Watershed Watch puts concerns on record for the proposed McLymont Creek Hydroelectric Project North-Western BC
The proponent of this project, Altagas Renewable Energy, proposes to build a river diversion (a.k.a. run-of-river) type hydroelectric production facility on McLymont Creek, a tributary of the Iskut river about 10km downstream from the under construction Forest Kerr Hydroelectric Project. The construction and operation of this project would entail the following: construction of about 10 km new road from the Forrest Kerr facility, 6km road to the intake area, a 3 km long, 4m in diameter diversion tunnel through rock, some penstock, a powerhouse and new transmission line to be joined into the electrical grid at Forrest Kerr. It would generate between 55-70 MW.
The McLymont Creek Hydroelectric Project is one of three approved (Forrest Kerr), proposed (McLymont Creek) or planned (Volcano Creek) projects that will have long-term and poorly understood ecosystem level effects on the lower Iskut River and as an inevitable consequence the Stikine River. These projects, combined with the Galore Creek Mine, the recently approved Northwest Transmission Line and numerous other proposed and planned developments in the area, pose a serious threat to the Iskut River watershed and in turn the Stikine River watershed. The Lower Iskut is a very important component of the extremely productive Stikine river system, and is home to grizzly bears, moose, mountain goats, marten, wolverines, salmon and many other species. It also provides up to about 40% of the spawning, rearing and migration habitat for the millions of salmon that return to the Stikine each year. Approval of this project will continue to pave the way for future exploration and development in the Lower Stikine – Iskut Watershed areas. A major concern is that although the three hydroelectric projects will be owned and operated by the same proponent, there will not be a comprehensive level review process under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. This will continue to ignore the cumulative impacts of these projects and propagate the piece-meal degradation of important habitat areas.
Watershed Watch made a detailed submission to the BC Environmental Assessment Office’s call for public comments on the Application Information Requirements for this project. All submissions can be viewed on the EAO’s comments page until March 20, 2011. After this point, they will be posted in the Project Information Centre.