The Town of Golden received $425 thousand in provincial funding to develop an Ice Monitoring Program for the Kicking Horse River that will start this winter.
Ice jams in mountain watersheds are complex and difficult to predict due to the lack of monitoring programs in other mountain communities like Golden. The Ice Monitoring Program is designed for long-term monitoring of ice jams on the Kicking Horse River and may provide early warning of ice jams through remote monitoring of the river upstream of the town. Long-term data will be used to more accurately understand the frequency and severity of ice jams and track how they are affected by climate change.
"The Kicking Horse River Ice Monitoring Program is one of the most sophisticated ice monitoring programs in North America," said Mayor Ron Oszust. "We will now be able to see what's building up in the canyon and whether or not it's making its way to town. This information will help provide earlier warning and preparation to keep our community safe."
Nine river cameras, three pressure transducers (a sensor that measures water level and the height of the ice) and one water temperature sensor have been installed along the Kicking Horse River at five monitoring locations in the Town of Golden and one location 10 km east of town as follows:
- Adjacent to the CP Rail Bridge.
- Near the intersection of 9th Street North and Kicking Horse Drive.
- At the Kicking Horse Pedestrian Bridge.
- A temporary station on the highway 95 bridge which will be moved to the dike upgrade area between downtown and the Kicking Horse River once construction of the flood wall is completed.
- Near the east end of 9th Street South.
- Kicking Horse Rest Stop in the canyon.
The information and data collected at each of the monitoring locations will be transmitted back to a central database and computer at Town Hall where changing river conditions can be monitored in real-time. This information can help with emergency response and be made accessible to specialists in river ice hydrology for analysis and advice.
Prior to this program, the Town of Golden and Matrix Solutions Inc. have manually monitored ice jams through photo documentation, and tracking weather conditions and changes in the river through bi-monthly photo documentation and reporting. The process will now be automated through the new program.
The Kicking Horse River Ice Monitoring Program is one hundred per cent funded through the Community Emergency Preparedness Fund administered by the Union of BC Municipalities on behalf of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.