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Nominate to Protect the Peace River - March 10, 2013

Thank you for nominating the Peace River as BC's most endangered river. Hundreds responded to this Action Alert. As a result the Peace River has been nominated as one of BC's top 3 endangered rivers! Read more in this Globe and Mail article.

Are you a paddler, angler, bird-watcher, hunter, recreationalist, visitor, camper, hiker or a local who has a connection to the Peace River?

Paddle for the Peace
Paddle for the Peace

If so, we need you to share your personal stories about the threats to the river and nominate the Peace River as the most endangered river in British Columbia before March 18th, 2013.

Top of the List

Y2Y wants to make sure that the Peace River tops the list of BC’s most Endangered Rivers published each year by the Outdoor Recreation Council (ORC).

The more outdoor recreationalists who nominate the Peace River, the greater the chances that it will be ranked as #1. A top ranking will help Y2Y and our allies gain public, media and political attention to the threats posed by the Site C dam.

Nominate the Peace River

Please take a few times to fill out ORC's endangered river nomination form (two options below):

  1. on-line nomination form
  2. printable nomination form

 

Nomination deadline is March 18, 2013.

To help you fill out your nomination, Y2Y has provided some information on the Peace River below, HOWEVER your personal experience and observations will be the most persuasive.


The Value of the Peace River

The Peace River is unique in North America. It is the only river that rises in the west and flows east through a break in the Rocky Mountains, eventually joining the Mackenzie on its journey to the Arctic Ocean.

Now this historic river is threatened by a proposed hydro-electric dam, called Site C.

The proposed dam will create a reservoir 83 kilometers long that will flood over 5000 hectares (more than 12,000 acres) of lush valley bottom. Rich farm lands, critical habitat for wildlife, and ancient aboriginal burial grounds will all disappear. Learn more at Y2Y’s web site.

Threats to Recreation

There are a number of threats posed by the potential Site C dam to the recreational values of this section of river:

  • Steep, clay banks along the river will be significantly destabilized as vegetation clearing along the shoreline and up the banks will occur for the purposes of turning the river into a reservoir. This instability poses a threat to recreationalists as trees and stumps will fall into the river, impeding access to the shoreline and posing significant safety threats due to large, floating debris on the water.
  • Enjoyment of wildlife and bird viewing will be significantly impacted. Many eagles’ nests currently existing on islands along the river as well as along the banks will be destroyed.
  • Habitat for certain migratory birds (Canada, Cape May and Bay-breasted Warblers, Yellow Rail and Nelson’s Sparrow) would be affected by the creation of the reservoir.
  • Enjoyment of wildlife along the river will be affected as much of their habitat will be affected if the dam is approved. There will be less wildlife in the area due to disruptions caused by construction activities; additionally, wildlife habitat will be affected due to the removal of 15,000 acres of forested land along the river and within project construction areas.
  • Recreational fishing opportunities would be detrimentally impacted due to changes in the river resulting from flooding, including significantly increased siltation and temperature changes in the water. These impacts include the loss of: migratory Arctic grayling in the Moberly River; migratory bull trout that spawn the Halfway River; and, the mountain whitefish that rely on Peace River habitat.
  • Significant changes to the landscape will also occur due to flooding of nearly 16,000 acres of farmland as well as the removal of nearly 15,000 acres of boreal forest along the river. The river would be flooded, increasing its width by up to three times.  Additionally, water levels on the river will fluctuate, making shoreline areas less stable and accessible.

 

All of these changes to the river will affect boaters using electric motors, kayakers, canoeists and those using rafts.

  • The shoreline will be very unstable and muddy.
  • The shoreline will be littered with debris from vegetation. Floating debris is a danger to any watercraft.
  • The elimination of certain fish species affects recreational fishers enjoyment of diversity of species.
  • The destruction of bird habitat reduces the variety of birds for bird watchers.

 

It is extremely unsettling for anyone who enjoys the river to know that it has been significantly altered by humans and that there are far-reaching ecosystem losses that cannot be reversed.

These threats to the river will occur if the Site C dam proceeds. It is imperative that the value of the Peace River be recognized as widely as possible so that the political decision makers on this project can be influenced to turn this project down.

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