Prairie Creek Improvements Restore Fish Habitat

Prairie Creek Improvements Restore Fish HabitatIn the foothills west of Red Deer, Alberta, an aging culvert was restricting access to upstream habitat for several species of fish, including an angler favourite, the brown trout. The culvert runs under the access road to Husky’s Ram River gas plant. Over time, the pond at the outlet of the culvert had dropped, leaving some fish unable to make the leap from pond to culvert as they continue their swim upstream. In addition, the flow through the culvert was too rapid to provide resting spots for the fish as they made the journey. The solutions installed at both the upstream and downstream ends of the project were well-received by Trout Unlimited Canada.

The project involved a temporary diversion of the creek up and over the access road. Fish Creek Excavating Ltd., Pidherney’s Trucking Ltd., and Farlinger and Associates used Nilex erosion control products on the banks around the culvert, including silt fence, dewatering bags, straw wattles, erosion control blankets, envrioflex geomembrane liner and nonwoven geotextile.

Baffles installed inside the culvert helped recreate a slower, more natural flow. Both the bank and creek bed used existing material to create an outflow riffle (nature’s own flow control design) natural enough that, upon her return to the site, the biologist assigned to the project didn’t realize the riffle work had been completed. The project is a model for others of its kind and an excellent example of partnership between Nilex, local contractors, Trout Unlimited Canada and Husky Energy.

Ken Lloyd, Husky’s Project Superintendent, was very happy that he had a “goodie pile” that he could draw from. They had a rain event during construction so he was thrilled that they did not have to wait for dewatering bags to be delivered to site - they were in the Nilex product pile.

Photos of the project during dewatering process:

Photos of the project after: