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Site C Dam Would Harm Species in Peace Region

New report commissioned by Y2Y examines the impacts of Peace industrial development on six sensitive species

January 15, 2014

Fort St. John, B.C. - The Site C dam would negatively affect six mammal species that already are experiencing significant habitat impacts from industrial development and the W.A.C. Bennett dam, says wildlife biologist Dr. Clayton Apps.

In an 85-page report, to be presented today to the Joint Review Panel examining Site C, Dr. Apps says the cumulative effects of development in the Peace region, including the proposed Site C dam, are so significant that some wildlife populations may not be viable or recoverable in the future. (Click for full report or the summary.)

Dr. Apps evaluated the impacts of past, present, and projected future human influence, including the Site C dam and its 83-kilometre long reservoir, on caribou, grizzly bear, gray wolf, lynx, wolverine, and fisher.

“In the near future, the regional landscape is likely to be reduced to about one-half of its potential to
support certain wide-ranging species, like wolverine" says Dr. Apps, who will give evidence today to the Joint Review Panel in Fort St. John.
“Site C will exacerbate this loss and will further erode our ability to conserve and recover some species. This in turn would fracture wildlife populations that are otherwise mostly continuous along the Rockies.”

Dr. Apps wrote the report on behalf of the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y), a nonprofit organization that seeks to preserve one of the world’s largest remaining intact mountain ecosystems.

More than one-third of the Yellowstone to Yukon region is in B.C., and it includes the headwaters of major B.C. rivers, such as the Fraser and Columbia, in addition to the Peace.

“We’re very concerned about these results,” says Wendy Francis, Program Director for Y2Y. “The ability of grizzly bears, caribou and other sensitive large mammals to live in the Peace region is already severely constrained by industrial development. Site C will make the problem worse, and we feel some species eventually could be extirpated.”

The Peace River region is located at the narrowest point of the Yellowstone to Yukon wildlife corridor. Y2Y has opposed the $8 billion Site C dam since it was announced in 2010 and has participated in all stages of the environmental assessment process.