Watershed Watch quoted in PG Citizen article: Group challenges hydro plan

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Watershed Watch Ecologist, Aaron Hill, comments on the need for an environmental assessment of the Holmes hydro project in the Prince George Citizen article Group challenges hydro plan. Hill states “We are not trying to shut down the Holmes Hydro proposal, we want it to go through the environmental assessment process so the public can have a full hearing about whether it will be something they can support or not. There is environmental concern about the Holmes project, but it is certainly about the process. We contend these are 10 individual diversions linked by a single power line into a single infrastructure source and is, in our view, a single project.”

For more information on hydro issues, see Watershed Watch’s Hydropower page.


6 Responses to Watershed Watch quoted in PG Citizen article: Group challenges hydro plan

  1. al delwo says:

    You are way out of line on this one. Suggest you stick to your agenda.

  2. Aaron Hill says:

    Al Delwo: Thanks for the comment. This issue fits our “agenda” quite well. We are well versed on the ecological impacts of hydropower projects and have a solid history of protecting the ecological values of the Fraser watershed.


  3. Ken Gebauer says:

    Mr. Hill, can you please confirm specifically what environmental concern that you are opposing in these projects? The energy that these projects will produce is as green as any energy source that we are now using in BC!

    Please share with all of us where you get the electricity to power your home?

    PS…There are no fish in these creeks!

    • Trish Hall says:

      Mr. Gebauer:

      Please see the following response from Aaron Hill:

      Thanks for your questions.

      To answer your first question, river diversion hydro projects have well documented impacts on fish and wildlife populations (moose, bear, mountain goat, etc). We’re talking about major industrial developments taking place in high value stream side and subalpine habitats. These projects require dams, rights-of-way for powerlines and penstocks, access roads right up to the intake, and several kilometres of stream that are severely dewatered.
      In the case of the Holmes Hydro project, the impacts on fish are less of a concern than in other projects where there are fish present in the portions of the stream that would be dewatered. That said, there is an important population of chinook salmon in the mainstem Holmes River that could be affected. I’m not going to speculate on what the precise impacts will be on the important fish and wildlife populations in the Holmes watershed. That is what the Environmental Assessment process is for. And that is why we are asking for this project to go through that process—so that the impacts of the project can be properly assessed in a rigorous and transparent manner. We are not opposed to or in favour of this project. We are simply asking for a full Environmental Assessment as required by law in BC for hydropower projects over 50 megawatts.

      To answer your second question, I get my electricity from the BC Hydro grid like the vast majority of British Columbians. I fully understand that all energy development comes at a cost to the environment and that river diversion hydropower can be one of the greenest sources of electricity, if projects are well sited, well designed, well constructed, and well operated. Rigorous and publicly transparent environmental assessments allow decision makers and the public to separate the good projects from the bad.

      We will be releasing a comprehensive report on the impacts of river diversion hydro projects in the near future. If you’re interested in learning more on this subject you can check back in a few weeks. In the meantime you may find more useful info on our website.


      • Ken Gebauer says:

        Hi Aaron,
        Thanks for your reply. I understand and appreciate your concerns on these projects however the environmental foot print that these 10 power project it will leave would be no where near that of a natural land slide that could change a creek forever. Nature is powerful and adaptive and can deal with this!

        BC is facing a power shortage issue and the delays imposed by your position will not help us. As you are standing in the way of an approved project I believe that you should shoulder the burden of higher power costs and or do with out hydro power as the shortage unfolds. It would be hypocritical to do otherwise.

  4. Morg says:

    go get them! that many IPPs in one area will have a devastating affect on the whole area. The rivers and old-growth forest in the Robson Valley are under atack from this pathetic Liberal government!

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