Whistler wetlands need respect
As a member of the River of Golden Dreams Watershed Management Committee, I feel that the time is now to preserve and enhance the natural diversity of the River of Golden Dreams watershed. Considering that only 3 per cent of British Columbias land mass was ever wetland, much of which is gone, the wetland portion of this management area should be protected and allowed to become wet once again. By creating mitigating initiatives to address flood proofing issues, the water levels in the River of Golden Dreams can be allowed to rise back to historic levels once again. Beavers, blue heron, fish, trumpeter swans, winnowing snipe; all of these wetland creatures will surely be grateful.
I offer the following suggestions and ideas in order to help develop a solution to the many challenges facing the enhancement of this wetland area.
Firstly I believe the simplest means of enhancing this area is to allow the beavers to re-establish themselves. It appears that beavers dont seem to mind living in close proximity to humans and if allowed and with the absence of canoeists, they will probably do very well at backing up the waters, allowing the wetland areas surrounding the River of Golden Dreams to return to being wet again. I am sure the beavers could possibly go overboard but with some simple monitoring and pruning measures we can keep water levels contained if needed.
The next and most pressing issue is of course flood proofing. My first suggestion would be to look at building two high water spillways. These spillways will allow flood waters from the river and surrounding wetlands to pass more efficiently out to the Green River.
One spillway would be located at the north end of Green Lake where a channel structure can be installed and at a level to be determined above the mean average lake level. It would be built to accommodate flood waters only.
The second and possibly more importantly would be at highway 99 where a man-made dry river bed of a certain size and at an elevation to be determined would be installed. The purpose of this would be to allow flood waters only to pass under the highway more efficiently.
My final suggestion would be to redirect a portion of 21 Mile Creek via another spillway, creating a fork in the creek prior to passing under the train tracks at the foot of Lorimer Road. One fork would not pass under the bridges but remain on the west side of the tracks until it passed the bridges then reconnect to the river, allowing flood waters easier passage out to Green lake and beyond. The other fork would remain as is. This will of course require another bridge over the Valley Trail.