Woody debris removal 2018-04-17

Lake Country, BCEveryone has a role to play in flood preparedness

Given last year’s widespread flooding there is a heightened awareness of potential flooding this year. At present there is no imminent threat of flooding in Lake Country. Currently in some parts of the Central Okanagan region isolated and localized flooding has been reported. These incidents stem from groundwater seepage and low-level snowpack melt. While the snowpack is around 150 per cent right now, it is not known whether this will lead to flooding. How fast the snow melts based on temperature and rainfall are the influencing factors and unknown at this time.

“In addition to the proactive emergency preparedness planning and mitigation work already done in Lake Country, an arborist is doing work this week to remove woody debris from high risk areas of Middle Vernon Creek within the parameters of approval from the Ministry of Forest, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD),” said Matthew Salmon, Public Works Manager.  “The Central Okanagan Emergency program, fire departments, parks and public works crews and the BC Ministry of Environment are monitoring weather as well as creek water and lake levels as the spring freshet is in its very early stages.”

Citizens living near creeks and lakes are encouraged to:

  • Inspect their properties and adjacent culverts/drainage.
  • If it is safe to do so, on private property only, take action to clear debris to ensure it will not impede water flow or redirect water to cause flooding on other properties.
  • Before doing any work in and around water courses or sensitive areas, check with FLNRO (via FrontCounterBC), as special authorization or permits may be needed.
  • Have an emergency plan as well as the tools and equipment necessary to protect your private property from possible flood damage. 
  • Report any issues with public infrastructure to the Roads department at 250-766-5650.
  • For emergency response call 9-1-1.

“Residents pruning willows and other trees are reminded not to leave cuttings on the banks or throw anything into the creeks or lakes as the branches carried downstream add to the formation of dams that restrict natural water flow or change the flow characteristics of the waterway – adding to the potential for flooding,” said Michael Mercer, Director of Engineering and Environmental Services. “Prunings thrown into the lakes find their way to the control structures and impede the operations.”      

Improvements to the drainage system have been made in Lake Country. Beaver Lake and Oyama Lake levels are being drawn down by staff in preparation for freshet and with consideration to the snow pack level.  Oyama Creek and Vernon Creek intakes have both been cleaned and repaired after the 2017 flood – both projects funded by Emergency Management BC.

With higher ground water levels from melting snow and rain, hillside property owners should also be aware of the potential for overland flooding and slides in the event of saturated soil conditions.  Information about the potential danger signs property owners should watch for and what you can do is available on the PreparedBC website.

Information and pamphlets on flood preparedness including a recommended method for sandbag diking are available on the Be Prepared page of the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations website www.cordemergency.ca and on the Prepared BC website.

All citizens should be cautious around area creeks as water can unexpectedly rise and flow faster.  People and pets should stay safely back from creek banks, which may be slippery or subject to erosion from the spring runoff.  Throughout the spring runoff, boaters should look-out for floating debris carried into area lakes from rising and faster flowing tributaries.

In the event of an emergency activation of the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), the latest information will be available online at the EOC Public Information website www.cordemergency.ca and via Facebook (www.facebook.com/CORDemergency) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/CO_Emerg).   Central Okanagan residents are encouraged to subscribe on the website to receive email notifications from the Emergency Program. Central Okanagan residents are encouraged to subscribe on the website to receive email notifications from the Emergency Program.