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BC Hydro begins cleanup of materials along Arrow Lakes shore

Low water levels revealed a number of historic structures
The snowy shoreline of Arrow Lakes in January. Photo: Athena McGrath

BC Hydro is beginning work to remove some structures and materials from the shores of Arrow Lakes.

When fall water levels in the reservoir reached lows usually only seen in the winter, BC Hydro began work to create an inventory of structures and materials that were visible along the shore.

Cataloged items include old building foundations, rusted metal, broken glass, and recent garbage.

BC Hydro says these items have now been assessed based on environmental considerations, archaeological and heritage values, accessibility, and public safety concerns.

Starting this month, BC Hydro will start to remove some of these items. Work is expected to take place over a three-week period.

BC Hydro says efforts will be concentrated in high use areas that are easily accessible. In some areas, work can only be done by hand and without any excavation due to environmental considerations.

Following this initial clean-up, BC Hydro plans to evaluate the remaining structures and materials for potential removal at a later date.

The reservoir may be in for another low year with forecasted runoff for April to September 2024 for the Columbia Basin at The Dalles, Oregon expected to be 77 per cent of normal. For the same period in 2023, the observed runoff was 83 per cent of normal.

However, BC Hydro cautions that near and long-term forecasting is inherently uncertain due to the unpredictability of future events and conditions.

The actual elevation of the reservoirs is influenced by snowpack, inflow levels, weather patterns and other factors such as load requirements.

The latest maximum level of 439.06 metres (1440.5 feet, 3.5 feet from full) occurred on June 23, 2023 and the latest minimum elevation of 422.76 metres (1387.0 feet) was reached on Jan. 11, 2024.

The minimum and maximum water license levels for Arrow Lakes Reservoir under the Columbia River Treaty are 420 metres and 440.1 metres.

RELATED: BC Hydro ramping up fish mitigation efforts at Arrow Lakes

Betsy Kline

About the Author: Betsy Kline

After spending several years as a freelance writer for the Castlegar News, Betsy joined the editorial staff as a reporter in March of 2015. In 2020, she moved into the editor's position.
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