Have you been out enjoying the Valley Trail over the past few days and wondered what that excavator is doing in Fitz Creek and why those crazy people are in the water wearing what looks like the backpack from Ghostbusters? They are helping protect our community from flooding and supplying the RMOW with gravel for public works.
Cascade’s crew is currently hard at work on the Fitzsimmons Creek Gravel Extraction. Because Fitz Creek flows from high in the alpine, gravel and sediment washes down toward Green Lake. This material collects on the creek bed, raising its height, and creating a flood hazard in high water conditions.
Each year the RMOW digs into portions of the creek with the highest concentrations of gravel and trucks it away to be used for municipal works. Naturally there are environmental regulations in place to protect Fitz Creek’s aquatic habitat. Cascade is responsible for ensuring that the environmental conditions are met throughout the process. Prior to the gravel extraction the creek is diverted to expose the gravel bars. Before the sectioned off portion of the creek runs dry, Cascade’s team performs a fish salvage and that’s where the ghostbuster packs, more commonly referred to as electrofishers come in. The electrofisher sends an electrical current through the water, temporarily stunning the fish which allows our personnel to scoop them up with nets and transfer them to buckets to be measured and recorded before being released downstream, well away from the gravel extraction works.
Cascade’s team also closely watches the excavators and dump trucks to ensure that they are working in the most environmentally responsible manner possible. We ensure that there are no fluids leaking into the water, no unsafe practices occur, and to promote proper care and consideration for the delicate aquatic and riparian habitat throughout the process.
So if you are out and about along Fitzsimmons Creek in the coming two weeks, please keep your distance and stay out of the water. It may contain an electric current!