Waneta Expansion Generating Station


The Waneta Expansion Generating Station went through a comprehensive harmonized federal/provincial environmental assessment as part of the regulatory approval process for the project. The project was considered to not have any significant negative environmental effects and was expected to produce positive environmental benefits by directing water through the powerhouse instead of spilling it over the Waneta Dam thereby reducing downstream Total Gas Pressure (TGP) levels that can be harmful to fish.

One of the innovative features of this facility is a sturgeon exclusion screen. One of the potential environmental effects of the project was the potential for endangered White sturgeon to swim into the facility when it is offline. As a result, the facility has incorporated a deployable sturgeon exclusion screen as part of its design. The screen deploys when the plant goes down to minimum output.

To ensure that construction activities were carried out in an environmentally-sound manner consistent with the regulatory approvals, a comprehensive Environmental Management Plan was implemented along with monitoring by an independent environmental monitor.

Environmental Programs as a Result of the Waneta Expansion Generating Station project

Waneta Terrestrial Compensation Program (WTCP)

The Waneta Terrestrial Compensation Program (WTCP) provided annual funding to eligible conservation projects located in the Waneta, BC area. The goal of the WTCP was to provide financial support to projects that promoted conservation and restoration of the terrestrial ecosystem through research, physical works, and other “on the ground” or applied projects. The WTCP allocated up to $50,000 annually (for seven years) towards projects within the project area. The program compensated for unavoidable terrestrial impacts related to the construction of the Waneta Expansion Generating facility.

Between 2012 and 2018, project partners Fortis Inc., Columbia Power Corporation and Columbia Basin Trust distributed a total of $350,000 to 37 projects in the Pend d’Oreille. Butterfly and pollinator inventories, research on threatened bird and reptile species and rare plant studies were some of the activities that took place.

View a list of all projects supported through the Waneta Terrestrial Compensation Program between 2012 and 2018 here.

For project reports and other information regarding the Waneta Terrestrial Compensation Program, please contact Michael Hounjet, WTCP Program Manager, at mhounjet@columbiapower.org.

Fort Shepherd Bar Fish Habitat Enhancement Project

This project involved excavating the Fort Shepherd bar as a means of increasing the amount of time the area was wetted, providing shallow water fish habitat. The project offsets increased dewatering of shallow water habitat that is the result of incremental load shaping at the Waneta Expansion facility. The project also eliminated one of the major fish stranding sites in the Columbia River below Trail.


Waneta White Sturgeon Flow Augmentation and Predation Study (WSFAP)

The White Sturgeon Flow Augmentation Program (WSFAP) was initiated by Teck with the Waneta Dam Upgrades and provided a minimum flow requirement during the sturgeon spawning season to reduce the potential for predation on sturgeon eggs during periods of low flow. Enhancements were made to the WSFAP as part of the Waneta Expansion environmental assessment that came into effect when the plant becomes operational.

A six study of predation on white sturgeon eggs was initiated to help assess whether the WSFAP is effective as a means to reduce the effect of egg predation as a potential contributing factor to white sturgeon recruitment failure. The program aimed to establish a relationship between flow and egg predation. An integral part of the program was a continuation of the long running Waneta sturgeon spawn monitoring program.

Waneta Fish Stranding Monitoring Program

This program monitored the incidence of fish and fish egg stranding associated with flow changes at Waneta. The program collected pre-project baseline data. Post project surveys have been conducted after the Waneta Generating Station became operational to assess whether there were any impacts to fish and fish egg stranding from the Waneta Expansion Project.

Waneta Rare Plant Relocation Program

This program involved the collection and culture of rare plants that were unavoidably disturbed within the physical footprint of the project. The plants were either transplanted to a safe location or used in project reclamation. Species included in the project were Spanish Clover, Porcupine Grass, Prairie Rocket, Sutherland’s Larkspur, and Small Headed Tarweed.

Waneta Terrestrial Monitoring Program

This program monitored the effects of the Waneta Expansion Project on the following listed species found in the project area: yellow breasted chats, Lewis’s woodpecker, common nighthawks and herptile road kill. The only yellow breasted chat nesting in the Kootenay Region was found in the area of the transmission line and nesting locations and success were monitored. Lewis Woodpeckers historically nested in one of the project temporary use areas. The nest had not been active for a number of years but individuals were observed in another project area. Monitoring took place on area roads to assess whether project related traffic may have resulted in an increase in road kill, with an emphasis on herptiles at risk, and if so, whether there were any locations where mitigation measures may have been effective.

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