Tuesday, August 21, 2012

 

Run-of-River News

Approvals A 'Threat' To Rivers

The Wilderness Committee responds to IPP's green-lighted in Harrison

Released by Gwen Barlee, Wilderness Committee

 

he Wilderness Committee is expressing deep disappointment this week, after the BC Environmental Assessment Office yesterday approved three new hydropower projects proposed by Innergex Renewable Energy Inc. for the Fraser Valley Regional District.

 

This cluster of projects—to be situated on Tretheway Creek, Shovel Creek and Big Silver Creek—could have serious impacts on the region's ecosystems, including habitat loss and impacts on fish populations due to ramping and water level fluctuations.


The areas surrounding these three creeks are home to screech owls, tailed frogs, northern goshawks, harlequin ducks and the rare and endangered spotted owl.

 

Two of the three creeks, Tretheway and Big Silver, are fish-bearing and support rainbow trout, Dolly Varden, steelhead, cutthroat trout and Coho and sockeye salmon.

"Given the serious environmental problems Innergex has had on other power projects they operate, which include fish kills, this project shouldn't have been approved. Not only do we not need this over-priced and environmentally costly power, but once again the power projects are situated in fish habitat," said Gwen Barlee, Policy Director with the Wilderness Committee.

Experience has shown that many private power projects have significant downstream impacts, which have so far not been properly addressed by proponents. Unplanned ramping events, which happen frequently, have resulted in the stranding and killing of fish downstream of operating facilities. The BC government originally said run-of-river facilities were not to be located in fish habitat.

According to documents obtained by the Wilderness Committee through Freedom of Information requests, Innergex-owned projects have had problems with poor construction practices, habitat damage and non-compliance in terms of flow management.

The approval of these projects also demonstrates the weakening of environmental assessment processes in Canada, as they were originally intended to be overseen by federal agencies like the Department of Fisheries and Oceans but did not receive federal
attention due to recently-changed legislation.
 

Connect with the Wilderness Committee by visiting www.wildernesscommittee.org

 

 

© Copyright (c) 2012 The Valley Voice