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Muskrat Falls Hydroelectric Flooding Begins

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – The premier of Newfoundland and Labrador confirms that flooding of a reservoir at the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric site is underway.

Premier Dwight Ball says initial flooding will bring the river to springtime levels, similar to where “Mother Nature” raises waters during the season.

Three aboriginal governments issued a joint statement Saturday after consulting with engineers about plans for initial flooding.

The Nunatsiavut Government, NunatuKavut Community Council, and the Innu Nation agreed that initial flooding is necessary but say it is possible to keep water levels at around 23 metres above sea level.

The aboriginal leaders urged the province to prioritize health concerns related to methylmercury contamination in its management of multibillion-dollar hydro project.

According to the release, water levels in the river have historically risen between 22.5 and 25 metres in the spring.

Nalcor, the Crown corporation behind the project, plans to form a 25-metre-deep reservoir at the work site near Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

Nalcor has retained the services of engineering firm Hatch to work with aboriginal groups as first-phase flooding occurs.

The Canadian Press

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