Thursday, May 05, 2016

Report: Site C Dam Disaster for Wildlife in Northeastern BC

Wildlife Devastated by Site C Dam Construction in Northeastern BC 

by Roslyn Cassells - Stop Site C Dam 

April 28, 2016

Just imagine if Vancouver to Chilliwack was entirely submerged, drowning every living creature along that path...this is the scope of destruction and death caused by the construction of Site C dam in the Peace River Valley in northeastern BC.

Clear-cutting, river destruction, and earth moving has already begun at the Site C dam site in Treaty 8 jurisdiction. This despite 4 court cases, United Nations disapproval, and widespread public opposition.

"Follow the money" and see clear evidence the project benefits a select few economic and political elites with close ties to the BC Liberals, while having a huge and unmitigable negative effect everyone else.

At least 63 endangered, and/or federally & provincially listed species and ecological communities are being effected, including 30 species of migratory birds, 23 species of invertebrates, 6 species of mammals, 2 species of raptors, and one amphibian species.

Wildlife laws are being violated with impunity as the dam is pushed through by the BC Liberals, while dam construction contracts and plum posts at BC Hydro go to their BC Liberal insiders.

The Joint Review Panel found Site C dam violates the Migratory Birds Convention Act, which is federally regulated by Environment Canada. The Act does not allow for "incidental take" of migratory birds, their eggs, and nest sites. The same panel predicted 3 species of fish will be extirpated; and at-risk species such as the Western Toad, Baltimore Oriole, Sharp-tailed Grouse, Bull Trout, Yellow Rail, Nelson's Sparrow, Eastern Phoebe, and 5 species of butterfly species status' would worsen.

Massive wildlife mortality will occur if and when the Site C dam's floodgates open, drowning an entire river valley 83 km long, a core wildlife habitat and biodiversity hotspot.

The federal Species at Risk Act (SARA) lists Peace River Valley Site C residents Canada Warbler, Common Nighthawk, and Olive-sided Flycatcher as threatened species, and the Northern Mountain Caribou, Woodland Caribou, Western Toad, Short-eared Owl, Yellow Rail, and Rusty Blackbird of special concern.

The federal Committee On the Status of Endangered Wildlife In Canada -COSEWIC, lists Peace Valley residents the Little Brown Myotis Bat, the Northern Myotis Bat, and the Barn Swallow as threatened; and the Grizzly Bear, Bull Trout, and the Horned Grebe of special concern.

Many Site C species are listed provincially. The Fisher, Short-eared Owl, and Broad-Winged Hawk are blue-listed. The Eastern Red Bat is one of many red-listed species there. (see attached report for more details)

There are over 300 wildlife and 400 plant species identified to date in the Peace River Valley, which Site C dam would destroy. The Peace Daisy and Persistent-Sepal Yellowcress will become extinct. The area is home to many rare plants of which 3 mosses, 10 lichens, and 38 vascular plants are at risk according to BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resources.

Site C lies in the path of the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative. This is a wildlife corridor, a core wildlife habitat, essential for biodiversity and species' survival, which extends from the far north of Canada down to Yellowstone in the US. The building of Site C dam would impede migration, and the free movement of large mammals for breeding, birthing, and foraging along this corridor. The herds which now traverse the Peace River during their annual migration will drown in the deeper, wider reservoir of Site C. Many migratory species use the valley as a pit stop in long migrations. Soon the food, shelter, and safe passage they seek will be gone, reducing their chances of survival. Grizzly bears, black bears, elk, moose, deer, wolves, coyotes, wolverine, lynx, fox, sheep, and wild horses among others use this vital wildlife corridor.

A myriad of living beings are being killed by Site C dam. Little insects, worms, spiders, beetles, bees, dragonflies, salamanders, snakes, moles, voles, wood rats, squirrels, shrews, chipmunks, burrowing creatures who birth and nurture their young deep in the earth, or high up in a hollow tree...with their winged neighbours - bats, hawks, owls, woodpeckers, songbirds, thrushes, sparrows...along the river shoreline with the trout, minnows, whitefish, shiners and dace, muskrat, beaver, mink, otter, frogs, turtles, snakes, ducks, geese, swans, pelicans, kingfisher, herons, osprey and eagles...endangered and rare plants and riparian habitats.

Site C dam amounts to an ecological holocaust for the animals and the environment, a violation of Treaty 8 First Nations sovereignty and a nail in the coffin of the future of local First Nations youth, removal of food security for the 1 million the farmlands can feed, a huge cost to the taxpayer for a power project at a time when BC Hydro is powering down many hydro producers, all for the benefit of a handful of friends of the BC Liberals. There is not one defensible argument in it's favour. Stop Site C dam now!

Roslyn Cassells
founder Stop Site C Dam group
(over 500 members to date)

Please Share this Urgent Press Release - Wildlife devastated by Site C dam construction in BC's Peace River Valley

~for immediate release - April 28, 2016~

Please feel free to excerpt, reprint, and share any part of this press release or the attached/inline Wildlife Report with attribution.

In-line report follows

Wildlife of the Peace River Valley Endangered by Site C Dam (document download, web and facebook links, email alert list and politicians' emails)

"Mother Earth - militarized, fenced-in, poisoned, a place where basic rights are systematically violated, demands that we take action." - Berta Caceres, Lenca woman assassinated for her fight against a dam in her territory in Honduras in 2016

There are at least 63 endangered, red-listed, blue-listed, at risk, threatened, & of special concern species of animals who make Site C in the Peace River Valley in northeastern British Columbia, Canada their home. 30 species of migratory birds, 23 species of invertebrates, 6 species of mammals, 2 species of raptors, & 1 amphibian species from this list will be killed due to drowning, electrocution, starvation, loss of habitat, or physical impacts causing injury.

Thousands of other species will also suffer and die due to the Site C Dam. Wildlife will suffer great and irreparable harm, and the protections they are entitled to under BC, Canadian, & International law are not being enforced. The provincial BC Wildlife Act, the Species At Risk Act (SARA), the Committee On the Status of Endangered Wildlife (COSEWIC)-(federal), and the Migratory Birds Convention Act (an international act Canada is signatory to) are being blatantly ignored as politicians pursue their political ambitions with complete disregard to these and other laws, and to their duty to Canadians, Treaty 8 First Nations, and our precious and vulnerable wildlife.

The Site C Dam area is also home to many rare and unique plants of which 38 species of vascular plants are at risk (11 are Red-listed, 28 Blue-listed), 3 mosses are blue listed, and 5 lichens are Red-listed and 5 Blue-listed.

The Peace Daisy and Persistent-sepal yellowcress are found only in the Peace River Valley, and they would be extinguished by Site C Dam according to the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resources; while Herriot's Sage and Old Man's Whiskers are found only in the Peace Region - their status increasingly imperiled.

The Joint Review Panel which examined the Site C Dam project stated it would cause "significant adverse effect on rare plants" and noted BC Hydro made no attempt whatsoever to assess traditional medicinal plants used by local First Nations. It further stated that some ecosystems would be entirely lost to the project...such as riparian & floodplain forests, tufa seeps, & mari fens which "cannot ever be recreated...their loss complete, permanent, irreversible" and that some ecological communities, including wetlands, would see their status become more precarious.

Site C Dam would result in the probable extirpation of 3 species of fish, a reduction in fish health and survival, and habitat changes which will effect fish genetics and long-term resiliency of fish populations. Scientists deemed these effects to be "negative, large, irreversible and permanent. They can't be fully mitigated."

BC Ministry of Forests, Lands & Natural Resources said the Site C Dam would likely push some species closer to extinction, and that species at risk "have low resilience to disturbance"

Environment Canada called the Peace River region a "biodiversity hotspot" and a vital east-west passage through the Rocky Mountains and the only one below 1000 m in the Yukon to Yellowstone wildlife corridor - essential to species' migration, large mammal movement, and biodiversity...a conservation priority and core wildlife habitat.

Environment Canada also noted 3/4 of BC's 247 bird species use the Peace region (of which 32 are at risk) before even considering migratory and wintering species. It also stated the project could cause mortality of migratory birds by killing individuals or destroying active nests. This is a violation of the Migratory Birds Convention Act which prohibits any person from killing a migratory bird or disturbing, destroying or taking a nest, egg or nest shelter of a migratory bird.

The Joint Review Panel scientists stated the Site C Dam project "would cause significant adverse effects on migratory birds which cannot be mitigated" and that "the region's wildlife has been already significantly impacted by the previous two dams"

And further that the losses of migratory birds to be permanent and unmitigable.

The Species At Risk Act lists Peace River Valley residents Canada Warbler, Common Nighthawk, and Olive-sided Flycatcher as threatened species, and the Northern Mountain Caribou, Woodland Caribou, Western Toad, Short-eared Owl, Yellow Rail and Rusty Blackbird of Special Concern.

COSEWIC, the Committee On the Status of Endangered Wildlife lists as endangered the Little Brown Myotis Bat and the Northern Myotis Bat, the Barn Swallow as threatened, and the Horned Grebe, Bull Trout and Grizzly Bear as of special concern.

The Fisher is blue-listed, as are the Broad-winged Hawk and the Short-eared Owl.

The Eastern Red Bat is red-listed. Nelson's Sparrow, the Yellow Rail, and five species of butterflies are red-listed. Le Conte's Sparrow and the Eastern Phoebe are blue-listed. The Baltimore Oriole and Sharp-tailed Grouse are yellow-listed. Additional listed birds include Bay Breasted Warbler, Black-throated Warbler, Cape May Warbler, Conneticut Warbler, American Avocet, American Golden Plover, American White Pelican, Brant Goose, Cackling Goose, California Gull, Double-crested Cormorant, Foster's Tern, Great Blue Heron, Hudsonian Godwit, Red-necked Phalarope, Short-billed Dowitcher, Wandering Tattler, and the Western Grebe...all residents of the Peace River Valley and Site C Dam area.

Provincially listed fish include Arctic Grayling, Goldeneye, Lake Trout, Pygmy Whitefish, Rainbow Trout, Large-scale Sucker, Northern Pike Minnow, Northern Redbelly Dace, Pearl Dace, Spottail Shiner and Spoonhead Sculpin.

The following provincially and federally listed species (and likely others) would see their status worsen significantly due to the Site C Dam: the Western Toad, Baltimore Oriole, Sharp-tailed Grouse, Nelson's Sparrow, Bull Trout, Yellow Rail, Eastern Phoebe, butterflies Old World Swallowtail, Alberta Arctic, Striped Hairstreak, Great Spangled fritillary, Coral Hairstreak, Common Wood Nymph, Uhler's Arctic, tawny crescent, & Arctic blue, Aphrodite fritillary.

Woodpeckers would lose a significant amount of vital habitat. This has a cascading effect on species which nest in old woodpecker tree hole nests.

The Northern Goshawk, Rocky Mountain Elk, Moose and Mule Deer are listed as species of concern.

There are over 300 wildlife and over 400 plant species identified to date in the Peace River Valley, although biologists suspect there are a number of yet unidentified species present, largely due to the lack of basic research funding over the years.

Who else lives here in the Peace River Valley and whose lives and homes will be destroyed by the Site C Dam?

A myriad of living beings, all interconnected and essential to their and our collective survival. Little insects, worms, spiders, beetles, flies, bees, wasps, dragonflies, caterpillars, grasshoppers, salamanders, newts, snakes, mice, moles, voles, wood rats, squirrels, shrews...burrowing beasts, raising their young deep in the earth or high up in a hollow tree...the winged ones - bats, hawks, owls, eagles, songbirds, thrushes, woodpeckers, sparrows, duck, geese, swans, shorebirds...all of whom depend on the rivers, trees, and land for their homes, nests, foods, shelter, as a pit-stop in a lengthy migration.

Grizzly Bear, Black Bear, lynx, fox, coyote, wolf, wolverine, martin, weasel, fisher, beaver, river otter, cougar, muskrat, bison, mink, moose, elk, deer, sheep, wild many will die as their world is flooded?

Who will die because they cannot flee the flood waters because they are too little, not fast enough, not able to outrun the waters or fly away?

All of these animals' lives are equally precious. The rights and obligations to our First Nations under Treaty 8 must be upheld. Fertile farmland essential to our food security must be preserved, and we must learn to coexist in harmony with our natural world and all our relations.

The impending ecological holocaust appears not to matter to our political leaders. The billions of lives which will be ended, these vulnerable individuals, families, and communities - will be destroyed if our society allows political ambition to trump community, greed to trump sharing, and killing to triumph over coexistence.

A better world is possible, let's stand together to protect her!

Email these politicians responsible for violations against wildlife at Site C Dam in BC to demand they stop Site C dam: - federal Minister of Environment & Climate Change federal Minister of Natural Resources BC Minister of Environment Prime Minister of Canada - Christy Clark Premier of BC Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs federal Minister of Agriculture and Agrifood

Hunter Tootoo federal Minister of Fisheries federal Minister of Justice and Attorney General

On facebook join Stop Site C Dam for the latest on the campaign to halt this project:

Be sure to go to "more", then "notifications" to choose what you see.

Visit this link for this Wildlife Report (including graphics & free report download):

Get Site C dam email updates, send request to

Good website for periodic updates on Site C, you can sign up for their reports and sign a petition:

A video link from the Keep the Peace Stop Site C rally at BC Hydro on March 13 about Wildlife Going Extinct Due to Site C Dam, endangered, red & blue listed species, Species At Risk Act, Committee On the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada and the Migratory Birds Convention Act violations at Site C dam project:

Joint Review Panel for Site C dam report link:

Protect BC's Endangered Species page:

Beautiful pictures of the Peace River Valley, people, wildlife, land...accompanied by original song and informative words...a MUST SEE!

No comments: