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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Sawlog pollution in the Lower Fraser River Fairbairn, Bruce

Abstract

Wood debris has been a natural component of the Fraser River system for centuries. However, with the development and expansion of a diverse forest industry in British Columbia, the volume of waterborne logging wastes being discarded into the river has gradually increased to the point where logging slash, uncontrolled sawlogs, trimmed log ends and dislodged bark now present a serious problem to the users of the Lower Fraser and its shorelands. Where water pollution can be defined as any residual discharge into a watercourse which causes both a deterioration in the quality of the receiving waters and some form of related social costs, sawlogs and other types of wood debris present a rather unique example of a pollutant to the Lower Fraser River. From this perspective, the available literature on pollution control provides an appropriate methodology for defining and analyzing the issues and problems associated with the presence of this material in the waterway. In 1972, uncontrolled sawlogs accounted for 9.2 million cubic feet of wood debris or roughly 80 per cent of the total debris load in the river. These logs were responsible for approximately 4.5 million dollars in costs to fishermen, pleasure boat owners, harbour authorities, and private logging companies. While it is realized that there are substantial additional costs related to the environmental impacts of sawlog debris, more studies are needed to determine the significance of these impacts on

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