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Phase 2 Flood Strategy Projects

Here's a look at work underway in the Lower Mainland Flood Management Strategy.

Also see summaries of related flood projects:

Lower Fraser Floodplain Model

In Progress | Base Runs: 2018 | Completion: 2019


The Lower Mainland Flood Management Strategy is developing a new Lower Fraser Floodplain Model. Following an RFP process, Northwest Hydraulic Consultants was retained for the work, and initial runs were underway in the fall of 2018.

The Lower Fraser Floodplain Model will be based on a new digital elevation model that encompasses both the river channel and the floodplain.

The Floodplain Model will be used to better understand how water moves down the river and across the floodplain under various flow scenarios. It will also be used to analyze the effects of dike breaches; to create flood hazard maps that show the extent, depth and velocity of floodwaters; and to evaluate the effectiveness of proposed flood mitigation options.


Digital Elevation Model of the Lower Fraser River

Completed: March, 2018


Photo: 2017 bathymetric survey of the Lower Fraser

In 2017, Northwest Hydraulic Consultants was retained to:

  • conduct a bathymetric survey to collect data along the lower Fraser River from Hope to the river’s mouth at the Strait of Georgia, and
  • combine the newly-collected data with existing bathymetric and topographic data to develop a digital elevation model.

The bathymetric survey measured the underwater depths of the river. It was conducted by boat using single (sonar) beam hydrographic equipment and software. The final elevation data from the survey was combined with data collected by Public Works & Government Services Canada in 2015, LiDAR topographic data commissioned by the Province of BC and other data.

A digital elevation model (DEM) has been derived using these datasets. The DEM provides a critical input for the development of the new Lower Fraser Floodplain Model.


Assessment of Flood Management Options

In Progress | Flood Strategy Interim Report (Draft): Late Fall 2018

1) Regional Flood Mitigation Priorities

Lower Mainland local governments and other flood authorities were surveyed in the fall of 2017 about their short- and long-term priorities for flood mitigation, and what factors should be weighed when setting regional priorities.

Survey respondents identified factors of importance when setting flood mitigation priorities for the region. These include public safety and a number of other factors (in no specific order):

  • Public safety
  • Critical infrastructure and essential services
  • Economic values
  • Social and cultural values
  • Environmental values
  • Agriculture / food security.

Additional technical analysis, consultation and dialogue will be facilitated to further refine priorities for the Lower Mainland Flood Management Strategy.

2) Flood Mitigation Options

In consultation with the Joint Program Committee for Integrated Flood Hazard Management, FBC has identified a range of approaches to flood mitigation to consider in the context of a regional strategy.

An initial assessment of mitigation options for the Lower Mainland will be presented in a Flood Strategy Interim Report (Draft), expected for late spring 2019. These include:

  • Hard- and soft- engineered flood mitigation works (e.g., dike upgrades, dike realignment, breakwaters, sediment management and water retention)
  • Adjustments to land use policies
  • Floodproofing requirements for new and existing development in floodplain.

In assessing mitigation options, FBC and project advisory committees will look at a range of considerations. In no specific order, these include:

  • Effectiveness
  • Technical feasibility
  • Costs and benefits
  • First Nations interests
  • Environmental impacts
  • Public and stakeholder interests
  • Suitability of options for diverse local and sub-regional circumstances.

3) Funding and Decision-Making Models

An initial inventory and analysis is in progress to document past, present and emerging approaches on funding and decision-making related to flood risk. Examples from BC and other jurisdictions are being reviewed. Near-term funding opportunities are being explored, as well as the potential to establish a new funding program for longer-term strategy implementation. The business case for proactive investment and regional cost-sharing is also being developed.

The results of this work will be presented in a discussion paper and in the Flood Strategy Interim Report (Draft) for initial consideration by participants in the LMFMS.


Online Atlas on Flood and the Environment

In Progress | Completion: Late Fall 2018


An online map atlas and document library are being developed to identify environmental values and features along the lower Fraser River and coastal foreshore areas – in the context of flood hazards and flood management.

The atlas will help identify potential environmental benefits and adverse impacts of flood mitigation works or policies. It will help decision-makers flag issues likely to require review in regulatory processes and identify potential candidate sites for habitat protection, conservation, restoration or compensation.

The atlas will be hosted on the Community Mapping Network. Thanks to several governmental and non- governmental agencies that have made data available, information will include:

  • Estimated depth and extent of Fraser River and coastal flood scenarios
  • Location and alignment of flood mitigation works
  • Communities and land use
  • Watercourses and wetlands
  • Sensitive ecosystems
  • Fish habitat.



Seismic Guidelines for Dikes

In Progress | Scoping Study: Late Fall 2018 | Completion: 2020-21

The Province introduced seismic guidelines for new and existing high-consequence dikes in 2011 (updated in 2014). The aim was to better protect the diking system from earthquake damage. Local authorities and design professionals in the Lower Mainland have found the standards are technically challenging to implement in many locations and/or cost-prohibitive.

The Province of BC has provided funding to:

  • fill information gaps about the seismic vulnerability of flood protection dikes through geotechnical investigations and engineering analysis
  • review the seismic guidelines and implementation challenges and propose changes/updates
  • work with local governments and design professionals to develop a program that balances:
    • a level of seismic resilience that is financially achievable, and
    • continued improvement of flood infrastructure for current and future conditions
  • develop professional practice guidelines for effective and consistent application of seismic risk assessment and design.

This initiative is expected to improve understanding of seismic vulnerabilities and to develop and implement a well-defined and regionally accepted program to improve the seismic resilience of Lower Mainland dikes.


Assessment of Orphan Dikes

In Progress | Completion: 2019-20

The Fraser Basin Council has retained a consultant to review risk assessment methodologies and recommend a methodology that would be suitable to assess orphan dikes in BC – that is, dikes with no local authority for operations and maintenance.

Province-wide, there are 101 orphan dikes and erosion protection works, totalling more than 85 km in length. These works were either constructed or funded by the Province over the past 50 years

to respond to emergency flooding situations or were built by others and abandoned. These works generally lack adequate planning and engineering design due to the emergency conditions under which most were constructed. They are not typically maintained or inspected by a diking authority.

A second phase of work will involve assessment of the orphan dikes using the recommended methodology, including field assessments. The project will evaluate the condition of the orphan dikes, the associated risks of failure and what is needed to bring each up to provincial standards and into a state of readiness to establish a local authority. While only a small number of orphan dikes are in the Lower Mainland, the project will help identify any significant risks associated with them.

The project is funded by the Province of BC with the aim of helping local governments, the public, and the Province to quantify and understand the risks that these structures pose to BC communities. The project will also assist interested local governments that wish to mitigate these risks by assuming the role of diking authority, if warranted.


BC Storm Surge Forecast Model

The BC Storm Surge Forecast model provides important 5-day forecasts of coastal flood conditions in the Georgia Strait.

Coastal partners in the LMFMS and the Province of BC have cost-shared the operation of the BC Storm Surge Forecast Model over the 2016-17 and 2017-18 storm seasons (October through March). Funds for continued operation and enhancement of the forecast model have been secured for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 storm seasons.

The model is operational for the coming (Winter 2018-2019) storm season.



Subscribe to the Flood Strategy Briefing

Looking for the latest? The Flood Strategy Briefing is a progress bulletin distributed to partner organizations* in the LMFMS and published online.

If you would like to receive the next issue directly, please subscribe.


Here are past issues:

Note to Strategy partners: The Fraser Basin Council sends the Flood Strategy Briefing to your organizations via your chief administrative officer or executive officer (or other contact on request) for internal distribution, as well as to those in your organization who are participants on LMFMS committees.

Our Vision

Social well-being supported by a vibrant economy and sustained by a healthy environment.

About the Fraser Basin Council

The Fraser Basin Council (FBC) is a charitable non-profit organization that brings people together to advance sustainability in the Fraser River Basin and throughout BC. Established in 1997, FBC is a collaboration of four orders of government (federal, provincial, local and First Nations) along with those from the private sector and civil society. We work with people in multiple sectors, helping them find collaborative solutions to today’s issues through a commitment to the social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainability. Our focus is on healthy water and watersheds, action on climate change and air quality and strong, resilient communities and regions.

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Contact Us

FBC has offices in Vancouver, Kamloops, Williams Lake, Quesnel and Prince George. We also have staff located in Abbotsford and Vernon.

To reach us, see FBC Offices and FBC Staff.

Our main office is:

Fraser Basin Council
1st Floor, 470 Granville Street
Vancouver, BC V6C 1V5

T: 604 488-5350
F: 604 488-5351