|About the Binbrook Conservation Area|
The Binbrook Conservation Area is a 396-hectare (978 acre) tract of land owned and operated by the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority. Of this area, 174 hectares (430 acres) is covered by picturesque Lake Niapenco. The area was purchased by the NPCA in 1968. The lake was formed after completion of the dam that was built in 1971. The dam was built to augment the summer water flow in the Welland River and to provide seasonal flood control.
The lake is surrounded by open meadows, hardwood forests and reforested areas. At one time, there were campgrounds at the conservation area. The old campground access roads now provide the basis for many of the hiking trails at the Binbrook Conservation Area.
NEW!! - Interactive Mapping and Aerial Photos for Binbrook Conservation Area - NEW!!
The Binbrook Dam and Reservoir
The Binbrook Dam and Reservoir was the first major project undertaken by the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority. The dam, built in 1971, created an artificial lake covering 174 hectares and stretching nearing 5.4 km (3.5 miles) in length. This project, located near the headwaters of the Welland River and covering a total of 396-hectares, formed the Binbrook Conservation Area. The Province of Ontario and the NPCA provided financing for the dam.
Why is it Special?
The Binbrook Dam and Reservoir is a multi-purpose development, designed to yield a number of benefits to the community. The lake supports an important ecosystem that is significantly valuable to the people of the New City of Hamilton and surrounding regions. The dam also controls flooding in downstream areas and provides a continuous flow of water during the normally dry summer months. These several attributes, coupled with the remarkable recreational opportunities, make the Binbrook Dam and Reservoir a favorite destination for families, anglers and nature enthusiasts.
Important Facts About its Operations
The Binbrook Reservoir is formed behind a rectangular horseshoe-shaped dam of earth and fill construction. Construction of the dam required the excavation and placement of 186,000 cubic meters of soil and 10,900 cubic meters of rip-rap (rock). The dam has a 2.44 meter diameter spillway (called a morning glory spillway) pipe passing through it to carry the flood flows that occur when the reservoir rises beyond the controlled water level elevation. Inside the dam and beneath the reservoir are two separate discharge pipes to draw water from the reservoir. One pipe is 406 mm (16 inches) in diameter and is commonly used during the summer and the other is a larger 762 mm (30 inches) diameter valve that is used to rapidly lower the lake in case of urgency. The Binbrook Dam is totally automated – the technical staff operate the facility by computer systems from a remote site. Should the water level increase significantly during a major storm; the dam is outfitted with an emergency spillway.
Dam and Reservoir Operations
The operations of this facility have been modified during the last 30 years to accommodate changing goals and objectives of the NPCA. All operational changes have been made with the input from local conservation organizations, users, other government agencies and downstream landowners. In order to enhance, restore and conserve the fragile ecosystem of the reservoir, the operations of the lake have been modified to eliminate the significant seasonal fluctuations that occurred in the past. For over 28 years, the reservoir was drawn down 3.8 meters (12.5 feet) to accommodate the spring freshet. Today the reservoir is maintained at a level 3 meters higher and is only lowered when weather dictates. The normal elevation of the reservoir during winter is 198.3 meters (650.5 feet). During the summer the elevation is increased to 198.6 meters (651.5 feet) to enhance the recreational features of the conservation area.
Some Facts and Figures about the Dam and Reservoir
Key Elevations (from sea level)
Click here for some pictures of the dam structures.