Regional district warns boaters, swimmers of new water hazards following floods

The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary is warning swimmers and boaters that there could be new hazards in the water this summer. Courtesy: Regional District Kootenay Boundary

Boaters, swimmers and those who float down the river might run into unexpected trouble in the water this summer.

The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary is warning people that flood debris and changes to river channels and lakeshores could pose hazards to recreational boaters and swimmers.

Officials are now assessing the water by boat and air to identify hazards along the Kettle River system and say they have already found multiple sites where logs and branches have piled up.

They’ve also discovered portions of buildings, farm equipment and even vehicles at several sites.

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The regional district wants those in the water to be aware that log jams may be larger or in different locations than in the past, hazardous debris may be submerged, and beaches, currents and channels are likely to have changed after floods this past spring.

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“There is a lot of natural and human-made debris in the Kettle River system including in the West Kettle, Granby and Kettle rivers as well as in Christina Creek and Christina Lake,” Chris Marsh, a spokesperson for the regional district, said in a press release.

Assessors are also concerned about riverbank instability, sloughing and entire beach areas that are now eroded.

READ MORE: Calgary Fire Department warns against boating, other activities on the Bow River

Marsh said that after the recovery team completes its river hazard assessment in the coming week, professional hydrologists, engineers and experts will work with the RDKB to develop a plan for debris removal in critical areas.

“Residents and visitors float down rivers, fish, and boat on Christina Lake, and should continue to enjoy those activities; however, it’s important that everyone understands how waterways have changed after flooding,” Marsh said. “Where you thought it was safe to float or boat last summer may now require more vigilance so you don’t get into trouble.”

READ MORE: Cleanup underway in Prince George after severe flooding

Some of the things boaters and swimmers might run into include barbed wire and chain-link fencing, non-energized power and phone lines, utility poles and even sheds or parts of homes.

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