Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Hydropower Threatens Harrison Area Creeks


"Small" hydro power has devastated large portions of the Ashlu River

The British Columbia Environmental Assessment office is accepting comment on proposed hydro projects on several Harrison Lake area creeks, including one proposed for Big Silver Creek, an important spawning tributary for steelhead, coho, sockeye and cutthroat trout. Thanks to a government initiative which favors private power developers by forcing BC hydro to sign uncompetitive contracts, BC has seen a massive push for small private hydropower developments on creeks throughout the province. These projects generate energy divert water from creeks, often depriving a creek of more than 50% of its flow during the dry season for several kilometers. Despite official statements that no hydro would be developed in streams that supported anadromous fish, these projects have repeatedly been placed in critical salmon and steelhead habitat.

In December the BC environmental assessment office approved a similar project on Vancouver Island's Kokish River, which will dewater 9 kilometers of important summer steelhead, coho and dolly varden habitat. The project still must be approved DFO however and environmental groups have sworn to fight the destructive project to the bitter end.

Perhaps the most notorious example is a project on the Ashlu River which was developed despite widespread local opposition by the passage of Bill 30 which gives the provincial government the authority to circumvent local communities when developing hydro projects. It is critical that the BC public stand up and state emphatically that they will not tolerate the destruction of salmon bearing rivers to promote these economically dubious hydroprojects. Submit comments before February 5th and tell the BC government no hydro in salmon bearing watersheds of Harrison Lake.

http://www.eao.gov.bc.ca/pcp/forms/Big_Silver_form.html

you can also submit comments on the Kokish project here:

http://wildernesscommittee.org/write_wild_kokish_river

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