BC Hydro has provided funding to plant native trees (Douglas Fir, Alder, Western Red Cedar, Vine Maple, Cascara, and Sitka Willow) in compensation for the right of way clearance for the Interior Lower Mainland Transmission Line along Clayton Creek.
ARMS Volunteer, Mike McKay, planting native tree species at Clayton Creek
Maple Ridge – The twinning of BC Hydro’s Interior Lower Mainland Transmission project, a 247 kilometre-long, 500 kilovolt transmission line, which runs from Merritt to Coquitlam, is now complete at a cost of approximately $743 million dollars. Part of this transmission line runs across the South Alouette River and close to a nutrient-bearing stream called Clayton Creek. Greta Borick-Cunningham, ARMS Executive Director, said that the local environmental group had met with BC Hydro, Ministry of Environment and Golder and Associates a number of times over two years from 2013-2014 to discuss the environmental standard practice and impacts of tree removals in close proximity to watercourses and to ask for mitigation.
ARMS directors got involved and walked sections of the twinned transmission line near the South Alouette and through the Malcolm Knapp Research Forest to see for themselves what environmental effects had occurred as a result of the ILM being expanded. John Kelly, ex-BC Hydro, now ARMS board member, trekked along the area near the South Alouette and Golden Ears Provincial Park to assess the damage that had been done and then wrote a series of recommendations that were sent to BC Hydro including the immediate planting of deciduous species such as willow, maple, dogwood that are 2-3 metres in height and which would provide much needed shade for Clayton Creek.
This week BC Hydro’s Sterling Pearce and ARMS volunteers are replacing lost vegetation which is needed to keep small streams such as Clayton Creek, cool, and fed with leaf-drop that will help promote water quality and improve the downstream health of the South Alouette River for salmon and other aquatic species. BC Hydro is providing professional expertise and funding of $5000 to restore the area which lies between the Alouette Dam and the Alouette Correctional Centre for Women. “Volunteering with Sterling today was a rewarding experience” said volunteer Scotti Griffin, “I had the opportunity to plant trees at Clayton Creek and learn about what kind of trees will thrive best in that specific riparian area. It was a great way to gain experience, meet new people, and learn new skills.”
The restoration work near the South Alouette is a great example of how ARMS is working with organizations such as BC Hydro to bring about better awareness of the importance of upholding environmental standards and the need for a much-impacted river system, such as the South Alouette, to receive a softer approach when it comes to development.