B.C. Boat and Sportsmen's Show
Chilliwack River Action Committee
Chilliwack River Action Committee

48665 Chilliwack Lake Road
Chilliwack, B.C.
President: David Lamson
Phone: 604-858-3257

Helping Us To Help The River

The Chilliwack River has been the focus of extensive community stewardship projects in the past. However, during rainy weather last year erosion accelerated at several clay slides and stabilization work is urgently needed to prevent further erosion, mud flows, mud slides and the resulting water siltation problems.

Chilliwack River Action Committee:

Province of BC Registration No. S-38994
Canada Customs and Revenue Agency
Designated Charitable Organization BN 87362 9224 RR0001

Who We Are:

The Chilliwack River Action Committee is a community based, volunteer, non profit, umbrella society, made up representatives from local environmental associations and the public with the purpose to organize and administer environmental projects for the protection of the Chilliwack River Watershed. We have an elected Board of Directors and no regular paid staff. We formed in 1997 to deal with the problem of river siltation caused by eroding clay slides. We became a registered BC Society on October 8, 1998 and are now registered with Canada Customs and Revenue Agency and designated as a charitable organization for issuing official income tax receipts.

Our Mission:

Our mission is to preserve the health and sustainability of the Chilliwack River Watershed and its fish resources for future generations to enjoy.

The Chilliwack/Vedder River Watershed:

The Chilliwack/Vedder River is one of the most important recreational rivers in British Columbia. It is a world-class river that supports all of the Pacific species of salmon and steelhead and offers one of the largest steelhead and salmon runs in the province. It is one of the most heavily sport-fished rivers in the province with sport anglers coming from around the world. The Chilliwack River provides opportunities for world-class river rafting and kayaking. The Chilliwack River Watershed also provides opportunity for hiking and camping as well as containing a vibrant residential area. Survey studies conducted by DFO in the fall of 2001 indicated that 1450 sports anglers fished the river on an average fall day. A study by the City of Chilliwack indicated that 2,600,000 people visited the Chilliwack River Valley for recreational purposes in 2001.

Environmental Concerns:

The floods in the Chilliwack River Valley in November1989 and 1990 left a number of clay slide areas severly eroded and continued erosion caused large slumps in November 1995 at the Tolmie Clay Slide and in January 1997 at the Slesse Park Clay Slide, each temporily blocking the river and leaving it silted for months. Over the last 80 years the valley has lost the giant cedar trees that naturally stabilized eroding areas. In previous times, when erosion started large trees would fall into the river and because of their size and roots these trees would become anchored, and swing to protect the bank from erosion. An example of this process is in the park at the headwaters of Chilliwack Lake. Erosion now takes place in the slide areas with little abatement which leads to mud flows and large slumps during the rainy seasons.

Our concern is the erosion at four clay slides along the Chilliwack River that continue to be active with mudflows and slumping during rainy weather. Of these the Tolmie Caly Slide is the largest and most active and erosion there is accelerating.

Problems caused by this erosion are as follows:
  • Siltation and the degradation of 28 km of downstream fish and wildlife habitat in the Chilliwack/Vedder River
  • Loss of fish spawning and rearing areas and wildlife habitat
  • A loss of sports fishing opportunity due to "coloured" water
  • A hazard to sports fishermen and other recreational river users from sudden clay slide slumps
  • A threat to the safety of residential areas from a clay flows, floods and erosion of property
  • A loss of economic activity due to decreased recreational use and loss of tourist trade.
    The engineers predict that unless these slides are stabilized the undercutting at the slides will continue, erosion will accelerate and the problems will get worse.

    The Solution:

    New, innovative, environmentally friendly and cost effective engineering techniques can be used to stabilize these slides and solve the above problems. These techniques include protecting the slide toe with groynes and "large woody debris" anchored with rock, reducing surface erosion with bioengineering methods such as terracing and vegetating, and reducing underground water by diverting higher elevation ponds. These techniques replicate natural processes. Stabilization using these techniques can produce a more healthy and sustainable watershed that will improve the environmental, social and economic well being of the Fraser Valley.

    Our Goal:

    Our goal is to do the stabilization work at four active clay slides over the next five years and construct an educational kiosk and demonstration habitat trail to show what makes good fish and wildlife habitat and help with public education. The stabilization work on the four clay slides and construction of a kiosk and trail has an estimated budget of $1,111,500. We propose to do this work by the use of donations, volunteer labour, in-kind contributions and grants. As necessary we will be contracting a project manager, professionals, equipment and purchasing materials. All work will be done with consultation and approval of federal, provincial and local authorities.

    Projects Completed:

    In 1999 and 2000 we completed a major stabilization project valued at $215,009.00 at the Slesse Park Clay Slide with volunteer labour, in-kind donations, and grants from Fisheries Renewal BC and BC Hydro. This work greatly reduced the siltation entering the river from this clay slide. We completed a final "As Built" report for this work which was published and a copy is available upon request.

    In 2001 in partnership with The Fraser Valley Regional District the engineered design and working drawings were completed for the Tolmie Clay Slide. This work valued at $31,730.00 was done with volunteer help, in-kind contributions and grants from Fisheries Renewal BC and the Fraser Valley Regional District. The FVRD handled the funds and accounting. The engineers from Golder Associates predict that unless this slide is stabilized the undercutting at the slide toe will continue and erosion could accelerate and the siltation problems could get worse. A copy of this engineering report is available upon request.

    Our Priorities:

    The Tolmie Clay Slide (work for 2003)

    With the engineering plans completed by the engineering firm Golder Associates for the Tolmie Clay Slide and conultation continuing with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Ministery of Water Land and Air Protection and the Fraser Valley Regional District we are now raising funds to commence the physical work.

  • The Tolmie Clay Slide Stabilization Phase 1 is planned to start in the summer of 2003.

    Other Projects (work for 2004 - 2008)
  • Stabilization of the Willow Run Clay Slide based on previous design and working drawings.

  • Stabilization of the Slesse Creek Slide based on a Fisheries and Oceans Canada information.

  • Further bioengineering work at the Slesse Park Clay Slide with a combination of professional supervision and volunteer labour.

  • Construction of an educationa kiosk, educational display and demonstration fish and wildlife habitat-trail on land donated by the Chilliwack River Valley Ratepayers Association's Thompson Park located on Chilliwack Lake Road.


    Proposed Expenditures:
    Tolmie Slide Phase 1 Cost Estimate $413,500
    Phase 2 Cost Estimate 448,000
    Willow Run Slide Stabilization 70,000
    Slesse Creek Slide Stabilization 100,000
    Slesse Park Clay Slide Bioengineering 30,000
    Educational Kiosk and habitat trail 50,000
    Total Costs: $1,111,500

    This work, once completed, will be self-sustaining.

    Supportive Partners:

    The following organizations have committed their support with donations and in-kind labour:
    The Chilliwack River Valley Ratepayers Association
    The Chilliwack Fish and Game Protective Association
    The Fraser Valley Salmon Society
    Local Property Owners and Businesses

    Consultation has taken place and continues with:
    Fisheries and Oceans Canada
    BC Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection
    Fraser Valley Regional District

    We are planning a fundraiser for involving sports fishermen and the public in a"Chinook Salmon Derby" for October 11, 12 and 13th on the Chilliwack River. You are invited to come out, take part, have fun catching a "Tyee" salmon and help protect fish habitat. Proceeds go toward habitat restoration thanks to donations and volunteer administration. We are also applying for grants from businesses and funding agencies.

    We feel our projects will be a definite lasting legacy for the local community and the province of British Columbia. Please consider helping us to help the river.

    Respectfully submitted

    David F. Lamson, President,
    Chilliwack River Action Committee
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