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Friday, December 10, 2010

The "small hydro" gold-rush begins in earnest - help us save Barclay Creek

Barclay Creek is a pristine west-side creek flowing out of Barclay Lake into the Skykomish River at about the town of Baring. As anyone who's been to the popular Lake knows, the creek valley up to the end of the road was logged in the 50s but a respectable stand of 2nd growth has grown back and the creek itself has never been tampered with.

Now the small-hydro industry has it in their sights to divert some portion of the creek flow into turbines.

NCCC has joined other major environmental organizations as American Whitewater, Hydropower Reform Coalition, American Rivers, Alpine Lakes Protection Society, and The Mountaineers in a MOTION TO INTERVENE IN OPPOSITION to the Commission’s November 9, 2010 Notice of Acceptance for the Barclay Creek Preliminary Permit Application.

You can read the permit application here:

Other permits were recently filed for similar projects on Ruth, Swamp and Martin Creeks in the North Cascades. The gold-rush has begun. Let's work together to keep our pristine watersheds.

Marc Bardsley, President of NCCC, made the following comments in the Winter 09-10 issue of The Wild Cascades:
Small-scale hydro projects that many consider to be “green” are in fact likely to be developed in our more undeveloped mountainous areas, particularly near existing power transmission lines. The necessary construction of roads, power-line corridors, and unavoidable aquatic impacts, etc., is certainly a threat to our pristine forests. Due to changing climate, there is likely to be a large demand for water impoundments for crops, primarily east of the Cascade crest, and
for drinking water reservoirs in the western areas near urban developments (think Middle Fork Snoqualmie). In fact, a proposal for a dam on the Similkameen River just east of the Pasayten Wilderness is now being circulated.

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