Water work done during fish window
MD of Foothills: Province dishes out $11.47 million for erosion protection
By: Bruce Campbell
| Posted: Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 10:53 am
MD of Foothills workers and contractors are busy doing erosion protection on waterways before the end of a narrow time window.
The MD has identified 31 sites, which needs to be remediated through the Province’s Flood Recovery Erosion Control Program (FREC). However, MD council has prioritized that list to 11.
“We have obtained a permit for a fish window from April 16 to May 1,” said Hugh Pettigrew, MD deputy director of public works and engineering on April 16. “We have geared up to be successful (to meet that window) but we have applied to have it extended at sites for two weeks if it is required.”
The fish windows are in place to protect rainbow, bull trout and other species. Fishing is a multi-million dollar tourism industry in Alberta.
The MD received approximately $11.47 million earlier this month through FREC for eight of those sites. Work has already begun on six of them.
“One of them is at Three-Point Creek at Millarville which has been going on for a few weeks now,” Pettigrew said. “We were allowed to work outside of the fish window because of the urgency of the work there.”
There is also work being done in the Priddis area as well as off the Bow River near the Predator Bay water-skiing area.
There are sites between Black Diamond and Turner Valley along the Sheep River in which erosion work needs to be done.
Sites near Western Feedlot and at Women’s Coulee, southwest of High River have also been approved.
The work is being done on virtually all of the major water systems in the MD, including the Sheep, Highwood and Bow rivers as well as Priddis Creek and Three-Point Creek.
“We are at every river and we are doing everything by the book,” Pettigrew said. “The challenge for the past few weeks has been to obtain the rock material, to tender and get people started and we have done that.”
As a result, most of the work in the waterways will be completed within the fish windows.
He said the efforts will continue after work is completed in the waterways.
“Once we are out of in-stream, we will have some stress because the water will rise so we will have to keep up the pace,” Pettigrew said. “Our contractors are all geared up, and I have complete confidence.”
Pettigrew stressed this is just phase 1 of FREC work within the MD of Foothills.
“We will have more FREC work to do in the next year or two,” Pettigrew said. “There will be a FREC Phase 2 project in the future.”
He expects further projects from the list of 31 to be approved and funded by the Province when FREC 2 is announced.