BC Hydro to take down one generator and increase flow down Elk Falls Canyon six-fold

Public is warned to stay away from the Campbell River upstream of Elk Falls and in the canyon

BC Hydro needs to temporarily take one of the five operating generators within the John Hart generating station off-line due to equipment issues.

Out of consideration for downstream fish habitat and to keep areas watered during the planned generator outage, BC Hydro will increase the water release down Elk Falls Canyon by nearly six-fold. For safety’s sake, the public is asked to stay away from Elk Falls and the Elk Falls Canyon from tonight through Jan. 5.

Related: Equipment issue requires partial shutdown of Campbell River’s John Hart generating station

Generally, a flow rate of about 80 cubic metres per second (m3/s) fully covers the fish habitat in the Campbell River, BC Hydro spokesperson Stephen Watson says.

“However, with the gravel movement in the riverbeds from the record-breaking fall 2016 storms, there is some gravel dewatering and formation of isolated pools at higher flow rates. We are finding that some fish habitat can now be isolated or exposed when flow rates go below about 95 m3/s. The current Campbell River flow below the generating station is about 105 m3/s and this will be maintained,” Watson said.

People can view Elk Falls from the safety of the suspension bridge. The flow rate over the falls will increase from 4 m3/s to about 24 m3/s through Jan. 5.