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The area of the Peace River where the proposed Site C Hydro Development Dam would be built near Fort St. John, B.C.

Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail

A new report by the David Suzuki Foundation says major development projects in B.C.'s Peace River Watershed like the Site C Dam could threaten up to $8.6-billion in ecological values.

The study says the Peace River region's ecosystems provide the benefits of clean air, clean water, carbon storage and flood and erosion control.

It says industrial development like mining and large-scale hydro dams have already affected more than 60 per cent of the area in northeastern B.C., but if the remaining farmland and natural areas are left untouched, they have the ability to generate massive wealth.

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BC Hydro is proposing an $8-billion hydroelectric dam in the Peace River Valley, which would create a reservoir that will flood roughly 5,550 hectares of land.

The Crown utility says the dam, which would be the third on the Peace River, would generate enough energy to power 450,000 homes a year.

Earlier this year, a joint review panel concluded the Site C dam would have significant adverse effects on the environment and wildlife, but that the benefits of the project are clear and there are few alternatives to provide the type of long-term, inexpensive energy source proposed by BC Hydro.

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