Passengers on the ferry route across the Upper Arrow Lake gaze out at debris fields in the reservoir on the early evening of July 10. The ferry was forced to make some minor detours to avoid the largest concentrations of logs and stumps.

Arrow Lakes Reservoir expected to rise until Sunday; debris choked

Arrow Lakes Reservoir levels to rise as Hydro limits spill at Keenleyside. Levels to reach about 45cm over full pool by Sunday.

BC Hydro is continuing to limit discharge at the Hugh Keenleyside Dam in order to mitigate flood damage below the dam, which is located just west of Castlegar.

As a result, water levels on the Arrow Lakes Reservoir will continue to rise until an expected peak on Sunday, July 15.

As of July 13, the reservoir was at 440.486 metres (1,445.16 feet), 0.386 metres (1.16 feet) above normal full pool. It is rising at about 0.2 feet per day.

The water level is expected to reach 440.588 metres (1,445.5 feet) by as early as Saturday July 15, 2012.

This year recorded inflows to Arrow Lakes Reservoir from February to July 3 are the fourth highest when compared to inflows recorded in other years since 1970.

Without the operation of upstream Treaty dams, the peak flow in the Columbia River at Castlegar [and] Trail would have been approximately double the current flow and within 5 per cent of the historic maximum flows seen in the major pre-dam flood years of 1948 and 1961,” said Revelstoke-based BC Hydro spokesperson Jennifer Walker-Larsen in a statement.

The high reservoir levels across the region are freeing and floating beached debris such as logs and stumps, creating a hazard for boaters.

The Shelter Bay/Galena Bay ferry has been forced to weave and detour through concentrations of stumps and logs in the past week.

Walker-Larsen said Hydro is taking steps to have contractors in place to deal with the debris. “Debris removal work is already underway with contracting crews and equipment mobilized on Arrow Lakes Reservoir. Currently we have a debris contractor en route to the Shelter Bay/Galena Bay area,” she said. “We expect the contractor to arrive and start work as early as Sunday July 15, the first priority being debris removal on the ferry route.”

Walker said the contractor will be using two tug boats and 60 boom sticks to contain the debris by sweeping and corralling it. The work is expected to last for at least a week, but timing depends on factors such as further storms, changes in water levels and general progress in containing the debris.

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