July 23, 2015 - 9:00 PM
ENDERBY - Extremely low water levels could cut the summer tubing season short on the Shuswap River in Enderby.
Madison Giesbrecht, program manager for the Shuswap River Ambassadors program, which monitors river conditions and provides information to user groups, says river levels are about a month ahead of schedule, and particularly low at that.
“We usually see tubers into the first few weekends in September, depending on the weather, but I can foresee that not being able to happen this year because the water is so low,” Giesbrecht says.
Prime tubing season could likely come to an end even earlier if the river isn’t topped up with rainfall, she says. The ideal time for tubing is typically the end of July to the middle of August, but the time frame this year is right now until the end of July.
“I would suggest trying to get out there sooner than later, definitely,” Giesbrecht says.
As the water gets shallower, floaters are more likely to pop tubes on the river bottom, potentially stranding themselves. The risk of scrapes and scratches from hitting the often rocky river bottom also increases. Shallow water makes it harder to steer around hazards, like fallen logs or debris, and there’s a lot of that in the river due to previous years of high water, and a landslide in 2014, Giesbrecht says.
The low, slow moving water also means float times are quite lengthy — some up to seven hours — which could lead to sunburns, dehydration and heat exhaustion, Giesbrecht says.
“I can see it becoming impossible to have an enjoyable float later on in the summer,” she says.
Meanwhile, the river ambassadors are also predicting conditions could be unfavourable for fish, including spawning salmon.
“If the water is warm and shallow, it’s definitely going to cause some duress for them. It will be difficult for them to get through,” she says, adding there’s less oxygen in warmer water.
In her years on the river, Giesbrecht has never seen the water so low, and says records show it hasn’t been for many years.
“It’s quite unreal for sure, and a little concerning,” she says.
You can find up-to-date information about river conditions on the Shuswap River Ambassadors Facebook page.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015