Flood watch on Fraser River
The Fraser River poses no immediate threat of flooding, but the rising and rushing water isn’t making life any easier for those who rely on it.
After heavy rains up north, the water worked its way downstream, hit Hope, then the Mission gauge, leading the B.C. River Forecast Centre to issue a high streamflow advisory for the lower Fraser River on Wednesday and Thursday.
That could have seen the water lapping at the six-metre mark on the Mission gauge, but on Thursday morning it had only hit the 5.7-m level and was already starting to drop.
That’s just a bit lower than the 5.85 metres reached on July 5.
Over the next few hours, the river level should peak, then start dropping, only to rise again in a few days, District of Maple Ridge spokesman Fred Armstrong said Thursday afternoon.
“We’re keeping an eye on everything in our area,” he added.
“The biggest thing we want to communicate to people is, typically, the river levels, when the kids are out of school, they have dropped down quite a bit.”
But not this year.
The river is running high and fast and anyone who ventures out should be completely prepared.
The district continues to make regular inspections of the dikes and is watching a fast-flowing stretch of the Fraser from the Albion ferry dock to the Haney Wharf, which could be subject to erosion given the fast flows that have been going on for weeks.
“So far, we’ve had no issues. We’re not seeing any erosion,” Armstrong said.
The high water makes work more difficult for the crew at Northview Enterprises log sort, next to the Port Haney Wharf.
But the work has to go on because the mills are waiting for their logs, said Gord Bolt.
The operation sorts logs from the area and sends them to mills, which can either be in the Lower Mainland or China.
Despite the fast water, they’re still getting the job done.
“We’re still a couple feet away from critical levels,” Bolt said.
“We’re still a ways away from considering shutting down.”
A dozen people work at the sorting operation, which has three 671-horsepower Superwinder boom boats to push around the logs. He’s worked there for 10 years and has never seen the river this high at this time of the year, in mid-summer.
“That’s the odd part of the whole thing … normally it’s receding right now.”
Most companies along the river are still operating, he added.
Chief Jay Bailey, with the Katzie First Nation, said the high water makes it difficult to catch fish. It’s hard to know how many sockeye salmon are now in the river because of the restrictions they’re under, while they no longer can catch chinook.
There seems to be in no danger of the reserve flooding, he added.
Meanwhile, B.C. Hydro was planning a routine release of water from the Stave Lake to bring levels down to between 80 and 81.5 metres. Thursday the level was at 81.5 m.