Flood B.C.’s endangered Similkameen? No dam way!

An American power company is plotting to dam a river in Washington State.

An American power company is plotting to dam a river in Washington State. It would flood a whack of B.C.’s endangered Similkameen Valley — home to rare and precious creatures.

Lose precious Canadian habitat to fuel insatiable American appetites? No “dam” way.

This is an international waterway and a cross-border dispute between “nations.” On the American side, the federal government is dealing with this issue. In the other corner — plucky local Similkameen First Nations, B.C. politicians, and the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society. These courageous defenders of Canada are fighting way over their weight. But how long can they keep it up?

Where’s the cavalry? Why isn’t our federal government at the table, flexing some political muscle and plugging up this dam idea, once and for all? I’ve got my theories, but they’re unprintable.

The Similkameen is like a desert — it and the neighbouring Okanagan Valleys are both hot and dry. They have rattlesnakes, sunburned grasses and tiny burrowing owls the size of pop cans.
It’s already an endangered landscape. A little water might be good, you might think. Flooding, though? That sounds like bad karma.

Lend your support to your brave countrymen, and give our sleeping giant (the federal government) a prod.

Call to action

• The proposed Shanker’s Bend dam would flood an area nine times the size of Stanley Park.
• Please email Canadian Environment Minister Jim Prentice: Jim.Prentice@ec.gc.ca. Tell him what you think of this “dam” idea.

– Kai Chan is an assistant professor and Canada Research Chair at the Institute for Resources, Environment, and Sustainability (IRES) at UBC; vancouverletters@metronews.ca.

 
 
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