Ottawa River Ice Blasting Is Dynamite (Video)

This is one of those gather 'round, you-gotta-see-this videos. Blasts of dynamite are being used to clear ice jams on the Rideau River in Ottawa, Ontario. Extreme stuff. And it seems to work. But what does it do to the fish? For sure, it's not a dynamite condition for ice anglers. Move your shanties. The annual blasting is due to take place this weekend and continue into March. Note that in the video, the blasting folks are standing on the ice when it blows. They seem pretty confident that this is a controlled explosion.

The BBC reports that residents are told to stay a safe distance from the river when the busting starts. The bombing is done to prevent the city from flooding when the ice melts in the spring (or earlier due to wacky weather).

Before the explosions, specialists use buzz saws and amphibious ice breakers to cut the ice into sheets, the Ottawa website explains. Then they drill holes for the dynamite, which is detonated to break up the sheets of ice and allow the mini-bergs to flow down the river.

As for the fish, "the blasting must be done with care to avoid scarring the riverbed and killing wildlife," the BBC says. The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority has been using an amphibious excavator in recent decades to reduce the amount of explosives that are used, and lessen the impacts to wildlife and nearby bridges and structures.

The city spends $460,000 a year to clear the river ice. The BBC was in Ottawa last year to film the blasting as part of a Human Planet episode due to air in the spring on Discovery Channel Canada.

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Tags: Canada | Rivers | Winter