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Bow River Flows

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I figured this is worth a seperate discussion rather then getting buried in the Bow conditions thread. We’re on yet another swing today

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While i agree talking on forums doesn't do anything to fix the problem, it still raises the issue in front of people, so more people can contact them

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I reached out to the Bow River Trout Foundation and Peter forwarded me this correspondence he had with TransAlta:

 

Quote

Travis / Chris:

 

 

I sent the following email to TransAlta this morning. The response came back this afternoon at 3:45 pm.

I see some modification in stream flows this afternoon – let see if there are improvements tomorrow.

What is interesting is that a contact number and email account is listed for river users to express their concerns. It is important that all of the fishing community send emails with details of concerns.

 

We will list this information on our website and Facebook page tomorrow together with an overview of hydro operations.

 

Thank for expressing your concerns:

Peter Crowe-Swords

Bow River Trout Foundation

Cel: 403-680-8320

Email: daritek@shaw.ca

Website: www.bowrivertrout.org

Advocate and Support for the Bow River Fishery

Good afternoon Peter,

 

Thank you so much for your email.

 

Bow River water level fluctuations over the past days are a combination of several factors, including extra generation due to hot weather and additional water inflows into Ghost Reservoir.  This type of wide fluctuation is outside the norm.

We have taken steps to manage and correct these unusually large fluctuations and expect water levels to return to more moderate levels in the next few hours. We will provide updates as necessary.

River users with questions can contact us at TransAlta Hydro Operations at hydro_operations@transalta.com or call 1-877-967-2555.

 

Best regards,

German Mojica, P.Eng. | Supervisor, Hydro Operations Planning

 

 

German:

The rapid drops and increase in Bow River flows we have seen this week as illustrated in the attached weekly flows at Calgary has destroyed the fishing and may well have long term impact on the future of the Bow River as a world class fishery.  There is also evidence to suggest that the survival of trout can be compromised by flow variations of the nature that we have seen this week. It appears that Bearspaw Reservoir water management protocol is unable to cushion the fluctuations in water discharge from power generation at Ghost Reservoir.

 

There is need to correct this mismanagement of our water resource before we see further depletion to a very vulnerable trout population that has seen significant declines recently. We trust that TransAlta recognizes the urgency to make changes to the Bow River water management operation procedures as soon as possible to alleviate further damage to the fishery.

 

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In addition to the previous post, here is a link Bow River Trout has on all the information about flows (both present and historical)

https://bowrivertrout.org/2018/07/20/bow-river-flows-how-are-they-controlled/

in addition to access, we have been working on multiple Fishery needs (population, riparian habitat etc)

 

Like Brent said, we need to keep talking about. Our message to the government is only as strong as the people behind it. 

 

So I strongly urge you to get involved with the conversation. Find a group and become active. If we hope to have this wonderful resource it’s going to take a cohesive voice to effect change. 

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On 2018-07-21 at 10:27 AM, jasonvilly said:

In addition to the previous post, here is a link Bow River Trout has on all the information about flows (both present and historical)

https://bowrivertrout.org/2018/07/20/bow-river-flows-how-are-they-controlled/

in addition to access, we have been working on multiple Fishery needs (population, riparian habitat etc)

 

Like Brent said, we need to keep talking about. Our message to the government is only as strong as the people behind it. 

 

So I strongly urge you to get involved with the conversation. Find a group and become active. If we hope to have this wonderful resource it’s going to take a cohesive voice to effect change. 

What’s the best way to get involved with a groups like Bow River Trout Foundation? Donate?

I really appreciate effort and time they’ve put in since they were formed. Like to get behind them!

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Birdo:

Go to the following link - membership $25.00. Your membership helps offset the costs of running the organization and the advocacy work .

Most of our project work comes from our fundraising events (the one fly tournament and Blue Ribbon Bow Dinner) grants and certainly individual and group donations.

https://bowrivertrout.org/membership-donations/

We look forward to having you as a member. Peter

 

 

 

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Can anyone provide documented scientific proof how changing flows impact an ecosystem AND how human intervention in riparian flows have a more significant impact on an ecosystem than the natural fluctuations?

I actually want to get angry about the fluctuations because I feel it affects the quality of the fishing.  With the lack of actual of peer-reviewed, reproducible data, all I can justifiably feel is 'annoyed'.

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Scel, I think you've hit the nail on the head.  This has to start with some bona fide scientific proof/analysis that quantifies the benefits to a river fishery from increased flow stability (and in reservoirs like the K-lakes, from more consistent water levels).

One would think that tailwater fisheries would have been studied to death in this regard (in terms of the fisheries benefits from increased flow rate stability).

If such study/evidence could in fact be compiled and projected to the Bow/Kananaskis/Spray systems to give some indication as to the potential benefits of further flow stabilization, then we might have the basis to put together a public interest case to take to AEP.

It ain't much in the public interest to have TransAlta line their pockets by manipulating flows/power generation the way they do, so even a modest scientifically-predicted fisheries quality improvement (in both the rivers and in the lakes/reservoirs, would be ideal) would likely have weight with AEP.

 

 

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Im no fisheries biologist.  But doesn’t a quick google search reveal enough information on the affects of dams on tail water fisheries?

 

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Ya there is a lot of text out there if you spend a couple minutes on google scholar.  Here's a couple quick ones, and obviously a lot more out there if you were going to spend some serious time looking into it..

- A framework for evaluating food-web responses to hydrological manipulations in riverine systems
- instream flows and the decline of riparian cottonwoods along the St. Mary River, Alberta
- Basic Principles and Ecological Consequences of Altered Flow Regimes for Aquatic Biodiversity
- Influence of flow regulation on channel dynamics and riparian cottonswoods along the bow river, alberta
- review of benthic invertebrates and epiltihic algae at long-term monitoring sites in the bow river (this one specifially speaks to the impact on inverts at Cochrane due to the impacts of Ghost, which is the kind of management we saw for a week.)

 

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For all who have been following this topic, a series of meetings were put together by AEP and the fishery stakeholder groups to address Bow River fish population declines and flow stabilization. The title of the round table discussions was "Flows, Fish & Fishing" - an interesting title. The most recent meeting included TransAlta staff and AEP Bow River Water Management Group. A number of commitments came out of the latest meeting on Tuesday July 31, 2018:

  • Flows out of Bearspaw Reservoir have been stabilized and will be continued where at all possible.
  • There is potential for a long-term water management change to stabilize flows into the future.
  • AEP will conduct and expanded a Bow River trout population survey in September of this year
  • There is a recognition that the Bow River trout population is in decline and may be under threat from environmental and water management practices.

This within itself is a major shift in policy and makes all the work we have done on this portfolio worthwhile.

On the subject of river flows and invertebrate survival. A very difficult field of investigation given all the variable that exist in a flowing body of water. We have discussed the subject with both AEP and academia with potential support of a research project that will give more insight into the subject. 

We would like to thank all stakeholders who have contributed to these important discussions

Bow River Trout Foundation

 

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On 2018-07-31 at 1:24 PM, Bron said:

Im no fisheries biologist.  But doesn’t a quick google search reveal enough information on the affects of dams on tail water fisheries?

 

 

On 2018-07-31 at 2:51 PM, bcubed said:

Ya there is a lot of text out there if you spend a couple minutes on google scholar.  Here's a couple quick ones, and obviously a lot more out there if you were going to spend some serious time looking into it..

- A framework for evaluating food-web responses to hydrological manipulations in riverine systems
- instream flows and the decline of riparian cottonwoods along the St. Mary River, Alberta
- Basic Principles and Ecological Consequences of Altered Flow Regimes for Aquatic Biodiversity
- Influence of flow regulation on channel dynamics and riparian cottonswoods along the bow river, alberta
- review of benthic invertebrates and epiltihic algae at long-term monitoring sites in the bow river (this one specifially speaks to the impact on inverts at Cochrane due to the impacts of Ghost, which is the kind of management we saw for a week.)

 

I am no fisheries biologist.  That is the problem.

Can anyone ELI5 it for me? If it is so obvious and easy to understand, can someone please explain it to me?  Seriously. 

A couple of hours on Google Scholar just left me more confused.

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Thanks for this thread, I'm glad there is an advocacy group for this. All season long I've been looking at consistent, and serious fluctuations in flow from ghost reservoir to bearspaw (60 3m/s -187 3m/s on a daily basis since the middle of June). Now I'm not a biologist or even that scientifically inclined, however, looking at that data I often wonder how many adverse effects it has on this stretch of the bow. Although it's not a blue ribbon stretch, it's still a place to recreate for local fisherman. Which raises the question, could it be improved with flow stability? This year I've noticed a significant decline of rising trout, in a spot that in the past, usually displays many juvenile trout boiling the surface on a nice summer night. Are the bug hatches being effected by the wild swings in flow?

Another point of contention is safety. When I moved to Cochrane a few years ago, I was still fairly new to fly fishing. One day I got trapped on an island that I had waded out to in ankle deep water. By the time I noticed the fluctuation (half hour later), it was waste deep. Needless to say, I put myself in a dangerous situation and got swept away trying to cross back to where I came from. If there were a consistent flow, that never would have happened. Without someone telling a new fisherman about the Alberta River Basins website, how is a person supposed to find out about these crazy fluctuations? Food for thought.

Does the Bow River Foundation advocate for this stretch of the Bow too? If so, I'd like to become a member.

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Tight lines,

In the BRT discussions with AEP and Transalta we have brought up the issue of the flows in the Ghost - Bearspaw section and the impact it has on the fishery. We did not bring up safety, but that is an excellent point and something that we can being up in further discussions. 

 

There is a diverse opinion amongst AEP staff on what is happening in this stretch, but at the very least we got them considering the fishery. 

 

The same can also be said for the fluctuations seen on the Kananaskis river and it’s relatively poor fishery as a result. 

 

Both need to be looked at for sure.

 

we will be releasing our second article about flows and power generation shortly. I’ll post the link once it’s live.

 

We could always use more support, and the more squeaky wheels we have advocating for the river, the better.

 

Jason

Vice President  BRT

 

 

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