Brothers Ian and Kris Biela

Brothers Ian and Kris Biela

Balancing river values with heavy use on the Vedder

It’s an extremely well-used recreational corridor in Chilliwack in need of a fresh look at its management.

It’s an extremely well-used recreational corridor in Chilliwack in need of a fresh look at its management.

The Vedder River corridor encompasses world-class amenities, while facing challenges like erosion, flood prevention, and the need to protect fish and wildlife values.

This is the wide-ranging scope of issues to be tackled in the soon-to-be updated Vedder River Management Plan.

The old plan dates back to 1983, and recent developments made it necessary for the Vedder River Management Area Committee to proceed with an update.

A request for proposals for the plan update went out this summer and is set to close on Aug. 31, according to the City of Chilliwack’s RFP summary.

The corridor in question spans from Vedder Crossing west into the Vedder Canal.

With the final report due in April 2012, the successful consultant will complete analysis and review of the following: gravel removal, erosion, flooding, recreation, heritage sites and First Nations.

The results will guide the future actions of the broad-based committee. City of Chilliwack officials chair the committee, which includes sport fishers, federal and provincial reps, FVRD and City of Abbotsford.

The overdue update will look at recreational uses at sites like the Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve, sportfishing, as well as the gravel removal conducted every two years to maintain a flood profile without having to continually raise the dike infrastructure.

Next year is a gravel removal year, so it’s possible preliminary results from the study will be available when the winter planning for spring gravel works begins.