Erosion still a problem on Bulkley River

Erosion of the Bulkley River bank has extended downstream another 200 metres, with an average width of about 40 metres inland movement.


It may be topical at this time of year to revisit the extensive reports in the November 2008 issues of the Interior News regarding the ongoing erosion of the Bulkley River at the south end of the Smithers airport.

An update will reveal that since that time the erosion of the river bank has extended downstream a further 200 metres, with an average width of about 40 metres inland movement.

The sluffing at the top edge of the bank has now extended for a continued length of about 600 metres with an average width of 10 metres movement into the top level of the bank.

As a result of this it caused an instrument landing beacon to slide down the bank recently, three years after its installation in conjunction with the extension of the runway to the south.

It has now been replaced on an elaborate cantilever structure to support it over the void below.  It should be noted here that if the precipitous 2007 decision to extend the runway had not been proceeded with then, the extension to the south would now have been ruled out.

In fact, before long it may become necessary to revert to the north extension only, as no doubt there will be further changes to the landscape of the slide area.

The community’s interest in the ongoing erosion difficulties goes far beyond the airport operations.  It goes to the character and recreational resources of the Bulkley River, the fish habitat in it as well as the environment at large.

The credibility and lack of oversight since the early 1940’s continues to come into question.

Bert Warmerdam