BC Hydro are asking fishermen casting lines on the Campbell River to be on the lookout for a small yellow remote-controlled boat.
The 1.8 metre long craft will be used to gather data along the waterway starting Sept.2 and wrapping up around Sept. 9.
While this is the boats first time on the local river, a similar model has been used for bathymetry (depth measurement) work on the Puntledge River system.
Its mission this fall will be to help the utility provider better understand the relationship between water flow and fish habitat.
“It will help us determine the various water surface elevations, depth, velocity, substrate composition, and morphology using specialized equipment mounted to boat,” said BC Hydro spokesperson, Stephen Watson. “This water hydraulic and depth data will be collected at low, medium, and high flows – or at maximum power generation – using the remote control boat.”
Anglers are told to be aware the operation of the boat my temporarily interrupt recreational use of the river, as it will likely briefly spook the salmon.
“We know there are a number of high use areas on the Campbell River and our contractor will attempt to complete these data collection surveys early in the morning before most fishers are on the river,” Watson said.
“We appreciate peoples patience and understanding as the boat moves around to capture this important information on fish habitat.”
The mini-vessel is very effective at what it does, Watson noted.
“The technology within the boat captures a lot of data within a short period of time,” he said.
“It can be used in a variety of ways including deep water locations or fast moving water, which has safety benefits as well.”
There will also be a crew on site setting up laptop communications, and conducting shore surveys on foot. The contractors will probably answer questions, but Watson explained they will be trying to stay focused on the task at hand.
He urged anyone with queries to email him at steve.watson@bchydro.
“This study is part of the results of BC Hydro’s community water use plan that reviewed how BC Hydro stores and releases water within the Campbell River system for various water use interests,” Watson added. “From the plan, various monitoring plans have been implemented over the years to better understand the various operational changes that were made and their anticipated benefits.”