Leave it to the Beavers
Iconic Peace Valley at Risk
(Portion of article published in BC Nature Magazine)
By Ana Simeon
Like most Vancouver Islanders, I rarely venture farther north than the Cariboo. Southern B.C. provides wilderness enough for three lifetimes – or so I thought until this summer, when I fell in love with the Peace Valley.
Unique, iconic, breathtaking – whatever epithet you can think of barely begins to express the impact of that first sight of the Peace River from the rim of the valley, just past Hudson’s Hope. The Peace is utterly unlike any other river I’ve seen. A clear, deep blue, it meanders in languid loops through the valley to which it gives life. Rich alluvial soils nurture agricultural fields, wetlands and stands of huge cottonwoods, each a hunting perch for its own Bald Eagle. A number of small islands, layers of silt and shale rock carved by the current into fantastic shapes, shelter calving moose, elk and deer.
This is the valley that the B.C. government proposes to dam for power generation, notwithstanding that is already bearing more than its share of Hydroelectric development for the province (which, by the way, is a net exporter of electricity), with two dams - the giant W.A.C. Bennett and the smaller Peace Canyon dam. The proposed third dam, Site C, would sever a crucial wildlife corridor through the Rockies, separating forever grizzly bear populations that are now able to migrate between the core refuges of the Muskwa-Kechika and Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks.
(Read the full article with your subscription to BC Nature Magazine at http://www.bcnature.ca/education/bc-nature-magazine/)