Nechako River in Vanderhoof, B.C. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)

Nechako River in Vanderhoof, B.C. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)

District of Vanderhoof, Rio Tinto monitoring water levels of Nechako

No immediate threat to most residents, says municipality

District of Vanderhoof and Rio Tinto have both said they will be actively monitoring water levels after Nechako River was upgraded to a flood watch advisory earlier today.

“At this time, there is no concern for most residents. However, as the situation changes, we will provide more information to residents along the Nechako River and Stoney Creek as it becomes available,” said the District of Vanderhoof in an email statement.

The District of Vanderhoof also said it is coordinating closely with Rio Tinto and Emergency Management BC on the flow rates and forecasts for the river and will monitor the situation over the weekend.

The boat launch is now closed to the public, as a precaution and to protect the boat launch parking lot. Access to the boat launch will be allowed to the Nechako White Sturgeon Conservation Centre and Nechako Valley Search and Rescue. Trails along the river and in low-lying areas within Vanderhoof are also closed due to high water.

Residents who experience groundwater within their basements or crawlspaces should contact and leave a message with the Vanderhoof Fire Hall at (250) 567 – 2616.

Rio Tinto which manages the Skins Lake Spillway said they continue to follow the best available information to ensure reservoir safety and minimize the risk of flooding throughout the year.

While Spillway discharge is only one factor affecting water levels in the Nechako, the company said with recent rainfall levels, water inflows to rivers and the reservoir have been higher than normal.

Overall, since April 1, Rio Tinto also said they are experiencing the third highest amount of rain on record for this period.

“Rio Tinto will continue to work closely with First Nations, communities and stakeholders – including local and regional governments as well as the Water Control Board – to minimize impacts downstream,” said a company spokesperson.

Meanwhile the public can refer to Emergency Management BC’s new Flood Preparedness Guide and other available resources to prepare for, respond to, and recover from a flood. Download the guide from the website.

READ MORE: Nechako on flood watch as rainfall brings fresh alerts for northern B.C. river systems