Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Big Silver Creek Threatened

As many of you are aware, there is a gold rush of independent hydropower projects going on in British Columbia, Canada.

Some of the most immideately threatened creeks are in the Harrison Lake area, where a proposal threatens Big Silver, Shovel, and Tretheway (as featured in the 'River Gypsies Guide') Creeks. This proposal comes from the same company that has already done work on Fire, Douglas and Tipella Creeks and Stave River in the same area.

The BC Environmental Assessment Office is holding an open comment forum on their website for these and other threatened creeks, you can also check back from time to time as it updates to includes other proposed creeks for development.

The creeks in question have their comment period from January 11th to February 9th. Please take the time to post your opposition to these projects to protect these valuable natural resources from development as well as to keep the waterways navigable for fish, animals, flora and fauna and recreational use.

You can access the Comment forums here: BC Environmental Assessment Office
Links to the forums for the various projects are listed on the left side of the page.

January 19th in Chilliwack, BC there is also a public comment period starting at 5 PM with various presentations beginning at 7 PM, details here.

You can find the information that is directly related to kayak recreation in the three navigation assessments, found in the three links below.  This is the basis of the proposed mitigation measures. Not included in any of the offered mitigation are recreational releases, releases are what are required to maintain some navigability in a diversion reach, for example Ashlu Box Canyon which has spring and fall releases. An example of a creek with no releases is Rutherford near Whistler/Pemberton, which is rarely ever runnable anymore because of the diversion. We must ensure, if these projects are to go ahead, that releases are included as mitigation.



Big Silver:

Of note: the development of Statlu Creek (originally included with this proposal as a fourth waterway) has been dropped from this group of projects.  That's good news in the short term - we just have to wait and see what happens next on that front.

Here is a video chronicling this amazing Creek with many kilometers of class I-V whitewater for paddlers of every ability:

Big Silver Creek Video

The Range Life Big Silver trip report with amazing slideshow  (they describe the character of this creek as Norrish Creek meets Ashlu Box Canyon for those familiar)

Trip Report by Fraser Valley Whitewater on the Class III+ (plus waterfalls) lower section


Looking downstream on part of the proposed diversion reach from about 600 or so feet up. Photo by Ryan Bayes FVWW.CA
 Fraser Valley Whitewater BC Creeks Need Your Help