Watch for debris and changes to waterways: RDKB

The rivers aren’t the same this year, and residents should be careful.

Planning on spending time out on the water now that summer’s in full swing? The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary is asking residents to be careful of debris and flood-related changes in the river as they evaluate the Boundary’s rivers for post-flooding changes.

The RDKB is advising that log jams may collect in different locations and be larger than in past years; that debris may be submerged; and that beaches and channels have probably changed following flooding this year.

“We want residents and visitors to the region to be aware that as a result of the flood, there is a lot of natural and human-made debris in the Kettle River system including in the West Kettle, Granby and Kettle rivers as well as in Christina Creek and Christina Lake,” said Chris Marsh, Emergency Program Manager for the RDKB.

A river hazard assessment is currently underway, and according to the RDKB that boat and air assessment is showing significant debris, everything from logs, portions of buildings, farm equipment and vehicles.

“Assessors have also noted riverbank instability, sloughing and entire beach areas now eroded as well as new sand and soil deposits where none previously existed,” notes an RDKB press release.

Following the assessment, a plan will be developed for debris removal in conjunction with the province. Professional hydrologists and engineers are expected to be engaged during that process, the RDKB notes.

“Residents and visitors float down rivers, fish, and boat on Christina Lake, and should continue to enjoy those activities; however, it’s important that everyone understands how waterways have changed after flooding. Where you thought it was safe to float or boat last summer may now require more vigilance so you don’t get into trouble,” Marsh said.

The RDKB provided a list of the following hazards for river users:

Natural hazards

in the river system:

• Logjams

• Sweepers (trees hanging in or close to the water)

• Large trees and woody debris hung up on structures including bridges

Human-made hazards

in the river system:

• Barbed wire and chain link fencing

• Fence poles

• Non-energized power and phone lines

• Utility poles

• Farm and construction equipment, vehicles

• Barns, sheds and parts of homes

• Irrigation pipes and other farm equipment

• All manner of household items

Always avoid consuming alcohol while swimming, always wear a personal flotation device, and never swim alone.

For information about boating and swimming safely, visit redcross.ca, the Lifesaving Society at lifesaving.bc.ca.

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