Monday, March 24, 2008
Upper Pitt River heads BC’s
Most Endangered Rivers List for 2008
The Upper Pitt River, 40 kilometers from Vancouver, tops this year’s list of the most
endangered rivers in British Columbia.
The Upper Pitt, one of BC’s most beautiful and salmon rich waterways, is threatened
by a controversial private power proposal that would see the diversion of 8 tributaries
along with the construction of 7 power houses, all within a 12 kilometer stretch of the
Upper Pitt’s main stem. “The clustering of power projects along the Upper Pitt has
raised serious concerns about the potential for adverse impacts to the river and its fish
stocks” said Mark Angelo, Rivers Chair for the Outdoor Recreation Council and an
Order of Canada and Order of BC recipient.
In addition to fisheries-related concerns associated with the project’s needed
infrastructure and roads, the proponent is proposing the construction of a 4.3 kilometer
transmission line through a wilderness section of Pinecone Provincial Park. The
potential negative impacts of this project on the Upper Pitt have also raised broader
concerns that existing government review processes are not adequately distinguishing
between those projects that may be appropriate and those that are clearly not.
“The Upper Pitt is a jewel amongst BC’s many spectacular waterways and, given its
great ecological values, the river and its major tributaries should be protected from such
a development” added Angelo, who also heads BCIT’s Fish and Wildlife Program.
In a tie for second spot this year is the Flathead River, which flows through
southeastern BC into Montana. The Flathead, which topped last year’s list, is widely
considered one of North America’s wildest and most beautiful waterways. The river
supports important trans-boundary fish populations while also sustaining perhaps the
highest density of inland grizzly bears anywhere in North America, along with many
other wildlife species. Yet, while the US section is protected,