03/15/2012 05:01 EDT | Updated 05/15/2012 05:12 EDT

Power plans a major threat to B.C. rivers, says council

Power projects across B.C. are the biggest threat to the province's rivers, according to the Outdoor Recreation Council of B.C.

In its 20th annual Endangered Rivers Report, the council said most of the rivers under threat — including the Kokish, Kitimat, Peace, Elk, and Skeena rivers — are feeling pressure from some kind of energy production, such as independent power projects, dams, coal or natural gas extraction.

"We're left with a conundrum where are we going to get our power. Whichever way you turn, you seem to be having a detrimental effect either on a small river or big river," said executive director Jeremy McCall.

"So it is my particular belief that we should be having a commission on where we draw our energy from in the future in the province."

Nothern Gateway puts Kitimat River on endangered list

This year, the “sacred headwaters” of the Skeena, Stikine and Nass Rivers in northwestern B.C. and the Kokish River on northeastern Vancouver Island tied for first place as "most endangered" rivers.

Not far behind was the Kitimat River, said McCall.

"Many of the people, not only who live in Kitimat and Terrace, nominated the Kitimat River and it came in at number two this year because of the Northern Gateway Pipeline proposal, primarily."

The list is compiled by nominations from the council's 100,000 members, which include recreation and conservation groups across B.C. Nominations are also made by resources managers and the public.

A panel of river conservationists narrow down the list to ten most threatened rivers in the province.