Photo Credit: Wilderness Committee

Saving the Skagit Headwaters

The BC Wildlife Federation has joined more than 110 conservation and recreation groups to oppose the Imperial Metals mining permit for the Skagit Headwaters. The BCWF raised concern last year around plans to clear cut large areas of an unprotected “donut hole” of lands in the Skagit area, which are surrounded by parks and protected areas.

The company proposing to mine in the unprotected area of the Skagit Headwaters, Imperial Metals, was responsible for the infamous Mount Polley mine disaster of 2014, which spilled more than 2.6 billion gallons of toxic sludge into the Fraser River watershed, one of the biggest environmental disasters in Canadian history. The proposed mining activities would include creating access roads, conducting surface exploration drilling with associated water supply and catchment sumps, and mechanical trenching over a five-year period of continued disturbance.

The Skagit headwaters including Manning and Skagit provincial parks supports an amazing amount of important fish and wildlife habitats. The Skagit River is well-loved for its high-quality rainbow trout fly fishing opportunities. Bird enthusiasts know that over 200 species of birds can be found here. The Skagit headwaters also encompass wild landscapes essential to the survival and recovery of vulnerable local wildlife populations such as grizzly bear, spotted owl and bull trout. The proposed mining would not just impact British Columbia’s wilderness but would threaten salmon and orca whale recovery efforts downstream in Washington State. The Skagit River has its source in British Columbia but flows through Washington before reaching the Puget Sound. The Skagit River is a key provider of healthy salmon populations. British Columbia needs to do its part to help protect this invaluable watershed.

“The protection of this area is important not just for the wilderness in British Columbia, but for the aquatic habitat downstream in Washington State. Now is the opportunity to connect this wilderness of international importance that has been delayed for too long,” Bill Bosch, BC Wildlife Federation President.

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