RiverWatch: Birkenhead River flood mitigation efforts

Maxine Joseph-Bruce is the Fisheries Manager for the Lil’wat Nation, so whenever I want to know how many salmon have come home to spawn, I email her. (I love her because she has an amazing smile with a lovely flash of mischief in it, her email signature includes this series of characters: <*)}}}>< , and she always indulges my requests even though she has a full time management position and serves her community as a Band Councillor. Thanks Max!)

She has been involved in fisheries work since 1990 when she was hired by the Musgamagw Tsawataineuk Tribal Council as a fishery technician/guardian. Later she was enrolled and trained to be a fisheries officer, but never made it Regina for the final segment of enforcement training.

I love my job as fisheries manager. I love this kinda work. 

For the better part of March, her team has been undertaking flood mitigation efforts on the Birkenhead, in advance of the freshet, (which is a sweet sounding word for the spring thaw, which in these parts isn’t always so innocuous.)

freshet: A flood resulting from heavy rain or a spring thaw. A spring freshet can sometimes last several weeks on large river systems, resulting in significant inundation of flood plains as the snow pack melts in the river’s catchment area. Spring freshets associated with thaw events are sometimes accompanied by ice jams which can cause flash floods.

photo 3

The work was just completed so Maxine was able to share this video, shot by Pemberton Valley Dyking District Manager, Steve Flynn, from his iPhone through the front window of the helicopter – a short virtual tour of the excavation site.

It was a pretty amazing collaboration. As Maxine explains:

The Birkenhead river flood mitigation project was made possible with surplus funds from AANDC. We joined our efforts in-house with the Public Works Department supported by our Capital Projects Manager and we worked side by side with the Pemberton Valley Dyking District.

The funds were March 31st sensitive, but with all our above and beyond efforts the project was complete.

It was a fantastic experience for me to be working with the engineers, biologists and technicians in moving this project forward. Everyone put their best into the project.

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