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While filling the reservoir will be one of the last activities on the Site C project, clearing the area begins years in advance. We need to remove trees and vegetation from the dam site and the reservoir area. Removing vegetation helps us prepare for river diversion, ensure boater safety, and reduce impacts to dam construction and operations.
We are also clearing along the Highway 29 realignment and transmission line corridor.
To reduce the amount of debris that may end up in the water and at the dam site, we are clearing most of the vegetation within the reservoir footprint as well as an additional five-metre buffer area above the shoreline. Some trees will remain in the lower reaches and on steep slopes where it is unsafe to work. Debris which could impact dam or boater safety is removed, burned, bucked into short logs, chipped or mulched.
We will haul merchantable trees to local mills. Our ability to sell the trees is based on factors such as size, species, and location. Recent closures of local mills and limited road access to some clearing areas have reduced our ability to haul away some of the trees.
To capture any debris that ends up in the water, we’re building debris structures on the Peace River and the Moberly River, which will catch the remaining logs and vegetation. These debris structures will be cleared regularly.
Debris that cannot be removed, mulched or chipped needs to be burned. We carefully plan and monitor all burning. This includes the timing, size and location of the wood piles, and the amount of smoke emitted. We comply with regulatory requirements and the Site C Smoke Management Plan.
Burning can only occur in the fall and winter months during a specific weather condition, known as a venting window. A venting window means that there is enough positive atmospheric pressure and air flow to disperse smoke. We burn during custom venting windows authorized under provincial regulations, specific to Site C.
We monitor weather and air quality at four BC Hydro monitoring stations near Site C. In addition, the Province of B.C. has weather and fine particulate monitoring stations in the Fort St. John area. We share monitoring results with the Province of B.C., which may issue public weather and air quality warnings, if needed.
Safety is our top priority. For the fastest response, any potential wildfire or uncontrolled burn should be immediately reported to the BC Wildfire Service at 1 800 663-5555 or *5555 on a cell phone.