Scientists slam Nelson office closure: Nelson Star

November 29, 2011

By Greg Nesteroff – Nelson Star

More than 40 scientists and land management professionals have signed a letter to BC Hydro? protesting the closure of the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program’s Nelson office.

The letter, dated November 19, and carbon copied to a variety of MLAs, urges Hydro to change its mind about shutting the office, which is expected to take place by the end of January, putting several people out of work.

The closure is in response to a government-commissioned panel that suggested Hydro should reduce staff rather than increase rates. The Crown corporation says fish and wildlife programs will continue to be delivered, but will rely more heavily on community groups to carry out the work.

However, the signatories to the letter — who include biologists, foresters, geologists and agrologists — say they have grave concerns about the cuts.

“Most of our group has worked with various members of the staff of the [program],” the letter reads. “We have found the role played by those staff has been essential to accomplishing the goals and legal requirements of compensating for the impacts of hydroelectric dams in the Columbia Basin.”

The letter further states that many compensation projects “would not have been as effective (or in some cases even possible) without local scientific staff.”

“These roles bring compensation benefits well beyond those that accrue from one-off projects funded from a distance. Loss of these vital roles will compromise a wide range of basin-based initiatives and their associated benefits,” the letter says.

Read the rest of the story at the Nelson Star website…

Read the full letter from the scientists and land management professionals here…