Calgary River Users Alliance (CRUA) is please to see Calgary Parks Department moving forward on the Calgary River Access Strategy.
The motion passed by City Council in June gave direction to City Administration to develop a strategy for the existing river access points and develop new ones where needed. Administration was also asked to develop a plan to resolve the closure of Graves Bridge boat ramp to the public. CRUA, with 15 river user group membership has been part of the stakeholder consultation process to develop the River Access Strategy.
River Access Strategy Website
Calgary Parks Department is asking for the general public engagement into the strategy. A Website has been launched this week to solicit input and update the community as the strategy develops. It is important that members of the river use community express their support for the strategy and if you wish to be a part of the stakeholder group please register on the website.
Graves Bridge Boat Ramp Access
CRUA has been assured that no immediate action will be taken to move away from continued public access. It is hoped that abuse of the gravel bar is behind us. Public education is an important part of a plan of action to reduce any further damage.
- The two concrete blocks will be removed next week.
- Signage to be developed, recognizing trailer boat access to the nearest river edge and restriction access upstream.
- Options for more protection of the gravel bar are being developed.
Calgary Parks Department has made a commitment to improve the amenities at river access points. Recent improvements can be seen at Grave Bridge. A park bench, garbage cans and a toilet were installed in July.
We can expect to see improvements at other sites in the near future.
Alberta Environment and Parks, Lands Branch cleaned up MacKinnon’s Flats last week. They removed the trashed toilets, garbage bins and covered over the septic tanks. The site has new signs “User Maintained Site”
Unfortunately the good news only lasted one week a pile of copper wire casing was dumped on top of the old toilet base sometime in the last week.
It is a sad reality that we live and enjoy Alberta, but there always seems to be individuals or groups that just don’t care
Montana Fish & Wildlife made an early move this year to impose fishing restriction on a number of their most iconic rivers. Fishing restrictions are currently in place on stretches of the Big Hole, Madison Beaverhead, Ruby and Gallatin Rivers. In a July 1, 2016, press release, Greg Lemon, Information Bureau Chief, detailed the background to actions being taken:
“The public might not be aware of the dire situation facing many of Montana’s coldwater fisheries this summer, but FWP fisheries staff have anticipated this for months and are ready to act quickly to protect fisheries and work with all water users on mitigation strategies”.
“Under normal dry and hot years, fishing restrictions may be in place for a couple of days or weeks in early August on rivers like the Big Hole and Lower Madison, where flows and temperatures are regularly problematic. However, this year those restrictions come just as the summer fishing season was getting underway”.
“Low flows coupled with hot weather have caused river temperatures to begin to climb dramatically. Fishing restrictions are the first line of defense at protecting the fishery. The goal is to shift fishing pressure to the time of day when water temperatures are the lowest while protecting fish during the heat of the day. On a normal summer day, the river temperatures peak late in the evening and then plummet until they bottom out in the wee hours of the morning. Some rivers can see temperatures swings of 10 degrees or more. So typically FWP implements hoot-owl closures which prohibit fishing from 2 p.m. to midnight daily until conditions improve“.
Go to the following link for complete details FWP Press Release
In 2015, Alberta Environment & Parks imposed a total closure to fishing east-slope streams and rivers, including the Bow River for a 10 day period in August when fishery biologists believed that high temperatures and low flows combined with fishing related stress would endanger fish populations. This year river flows are lower and temperatures have been higher and earlier that 2015. This week, the Province issued an advisory for the southern Alberta fishery, requesting anglers use restraint when fishing later in the day when temperatures rise. Alberta News Release
Will we see Alberta follow Montana and impose and early total closure to the east-slope fishery as was implemented in 2015. Or will we see a “Hoot-Owl Closure”?
Concerns for the Bow River fishery have come early this year with higher than normal temperature and low river flows. Hopefully conditions will improve, but the weather forecast are not encouraging.
On June 30, 2016 the Alberta Government issued an advisory that ” Significantly low flows coupled with consistent high temperatures, have created an increased risk to fish populations”. Details in the following link Alberta News Release
River flows out of the Bow River’s Ghost and Bearspaw Dams have been consistently low this spring due to low snow packs and little rain.
Flow forecasts are expected to continue the same trend.
In addition, the Bow River reservoirs upstream of Calgary are extremely low.Without further rain it is unlikely that normal fill capacity will be met. This will leave very little opportunity to release water to increase flows downstream if the conditions worsen. Bow River Storage Capacity
Under the provincial advisory anglers have been asked to:
Fish in stocked ponds and lakes
Fish early in the mornings (avoid fishing in the heat of the day)
Minimize handing time and release fish as quickly as possible.Go to the following link for details, Fish Handling Techniques
If temperatures remain high and Bow River flows continue to be low the threat to the trout population will increase to a level where fish kill can be expected. Will we see a fishery closure in 2016 to protect vulnerable fish? If the scientific evidence is there – Yes.
Play your part as an angler and do what you can to minimize fish mortality.
Good news for the Bow River trout population, the City of Calgary plans to open up the river flow in a number of back channels that will enhance spawning habitat for Brown Trout .The five sites are adjacent to the Bow River and located at:
- Bowmont West
- Lawrey Gardens South
- Beaverdam Flats
- Quarry Park
- Mallard Point in Fish Creek Provincial Park
Go to the following link for details
City of Calgary Newsletter
Here is a good project to support. Paddle Alberta is conducting a survey of river users within the City of Calgary -Baker Park to Fish Creek Park. The data generated will support Calgary River Users’ Alliance (CRUA) advocacy for improvement to the Bow and Elbow River.
“Paddle Alberta is currently recruiting volunteers to assist with the River Usage Study we are conducting over the summer of 2016. The goal of this study is to determine which improvements need to be made along Calgary’s water ways, specifically the Bow River, in order to accommodate its users. Some suggested areas of improvement include : More boat launches, more parking near access points, better bathroom facilities, and better garbage disposal facilities, to name a few”
If you would like to help out with this study to make your experience using the river more enjoyable, please send an email to:
We will let you know what you can do to help!