article photo 1

Current Status of the Ashlu (BC)

Posted: 05/04/2007
By: Thomas O'Keefe

Over the past few years we have joined with our friends in BC to work for protection of the Ashlu. We provided our perspective on the importance of the Ashlu as a river with international significance and many of our members responded to our action alerts to help make the case. While these efforts were successful at the local and regional level the developer went straight to the BC legislature in spring 2006 and at the 11th hour Bill 30 was passed.

Bill 30 stripped the local government of their ability to regulate zoning that had prevented construction of the Ashlu Hydropower Project. With local opposition to the project effectively removed from consideration, land clearing for transmission lines began in summer 2006. Construction of the powerhouse and diversion tunnel is now well underway. What was once a quiet forest road is now an industrial construction zone.

We have received many inquiries regarding the next steps. It's clear that the future of BC's creeks are important to our membership and we will work with our friends in British Columbia to find the appropriate way to assist. We appreciate the contributions of Pyranha and the Bellingham paddling community who have provided direct financial contributions towards our efforts. We will be working with our partners in the local and regional river conservation community and sharing our experience with coalition building and advocacy work on rivers targeted for hydropower development.

We encourage our members to follow The Range Life Blog where Bryan Smith has been providing regular updates on what's happening on the Ashlu (check out Spring News from BC for the aerial images of the construction zone). His documentary film--49 MW--will be out soon. Christian Knight just finished up a great piece of investigative reporting for the May/June issue of Paddler Magazine. More information is also available at the Ashlu Website and paddlers can also join the BC Creeks Protection Society. Finally, one of the best things paddlers can do is get out there and enjoy the rivers and experience the resources first hand. Building an effective advocacy base depends on having folks who care passionately about the resource. Claudia Schwab has a great new guidebook, Whitewater in Southwest British Columbia, that will get you started exploring some of the best rivers British Columbia has to offer.

There will be opportunities for future advocacy work on behalf of the incredible whitewater resources of BC enjoyed by so many of our members. Stay tuned. For now check out the Kayking on the Ashlu...

Thomas O'Keefe

3537 NE 87th St.

Seattle, WA 98115

Phone: 425-417-9012
Full Profile

Associated Projects

Canadian Whitewater

This project is a collection of resources and tools for volunteers interested in protecting and restoring Canadian whitewater rivers.

Protecting the Ashlu (BC)

A hydropower project is now being constructed on this wonderful creek in Southwest British Columbia.

Join AW and support river stewardship nationwide!