Lakeshore meets forest floor as spring freshet cleans out creeks

Kelowna Yacht Club operations manager Geoff Gowe stands beside a debris slick.

KELOWNA - The record temperature-setting high pressure ridge last week combined with a well-above average snow pack in the mountains is send water gushing down local hillsides and pushing tons of woody debris into Okanagan Lake.

“We’ve been pulling it out of the marina basin all weekend. It’s certainly unusual. The water came up very quickly,” Kelowna Yacht Club operations manager Geoff Gowe says. “We probably took out five one-tonne bags. We corralled some of the big stuff, chopped it up and had it hauled away.”

B.C. River Forecast Centre data shows Okanagan Lake rose 22 centimetres from 178 cm to 200 cm over six days from April 20 to 26.

Gowe says the early season means most power boats are not yet on the lake so floating logs have yet to present as a problem.

“It’s not as much of an issue for the sailboats,” he adds. “We did pull out one big log, probably two feet across and six feet long floating vertically in the water."

Kelowna parks supervisor Ian Wilson says his crews have been dealing with more beach debris this year but predicts the worst is yet to come in about two weeks.

“It’s still early so we will see,” Wilson says.

Owners of lakefront property who find large logs or branches on the beach in front of them can float them over to the nearest lake access where city crews will cut them up and take them away, Wilson says.

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