FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – BC Hydro says that though there are plans to conduct logging operations this winter in the area of Watson Slough, it is investigating whether it will be necessary to log the area after the PRRD Board made a motion asking Hydro to hold off.
At last Thursday’s Regional District Board meeting, the Board received a letter from the Peace Valley Landowners Association advising them that trees in the slough had been flagged for logging. In the letter, PVLA President Ken Boon stated that the Association had a number of concerns about the possibility of logging in the slough, namely that the logging wouldn’t be necessary until a later date, and would look unsightly during the year of the 75th Anniversary of the Alaska Highway. Boon asked the PRRD to request that no logging occur in the slough for several years, until closer to the date of Site C reservoir filling, a resolution that was passed.
BC Hydro spokesperson Dave Conway says that Hydro is aware of the PRRD Board’s resolution, and is currently looking at whether the area needs to be logged. Conway said that logging of the area is part of the planned Cache Creek area clearing, slated for Winter 2017. He said that the area is due to be logged as part of the planned Highway 29 realignment, though the highway is planned to pass just north of the slough. Conway says that if Hydro is unable to accommodate the Regional District’s request, many areas in the slough itself are protected from logging. “The Watson Slough is protected by a 15 metre riparian zone. And that’s actually broader where there’s marl fen. That requires a 100 metre buffer around marl fen,” said Conway. He says that this operation would only occur this winter, and that all merchantable timber would be harvested without the use of machinery.