Glade resident Rod Retzlaff says he's not comforted by BC Hydro's recent comments on the possibility of deepening Grohman Narrows.

LETTER: BC Hydro’s reassurance is cold comfort

The letter from BC Hydro spokeswoman Mary Anne Coules regarding Hydro’s plan to dredge Grohman Narrows was not very reassuring to me.

Re: “Coules’ notes on Grohman Narrows”

The letter from BC Hydro spokeswoman Mary Anne Coules regarding Hydro’s plan to dredge Grohman Narrows was not very reassuring to me. In it she assures the public that “Relaxing the constriction will not empty Kootenay Lake or cause major impacts downstream because the Corra Linn Dam is still able to control lake levels.”

That’s the thing, though: currently the remainder of the natural restriction at Grohman Narrows does a very reliable job of controlling the lake level. Once you remove a good deal more of that restriction, the only thing controlling the level will be the Corra Linn Dam, and we will be totally relying on this man-made restriction. Not all of us are foolish enough to trust such engineering hubris. Man-made things are prone to failure.

Ms. Coules also assures us that the level of Kootenay Lake will only be reduced by about one foot in the early spring. But one foot of water over the area covered by Kootenay Lake is a hell of a lot of water; I certainly would not be confident that removal of that much water would not have a serious impact on the environment and the fish populations.

Before the system was harnessed for power generation, salmon spawned all the way to Bonnington Falls. That annual run supported a tremendously rich ecosystem. So, we lost that salmon run and most of the creatures that it supported. Even the forest lost a valuable supply of fish fertilizer.

Kootenay Lake was also extremely well endowed with fish, but the steady development of hydroelectricity robbed the lake of its nutrient supply, and as a result we lost much of that very fine fishery.

The Kootenay River was once a world renowned trout fishery, especially at the Slocan Pool. That too we lost.

When I moved here in the 1970s a fisherman or woman could regularly catch a daily limit of 15 kokanee in the West Arm, many in the two pound range. Now only short fishing seasons are available to catch a limit of five fish half that size, if you are lucky.

I can still go fishing in the lower West Arm two days a week for a five fish limit, but if Hydro is permitted to lower the lake level in the early spring, even if it is “only by one foot,” I certainly don’t feel confident that this small fishery can continue.

BC Hydro makes many millions of dollars on their hydroelectric generation facilities, but it all comes at a very depressing cost. They have done more than enough damage to this river system. They should stop assuming that it is their right to manipulate it at will, and the local politicians who are encouraging them to do so should be ashamed of themselves. Enough is already too much.

Rod Retzlaff, Glade

Just Posted

Selkirk College students protest proposed tuition increases

Sudents’ union says this year’s 2 per cent increase puts education out of reach for some

Nelson project funds rural schools in Nepal

Mountain trekker David Swain runs the Altitude Project

Trail area homicide investigation continues

Jan. 14 marked one year since Jordan Workman was discovered in the trunk of a burnt car

Leafs, Nitehawks settle for 4-4 tie

Nelson is now unbeaten in nine straight games

Former ski champ and MLA’s son hope to open Castlegar cannabis store next month

Felix Belczyk and Ben Conroy are in the approval process for local Spiritleaf outlet

VIDEO: Monday Roundup

The Star’s weekly news roundup

Teen in confrontation with Native American: I didn’t provoke

Nick Sandmann of Covington Catholic High School said he was trying to defuse the situation

New military armoury opens in Cranbrook

Military presence in the Key City a part of the 44th Engineer Squadron

Speaker brings report on allegations to B.C. legislature committee

Report describes Darryl Plecas’ suspicions about senior staff

B.C. man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

Parole granted for drunk driver that killed BC RCMP officer

Kenneth Jacob Fenton will be able to attend alcohol abuse treatment, nearly three years after crash that killed Const. Sarah Beckett

Doug Ford says the Liberals’ carbon tax will plunge Canada into recession

The Ontario premier said there are already warning signs of difficult economic times ahead

Kamala Harris opens U.S. presidential bid in challenge to Trump

The 54-year old portrayed herself as a fighter for justice, decency and equality in a video distributed by her campaign

B.C.’s largest public-sector union wants inquiry into money laundering, drugs

Union officials say Premier John Horgan and Attorney General David Eby have not ruled out the possibility of a public inquiry

Most Read