BC Hydro’s planned Site C dam threatens critical wildlife

On Friday, July 31st, BC Hydro gave notice to First Nations that in 30 days they will be cutting down some 28 eagles nests (nests will be “obliterated” once the tree is cut down and hits the ground).

Eagles are not the only creatures imperilled by the Site-C dam.

The Peace River forms a critical part in a conservation puzzle spanning the Rocky Mountains of Canada and the U.S. and is at risk from rampant resource development, including BC Hydro’s planned Site C dam, a wildlife consultant’s report concluded Wednesday.

In a report for the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, author Clayton Apps said the “ecologically diverse” Peace Break is considered a “key linkage … a natural east-west break” in the Rockies.

The Peace is one of 11 contiguous geographic areas extending from the greater Yellowstone ecosystem in Montana and Wyoming north as far as the Mackenzie Mountains in Yukon and Northwest Territories.

Unlike other areas of the Rockies, the Peace Break has relatively little protected area and a substantial footprint of human development, creating a “critical pinch-point” in the continuity of the Yellowstone to Yukon initiative, Apps said in a report to a Joint Review Panel studying the Site C proposal. The break also funnels warm, moist Pacific air through the Rockies, creating a microclimate conducive to wildlife and farming.

“The tenuous continuity and unique ecological values of the Peace Break” stand to be impacted by the cumulative effects of resource development such as oil and gas along with BC Hydro’s planned $7.9-billion, 1.100-megawatt Site C dam, he said.

In his report, Apps looked at a regional area of 74,325 square kilometres, including a local area of 13,416 square kilometres defined by a 25-kilometre buffer surrounded the original course of Peace River. There are two existing dams upstream of Site C: W.A.C. Bennett and Peace Canyon, built in 1967 and 1980, respectively.

The impact of habitat loss and fragmentation over the next 25 years varies by species under a model that assumes approval of Site C dam, said Apps, noting the estimates are conservative and cannot foresee all future impacts.

Wolves are predicted to suffer a loss of 22 per cent of landscape productivity, caribou 31 to 37 per cent, and grizzlies 42 to 44 per cent.

Read the rest of the article here: http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/Hydro+planned+Site+threatens+critical+wildlife+report/9389666/story.html


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