The Fraser River is constantly moving back and forth across its floodplain. Leaving room for rivers to flood should be a natural part of river management. As they move, rivers carry gravel downstream forming temporary gravel bar islands. Herrling and Carey islands are such gravel bars that would need to be reinforced with rip rap or diked to ensure stability thereby destroying the riparian zone, spawning and rearing channels.

During freshet 2018, visual studies of the islands showed at least a quarter of Herrling Island was flooded. The situation was similar for Carey Island. Flooded channels crisscrossing these islands provide refuge to small fish, juveniles salmonids included, from the rushing waters of the main stem. If the islands were to be developed, they would be drained and diked to ensure maximum usability.