The Outdoor Recreation Council of British Columbia (ORBC) started publishing a list of the most endangered rivers in the province in 2006. This year, the Flathead River is in the #1 spot, as it was in 2007, mostly because of the proposed Cline Coal Mine. An excerpt from today’s press release . . .
The Flathead River, which flows through southeastern BC into Montana, tops British Columbia’s most endangered rivers list for 2009 due to concerns about a controversial proposed open pit coal mine. The Flathead, which was number two on last year’s list, is widely considered one of North America’s wildest and most beautiful waterways. “The Flathead supports important trans-boundary fish populations while also sustaining the highest density of inland grizzly bears anywhere in North America”, said Mark Angelo, Rivers Chair for the Outdoor Recreation Council and an Order of Canada recipient.
Yet, while the US section is protected, the BC stretch faces a number of threats, the most prominent being the proposed Cline open pit coal mine. Given the size and location of the mine in the river’s headwaters, water quality would be impacted and recreational, wildlife and wilderness values would be greatly compromised.
For the full text of the press release and the associated backgrounder document, see the ORBC’s Endangered Rivers page.
UPDATE: Not strictly related to the Canadian Flathead — at least, not yet — but the ORBC is also concerned with the impact of “green” power projects on a number of B.C.’s rivers. The Vancouver Sun has coverage of this issue.