Elk River named as endangered

The Elk River is once again on the list of the province’s most endangered rivers, moving up on the list for the third year in a row.

  • Mar. 13, 2012 9:00 a.m.

The Elk River is once again on the list of the province’s most endangered rivers, moving up on the list for the third year in a row.

Sacred Headwaters and Kokish River jointly topped the list, with Kitimat, Peace and Kettle Rivers close behind, but the Elk River moved up two spots from last year, coming in seventh on the list.

The list also listed the issues threatening the Elk River as development, increasing selenium levels and wildlife migration issues.

In 2010 Teck Coal commissioned a panel of experts to investigate selenium levels in the river. They found the levels were increasing as a result of coal mining and said they would investigate ways to manage the problem.

The District of Sparwood said they check the levels of selenium in Sparwood’s drinking water regularly, and the levels remain within Canadian standards.

The Sacred Headwaters, a remote wilderness landscape on the southern edge of BC’s Spatsizi wilderness, is the site of several major industrial developments, the most note-worthy being Shell Canada’s proposal to extract coal bed methane gas.

In a tie for the top spot is the Kokish River located on northeastern Vancouver Island about 50 km southeast of Port Hardy. It faces the prospect of a controversial 45 MW independent power project that, in the view of many, would seriously threaten the survival of its salmon runs.

Each year, the Outdoor Recreation Council solicits and reviews nominations for B.C’s Most Endangered Rivers from its member groups, which total close to 100,000 members, as well as from the general public and resource managers from across BC.

For more details, see the endangered rivers backgrounder at http://www.orcbc.ca/pro_endangered.htm