Unless you’re an experienced kayaker, stay out of Puntledge River this weekend

BC Hydro plans to release extra water, warning the public to avoid the Puntledge River on Saturday and Sunday.

  • Nov. 30, 2011 6:00 a.m.

BC Hydro provides the following update on a water release this weekend for flood risk management and to benefit kayakers, with a safety warning to the general public to stay away from the Puntledge River on Saturday and Sunday.

There is no risk of downstream flooding.

BC Hydro advises the public to stay away from riverbanks and dangerous river flows from Sunday through Monday, unless you are registered with the Vancouver Island Whitewater Paddling Society (VIWPS). The Puntledge River flow will increase by more than twofold over the current water release below the dam.

VIWPS advises upwards of 30 kayakers may take advantage of the kayak river flow this weekend. Various water features and flows will be ideal on one of the best kayak rivers on the Island when conditions are right.

When able to do so, BC Hydro targets a 110 cubic metre per second (m3/s) release downstream to lower the reservoir level and to provide an opportunity for river recreation.

With the current calm weather, BC Hydro will lower the reservoir level in preparation of future storm systems that may hit the watershed. Increased storage room in the reservoir increases BC Hydro’s ability to mitigate flood risks.

The Comox Lake reservoir is currently at 134.3 metres, Stephen Watson of BC Hydro said Wednesday. The significant increase in reservoir elevation from last weekend’s storm now places it about one metre (three feet) from where water free-spills over the dam.

When water begins to free-spill over the dam, BC Hydro’s ability to control downstream water flow diminishes. By the end of Monday, BC Hydro would like to see the reservoir in the 133.5-metre range.

BC Hydro’s ability to controlled water releases during large storms also benefits fish. Last weekend’s storm had inflows into Comox Lake Reservoir peak at 502 m3/s, yet BC Hydro released just 20 m3/s to 45 m3/s downstream. This greatly limits gravel movement in the river.

This is a sensitive time in the salmon life cycle with incubating eggs in the gravel, and their susceptibly to mortality at high flows. River flows in the Puntledge that exceed 120 m3/s at this time of the year are a concern for Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Understanding flood risk management comes first, but fish habitat is another important issue that BC Hydro considers in its operations, watson concluded in a news release.

— BC Hydro

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Orcas spotted hunting north of Comox

Did you see the orcas in the area on Feb. 20? Ella… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Iconic aircraft at 19 Wing Comox entrance undergoes facelift

PHOTOS: Iconic aircraft at 19 Wing Comox entrance undergoes facelift

VIDEO: Comox airport’s Make-A-Wish send-off fit for a galaxy not so far away

Mattias Beck, 15, received an extra special start for Make-A-Wish trip

North Island Fiddlers hosting Spring Fling in Royston

Groundhog Day is long past, and Valentine’s Day has come and gone,… Continue reading

Comox Valley Citizens on Patrol celebrates 25 years of service

Comox Valley Citizens on Patrol Society (COPS) just celebrated its 25th year… Continue reading

Blair says RCMP have met Wet’suwet’en conditions, calls for end to blockades

The Wet’suwet’en’s hereditary chiefs oppose the Coastal GasLink project

Comox Valley Beefs & Bouquets for week of Feb. 18

More beefs to the tip-expecting server; a bouquet to BC Transit

Petition seeks to remove local police department from Lindsay Buziak murder case

American woman starts online petition in hopes of helping Buziak family

Health officials confirm sixth COVID-19 case in B.C.

Woman remains in isolation as Fraser Health officials investigate

Study says flu vaccine protected most people during unusual influenza season

Test-negative method was pioneered by the BC Centre for Disease Control in 2004

Saskatchewan and B.C. reach championship round at Scotties

British Columbia’s Corryn Brown locked up the last berth in Pool B

Resident discovers five discarded hog heads in Vancouver Island ditch

WARNING: Graphic image may be upsetting to some readers

B.C. lawyer, professor look to piloting a mental-health court

In November, Nova Scotia’s mental-health court program marked 10 years of existence

Development proposal in Courtenay stalled at third reading

A development proposal adjacent to the Crown Isle Resort and Golf Community… Continue reading

Most Read