What Will the New Harvie Passage Look Like?

The redevelopment of Harvie Passage is under way.

What will the new development look like. Most important is a harvie1completely new low flow channel that is safer for all river users. The right bank of the Bow River will also receive and update as a part of the Bend-in-the-Bow project.

Work will continue into the Fall of 2016 and recommence in the Spring of 2017. A grand opening of the facility will take place in the Fall of 2018.

Details of the development follow:

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Harvie Passage Redevelopment Starts

 Cripen burger

The Harvie Passage Alliance released the following information on August 31. We can expect to see some sediment in the Bow River downstream of Harvie Passage up to September 15.

 

The Harvie Passage project in Calgary on the Bow River has received Water Act Approval, the Temporary Field Authorization and Navigation Protection Act Approval. Construction should start in the next couple of days once the contractor has an approved ECO Plan and Care of Water Plan.

The contractor has mobilized the equipment to the site. The contractor’s construction draft schedule shows that work would start now and will continue till around the end of October after which the site will be shut down for the winter. Work would start up again in April 2017.

The work this fall includes diverting the river around HWC Drops #3L, #3R, and #4 prior to September 15th to allow rehabilitation of these drop structures in isolation from the river after September 15th. The contractor may also remove a portion of the gravel bar located upstream of the entrance to the Low Water Channel and dredge the portage channel upstream of the weir on the right riverbank.

Good news. And thanks to the Alberta Transportation Project Manager, Carl Wirzba and the consulting engineers, Klohn Crippen Berger.

Calgary River Access Strategy Moving Foreward.

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.20160714_104030

  • 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.20160714_104214

We can expect to see improvements at other sites in the near future.

Graves Bridge Boat Ramp Gets An Update

Grave’s Bridge boat ramp has received a number of updates this month. A new park bench has been installed together with the addition of a toilet and a a garbage bin between the parking lot and the ramp.

A new unlocked gate has been installed at the top of the ramp. The gate will not be locked until a satisfactory access protocol is negotiated with river users. The  concrete blocks are still on the ramp, but we expect them to be removed shortly.

Will the gate be locked to restrict non-authorizes vehicle access to the upstream gravel bar? Not in the short term.

Provide non-authorizes vehicle use of the gravel bar does not create a problem for the City, trailered boat access to the river will continue.

Calgary River Users Alliance has been petitioning Calgary City Councillors and Administration to keep the ramp open to responsible river users. And as a part of the Calgary River Access Strategy  passed last month by City Council, to gain more public public access to boat ramps in the City of Calgary.

When using the boat ramp to launch a boat, be respectful of the site and do not travel upstream of the bridge pylons.

Bow River Trout 

MacKinnon’s Flats – Cleaned Up, But Not For Long!

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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.

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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 Moves Early with Fishing Restrictions on East-Slope Rivers.

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 LemonInformation 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”?

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Low Flows and High Temperatures Put East Slopes Trout Under Threat

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 Releasejun 29

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 detailsFish Handling Techniques

If temp260215_2208866700030_5493029_neratures 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.