Spring freshet update

The following update was issued by Corwin Quade, Community Emergency Management Coordinator (CEMC) for Madawaska Valley Township:

April 2, 2020

To date, the spring melt in Renfrew County has been gradual due to favourable temperatures (warm days and cool nights) combined with minimal precipitation. Water levels are staying within the normal range for this time of year.

Water levels and flows have started to increase which is a good sign that water is getting out of the system. We’re hearing reports of very little snow left in the southern parts of the County, which means less melt water going into our lower tributaries. There is still a fair amount of snow left to melt in the north, but each day with temperatures above zero and minimal precipitation means that the snowpack is decreasing.

Large lakes are mostly ice covered at this time but the ice is starting to lighten which means that it’s thinning and heading toward break-up. Many of the larger rivers and streams are already ice-free and flowing.

MNRF issued a Watershed Conditions Statement – Water Safety for Renfrew County this past week. This type of statement “indicates that high flows, melting ice or other factors could be dangerous for such users as boaters, anglers and swimmers but flooding is not expected.” At this time there is no indication that flooding will occur and the bulletin was issued to ensure that everyone stays safe around rivers and streams.

During this time when staff are working from home and practising social distancing, spring freshet is still critical business and operators are keeping a close watch on conditions and water levels and flows, both remotely and on the ground. Updates are being shared between the County, MNRF and operators daily, and spring freshet calls are being held to share information with the larger group as needed.


Photo of Opeongo Road by Sharon Gardiner

One Comment

  1. Pat Helferty

    This is great news and a very important piece of news for those of us with homes in the valley but currently living away from the valley. Big relief – this means the Madawaska River likely won’t overflow it’s banks along Hwy. 515 in Latchford Bridge this year. Woo hoo!

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