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trout habitat design in conjunction with road construction project

trout habitat design in conjunction with road construction project
Parks Canada Agency

design features mitigate highway improvement project's impact to fish habitat in adjacent river

Improvements to Highway 93 in British Columbia are part of ongoing infrastructure rehabilitation in Canada’s national parks and historic sites. Parks Canada hired Barr to assist with environmental review at locations along the highway adjacent to the Vermilion River, including conducting habitat assessments for potentially impacted species.

When Parks Canada determined that a rock revetment to stabilize a failing slope would affect fish habitat in the river, the agency asked Barr to design compensation measures to comply with permitting requirements and improve habitat in this stretch of the river for bull trout, a species of special concern in British Columbia. Before construction, there was no place for the fish to rest or spawn, and the river was susceptible to falling debris from the failing highway slope.

Our design used boulder vanes and clusters to create small pools in the Vermilion River. It fit seamlessly into the previously designed slope stabilization measures, used materials and equipment already planned for the project, and was completed quickly to meet the fast-track construction schedule.

Within an hour of installation, trout-spawning activity was observed near the first boulder vane. Barr’s natural channel design provided habitat features appropriate for bull trout, consistent with the geomorphology of the Vermilion River, and complementary to slope stabilization measures for the adjacent highway.