It’s been presented by First Nations as yet another reason why the Site-C project should be scrapped but Hydro says as part of the its environmental process, studies were conducted to assess, how the third dam on the Peace River would impact mercury levels.
It says they found baseline levels of methylmercury in the project area are generally low, with concentrations in water consistently below detection limits.
It also claims the concentrations in fish are lower than in other lakes and reservoirs in BC, and in fact among the lowest in the country.
The First Nations concerns focused on the many plants and trees submerged by the WAC Bennett Dam flooding and the subsequent release of mercury by decaying matter, finding its way into the food chain.
However, Hydro spokesman Dave Conway notes, the Site C reservoir area will be cleared of trees and plants prior to being filled, and the as a condition of its environmental approval, the crown corporation must develop a Methylmercury Monitoring Plan in consultations with the First Nations Health Authority and aboriginal groups.
Meanwhile, Peace River South MLA Mike Bernier reportedly said it’s critical that the province preserves its ecological diversity of fish and wildlife species, its noted a long list of animals will be beneficiaries of the latest round of funding through the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program
It’s a partnership involving BC Hydro, the Province, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, First Nations, and public stakeholders, working to conserve and enhance fish and wildlife impacted by existing Hydro dams.
The species list ranges from grizzly bears, to sockeye salmon, to moose, caribou and bats, and the program’s regional boards have approved 124 fish and wildlife projects for the 2015-16 fiscal with a combined value of $8.9 million.