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Fish compensation

The City completed several riverbank stabilization and rehabilitation projects at various locations along the Bow and Elbow Rivers that were damaged during the 2013 flood. These necessary projects resulted in a loss of fish habitat based on the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) fisheries act. The City is using a fish compensation program to meet regulatory obligations to compensate for the loss of fish habitat due to the riverbank flood repairs and other related projects.

Five potential sites for fish compensation projects have been short-listed and are being studied for suitability. The five sites are adjacent to the Bow River and are located at:

  • Bowmont West
  • Lawrey Gardens South
  • Beaverdam Flats
  • Quarry Park
  • Mallard Point in Fish Creek Provincial Park

Consultants may be on the sites to collect data such as soil/sediment investigations and to conduct field surveys during spring and summer 2016. Some of this preliminary work to gather data may include using equipment to dig small areas. We appreciate your patience as we work to find the most suitable fish compensation projects.

What is bioengineering, and how does it help fish compensation?

When plant roots and branches grow along the river's edge they weave together forming a sturdy network that helps hold soil in place. This organic structure protects the riverbank from erosion and provides natural habitat for birds, insects, fish and other wildlife.

Traditional engineered bank protection like rock riprap or concrete creates a hard barrier to protect infrastructure such as roads, bridges, pipelines and property from erosion. Since this strategy overwhelms most vegetation along the riverbank, root systems disappear, natural habitats are lost and biodiversity is threatened.

Bioengineering combines vegetation and built components to shore up eroding riverbanks. Water loving shrubs, trees, grasses and other native plant matter take root among structural elements like timber crib wall, rock lining or boulders, fortifying the land. The resulting natural habitats support a diversity of birds, insects, fish and wildlife.