The sustainability of the Arrow Lakes Generating Station was recognized by the International Hydropower Association when the project was awarded the Blue Planet Award in 2005. The project has provided positive environmental benefits by directing water through the powerhouse instead of spilling it over the Keensleyside Dam thereby reducing downstream Total Gas Pressure (TGP) levels which are harmful to fish.
A number of post project monitoring studies were conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of various mitigation programs and that the project does not have ongoing negative environmental impacts. The Arrow Lakes Nutrient Restoration Program is ongoing to offset the entrainment of fish through the facility. The reclamation of the project site post construction included the creation of a new 1.4 hectare wetland.
Environmental Programs as a Result of the Arrow Lakes Generating Station
Arrow Lakes Nutrient Restoration Program
Arrow Lakes Power Corporation (ALPC) contributes 25% of the annual cost of this program which is run by the Fish & Wildlife Compensation Program. The program involves the addition of agricultural fertilizer (nitrogen and phosphorus) to the north end of Arrow lakes to provide food for phytoplankton which are the base of the aquatic food chain. A comprehensive monitoring program monitors the response through the different levels of the food chain. ALPC’s goal is to increase Kokanee populations as compensation for fish entrainment losses through the Arrow Lakes Generating Station.
Arrow Lakes Generating Station Sturgeon Monitoring
Columbia Power conducts studies cooperatively with BC Hydro to better understand sturgeon behaviour in the vicinity of the Arrow Lakes Generating Station and the potential impacts of facility operation on sturgeon. There are sonic telemetry receivers placed above and below the Arrow Lakes Generating Station to monitor the movement of sonic tagged sturgeon. In recent years, sturgeon spawning has been identified in the Arrow Lakes Generating Station tailrace and a spawn monitoring program has been initiated. A study to assess whether suitable habitat exists for larval sturgeon downstream of Arrow Lakes Generating Station was initiated in 2012.
These studies are being conducted as a due diligence measure in the absence of a facility Species at Risk Act permit.