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  River Ice Updates

January 3, 2017

Ongoing stability of the ice cover on the Fraser and Nechako Rivers through Prince George has led the City to de-activate its Emergency Operations Centre (EOC). The EOC was activated on December 15 in response to rising river levels and a build-up of ice at the confluence of the Fraser and Nechako Rivers. At the time, water flows in the Nechako were approximately 200 cubic metres per second.

Daily monitoring is revealing that numerous open channels remain on both the Nechako and Fraser. River flows in the Nechako are now estimated at 180 cubic metres per second. Water levels through the holidays were stable and have been dropping slightly from mid-December levels. The return of cold temperatures has lengthened the ice cover on the Nechako to about 23km up from the confluence and outside of the City limits.

Cottonwood Island Park and the Heritage River Trail remain temporarily closed to the public due to ongoing concerns relating to the provision of access to the riverfront.

While the operation of the EOC has been suspended, the City’s Public Works staff will continue daily monitoring of the Nechako at a variety of locations. This information will be reviewed to determine if the EOC needs to be re-activated in the future.

Dec 30, 2016

Crews with the City of Prince George and Fire Rescue Services continue to monitor the conditions on the Nechako River and its confluence with the Fraser. Over the past 24 hours, the river ice has remained stable, with open channels of swiftly flowing water seen along the Nechako. Some of the channels also appear to be widening.

Crews also observed that the Fraser River seems to be opening at the confluence and further down river.

Staff monitoring the river over the past day observed no incidents of residents venturing out onto the dangerous river ice. The City of Prince George reminds the public that going onto the ice is extremely dangerous.

Cottonwood Island Park and the Heritage River Trail from the Cameron Street Bridge to Kiwanis Park remain closed to the public.

Starting at 6:00pm tomorrow night (December 31, 2016) until 12:00pm on New Year's Day (January 1, 2017) a security firm will be patrolling the length of the park and Heritage River Trail to try to dissuade holiday partiers from driving down to the river to celebrate. The measure is being undertaken in the interest of public safety and in the wake of a number of incidents involving residents walking out onto the river ice.

Regular patrols will monitor the river over the holiday long weekend.

Dec 29, 2016

The City of Prince George and Prince George Fire Rescue Service continue to monitor the ice on the Nechako River and its confluence with the Fraser. In the past 24 hours, there has been little observable change both in the water level and rate of flow. Open channels of water can be seen in areas along the Nechako leading up to the confluence.

Cottonwood Island Park and the Heritage River Trail remain closed to the public. Late yesterday afternoon, park visitors were seen playing near the river's edge and on the ice near the CNR Bride. The City reminds residents that this is a very hazardous activity and puts both their lives and, potentially, the lives of emergency personnel at risk. Signage and barricades have been erected at the entrance to the boat and canoe launch parking lots, the Replica Bridge, and along the Heritage River Trail. Additional signage is being installed by City crews today at these locations.

In the interest of public safety, the City of Prince George will be hiring a security firm to patrol the park entrances from 6:00pm on New Year's Eve (December 31) until 12:00pm on New Year's Day (January 1, 2017). It is hoped that the presence of security personnel will help to discourage New Year's revelers from moving the signs and barricades and parking in the lots near the river and ice.

Dec 28, 2016

 

Cottonwood Island Park (including the parking lot at the boat launch next to Kiwanis Park, pictured) and the Heritage River Trail are now closed to the public.
 

Dec 23, 2016

Regular monitoring of the Nechako River shows very little change in the extent of stationary ice on the River. It remains visible from the confluence to just past the Foothills Bridge – a distance of about 12km. Numerous open channels are visible at various locations and water levels are trending down slightly.

The work that was undertaken this week to remove ice from the entrance to a back-channel that runs through Cottonwood Island Park has been completed. This work involved crews from the City of Prince George, Prince George Fire Rescue Services, IDL Projects, and McElhanney Consulting Services. The Heritage River Trail remains closed between Cameron Street Bridge and the replica bridge, and parking lots at the boat launch and Kiwanis Park are also closed.

Monitoring of the River will continue through the holidays at specific locations and at regular intervals. 

Dec 22, 2016

Crews with Prince George Fire Rescue Services are contributing to efforts started earlier this week to remove ice from the entrance to a back-channel on the Nechako River. From the end of a ladder extending nearly 100-feet from shore, firefighters are blasting a section of ice between two open channels. They are pumping 800 imperial gallons of water per minute from the river through a pumper truck and onto the ice, and are planning to continue this work through the afternoon. They are positioned in Kiwanis Park west of the boat launch.

The back-channel runs through Cottonwood Island Park and is critical for accommodating rising river levels in the Nechako near to its confluence with the Fraser.

Regular monitoring of the Nechako and Fraser Rivers continues to identify the presence of stationary ice on the Nechako for about 12km upstream from the confluence with the Fraser. There are, however, numerous open channels and water levels have been stable for the last few days.

The City is distributing an update to about 240 residents and businesses on River, PG Pulpmill, Preston, Pozer, and Ongman Roads today. Along with information related to recent observations and plans for continued monitoring, the letter provides information on how sandbags and sand can be requested. Residents and businesses can make arrangements for the delivery of bags and sand by calling 250-561-7534 or 250-614-7828. The Province also provides information on flood preparedness and emergency management:

http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/preparedbc/know-the-risks/floods
http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/emergency-management-bc

The Heritage River Trail remains closed from Cameron Street Bridge to the replica bridge and parking is also closed at Kiwanis Park and the boat launch.

DSC_2979-t.jpg

Firefighter Ryan Olson blasts a section of ice in the Nechako River in an effort to connect two open channels leading into a back-channel. The back-channel runs through Cottonwood Island Park, under the replica bridge, and is critical for accommodating water during periods of high water levels in the river.


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Firefighters contribute to efforts to break up water in the Nechako River. They are positioned in Kiwanis Park just west of the boat launch.

Dec 21, 2016

Work is continuing this week to remove ice from the entrance to the back-channel that runs through Cottonwood Island Park. This back-channel accommodates water from the Nechako during periods when the water levels are high. The Heritage River Trail is closed from the replica bridge to the Cameron Street Bridge, as is parking at the boat launch and at Kiwanis Park.

 
Crews with the City of Prince George and Prince George Fire Rescue Services continue to monitor the river and the presence of ice. There is currently no change in water levels. Stationary ice continues to cover the Nechako for about 12km up from the confluence though patches of open water are visible at various locations.

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Work is continuing to remove ice from the back-channel that runs through Cottonwood Island Park

Dec 19, 2016

Crews with the City of Prince George, IDL Projects Ltd, and McElhanney Consulting Services will soon begin to remove ice from the entrance to a "back-channel" along the Nechako River that flows through Cottonwood Island Park. This back-channel is a critical for accommodating over-flow from the Nechako.


As a result, and adding to a section of the Heritage River Trail that was closed last week as a precaution, the trail is closed from the Cameron Street Bridge to near the replica bridge in the park. Parking is also closed at the boat launch, the Kiwanis Park, and the Spruce City Wildlife Association fish hatchery.


Opening the back-channel is being done as a precaution in the event of rising water levels in the Nechako. Currently, and consistent with observations recorded over the weekend, water levels have been dropping slightly over the last few days.


Water flow readings recorded at Isle Pierre indicate that water in the river is continuing to move at just under 200 cubic metres per second. Further upriver, at Vanderhoof and at the Stuart River, flows are decreasing slowly.


Although there are several areas of open water, stationary ice on the Nechako can be seen about 12km upriver from the confluence with the Fraser River.


The City of Prince George and Prince George Fire-Rescue Services continue to monitor the river at multiple points and at regular intervals.


Residents are advised to monitor local media, the City's social media channels, and the city website for updates and information.

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This aerial photo taken on Dec 16 shows the location of the entrance of the back-channel that flows under the replica bridge and through Cottonwood Island Park.


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Ice will be removed from this area of the back-channel


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As a result of the work, and the ongoing uncertainty regarding the river, the Heritage River Trail is closed from Cameron Street Bridge to near the replica bridge.


​Dec 16, 2016

Crews with the City of Prince George and Prince George Fire Rescue Service continue to monitor ice conditions and water levels in the Nechako and Fraser Rivers. Monitoring will continue at regular intervals through the weekend. Officials with the Government of BC are also monitoring the situation.

 

During a helicopter flight at noon on December 16, stationary ice on the Nechako River was seen to start just past the Foothills Bridge, about 10km upstream from the confluence with the Fraser. On the Fraser, stationary ice is evident down to Fort George Canyon. The total length of this ice is roughly 35 kilometres. Despite the extent of ice, patches of open water are visible, and water levels appear to be dropping.

 

The water flow in the Nechako River is approximately 200 cubic metres per second, which is about twice the normal volume for this time of year. Officials with the Government of BC are indicating that the elevated water levels are primarily as a result of heavy fall rains in the Stuart – Takla watershed northwest of Prince George. They also report that discharge from the Nechako Reservoir is as low as it can be during the winter.

 

City crews have been monitoring a groundwater piping system under River Road that provides evidence of water levels below the surface. Currently, no groundwater has been evident in the pipe.

 

Cottonwood Island Park remains open at this time, but residents are advised to use caution in the park and to be aware of the presence of river ice. A section of the Heritage River Trail from the Cameron Street Bridge to Kiwanis Park near the boat launch remains closed to the public.

 

Late yesterday, the City of Prince George activated a level-one emergency operations centre (EOC) and notified Emergency Management BC.

 

The EOC remains at level-one. A level-two activation will be called when and if EOC staff decide the risk level has reached a point that continuous resources must be deployed, including the 24 hour staffing of the EOC.

 

Residents are advised to monitor local news outlets for updates and to follow the City of Prince George on facebook.com/cityofpg, on Twitter @cityofpg, and on Instagram @cityofpg.

nechako - media.jpg

This photograph is looking West from above the Nechako to the Cameron Street Bridge. The Cutbanks are on the right.


nechako wide - media.jpg

This photograph is taken from over the Cutbanks and indicates the presence of ice on the Nechako leading to the confluence with the Fraser at the top of the photograph.


confluence wide - media.jpg

This photograph is looking South from the confluence where the Fraser and Nechako Rivers meet.

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