Flood debris management projects

In November 2021, an Atmospheric River Event (ARE) caused flooding in British Columbia.

Flood impacts include:

  • sediment movement
  • damage to properties, waterways and infrastructure

The Flood Debris Management program will work to address the risks caused by debris.


Qualified Professional (QP) Engineers assessed 133 affected waterway sites and 577 debris sites.  

Task forces addressed sites where public safety risks were present. Task forces included representatives of First Nations, local authorities and private citizens. Task forces worked together on plans to remove hazards and restore affected watersheds.

Debris clean-up

Taskforces worked together on identification, collection and removal of various debris types. 

Over 450 people from local communities and First Nations received specialized training. This work created 1,000+ employment opportunities.

An interactive debris map and reporting tool assisted in locating debris. This tool allowed citizens to report waterway debris. Once reported, the taskforces and qualified professionals would review and assess removal plans.

Debris removal projects occurred between March 2022 and January 31, 2023. Project teams removed over 16,000 metric tons of natural and human-made debris. Included in the debris was: 441 metric tons of metal, 98 vehicles and 4 bridges. 

View debris clean up photos.

See what debris was removed and no longer in BC Waterways

Water quality monitoring

A multi-agency provincial taskforce was created in response to concerns about water quality.

The water quality taskforce:

  • Reviewed the initial water quality and potential risks from contaminants.
  • Developed conceptual site models (CSMs).
  • Completed human health and ecological risk assessments for the flood-impacted areas.

Assessments occurred in Sumas Prairie, Merritt, and Princeton.

The public can view the analysis on the Water Quality Monitoring Task Force Hub. 


The November 2021 ARE caused sediment movement, flooding and changes to B.C.'s river and creek systems. The sediment movement caused adverse impacts and extensive damage in some areas. 

The Flood Debris Management program assessed sediment sites that posed risks to:

  • public safety
  • critical infrastructure
  • environment
  • culturally significant areas

Current work includes removing and relocating sediment from identified waterways.



Cultural Exploration of The Sqwa:la (Hope Slough)

The Sqwa:la (Hope Slough) is in Chilliwack and is a historic water passage which connects Xwchíyò:m (Cheam), Sqwá (Skwah) and Shxwha:y (Skway) First Nations.