Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Coldharbour Irrigation Mapping

Last week I went out to Coldharbour to collect necessary data, that would be utilized in part of the land management plan and future funding resources. My task was to map out an overgrown, and outdated section of irrigation ditch, that used to be supplied by the Head and Cortay head gate. This data needed to be collected mainly to give Briant accurate information that could be used to outline necessary funding in terms of receiving grant funding, and to give an accurate representation of future maintenance costs. After driving out to Coldharbour, I obtained an old and very clearly leaky pair of waders from the garage. My approach was to start with a rough satellite image I had printed off, and start a transect I had pre-planned in order to locate the first section of overgrown irrigation ditch.
The day was heating up quick, and with no wind and temperatures approaching the mid 60's, there couldn't have been a nicer November day to search for a century old irrigation ditch. The first step into the Tomichi creek reminded me of the age and abuse these old waders had taken over the years, a stream of icy water started to seem into the boots, making me move with a bit more haste. After locating the old railroad grade and orienting myself, I began my transect straight into the willows in order to find the old flood irrigation supply. I managed to find a section of irrigation that appeared to be extremely old, a section the willows had their way with for some time. After marking down the UTM's I continued to bushwhack in a direction that I believed to be the source, as there are no straight lines in nature.
As I gave one last push through a thicket of willow, I found myself nearly falling off the stream bank of the Tomichi. I had gone too far, so headed back down stream to locate the head and cortay diversion, hopefully that would lead me to the flume and head gate, where I could get a more accurate depiction of the original channel. After locating the diversion, filled with old tires, I began to bushwhack once again, and finally located a heavily over grown head gate, and remaining irrigation ditch. After running what I thought the length of the ditch was with a GPS, I now had to translate my field data to a usable interpretable map, via ArcGIS, looking forward to the struggle...

Left: Tomichi Creek, looking North West. Right: Current state of the irrigation infrastructre.

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