Upgrades on the north harbour boat launch are continuing, with the City of Powell River in the process of widening the ramp, while working to protect fish and fish habitat.
According to a media release from the city, the ramp can be used, but boaters must reinstate the silt curtain upon exiting or re-entering the ramp. Boaters are also advised to be aware that there is an approximate eight-inch drop-off to the north side of the ramp where widening slabs have yet to be placed.
According to the release, the silt curtain installed at the launch site is a means to trap and contain suspended solids, including silt and sediment, that cause turbidity within the water column.
Installation and maintenance of the silt curtain is a recommended mitigation measure, prescribed by the senior biologist at Fisheries and Oceans Canada, who performed the detailed review of the project, in order to avoid and mitigate the potential for the death of fish or the harmful alteration, disruption or destruction of fish habitat.
Deployment of the silt curtain is at the discretion of the qualified environmental professional (QEP) environmental monitor who has been employed to monitor all project works below the high-water mark, the release further states.
There are specific levels of turbidity, a measurement of water quality based on total suspended solids (TSS, also called total suspended sediment), that are acceptable in relation to the survival of fish and fish habitat, the media release states. Turbidity levels are measured by the QEP environmental monitor at specific intervals, typically daily, or every other day. When the turbidity levels in the water column are greater than the acceptable levels, or there is potential for turbidity to be caused by the project works, a silt curtain is deployed and installed around the project site.
Some of the materials utilized at the project site contain high levels of silt/sediment, and have been causing turbidity levels in the water column to exceed acceptable levels, so the QEP environmental monitor has determined the silt curtain must be utilized and maintained until the completion of the project or until the project site has been sufficiently flushed by tidal flows to dissipate the silt/sediment.
As such, for the reasons noted above, all persons using the north harbour boat launch ramp while the silt curtain is in place must reinstate it upon entering or exiting the project site, according to the media release.
The $200,000 upgrade to the north harbour boat launch is funded by Powell River Community Forest.