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OPG’s Bruce County facility certified Gold by Wildlife Habitat Council

OPG’s Western Waste Management Facility (WWMF) in Bruce County is the latest OPG property to be awarded Gold Certification by the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC), an international group that promotes and certifies habitat conservation and management.

We deployed drones to help survey the growth of invasive Phragmites near the Western Waste Management Facility in Bruce County.
OPG deployed drones to help survey the growth of invasive Phragmites near the Western Waste Management Facility in Bruce County.

Located within the OPG-owned Bruce nuclear site in Kincardine, the Western facility has worked to improve the surrounding environment, support conservation efforts, and raise awareness in the community.

Over the years, OPG’s environmental staff and partners have launched numerous biodiversity programs at the site, ranging from habitat restoration for turtles and ducks, to managing invasive species, to providing awareness and community engagement programs to Bruce County residents.

Recently, staff at the site deployed Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems, or drones, to obtain high-resolution photos and videos at the site to map the spread of invasive phragmites in Baie du Doré, a provincially significant coastal wetland.

“At OPG, protecting and nurturing Ontario’s biodiversity is a fundamental part of our operations. We greatly appreciate the Council’s recognition for our commitment to protecting natural habitats, including in Bruce County,” said Aaron Del Pino, Vice-President, Environment, Health & Safety.

OPG's Adam Melick, an Assistant Environmental Advisor, surveys the wetland area of the Bruce nuclear site.
OPG's Adam Melick, an Assistant Environmental Advisor, surveys the wetland area of the Bruce nuclear site.

The WWMF manages and provides interim storage of low- and intermediate-level waste from OPG’s Pickering and Darlington nuclear stations and the Bruce Power stations. The Western Used Fuel Dry Storage Facility stores used fuel from the Bruce site only.

Across the company, OPG is engaged in a number of programs with conservation authorities and environmental agencies that range from habitat restoration to planting native trees and shrubs to managing ponds and wetlands. These nature-based solutions will be important to helping OPG reach its climate change goals outlined in its new Climate Change Plan.

The WWMF is just the latest OPG site to receive Gold certification by the WHC. In 2019, the company’s Niagara Operations and Wesleyville site were certified Gold. Other OPG sites to receive the certification in the past include the Eastern Operations hydroelectric group, Lennox Generating Station, and the Darlington and Pickering nuclear stations.

OPG staff plant rows of cedar trees along Pine River in Bruce County.
OPG staff plant rows of cedar trees along Pine River in Bruce County.

The WHC certifies conservation programs on corporate lands around the world and promotes environmental management through various partnerships and education. All applications for certification are reviewed and scored on an individual basis by a third party against project specific criteria.

A score can fall into three categories: Certified, Certified Silver, and Certified Gold. The Gold Certification is a three-year designation, after which the station will have to reapply.

“The Western Waste Management Facility and Bruce Complex met the strict requirements of our Conservation Certification,” said Margaret O’Gorman, President of the WHC. “Companies like OPG who achieve Gold Certification are environmental leaders, voluntarily managing their lands to support sustainable ecosystems and the communities that surround them.”