Bata Island, properly called Sill Island is a small island in the Trent River, just north of Frankford. The island is approximately .75 km long by about 1.5 – 2 km wide. The island is interesting in itself as a great place to walk around in the snow, but also due to it’s role as part of the Trent Severn waterway and hydro power generation.
At the south west tip of the island water is channelled into Sills Island Generating Station. Built in 1900, this is Ontario Power Generation’s second oldest remaining plant. Further downstream, dam number 6 controls the flow and level of the river, and to the east is the Trent Severn approach canal and lock number 6. The island is largely forested with a young mixed (coniferous and deciduous) forest type. Dominant trees include Red Cedar, Shagbark Hickory and Chinquapin Oak. Other tree types in lesser abundance include Sugar Maple, Black Maple, Red Maple, Bitternut Hickory, Red Oak, Bur Oak, American Basswood, White Ash, White Pine and White Cedar. Dominant shrubs include European Buckthorn, Hop Hornbeam, Prickly Ash, Poison Ivy, Fragrant Sumac, and Red-panicled Dogwood. Less abundant shrubs include various Serviceberries, Nannyberry, Tartarian Honeysuckle, Common Juniper, Buffaloberry and American Hornbeam. In some areas the forest is dominated by Red Cedar and the invasive European Buckthorn, making for a fairly dense thicket whereas in other areas such as the northern portion of the island, the forest is dominated by deciduous trees creating more of an open woodland community with very little undergrowth. Here Shagbark Hickory and Hop Hornbeam dominate. Mats of sedges and Barren Strawberry carpet the forest floor in this location. Elsewhere on the island, the species mixture is quite variable. Several small field openings are found close to the bridge across to the island. These appear to be dominated with Canada Blue Grass and Timothy for the most part. Other species include Ragweed, Rough Cinquefoil, Common St. Johnswort, Wild Strawberry, Black Medic, Common Mullein, Milkweed and Vetch. Looking downstream towards the Sill Island power plant.
For your own safety near a hydroelectric dam or station, make sure that you:
- Obey all warning signs, fences, buoys, booms and barriers. They are put there to protect you. The areas inside are dangerous, stay clear of them.
- Stay a safe distance outside of warning signs, buoys, booms and barriers when fishing, boating or swimming.
- Stay well back from the edge of waters above and below hydroelectric dams and stations.
- Never stand below a dam, or anchor or tie your boat there. Rapidly changing water levels and flows can take you by surprise and could swamp your boat or put you in the grip of an undertow.