letter to the editor

A few things got me thinking about the RMG’s Dore River rip-rap article. One is my memory of the Zymoetz (Copper) River’s banks being extensively rip-rapped after an atmospheric river flood which resulted in my family’s evacuation in 1978.

The problem with straight runs of rip-rap, however, is that it accelerates water flows. This resulted in extensive erosion where this large tributary meets the Skeena. If, instead, the rip-rap armor also occasionally had perpendicular jutting formations, deflecting some water away from the bank and forming sediment-accumulating eddies, the river’s banks would be calmer and slower, nutrients would accumulate, ecosystems enhanced, and downstream properties protected.

Also, I’m wondering whether it has occurred to local residents or government reps why it is that the Dore River experienced such huge floods in recent years. Sure, a hundred-year flood event is due in many local watersheds, and climate factors seem to indicate that we can expect more extreme weather, but what are your thoughts concerning the removal of mature primary forests which would naturally buffer large rain or snowmelt events? Extensive biogeographic alterations to the Dore’s water-absorbing potential (through the biomass/carbon removal created by clearcutting and the dramatic run-off of the road network that feeds the logging/plantation zones) now dominate the Dore Rivershed.

Their contributions to any given climate event’s flood potential are like a sacred cow that is omitted from the discussion. Because we are told that the climate, or atmospheric rivers, or high snowmelt due to higher than normal temperatures coupled with deep snow are the ‘cause’, we neglect taking into account other factors that exponentially compound the issue. Incidentally, the Zymoetz was also clearcut extensively in the ’60s and ’70s.

This point should be driven home by analysis of the famous atmospheric river event that dominated the news, knocking out both highways and railways and flooding the Sumas Prairie dairies. What we got was dramatic Climate Change sensationalism. The extensive ‘salvage’ logging that was done upriver was not mentioned. Under the mismanagement of our forest ministry, policies greenlighted clearcutting vast upstream areas under the premise of removing beetle-killed pine. All species, healthy or not, were cut after extensive road networks were built.

While flooding would have happened, the extent of the damage would never have been near what it was without the aid of such upstream practices which greatly accelerated the runoff. For further understanding: BC Floods and Clearcut Logging (Nov. 2021)

Rob Mercereau
Dunster, B.C.

Learn more here: https://tinyurl.com/bdd54735