Flood Hazard Identification
The catastrophic flood event of 2013 brought flooding and flood hazard identification to the forefront in southern Alberta. There are measures being taken at both the provincial and municipal level to assist the public with identifying flood hazards and mitigating future flooding.
Government of Alberta Flood Hazard Identification Program
To assist Albertans in mitigating potential flood losses, Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) manages the production of flood hazard studies and mapping under the provincial Flood Hazard Identification Program (FHIP).
Flood hazard mapping identifies areas along water bodies where flood hazards exist using design flood levels. In Alberta the design flood level used is the one per cent flood event - events which have a one percent chance of occurring in any given year, (also sometimes referred to as the one in one hundred year flood).
All the province's flood hazard maps can be found on the Government of Alberta's website here.
There are currently three river hazard studies being undertaken in the M.D. of Foothills on the Bow/Elbow Rivers, the Sheep River and the Highwood River. For detailed information please visit the Government of Alberta's website here.
The Bow and Elbow River Study
The Bow and Elbow River Study assesses 220 km of the Bow River and 70 km of the Elbow River
The study area covers the Bow River between Bearspaw Dam and the Highwood River confluence, and the Elbow River between Bragg Creek and the Bow River confluence.
The Highwood River Study
The Highwood River Study includes 90 km of the Highwood River and 10 km of the Little Bow River
The study area on the Highwood River extends from upstream of Longview to the confluence with the Bow River and includes 10 km of the upper Little Bow River.
The Sheep River Study
The Sheep River Study assesses 50 km of the Sheep River and 35 km of Threepoint Creek
The Study area on the Sheep River extends downstream from approximately 336 Street West to the confluence with the Highwood River.
The Study area on Threepoint Creek begins at approximately 272 Street West and extends to the confluence with the Sheep River.
M.D. Flood Hazard Protection Overlay District
The M.D.'s Land Use Bylaw 60/2014 created a new land use district in order to to provide for the safe and efficient use of lands within the floodway and flood fringe of all the rivers, streams, creeks and waterways.
The overlay district exists over top of a property's existing land use and includes areas within provincially mapped floodways and flood fringe as well as areas believed to have been impacted by the flood event of 2013.
The intent of this district is to discourage new development on lands subject to flooding and achieve the long term goal of maintaining or decreasing the overall density of development on lands that may be subject to flooding.
In the Flood Hazard Protection Overlay, the permitted and discretionary uses listed in the land use district in which the site is located shall continue to apply if supported by engineering and technical studies and are able to meet all applicable development requirements.
M.D. of Foothills River Modelling Projects
With the support of the Government of Alberta, the M.D. of Foothills has retained the services of Advisian to produce detailed river modelling on the Highwood and Little Bow Rivers as part of the Scoping Study of Flood Related Areas of Concern on the Highwood River and Little Bow River within the MD of Foothills.
For more information on this project please see the Flood Scoping Study and Mitigation Program page.