Alberta orders bridge removal, remedial plan to protect fish, creek bed

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Rainbow trout
According to a Water Management Order from Alberta Environment and Parks, the department had no record of authorization for a 12 x 3 metre bridge to be constructed over Maskuta Creek, which supports Brook and Rainbow trout (pictured). Photo Credit: Ward Hughson, Parks Canada

A Water Management Order has been issued to an Alberta-based contracting firm, which must now provide a remedial plan for the removal of a bridge that has been deemed unsound, unauthorized and potentially detrimental to the ecosystem of Maskuta Creek in Alberta’s Yellowhead County.

The order posted to the province’s website in October notes that a complaint was filed in spring 2018 to Alberta Environment and Parks regarding a steel bridge that had allegedly collapsed and damaged the banks around the creek bed.

According to the Water Management Order from Alberta Environment and Parks, which is under the provincial Water Act, the department had no record of authorization for a 12 x 3 metre bridge to be constructed over Maskuta Creek, which supports Brook and Rainbow trout.

An inspector’s report from April 30, 2018, stated that: “The bridge itself was in poor repair, and exhibits the potential to collapse into the water body. The wooden bridge deck is deteriorated and weathered, and the steel frame is covered with rust and was damaged.”

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By May, the Jasper-based contracting company, Bowen Contracting Ltd., had been ordered to remove the bridge and remediate the creek bed. While the company indicated that it was working on a development plan, no progress had been made on the plan by August, at which juncture no timeline was presented to provincial staff. The deteriorating bridge was still present when an inspector visited the site on August 2.

According to the provincial order, the parties responsible for the bridge must submit the names and qualifications of a Qualified Aquatic Environmental Specialist to submit a remedial plan for the department to review by November 2. The plan must not only address the removal of the bridge, but also how the bed, the banks of the creek, and the water, will be protected from all elements of the removal.

The submitted remedial plan must also address how the banks of Maskuta Creek will be stabilized following the bridge removal to prevent any further erosion or sedimentation into the water body. The remedial plan must finally address whether revegetation measures, such as grass seeding, may need to be undertaken for the project.

For a listing of other 2018 Water Management Orders in Alberta, click here.

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