Can You Taste Victory?

Posted: 10/23/2001
by American Whitewater

On October 19, 2001 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission revoked the
preliminary permit for the Boundary Creek Water Power Project. This is a huge
victory for the paddling and environmental communities. Boundary Creek is a
premiere creek run that also provides critical habitat for bull trout, west
slope cutthroat trout, red-band rainbow, harlequin ducks, grizzly bear, wolf and
mountain caribou. As a member of the first descent party, I?ve had a vested
interest in preventing this project from being constructed. American Whitewater
has been battling this permit since it was first proposed.

FERC granted the preliminary permit in 2000. The preliminary permit grants the
hydro developer exclusive rights to file an application for a hydropower license
on Boundary Creek. The FERC issues preliminary permits for a period of three
years. During the preliminary permit phase, the permit holder conducts studies
to determine the economic and engineering feasibility of constructing a
hydropower facility on Boundary Creek. The permit does not allow them to begin
construction of the hydropower facility. The permit holder is required to submit
reports every six months to the FERC describing progress on the engineering,
environmental and economic studies. Continental Lands, the applicant for the
Boundary Creek project, failed to submit progress reports in a timely fashion to
the FERC thereby losing their permit.

The Boundary Creek hydro project would require diverting water from a
significant length of the kayak run. This loss of water would greatly impact
wildlife habitat and shorten if not eliminate kayaking opportunities. Boundary
Creek is the quintessential creek run: A ten-mile paddle with gradients
fluctuating between 250 to 375 feet per mile. It's described as a single rapid
ten miles long.