Campbell River: First “Skyline” Gravel Drops at Elk Falls Canyon
The first loads of spawning gravel dropped from a new bucket and cable system at Elk Falls Canyon on Campbell River went off without a hitch this summer. The new “skyline” system replaces the method of dropping gravel into the steep canyon from a helicopter, and helps improve safety while reducing cost.
The FWCP is the primary funder of the gravel placement project in 2016. The washed gravel is used by many salmon species in Campbell River including Pink, Coho, Chum, and Chinook, as well as Steelhead Trout.
“This year we placed about 320 tonnes of spawning gravel, which is about twice as much as we were doing with the helicopter,” says project manager Jeramy Damborg with the BC Conservation Foundation. “And the cost to drop that gravel with this new system is about 65 per cent less per tonne than the cost of using the helicopter. It’s a significant saving.”
The cable, bucket, and winch is installed only while the drops are undertaken, and removed for the rest of the year. It is anticipated that gravel will be dropped with the new system on an annual basis, and water releases from the dam help disperse the gravel downstream over time.