Friday, March 16, 2012

Water Fluctuations at BC Run of River Hydro Plants Killing Fish Downstream

An article out this week in the Vancouver Sun confirms what many have long suspected, run of river hydroprojects are taking a toll on fish populations in watersheds where they've been built and the companies operating them have been disregarding guidelines for operations designed to minimize the harm done to wild salmon and steelhead. The article reports on information obtained by freedom of information act request documenting repeated, wild fluctuations down stream of hydro projects on the Mamquam and Ashlu Rivers in the Squamish watershed. While operators are supposed to limit the rate at which they ramp flows up and down, the reports show evidence of repeated abuse of these regulations and the stranding and subsequent death of juvenile fish that become trapped in shallow water areas when the river drops. The government is now considering whether or not to bring charges against the companies for violation of the fisheries act.

A proposed Run of River hydro project on the Kokish River which would take water from 9 of the 10 its kilometers of anadromous accessible stream has received preliminary approval and is awaiting approval by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The Kokish is home to one of only a handful of summer steelhead populations on the East side of Vancouver Island.

Learn more about the Kokish

More in the Vancouver Sun

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