A photo of Libby Dam. (Photo Contributed by the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation)

A photo of Libby Dam. (Photo Contributed by the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation)

Government of B.C. explores construction of weir across Koocanusa Reservoir

A virtual town hall meeting will be held on Jan. 12 to gather public input and discuss the study

The Government of B.C. is hosting a virtual town hall meeting on Jan. 12 to discuss and gather public feedback on a feasibility study exploring the construction of a weir across the Koocanusa Reservoir, spanning the B.C.-Montana border south of Jaffray.

The request comes from public concerns about water level changes in the summer and their impact on recreation on the Canadian side of the reservoir. The changing water levels are a result of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ operations at Libby Dam on the American side of the border.

“The independent study commissioned by the Province states that that a weir/dam would have positive impacts for recreation (notably boating, swimming and fishing) on the B.C. side of the border,” said Kathy Eichenberger, executive director of the Provincial Columbia River Treaty Team.

“A dam would maintain a consistent, minimum reservoir level during the summer/fall season, and these reservoir levels would increase as Libby Dam brings the Koocanusa reservoir to full later during the season. A weir would also potentially result in increased tourism.”

The results of the feasibility study were released in a report issued on Jan. 8 outlining the preliminary costs, impacts and benefits of building the dam.

According to Eichenberger, negative effects would include impacts to navigation, hydro power generation, fisheries and flood management on the American side. The endeavour would also be notably costly.

”According to estimates by the independent consultant, the cost of building a weir/dam would be significant, as would the operating costs,” said Eichenberger, who added that given the factors involved, including Indigenous Nation and public consultation, the project is proposed to cost significantly more than $400 million.

“Another factor is operating and maintenance costs, which could range from $560,000 and $1.4 million, annually. Also, there is no clear party who would fund, own or operate the structure.”

Eichenberger added that changes proposed to the Koocanusa Reservoir’s water flow would require substantial engagement with the Ktunaxa Nation and the U.S.

“Our government’s approach is to engage with the public, Basin Indigenous Nations and local communities as much as we can on issues related to the Columbia River Treaty,” added Eichenberger, highlighting the importance of community input.

“Participating in this town hall, as with any of the other similar events we have held and will hold in the future, is a way for communities to connect and make their voices heard.”

For more information, including copies of the report and a Zoom link for the virtual town hall scheduled for Jan. 12 at 7 p.m., visit the Government of B.C’s website. To call into the meeting, phone 1-833-955-1088, meeting ID 646-2736-3110.

Any questions for the virtual town hall must be emailed to columbiarivertreaty@gov.bc.ca before Jan. 12 at noon.

Feedback on the report is accepted until Feb. 12, and can be emailed to columbiarivertreaty@gov.bc.ca or mailed to Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation, Columbia River Treaty, PO Box 9314 Stn Prov Govt, Victoria BC V8W 9N1.

READ MORE: Teck, Ktunaxa sign conservation agreement on 7,150 hectares of land



reporter@thefreepress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Community

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

(File Photo)
Sparwood accepting submissions for 2021 Street Art Banner Program

Artwork depicting a love for Sparwood’s community and heritage will be accepted until Feb. 19

Interior Health reported 79 new cases of COVID-19 and two new death in the region Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (Ben Hohenstatt/Juneau Empire)
79 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths reported in Interior Health

Both of Friday’s deaths were both recorded at long-term care homes

(File photo)
Interior Health declares COVID-19 outbreak at Teck’s Elk Valley operations over

48 cases were linked to three Teck locations in the Elk Valley

Joanna and Aysha Haines opened their business, Drift and Sonder, on Jan. 22. (Soranne Floarea)
New businesses popping up in Fernie despite pandemic headwinds

More businesses in Fernie have opened than closed their doors since the pandemic began

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Most Read