VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Jan. 30, 2014) - The Pacific Salmon Foundation has released the results of its review of the potential impacts of run-of-river hydroelectric projects on salmonid species in British Columbia. The study was done for Clean Energy BC (CEBC), which approached the foundation last year about conducting an independent, science-based review of the operational impacts of these projects. The Foundation accepted based on its mandate to conserve and restore wild Pacific salmon in British Columbia. The review was conducted with ESSA Technologies, an environmental consultancy based in Vancouver.
"Our independent review identifies pathways that could lead to impacts on salmonids, but the evidence now is inconclusive," said Brian Riddell, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Pacific Salmon Foundation. "This is because many of the early facilities (pre-1990) were not monitored and because the more recent, but well monitored sites are in the midst of their environmental assessments. While we need more information for these evaluations, we expect much better insights in just a few years."
Given the information gaps discovered during the study, the Foundation presented a list of recommendations that focused on obtaining and assessing the required data. These included:
- additional on-site monitoring of upstream impacts, downstream impacts, and displacement of sediments and large wood (which create fish habitat);
- the need for analysis of monitoring data across facilities to increase the ability to detect effects if they are occurring;
- the development of simulation modeling at sites with good data to integrate information and to explore how changes in ramping rates, fish stranding and other factors might influence salmonid populations near facilities; and
- the creation of a centralized depository of regulatory reports, analyses, and monitoring data to enable on-going assessments and future public reporting. Information collation and organization is a major outcome of value from this review.
"I want to commend the run-of-river industry and its association, Clean Energy B.C., for undertaking this study, as it is the first of its kind in British Columbia," said Riddell. "Taking a scientific approach to assessing the impacts on salmonids is a significant next step to build on the industry's on-going monitoring efforts and is essential for monitoring to be informative. Further, the substantial improvement in monitoring programs in the more recently developed facilities is an important advancement in this industry that should enable environmental accountability in both effects on salmonids and in the effectiveness of compensation programs to benefit Pacific salmon."
"Having said that, it is now up to CEBC, its members and the provincial government to implement these recommendations. Doing so is the best way to support B.C.'s newest official symbol, the Pacific salmon."
The Foundation has posted the report on its website at www.psf.ca.
About the Pacific Salmon Foundation:
The Pacific Salmon Foundation was created in 1987 as an independent, non-government, charitable organization to protect, conserve and rebuild Pacific Salmon populations in British Columbia and the Yukon. Since 1989, the Foundation has invested more than $37.5 million to support Pacific salmon conservation projects. Pacific Salmon Foundation's mission is to be the trusted voice for conservation and restoration of wild Pacific salmon and their ecosystems and works to bring salmon back stream by stream through the strategic use of resources where local communities are mobilized.