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NEWS: Schedule 2 mine in BC would endanger grizzly bears

The Vancouver Sun reports today that, “Development of the Prosperity gold-copper mine in the Chilcotin would not only destroy extensive fish habitat but would have a ‘significant impact’ on the area’s threatened grizzly population, according to a bear biologist’s study submitted to a federal review panel.”

“Wayne McCrory, a consulting biologist based near New Denver in the West Kootenays, cited the loss of 405 hectares of wetland and 352 hectares of riparian habitat, as well as the certainty for increased mine and recreational traffic along the 50-kilometre mine-access road to kill or displace grizzlies.”

“McCrory, whose list of clients have included the province and municipal governments, said in the report that his findings are based on 40 years of grizzly bear and wildlife experience combined with literature on conservation biology and cumulative effects as well as studies on mine-grizzly interaction. Both the Valhalla Wilderness Society and Friends of Nemaiah Valley supported McCrory’s research in the area.”

“(McCrory) described the grizzly bear population in the West Chilcotin region and South Chilcotin Ranges (site of Taseko’s mine proposal) as the largest residual dryland population left in the Coast Ranges foothills of western North America. Their diet includes salmon, whitebark pine nuts and wild potatoes. The population surrounding the Taseko mine site is down to about 100 animals. ‘This population cannot sustain further habitat losses or increases in human-induced mortality….,’ he writes.”


Vancouver-based Taseko Mines Ltd is proposing to drain Teztan Biny (Fish Lake) in order to stockpile rock waste and use Fish Creek and Little Fish Lake as tailings impoundment areas for a gold-copper mining project called Prosperity Mine. Teztan Biny is home to an estimated 85,000 rainbow trout. The Tsilhqot’in First Nations people have lived in the area for thousands of years. They oppose the environmental destruction being proposed by Taseko Mines and were not consulted by the Province of British Columbia when it approved the project.

The draining of Teztan Biny and the dumping of toxins into Fish Creek and Little Fish Lake are very likely to contaminate the Taseko River, a tributary of the Chilko River which joins the Fraser River. The Fraser River has the largest runs of sockeye salmon in the world and is an important source of food security to First Nations groups within the watershed.

A recommendation by the federal review panel is expected by July 2. The Harper cabinet will then make their decision about the destruction of Teztan Biny.


To sign a petition – supported by the Council of Canadians – to protect Teztan Biny, please go to http://www.protectfishlake.ca/petition.php.

To send a message to federal Environment Minister Jim Prentice that this Schedule 2 exemption in the Fisheries Act must be closed, go to http://canadians.org/action/2010/schedule2.html.


More on the Council of Canadians campaign against the destruction of lakes through Schedule 2, http://canadians.org/water/issues/TIAs/teztan-biny.html.

The Vancouver Sun article is at http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/Mine+could+endanger+grizzly+population+biologist+warns/3130413/story.html#ixzz0qLoCSV00.