The outdoor Recreation Council of B.C. released its annual report on endangered rivers in B.C. on May 20.
Five waterways have been placed on the 2014 endangered rivers list, including the Similkameen River, which is endangered due to a proposal by Fortis to build the Canyon Dam located fifteen kilometers south of Princeton. The size of the Canyon Dam would be significant with a reservoir up to 35 kilometers long. Its construction is estimated to destroy the canyon’s ecosystem which has significant wildlife values while also supporting various fish species including rainbow trout, whitefish and dolly varden. The dam would inundate about 800 hectares. From a recreational perspective, this part of the Similkameen is nationally renowned as a paddling destination and is a striking and very beautiful part of river,” said Mark Angelo, Rivers Chair for the Outdoor Recreation Council (ORC) of British Columbia. “Clearly, the dam would have significant adverse impacts from an environmental and recreational perspective”
As one scans the rivers that are profiled this year, it’s important to note that this year’s list is not meant to be all-inclusive and there are clearly other rivers that ORC will continue to follow. But this year’s list focuses on those issues deemed most imminent at this point in time. “The annual endangered rivers release, now in its 22nd year, helps to create a greater awareness of the many threats that confront our waterways,” said Angelo. “And while we should be strengthening mechanisms to protect rivers, the ORC is dismayed by the weakening of habitat provisions in federal river-related legislation, such as the Federal Fisheries Act and the Navigable Waters Protection Act”. Each year, the ORC solicits and reviews nominations for BC’s Most Endangered Rivers from its member groups representing close to 100,000 members across BC.