Flood Scoping Study and Mitigation Program
Update October 3, 2017
As part of the flood mitigation study that was enabled by the November 2015 Government of Alberta funding announcement, the M.D. of Foothills commissioned IBI Group, to undertake a Flood Mitigation and Compensation Study.
The MD is seeking a fair solution to address the expected impacts of the flood mitigation works that have been constructed to protect the Town of High River. These mitigation works have resulted in a change in the flow split between the Highwood and Little Bow rivers and a reduction in flood storage capacity in the vicinity of the Town. The end result is that in future extreme flood events, landowners along the Highwood downstream from the Town are expected to see higher flood levels and faster water. It is also expected that they may flood more often.
The IBI report proposes a program of buyouts or compensation for landowners who are expected to have adverse impacts to their properties. The program that is suggested by the study is not to be interpreted as compensation for pre-existing flood risk or previous flooding, rather it is proposed as compensation for these landowners not being afforded the same protection given to others and for the use of their lands as part of an overall flood mitigation strategy for the Town.
This study was presented to M.D. Council in September and Council gave direction to staff to release it to the public.
Some of the recommendations put forth in this study have been used by M.D. staff to develop a proposal for a Lower Highwood Flood Mitigation Program for consideration by the Government of Alberta. A confidential draft version of the proposal for Phase One of a two part program is currently undergoing a preliminary review by Alberta Environment.
Update Sept 22, 2017
The M.D. has now received the updated river modeling studies for the Highwood and the Little Bow as well as the updated Scoping Study that includes the extension down the Little Bow River to the Twin Valley Reservoir.
These studies can be downloaded below:
Update July 10, 2017
Another letter was sent out today to M.D. landowners with property along the Highwood and Little Bow Rivers downstream from the Women's Coulee Inlet.
This letter gives an update on the status of the proposal for a mitigation program and includes a letter from the Government of Alberta that was sent in response to the proposal submitted last fall.
Based on the advice from the Watershed and Adaptation and Resilience Branch of Alberta Environment the M.D. is working on a stand-alone proposal for a flood hazard mitigation program for lands on the Highwood River downstream from the Town of High River. We anticipate submitting this proposal in early fall.
Update January 25, 2017
A letter was sent out today to M.D. landowners with property along the Highwood and Little Bow Rivers downstream from the Women's Coulee Inlet.
This letter outlines the progress to date on the proposal to the Government of Alberta for a flood hazard mitigation program and directs people to this website to review both the proposal that was submitted to the Province on November 1st, 2016 as well as the supplemental information that was submitted the end of December, 2016.
M.D. of Foothills 2016 Year-end Update Regarding Flood Studies and Proposed Mitigation Program
On November 1st, the M.D. of Foothills submitted a proposal to the Government of Alberta for a Highwood / Little Bow Flood Risk Mitigation Program. The proposal suggests a program of offering protection or buy-outs for properties along the Highwood and Little Bow Rivers within the M.D. that are predicted to receive flood waters at their residence in a future 2013 equivalent event (with the mitigation constructed at High River in place).
In addition, funding was requested for the following projects or studies:
- Reinforcement of the Hoeh Dike,
- Evaluation of the 498th Avenue Bridge in light of higher predicted flows on the Highwood,
- Additional modelling of sensitive or complex areas on the Highwood and Little Bow rivers, and
- A report on whether compensation is appropriate for properties where flood mitigation works constructed at High River will have a negative impact.
Due to the scale and cost of the project, there may be a need to consider a phasing scenario and to prioritize the properties that are predicted to be at highest risk in a future 2013 equivalent event. The M.D. is presently undertaking this work, but in the meantime has been able to submit an application to fund some of the proposed study with money that was part of the Province’s November 2015 announcement of funding to undertake flood studies. If this application is approved, the M.D. will be able to proceed with this work early in the New Year.
Meanwhile, on the Little Bow River, work continues on the Scoping Study / Model Extension downstream from the M.D. of Foothills through the M.D. of Willow Creek and Vulcan County to the Twin Valley Reservoir. The data collection and high water mark collection in this area is complete, the model has been developed and model calibration and sensitivity analysis are on-going.
The M.D. will continue to work with the Province through 2017 towards our Council’s goal of having residents of the M.D. protected to the same level afforded residents of the Town of High River – that is a 2013 equivalent event plus a metre.
Draft Scoping Study of Flood Related Areas of Concern: Highwood River and Little Bow River within the M.D. of Foothills.
Released May 2016
Click on map for larger pdf version
We would like to thank everyone who came to one of the two open houses that were recently held to share the draft results of the Flood Scoping Study. If you were not able to attend, you may view the information boards from the event by following the link below.
Your feedback is important to us and will assist us with determining the direction for future work. If you did not get a chance to submit a survey at one of the open houses you may still do so. Please fill out the Feedback Form and return as per the instructions below by June 30th , 2016.
Please fill in the Open House Feedback Form and return it via email, or print and deliver to the attention of:
Julie McLean, Senior Planner, MD of Foothills,
309 Macleod Trail, Box 5605, High river, AB T1V 1M7 | Fax: 403-652-7880 | Email
The purpose of the information sessions was to give an overview of the study and the results including the changes in the flow split between the Highwood and Little Bow Rivers as a result of mitigation completed in and around the Town of High River. Opportunities were provided to view maps showing the modelled flood hazard along both Rivers. There was also general information on the proposed next steps.
We understand that a number of our landowners have concerns related to the flood hazard on their property, the impact that mitigation projects (both completed and planned) within the Town of High River may have on that hazard and what help will be available to them to address the hazard. Landowners have the opportunity to sign up for individual meetings with representatives from the MD to discuss their property in detail.
Residents may request an individual meeting by calling 403-603-6219 or emailing Flood Study
Please note these files are very large, 20 MB each
Hard copies of the Flood Scoping Study are available for purchase at the MD office for $40 to cover the cost of printing.
Subsequent to the 2013 flood, the MD of Foothills, with support from the Province of Alberta retained the services of AMEC Foster Wheeler Environment and Infrastructure, and Advisian WorleyParsons Group to complete the Scoping Study of Flood Related Areas of Concern on the Highwood River and Little Bow River within the MD of Foothills.
The purpose of the Flood Scoping Study is to:
- identify potential areas of concern along the Highwood River upstream from the Town of High River;
- gain a full understanding of the impacts of a 2013 equivalent flood event on landowners along the Highwood and Little Bow Rivers in the MD of Foothills;
- determine how flood mitigation that is either planned or has already been completed in the High River Area may change those impacts; and
- complete a High Level cost benefit analysis comparing the 2013 flow conditions to the same flows in post mitigation conditions.