MD looks to prevent erosion from floods
Foothills: Projects considered along creeks, rivers across foothills
By: Don Patterson
| Posted: Wednesday, Aug 21, 2013 06:00 am
A little less remains of the banks of the Fish Creek and many other rivers and streams in the foothills after June’s floods eroded and ate away land along their courses. The situation has become a threat to homes, business and infrastructure across the foothills.
It’s a problem the Meota Gas Co-op is facing after a section of the bank along Fish Creek washed away near Priddis Valley Road, where gas line used by the Meota Gas Co-operative is located.
The co-op and MD of Foothills are looking at ways to beef up what remains of the creek banks to prevent further erosion.
“Certainly our gas line has been affected by the flood and we are in the process of looking at what proper remedial action should be taken,” said Doug Brown, general manager of the Meota Gas Co-op. “We have come to no conclusions.”
Brown is supportive of anything the MD can do to prevent further erosion along the Fish Creek near the co-op’s gas line. He said the work would protect the gas line from erosion and the nearby Priddis Valley Road.
“I’d love to see the MD be able to get funding to do some erosion control along that bank,” he said. “That’s the first option.”
The MD is compiling a list of potential projects to protect rivers, creeks and nearby properties from erosion. It hopes to use provincial disaster recovery funds to pay for work to improve existing flood protection, put creeks back to their original pre-flood course and add boulders along watercourses to prevent further erosion.
The list of projects included building erosion control on the Sheep River northeast of Black Diamond near a spot where the river changed its course during the flood, repairing the Hoeh Dike west of High River, flood protection for the Little Bow and completing flood maps for areas in the MD.
Last week, MD council approved applying for $250,000 from the provincial Disaster Recovery Program for work to shore up the Three Point Creek in the Millarville area. If approved, $50,000 will cover engineering costs and $200,000 for construction.
Coun. Barb Castel said the MD needs to do erosion protection work along Three Point Creek near the Millarville hamlet and the intersection of Highway 22 and Secondary Highway 549. She said the course of the creek changed and land around a well supplying water to four homes was entirely washed away and needs to be rebuilt.
“That needs to be taken care of and there was a lot of land lost,” she said. “That land is probably lost forever, but we’ve got to ensure that this isn’t going to continue to happen.”
She said the MD will also need to look at doing something to protect the Millarville Racetrack from further erosion near the property.
“It has lost way more land again this last flood, so now their polo field is gone, they had a polo field where the baseball diamond was,” she said. “They had to abandon the baseball diamond in the last flood and now the polo field is gone too.”
Coun. Ralph Nelson said the Hoeh Dike west of High River needs to be assessed to determine if there was any damage because of the flood. If so, he said it will need to be repaired.
“The river came over the dike in places upstream of here,” he said, referring to his home near the Highwood River west of High River.
Nelson said the Little Bow River will also need to be assessed and bridges washed out along the river may need to be rebuilt with the potential for higher water flows in mind.
“It’s yet to be determined how much water went down the Little Bow, but the thoughts are it could’ve been 300 to 400 cubic meters per second, possibly even more,” he said. “To manage for that is going to take some thought.”
The small river normally sees around 150 cubic meters per second by the time it passes through the MD’s southeast corner.
MD manager Harry Riva Cambrin said there are a number of areas in the MD where flood maps haven’t been done and this will need to be completed.
“What’s really important is establishing floodplains for the future so people know where they may be at risk,” he said. “A lot of the MD has never been mapped so people have built their homes unaware of what will happen.”
Riva Cambrin said the MD could look to a $20 million provincial fund for erosion protection announced last week to help pay for much of the proposed work.
He said the Province has also expedited the approvals process for this type of work and what may have taken as much as a year to be approved in the past could now be done in as little as five weeks.