Dear Defenders of the Peace River Valley,
Last Thursday was World Wetlands Day and ironically, BC Hydro planned to begin clearing a section of the Peace River Valley that includes a rare and significant wetland: Watson’s Slough. Both the Peace Valley Landowner Association (PVLA) and the Peace River Regional District (PRRD) have asked BC Hydro to delay logging of this important area as it is being cleared for the purposes of filling the Site C dam reservoir which is at least seven years away.
Can you please endorse their request to help defend this precious wetland?
Go to our easy-to-use letter writing platform at www.RealSiteCHearings.org where your letter will automatically be sent to BC Hydro CEO Jessica McDonald as well as Premier Christy Clark, your MLA, Prime Minister Trudeau and federal environment minister, Catherine McKenna.
According to local wildlife biologist and Chariman of the Timberline Trail and Nature Club, Mark Phinney the loss of Watson’s Slough to the Site C project is significant because:
- It is one of few prairie-pothole type wetlands remaining in the Peace region and provides habitat for a wide variety of wildlife, including several rare bird species.
- It’s a widely known as a birding hotspot, and is listed as such on the e-Bird website.
- e-Bird lists 129 bird species observed at the Slough to date.
- The Peace area of BC is a common birding destination for individual birders and organized tours from across western North America.
- The forested area around the slough is relatively small, but important to birds in particular.
- Delaying destruction of this area would allow both visiting and local birders to continue to enjoy the site. It would also allow the local birdlife (including the rare species) to raise a few more broods thus bolstering the local population before their habitat is lost to flooding.
- Undoubtedly, BC Hydro has plans to create ‘replacement’ wetlands elsewhere, but from my experience, these rarely produce the same habitat conditions as natural wetlands. Ducks Unlimited Canada has done some habitat management at Watson’s Slough, but it is still primarily a natural wetland.
Birds and other natural values found in Watson’s Slough:
- Yellow Rail – a red-listed ‘species of concern’; Nelson’s Sparrow’, Le Conte’s Sparrow; Horned Grebe; breeding Trumpeter Swans; and many more
- Several neotropical birds use the slough on their annual migratory routes
- The Slough contains the area’s only ‘marl fen’ ecosystem – created by lime-rich marlstone seeping into a wetland as well as several uncommon ‘tufa seep’ ecosystems.
Loss of unique educational opportunity for local school children:
- The Slough has served as a unique and comprehensive site for educating school children in the area for decades. Annual visits allowed them to dip nets and examine the living things they found in the pond water, walk the shoreline to learn about the diversity of vegetation and learn to identify different species of ducks through spotting scopes.
Just go to www.RealSiteCHearings.org now, where the platform is set up to automatically email your letter to key players and decision-makers regarding this request.
The Yellow Rails, Nelson’s Sparrows, Horned grebes, Trumpeter Swans and many other waterfowl and songbirds thank you and so do we!