District of Fort St. James warns residents to prepare for rising lake levels

The District of Fort St. James and Nak’azdli Band are encouraging residents who live along Stuart Lake to prepare for rising lake levels.

Residents living along Stuart Lake are asked to be prepared for rising lake levels.

Rising water levels has the Fort St. James Integrated Emergency Management Program (FSJIEMP) warning residents to move items out of harm’s way.

The FSJIEMP is run cooperatively by the District of Fort St. James and Nak’azdli Band.

The River Forecast Centre has estimated the lake level could rise between 8 and 20 cm in the next two weeks.

Outdoor furniture, personal items or things which could be damaged by flooding or which would float away should be removed.

Basements and crawlspaces should be prepared by removing buoyant materials which could damage the first floor of the structure or possessions which would be damaged by water.

Chemicals such as weed killer, insecticides, fuels or corrosives should be kept somewhere safe and dry so as to prevent contamination, fires or personal injury.

All vehicles and equipment with gasoline or diesel engines should be moved to higher ground as well.

The key areas of concern for the emergency management team right now are spots where high water typically hits first.

Huffman Point, located next to the beach volleyball courts, the government wharf, also known as Cottonwood Marina, and Lakeshore Drive, are the spots where lower ground can leave them susceptible to high lake levels.

Notices have been sent out to boat owners keeping boats in the marina to be aware of high water levels and it water gets too high, they may need to take their boats out of the water to avoid damage.

The FSJIEMP is hoping the two days without a rise in the lake level since Tuesday is a sign the water may have peaked, making the flood watch a non-issue.

However, they want the public to be prepared in case the River Watch prediction does occur.

Flood level is designated as 1.8 m on the gauge at Cottonwood Marina, and the lake level was sitting at 1.88 m before the paper went to press last week. While there was some water in driveways on Huffman Point, water had not yet reached the floors of homes and was not yet causing residents any real concern yet.

Some of the highest levels previously recorded were seen in 2002 and 2007, when the Cottonwood Marina lake level gauge read 2.029 m and 2.15 m, respectively.

For further information on flood preparedness, visit: Emergency Management BC

Rural residents requiring assistance should contact the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN) at 1-800-320-3339.