So, once upon a time salmon and steelhead in the streams on the island had something approximating environmental protection (in writing at least) to the point that at least they could have a, you know, river to swim in. Until 2013 that is. This is the Kokish river hydroelectric project, (pictures below) a run of the river project that looks to significantly divert and dewater 9 of the 10 km of anadromous accessible river. This river has runs of sockeye, chum, coho, chinook, pink salmon, dolly varden, both resident and sea run cutthroat and apparently eulachon. Oh yeah and threatened winter and summer steelhead.
I don’t even know where to start. This isn’t about fishing or tree hugging hippies versus the chainsaw wielding working man, this is just preposterous, especially when you consider that the “green” power produced by this IPP is subsidized and then apparently will be sold at a financial loss. Surely wild fish are worth more, no? How about putting the net loss that this IPP will operate at for the province for the next 40 years against the direct loss of tourism dollars and taxes to the area? That is all of the fishers and kayakers, hockey players and general nature users who will now not come anywhere near this farce of a clean energy project. There is a place for run of river projects and job creation but choosing one of the worst possible candidates and then just ramming through approval is not the way to do it.
The Kokish river estuary below (hasn’t the river been abused enough?)
We all practice land rape in one way or another but when I leave the river at the end of the day, there is still a river left, and trees, and less garbage, and there are fish still swimming in the waters. Nearby Telegraph Cove is full of wealthy tourists who come to see the areas unique beauty including the river. How is destroying this river helping the local economy? Dewatering 9 of 10 km of anadromous range of the river is not land use it is wholesale extirpation of what is supposed to be threatened and protected species. The federal and provincial governments have both rubber stamped it as if there were no fish in the river at all. Putting a bunch of eco buzzwords on your website doesn’t change the reality that this project is damaging this river’s fish species.
Remember that under current environmental regulations, the fish in this river aren’t technically even considered a fishery anymore. The Namgis First Nation is not only FOR this project but a partner and BC Hydro (whose wisdom has incurred future BC residents with insane amounts of deferred debt) can now apparently cook up any old BS and greenwash it to the sounds of crickets in this province. So much for stewardship by any of the bodies involved. I am ashamed of you BC.
I am aware that people in this part of the world need jobs, but where do you draw the line? Apparently after seeing a project like this come to fruition it is clear there is no line anymore and the precedent is set.
To be fair here are a few links for you to peruse and decide for yourself.
http://www.kokishriver.com/ – Brookfeild’s project site
http://a100.gov.bc.ca/appsdata/epic/html/deploy/epic_project_home_332.html – provincial environmental assessment pages (read rubber stamping process) -try to find a pro project comment in the public comment submissions
http://www.namgis.bc.ca/Kokish/Pages/default.aspx – Namgis first nation’s dedicated project page
http://www.watershed-watch.org/resources/tamed-rivers-a-guide-to-river-diversion-hydropower-in-british-columbia/ – a guide to this and other IPP projects in BC(not pro industry, just pro common sense)
http://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/kokish-river-power-project-approved-by-government-despite-scientists-concerns-1.64932 – DFO muzzling scientists? whoa. who would have seen that coming…the happy smiley fishes don’t need water they will just have to take some personal accountability and evolve wings to fly up the river
http://www.bccf.com/steelhead/focus2.htm -a 2003 scientific assessment of steelhead stocks in the kokish and other nearby watersheds
hey if you look closely you can spot the “LWD” built in
This is truly what greenwashing looks like
(Below) Hey look at that streamside riparian habitat enhancement going on