What are “Deadheads”?
Deadheads are partially sunken logs with at least 3/4 of the length underwater. These “low-floats” are difficult to see and dangerous for pleasure boaters and commercial marine traffic. Local marina owners on the Fraser River have voiced concern about damage to docks and vessels from deadheads. In 2016, a commercial tug was lost after striking a bundle of sunken logs and the crew nearly lost their lives. WLSSC is committed to improving this unacceptable situation.
Where Do They Come From?
The Fraser is a working river and every year almost two million tonnes of logs are towed to local mills or stored in booming grounds. Low floating species like hemlock have less buoyancy in fresh water and can escape log booms during towing or from tides. Sonar surveys by WLSSC show significant volumes of sunken logs in the Lower Fraser and we have voiced concern to the Cohen Commission over the impact this might have on migrating salmon stocks.
What has Been Done So Far?
Beachcombers play a critical role in recovering these dangerous logs. Salvors on the Fraser typically receive 95% of the sale price for logs recorded as deadheads and for many years WLSSC has subsidized these sales in the interest of improved log recovery. However due to the large numbers of deadheads still adrift, more needed to be done.
What is Happening Now?
Starting in November 2016, WLSSC is paying out 125% of the sale price for salvaged logs recorded as deadheads in the Lower Fraser. Based on current prices, beachcombers receive a premium of over $7/ cubic metre for recovered deadheads, and WLSSC contributed over $39,000 through this initiative in 2021 helping to incentivize recovery of 3,686 low float logs. We are pleased to work with log salvors, the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations, and Rural Development as well as marina owners, First Nations and log buyers to further improve log recovery. WLSSC will provide regular updates on these and other efforts to improve log salvage in the province.