The flooding and atmospheric rivers that stuck British Columbia last November 2021 have left behind large amounts of debris that can block waterways. The Province has started to employ helicopters to work on the removal of the debris and to free up w\these potentially blocked waterways. The removal of the material in the water is going to be important to the recovery of communities in the area that were affected by the storm from the end of last years. The efforts are being applied to the Thompson, Nicola and Coldwater waterways as well as the Spius Creek
o help assist with the cleanup of waterway debris caused by the atmospheric river event in November 2021, helicopter support is expected to begin as early as Tuesday, April 12, 2022, in the following areas:
Thompson, Nicola and Coldwater waterways
- Helicopters will fly along these rivers, removing debris where safe to do so.
- On the Nicola River, helicopter operations will continue to support small human-made debris removal, with particular attention given to the Shackan and Nooaitch Indian Reserves.
- Much of the Thompson River is inaccessible to ground crews, so helicopter traffic along this waterway will be heavier.
- Helicopter work in this region is expected to begin Wednesday, April 13 and continue until Monday, April 18, 2022.
- Where required, traffic control crews will be on the ground to assist with this work.
- Due to the atmospheric river event, more than 270 pieces of debris have been identified along B.C. waterways.
- The Province is assessing waterway debris and, where a public safety threat is identified, is engaging with First Nations, local authorities and private citizens on a plan for removal.
- From flights, site visits and communications with First Nations in the area and local government, the ministry is aware of numerous large human-made debris in the river system including roads, bridges, buildings, vehicles and sea-cans.
- There are also significant amounts of natural debris along the river course that require further assessment for potential removal or other mitigative measures.
- As the snow cover is receding, site visits, aerial video, drone footage and local communities are identifying additional debris.
- A website has been set up with information on the ministry’s response and is regularly updated online: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/air-land-water/water/drought-flooding-dikes-dams/flood-response
- There is an interactive debris map and public debris-reporting tool on the website, where individuals can submit photos and locations of debris not already captured: https://flood-debris-assessment-explorer-bcgov03.hub.arcgis.com/
- The debris-reporting tool enables the public to report and upload photos.
- Debris can be reported by calling (toll-free): 1 800 663-3456
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