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Author Topic: "There are safer places to get gravel"  (Read 42981 times)

chris gadsden

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Re: "There are safer places to get gravel"
« Reply #15 on: December 26, 2007, 10:12:00 AM »

Another article on this subject in the Vancouver Sun today.

troutbreath

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Re: "There are safer places to get gravel"
« Reply #16 on: December 26, 2007, 08:55:19 PM »

Native leader questions bands on gravel extraction program
Grand chief says 'when the fish are gone, our aboriginal rights are gone'
 
Larry Pynn
Vancouver Sun


Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Sto:lo Grand Chief Ken Malloway has urged his member bands to reconsider their ongoing participation in a provincial gravel extraction program on the lower Fraser River for fear of causing further damage to fish stocks.

"They need to really take a good look if they're doing any damage to habitat and to see if selling our territory by the truckload is the best way to deal with our resources," Malloway said in an interview. "When the fish are gone, our aboriginal rights are gone."

Malloway was responding to a Vancouver Sun story revealing that the B.C. Ministry of Environment had removed biologist Ross Neuman from a federal-provincial technical committee reviewing the merits of a provincial plan to extract 420,000 cubic metres of river gravel at Herrling Island near Rosedale.

Critics charge that Neuman was removed because his concern for fish stocks stood in the way of the extraction plan, which could begin early in 2008.

An estimated 1.5 to 2.25 million young salmon died in February and March 2006 during a Cheam Indian band gravel removal project at Big Bar near Rosedale.

The province insists gravel extraction is needed for flood control, although Malloway believes there are limited flood benefits.

Those bands that take up the government invitation for gravel extraction stand to make a tidy profit from selling the aggregate to fuel the region's construction boom.

"I don't see any reason why they should be so determined to haul gravel out of the river," Malloway said.

"People say they're doing it for flood control, but there's an awful lot of money to be made in gravel. It sure seems to me that that's the main reason to remove gravel -- to sell it and make some money at it."

Provincial statistics provided at The Sun's request show four of 24 Sto:lo bands -- Cheam, Seabird Island, Popkum and Skway -- have participated in the gravel extraction since 2005. Band officials could not be reached to comment.

Several private companies are helping the natives with the extraction, including Valley Gravel, Lafarge, Jakes Contracting, and Lehigh Northwest Materials.

The Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor-General identified the bands and companies involved in the gravel extractions for The Sun, but did not provide financial details.

The B.C. and federal governments agreed in 2004 to a five-year gravel extraction program with the target of removing up to 2.2 million cubic metres of gravel from the lower Fraser.

A total of 449,820 cubic metres have been extracted over the past three years.

Marvin Rosenau, a former provincial fish biologist turned BCIT fisheries instructor, has charged that Neuman was removed because his concerns for fish stocks stood in the way of gravel removal. Rosenau said he, too, was removed from a gravel committee for similar reasons in 2003. He joined BCIT in 2005.

The ministry said Neuman's removal was a "routine staffing decision based upon the best use of staff resources."

Carrie Mishima, communications officer for the federal Fisheries Department, was unable to find a department official to comment on the issue over three days. Provincial Environment Minister Barry Penner, MLA for Chilliwack-Kent, told his provincial staff he wouldn't be available to comment over the holidays.

lpynn@png.canwest.com

© The Vancouver Sun 2007
 

 
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chris gadsden

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Re: "There are safer places to get gravel"
« Reply #17 on: December 27, 2007, 09:31:11 PM »

Thanks trouthbreath for posting these stories for the forum members to read.

bentrod

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Re: "There are safer places to get gravel"
« Reply #18 on: December 28, 2007, 05:18:27 PM »

I've been writing about this issue on this forum for a few years now.  I've resorted to sarcasm lately because nothing has been done.  Clearly, it's an issue of money.  Trying to do it in the name of flood control is a joke.  Ironically, by saying it's about "flood control", the politicians are ignorantly admitting that they've consistently allowed development to occur without any thought.     
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allwaysfishin

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Re: "There are safer places to get gravel"
« Reply #19 on: December 28, 2007, 06:01:42 PM »

Provincial statistics provided at The Sun's request show four of 24 Sto:lo bands -- Cheam, Seabird Island, Popkum and Skway -- have participated in the gravel extraction since 2005. Band officials could not be reached to comment


figures as much,,, these are the same bands that rape the river every year with illegal gillnets... they have no respect for the resource or for environmental stewardship..... they are just in it for the $$$$$$ , capitalist "whitey" has taught them well.

gravel removal on the fraser and fish farms in the Broughton........ and government just sits by and lets it all happen..... none of this surprises me. Kill the fish..... then we can dam the fraser and make BILLIONS upon BILLIONS selling power to the U.S. ....... betcha we see it in our kid's lifetimes.
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bentrod

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Re: "There are safer places to get gravel"
« Reply #20 on: December 28, 2007, 06:38:23 PM »

It's a shame that we don't all start talking to each other as people and not one nation vs. another.  Regardless of the past, we are all in the same boat now. 
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troutbreath

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Re: "There are safer places to get gravel"
« Reply #21 on: December 29, 2007, 12:07:01 PM »

RA40 and myself have sent a letter to the editor about this article and still no reply. I questioned the validity of the content of the story and the "journalism" or lack of in printing crap like that. Still waiting to see some responce :-\
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Old Black Dog

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Re: "There are safer places to get gravel"
« Reply #22 on: December 30, 2007, 09:00:30 AM »

Fraser River will be dredged in new year
Flood Risk: Action after close call in spring
 
Glenda Luymes
The Province


Sunday, December 30, 2007


Gravel removal will begin on the Fraser River early in the new year in a bid to reduce the risk of spring flooding, provincial public safety minister John Les vowed Friday.

After flooding was narrowly avoided in the Fraser Valley this spring, the Ministry of Public Safety was given oversight of the controversial Fraser River gravel-removal program.

"Our sole motivation for removing gravel is flood protection," said Les. "At the end of the day, we don't want to be playing Russian roulette with the safety of citizens in the Fraser Valley and Lower Mainland."

Les could not comment on how much gravel would be removed in 2008, saying only that he hoped it would be close to the target amount established four years ago.

"It would be nice if we were able to achieve that, for once," he said.

In 2001, the provincial and federal governments signed an agreement lifting a moratorium on gravel removal, and in 2004, a five-year deal allowed for the removal of 500,000 cubic metres of gravel each year for two years and 420,000 cubic metres after that.

In the four years since then, only 320,000 cubic metres in total have come out. Minimal amounts were removed this year.

Les said the contracts for gravel removal will still undergo a rigorous approval process, with input from the environment ministry, but conceded there was a "renewed sense of urgency" after the close call last spring.

The Fraser River gravel-removal program has long been contentious.

While as much as 300,000 cubic metres of gravel washes into the river near Chilliwack each year, raising the river bottom, environmentalists are concerned about the risk dredging poses to fish stocks.

A study published last spring by the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans concluded large-scale dredging of gravel from the Fraser would be ineffective in reducing the flood risk, while a report by the Fraser Basin Council found it could have some impact.

Critics claim government and industry support gravel removal because there is profit to be made.

But Les insists that's not true.

"The private sector has lots of other sources for gravel. It's very debatable whether it's even financially viable to take the gravel out. The government may have to subsidize some aspects of it," he said.

Chilliwack Mayor Clint Hames said he's happy to hear the government commit to gravel removal, but would like to see a comprehensive, long-term strategy for flood protection established.

"I'm really hopeful that this is the beginning of a different sort of legacy for the Fraser River, where public safety is at the forefront," he said.

gluymes@png.canwest.com

© The Vancouver Province 2007
 

 
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nosey

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Re: "There are safer places to get gravel"
« Reply #23 on: January 02, 2008, 08:06:53 PM »

    If the bottom of the Fraser was rising as the proponents of the gravel removal would like us to believe then the water levels would be higher when we had the same amount of water flow as historical levels, yet last year when the water flow nearly equaled that of 1948 the water levels were nowhere near the 1948 marks. I've lived within a kilometer of the river for 58 years and I see no evidence of the river levels being higher with the same amount of flow, and I'm fairly sure the Canadian hydrometric surveys will back me up on that.
    The mining of the Fraser River bars is just another cash grab by the same short sighted politicians that keep adding to the amount of fish farms on the coast, somewhere down the line the management of our fisheries and stewardship of our west coast wild salmon has to be taken out of the hands of the politicians and turned over to some sort of non partisan agency.
    Politicians cannot be trusted to look after environmental issues because at the end of their term if they do not run a balanced budget they will not be re-elected so they will sacrifice anything for short term planning. If they happen to destroy salmon rearing habitat or sturgeon spawning beds to make a few bucks for the provincial coffers so be it that kind of destruction won't be fully documented till they're drawing a fat pension and gloating over how they tricked the voting public and bragged about their surplus budgets.
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troutbreath

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Re: "There are safer places to get gravel"
« Reply #24 on: January 02, 2008, 08:26:26 PM »

Record snowpack last year and still no flooding? I can see dyking to protect the areas they don't want flooded but like the bottom of the river changes every year. I don't think they study this enough to start saying removing the gravel will stop flooding, or it would have flooded last year. What do they say about Prince George flooding because of the ice build up? Sweet dick all because they don't know.

Habitat distruction for fish through ignorance comes cheap.
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bentrod

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Re: "There are safer places to get gravel"
« Reply #25 on: January 02, 2008, 08:39:51 PM »

I'm assuming they'll move all this prime river bed gravel to other stream restoration projects that need it also ;) 
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chris gadsden

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Re: "There are safer places to get gravel"
« Reply #26 on: January 08, 2008, 06:45:48 PM »

An editorial in today's Chilliwack Times with an article in the Chilliwack Progressas well for those interested.

troutbreath

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Re: "There are safer places to get gravel"
« Reply #27 on: January 08, 2008, 07:04:29 PM »

Thanks for the heads up Chris.

One minute they say it's flood protection the next it's to keep the river bottom level/on keal/steady. I bet there looking for Bouncing Betties. ;)



Dredging may not solve issue
 
The Times


Tuesday, January 08, 2008


The provincial government has stepped up with a plan to help reduce the risk of flooding.

Sounds great, on the surface, after the close call last spring and early summer.

But is it really an effective plan?

Provincial Public Safety Minister John Les announced that gravel removal will begin on the Fraser River early in the new year in a bid to reduce the risk of spring flooding.

"Our sole motivation for removing gravel is flood protection," said Les. "At the end of the day, we don't want to be playing Russian roulette with the safety of citizens in the Fraser Valley and Lower Mainland."

That sounds great and we hope he's right, but is this just a waste of time, or worse, a ploy for government and industry to make a profit under the guise of safety?

We're questioning the move because of a federal government report issued last spring that raises serious doubts about the plan. The report, obtained by CanWest News Service, said a massive dredging initiative on the lower Fraser River would likely do nothing to reduce the risk of catastrophic flooding.

"It shows that [gravel excavation] isn't the silver bullet for flood mitigation," Greg Savard, director of special projects at the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans, said last June.

The initiative would reduce water levels by only five to 15 centimetres, insignificant in preventing floods that would only occur if the river level swelled by several metres, said Barry Chilibeck, an engineer at Northwest Hydraulic, which conducted the study.

"It does not appear that large-scale gravel removals from the gravel reach of the Fraser River are effective in lowering the flood profile," concluded author Dale Muir in the April report.

"Localized reductions in water surface elevations are possible, but significant, wide-scale reductions at flood flows are unlikely."

The report, commissioned in March, recommends further studies to ensure that large-scale gravel extraction wouldn't result in riverbank erosion.

We hope the province will take another look at this plan and ensure it doesn't think dredging will solve all the problems. More money, tens of millions in fact, are needed locally to raise our dikes and protect our communities. Let's put our focus on that too.

© Chilliwack Times 2008
 

 

Ministry defends gravel plan
By Robert Freeman - Chilliwack Progress - January 08, 2008


The proposal to remove up to 420,000 cubic metres of gravel from the Fraser River near Herrling Island is not meant to create more flood protection in the area, says a B.C. government official.

The point of the gravel removal “is not to lower the level of the river, it’s to maintain (the level) we have now,” Glen Thompson, B.C.’s director of flood protection, said in a recent interview with The Progress.

Each year more gravel is deposited in the river reach between Hope and Mission. Complicating the process of deciding where to remove it is the fact that the gravel is constantly on the move along the river bottom.

However, Thompson said the Herrling Island proposal would offer some local benefits by reducing the flow of the river now “sweeping toward” the dikes that protect Agassiz. A second proposed removal site at Spring Bar would reduce the river flow toward undiked Seabird Island. Nine potential removal sites have been identified.

A decision on whether to proceed with the Herrling Island proposal is not expected until later this month.

But it has already come under fire by biologists and others concerned about possible damage to fish habitat.

Frank Kwak, president of the Fraser Valley Salmon Society, said he agrees gravel can be removed from the river at certain sites at certain times, but he questions why the massive Herrling Island proposal is being considered in 2008, a pink salmon year.

He also said the public is being sold the idea that taking gravel out of the river will lower the water level and increase flood protection, but he argues dredging the sand and silt at the bottom would offer more protection without risking flood habitat.

“From a fisheries perspective ... you should be taking the sand and muck as opposed to the gravel,” he said.

Kwak also pointed out that a federal fisheries review of the fish-kill at an earlier gravel removal site called for the creation of a “multi-agency” review committee, which he believes should include recreational fishermen and First Nations.

“We can certainly send people (to the committee) who may not be technical experts but we can listen,” he said. “Instead, we’re kept off this committee altogether.”

Marvin Rosenau, a fish biologist and instructor at BCIT, has charged the B.C. government with “muzzling” committee members who are insisting on science-based evidence the Herrling Island proposal will not harm fish habitat.

He has likened the proposal to “running a D9 Caterpillar tractor down the center of the spawning beds of the Adams River” while providing “trivial” flood protection benefits.

He said the “comic book-level” of an environmental report to the committee was “a stunning testament to the refusal of the agencies to require a rigorous assessment of the impacts associated with these types of projects.”

BC Environment Minister Barry Penner said he stands by the review process, and that gravel must be removed from the river to protect area residents.

He said the gravel build-up over the years “is putting us at greater flood risk.”

“Gravel removal must take place, but it must take place in an environmentally safe way,” he said.

Earlier, Penner said he would support a call by the Pacific Fisheries Conservation Council to create an interim task force to protect the environmental, cultural and recreational values of the river reach between Hope and Mission.

The council recommended the “multi-agency” task force until a comprehensive river management plan can be designed. But local and regional governments have been lobbying for just such a plan for years without success.

rfreeman@theprogress.com
 

 

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bentrod

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Re: "There are safer places to get gravel"
« Reply #28 on: January 09, 2008, 10:31:05 PM »

It's so idiotic it's almost funny.  Really, are there no heavy weight environmental groups willing to challenge the Govt. over this? 
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chris gadsden

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Re: "There are safer places to get gravel"
« Reply #29 on: January 11, 2008, 06:50:25 PM »

It's so idiotic it's almost funny.  Really, are there no heavy weight environmental groups willing to challenge the Govt. over this? 
A meeting of some environmental groups is being held tomorrow.

From a Provincial Government press release send out at 3 pm today work is starting next week on Spring Bar that is by the Seabird Island Indian Reserve. The project is starting with the construction of a bridge, access road and culverts.

The Government press release also says they have provided $564,000 to help with this project to remove 4000,000 cubic metres of gravel.

The rational given is to help reduce the Fraser River Flood risk. ::)