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Uncertainty Upstream

Potential Threats from Tailings Facility Failures in Northern British Columbia
June 2015

BC First Nations Energy and Mining Council
1764 – 1959 Marine Drive
North Vancouver, BC
V7P 3G1
Canada

Photo by David Nunuk

Cover photo: Taku Headwaters
Cover photo credit: David Nunuk

GIS provided by Spatial Support Systems

All content is © BC First Nations Energy and Mining Council

Table of Contents
Foreword. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Executive Summary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Primary GIS Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Summary of Findings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Appendix I: Tailings Pond Facilities — Number and Type. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
Appendix II: Waterways, Watersheds, and Tailings Ponds. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Appendix III: First Nations Communities and Tailings Ponds. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
Appendix IV: Settlements and Tailings Ponds. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Appendix V: Anadromous Fish and Tailings Ponds. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
Appendix VI: Regional Detail Map Series. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
Endnotes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38

Page 1

Photo by David Nunuk

Page 2

Foreword
Many look to the landscapes of British Columbia and see vast, unoccupied lands rich with
resources that are free for the taking. However, for First Nations in British Columbia, these
lands have been occupied since time immemorial and their riches cannot be counted treeby-tree, fish-by-fish, or stone-by-stone. Instead, the wealth of these landscapes can only be
known through the relationships between the people, the lands, and the waters. It is because
of the knowledge of these relationships that First Nations in British Columbia assume a
responsibility in deciding how the lands and resources in British Columbia are to be used.
Unfortunately, capacity to participate as equal partners in decision-making is low among
British Columbia’s more than 200 First Nations communities. However, lack of capacity can no
longer be an excuse for governments and industry to exclude First Nations from the decisionmaking table. Nor can we as indigenous peoples afford to watch from the sidelines as others
make decisions that will affect our communities, lands and resources both today and in the
future.
Perhaps nothing better illustrates this than the catastrophic failure of the tailings dam at
Mount Polley. Expected to last in perpetuity, the tailings dam breach released 25 million
cubic metres of mine waste into the receiving environment. The disaster not only devastated
communities living downstream but also triggered anxiety in government, industry experts,
shareholders and, most especially, communities living downstream of major tailings facilities
across the province as everyone wondered, “Could a similar event happen again?”
Following the investigation into the Mount Polley disaster by an expert panel, we now know
that without significant changes to the current mining practices, in British Columbia
alone we can expect two tailings dam failures every 10 years.
With this latest disaster occurring on August 4, 2014, the clock continues ticking down
reminding us we no longer have the luxury of time. We do, however, have an opportunity
to make lasting change and ensure that no community will ever face the same devastation
experienced by the communities downstream of Mount Polley. This will demand a
commitment to work together with government and industry in order to change past
practices that can impact, sometimes irreversibly, the homes and livelihoods of First Nations.

Page 3

Executive Summary
Since the failure of the Mount Polley tailings facility in August, 2014, there has been increased
awareness of the long-term risks from potential failures of tailings facilities to the fish, wildlife,
and general ecology of downstream rivers and lakes and the communities that depend on
them. This GIS-based analysis of northern British Columbia and southeast Alaska (starting
at Mount Polley and extending north to the Yukon border) shows the streams, rivers, lakes,
and wetlands that would be impacted by a failure in existing tailings facilities, the special
habitats for salmon and other fish and wildlife within the potentially impacted areas, and the
First Nations communities and other cities and settlements that could be affected by future
tailings failures.
The analysis includes 35 tailings ponds at 26 mine site locations in northern British
Columbia (from Mount Polley to the Yukon border). The mines encompassed in this area are
listed in Appendix I and include Red Chris, Endako, Mount Milligan, Yellowjacket, and others.
A total of 8,678 kilometres of streams, rivers, and lakes lie downstream of the flow paths
of contaminants that would result from failures in the 35 tailings ponds facilities within the
selected area. Of this total, 3,275 kilometres are immediately downstream of these tailings
facilities and 5,403 kilometres are further downstream where the contaminants could
eventually reach.
Within the selected area, there are 33 First Nations communities in watersheds that could
be impacted by failures in the 35 tailings facilities, including 17 (52%) that would be within
watersheds impacted by immediate flow paths of contaminants. Additional First Nations
communities further upstream of potential contaminant flow paths may also be affected
because of impacts to migrating fish that could be impacted downstream of a tailings facility
failure.
There are 208 additional cities and settlements within watersheds that would be
impacted by downstream flow from failures of tailings facilities — 69 in watersheds that would
receive immediate contaminant flows from failures in tailings facilities and 139 in watersheds
that would receive eventual contaminant flows.

Page 4

The amount of identified important anadromous fish habitat potentially impacted by a
failure of the 35 tailings ponds is significant. The total kilometres of habitat downstream of
tailings pond facilities is listed by species, along with additional habitat upstream of potential
contaminant flow paths (access requiring migrating through potential flow paths).





Chinook Salmon: 2,575 km (10,238 additional km upstream of flow paths)
Chum Salmon: 1,229 km (1,207 additional km upstream of flow paths)
Coho Salmon: 2,184 km (6,123 additional km upstream of flow paths)
Pink Salmon: 1,512 km (2,015 additional km upstream of flow paths)
Sockeye Salmon: 2,735 km (5,910 additional km upstream of flow paths)
Steelhead: 1,229 km (3,085 additional km upstream of flow paths)

Because mining activities take place on Indigenous peoples’ traditional lands and
disproportionately impact Indigenous communities, the principle of free, prior and informed
consent must be applied in advance of mining operations, from exploration through all
phases of development, including post-closure. Project planning must engage and be led by
the communities which are most connected with these landscapes.
A high priority should be placed on protecting entire river, lake, and wetland ecosystems
from industrial activities and impacts. A renewed focus on establishing headwater to mouth
watershed protected areas for river systems with full complements of migratory fish is needed
to compensate for freshwater habitat and biodiversity lost and impaired in other watersheds.
Protected areas should encompass watersheds and waterways to ensure that rivers remain
unfragmented and hydrological flows remain unimpaired.
Mining companies and government entities should ensure that communities impacted by
mining activity secure lasting, long-term economic benefits that enhance community health
and sustainability. Communities and the public should be protected by funding mechanisms
against unanticipated post mine-closure impacts or financial burdens for clean-up and
remediation.

Page 5

Introduction
Northern British Columbia is one of the most visually stunning and ecologically vibrant
regions in North America. From dramatic snow-capped mountains to lush river valleys
and majestic lakes, this still largely pristine region harbors a rich variety of wildlife that has
sustained indigenous peoples for thousands of years.
Rivers such as the Stikine, Nass, and Skeena — the origins of which form what is often called
the Sacred Headwaters — as well as many others provide large networks of salmon and
steelhead spawning habitat that have not been heavily altered, blocked, or degraded by
human activities.1 These migratory fish provide sustenance and income for many northern
First Nations communities and provide a healthy supply of fish for the major fisheries in
southeast Alaska and coastal British Columbia.
These fish populations also constitute a critical food source for the grizzly bear and form an
integral part of the biological food web. Anadromous fish like salmon and steelhead have
been found to reallocate considerable amounts of sea-born nutrients to the inland aquatic
communities upstream where they breed as well as to the terrestrial environments in those
watersheds via predatory birds and mammals.2 And although the British Columbia interior
has witnessed heavier industrial disturbance levels than northern regions of some provinces,
the intricate networks of rivers and lakes throughout the region continue to provide critical
spawning habitat for the well-known Fraser River salmon run.
Northern British Columbia is also increasingly being viewed as one of North America’s next
great mining boom regions. The opening of numerous large mining projects as well as the
construction of the Northwest Transmission Line, which was built primarily to provide energy
for large industrial projects in northwestern British Columbia,3 has led to projections of as
much as a 300 percent increase in mining output in northern British Columbia between 2011
and 2020. This would make it the fastest expansion of mining output of any northern mineral
region in all of Canada.4
Indicative of this dichotomy in what defines northern British Columbia, the headwaters of
the Stikine, Nass, and Skeena Rivers may be described as the ‘Golden Triangle’ by a mining
executive or the ‘Sacred Headwaters’ by an ecologist or First Nations member.

Page 6

Tailings pond failure at Mount Polley

Photo: Canadian Press/Jonathan Hayward

Page 7

The catastrophic failure of a tailings storage facility at Mount Polley in August, 2014, not only
shocked citizens of nearby cities, settlements, and First Nations communities, it caught the
attention of the entire nation. An independent review of the tailings dam breach found the
incident occurred due to structural flaws and failure to detect a weak layer in the structure’s
foundation.5 In response, the Government of British Columbia ordered all mining companies
with tailings facilities to investigate whether similar foundation materials are present and
moved to implement new requirements to establish independent review boards for tailings dams.6
Even with the implementation of stricter guidelines and more thorough reviews, however,
there is simply no guarantee that another incident similar to Mount Polley will not occur in the
future. In fact, an appendix in the official report on Mount Polley estimated that an average
of two failures would occur per decade within the province.7 A catalogue of dangerous
occurrences at mining operations across the province, released publicly by the Vancouver
Sun, contained 49 occurrences documented between 2000 and 2012, including a breach of
a dike, leaked tailings, and the discovery of sinkholes, among others.8 A major earthquake
or other unpredictable environmental event could increase both the likelihood and severity
of a future incident and make an existing disaster exponentially worse, both socially and
ecologically.
The nature and extent of potential future tailings facility failures depends on the geology
of the region and the magnitude of the failure. A synthesis of submissions to the Chief
Inspector’s Orders found that of the 50 dams reviewed and classified by the time of
publication, 29 were found to have either high, very high, or extreme potential for
environmental and cultural value lossesi or populations at riskii upon failure.9
The concentrations of toxins in many tailings ponds are highly deleterious to fish and aquatic
life and can leave streams and rivers absent of most living creatures in extreme cases, such as
a major breach of a tailings dam.10 This analysis focuses on potential threats to the cities and
communities of northern British Columbia — both indigenous and non-indigenous — as well
as spawning and migratory habitat of anadromous fish populations (salmon and steelhead) in
the event of future tailings facility failures.
i  Classifications of definitions pertaining to environmental and cultural values: High = Significant loss, restoration
highly possible; Very high = Significant loss, restoration possible but impractical; Extreme = Major loss of critical
habitat, restoration impossible.
ii  The population at risk is ordinarily located in the dam-breach inundation zone (e.g., as permanent residents);
three consequence classes (high, very high, extreme) are proposed to allow for more detailed estimates of potential
loss of life (to assist in decision-making if the appropriate analysis is carried out).

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It is not intended to imply that all of the tailings facilities analyzed will at some point fail;
rather, it is meant to provide a comprehensive summary of potential threats from future
tailings facility failures in Northern British Columbia, as well as act a cautionary exercise for
future planning given the increase in interest and capacity for future mining operations
throughout the region.
Strathnaver
Raush Valley

Cinema
Greening

Moose
Heights

Cottonwood
River Beaver Pass House

Cotwood

Lhtako
Dene

Stanley

Wingdam
Coldspring House

Quesnel
Rich Bar

Gravelle Ferry

Australian

?Esdilagh
First
Nation
Castle Rock

Barkerville

Cottonwood

Barlow

Baker

Wells

Quesnel Forks

Alexandria

Marguerite

Gibraltar

Likely

Hydraulic

Mount Polley

Quesnel River

Macalister

Xatśūll
(Soda Creek)

Hargreaves

Twan Creek

Horsefly

Miocene

Pine Valley

Comer

Williams Lake

Sugarcane

Tailings Storage Facilities

First Nations’ Communities

Medium / Large Cities

First Nations’ Reserves

Settlements / Communities

Highways

Source: Esri, DigitalGlobe, GeoEye, i-cubed, USDA, USGS, AEX, Getmapping, Aerogrid, IGN, IGP, swisstopo, and the GIS User Community

Watersheds Immediately Impacted
By Flows Originating From Tailings
Storage Facilities

Hydrologic Flow Paths Below
Tailings Storage Facilities and
Affected Wetlands and Lakes

Watersheds Potentially Impacted
By Flows Originating From Tailings
Storage Facilities

Salmon and Steelhead Habitat
Upstream From Impacts

Immediate Impacts to Salmon
and Steelhead Habitat

Map 1: Full extent of eventual contaminant flow path from Mount Polley, as well as potential future flow
paths in the event of a failure at Gibraltar or other mines upstream of Quesnel.

Page 9

Primary GIS Analysis

Yellowjacket

Cassiar-McDame

Taurus Gold

Table Mountain Cusac

Fort Nelson

Juneau
Golden
Bear
Red Chris
Lawyers/Cheni
Shasta/Multinational
B & Baker Mill

Snip

Kemess South

Johnny Mountain Eskay Creek

Fort St. John

Premier Gold Project
Red Mountain/Jumbo

Bell

Terrace
Prince Rupert
Kitimat

Smithers

Mount Milligan

Granisle

Bullmoose

Wolverine Coal
Quinette

Pinchi Lake

Equity Silver
Endako

!

AREA
OF MAP DETAIL
!

Prince George

Huckleberry

!

!

!

Quesnel

!

Gibraltar

!

!

!
!

Mount Polley

!

Data sources: BC ILMB, Geobase, Geogratis, SRTM, ESRI
Map produced by: Rick Tingey, Spatial Support Systems, March 2015
Sources: Esri, GEBCO, NOAA, National Geographic, Delorme, NAVTEQ, Geonames.org, and other contributors
Source: Esri, DigitalGlobe, GeoEye, i-cubed, USDA, USGA, AEX, Getmapping, Aerogrid, IGN, IGP, swisstopo, and the GIS User Community

Tailings Storage Facilities

First Nations’ Communities

Medium / Large Cities

First Nations’ Reserves

Settlements / Communities

Highways

Watersheds Immediately Impacted
By Flows Originating From Tailings
Storage Facilities

Hydrologic Flow Paths Below
Tailings Storage Facilities and
Affected Wetlands and Lakes

Watersheds Potentially Impacted
By Flows Originating From Tailings
Storage Facilities

Salmon and Steelhead Habitat
Upstream From Impacts

Immediate Impacts to Salmon
and Steelhead Habitat

Map 2: The full extent of contaminant flow paths in the event of future tailings pond facility failures within
Northern British Columbia and Southeast Alaska. Because definitions of Northern British Columbia vary
depending on political, popular, or ecological context, this analysis encompassed a broad interpretation,
beginning at Mount Polley to the south and ending at the Yukon border to the north.

Page 10

Summary of Findings
All figures are representative of the area analyzed and are estimates based on the best
available GIS sources. For practical purposes and due to the fact that they are isolated from
these waterways and watersheds, islands off the coast of British Columbia were not included.
Tailings Facilities Analyzed:
• 35 tailings facilities at 26 mining operation sites were analyzed.
• Commodities mined and status vary by mine and tailings facility.
• Most sites featured one tailings facility, however some featured two or more.

Potential Waterways Affected:
• A total of 8,678 kilometres of creek, river, and lake habitat are downstream of tailings facilities.
• 3,275 kilometres of habitat is immediately downstream (within same watershed of facility).
• 5,403 kilometres of habitat is further downstream (within watersheds downstream of
watershed where the tailings facility is located).

Potential Watersheds Affected:




A total of 48 watersheds contain or are downstream of a tailings facility.
Tailings facilities occur in 19 distinct watersheds.
An additional 29 watersheds lie downstream of immediately affected watersheds.
83% of potentially affected watersheds contain or are downstream of more than one facility.
52% of potentially affected watersheds contain or are downstream of more than four or more
facilities.
• 29% of the watersheds within the entire analyzed region contain or are downstream of a
tailings facility overall.

Potential First Nations Communities Affected:
• A total of 33 primary First Nations communities are in watersheds containing or downstream
of tailings facilities.
• 62% of primary First Nations communities within the entire analyzed region are in watersheds
containing or downstream of tailings facilities overall.
• Of communities in potentially affected watersheds, 94% are within 20 kilometres of a potential
contaminant flow path.
• An additional two communities — McLeod Lake First Nation and Williams Lake First Nation — ​
are in other watersheds but are within 20 kilometres of a potential contaminant flow path.

Potential Cities and Settlements Affected:
• A total of 208 cities and settlements are in watersheds containing or downstream of tailings
facilities.
• Of cities and settlements in potentially affected watersheds, 82% are within 20 kilometres of a
potential contaminant flow path.
• Six out of the 10 largest population centres in the area analyzed are in watersheds featuring
or downstream of tailings facilities, or are within 20 kilometres of a potential contaminant
flow path (Fort St. John, Prince George, Quesnel, Smithers, Terrace, and Williams Lake). Prince
Rupert is also close to a potential contaminant flow path at 22 kilometres.

Page 11

Potentially Affected Andadromous Fish Species:
Chinook Salmon:
• 2,575 kilometres of Chinook Salmon habitat is downstream of a tailings facility.
• 10,238 kilometres of Chinook Salmon habitat would require migrating through a potential
contaminant flow path.
• 80% of Chinook Salmon overall habitat is either downstream of a tailings facility or would
require migrating through a potential contaminant flow path.

Chum Salmon:
• 1,229 kilometres of Chum Salmon habitat is downstream of a tailings facility.
• 1,207 kilometres of Chum Salmon habitat would require migrating through a potential
contaminant flow path.
• 47% of Chum Salmon overall habitat is either downstream of a tailings facility or would
require migrating through a potential contaminant flow path.

Coho Salmon:
• 2,184 kilometres of Coho Salmon habitat is downstream of a tailings facility.
• 6,132 kilometres of Coho Salmon habitat would require migrating through a potential
contaminant flow path.
• 58% of Coho Salmon overall habitat is either downstream of a tailings facility or would
require migrating through a potential contaminant flow path.

Page 12

Pink Salmon:
• 1,512 kilometres of Pink Salmon habitat is downstream of a tailings facility.
• 2,015 kilometres of Pink Salmon habitat would require migrating through a potential
contaminant flow path.
• 53% of Pink Salmon overall habitat is either downstream of a tailings facility or would
require migrating through a potential contaminant flow path.

Sockeye Salmon:
• 2,735 kilometres of Sockeye Salmon habitat is downstream of a tailings facility.
• 5,910 kilometres of Sockeye Salmon habitat would require migrating through a potential
contaminant flow path.
• 79% of Sockeye Salmon overall habitat is either downstream of a tailings facility or would
require migrating through a potential contaminant flow path.

Steelhead:
• 1,229 kilometres of Steelhead habitat is downstream of a tailings facility.
• 3,085 kilometres of Steelhead habitat would require migrating through a potential
contaminant flow path.
• 66% of Steelhead overall habitat is either downstream of a tailings facility or would require
migrating through a potential contaminant flow path.

Page 13

Appendix I: Tailings Pond Facilities — Number and Type
This analysis covers 35 tailings facilities at 26 mining operation sites. Most mining sites only
feature one tailings facility. However, some sites feature more than one. Endako features
the most with three tailings facilities. Many of the mines featured in this analysis feature
compositions most often associated with acid rock drainage, including coal, copper (Cu), gold
(Au), silver (Ag), zinc (Zn), and lead (Pb).
Mines and tailing facilities included in this analysis range from closed (non-operational
but still containing contamination risks), to care and maintenance (open but inactive), to
operating and under construction.
Table 1: Tailings Pond Facilities Featured
Mine Name

Company

Status

Tailings

Commodity

Watershed Name

Bell

Glencore Canada Corporation

Closed

1

Cu, Ag, Au, Zn, Pb, Mo

Babine Lake

Bullmoose

Teck Coal

Closed

1

Metallurgical coal

Murray River

Cassiar-McDame

Cassiar Jade Contracting Inc.

Closed

1

Ab, Ch, Jd, Gs, Mg

Middle Dease River

Endako

Thompson Creek Metals

Operating

3

Mo

Francois Lake

Equity Silver

Goldcorp

Closed

1

Ag, Cu, Au, Sb, As

Bulkley River

Eskay Creek

Barrick Gold Inc

Closed

1

Au, Ag, Zn, Cu, Pb

Unuk River

Gibraltar

Taseko Mines Ltd.

Operating

1

Cu, Mo

Narcosli Creek

Golden Bear

North American Metals Corporation

Closed

1

Au, Ag, Cu, Sb

Sheslay River

Granisle

Glencore Canada Corporation

Closed

2

Cu, Ag, Au, Mo

Babine Lake

Huckleberry

Huckleberry Mines Ltd.

Operating

2

Cu, Mo, Ag, Au

Upper Nechako Reservoir

Johnny Mountain

Skyline Gold

Closed

1

Au, Ag, Cu, Pb, Zn

Lower Iskut River

Kemess South

AuRico Gold Inc.

Closed

1

Cu, Au, Mo, Ag

Firesteel River

Lawyers/Cheni

Cheni Resources Inc.

Closed

1

Au, Ag, Cu, Zn, Pb

Toodoggone River

Mount Milligan

Thompson Creek Metals

Operating

1

Au, Cu, Ag, Pb, Zn

Nation River

Mount Polley

Imperial Metals

Operating

1

Au, Ag, Cu

Quesnel River

Pinchi Lake

Teck

Closed

2

Hg

Stuart Lake

Premier Gold Project

Boliden

Closed

1

Au, Ag, Pb, Zn, Cu, Cd

Unuk River

Care and Maintenance

Quintette

Teck Coal

2

Metallurgical coal

Murray River

Red Chris

Red Chris Development Company Ltd. Construction

1

Cu, Au, Ag, Pb, Zn, Mo

Upper Iskut River

Red Mountain/Jumbo

Ministry of Energy and Mines

Closed

1

Au, Ag, Zn, Pb, Cu

Kshwan River

Care and Maintenance

2

Au, Ag, Zn, Cu, Pb

Toodoggone River

Shasta/Multinational B
Sable Resources Ltd.
& Baker Mill
Snip

Barrick Gold Inc

Closed

1

Au, Ag, Zn, Cu, Pb

Lower Iskut River

Table Mountain/Cusac

Cassiar Gold Corp

Care and Maintenance

2

Au, Ag, Zn, Pb, Cu, Sb, Bi, Cd

Dease Lake

Taurus Gold

Cassiar Gold Corp

Closed

1

Au, Ag, Zn, Cu

Middle Dease River

Wolverine Coal

Walter Energy

Operating

1

Hard coking coal (HCC)

Murray River

Yellowjacket

Yellow Jacket Resources Ltd.

Care and Maintenance

2

Au

Atlin Lake

Page 14

Appendix II: Waterways, Watersheds, and Tailings Ponds
The most immediately affected areas in the event of a tailings facility failure is the area directly
below the impoundment and the creeks, rivers, lakes along the continued drainage route
of the tailings and associated contaminants (referred in this analysis as a contaminant flow
path). Because impacts to downstream habitats are generally highest closer to the source of
the contaminants, potential contaminant flow paths at both the drainage extent and broader
watershed level were delineated into ‘immediate’ and ‘eventual’ based on the likely magnitude
of contamination.
Overall, more than 3,200 kilometres of creek, river, and lake habitat are immediately
downstream of tailings facilities in the area analyzed, while an additional 5,400 kilometres
of waterways are further downstream (once the contamination reaches the next adjoining
watershed). In total, more than 8,600 kilometres of aquatic river and stream habitat are
potentially at risk.
Table 2: Length of Potentially Affected Habitat in Immediate
Watersheds and in Additional Watersheds Downstream
Habitat

Length

Immediate Watersheds

3274.9

Watersheds Downstream

5403.2

Total

8678.2

Due to the interconnected nature of aquatic health and wildlife within watersheds as well as
the broad geographic range of human reliance on the streams, rivers, and lakes contained in
them, threats from tailings facility failures cannot be looked at solely in terms of where the
contaminants would flow directly.
Watersheds in which tailings ponds are embedded would typically experience the worst
effects from contamination upon a tailings failure. However, adverse effects are expected in
watersheds adjoining the immediately impacted watershed depending on the volume and
extent of contamination and the specific hydrology of that region. Additionally, impacts from
contamination in spawning habitat for populations of anadromous fish could impact the
well being of communities and biodiversity that depend on them throughout their entire
migratory range.

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Within the area analyzed, a total of 48 watersheds either contain or are downstream of
tailings facilities. Nineteen distinct watersheds contain tailings facilities while an additional
29 watersheds lie downstream of tailings facilities. Nearly one in three watersheds (48 of 165)
either contain or lie downstream of tailings pond facilities overall.iii
Ten watersheds contain more than one tailings pond facility, with Murray River (upstream
of Fort St. John) containing the most with four. A total of 40 watersheds contain or
are downstream of more than one tailings facility, while 25 watersheds contain or are
downstream of four or more separate tailings pond facilities, with Twan Creek downstream of
the most at nine (including Mount Polley).
Table 3: Watersheds Containing or Downstream of Tailings Pond Facilities
Watershed

Tailings
Within

Mine Names

Atlin Lake

2

Yellowjacket (2)

Babine Lake

3

Bell, Granisle (2)

Babine River

Tailings
Upstream

Mine Names

3

Bell, Granisle (2)

4

Cassiar-McDame, Table Mountain/Cusac (2), Taurus Gold

Cheslatta River

2

Huckleberry (2)

Coal River

4

Cassiar-McDame, Table Mountain/Cusac (2), Taurus Gold

7

Endako (3), Huckleberry (2), Pinchi Lake (2)

Dease River

4

Cassiar-McDame, Table Mountain/Cusac (2), Taurus Gold

Dunedin River

4

Cassiar-McDame, Table Mountain/Cusac (2), Taurus Gold

Finlay Arm

5

Kemess South, Lawyers/Cheni, Mount Milligan, Shasta/Multinational B
& Baker Mill (2)

Finlay River

4

Kemess South, Lawyers/Cheni, Shasta/Multinational B & Baker Mill (2)

Inklin River

1

Golden Bear

Iskut River

1

Red Chris

Kalum River

4

Bell, Equity Silver, Granisle (2)

Kispiox River

4

Bell, Equity Silver, Granisle (2)

1

Premier Gold Project

4

Cassiar-McDame, Table Mountain/Cusac (2), Taurus Gold

7

Endako (3), Huckleberry (2), Pinchi Lake (2)

1

Red Chris

2

Huckleberry (2)

Beaver River
Bulkley River

1

Equity Silver

Cottonwood River
Dease Lake

2

Table Mountain/Cusac (2)

Firesteel River

1

Kemess South

Francois Lake

3

Endako (3)

Kshwan River

1

Red Mountain/Jumbo

Liard River
Lower Chilako River
Lower Iskut River
Lower Nechako Reservoir

2

Johnny Mountain, Snip

iii  Watersheds are based on British Columbia’s 1:50,000 Watershed Atlas.
Available at: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/fish/watershed_atlas_maps/ (Accessed April 2015).

Page 16

Table 3 (continued): Watersheds Containing or Downstream of Tailings Pond Facilities
Watershed

Tailings
Within

Mine Names

Tailings
Upstream

Mine Names

Lower Peace River

9

Bullmoose, Kemess South, Lawyers/Cheni, Mount Milligan, Quintette
(2), Shasta/Multinational B & Baker Mill (2), Wolverine Coal

Lower Skeena River

4

Bell, Equity Silver, Granisle (2)

Lower Stikine River

3

Johnny Moutain, Red Chris, Snip

2

Table Mountain/Cusac (2)

8

Endako (3), Huckleberry (2), Mount Polley, Pinchi Lake (2)

Nechako River

5

Endako (3), Huckleberry (2)

Parsnip Arm

5

Kemess South, Lawyers/Cheni, Mount Milligan, Shasta/Multinational B
& Baker Mill (2)

Peace Arm

5

Kemess South, Lawyers/Cheni, Mount Milligan, Shasta/Multinational B
& Baker Mill (2)

4

Bullmoose, Quintette (2), Wolverine Coal

Stuart River

2

Pinchi Lake (2)

Tabor River

7

Endako (3), Huckleberry (2), Pinchi Lake (2)

1

Kemess South

2

Yellowjacket (2)

9

Endako (3), Gibraltar, Huckleberry (2), Mount Polley, Pinchi Lake (2)

4

Cassiar-McDame, Table Mountain/Cusac (2), Taurus Gold

5

Kemess South, Lawyers/Cheni, Mount Milligan, Shasta/Multinational B
& Baker Mill (2)

Middle Dease River

2

Cassiar-McDame, Taurus
Gold

Murray River

4

Bullmoose, Quintette (2),
Wolverine Coal

Narcosli Creek

1

Gibraltar

Nation River

1

Mount Milligan

Pine River
Quesnel River

1

Mount Polley

Sheslay River

1

Golden Bear

Stuart Lake

2

Pinchi Lake (2)

Toodoggone River

3

Lawyers/Cheni, Shasta/
Multinational B & Baker
Mill (2)

Tutshi River
Twan Creek
Unuk River

2

Eskay Creek, Premier Gold
Project

Upper Iskut River

1

Red Chris

Upper Liard River
Upper Nechako Reservoir
Upper Peace River

2

Huckleberry (2)

Page 17

Appendix III: First Nations Communities and Tailings Ponds
First Nations throughout northern British Columbia are well aware of the impacts and
threats from mining operations. In many cases, First Nations are provided few of the
economic benefits from operations despite being among those most affected in the event of
environmental threats and disasters.
Even in cases where Impact Benefit Agreements have been signed with First Nations closest
to mines, the health and livelihood of communities further downstream can also be impacted
from tailings failures despite receiving little economic benefit from a mine. Many communities
are heavily reliant on fish as both a means for sustenance and for economic gain so that
negative impacts to fisheries can be a major problem for the community.
Within the area analyzed, nearly two out of three primary First Nations communitiesiv (33
of 53) are located in a watershed either featuring or downstream of tailings pond facilities
(17 in watersheds featuring facilities, 16 in watersheds downstream of facilities). Of these
communities, more than nine in ten (31 of 33) are within 20 kilometres of the potential
contaminant flow path directly. An additional two First Nations communities (McLeod Lake
and Williams Lake) are located in watersheds outside of potential contaminant flow paths but
are still within 20 kilometres of a potential contaminant flow path.

iv  First Nations communities are based on datasets provided by Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development
Canada. Each First Nation point represents its office address as it is registered in Aboriginal Affairs and Northern
Development Canada (AANDC) or Band Governance Management System (BGMS). When the First Nation office is
located outside its associated reserve boundary, adjustments are made to relocate the point within the boundaries
of the most populated site (First Nation reserve/settlement/village with the largest population out of all reserves/
settlements/ villages belonging to that First Nation) when applicable.

Page 18

Table 4: First Nations Communities and Watersheds
Name

Watershed

Tailings in
Watershed

?Esdilagh First Nation

Twan Creek

Cheslatta Carrier

Francois Lake

3

Dease River

Middle Dease River

2

Tailings Upstream

Within 20-km

9

Yes
Yes

2

Yes

Gitanmaax

Kispiox River

4

Yes

Gitanyow

Kispiox River

4

Yes

Gitsegukla

Kispiox River

4

Yes

Gitwangak

Kispiox River

4

Yes

Hagwilget Village

Bulkley River

1

Yes

Iskut

Upper Iskut River

1

Yes

Kispiox

Kispiox River

4

Yes

Kitselas

Kalum River

4

Yes

Kitsumkalum

Kalum River

4

Yes

Kwadacha

Toodoggone River

3

1

Yes

Lake Babine

Francois Lake

3

Lheidli T'enneh

Tabor River

Lhtako Dene

Narcosli Creek

1

Moricetown

Bulkley River

1

Nadleh Whut’en

Nechako River

Nak'azdli

Stuart Lake

2

Nee-Tahi-Buhn

Francois Lake

3

Saik'uz

Nechako River

5

Yes

Saulteau

Upper Peace River

5

No

Sik-e-dakh (Glen Vowell)

Kispiox River

4

Yes

Yes
7

Yes

8

Yes

Yes
5

Yes
Yes
Yes

Skin Tyee

Francois Lake

3

Yes

Stellat'en

Francois Lake

3

Yes

Taku River Tlingit

Atlin Lake

2

Yes

Tl'azt'en

Stuart Lake

2

Yes

Tsay Keh Dene

Finlay Arm

Ts'il Kaz Koh (Burns Lake)

Francois Lake

West Moberly

Upper Peace River

Wet'suwet'en

Francois Lake

Xatśūll (Soda Creek)

Twan Creek

Yekooche

Stuart Lake

5
3

Yes
5

No

Yes

3
9
2

Yes

Yes
Yes

Page 19

Appendix IV: Settlements and Tailings Ponds
In addition to First Nations communities, more than 200 settlements throughout northern
British Columbia are at risk of a potential tailings storage facility failure. Settlements included
in this analysis range from medium-sized cities to unincorporated areas with relatively small
populations.
Within the area analyzed, 208 additional settlements are located in a watershed in which
a tailings facility is embedded or in adjoining downstream watersheds (69 in watersheds
in which tailings are embedded, 139 in adjoining watersheds downstream of facilities). Of
these settlements, more than four in five (170 of 208) are within 20 kilometres of the direct
potential contaminant flow path. At least 21 additional settlements (including Fort St. John
and Williams Lake) are located in watersheds outside of potential contaminant flow paths but
are still within 20 kilometres of a potential contaminant flow path.
Of the ten largest population centres within this analysis, two are in a watershed featuring
tailings pond facilities (Smithers and Quesnel), two are in watersheds downstream of tailings
pond facilities (Prince George and Terrace), and two are located in watersheds outside of
potential contaminant flow paths but are still within 20 kilometres of a potential contaminant
flow path (Fort St. John and Williams Lake). Additionally, Prince Rupert is also close to a
potential contaminant flow path at 22 kilometres.
Table 5: Settlements and Watersheds
Name
Alexandria

Page 20

Watershed
Narcosli Creek

Tailings in
Watershed

Tailings Upstream

Within 20-km

1

8

Yes

4

Yes

1

Yes

Amsbury

Lower Skeena River

Anyox

Kshwan River

1

Atlin

Atlin Lake

2

Australian

Narcosli Creek

1

Yes
8

Yes

Baldonnel

Upper Peace River

5

Yes

Baldy Hughes

Tabor River

7

Yes

Barlow

Quesnel River

1

Yes

Barrett

Bulkley River

1

Yes

Basford

Tabor River

7

Yes

Bear Flat

Upper Peace River

5

Yes

Beaver Pass House

Cottonwood River

7

No

Beaverley

Lower Chilako River

7

Yes

Beryl Prairie

Upper Peace River

5

Yes

Blessing's Grave

Cottonwood River

7

No

Bond

Pine River

4

Yes

Bonnet Hill

Tabor River

7

Yes

Table 5 (continued): Settlements and Watersheds
Name

Watershed

Tailings in
Watershed

Tailings Upstream

Within 20-km

Yes

Braeside

Nechako River

5

Briar Ridge

Lower Peace River

9

No

Bridge

Tabor River

7

Yes

Buckhorn

Tabor River

Bulkley Canyon

Bulkley River

1

7

Cassiar Townsite

Middle Dease River

2

Castle Rock

Twan Creek

Yes
Yes

2

Yes

9

Yes

Cedarvale

Kalum River

4

Yes

Charella Garden

Tabor River

7

Yes

Cheslatta

Cheslatta River

2

Yes

Chetwynd

Pine River

4

No

Cinema

Cottonwood River

7

No

Clayhurst

Lower Peace River

9

Yes

Clemretta

Francois Lake

Coldspring House

Cottonwood River

Yes

3
7

Yes

Colebank

Cottonwood River

7

Yes

College Heights

Tabor River

7

Yes

Colleymount

Francois Lake

Cottonwood

Cottonwood River

Yes

3
7

Yes

Cotwood

Cottonwood River

7

Yes

Crysdale

Tabor River

7

Yes

Danskin

Francois Lake

Davidson

Lower Chilako River

7

Yes

Dawson Creek

Lower Peace River

9

No

Dokie

Pine River

4

No

Dokie Siding

Pine River

4

No

Yes

3

Donald Landing

Babine Lake

Dorreen

Kalum River

3
4

Yes

Yes

Dunkley

Cottonwood River

7

No

East Pine

Pine River

4

Yes

Encombe

Francois Lake

3

Yes

Endako

Francois Lake

3

Yes

Engen

Nechako River

5

Yes

Engineer

Tutshi River

2

Yes

Evelyn

Bulkley River

1

Yes

Exstew

Lower Skeena River

4

Yes

Finmoore

Nechako River

5

Yes

Fireside

Upper Liard River

4

Yes

Flatrock

Lower Peace River

9

Yes

Foreman

Tabor River

7

Yes

Page 21

Table 5 (continued): Settlements and Watersheds
Name

Watershed

Fort Babine

Babine Lake

Fort Fraser

Nechako River

Tailings in
Watershed

Tailings Upstream

Within 20-km

5

Yes

3

Yes

Foss

Pine River

4

Yes

Fraser

Tutshi River

2

No

Fraserview

Tabor River

7

Yes

Glenannan

Francois Lake

3

Yes

Glentanna

Bulkley River

1

Yes

Goodlow

Lower Peace River

9

No

Grand Haven

Upper Peace River

5

Yes

Granisle

Babine Lake

Yes

3

Grassy Plains

Francois Lake

3

Yes

Gravelle Ferry

Quesnel River

1

Yes

Greening

Cottonwood River

Groundbirch

Murray River

Gundy

Lower Peace River

7

Yes
Yes

4
9

No

Halliday

Lower Skeena River

4

Yes

Hargreaves

Twan Creek

9

No

Hart Highlands

Lower Chilako River

7

Yes

Hasler Flat

Pine River

4

No

Haysport

Lower Skeena River

4

Yes

Hixon

Cottonwood River

7

Yes

Houston

Bulkley River

1

Yes

Houston District
Municipality

Bulkley River

1

Yes

Huble

Tabor River

7

Yes

Hudson Hope

Upper Peace River

5

Yes

Hulatt

Nechako River

5

Yes

Huntington

Bulkley River

1

Yes

Hutchison

Lower Chilako River

Hydraulic

Quesnel River

1

Yes

Hyland Ranch

Sheslay River

1

No

Iracard

Lower Peace River

9

No

Isle Pierre

Lower Chilako River

7

Yes

Kilkerran

Lower Peace River

9

No

Kitsault

Kshwan River

Kitselas

Kalum River

Knockholt

Bulkley River

Kwinitsa

Lower Skeena River

Lejac

Francois Lake

Lemoray

Pine River

Page 22

7

1

Yes

1

No

4

Yes

1

Yes
4

3

Yes
Yes

4

No

Table 5 (continued): Settlements and Watersheds
Name

Watershed

Liard Forest

Coal River

Likely

Quesnel River

Log Cabin

Tutshi River

Lone Prairie

Murray River

Tailings in
Watershed

Tailings Upstream
4

1

Within 20-km
No
Yes

2
4

No
Yes

Lower Post

Upper Liard River

4

Yes

Macalister

Twan Creek

9

Yes

Mackenzie

Parsnip Arm

5

Yes

Mapes

Nechako River

5

Yes

Marguerite

Twan Creek

9

Yes

5

Yes

2

Yes

Marilla

Upper Nechako Reservoir

McCall

Nechako River

2

McDame

Middle Dease River

2

McDonalds Landing

Francois Lake

3

Miocene

Twan Creek

Yes

Yes
9

No

Miworth

Lower Chilako River

7

Yes

Monias

Pine River

4

Yes

Moose Heights

Cottonwood River

7

Yes

Nechako

Lower Chilako River

7

Yes

Nichol

Lower Chilako River

7

Yes

Nichols

Tabor River

7

Yes

Noralee

Francois Lake

3

Yes

North Bulkley

Bulkley River

1

Yes

North Nechako

Lower Chilako River

7

Yes

Nulki

Nechako River

5

Yes

4

Yes

Old Fort

Babine Lake

Old Remo

Lower Skeena River

Pacific

Kalum River

Palling

Francois Lake

3

Yes
4

3

Yes
Yes

Pendleton Bay

Babine Lake

3

Yes

Perow

Bulkley River

1

Yes

2

Pinchi

Stuart Lake

Pine Valley

Pine River

4

Yes

Pinegrove

Cottonwood River

7

No

Pineview

Tabor River

7

Yes

No

Pitman

Kalum River

4

Yes

Port Essington

Lower Skeena River

4

Yes

Porter Landing

Dease Lake

Pouce Coupe

Lower Peace River

Premier

Unuk River

Prince George

Tabor River

2

No
9

No

7

Yes

2

Yes

Page 23

Table 5 (continued): Settlements and Watersheds
Name
Punchaw

Watershed

Tailings in
Watershed

Lower Chilako River

Quartz Mining Camp

Middle Dease River

2

Quesnel

Quesnel River

1

Tailings Upstream

Within 20-km

7

No

2

Yes
Yes

Quesnel Forks

Quesnel River

1

Yes

Quick

Bulkley River

1

Yes

Red Rock

Tabor River

7

Yes

Refuge d'oiseaux de la
rivière Nechako

Nechako River

5

Yes

Ritchie

Kalum River

4

Yes

Rolla

Lower Peace River

9

No

Rosswood

Kalum River

4

No

Rupert

Tutshi River

2

Yes

Salvus

Lower Skeena River

Savory

Francois Lake

3

4

Scotia Bay

Atlin Lake

2

Seven Mile Corner

Lower Peace River

9

No

Shady Valley

Lower Chilako River

7

Yes

Shames

Lower Skeena River

4

Yes

Shelley

Tabor River

Sheraton

Francois Lake

3

Sheslay

Sheslay River

1

Skeena

Lower Skeena River

Yes

Yes
Yes

7

Yes

Yes
Yes
4

Yes

Smithers

Bulkley River

1

Yes

Smithers Landing

Babine Lake

3

Yes

South Dawson

Lower Peace River

9

No

South Fort George

Tabor River

7

Yes

Southbank

Francois Lake

Stanley

Cottonwood River

Stewart

Kshwan River

Stoner

Tabor River

Strathnaver

Cottonwood River

Streatham

Upper Nechako Reservoir

Sundance

Pine River

Surprise

Atlin Lake

3

Yes
7

1

No

1

Yes

7

Yes

7
2

Yes
Yes

4

Yes

Yes

2

Tabor

Tabor River

7

Yes

Taku

Tutshi River

2

Yes

Taylor

Lower Peace River

9

Yes

Teko

Lower Peace River

9

Yes

Telachick

Lower Chilako River

7

Yes

Telkwa

Bulkley River

Terrace

Kalum River

Page 24

1

Yes
4

Yes

Table 5 (continued): Settlements and Watersheds
Name
Thornhill

Watershed

Tailings in
Watershed

Kalum River

Thunderbird

Lower Skeena River

Tibbets

Francois Lake

3

Tintagel

Francois Lake

3

Tomslake

Lower Peace River

Tailings Upstream

Within 20-km

4

Yes

4

Yes
Yes
Yes

9

No

Topley

Bulkley River

1

Yes

Topley Landing

Babine Lake

3

Yes

Tulsequah

Inklin River

Tumbler Ridge

Murray River

1

Yes

Tupper

Lower Peace River

9

No

Twidwell Bend

Pine River

4

No

Two Mile

Bulkley River

Tyee

Lower Skeena River

4

Urquhart

Lower Peace River

9

No

Usk

Kalum River

4

Yes

Yes

4

Yes

1

Yes

Valley View

Lower Peace River

9

Yes

Vanderhoof

Nechako River

5

Yes

Vanway

Tabor River

7

Yes

W.A.C. Bennett Dam

Peace Arm

5

Yes

Wabi

Pine River

Watson

Francois Lake

4
3

Yes
Yes

Wedgwood

Lower Chilako River

7

Yes

Weneez

Nechako River

5

Yes

White Pass

Tutshi River

Wiley

Bulkley River

2
1

No
Yes

Willowvale

Nechako River

5

Yes

Wingdam

Cottonwood River

7

No

Wistaria

Upper Nechako Reservoir

Woodcock

Kalum River

Yes

2
4

Yes

Woodmere

Bulkley River

Woodpecker

Cottonwood River

1
7

Yes

Yes

Worth

Upper Peace River

5

Yes

Page 25

Appendix V: Anadromous Fish and Tailings Ponds
Perhaps no subset of species stands the most to lose from potential tailings pond failures
than anadromous fish species — primarily various salmon species and steelhead within
this geographic range. These migratory species are not only threatened by habitat loss
and overfishing, particularly to the south, but they can also be extremely sensitive to
contamination.
Copper, a common feature in acid rock drainage (which can occur even without a failure of a
tailings facility), can be acutely toxic to adult salmon and steelhead in concentrations in the
range of 50 parts per billion,11 while concentrations much lower can reduce the sense of smell,
which guides salmon to their spawning grounds, and increase exposure and vulnerability to
predators among juveniles.12
These anadromous fish species are also important to humans (both as subsistence and
economic drivers) as well as the broader ecosystem at large (food for bears and other
predators and redistributing nutrients into waterways).
Due to the diversity of spawning grounds among each of the six anadromous fish analyzed,
each species features different percentages of their migratory range potentially affected by
contaminant flow paths. Additionally, there is a considerable amount of migratory habitat
and spawning grounds further upstream of these potential contaminant flow paths. In these
stretches of habitat there is no tailings pond facility immediately upstream; however, access to
this habitat requires traversing through potential contaminant flow paths further downstream
and thus fish spawning in these regions may still be affected.
For instance, 2,575 kilometres of Chinook Salmon habitat lie directly downstream of a tailings
pond facility, yet an additional 10,238 kilometres of Chinook Salmon habitat would require
traversing through those 2,575 kilometres in order to get there. These two habitats account
for an estimated 80 percent of its overall range within the area analyzed.

Page 26

Table 6: Chinook Salmon Habitat
Habitat

Length (km)

%

Downstream of Tailings

2574.98

16

Upstream of Flow Path

10238.20

64

Unaffected Habitat

3218.78

20

Total Potentially Affected

12813.18

80

Total Habitat

16031.96

100

Length (km)

%

Downstream of Tailings

1228.87

24

Upstream of Flow Path

1206.93

23

Unaffected Habitat

2778.40

53

Total Potentially Affected

2435.80

47

Total Habitat

5214.20

100

Length (km)

%

Downstream of Tailings

2183.71

15

Upstream of Flow Path

6132.14

42

Unaffected Habitat

6135.81

42

Total Potentially Affected

8315.84

58

Total Habitat

14451.65

100

Table 7: Chum Salmon Habitat
Habitat

Table 8: Coho Salmon Habitat
Habitat

Page 27

Table 9: Pink Salmon Habitat
Habitat

Length (km)

%

Downstream of Tailings

1511.89

23

Upstream of Flow Path

2014.83

30

Unaffected Habitat

3152.71

47

Total Potentially Affected

3526.72

53

Total Habitat

6679.43

100

Length (km)

%

Downstream of Tailings

2735.32

25

Upstream of Flow Path

5909.74

54

Unaffected Habitat

2271.87

21

Total Potentially Affected

8645.06

79

Total Habitat

10916.93

100

Length (km)

%

Downstream of Tailings

1229.43

19

Upstream of Flow Path

3085.18

47

Unaffected Habitat

2185.65

34

Total Potentially Affected

4314.62

66

Total Habitat

6500.27

100

Table 10: Sockeye Salmon Habitat
Habitat

Table 11: Steelhead Habitat
Habitat

Page 28

Appendix VI: Regional Detail Map Series
Maps 3 through 11 provide a higher level of regional detail from the main analysis map and include
labeled names of watersheds, First Nations communities, and smaller cities and settlements.

Pavey

Log Cabin
Fraser
White Pass

Skagway

Tutshi River

Surprise
Engineer

Atlin

Yellowjacket

Taku River
Tlingit

Atlin Lake

Haines

Dease
Lake
Tulsequah

Inklin River

Juneau

Porter Landing

Sheslay River
Dease Lake

BR

Golden
Bear

ITI
SH
CO
)

AN

SA

(C

(U

AD
A)

First Nations’ Communities

Iskut

IA

KA
Settlements / Communities

Tahltan

MB

SA
Medium / Large Cities

Telegraph Creek
Glenora

LU

AL
Tailings Storage Facilities

Cariboo Meadows

Watersheds Immediately Impacted By Flows
Originating From Tailings Storage Facilities
Watersheds Potentially Impacted By Flows
Originating From Tailings Storage Facilities
Hydrologic Flow Paths Below Tailings Storage
Facilities and Affected Wetlands and Lakes

First Nations’ Reserves

Immediate Impacts To Salmon and Steelhead Habitat

Highways

Salmon and Steelhead Habitat Upstream From Impacts

Map 3

Page 29

YUKON TERRITORY

Lower Post

Upper Liard River

Cassiar-McDame

Beaver River

Fireside

Dease River

Taurus Gold
Dease River

Cassiar

Nelson Forks

Liard River

McDame

Table Mountain Cusac

Dunedin
River
Coal River

Middle
Dease
River

Magnum Mine

Boulder City

Red Chris
Tailings Storage Facilities
Medium / Large Cities
Settlements / Communities
First Nations’ Communities

Map 4

Page 30

Watersheds Immediately Impacted By Flows
Originating From Tailings Storage Facilities
Watersheds Potentially Impacted By Flows
Originating From Tailings Storage Facilities
Hydrologic Flow Paths Below Tailings Storage
Facilities and Affected Wetlands and Lakes

First Nations’ Reserves

Immediate Impacts To Salmon and Steelhead Habitat

Highways

Salmon and Steelhead Habitat Upstream From Impacts

ORIES
NORTHWEST TERRIT

Fort Nelson
Fort Nelson
Steamboat

Kahntah

Prophet River

Trutch

Tailings Storage Facilities
Medium / Large Cities
Settlements / Communities
First Nations’ Communities

Watersheds Immediately Impacted By Flows
Originating From Tailings Storage Facilities
Watersheds Potentially Impacted By Flows
Originating From Tailings Storage Facilities
Hydrologic Flow Paths Below Tailings Storage
Facilities and Affected Wetlands and Lakes

First Nations’ Reserves

Immediate Impacts To Salmon and Steelhead Habitat

Highways

Salmon and Steelhead Habitat Upstream From Impacts

Map 5

Page 31

BR
ITI
SH
CO
)

AN

SA

(C

(U

IA

KA

MB

SA

LU

AL

AD
A)

Upper
Iskut
River

Iskut River

Snip

Petersburg

Johnny Mountain

Eskay
Creek

Lower Iskut River

Wrangell

Unuk River

Granduc

Premier Gold Project
Stewart

Red Mountain/Jumbo
Kshwan
River
Ketchikan

Anyox

Arrandale

Mill Bay

Tailings Storage Facilities
Medium / Large Cities
Settlements / Communities
First Nations’ Communities

Map 6

Page 32

Watersheds Immediately Impacted By Flows
Originating From Tailings Storage Facilities
Watersheds Potentially Impacted By Flows
Originating From Tailings Storage Facilities
Hydrologic Flow Paths Below Tailings Storage
Facilities and Affected Wetlands and Lakes

First Nations’ Reserves

Immediate Impacts To Salmon and Steelhead Habitat

Highways

Salmon and Steelhead Habitat Upstream From Impacts

Hyland Post

Lawyers/Cheni

Toodoggone River

Ware

Kwadacha

Shasta/Multinational
B & Baker Mill
Firesteel River

McEvoy Flats

Finlay River

Kemess South
Tsay Keh Dene

Ingenika Mine

Kuldo

Babine River

Kitsault

Gitanyow
Gitwinksihlkw
Cedarvale

Hazelton

Kispiox
Sik-e-dakh
(Glen Vowell)

Gitanmaax Hagwilget
Gitwangak

Bulkley River

Gitsegukla

Old Hogem
Germansen Landing

Finlay
Arm

Takla Lake

Kispiox River

New Aiyansh
Laxgalt'sap

Bulkley House

Moricetown

Tailings Storage Facilities
Medium / Large Cities
Settlements / Communities
First Nations’ Communities

West Landing

Fort Babine

Babine Lake
Smithers Landing

Nation River

Bell
Granisle
Watersheds Immediately Impacted By Flows
Originating From Tailings Storage Facilities
Watersheds Potentially Impacted By Flows
Originating From Tailings Storage Facilities
Hydrologic Flow Paths Below Tailings Storage
Facilities and Affected Wetlands and Lakes

First Nations’ Reserves

Immediate Impacts To Salmon and Steelhead Habitat

Highways

Salmon and Steelhead Habitat Upstream From Impacts

Map 7

Page 33

ALBERTA
MBI A
BRIT ISH COLU

Sikanni Chief

Pink Mountain
Boring Ranch

Altona

Buick

Wonowon

Beatton Ranch

Peejay

Blueberry River

Simpson Ranch
Montney

Doig River

Rose Prairie

Lexau Ranch

Halfway River

Fort St. John

Bear Flat

Flatrock

Attachie

Upper Peace River

Worth
Monias

Hudson Hope

Peace Arm

W.A.C. Bennett Dam

Saulteau

Willow Valley

Bond

West Moberly

Dawson Creek

Foss
South Dawson

Chetwynd
Pine Valley

Parsnip Arm

Lemoray
Azu Ski Village

Mackenzie

Pine River

Bullmoose

Upper Cutbank

Murray River

Wolverine Coal
Quinette

McLeod Lake

Tailings Storage Facilities
Medium / Large Cities
Settlements / Communities
First Nations’ Communities

Page 34

Gundy

Tumbler Ridge

Mount Milligan

Map 8

Lower
Peace
River

Lone Prairie

Watersheds Immediately Impacted By Flows
Originating From Tailings Storage Facilities
Watersheds Potentially Impacted By Flows
Originating From Tailings Storage Facilities
Hydrologic Flow Paths Below Tailings Storage
Facilities and Affected Wetlands and Lakes

First Nations’ Reserves

Immediate Impacts To Salmon and Steelhead Habitat

Highways

Salmon and Steelhead Habitat Upstream From Impacts

Port Simpson

Lax Kw'alaams
Georgetown Mills

Metlakatla

Tow Hill

Old Massett Village Council

Masset

Delkatla

Prince Rupert
Hunts Inlet

Port Essington
Lewis Island

Sewall

Port Clements
Juskatla

Kwinitsa

Tyee

Lower
Skeena
River

Gitxaala

Tlell

Lawnhill

Skidegate
Sandspit

Queen Charlotte
Moresby Camp

Sewell Inlet
Tasu

Tailings Storage Facilities
Medium / Large Cities
Settlements / Communities
First Nations’ Communities

Watersheds Immediately Impacted By Flows
Originating From Tailings Storage Facilities
Watersheds Potentially Impacted By Flows
Originating From Tailings Storage Facilities
Hydrologic Flow Paths Below Tailings Storage
Facilities and Affected Wetlands and Lakes

First Nations’ Reserves

Immediate Impacts To Salmon and Steelhead Habitat

Highways

Salmon and Steelhead Habitat Upstream From Impacts

Map 9

Page 35

Granisle

Rosswood

Smithers

Kalum River
Telkwa

Terrace

Bulkley River

Kitsumkalum

Salvus

Lower
Skeena
River

Babine Lake

Tl'azt'en

Fort St. James

North Bulkley

Equity Silver

DuBose

Kitimat

Lake Babine

Ts’il Kaz Koh
(Burns Lake)

Burns
Lake

Upper Nechako Reservoir
Kemano

Huckleberry

Nadleh Whut’en

Endako

Skin Tyee Cheslatta Carrier
Nee-Tahi-Buhn

Weewanie

Stuart Lake

Wet'suwet'en

Francois Lake

Haisla

Nak'azdli

Palling

Houston

Hartley Bay

Pinchi Lake

Grand Rapids

Topley Landing

Yekooche

Kitselas

Shames

Granisle

Endako

Cheslatta River

Marilla

Fort Fraser

Stellat'en

Nechako
River

Lower
Nechako
Reservoir

Gitga'at

Butedale
Lhoosk'uz Dene
Ulkatcho
Kimsquit

Kitasoo

Ulkatcho

Nuxalk
Heiltsuk

Tailings Storage Facilities
Medium / Large Cities
Settlements / Communities
First Nations’ Communities

Map 10

Page 36

Watersheds Immediately Impacted By Flows
Originating From Tailings Storage Facilities
Watersheds Potentially Impacted By Flows
Originating From Tailings Storage Facilities
Hydrologic Flow Paths Below Tailings Storage
Facilities and Affected Wetlands and Lakes

First Nations’ Reserves

Immediate Impacts To Salmon and Steelhead Habitat

Highways

Salmon and Steelhead Habitat Upstream From Impacts

Anzac

Stuart River
Salmon Valley

Vanderhoof

Saik'uz

Prince George

Nechako

Mapes

Nechako River

Sinclair Mills

Lheidli T'enneh

Lower
Chilako
River

Tabor River

Punchaw

McBride

Hixon
Strathnaver

Blackwater

Nazko

Cottonwood River
Barkerville

Cottonwood

Quesnel

Stanley

Barlow

Lhtako Dene

Gibraltar

Narcosli Creek

?Esdilagh

Twan Creek

Quesnel River

Mount Polley

Xatśūll
(Soda
Creek)

Tailings Storage Facilities
Medium / Large Cities
Settlements / Communities
First Nations’ Communities

Watersheds Immediately Impacted By Flows
Originating From Tailings Storage Facilities
Watersheds Potentially Impacted By Flows
Originating From Tailings Storage Facilities
Hydrologic Flow Paths Below Tailings Storage
Facilities and Affected Wetlands and Lakes

First Nations’ Reserves

Immediate Impacts To Salmon and Steelhead Habitat

Highways

Salmon and Steelhead Habitat Upstream From Impacts

Map 11

Page 37

Endnotes
1. Lee, P., M. Hanneman, J. Gysbers, and R. Cheng. 2010. Cumulative access in Canada’s forest ecozones. Global
Forest Watch Canada, Edmonton, AB.
2. Wilson, M.F., S.M. Gende, and B.H. Marston. 1998. Fishes and the forest: Expanding perspectives on fishwildlife interactions. BioScience 48: 455-462.
3. BC Hydro. 2011. Investing For the Future: Northwest Transmission Line (NTL) Project. BC Hydro, Vancouver, BC.
4. Rhéaume, G., and M. Caron-Vuotari. 2013. The Future of Mining in Canada’s North. The Conference Board of
Canada, Ottawa, ON.
5. Independent Expert Engineering Investigation and Review Panel. 2015. Report on Mount Polley Tailings
Storage Facility Breach. Province of British Columbia, Victoria, BC.
6. Province of British Columbia. 2015. Government takes action on Independent Panel Recommendations.
Province of British Columbia, Victoria, BC.
7. Independent Expert Engineering Investigation and Review Panel. 2015. APPENDIX I: Report on Mount Polley
Tailings Storage Facility Breach. Province of British Columbia, Victoria, BC.
8. Vancouver Sun, The. 2014. 49 Dangerous Occurrences at B.C. Mines. The Vancouver Sun, Vancouver, BC.
Available at: http://www.scribd.com/doc/237701788/49-Dangerous-Occurrences-at-B-C-Mines (Accessed
April 2015).
9. Hatch Ltd. 2015. Synthesis and Analysis of Submissions to the Chief Inspector’s Orders For Project
Management, Engagement and Geotechnical Review of Dam Safety Inspections in BC. Prepared for the British
Columbia Ministry of Energy and Mines. Hatch Ltd., Vancouver, BC.
10. Kimmel, W.G. 1983. The impact of acid mine drainage on the stream ecosystem. Pennsylvania Coal: Resources,
Technology, and Utilization. Pennsylvania Academic Science Publications: 424-437.
11. Chapman, G., and D. Stevens. 1978. Acutely lethal levels of cadmium, copper, and zinc to adult male coho
salmon and steelhead. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 107(6):837–840.
12. McIntyre, J.K., D.H. Baldwin, D.A. Beauchamp, and N.L. Scholz.2012. Low-level copper exposures increase
visibility and vulnerability of juvenile coho salmon to cutthroat trout predators. Ecological Applications
22:1460–1471.

Page 38

BC First Nations Energy and Mining Council
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North Vancouver, BC
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Canada