Monday, January 07, 2008


Saturday was the final blitzing on at all the flotsam. Keeping this all clear is no easy task and by Sunday morning there must have been another dozen logs that had come in. Moving all the stray logs and debris in this marina alone could be a daily full time job.

On a similar note and, much further in up the river there's a debris trap that has been in place since 1979. The Fraser River Debris Trap and its' operations have been funded by various government groups. The last I had heard was that there was substantial funding issues as some major contributors had dropped out. Someone had recently tried to tell me that they had eliminated it but I suspected that to be somewhat erroneous. So I decided to do a little hunting on the subject.

Imagine a pile of wood debris as big as a football field and as high as a 13 story office tower. Now imagine the damage that amount of wood – 100,000 cubic metres – would cause if it were allowed to flow unfettered downstream from Hope to the Strait of Georgia. The Fraser River Debris Trap, a unique facility near Hope, captures up to this amount of debris each year as uprooted and fallen trees careen down the Fraser River from as far away as Mount Robson in the Rocky Mountains.
-- Fraser Basin Council, Press Release, June 2004

And then I found this link to this video. (Right click on it to download as it is a large file and quite interesting.)

I identified with that big log jam, although not to quite the same proportions. It would seem that the Fraser River debris trap is in fact, still in operation though on-going funding may continue to be at issue as things like this are. I also found this article from January of last year.
The study estimates that, even with the Fraser River debris trap in place, it now costs approximately $1.59 million per year to manage woody debris in the lower Fraser — that is, an estimated 5,000 m3 of debris generated primarily downstream of the trap from tributaries such as the Pitt and Harrison Rivers and other sources.
And we are downstream of the Pitt and Harrison Rivers. There is a lot of real estate all along the river devoted to the log booms and these break apart all the time. Regardless, it is shocking to see the amount of wood waste floating by all the time. You'd think there would be lots of opportunities to pursue more value added products with all this material.

It isn't hard for me too see the difficulty in managing it all and I am only looking at our wee section of this mighty river. I can see how onerous it could be for a government funded organization at the perpetual mercy of local politics and committees, in stumbling over its "management" too. Alas, they have a bit more power and authority behind them than we do. We can only react and make decisions in the moment that hopefully prevent and avoid damage to the vessels and docks in this part of the riparian zone that we live in.

In this last picture here, taken days after Saturday's clearing, you can see where the planks have popped up from something pushing at it all from beneath.


rob said...

Wow thats a lot of wood! with the way that China is growing and its increasing need for wood of all kinds I would have thought that an approach to a Chinese businessman for assistance to place all this wood as pulp or other wood products, in China, would bring forth a proposal to take over the task for the government, and even pay a fee for doing so? What do you think? Here in the UK we have barges set around the Thames for just that but they are a health hazard full of rats etc, however you can get some nice cast off timber such as teak/oak etc from demolition works on quay sides and old wrecks that find their way into them. Not like the volumn that you have though.

bowiechick said...

Well, sending raw logs to China has be a bone of contention politically in this Province for years. Would be nice to see the wood used in value-added products made here than elsewhere.

Most of the wood coming down this river are softwoods, mostly Douglas Fir, red and yellow cedar. I hate the yellow cedar as it makes me sneeze like crazy.

rob said...

If the driftwoods value could be raised by some means then it would be proffitable enough to simply take it to the pulp mills? I guess?