations located outside of the potential influence areas of instream flow modulations from the La Grande complex, in order to establish whether this factor is important in eelgrass abundance variations observed since 1998.

Response

The Government of Canada supports the Panel's recommendation and notes that this recommendation has been directed to the proponent. Environment Canada will cooperate with Hydro Quebec, provincial and Cree authorities regarding the long term follow-up program of eel grass beds in James Bay.

Social Aspects

Recommendation 56

That the proponent support the "canoe brigade" initiative during and after the work. Before the construction of the Rupert River hydraulic structures begins, the proponent should work with Cree communities to encourage youth to participate in the initiative. The proponent should also help promote and ensure the continuity of the initiative, regardless of the route chosen on nearby rivers.

Response

The Government of Canada supports the spirit of the Panel's recommendation and notes that this recommendation has been directed to the proponent. The Government of Canada will cooperate, where required, with the Hydro Quebec, Cree and provincial authorities with regard to this recommendation.

Recommendation 57

That the proponent work with the Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James Bay (CBHSSJB) to develop a monitoring program for assessing the impact of its project on certain determinants (to be selected jointly) that affect the health of Crees.

Response

The Government of Canada supports the spirit of the Panel's recommendation and notes that this recommendation has been directed to the proponent. Health Canada will cooperate where required with Hydro Quebec, Cree and provincial authorities to establish a follow-up program aimed at essential health factors affecting the Crees.

Recommendation 58

That before the work begins, the proponent develop, together with health care organizations, a performance measurement program that includes performance indicators covering:

  • measures needed to support Cree workers who are experiencing difficulties related to their integration into the work environment;
  • social relations between all workers;
  • problems likely to occur in some Cree communities owing to the proximity of workcamps.
  • success of the measures, to be assessed annually for the duration of the work.

Response

The Government of Canada supports the spirit of the Panel's recommendation and notes that this recommendation has been directed to the proponent. The Government of Canada will cooperate where required with Hydro Quebec, Cree and provincial authorities to establish a follow-up program of the measures and performance indicators for: (i) steps required for Cree workers experiencing difficulty integrating into the work place; (ii) social relations amongst all workers; and (iii) problems likely to occur due to proximity of workers' camps to Cree community.

Recommendation 59

That the proponent provide data on changes in mercury levels in fish for the Rupert diversion bays and the Rupert, Lemare and Nemiscau rivers downstream from the closure points. The proponent's monitoring program should also cover mercury levels downstream from the control structures and the Eastmain-1-A powerhouse. From the monitoring stations, it should be possible to evaluate the phenomenon of increased bioaccumulation in non-piscivorous fish and assess the scope of the dissemination of mercury downstream from the structures. The proponent should ensure technical and scientific support for the CBHSSJB. It should submit a joint report with the CBHSSJB on progress made in research regarding the issue of mercury in terms of overall health and on the effectiveness of information campaigns pertaining to mercury and fish consumption.

Response

The Government of Canada supports the Panel's recommendation and notes that this recommendation has been directed to the proponent. Health Canada will cooperate where required with Hydro Quebec, Cree and provincial authorities regarding the evolution of mercury concentrations in fish, as well as collaborate on the transmittal of data and reports addressing the problem of for global health and the effectiveness of the information campaign on this issue.

Recommendation 60

That, because the Mercury Agreement will expire before changes in mercury levels in fish in the reservoirs and diversion bays and mercury's impact on health are fully known, the proponent submit, together with the Cree authorities concerned, a report on the activities governed by the Agreement and a progress report on changes in mercury levels one year before the Agreement expires. The report should set out the merits or lack thereof of extending the Agreement and specify future objectives and orientations, if applicable.

Response

The Government of Canada supports the Panel's recommendation and notes that this recommendation has been directed to the proponent. The Mercury Agreement is an accord between the proponent and Cree. The Government of Canada will cooperate where required with Hydro Quebec and Cree on future objectives and direction, should the need arise.

Recommendation 61

That the proponent implement a Rupert River water quality monitoring program by focussing on sectors where Aboriginal camps are concentrated so as to determine the scope of the project's impact on water quality relative to the different water uses and inform the competent authorities of findings every year for the first five years following the start of the work.

Response

The Government of Canada supports the Panel's recommendation and notes that this recommendation has been directed to the proponent. The Government of Canada will cooperate, where required, with Hydro Quebec, Cree and provincial authorities to establish a water quality follow-up program that addresses the various water uses.

Recommendation 62

That the proponent conduct a follow-up to ensure the integrity of the Waskaganish water intake and prevent silting resulting from changes in river hydrodynamics or shoreline stability.

Response

The Government of Canada supports the Panel's recommendation and notes that this recommendation has been directed to the proponent. The Government of Canada will cooperate where required with Hydro Quebec, Cree and provincial authorities to ensure the integrity of the water intake for Waskaganish against the risk of a modified flow regime and the stability of the river banks.

Recommendation 63

That the proponent, in close consultation with the competent Cree authorities, ensure the availability of a mechanism for receiving comments and complaints and proposing solutions to any problem that could result from dissatisfaction among users of the land caused by the impacts of the project.

Response

The Government of Canada supports the spirit of the Panel's recommendation and notes that this recommendation has been directed to the proponent. The Government of Canada will cooperate where required with Hydro Quebec, Cree and provincial authorities to address complaints from all user groups due to impacts of the project.

Recommendation 64

That the proponent provide each tallyman with a written document outlining all of the planned mitigation and compensation measures agreed upon with the tallymen for their respective traplines.

Response

The Government of Canada supports the Panel's recommendation and notes that this recommendation has been directed to the proponent. The Government of Canada will cooperate with Hydro Quebec, Cree and provincial authorities to address mitigation measures and compensation with regard to regulatory approvals issued by Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Transport Canada.

Recommendation 65

That, in addition to the parameters already included in its program for monitoring the use of traplines during the construction phase, the proponent take into account over a longer timeframe the tallymen's need to use other land for food and the means they use to do so, including financial compensation.

Response

The Government of Canada supports the spirit of the Panel's recommendation and notes that this recommendation has been directed to the proponent. The Government of Canada will cooperate where required with Hydro Quebec, Cree and provincial authorities regarding follow-up programs addressing long term land use.

Recommendation 66

That the proponent integrate members of the Eastmain and Wemindji communities, notably the tallymen affected by the project or users appointed by them, into its fieldwork teams for monitoring and mapping the navigation corridors and snowmobile trails on the Opinaca Reservoir and Boyd and Sakami lakes. The traditional knowledge of users should be incorporated when developing and implementing the programs.

Response

The Government of Canada supports the spirit of the Panel's recommendation and notes that this recommendation has been directed to the proponent. The Government of Canada will cooperate where required with Hydro Quebec, Cree and provincial authorities to address the integration of traditional knowledge, particularly from trappers' areas affected by the project, when conducting follow-up and mapping programs.

Recommendation 67

That the proponent monitor ice cover in the Rupert estuary and along the shoreline of Rupert Bay together with the tallymen or their delegates. The monitoring program, covering 10 years from the time the Rupert Dam is brought into operation, should include freeze-up and thaw periods.

Response

The Government of Canada supports the Panel's recommendation and notes that this recommendation has been directed to the proponent. The Government of Canada will cooperate where required with Hydro Quebec, Cree and provincial authorities regarding the follow-up program on ice cover in the Rupert River estuary and on the banks of Rupert Bay.

Recommendation 68

That the proponent install signs indicating snowmobile crossings along the new access routes built for the project. With the help of the tallymen affected by the project, the proponent should also determine where parking areas could be created along the routes to reduce the risk of accidents and then proceed with the construction of the parking areas.

Response

The Government of Canada supports the Panel's recommendation and notes that this recommendation has been directed to the proponent. The Government of Canada will cooperate where required with Hydro Quebec, Cree and provincial authorities with regard to the installation of signs indicating snowmobile trails and parking areas.

Recommendation 69

That the proponent develop a five-year program consisting of annual initiatives to mitigate and compensate for the impacts on traplines and community areas that are observed in the course of the project's monitoring programs. The program is to be carried out with the tallymen and communities concerned. The program should cover at least 10 years for traplines affected along the Rupert River and 15 years for those along the diversion bays and should be re-evaluated after those periods. Planned joint initiatives could include participation in follow-up inventories, the removal of debris and any other measures to increase knowledge and use of the territory by users.

Response

The Government of Canada supports the spirit of the Panel's recommendation and notes that this recommendation has been directed to the proponent. The Government of Canada will where required cooperate with Hydro Quebec, Cree and provincial authorities in planning a mitigation and compensation program for lost trap lines and communities' area.

Recommendation 70

That, in order to develop tourism in the James Bay area, the proponent, as a good corporate citizen, explore the various avenues suggested, including cultural event sponsorship or a financial contribution to implement this development. The proponent should work with COTA and Tourisme Baie-James to consolidate the offer of recreational and tourism activities, such as establishing packages for visiting the La Grande Complex and other local attractions. Together with COTA and the CNACA it should conduct a study on the Rupert River's tourism potential and, if appropriate, develop a program of corrective measures addressing the project's impacts on lost or diminished opportunities respecting expanding or emerging tourism products offered by Crees in the area.

Response

The Government of Canada supports the spirit of the Panel's recommendation and notes that this recommendation has been directed to the proponent. The Government of Canada will cooperate where required with Hydro Quebec, Cree and provincial authorities to explore ways to support tourism and cultural events in the James Bay Territory.

Recommendation 71

That the proponent establish a program for disseminating information on wildlife management and exploitation for the other project camps (i.e., Sakami Lake, Sarcelle River, Rupert River, Jolliet Lake and Kilometre 257 and the Kauschiskach camp), like the one planned for the Nemiscau camp. The proponent should ensure that the information on hunting and sportfishing rules applicable to the territory be provided to workers upon their arrival.

Response

The Government of Canada supports the Panel's recommendation and notes that this recommendation has been directed to the proponent. Hunting and fishing regulations are enforced by the provincial and Cree authorities. The Government of Canada will cooperate where required with Hydro Quebec, Cree and provincial authorities to inform workers of the fishing and hunting regulations in the James Bay Territory.

Recommendation 72

That, together with the responsible jurisdictions, the proponent install signs on all new and existing roads in the project area, indicating the territorial hunting and fishing limits for non-Aboriginals.

Response

The Government of Canada supports the Panel's recommendation and notes that this recommendation has been directed to the proponent. Hunting and fishing regulations are enforced by the Provincial and Cree Governments. The Government of Canada where required will cooperate with Hydro Quebec, Cree and provincial authorities in keeping with this recommendation.

Recommendation 73

That, in the event that the mandate of the Weh-Sees Indohoun Corporation is extended, the proponent agree to conduct a study on the satisfaction of individuals overseeing traplines in the corporation's area of intervention relating to the assessment of wildlife management and exploitation work. The proponent should suggest means for reducing any inconveniences identified by the tallymen.

Response

The Government of Canada supports the Panel's recommendation and notes that this recommendation has been directed to the proponent. Hunting and fishing regulations are enforced by the Provincial and Cree Governments. The Government of Canada where required will cooperate with Hydro Quebec, Cree and provincial authorities in keeping with this recommendation.

Recommendation 74

That, due to the controversy resulting from the poor harvesting of wood during the impoundment of the Eastmain 1 Reservoir, as well as the precarious state of Quebec's wood industry, and considering the impact of forest fires on the affected area, the proponent maximize the economic recovery of the forestry resource.

Response

The Government of Canada supports the Panel's recommendation and notes that this recommendation has been directed to the proponent. The exploitation of forestry resources falls under provincial jurisdiction. The Government of Canada where required will cooperate with Hydro Quebec, Cree and provincial authorities in keeping with this recommendation.

Recommendation 75

That, for the purpose of obtaining an overall understanding of the human occupation of the land affected by the project and preserving certain elements of the past, the proponent carry out the proposed archaeological survey and excavation program before the construction of the structures, or at least before the impoundment of the diversion bays.

Response

The Government of Canada supports the spirit of the Panel's recommendation and notes that this recommendation has been directed to the proponent. The Government of Canada where required will cooperate with Hydro Quebec, Cree and provincial authorities to carry out inventories and archaeological excavation to understand the human occupation of the territory.

Recommendation 76

That, considering that the proponent's archaeological studies are important as elements that bear witness to the past, the proponent should promote them in the Cree community and Quebec society by providing summaries of the archaeological digs and inventories as well as actively participating in showcasing whatever artefacts are uncovered.

Response

The Government of Canada supports the spirit of the Panel's recommendation and notes that this recommendation has been directed to the proponent. The Government of Canada where required will cooperate with Hydro Quebec, Cree and provincial authorities to highlight the discovered relics.

Recommendation 77

That, because some Crees have complained about the lack of information on the flooding of the territory for Eastmain-1, it would be desirable that the means of communication used be improved for the project under study.

Response

The Government of Canada supports the spirit of the Panel's recommendation and notes that this recommendation has been directed to the proponent. The Government of Canada where required will cooperate with Hydro Quebec, Cree and provincial authorities to inform the Cree of future flooding in the territory.

Recommendation 78

That, because there are uncertainties regarding the eventual use of the fishing grounds, the value of the landscape and the traditional attraction of Smokey Hill, the proponent address the previous role that Smokey Hill played.

Response

The Government of Canada supports the Panel's recommendation and notes that this recommendation has been directed to the proponent. The Government of Canada where required will cooperate with Hydro Quebec, Cree and provincial authorities regarding the historic significance of Smokey Hill as a traditional fishing site.

Recommendation 79

That, in the event that the Smokey Hill site should no longer be able to serve as a valued fishing ground or community meeting place, the proponent find and develop a site to replace it, together with the Crees.

Response

The Government of Canada supports the Panel's recommendation and notes that this recommendation has been directed to the proponent. The Government of Canada will cooperate where required with Hydro Quebec, Cree and provincial authorities regarding a replacement fishing site for Smokey Hill should the future function of this location is lost.

Recommendation 80

That the loss of the land and burial grounds be recognized by a Cree toponym.

Response

The Government of Canada supports the spirit of the Panel's recommendation and notes that this recommendation has been directed to the proponent. The Government of Canada will cooperate where required with Hydro Quebec, Cree and provincial authorities regarding the implementation of this recommendation.

Recommendation 81

That, considering the major and irreversible changes to the Rupert River, the proponent sponsor a commemorative work depicting the history, occupants, aesthetic value and valued areas of this heritage river. The work will be dedicated to the Eeyou Istchee Cree nation.

Response

The Government of Canada supports the spirit of the Panel's recommendation and notes that this recommendation has been directed to the proponent. The Government of Canada will cooperate where required with Hydro Quebec, Cree and provincial authorities regarding the commemoration of the historic significance of the Rupert River.

Recommendation 82

That, considering the serious concerns expressed by many members of the Cree community concerning the safety of Hydro-Québec's structures, the proponent thoroughly review the communications strategy it has adopted to communicate with this population

Response

The Government of Canada supports the Panel's recommendation and notes that this recommendation has been directed to the proponent. The Government of Canada will cooperate where required with Hydro Quebec, Cree and provincial authorities to communicate to the Cree population on the security of hydro facilities.

To the Cree authorities, the Panel recommends:

Recommendation 83

That Cree community leaders agree to play a major role in defining the type of information that the proponent should provide for community members to reassure them about the safety of the hydroelectric structures and that they do everything in their power to facilitate the dissemination of the information in their communities.

Response

The Government of Canada supports the Panel's recommendation and notes that this recommendation has been directed to Cree authorities. The Government of Canada will cooperate where required with Cree authorities, the proponent and provincial authorities to facilitate informing Cree communities on the security of hydro facilities.

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