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Author Topic: "There are safer places to get gravel"  (Read 81055 times)

Sandy

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Re: "There are safer places to get gravel"
« Reply #285 on: December 07, 2011, 06:38:45 AM »

From what we gather at this time no gravel extraction program in place on the Fraser this coming year.

could it be that all the pre-load has been done for the near future projects? and hence the gravel is not needed;especially so from environmentally sensitive locations.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2011, 06:40:30 AM by Sandy »
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finding your limits is fun, it can also be VERY painful.

If you care about Canada's future, get involved by holding your MLA's & MP's accountable!! don't just be sheep!!

chris gadsden

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Re: "There are safer places to get gravel"
« Reply #286 on: December 12, 2011, 12:30:15 PM »


 Fraser gravel mining threatens ecosystem, residents
  By Rudy North, Vancouver Sun December 12, 2011   The Fraser River between Mission and Hope is the largest natural salmon spawning channel in all of North America and a world-class natural heritage area of incredible value. The heart of the Fraser is out of sight of the Trans-Canada Highway, and consequently out of mind for most of the residents of the Lower Mainland. It is also an important gravel-removal site for the construction industry of the eastern Fraser Valley.

My initial interest in the area was in preserving the unique ecosystems found in this stretch of the Fraser before they are lost forever; however, I soon got caught up in the human-safety issue of the residents of the flood plain area.

The obvious merit of protecting this natural treasure is complicated by the need to assure the inhabitants that a flood of record such as those that occurred in 1894 and 1948 will not be a danger. The dikes are the front-line defence, and most obvious solution to the problem. They were upgraded after the flood of 1948. Since then, despite more than 60 years of population growth in the area, these dikes have not been adequately upgraded.

This is not being addressed by governments of any level. The constant political fight over who is responsible and therefore who should foot the bill for dike upgrades has resulted in infrastructure inertia, and the adoption of a policy of gravel removal as a cheaper form of flood protection. A "common sense" argument was used to assert that gravel removal in the order of 500,000 cubic metres was needed to offset new gravel coming down the river to prevent flooding. This benefited both commercial interests, as well as political interests that could point to yearly gravel extraction as progress being made for the safety of their constituents.

Studies criticizing the mining of the gravel reach have been challenged as being based on inadequate data. However, over the past decade, new and more detailed studies have been conducted and have resolved the uncertainty on the effects of gravel removal. The findings are:

"We know from substantial experience that individual sediment removal short of the order of a million cubic metres will not substantially affect local water levels in the short term. But sediment removal on such a scale would very significantly disrupt the aquatic ecosystem. There is, furthermore, concern that the current program pays too little attention to the potential ecological costs of sediment removal."

The quote above is from the 2010 report by Dr. Michael Church of the University of B.C., a leading fluvial (river) geomorphologist who is the foremost expert on the movement of gravel in the Fraser River system. This and similar findings in previous studies have been repeatedly ignored by the Ministry of the Environment.

Yet the dikes still have not been sufficiently upgraded, and gravel continues to be mined under the pretence of public safety, even though it has been proven to be ineffectual in mitigating floods. Unfortunately the issue has become an unresolved political football, championed by the provincial government with the complicity of the federal government and Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Gravel mining of up to 500,000 cubic metres a year has been sanctioned since 2004 and it is the official policy of the provincial government that removed the environmental arguments from the table by putting the program under the management of Emergency Management B.C.

The inhabitants of the area have been sold a misleading claim that has nothing to do with assuring their safety or protecting their property values from the prospect of floods. They should be outraged by this apparent deceit. If I lived in the area and my family and property were being put at risk, I would be tempted to use much stronger language to describe the issue.

But what is a worried homeowner in the Mission to Hope stretch of the Fraser River flood plain to believe? It should be obvious that flood safety and a healthy river environment are in fact complementary. Gravel removal poses serious environmental problems with no meaningful protection against flooding. Adequate dyking is expensive but the only realistic solution to flood risk.

As of Dec. 6, the provincial government has decided against further gravel mining in the Fraser River for the coming year. The government has stated that it is liaising with DFO to create a long-term management strategy for the gravel reach of the Fraser, which is to be commended as a first step toward protecting both the residents of the Fraser River flood plain and the spawning grounds of North America's most important salmon run.

For further information on gravel in the Fraser River, go to: BCIT Heart of the Fraser

http: //commons.bcit.ca/heartofthefraser/

UBC Fraser River Gravel Reach studies

www.geog.ubc.ca/fraserriver/index.html

Fraser Basin Council

www.fraserbasin.bc.ca/programs/fvr.html

Rudy North is an investor and philanthropist from Vancouver. He was admitted to the Order of Canada for his environmental philanthropic work last year.


Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Fraser+gravel+mining+threatens+ecosystem+residents/5845702/story.html#ixzz1gM0js5UJ

chris gadsden

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Re: "There are safer places to get gravel"
« Reply #287 on: December 22, 2011, 12:23:00 PM »

By Jennifer Feinberg - Chilliwack Progress
Published: December 22, 2011 9:00 AM
Updated: December 22, 2011 11:08 AM

Steps to prevent further flooding in Chilliwack’s unprotected areas will cost anywhere from $1.3 million up to a little more than $5 million.



Some property owners in the Carey Point area, on the northern end of Chilliwack, suffered localized flooding when a berm outside the east dike failed during the 2011 Fraser River​ Spring Freshet.



Significant erosion has been a headache for Chilliwack officials for years, with a shifting scour hole eating away at rip rap all along the riverbank from Carey Point to Island 22.



Council received a report Tuesday from city staffer Terra Friesen containing a range of engineering solutions prepared by consultants Northwest Hydraulic Consultants.



NHC recommended the least expensive of three options for Chilliwack, at a cost of $1.3 million. The alignment offered the most longevity, cost efficiency, as well as an access road and a $75,000 “check dam” to protect Orchard slough, according to the report.



The most expensive solution,v at $5.1 million, would see an access road built, and bank protection with an estimated 7,000 truckloads of gravel. Added to that would be up to $150,000 in annual maintenance costs.



Options 1 and 2 however come with alignments set back from the river, which won’t include the more costly bank protection work stretching 300 feet into the river.



The flooded property owners of Chilliwack have stated they would like to see the city go with the $5.1 million option with full bank protection.



The armoured berm, called “an orphan dike” by some, was built close to the river with federal and provincial money in 1997, and never had any funding earmarked to maintain it, nor did it permit the city to gain access. But when it failed, it led to “overbank flood flows” which hit the unprotected floodplain, and impacted 15 local properties situated between the dike and the river.



Ballam Road resident John Van Den Brink lost his crop of 400 to 500 hazelnut trees when the berm failed.



“It’s been hard on us,” he told The Progress. “If it happens again, it will just wipe us out.”



A handful of the property owners are meeting with city officials on Thursday to urge them to look at another option: fixing the berm on an interim basis before next spring.



“We want them to put the gravel berm back the way it was, maybe just for the time being,” said Van Den Brink. “We walked the area last week, and we’ve never seen it this easy to rock.”



They are refusing to let it go.



“We can’t give up,” he said. “There are 370 acres back here with some of the best farmland we’ve got. It’s ludicrous that we don’t try and fix it, and down the road they will have to fix it sooner or later.”



City officials received word from Emergency Management BC that no provincial money would be made available to protect farmland outside a protected diked area.



In fact funding would only be supported if there was “an imminent threat” to the east dike from the 2011 Freshet, and there is an expectation that costs would be shared with the municipality.



This latest report from council will now be forwarded Emergency Management BC, said Friesen, asking for a formal response from the province, and to see if funding will be made available for any of the latest options, and which conditions would apply.



Council and government reps have been participating in discussions as part of a working group formed after the berm failure, including property owners and farmers impacted by the overland flooding last summer.



“They say they’re trying but nothing is happening,” Van Den Brink said. “We have another two and a half months before the river will start coming up again and nothing has been done.”

Bassonator

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Re: "There are safer places to get gravel"
« Reply #289 on: February 03, 2012, 12:41:24 AM »

OMG I dont believe Im saying this....Keep up the good work Chris...... :)
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Take the T out of Morton.

chris gadsden

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Re: "There are safer places to get gravel"
« Reply #290 on: February 03, 2012, 06:00:37 AM »

OMG I dont believe Im saying this....Keep up the good work Chris...... :)
Thanks, nothing wrong with having different opinions on different subjects.

chris gadsden

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chris gadsden

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Re: "There are safer places to get gravel"
« Reply #293 on: July 03, 2013, 05:40:09 PM »

Alberta Flood brings this back to the front again.
http://www.theprogress.com/news/214213771.html

chris gadsden

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Re: "There are safer places to get gravel"
« Reply #294 on: July 03, 2013, 05:42:40 PM »

New report digs deeper on effects of gravel mining in Fraser River; UBC professor says practice doesn't help prevent flooding

globeandmail.com
Sun Mar 24 2013, 11:00pm ET
Section: Other
Byline: MARK HUME

Gravel mining to reduce flood threats in the lower Fraser River has long been controversial because of the impact it has on fish habitat, with heavy equipment destroying spawning beds and refuge areas used by young salmon.

The provincial government has justified allowing contractors to "scalp" gravel bars by saying the practice lowers the river bed in areas prone to floods, arguing in effect that if you can save homes from being washed away, it is worth whatever collateral damage is done to salmon habitat.

But a new report by Michael Church, a world expert in geomorphology and hydrology, should give the government reason to rethink its safety-first strategy.

Mr. Church, a professor emeritus in the department of geology at the University of British Columbia, says rivers don't operate as simply as they appear to on the surface.

And mining the Fraser for gravel, he states in a paper being released this week, doesn't help prevent floods at all.

"It is claimed that gravel accumulation in the reach of the Fraser River between Laidlaw and Sumas Mountain is causing water levels to rise, hence increasing flood hazard in the reach," he writes. "Gravel certainly does accumulate in the reach. But the real concern is water level, and evidence indicates that channel alignment, not gravel accumulation is the main control of water level along the river."

Mr. Church writes that "scalping sediment from bar tops . has minimal effect on water conveyance and water levels."

But while cutting the tops off the bars doesn't reduce flooding, it does speed up the water flowing over the bars - and that is bad news for the small fish that rely on those areas for shelter during spring freshets.

"These [bars] are the 'escape' areas used by fish to avoid the high flood velocities of the main channel. The current method of sediment excavation reduces the area of escape terrain, while not significantly enhancing water conveyance," writes Mr. Church.

He says that some gravel removal might be beneficial, but in limited amounts in selected areas, where the hydrology of the river has been carefully studied. And he is concerned that the annual mining going on currently is taking out gravel faster than it can be replaced by new material washing downstream.

"The general rate of gravel accumulation is slow and does not justify regular gravel mining," he concludes.

In other words, Mr. Church has found that the quality of fish habitat is steadily being degraded in the lower Fraser by gravel mining - without improving flood controls.

That doesn't make much sense, says Mark Angelo, chair emeritus of the River Institute at the B.C. Institute of Technology.

"I think it's a really important study," said Mr. Angelo.

Mr. Angelo, one of the founders of an environmental initiative known as the Heart of the Fraser, said Mr. Church was commissioned to do the study to get an expert's opinion on the gravel-mining issue.

"We asked him to prepare this report because we wanted a scientific, objective analysis of the issues on the lower Fraser," said Mr. Angelo. "What he's telling us is that focusing on gravel extraction for flood control is too simplistic an approach. That's not the way to go."

He said a comprehensive management plan is needed for the lower Fraser, to ensure that existing habitat isn't further degraded.

"This river is a jewel. It's an Eden in our midst and we really need to do a better job of managing it," he said.

Mr. Angelo said his group will be circulating the report to all levels of government, hoping to end gravel mining in the Fraser.

chris gadsden

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