Redwillow Watershed Restoration Project

Redwillow Watershed Restoration Project

The Redwillow Watershed Restoration Plan is a roadmap to help all of the organizations active in the watershed to collaborate and streamline their efforts. We will be improving efficiency and the effective use of resources by following this roadmap that everyone came together to develop.

Project Update

5 years have passed since the Redwillow Watershed Restoration Plan was completed. This plan has a 25 year timeline to restore fish habitat in the Redwillow Watershed and so we did a review to see how things are going. A majority of the recommendations have already been started on. 

Fish Passage at Low Flows

Below is the hydrograph – amount of water flowing through the Beaverlodge River; and below that a video from August 26th of how the water is concentrated in the centre of the channel to allow fish passage at lower flows.

Fish Passage Completion

The Redwillow Watershed Restoration Project Team is excited to say that the fish passage work has been completed! 

Project Updates

Efforts to restore the Beaverlodge River have narrowed focus on breathing life back into the Redwillow River watershed thanks to federal funding to begin restoration activities that will improve watershed health on the Redwillow River, of which the Beaverlodge River is a tributary. The next step is to produce a restoration plan that will tap into the newly acquired resource most efficiently. The funding comes from the Environmental Damages Fund, a federally administered supply of dollars with a focus on shovel-ready restoration projects. The health of both the Redwillow and Beaverlodge rivers is challenged by a decline of fish populations, periods of low flow and lower oxygen levels, and dwindling water quality affecting recreational opportunities. However, project partners continue to identify the highest-ranking restoration activity as improving the fish passage through the Beaverlodge weir.

Arctic Fish

We would like to see the return of historic fish community in the Redwillow Watershed. There has been a change in the types and numbers of fish due to declines in water quality. Implementing our Restoration Plan will help to improve water quality, thereby restoring fish habitat and allowing for the return of the historic community. This is a long process but one worth pursuing. One of the fish species that is no longer part of the fish community is Arctic Grayling. This iconic fish was once present in the Redwillow Watershed and it would be great for it to return. We are working on improving habitat so that it can. Learn more about Arctic Grayling here.

Natural Rock Passage Design

Check out the mock-up of the fish passage design at the Beaverlodge weir. We are working with the Town of Beaverlodge to ensure that their needs are met and then we will complete the permitting process. A big thanks to all those who helped us reach this decision!

PLAN & REPORTS

Here is the report submitted to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans regarding the fish passage work on the Beaverlodge River:

The following report was submitted to Alberta Environment and Parks and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in fulfilment of regulatory obligations for the fish passage work at the Beaverlodge weir:

Our report from the 2021 winter water quality monitoring is available:

The following two reports were submitted to Alberta Environment and Parks and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in fulfilment of regulatory obligations for the fish passage work:at the Beaverlodge weir:

Monitoring shows fish passage on track:

Check out the great article on the fish passage work that was done together with our partners.

Fish Passage Design

We continue to work with qualified professionals in the fields of fish biology, hydrogeomorphology and engineering as well as the public and stakeholders to develop the best possible design for fish passage at the Beaverlodge weir. Here is a letter addressed to a few specific concerns raised around fish passage.

Our Partners

As much as we are excited about working on livestock crossings, we are at least as excited about continuing work with some excellent partners.  

We would like to thank the Government of Alberta for providing funding for this project through the Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program.