Photos courtesy of Valhalla Wilderness Society

Action Urged to Protect Ancient Incomappleux Valley from Proposed IPP


The Valhalla Wilderness Society of the Kootenays is urging citizens to send a message today to the provincial government in opposition of a proposed private power project on the spectacular Incomappleux river.

The province’s Integrated Land Management Bureau (ILMB) is accepting comments from the public until midnight tonight (Sept. 20) on private power titan TranAlta’s application to carry out potentially damaging feasibility studies for a proposed private river diversion project on the Incomappleux, considered one of BC’s most intact old growth rainforest valleys.

According to Valhalla:

The upper Incomappleux River and its very ancient rainforest are the gems of the Selkirk Mountain Caribou Park Proposal.

The valley has been severely logged for a major part of its length.  But the logging stopped before the end of the forest, leaving behind a five-kilometre stretch of river with very rare valley-bottom Inland Temperate Rainforest, with trees up to four metres in diameter and 1,800 years old. Scientists say this forest could have been growing undisturbed since the last ice age. It is part of a 17-kilometre stretch of wild river running through intact wilderness adjacent to Glacier National Park.

This now famous valley has drawn scientists from five countries to study the biodiversity of its ancient rainforest and its extensive wetland. They have found numerous rare species of lichens, mushrooms, snails and plants including a number of red- and blue-listed species.

The organization is concerned that even “feasibility studies” would have a detrimental impact on the highly sensitive and rare ecosystem. “The studies alone will include drilling, and possibly road building and cutting down trees to bring in heavy equipment. This will be a huge investment on the part of the proponent for a development that would then be leverage to get the IPP approved.”

Because the proposed generating capacity of this river diversion project, at 45 Megawatts, falls below the 50 Megawatt threshold, it will not require an environmental assessment from the province.

Some of the key environmental concerns from the project include the diversion of a significant amount of water from the river for an 8.8 km stretch, through prime Grizzly habitat, industrial roads being constructed on the edge of Glacier National Park, and a 75 km transmission line, carved through prime old-growth forest.

Private power projects have been thoroughly criticized in these pages for both serious environmental problems, thoroughly demonstrated by evidence, and for their lack of financial sense for BC taxpayers and hydro ratepayers.

Concerned citizens can register their comments with the ILMB by midnight tonight through their online form.


About Damien Gillis

Damien Gillis is a Vancouver-based documentary filmmaker with a focus on environmental and social justice issues - especially relating to water, energy, and saving Canada's wild salmon - working with many environmental organizations in BC and around the world. He is the co-founder, along with Rafe Mair, of The Common Sense Canadian, and a board member of both the BC Environmental Network and the Haig-Brown Institute.

5 thoughts on “Action Urged to Protect Ancient Incomappleux Valley from Proposed IPP

  1. you must be out of your mind; do you want this on your
    conscious? Who are you to decide the fate of Earth.
    Must you conform to madness.
    Take a stand for life and don’t follow the crowd.
    Stand up and do what is right!

  2. please preserve the upper Incomappleux’ National Park. The wonderful native forest ecosystem will not recover from clear-cut logging. Joan O’Connor

  3. Allowing development in this region would be a criminal
    act, simply to exploit the area for profit, for this group.
    It must be preserved for all time.
    Roland W. Arnet

  4. The Sunshine Coast Narrows Inlet project is also going ahead with only 2 more public meetings and limited time to submit comments. The EAO has even eliminated the question and answer period from the public meetings!! We must all make every effort to navigate the changes in EAO policy regarding submission of comments and get the truth out there. Speaking of huge investment in order to gain leverage…exactly the same scenario…it is as though “they” have already granted approval and will just be patting us on the head. Our wilderness areas are being given up for private profit with no incentive to promote conservation and with no reduction in the use of fossil fuel generated electricity…on the back of regular taxpayers and environment. These are not small mom and pop operations. They are not run of river. Both mainstream (pun intended) media and government officials are misleading the public. Time for the opposition to speak up, they’ve got no government to attend anyways. Less that 50mw to avoid review, just like Tyson Lake on the Sunshine Coast…a 49Mw application made it easy to achieve a precedent that serves as a stepping stone for the new IPP cluster being sought.

  5. please do not allow any exploration, investigation, or other activities that would impact upon the upper Incomappleux Valley near Glacier National Park. Years ago I flew over the valley and viewed an incredibly rich native forest ecosystem. I’ve also driven up the valley and witnessed the devastation caused by clear-cut logging which will take generations to regrow to its former pristine condition. The beautiful U-shaped valley should be preserved as a park. Do not allow any development. Leave our children and grandchildren this wilderness.
    Anthony S. Frary

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