Letter: Genelle Main Bar project put on hold

BC Hydro spokesperson responds to Trail Times story

RE: BC Hydro ordered by Comptroller of Water Rights to undertake physical re-contouring where fish are being stranded on the Columbia and Kootenay Rivers. “Genelle sand bar project to address fish stranding” (Trail Times, June 13).

Under the Columbia River Water Use Plan, BC Hydro has been working to support indigenous fish populations in the lower Columbia River. Based on recommendations put forward by the Water Use Plan’s Consultative Committee, and the results from our Lower Columbia River Fish Stranding Monitoring Study, we were considering recontouring work at three potential sites: Genelle Main Bar, Tin Cup Rapids and Kootenay Left Upper Bank. BC Hydro has not been ordered to undertake recontouring work on the Columbia and Kootenay Rivers.

Recontouring the riverbed is a mitigation technique that may minimize the potential for fish stranding in these areas during flow reductions. This proposed method was approved in the Terms of Reference for the Lower Columbia River Fish Stranding Study and reviewed by our regulators, First Nations and the Comptroller of Water Rights.

Out of respect for the archeological concerns raised by First Nations earlier this year, we have cancelled our plans for recontouring work at the Tin Cup Rapids and Kootenay Left Upper Bank sites. Until the archeological concerns have been addressed and other issues that may impede the project are resolved, the project at the Genelle Main Bar site has been put on hold, so work will not proceed this fall.

Further information about the Lower Columbia River Fish Stranding Monitoring Study (CLBMON-42) is available on our website at https://www.bchydro.com/about/sustainability/conservation/water_use_planning/southern_interior/columbia_river/lower-columbia-fish.html.

I invite anyone who has any questions or concerns about this project to contact me directly at 250-365-4565 or by email at maryanne.coules@bchydro.com.

Thank you for the opportunity to clarify this issue.

Mary Anne Coules

BC Hydro Community Relations

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