River Bank Restoration Demonstration Project

Anyone who has visited Wakamow Valley in the last couple of weeks will have noticed some significant construction activity along the Moose Jaw River, including tree cutting. Margaret Moran, Wakamow CEO is pleased that work has started on a project unique to Western Canada; thus, the “demonstration” label. Sections of the Moose Jaw River /Plaxton’s Lake reservoir bank that had been relatively stable since the 1960’s suffered severe erosion during the flood events of 2011, 2013, and to a lesser extent 2015. The erosion that developed during those events is threatening bridge infrastructure, roads, and trails that are vital to the park. Funding for the just over $1M total cost of the work to restore two sections of river bank has been provided under the Provincial Disaster Assistance Program. The restoration work has been designed with a bio-engineered or “green” approach that will include some in-channel rock structures or vanes to direct channel flows. Stantec Inc. from Kitchener, Ontario, with support from staff in Denver, Colorado, undertook the design work and will continue their involvement with the project, overseeing the construction work. A Winnipeg contractor, OSC Western submitted the successful tender and will be conducting all the river bank restoration work. Basically, the design calls for redirecting the river flow and re-constructing banks with a combination of woody debris, trees of varying size placed perpendicular to the flow, embedded into the bank with dirt and vegetation – in simplified terms, mimicking nature and the methods used by the beaver. Trees will be selectively harvested within Wakamow Valley to provide the woody debris needed. This approach is less costly than...