Watershed Watch’s Aaron Hill Comments on River Diversion Hydropower

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Watershed Watch Ecologist, Aaron Hill, comments on hydropower-related fish kills in the letter to the editor of the Vancouver Sun Balancing energy needs and environmental harm.

“Poor planning has led to ill-conceived projects being built in fish-bearing waters; shrinking government funding has led to reduced oversight on the ground; both the federal and provincial governments routinely muzzle their own scientists; and developers have a strong financial incentive to cut corners and divert as much water as possible for electricity generation.”

For more information see our Hydropower page.  Also see our recent post on more than 50 groups calling to keep the Kokish River Wild.


2 Responses to Watershed Watch’s Aaron Hill Comments on River Diversion Hydropower

  1. DavidK says:

    Can you please give examples of projects that are built in fish-bearing waters?

    • Trish Hall says:

      I apologise for the delay in replying. Watershed Watch is currently in the final stages of a new report on river diversion hydropower. Part of this report included an analysis of project descriptions available on the BC Environmental Assessment Office’s website (http://www.eao.gov.bc.ca/):
      For 42 existing and proposed river diversions that have public information on fish presence: 72% have confirmed or suspected fish presence; 21% have unknown status with respect to fish presence; 7% are confirmed to have no fish present.

      The species living in diversion reaches are usually resident (non-ocean-going) fish: rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, and/or bull trout. Two approved projects have salmon present through all or most of the diversion reach. Four proposed diversions have a suspected salmon presence. However, salmon are present or suspected to be present in the lowermost part of the diversion reach or just downstream of the diversion reach for many more projects.

      The Ashlu project is one example of a recently-constructed project in fish-bearing waters. Many more have been approved for fish bearing waters, but not yet built: Sedan Creek, Upper Toba, Iskut River, to name a few. Also, the majority of the 17 rivers and streams proposed for diversion in the Bute Project are fish-bearing.

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