The Bioengineering Demonstration and Education Project (BDEP) is part of the larger Riparian Action Program, which addresses multiple corporate priorities—including stormwater management, flood mitigation, biodiversity and climate change adaptation—while directly improving the quality of life for citizens and improving the resilience of our infrastructure and communities. While Water Resources has already undertaken many actions over the past decade to protect and restore riparian areas. The Riparian Action Program aims to better co-ordinate and focus municipal and community efforts.
The project is located along an 850m stretch of the Bow River in the historic community of Inglewood. The area was unique in southern Alberta as it was heavily eroded during the 2013 flood, had extremely unstable slopes, and prior classical “hard” engineering treatments installed immediately following the flood (rock groynes and rip rap bank protection), that could be used for comparison to the proposed bioengineering treatments. It is predicted that the effects of climate change will alter the frequency and magnitude of floods and droughts.
These physical elements provided an opportunity to apply a variety of bioengineering treatments to address riparian health, slope stability, bank erosion, and fisheries habitat issues which varied significantly from site to site across the project area. Early in the planning stages, it was recognized that the project aligned with and complemented a wide variety of City of Calgary and Government of Alberta policies and programs. The BDEP achieves key outcomes and specific actions under the City’s Flood Resilience Plan, the Riparian Strategy and Riparian Action Program, and the Government of Alberta’s FISHES Program and the Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program’s Strategic Plan.