A water use plan benefiting fish and wildlife habitat, shoreline conditions, flood control and recreation has been approved for BC Hydro's Campbell River hydroelectric operations, Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson announced today.
The Campbell River water use plan was developed as part of BC Hydro's water use planning process, with the participation of federal and provincial government agencies, First Nations and local communities.
Highlights of the water use plan include:
- Year-round and seasonal increases of water releases from John Hart Dam down to Elk Falls Canyon to improve fish habitat.
- Vegetation monitoring and shoreline conditioning for priority reservoir locations.
- Improved recreation through the summer with targeted water levels and improvements to some boat ramps.
- Completion last month of the decommissioning of Heber River diversion structures, benefitting Strathcona Provincial Park, fish and wildlife.
- Monitoring of fish and wildlife populations to assist in making future decisions on the water use plan.
- A recommended review of the plan to assess if the expected benefits are attained.
With the implementation of the Campbell River water use plan, all 23 of BC Hydro's water use plans have now been approved, and implemented by BC Hydro. Several water use plans are already being reviewed to ensure the system is optimised and achieving multiple benefits.
Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations -
"As Vancouver Island's largest hydroelectric facility, this planning process was more complex than most. I'd like to thank staff, stakeholders and First Nations for their hard work on this plan. It is a significant step in balancing the recreational, cultural, economic and environmental interests of the Campbell River system watersheds."
Chris O'Riley, executive vice president, Generation, BC Hydro -
"BC Hydro is pleased with these improvements to the Campbell River system water licences. They demonstrate how the system can be operated for the benefit of the wider community."
"This agreement was reached in consensus after extensive consultation for water use planning. I would like to thank all the representatives who participated. Many of the changes will be implemented quickly and some are already in place. We expect to have our water operations fully modified within 60 days."
- The Campbell River system includes the Upper and Lower Campbell reservoirs, as well as the John Hart reservoir and Wokas Lake reservoir.
- These reservoirs are formed by the Strathcona, Ladore, John Hart and Quinsam dams, which together with the generating stations at each of the main dams supply about 10 per cent of Vancouver Island's peak winter electricity demand.
- There are also three diversions on the Quinsam River, Salmon River and Crest Creek that augment flows to the Campbell River.
To read the Campbell River water use plan, visit BC Hydro at: http://ow.ly/fAO20
Public Affairs Officer
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations