Speaking for the Salmon

stewart_creek.jpgA news article about work Trans Mountain did in Yarrow 08/09 2018 has been coming up in social media again. "Trans Mountain pipeline work destroyed salmon habitat, scientist says". The article was about some maintenance work in Yarrow, BC, where Trans Mountain turned part of a very biologically productive section of stream -- made productive through volunteer habitat enhancement  efforts -- into a brick half-pipe. 

A more recent example of Trans Mountain's work at a waterway took place last year with the replacement of the old Line 1 pipeline's North Thompson crossing #6 using trenchless crossing methods.

While the North Thompson crossing #6 replacement was a maintenance project, it was also arguably the first example of a trenchless crossing on the Trans Mountain Expansion Project because they also moved the old line into the expansion project right-of-way.

Among streams where trenchless crossing is planned for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project is the Vedder River and adjacent Peach Creek and (a portion of) Browne Creek Wetlands -- all important salmon habitat, and areas where large investments have been made in habitat restoration and enhancement.

Something that can go wrong with trenchless methods is frac-out, where drilling fluid comes up somewhere unexpected. Sure enough that happened at the North Thompson crossing #6. Drilling fluid came up in a nearby stream.

Fortunately the stream was low enough at the time that surface water was only in isolated pools, and numbers of salmon present were low. Still, some coho were killed. Of 74,000 litres of drilling fluid lost, only 30,000 litres were recovered in the cleanup.

Not an auspicious first trenchless crossing.

WaterWealth will be meeting with the City of Chilliwack later today to talk about engagement in CER detailed route hearings on the Expansion Project to try to change the route of the Project across Chilliwack and to have the old pipeline rerouted with it. Public safety figures large in the pipeline location in Chilliwack. But we'll also be speaking for the salmon.

We want salmon to always return to Peach Creek and Browne Creek Wetlands, and Chilliwack residents walking, biking, and horseback riding on the trail networks there to always be able to enjoy seeing the salmon and many other species found there. The ecological and recreational value of those very popular areas is for those of us who live here to protect.

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