Clean Energy Producers Respond to Pending Freedom of Information
VANCOUVER, June 7, 2013 /CNW/ - Small Hydro operators respond to protect
fish in BC's rivers and streams. Recently, several hundred pages of
correspondence and information covering the period September 2011 to
October 2012 were released by the Ministry of Forest Lands and Natural
Resource Operations under provisions of the Freedom of Information and
Protection of Privacy Act (FOI) to an unidentified party.
Eight private companies who operate run-of-river hydro facilities are
named in the FOI request. For the twelve month period cited, a total
of 59 incidences of non compliance were reported, most of which were
ramping incidences (rise and fall of water levels) triggered naturally
(slide or ice jam) or by equipment shut down (for safety reasons).
As required under terms of operating licenses, all incidences were
reported to regulatory authorities. The impact of these 59 incidences
was 2 fry were killed and 4 other fry were salvaged and released from
In all cases, the companies involved have reviewed their operating
procedures. In some cases changes have been made, i.e. how generating
units are sequenced to start up after a shut down; or how the
impoundment weir is inflated in steps to minimize water stage changes.
In many cases the non compliances are minimal and technical in nature;
a few millimeter difference in water level rates outside a threshold.
As an example, if the stated requirement is that a flow change should
not exceed a rate of no more than 2.5 cm over a period of time but an
automated recorder indicates 2.6 cm, an incidence of non-compliance is
recorded. Materially, there may be no impact on fish or wildlife. The
2.5 cm level itself may not have been tested for relevance, but was
adopted pending further research and calibration.
Ramping occurs naturally in high energy river systems when slides, ice
jams, or debris accumulate to create temporary dams. These blockages
can lead to dewatering which can strand small fish. Ramping also
occurs when an unexpected shut down of a hydro plant happens; due to an
accident, malfunction or other natural events. All ramping situations
are reported to government authorities and the operating companies
conduct searches for fry that might be salvaged and returned to the
The clean energy sector in BC is mindful of its responsibility to
British Columbians and has commissioned an independent study into the
possible impacts of small hydro projects on salmonids in BC. A report
will be available in the fall 2013.
SOURCE: Clean Energy BC
For further information:
Paul Kariya 604-818-1827