watsons-slough-dh

Peace Valley Environment Association

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Fort St. John, BC – February 2, 2017:  Today is World Wetlands Day and BC Hydro is set to begin logging on a stretch of the Peace River Valley that includes a significant wetland, in preparation for the Site C dam reservoir.  The reservoir wouldn’t be filled until the end of the construction period in 2024, so various organizations are asking BC Hydro to consider delaying destruction of the wetland until much later in the project timeline.

Ken Forest, former Fort St. John biology teacher and school principal noted that the destruction of Watson’s Slough would be a great loss to children from the local area, “For decades, Watson’s Slough has been used to educate local school children to learn about birds, ducks, vegetation, fish and amphibians.”  The school program ran for decades and was supported by Ducks Unlimited and the Peace River Regional District.

According to Forest, Watson’s Slough is a rare and well-situated wetland that various classes of school kids from grades 3 to 7, come to by bus during the month of June.  The kids were provided with opportunities to dip nets in the slough, 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.

Trumpeter swans and several neotropical birds use the Peace River Valley as migratory path, stopping at weltand areas to feed.   According to a report by Chillborne Environmental, these birds need undisturbed corridors to connect them with their breeding in secluded wetlands, such as Watson’s Slough.

In their submission to the Environmental Assessment process, Environment Canada notes that three-quarters of BC’s 247 bird species use the Peace region; of which 32 are ‘at risk’, including the Canada Warbler and Common Nighthawk, both of which are seen at Watson’s Slough.  Further, the Joint Review Panel scientists stated that the Site C dam would cause significant adverse effects on migratory birds which cannot be mitigated.

Pushing ahead with construction of the Site C dam continues to be controversial.  Many across the province continue to defend that valley and are hopeful that a new provincial government will ensure that the independent public watchdog, the British Columbia Utilities Commission, will be given the opportunity to thoroughly assess Site C as was strongly recommended by the Joint Review Panel and frequently reinforced by its former chair, Dr. Harry Swain.

“The school children could never learn from a book what they do by spending a day at Watson’s Slough,” stated Forest.

-30-

For more information:

Andrea Morison, Coordinator, Peace Valley Environment Association

Phone:  250-793-7279, pveacoordinator@gmail.com, http://www.SaveBCfromSiteC.ca

Advertisements