Comprehensive Study Report Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project December, 2012

Comprehensive Study Report Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project December, 2012
Canadian Environmental
Assessment Agency
Agence canadienne
d’évaluation environnementale
Comprehensive Study Report
Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
December, 2012
Photo is credited to Tom Murray, Seamas Skelly and Charlie Murphy.
© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada (2012).
This publication may be reproduced for personal use without permission, provided the
source is fully acknowledged. However, multiple copy reproduction of this publication
in whole or in part for purposes of distribution requires the prior written permission of
the Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. To
request permission, contact [email protected]
Catalogue No.: En106-112/2013E
ISBN: 978-1-100-21626-3
This document has been issued in French under the title
Projet de remise en état et de modernisation du réservoir de Little Bow—
rapport d’étude approfondie.
Alternative formats may be requested by contacting [email protected]
Summary
The Alberta Ministry of Transportation (AT), the
proponent, proposes to construct new structures
and modify existing structures in the Little Bow
Reservoir, and in the connecting canal to the
Travers Reservoir (TLBR Connecting Canal).
The Little Bow Reservoir is located in southern
Alberta, approximately 50 km southeast
of the Town of Vulcan, and is one of three
major reservoirs in the Carseland-Bow River
Headworks (CBRH) System that includes both
the McGregor and Travers reservoirs and over
65 km of irrigation canals. The Project is the
final phase in an upgrading and rehabilitation
program for the CBRH System.
The objectives of the Little Bow Reservoir
Rehabilitation and Upgrading project (the
Project) are to ensure that the rehabilitated
works meet the requirements of the Canadian
Dam Association (CDA) Dam Safety Guidelines
for the handling of extreme flooding, and to
provide a reliable water supply for users of the
Bow River Irrigation District (BRID).
Primary physical undertakings of the Project
include: raising and extending of the Little
Bow Reservoir Dam by approximately 3.35 m
in height and 2.5 km in length; constructing
the new Little Bow Reservoir irrigation outlet
structure and abandoning of the existing
structure at the main dam; constructing
Enhancement Dyke 1; enlarging and upgrading
the downstream section of TLBR Connecting
Canal; removing the Travers Reservoir
irrigation outlet structure; constructing a
roadway and culvert crossing on the TLBR
Connecting Canal; demolishing and removing
the existing Little Bow Reservoir Provincial
Recreation Area (PRA) and constructing
a new PRA; reclaiming disturbed areas; and
installing cattle deterrents.
A provincial environmental assessment of
the project under Alberta’s Environmental
Protection and Enhancement Act was not
required as the Project is an Exempted Activity
as specified in the Alberta Environmental
Assessment (Mandatory and Exempted
Activities) Regulation.
The Canadian Environmental Assessment
Act (the Act) applies to federal regulatory
authorities when they contemplate certain
actions or decisions that would enable a project
to proceed in whole or in part. An environmental
assessment is required under the Act due to
actions that may be undertaken by the Fisheries
and Oceans Canada (DFO) and Transport
Canada (TC) to increase full supply limit (FSL)
of the Little Bow Reservoir and subsequently
increase its surface area by more than 35% of
current operations. DFO and TC may issue
permits, authorizations or approvals in relation
to the project pursuant to the Fisheries Act and
Navigable Waters Protection Act respectively.
Moreover, pursuant to paragraph 8 of the
Comprehensive Study List Regulations, this
project is subject to a comprehensive study
environmental assessment under the Act:
“…an expansion of a dam or dyke results in
an increase in the surface area of a reservoir of
more than 35%.”
The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
(the Agency) conducted the comprehensive
study in collaboration with the Federal Review
Team, which consists of representatives from
Environment Canada, Health Canada, Natural
Resources Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada
and Transport Canada.
The Agency assessed the effects of the project
using information provided by the proponent
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
i
in its Environmental Impact Statement,
complementary reports, information request
response documents, opinions from federal
experts, and comments received from
Aboriginal groups and the public during the
consultation phase.
During the environmental assessment,
Aboriginal communities expressed concerns
about issues such as water quantity and quality,
wildlife and species at risk, traditional plants,
and land access. The proponent has committed
to implementing mitigation measures in order
to reduce the effects that the project could
have on the environment. These measures will
also address concerns raised by Aboriginal
communities and the public. For example, the
proponent will apply best management practices
to control erosion and sedimentation, revegetate
using a native grass seed mix as soon as it is
practical after disturbance, conduct a fish salvage
operation during dewatering of any isolated areas
to ensure that stranded fish are returned to the
ii
reservoir, and avoid disturbing migratory birds
and their habitat during nesting season.
A follow-up program is required under
the Act to verify the accuracy of the
environmental assessment and to determine
the effectiveness of the proposed mitigation
measures. The follow-up program will focus
on critical phases of the project, including
winter drawdown of the reservoir during the
construction phase; building and removal of
cofferdams; any in-water work; and installation
of fish and terrestrial habitat replacement
and enhancement features. It will also
include review of water quality construction
monitoring reports and fish
habitat compensation.
Given the implementation of the proposed
mitigation measures and follow-up program, the
Agency concludes that the project is not likely
to cause significant adverse environmental
effects.
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
Table of Contents
Summary............................................................................................................ i
1. Introduction.................................................................................................... 1
1.1 Project Overview............................................................................................................. 1
1.2 Environmental Assessment Process............................................................................... 1
1.3 Purpose of the Comprehensive Study Report................................................................. 1
2. Project Information........................................................................................ 3
2.1 Purpose and Need for the Project................................................................................... 3
2.2 Project Description.......................................................................................................... 3
2.2.1 Location................................................................................................................. 3
2.2.2 Components and associated activities ................................................................. 3
2.2.3 Schedule............................................................................................................... 4
3. Scope of Assessment.................................................................................... 4
3.1 Scope of the Project........................................................................................................ 4
3.2 Factors to be Considered................................................................................................ 4
3.3 Scope of the Factors Considered and the Spatial Boundaries........................................ 7
3.4 Temporal Boundaries....................................................................................................... 7
3.5 Determination of Valued Ecosystem Components (VECs).............................................. 7
4. Project Alternatives........................................................................................ 7
4.1 Alternatives to the Project................................................................................................ 8
4.2 Alternative Means of Carrying out the Project................................................................. 8
4.3 Agency’s Assessment...................................................................................................... 8
5. Consultations................................................................................................. 8
5.1 Public Consultations ....................................................................................................... 8
5.1.1 Agency consultations............................................................................................. 8
5.1.2 Participation activities conducted by the proponent ............................................. 9
5.2 Aboriginal Consultation ................................................................................................... 9
5.2.1 Consultations conducted by the Federal Government.......................................... 9
5.2.2 Consultation activities conducted by the proponent............................................ 10
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
iii
5.3 Issues Raised................................................................................................................ 11
5.3.1 Capacity funding.................................................................................................. 11
5.3.2 Water quantity ...............................................................................................11
5.3.3 Water quality and aquatic environment............................................................... 11
5.3.4 Current and traditional use and knowledge studies............................................ 11
5.3.5 Wildlife and species at risk.................................................................................. 12
5.3.6 Traditional plants................................................................................................. 12
6. Profile of the Environment........................................................................... 12
6.1 Biophysical Context....................................................................................................... 12
6.1.1 Landscape........................................................................................................... 12
6.1.2 Geophysical......................................................................................................... 12
6.1.3 Hydrology............................................................................................................ 12
6.1.4 Surface water hydrology...................................................................................... 13
6.1.5 Hydrogeology and groundwater quality............................................................... 14
6.1.6 Aquatic environment............................................................................................ 14
6.1.7 Vegetation........................................................................................................... 15
6.1.8 Wildlife and terrestrial habitat.............................................................................. 15
6.2 Human Context............................................................................................................. 15
6.2.1 General overview................................................................................................ 15
6.2.2 Aboriginal context................................................................................................ 16
7. Environmental Effects Assessment............................................................. 17
7.1 Approach ...................................................................................................................... 17
7.2 Geophysical .................................................................................................................. 18
7.2.1 Potential environmental effects........................................................................... 19
7.2.2 Mitigation measures ........................................................................................... 19
7.2.3 Residual environmental effects .......................................................................... 20
7.2.4 Government, public and Aboriginal comments and proponent’s response......... 20
7.2.5 The Agency’s conclusions regarding residual environmental effects.................. 20
7.3 Hydrology...................................................................................................................... 20
7.3.1 Potential environmental effects........................................................................... 20
7.3.2 Mitigation measures............................................................................................ 21
7.3.3 Residual environmental effects........................................................................... 21
7.3.4 Government, public and Aboriginal comments and proponent’s response......... 22
7.3.5 The Agency’s conclusions regarding residual environmental effects.................. 22
7.4 Surface Water Quality................................................................................................... 22
7.4.1 Potential environmental effects........................................................................... 23
7.4.2 Mitigation measures............................................................................................ 23
7.4.3 Residual effects................................................................................................... 24
7.4.4 Government, public and Aboriginal comments and proponent’s response......... 24
7.4.5 The Agency’s conclusions regarding residual environmental effects.................. 24
iv
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
7.5 Hydrogeology and Groundwater Quality....................................................................... 25
7.5.1 Potential environmental effects........................................................................... 25
7.5.2 Mitigation measures ........................................................................................... 25
7.5.3 Residual environmental effects .......................................................................... 26
7.5.4 Government, public and Aboriginal comments and proponent’s response......... 26
7.5.5 The Agency’s conclusions regarding residual environmental effects.................. 26
7.6 Aquatic Environment..................................................................................................... 26
7.6.1 Potential environmental effects........................................................................... 26
7.6.2 Mitigation measures............................................................................................ 28
7.6.3 Residual environmental effects........................................................................... 29
7.6.4 Government, public and Aboriginal comments and proponent’s response......... 30
7.6.5 The Agency’s conclusions regarding residual environmental effects.................. 31
7.7 Vegetation..................................................................................................................... 31
7.7.1 Potential environmental effects........................................................................... 31
7.7.2 Mitigation measures............................................................................................ 32
7.7.3 Residual environmental effects .......................................................................... 33
7.7.4 Government, public and Aboriginal comments and proponent’s response......... 34
7.7.5 The Agency’s conclusions regarding residual environmental effects.................. 34
7.8 Wildlife and Terrestrial Habitat....................................................................................... 35
7.8.1 Potential environmental effects........................................................................... 35
7.8.2 Mitigation measures ........................................................................................... 35
7.8.3 Residual environmental effects........................................................................... 36
7.8.4 Government, public and Aboriginal comments and proponent’s response......... 37
7.8.5 The Agency’s conclusions regarding residual environmental effects.................. 38
7.9 Climate and Air Quality.................................................................................................. 38
7.9.1 Potential environmental effects........................................................................... 38
7.9.2 Mitigation measures ........................................................................................... 38
7.9.3 Residual environmental effects .......................................................................... 39
7.9.4 Government, public and Aboriginal comments and proponent’s response......... 39
7.9.5 The Agency’s conclusions regarding residual environmental effects.................. 39
7.10 Noise........................................................................................................................... 39
7.10.1 Potential environmental effects......................................................................... 39
7.10.2 Mitigation measures and residual environmental effects.................................. 39
7.10.3 Government, public and Aboriginal comments and proponent’s response....... 40
7.10.4 The Agency’s conclusions regarding residual environmental effects................ 40
7.11 Navigable Waters........................................................................................................ 40
7.11.1 Potential environmental effects.......................................................................... 40
7.11.2 Mitigation measures ......................................................................................... 41
7.11.3 Residual environmental effects.......................................................................... 41
7.11.4 Government, public and Aboriginal comments and proponent’s response....... 41
7.11.5 The Agency’s conclusions regarding residual environmental effects................ 41
7.12 Current Use of Lands for Traditional and Recreation Purposes.................................. 41
7.12.1 Potential environmental effects......................................................................... 42
7.12.2 Mitigation measures.......................................................................................... 44
7.12.3 Residual environmental effects......................................................................... 45
7.12.4 Government, public and Aboriginal comments and proponent’s response....... 45
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
v
7.12.5 The Agency’s conclusions regarding residual environmental effects................ 46
7.13 Heritage and Archaeological Resources..................................................................... 46
7.13.1 Potential environmental effects......................................................................... 46
7.13.2 Mitigation measures.......................................................................................... 46
7.13.3 Residual environmental effects ........................................................................ 47
7.13.4 Government, public and Aboriginal comments and proponent’s response....... 47
7.13.5 The Agency’s conclusions regarding residual environmental effects................ 47
7.14 Effects of the Environment on the Project................................................................... 47
7.14.1 Potential effects................................................................................................. 47
7.14.2 Mitigation measures ......................................................................................... 47
7.14.3 Residual environmental effects ........................................................................ 48
7.14.4 Government, public and Aboriginal comments and proponent’s response....... 48
7.14.5 The Agency’s conclusions regarding residual environmental effects................ 48
7.15 Effects of Possible Accidents or Malfunctions............................................................. 48
7.15.1 Potential effects................................................................................................. 48
7.15.2 Mitigation measures ......................................................................................... 49
7.15.3 Residual Environmental Effects ....................................................................... 49
7.15.4 Government, public and Aboriginal comments and proponent’s response....... 49
7.15.5 The Agency’s conclusions regarding residual environmental effects................ 49
7.16 Cumulative Environmental Effects............................................................................... 50
7.16.1 Approach........................................................................................................... 50
7.16.2 Scoping............................................................................................................. 50
7.16.3 Potential cumulative effects............................................................................... 50
7.16.5 Residual environmental effects......................................................................... 51
7.16.6 Government, public and Aboriginal comments and proponent’s response....... 51
7.16.7 The Agency’s conclusions regarding cumulative environmental effects............ 52
7.17 Effects on the Capacity of Renewable and Non-Renewable Resources.................... 54
8. Follow-Up Program under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.... 55
9. Benefits to Canadians................................................................................. 55
10. Conclusion and Recommendation of the Agency...................................... 56
11. References................................................................................................ 57
Appendix 1: Summary of Project Components and Associated Activities....... 59
Appendix 2: Scope of the Project by Component and Associated Activity...... 61
Appendix 3: Vecs, Significance Thresholds, and Spatial Boundaries for
the Project....................................................................................................... 64
vi
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
Appendix 4: Summary of Identified Potential Residual Effects of the Project......68
Appendix 5: Summary of Proposed Mitigation Measures............................... 71
Appendix 6: Summary of Concerns Raised by Aboriginal Groups with
Respect to the EA............................................................................................ 77
Appendix 7: Focus of the Follow-Up Program................................................. 82
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
vii
List of Acronyms, Abbreviations and Symbols
%
<
>
~
AANDC
ACCS
ACIMS
AENV
AESCC
AESRD
AEW
AMEC
ASRD
AT
AQI
BMP
BRID
CAESA
CBRH
CCME
CDA
CEA
cm
CO2
COSEWIC
CSR
dam3
dBA
DFO
EA
EC
EIS
El.
ESC
viii
Percent
Less than
Greater than
Approximately
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
Alberta Culture and Community Services
Alberta Conservation Information Management System
Alberta Environment (Now AESRD)
Alberta Endangered Species Conservation Committee
Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource
Development
Alberta Environment and Water (Formerly Alberta
Environment (AENV), now AESRD)
AMEC Earth and Environmental Ltd.
Alberta Sustainable Resource Development
Alberta Ministry of Transportation
Air Quality Index
Best Management Practice
Bow River Irrigation District
Canada-Alberta Environmentally Sustainable Agriculture
Agreement
Carseland-Bow River Headworks
Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment
Canadian Dam Association
Cumulative Effects Assessment
Centimetres
Carbon Dioxide
Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada
Comprehensive Study Report
Cubic decametre = 1,000 cubic metres
Decibels
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Environmental Assessment
Environment Canada
Environmental Impact Statement
Elevation
Erosion and Sediment Control
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
List of Acronyms, Abbreviations and Symbols (cont'd)
FAN
FHCP
FSL
GHG
GOA
ha
HCF
HRA
HRO
Hwy
IBA
IO
km
km2
LSA
m
mm
m3/s
NRCan
PM
PMF
PRA
RSA
SARA
TC
TCPL
TDS
the Act
the Agency
the Project
TLBR
UTM
VEC
WSC
Federation of Alberta Naturalists
Fish Habitat Compensation Plan
Full Supply Level
Greenhouse Gas
Government of Alberta
Hectare
Heritage Community Foundation
Historical Resources Act
Historical Resources Overview
Provincial Highway
Important Bird Areas
In-stream Objectives
Kilometres
Square Kilometres
Local Study Area
Metre
Millimetre
Cubic Metres per Second
Natural Resources Canada
Particulate Matter
Probable Maximum Flood
Provincial Recreation Area
Regional Study Area
Species at Risk Act
Transport Canada
TransCanada Pipelines Limited
Total Dissolved Solids
Canadian Environmental Assessment Act
Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
Travers Reservoir and Little Bow Reservoir
Universal Transverse Mercator
Valued Ecosystem Component
Water Survey of Canada
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
ix
1. Introduction
they contemplate certain actions or decisions
in relation to a project that would enable the
Project to proceed in whole or in part.
1.1 Project Overview
The Alberta Ministry of Transportation (AT)
the project proponent, is serving as the agent
for Alberta Environment and Sustainable
Development (AESRD), the owner and operator
of the Carseland-Bow River Headworks
(CBRH) System. AT proposes to rehabilitate
and upgrade the Little Bow Reservoir and
associated infrastructure in southern Alberta,
approximately 50 km southeast of the town
of Vulcan. The Little Bow Reservoir is one
of three major reservoirs, the other two being
McGregor and Travers reservoirs, which
include more than 65 km of irrigation canals
and together make up the CBRH. The Little
Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading
project (the Project) will ensure that the
Travers Reservoir and Little Bow Reservoir are
capable of passing the probable maximum flood
(PMF) as recommended in the Canadian Dam
Association (CDA) Dam Safety Guidelines
(CDA, 2007), and are capable of providing a
reliable supply of water to users of the CBRH
and further downstream to the recreationally
and agriculturally important Bow River
Irrigation District (BRID) canal system. The
projected cost of the Project is $20 million.
1.2 Environmental Assessment
Process
The Canadian Environmental Assessment Act
(the Act)1 applies to federal authorities when
An environmental assessment is required under
the Act due to actions that may be undertaken
by the DFO and TC. DFO and TC may issue
permits, authorizations or approvals in relation
to the project pursuant to the Fisheries Act and
Navigable Waters Protection Act respectively.
The project is subject to a comprehensive study
environmental assessment under the Act as it is
listed in Part III, section 8 of the Comprehensive
Study List Regulations. This section of the
Regulations reads as follows:
“…an expansion of a dam or dyke that would
result in an increase in the surface area of a
reservoir of more than 35%.”
The Project did not require a provincial
environmental assessment under Alberta’s
Environmental Protection and Enhancement
Act as the Project is an Exempted Activity,
as specified in the Alberta Environmental
Assessment (Mandatory and Exempted
Activities) Regulation.
1.3 Purpose of the Comprehensive
Study Report
The purpose of this report is to present the
results of the process carried out by the Canadian
Environmental Assessment Agency (the Agency)
to determine whether the Project is likely to
cause significant adverse environmental effects.
The Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012) came into force on July 6, 2012,
replacing the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act S.C. 1992, c. 37. Section 125 of CEAA 2012
sets out transition measures for comprehensive studies, such as the Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation
and Upgrading Project, which were commenced under the former Act. For this project, all references to
federal environmental assessment legislation reflect the requirements and regulations of the Canadian
Environmental Assessment Act S.C. 1992, c. 37.
1
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
1
Figure 1.1: Project Site Plan
Courtesy of Alberta Transportation, 2012
Figure 1.2: Project Location
Courtesy of Alberta Transportation, 2012
2
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
The Agency prepared this comprehensive study
report in collaboration with the Federal Review
Team composed of representatives from
Environment Canada (EC), Fisheries and Oceans
Canada (DFO), Health Canada (HC), Natural
Resources Canada (NRCan), and Transport
Canada (TC). The conclusions of this report
are based on the results of the review of the
proponent’s Environmental Impact Statement
(EIS) and associated documentation and on an
assessment of the Project’s environmental effects.
The federal Minister of the Environment will
take into consideration this report and comments
received from the public and Aboriginal groups
in making an environmental assessment decision.
Before announcing the environmental assessment
decision, the Minister may request additional
information or require public concerns to be
addressed further. Following the announcement
of the environmental assessment decision, the
Minister will refer the Project back to Fisheries
and Oceans Canada and Transport Canada,
the responsible authorities for the Project, for
appropriate action under section 37 of the Act.
2. Project Information
2.1 Purpose and Need for the Project
AT is undertaking the CBRH Rehabilitation
Project as a phased upgrading and rehabilitation
program for the CBRH system which includes 65
km of main canal, 6 km of connecting canal, the
dams associated with the McGregor, Travers, and
Little Bow Reservoirs, and numerous associated
water control and conveyance structures.
Rehabilitation and upgrading of the CBRH
system was divided into separate projects with the
rehabilitation of the CBRH main canal, McGregor
Dam and structures, and portions of the Travers
Reservoir facilities being completed between
2001 and 2011. This Project is the last component
of the CBRH system to be upgraded and is
located at its downstream end where it joins with
the BRID canal system.
Rehabilitation and upgrading are needed to
ensure that the Travers Reservoir and Little Bow
Reservoir are capable of passing the probable
maximum flood (PMF), as recommended in
the CDA Dam Safety Guidelines (CDA, 2007).
During normal operation, flows are released from
Travers Reservoir into the Little Bow Reservoir
and subsequently into the BRID canal system
where the water is then distributed for agricultural
irrigation purposes. The Project will ensure
CBRH continues to be capable of providing a
reliable supply of water to users of the both the
CBRH and downstream in the recreationally and
agriculturally important BRID canal system.
2.2 Project Description
2.2.1 Location
The Little Bow Reservoir is located in southern
Alberta approximately 50 km southeast of the
town of Vulcan. The area encompassed by the
Project includes portions of Sections 16, 17, 18,
20, 21, 22, 27, 28, 29, 30, 32 and 33-14-20-West
of the Fourth Meridian (Figure 1.1).
2.2.2 Components and associated activities
The Project involves the construction of new
structures and the modification of existing
structures in the Little Bow Reservoir and
Travers Reservoir to the Travers to Little
Bow Reservoir (TLBR) Connecting Canal
(Figure 1.2). The rehabilitation associated
with the Project that is being considered in
the comprehensive study is summarized in
Appendix 1.
Currently the Travers Reservoir and Little Bow
Reservoir are operated at different full supply
levels (FSLs) with the Travers Reservoir at
elevation (El.) 856.18 m and the Little Bow
Reservoir at El. 852.83 m. As part of the
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
3
Project, the hydraulic control structures will
be removed, the TLBR Connecting Canal will
be enlarged, and the two reservoirs will be
operated at a common FSL of El. 856.18 m.
The Little Bow Reservoir will then operate in
tandem with the Travers Reservoir changing the
current Little Bow Reservoir operating regime
from a stable balancing reservoir to a fluctuating
storage reservoir with a winter operating level
of at least El. 854.05 m. This raises the Little
Bow Reservoir operating level by 3.35 m
and increases the reservoir surface area from
6.16 km2 to 8.86 km2. This change in operations
will provide spillway capacity that exceeds the
probable maximum flood event level.
2.2.3 Schedule
According to the proponent’s schedule
(Table 2.2) construction is expected to start
May 2013 and end by April 2016.
Table 2.2: Schedule
Component
Schedule
Little Bow Reservoir moves from
a stable balancing reservoir to a
fluctuating storage reservoir
May 2013
Little Bow Reservoir Dam
July 2013 to April
2015
Little Bow Reservoir Outlet
Structure
April 2014 to
January 2015
Enhancement Dyke 1
October 2014 to
December 2014
Travers Little Bow Connecting
Canal
October 2014 to
April 2016
Little Bow Reservoir Provincial
Recreational Area (includes
abandonment and construction)
October 2013 to
September 2014
3. Scope of Assessment
The scope of the environmental assessment is
an exercise by which the Agency establishes
the framework and limits of its analysis on the
Project. It is determined by the scope of the
4
Project and the factors that will be assessed for
the Project.
3.1 Scope of the Project
For the purposes of this federal environmental
assessment, the scope of the Project includes
all components and activities identified in
Appendix 2.
3.2 Factors to be Considered
Pursuant to subsections 16(1) and 16(2) of the
Act, the Agency has taken into consideration the
following factors:
••the purpose of the Project
••alternative means of carrying out the Project that
are technically and economically feasible and
the environmental effects of any such
alternative means
••the environmental effects of the Project,
including the environmental effects of
malfunctions or accidents, and any cumulative
environmental effects that are likely to result
from the Project in combination with other
projects or activities that have been or will be
carried out;
••the capacity of renewable resources that are
likely to be significantly affected by the Project
to meet the needs of the present and those of
the future
••the significance of the environmental effects
••comments from the public that are received in
accordance with the Act and the Regulations;
••measures that are technically and economically
feasible and that would mitigate any significant
adverse environmental effects of the Project
••the need for, and the requirements of, any followup program in respect of the Project
Under subsection 16(1)(e) of the Act, the Agency
also required the assessment of the need for
the Project, an evaluation of alternatives to the
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
Table 3.2: Environmental Components, Spatial Boundaries, and VECs Examined during the Environmental Assessment
Environmental
Components
Spatial Boundaries
VECs
Geophysical
•The Little Bow Reservoir, the lands that will be
inundated with increased FSL, and the anticipated
construction footprint
•Soil Quantity
•Soil Quality
Hydrology
•The LSA includes the proposed area of inundation
at the reservoir boundary at the operating FSL of
El. 856.18 m
•The RSA includes the CBRH diversion from the
Bow River, the CBRH system, the reach of the
Bow River downstream of the diversion, and the
Little Bow River downstream of Travers Reservoir
•Bow River discharge downstream of
BCRH diversion
•Little Bow River discharge
downstream of Travers Reservoir
•Little Bow Reservoir and Travers
Reservoir water levels
Surface Water
Quality
•The LSA includes the proposed new FSL
boundary and the Little Bow Reservoir outlet,
and the waters immediately downstream and
immediately upstream of the Little Bow Reservoir
(i.e., the BRID canals, Travers Reservoir, and
Little Bow River)
•The RSA includes the entire CBRH system
•Little Bow Reservoir
•Downstream BRID canals
•Travers Reservoir
•Little Bow River
Hydrogeology and
Groundwater Quality
•The LSA is located in Township 14, Range 20,
W4M and includes the Little Bow Reservoir and
adjacent areas where baseline groundwater
conditions could be impacted. This study included
assessment of the Little Bow River valley area
south of Little Bow Reservoir and the canal,
where groundwater from a spring is currently
used for domestic purposes and where seepage
areas have been identified on the valley slopes
•The RSA encompasses a much broader area
including the McGregor and Travers Reservoirs
•Groundwater quantity
•Groundwater quality
Aquatic Environment
•The LSA includes the lower half of the Travers
Reservoir, the TLBR Connecting Canal, the
Little Bow Reservoir and the BRID irrigation
canal immediately downstream of the Little Bow
Reservoir
•The RSA includes the entire CBRH system,
including the Little Bow Reservoir, the Travers
Reservoir, and the McGregor Reservoir, as well
as the Bow River at the CBRH intake and all
connecting canals
•Northern Pike (Esox lucius)
•Lake Whitefish (Coregonus
clupeaformis)
•Walleye (Sander vitreus)
•Spottail Shiner (Notropis husonius)
•Benthic invertebrate density and
community structure
•Vegetation communities in the littoral
and riparian areas
Vegetation
•The LSA includes the proposed construction
footprint and area of inundation at the new
operating FSL of 856.18 m, (15.66 km2)
•The RSA was 94.62 km2 and is coextensive with
the boundary of Township 14, Range 20, W4M
•Riparian vegetation
•Wetland ecosystems
•Aquatic vegetation
•Grasslands
•Shrubs and trees
•Rare/uncommon plant species
•Rare ecological communities
including the western wheatgrasslow sedge and low sedge-western
wheatgrass communities
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
5
Table 3.2: Environmental Components, Spatial Boundaries, and VECs Examined during the Environmental Assessment
(cont'd)
Environmental
Components
6
Spatial Boundaries
VECs
Wildlife and Wildlife
Habitat
•The LSA includes the proposed construction
footprint, the TLBR Connecting Canal, and the
2.7 km2 to be inundated at the new FSL boundary,
for a total area of 15.66 km2
•The 94.62 km2 RSA is coextensive with the
boundary of Township 14, Range 20, W4M
•Colonial nesting waterbirds
•Waterfowl
•Federal Species at Risk
○○Ferruginous Hawk (Buteo regalis)
○○Long-Billed Curlew (Numenius
americanus)
○○Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia)
○○Common Nighthawk (Chordeiles
minor)
○○Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius
ludovicianus)
○○Sprague’s Pipit (Anthus spragueii)
○○McCown’s Longspur (Calcarius
mccownii)
•Chestnut-collared Longspur
(Calcarius ornatus)
Climate and Air
Quality
•The LSA refers to the area in which local effects
on climate and air quality could occur as a result
of the proposed Project
•The RSA includes the potential zones of influence
of the Project that stretch to a radius of 65 km for
climate and 130 km for air quality
•Climate
•Air Quality
Noise
•The LSA includes the footprint of active
construction and the area of proposed inundation.
•The RSA includes a buffer with a radius of 3 km
extending beyond the boundaries of the LSA
•Noise
Heritage and
Archaeological
Resources
•The LSA includes all terrain that will be inundated
by the Little Bow Reservoir at the proposed FSL
of El. 856.18 m, as well as all lands that may
be impacted during the construction of all the
structures
•Historical Resources
○○Sites
○○Structures
•Objects of historical, archaeological,
paleontological or cultural significance
Navigable Waters
•The LSA includes the entire wetted area of
the reservoir at El. 856.18 m, including TLBR
Connecting Canal
•Navigability
Socio-economic
(Current use of
lands and resources
for traditional
and Recreational
purposes)
•The LSA includes the Project footprint and area
immediately surrounding the Project, including
the Little Bow Reservoir at the new operating FSL
boundary, the outlet canal, and the construction
footprint
•The RSA for commercial and domestic land and
resource use is coextensive with the boundary of
Township 14, Range 20, W4M
•The RSA for recreation includes recreation
facilities and activities along the CBRH system
including the LSA, McGregor Reservoir, and
Travers Reservoir and the important birding areas
immediately surrounding the reservoirs
•The RSA for human health includes the area
irrigated by water from the Little Bow Reservoir
through the BRID system
•Physical and cultural heritage
•Current use of lands and resources
(for recreational or commercial
purposes or traditional use by
Aboriginal groups)
•Health and socio-economic conditions
with specific attention to the potential
entry of contaminants into the food
chain.
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
Project, and an examination of the benefits of the
environmental assessment to Canadians.
Temporal boundaries used in assessing the
potential effects of the Project were defined as:
An environmental effect, as defined in
the Act, means any change that the Project may
cause in the environment; any effect of any such
change on health and socio-economic conditions,
the current use of lands and resources for traditional
purposes by aboriginal persons, or any structure,
site or thing that is of historical, archaeological,
paleontological or architectural significance; or
any change to the Project that may be caused by
the environment. This definition includes indirect
economic and social changes that are caused by
biophysical modifications of the environment. It
does not include the direct economic and social
effects of the Project. For example, the Agency
may examine the economic effects of a decline in
commercial fishing success that is related to a loss
of fish habitat, but it will not examine economic
effects related to the construction of a road.
••baseline: The characteristics of the physical,
biological and social environment as documented
during the Project studies. This reflects the
conditions in the study areas before the Project
development
••construction: Pending regulatory approvals,
construction of works above the level of the
existing Little Bow Reservoir will begin in the
summer of 2013. Construction of the works within
the Little Bow Reservoir will begin in the winter of
2014 once reservoir levels have been drawn down.
Construction is estimated to take three full years
••reservoir operation and maintenance: operation
and maintenance will be ongoing throughout the
life of the reservoir, which is anticipated to be more
than 50 years; and
••decommissioning: Decommissioning of temporary
facilities no longer needed after construction
will occur during, and immediately after, the
construction phase Decommissioning of major
Project components is not planned within the
foreseeable future and the life-span of major
Project components, as noted above, is estimated
to be more than 50 years. As such, an assessment
based on the legislative requirements at the time of
decommissioning will be undertaken prior to the
decommissioning of major Project components
3.3 Scope of the Factors Considered
and the Spatial Boundaries
In determining significant environmental effects,
the environmental assessment focuses on aspects
of the natural and human environment that have
particular value or importance and are likely to be
impacted by the Project. The Local Study Area
(LSA) is the portion of the environment that may
be directly affected by the Project. The Regional
Study Area (RSA) is the portion of the environment
surrounding the Project that may be indirectly
affected by the Project. The environmental
components and associated spatial boundaries used
in the analyses are presented in Appendix 3.
3.4 Temporal Boundaries
The temporal scale of the assessment
encompassed existing conditions, construction,
reservoir operation (including maintenance
and/or modifications) and decommissioning.
3.5 Determination of Valued Ecosystem
Components (VECs)
VECs were determined by AT with input from
the Federal Review Team. An opportunity to
comment was provided to First Nations, Métis
and the public. Table 3.2 lists the environmental
components and their associated VECs.
4. Project Alternatives
Based on paragraph 16(1)(3) of the Act,
the Agency required that the proponent
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
7
assess alternatives to the Project as part of
a comprehensive study. Alternatives to the
Project are functionally different ways to meet
the Project’s need and purpose. As well, in
accordance with paragraph 16(2)(b) of the
Act, the comprehensive study process included
consideration of the alternative means of
carrying out the Project that are technically and
economically feasible and the environmental
effects of any such alternative means. The
evaluation of both of these factors is presented
in the following sections, based on evaluations
conducted by the proponent.
4.1 Alternatives to the Project
The proponent has indicated that alternatives
to the proposed project are constrained by the
location of the pre-existing reservoir structures
and by the Project’s purpose, which is to
upgrade the infrastructure to meet the CDA
Dam Safety Guidelines. As such, opportunities
to compare the Project alternatives are
limited. As presented, there are three
project alternatives:
••proceed with the Project in the near-term,
as planned
••delay the Project or
••abandon the Project
The environmental effects associated with the
first two alternatives would be essentially the
same, with the exception of the timeframes.
The proponent has indicated that abandoning
the rehabilitation project would eliminate the
anticipated environmental effects associated
with construction and the change in the reservoir
operating regime. This is not feasible because
as the existing system does not meet the
requirements of the CDA Dam Safety
Guidelines and would pose an unacceptable
risk to public safety during long-term operation.
Delaying the Project would also pose a safety
risk to the public.
8
Therefore, in considering all of the above, the
proponent has advised that proceeding with the
Project in the near-term, as planned, is the
preferred alternative and is the only technically
and economically feasible alternative that fulfills
the Project’s purpose.
4.2 Alternative Means of Carrying
out the Project
Although alternative locations for some facilities
were considered, as the Project primarily
involves rehabilitation or upgrading of existing
structures and embankments the locations of
which are fixed. As a result, AT determined that
the Project as proposed was the only technically
and economically feasible way that the preferred
alternative could be implemented.
4.3 Agency’s Assessment
The Agency is satisfied that the proponent has
adequately considered alternatives to the Project
and alternative means of carrying out the Project.
The selected alternative provides the most
appropriate solution to meet the purpose of the
reservoir rehabilitation and upgrading, within the
constraints of existing structures and embankments.
5. Consultations
The Agency and the proponent conducted public
and Aboriginal consultation activities to improve
the quality of the environmental assessment.
5.1 Public Consultations
5.1.1 Agency consultations
The Act provides for three official opportunities
for the public to participate in the comprehensive
study. The first consultation took place from
July 19th to August 20th, 2010, seeking comments
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
on the Project description and the conduct of the
comprehensive study environmental assessment.
The second consultation took place from
November 2nd to December 2nd, 2010, seeking
comments on the draft project-specific guidelines
and scoping document.
In the third consultation opportunity, the Agency
will invite the public to comment on the content,
conclusions and recommendations of this
comprehensive study report. The Agency will
present the comments received to the Minister of
the Environment to assist in the environmental
assessment decision.
The notices announcing the consultation periods
were published on the Registry Internet site
(www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca/050/index-eng.cfm; File
Number: 09-03-49421) and in locals newspapers:
Le Franco, Lethbridge Herald, Sun Times,
and the Prairie Post as well as the Aboriginal
newspaper, Alberta Sweetgrass.
to the public and to seek feedback on the
proponent’s assessment of the environmental
effects. The public information session was
advertised through applicable local Municipal
Districts, Towns, Villages, Little Bow Resort,
and the BRID websites, printed on displays and
in the Vulcan Advocate and Vauxhall Advance
newspapers during the two weeks preceding the
session. The public information Session was
attended by twenty-seven members of the public,
twelve exit surveys were received representing
nineteen people, and nine requests for further
information were received and responded to by
the proponent.
The proponent has committed to conducting
additional public consultation if there are
changes to any of the features of the Project
as a result of EIS recommendations or
regulatory review.
5.2 Aboriginal Consultation
To support the participation of interested
individuals, not-for-profit organizations and
Aboriginal groups in federal environmental
assessments, the, Agency may provide funding
through the Participant Funding Program. For
this comprehensive study, there was a single
applicant, the Métis Nation of Alberta—Region 3
who received $4,000 from the program.
The Crown has a duty to consult Aboriginal
groups and, if appropriate, to accommodate
them when its conduct is likely to have
an adverse impact on their established or
potential Aboriginal or treaty rights. Aboriginal
consultation is also commonly practiced with
a view to good governance and to develop
appropriate policies and find informed solutions.
5.1.2 Participation activities conducted by
the proponent
AT’s primary communication was to ensure
that interested parties had the information they
required to make informed decisions about the
Project and to facilitate information exchange
between interested parties and AT.
In addition to these general practices and
obligations, the Act requires that federal
environmental assessments take into
consideration, among other things, the impact
of any change that a project may cause in the
environment, and the impact of that change
on the current use of lands and resources for
traditional purposes by Aboriginal persons.
A public information session hosted by
representatives from AT, Alberta Environment
(AENV), and Klohn Crippen Berger Ltd. was
held on May 28, 2009 at the Southern Alberta
Bible Camp to explain the proposed project
5.2.1 Consultations conducted by the Federal
Government
To meet the Crown’s duty to consult, the
Agency conducted focused consultations
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
9
with Aboriginal people in proximity to
the Project area, in addition to the public
consultation process.
During the first public consultation phase,
the Blood Tribe, Métis Nation of Alberta—
Region 3, Piikani (Peigan) Nation, and Siksika
Nation received a document summarizing
the Project and outlining the steps in the
environmental assessment. The consultation
period was announced in a local newspaper, the
Lethbridge Herald, Sun Times and the Prairie
Pose as well as, an Aboriginal newspaper,
Alberta Sweetgrass, and on the Agency Internet
site. During this phase, none of the Aboriginal
groups submitted any comments on the Project.
As indicated, the Métis Nation of Alberta—
Region 3 applied and received participant
funding under the Participant Funding Program
administered by the Agency.
In the second public consultation opportunity,
the Blood Tribe, Métis Nation of Alberta—
Region 3, Piikani (Peigan) Nation, and Siksika
Nation received the draft project-specific
guidelines and scoping document directly
from the Agency. In addition, the consultation
period was announced in a local newspaper, the
Lethbridge Herald, Sun Times and the Prairie
Post as well as the Aboriginal newspaper,
Alberta Sweetgrass, and on the Agency Internet
site. None of the Aboriginal groups submitted
any comments on the draft project-specific
guidelines and scoping document.
Following the second public consultation
opportunity, the Agency met with the Blood
Tribe, Piikani (Peigan) Nation, and Siksika
Nation individually. The Aboriginal groups
received the EIS directly from the Agency at
these meetings. Métis Nation of Alberta—
Region 3 was unable to meet with the Agency
but was provided with a copy of the EIS directly
from the Agency. Aboriginal groups were invited
to submit comments on the EIS to the Agency;
however, no comments were received.
10
The Blood Tribe, Métis Nation of Alberta—
Region 3, Piikani (Peigan) Nation, Siksika
Nation, Tsuu T’ina Nation and Stoney (Nakoda)
First Nation were provided with the draft
Comprehensive Study Report for their review
and comment over a period of four weeks ending
November 13, 2012. During the drafting of the
CSR, it came to the Agency’s attention that the
Project may fall within the asserted traditional
territory of the Tsuu T’ina Nation and Stoney
(Nakoda) First Nation. Consequently, the Agency
invited the Tsuu T’ina Nation and Stoney
(Nakoda) First Nation to comment on the Draft
Comprehensive Study Report (CSR). None of the
Aboriginal groups submitted comments on the
draft Comprehensive Study Report.
During the final public consultation phase, the
Agency will invite Aboriginal groups to comment
on the content, conclusions and recommendations
of the final Comprehensive Study Report. The
Agency will present the comments to the Minister
of the Environment to assist in the environmental
assessment decision.
In addition to the identified public and Aboriginal
consultation opportunities the Agency contacted
Aboriginal groups on several occasions to clarify
issues, solicit comments and feedback, and
exchange information through phone calls, email,
letters, and meetings.
If the environmental assessment decision is to
allow the Project to proceed, departments with
regulatory responsibilities may consult further
with the Aboriginal groups on the authorizations
to be issued for the implementation of the
project. This consultation may occur if there
are outstanding Aboriginal issues related
to departmental mandates that can be most
appropriately addressed in the regulatory phase.
5.2.2 Consultation activities conducted by
the proponent
The proponent’s communication objective was
to ensure that the First Nations and Métis had
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
the information they required to make informed
decisions about the Project and to facilitate
opportunities for the exchange of information
between the First Nations, Métis and AT. First
Nations identified by AT as having a potential
interest in the Project are the Blood Tribe,
Piikani Nation, Siksika Nation and Métis
Nation of Alberta—Region 3. The proponent
provided each of the First Nations and Métis
Project Specific Guidelines & Scoping
Document, the Project overview presentation
(included location, components, need,
environmental effects), and historical resource
and archaeology studies. Communication also
included direct phone and email contact, letters,
and face-to-face meetings.
5.3 Issues Raised
The Agency forwarded the concerns and
comments received from the public and
Aboriginal Groups to both the proponent and
the Federal Review Team. The following
general subjects were raised by the participants
and are addressed further in Section 7
(environmental effects) where mitigation
to address the issues, as they relate to the
environment, are also presented. A more
detailed summary of issues raised can be found
in Appendix 6.
5.3.1 Capacity funding
The Blood Tribe, Piikani Nation, Siksika
Nation and Métis Nation of Alberta—
Region 3 all indicated that capacity funding
was required to fulfil AT’s request for
traditional knowledge and use of the Project
area. Of the four groups, the Métis Nation
of Alberta—Region 3 was the only group
that applied for, and received, $4,000 from
the federal Participant Funding Program in
the summer of 2010. AT indicated that as a
government proponent they would not provide
capacity funding to any of the Aboriginal
groups, either for review or for site visits.
5.3.2 Water quantity
Métis Nation of Alberta—Region 3 and
the Siksika Nation expressed concerns that
the Little Bow Reservoir development may
impact the ability of their communities to
withdraw water from the reservoir, and have
concerns about the reduced water levels in
the Bow River. The potential impact of the
Project on water quantity and the mitigation
measures proposed to address these concerns
are presented in Section 7.3 on hydrology.
5.3.3 Water quality and aquatic
environment
The Siksika Nation noted that water quality
in nearby water bodies has declined in recent
years, pointing to industry and development
as the cause. They were concerned that the
water can no longer be used for traditional
activities (e.g., swimming and sweat lodges).
The Siksika Nation and Métis Nation of
Alberta—Region 3 have noted that they
are concerned about future activities in
the area that may impact abilities to fish
downstream of the Project. The potential
impact of the Project on water quality and
the mitigation measures proposed to address
these concerns are presented in Section 7.4.
The environmental effects assessment of
the aquatic environment is presented in
Section 7.6. The potential impacts of the
Project on the current use of lands and
resources for traditional and recreation
purposes and suggested mitigation measures
are presented in Section 7.12.
5.3.4 Current and traditional use and
knowledge studies
The Blood Tribe and Siksika Nation stated a
need for further land use studies in the Project
area to identify and verify the historical sites,
plants and animals that may be present. The
potential impacts of the Project on the current
use of lands and resources for traditional
and recreation purposes and proposed
mitigation measures to address these, and
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
11
more general land use concerns, are presented
in Section 7.12. The environmental effects
assessment of heritage and archaeological
resources is presented in Section 7.13.
5.3.5 Wildlife and species at risk
Métis Nation of Alberta—Region 3 has
concerns regarding the area of land that will be
inundated and how this will affect species at
risk (including burrowing owls and ferruginous
hawks) and other wildlife species (including
red tailed deer, beaver, coyotes, fox, rabbits,
antelope and waterfowl). The potential impacts
of the Project on wildlife and wildlife habitat
and proposed mitigation measures are addressed
in Section 7.8.
5.3.6 Traditional plants
The Blood Tribe has concerns over the
relocation of traditional plants and feels that
they should be the ones to carry out this
relocation. The Siksika Nation has noted
that it has become very difficult to find their
medicinal plants in the Little Bow Reservoir
area. The potential impacts of the Project on
vegetation and associated mitigation measures
are presented in Section 7.7. The environmental
effects assessment of current use of lands and
resources for traditional and recreation purposes
and more general land use concerns are
presented in Section 7.12.
6. Profile of the Environment
The Little Bow Reservoir experiences frequent
thunderstorms during the summer months as
a result of rapid upward movement of warm,
moist air, causing convective storms. The
area experiences the effects of Chinook winds
during the winter, but to a lesser extent than
areas further west. These winter weather events
are characterized by a rapid rise in temperature
accompanied by dry winds. In general, the
reservoir is subject to frequent high wind
velocities, predominantly from the west, due to
the open landscape and long fetch.
6.1.2 Geophysical
Surface soil salinity, based on the observed
presence of species of salt tolerant grasses, has
been observed on localized parcels of land and
has been identified as being associated with
either irrigation canal seepage salinity or slough
ring salinity in dry land.
High winds and large resulting wave action
are a relatively common occurrence in this
area of southern Alberta, commonly resulting
in shoreline erosion. The reservoir shoreline is
characterized by areas of frequent instability,
including areas of ongoing erosion of varying
severity and areas that have become stabilized
at lower elevations through beaching or
armouring of the slope toe, however upper
elevations continue to be eroded by large
waves. Mass-wasting sometimes occurs
during heavy rainfall events such as summer
thunderstorms.
6.1.3 Hydrology
The Bow River originates at Bow Lake in the
Rocky Mountains and flows southeast through
6.1.1 Landscape
the mountains, foothills, and prairies to its
The landscape of southern Alberta is the result confluence with the Oldman River which at that
of North America’s last glaciation, which ended point together form the South Saskatchewan
approximately 7,000 years ago. The landforms River. The Bow River is primarily a snowmelt
present in the LSA and RSA are primarily
stream that is considered to be relatively natural
hummocky terrain resulting from the disintegration upstream of the Town of Banff; downstream
of the Wisconsinan advances of the Laurentide
of Banff most of the flows are highly altered.
ice, and from the erosion of the resulting tills.
The Bow River is the most regulated river in
6.1 Biophysical Context
12
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
Alberta, with eleven hydroelectric facilities
and three major irrigation districts within
its watershed.
The headwaters of the Little Bow River
originate near the Town of High River. The
river flows south to Twin Valley Reservoir and
south and east from Twin Valley Reservoir to
Travers Reservoir. From Travers Reservoir the
river flows south and east to the Oldman River,
near the Town of Picture Butte. The natural
catchment area draining to the Little Bow River
is rolling upland dominated by pasture and
irrigated cropland. The land generally drains
from northwest to southeast, away from the
Rocky Mountain Foothills.
The Little Bow, McGregor, and Travers
Reservoirs together with more than 65 km
of irrigation canals make up the CarselandBow River Headworks (CBRH) system. The
CBRH system (see Figure 1.2) is a major
multi-purpose water delivery system that
diverts, impounds, and releases water from the
Bow River for water management (e.g., water
supply for irrigated agriculture, municipalities,
domestic users, and livestock operations, flow
regulation, water conservation, industrial users,
and recreational users). Reservoir levels and
releases from the Combined TLBR are affected
by upstream river diversions and downstream
water demands, respectively. The CBRH system
diverts water to 85,000 ha of agricultural
land in the BRID and 2,000 ha for the Siksika
Nation. Diversions from the Highwood River
to the Little Bow River via the Little Bow
Canal started in the late 1890s. The canal was
rehabilitated in 2004 as part of the Twin Valley
Dam and Reservoir project. Rehabilitation of
the CBRH main canal was completed in 2008.
The McGregor Reservoir is approximately
33 km long with the north end of the reservoir
located approximately 100 km southeast
of Calgary near the Village of Milo. The
reservoir is contained by two earthfill dams
(the North and South McGregor dams). The
dams and associated structures were originally
constructed in 1910, significantly upgraded
in the 1950’s, and rehabilitated from 2004
to 2008. Water is released through the South
Dam to the connecting canal to Travers
Reservoir. Travers Reservoir is created by a
44 m high dam on the Little Bow River. The
dam and associated structures were originally
constructed in the early 1950s and are currently
being rehabilitated.
6.1.4 Surface water hydrology
The Little Bow Reservoir receives water at its
southwest corner from Travers Reservoir, and is
thus, despite its name, made up of water almost
entirely from the Bow River. The reservoir’s
volume is replaced approximately 16 times per
year, with all inflows and outflows generally
occurring from April to October. The reservoir
discharges water at its northeast corner via
a dammed outlet that directs water into the
BRID main canal. The BRID main canal leaves
Little Bow Reservoir and carries water in an
easterly direction to provide irrigation water
to the most of the BRID. The Lomond Lateral
Irrigation Canal is a small canal that branches
off from the main canal approximately 350 m
downstream from the Little Bow Reservoir
outlet and carries water in a northeast direction
past the Village of Lomond.
The water in Little Bow Reservoir is clear,
however high winds can cause wave erosion
of exposed sandy banks, particularly along the
east side of the reservoir south of the existing
PRA. The water is well-mixed during the
summer because of its exposure to prevailing
westerly winds, and there is very little vertical
stratification of water quality parameters
(including temperature) throughout the water
column during the open water season.
The Travers Reservoir is considerably deeper
than Little Bow Reservoir and is contained
within generally higher landforms, such that
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
13
more thermal stratification occurs than in Little
Bow Reservoir, although wind-generated wave
action still often mixes the water column.
Almost all of the maximum concentrations
of nutrients occur during major precipitation
events, when storm water runoff carries cattle
manure and crop fertilizers to the river.
6.1.5 Hydrogeology and groundwater quality
Although the Little Bow Reservoir catchment is
within the Oldman River drainage basin, most
of the reservoir inflow is water from the Bow
River basin diverted into the CBRH system.
Groundwater resources are currently being used
for domestic, stock, irrigation and municipal
purposes. In general, the majority of wells
produce water from aquifers that are less than
100 m deep. Given the relatively flat topography
of the plain areas, local shallow groundwater
flow will be controlled by the water level in the
Little Bow Reservoir. The Little Bow Reservoir
has porous soil that produces little natural
runoff, and is in an area with some of the lowest
precipitation rates and highest evaporation rates
in Canada.
The water chemistry of Little Bow Reservoir is
very similar to Travers Reservoir; chloride ionic
ratios are low in all groundwater and surface
water samples. Deeper groundwater chemistry
reflects long residence times in aquifers. Some
shallow groundwater samples have relatively
high Total Dissolved Solid (TDS) concentrations.
Generally, sodium and potassium cations and
sulphate increase with depth and calcium and
magnesium are relatively reduced with depth.
The only domestic groundwater resource use in
the area is the L&J Murray Ranches Ltd. spring,
which is a permanent spring situated on private
property. The spring, situated within the Little
Bow River valley approximately 1 km south of
and approximately 30 m lower in elevation than,
the TLBR Connecting Canal, has been used as
a domestic water supply since sometime prior
to 1928.
14
6.1.6 Aquatic environment
Emergent vegetation around the perimeter of
Little Bow Reservoir and some of the islands
consists primarily of cattail, with much smaller
amounts of bulrush, horsetail and sedge. In
general, there is sparse emergent vegetation
coverage only in shallow bays or on shorelines
that are protected from the prevailing wind and
resulting wave action.
The Little Bow Reservoir littoral zone (<2 m
deep) is about 30% of the total surface area,
and supports extensive submergent weed beds.
The submergent vegetation species observed
in Little Bow Reservoir include: pondweed,
white water crowfoot, northern watermilfoil,
chara, coontail, ditch-grass, bladderwort, water
starwort and occasional yellow pond lily.
Benthic invertebrate samples from the Little
Bow Reservoir showed considerably greater
densities of invertebrates than Travers
Reservoir, a higher diversity index, and slightly
greater variety of taxa.
Although no official fisheries management
objectives have been approved for Little
Bow Reservoir, the reservoir is managed to
maintain northern pike, walleye, and lake
whitefish populations. Northern pike and
walleye represent the two primary recreational
targets, while lake whitefish is the primary
commercial winter fishery species. Other
species that may be present include spottail
shiner, yellow perch, burbot, longnose sucker,
white sucker, shorthead redhorse, rainbow trout,
and brown trout. Little Bow Reservoir appears
to provide suitable habitat for all age classes.
Little Bow Reservoir winter dissolved oxygen
concentrations under the ice are sufficient
for fish survival, as no winter kills have been
documented. Catch data suggests a potentially
greater density of lake whitefish and walleye
in Travers Reservoir than in Little Bow
Reservoir and more perch and spottail shiners
in Little Bow Reservoir. Northern pike catch
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
rates were similar for Little Bow Reservoir
and Travers Reservoir.
All fish sampled had mercury concentrations
over the Canadian Council of Ministers of the
Environment (CCME) guidelines (1999) for
mercury in fish for consumption by birds and
mammals. In general, the older age classes
of species typically showed higher mercury
content as mercury accumulates over time when
small quantities are ingested continually. ESRD
has applied the Health Canada Recommended
Fish Consumption Limits to fish species in
Alberta water bodies and set consumption
limits accordingly. Current consumption limits
for Little Bow Reservoir and surrounding
water bodies and tributaries can be found at:
http://www.mywildalberta.com/Fishing/
SafetyProcedures/FishConsumptionAdvisory.aspx.
At the time of writing, consumption limits for
Northern Pike apply within the Little
Bow Reservoir.
6.1.7 Vegetation
The Project occurs within the Mixedgrass
Natural Subregion of southwestern Alberta. It
is broadly characterized as a band of intensely
cultivated prairie over coarse and/or medium
textured wind or water-laid sediments and
glacial till. The Mixedgrass Natural Subregion
accounts for 2.9% of the area of Alberta. The
Mixedgrass Prairie experienced heavy livestock
grazing during the early twentieth century, and
at present, only 31% of the original 4.6 million
acres of native prairie remain. Both terrestrial
and aquatic vegetation types are present in
the Project area including riparian vegetation,
wetlands, emergent and submergent aquatic
vegetation, grasslands, and shrubs and trees.
6.1.8 Wildlife and terrestrial habitat
The Mixedgrass Subregion contains important
habitat for prairie wildlife species that can use
moderately to heavily grazed prairie. The Little
Bow Reservoir PRA has been identified as an
Important Bird Area (IBA) of Canada. This site
provides habitat to approximately 118 species
of birds, including approximately 1,050 (1% of
Canada’s population) of non-breeding American
white pelicans in the summer months.
6.2 Human Context
6.2.1 General overview
The closest communities to the LSA are the
Vulcan County communities of the village
of Lomond (population 175) and the hamlet
of Enchant (population 205), each located
approximately 20 km from the LSA. The
communities of Vauxhall in the Municipal
District of Taber and Picture Butte in
the County of Lethbridge are the closest
communities with a population of over 1,000.
The Little Bow Reservoir drainage basin has no
major population centres and no cottages.
The landscape of the South Saskatchewan
Region, including the RSA, has been
significantly affected by agricultural
development, both through grazing and
other agricultural related activities including
development of irrigation infrastructure. These
activities have been ongoing since the early
1900’s with the Little Bow Reservoir being
completed in 1920. There are no private land
holdings or residences within the LSA.
Several sections of land in the RSA are
privately owned.
The Little Bow Reservoir provides a good
environment for recreational activities but
is also exposed to strong winds and contains
aquatic plant growth, concentrated on the
west side of the reservoir, which may deter
some forms of recreation. The Little Bow
Reservoir PRA also provides access to some
sandy beach shoreline areas adjacent to the
Little Bow Reservoir. Activities available to
Little Bow Reservoir PRA and Little Bow
Reservoir users include beach use, birding,
camping, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, ice
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
15
fishing, power boating, sailing, swimming,
water skiing, windsurfing, hiking, other water
activities, and wildlife viewing.
The PRAs and provincial park in the Project
area are managed by the MIM Management
Group, based in Champion, Alberta. The PRA
provides basic camping facilities and access
to beach areas and the Little Bow Reservoir.
The Little Bow Reservoir and the areas around
Travers and McGregor reservoirs are part of an
Important Bird Area (IBA).
Little Bow Reservoir is currently used by
recreational power boaters and non-motorized
recreational craft (canoes, kayaks, wind-surfers,
and kite-boards). The open exposure and long
fetch of the reservoir frequently results in
rough open water conditions, limiting most
recreational opportunities on windy days.
However, these windy conditions can also
provide excellent opportunities for some
specific sports such as wind-surfing and
kite-boarding.
The lands adjacent to, and immediately
surrounding, the LSA are owned by the
Alberta Provincial Government and leased for
grazing. The proponent has indicated the same
family has held the lease for three generations.
Pastureland in the LSA has good to fair
capacity but is limited by ability to provide
irrigation. Non-irrigable lands include gravel
operations immediately south of the TLBR
Connecting Canal, and steeply sloping land
on the banks of the Little Bow River. Some
primarily agricultural commercial property
is also located in the RSA. The Little Bow
Reservoir is located within the vicinity of oil,
gas, and coal deposits, of which oil and gas are
currently extracted.
6.2.2 Aboriginal context
Archaeological studies suggest that Blackfoot
Confederacy members (which include the
Blood Tribe, Siksika Nation and Piikani Nation)
16
have lived in southern Alberta for at least
12,000 years. Historically, the First Nations
led a nomadic lifestyle based on bison hunting
and gathering in an area from the Red Deer
River in Alberta to the Yellowstone River in
Montana. Following the signing of Treaty 7,
Blackfoot Confederacy member nations
transitioned to an agricultural based lifestyle
centered on their reserves.
Siksika Nation, Piikani Nation, and Blood
Tribe customs, traditions, spirituality, and
lifestyle reflect their intimate relationship with
their territory and its resources. This territory
includes lands on and surrounding the Little
Bow Reservoir where Siksika, Blood, and
Piikani tribes followed bison herds. Bison
hunting was an important component of
the Blackfoot ‘seasonal round’—a seasonal
movement of people across a land base to use
available resources. River valleys were often
used as wintering areas as they provided shelter,
the surrounding trees provided fuel, and game
usually wintered nearby.
The Blood tribe
The Blood, or Kainai, Tribe has a registered
population of 11,274, two reserves known
as Blood 148 (1,342.9 km2) and Blood 148A
(19.7 km2), and seven communities in Southern
Alberta, with the main community being
Standoff. As of June 2011, about 69% of Blood
First Nation members were living on one of the
two Blood Tribe reserves.
The Piikani First Nation
The Piikani Nation is the largest of the Blackfoot
Confederacy nations. The Piikani traditional
territory extended from Rocky Mountain House,
Alberta to Heart Butte, Montana. Today, the
Piikani Nation has two reserves known as
Peigan Timber Limit “B” (29.8 km2) and Piikani
(427.0 km2) with a registered population of
3,578 members, approximately 66% of which
live on reserve at Piikani. The administrative
centre of Piikani Nation is situated in Brocket.
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
The Siksika Nation
The Siksika traditional territory includes the
northern and eastern lands of the Blackfoot
Confederacy territory (i.e., the land between
Saskatchewan to the east, Alberta to the West,
the Saskatchewan River in Alberta to the North,
and Missouri River in Montana to the South).
Today the Siksika are centred south of the Town
of Gleichen and have 6,718 registered members,
approximately 55% of which live on the
710.9 km2 Siksika 146 Reserve.
Tsuu T’ina
The Tsuu T’ina First Nation, signatory to
Treaty 7, is located 13 km southeast of Calgary
where they hold 277 km2 ha of reserve land.
The registered population of the Tsuu T’ina First
Nation is 1,992. The Project lies within the asserted
traditional territory of the Tsuu T’ina First Nation
which encompasses a large section of south
central Alberta; extending from southern most
Alberta, northwest along the Rocky Mountain
range to north of Willmore Wilderness Park,
east to Edmonton then south east to the Alberta/
USA border.
Stoney Nakoda First Nation
The Stoney Nakoda First Nation, signatory to
Treaty 7, is recognized by AANDC as being
comprised of the Wesley First Nation, the Chiniki
First Nation, and the Bearspaw First Nation. The
combined registered population of the three First
Nations is 5,146. The Stoney Nakoda First Nation
holds more than 480 km2 of reserve land located
west of Rocky Mountain House (Big Horn
Reserve), southwest of Calgary (Eden Valley
Reserve), and northwest of Calgary (Stoney
Reserves 142-143-144 and 142B). The Project
lies within the traditional territory, as identified
by the Stoney Nakoda First Nation during the
Joint Review Panel process for the Enbridge
Northern Gateway Project.
Métis
The Métis, a culturally distinct group of
Aboriginal peoples who emerged from mixed
Aboriginal and European ancestry are one of
three Aboriginal groups recognized in Canada.
The Métis of Southern Alberta Region 3 are
considered by the Métis Nation of Alberta to
be the Métis people who have traditionally
occupied the area now known as ‘Region 3’.
This is the area in which the Project is located.
Traditionally, the Métis lived a semi-nomadic
lifestyle centred on seasonal activities
including bison hunting, pemmican making,
berry and vegetable gathering and trapping.
The Métis were known to have semi-permanent
bison hunting camps near Fort Macleod and
Fort Calgary. As the bison population declined
in the 1870s, many Métis relocated and settled
in order to survive.
7. Environmental Effects
Assessment
7.1 Approach
In this section, the Agency provides a
summary to help readers understand the steps
in its analysis process. Readers who would
like to have more detailed information can
consult the series of documents relating to
the environmental assessment of the Project
available on the Canadian Environmental
Assessment Registry.
The Agency, in collaboration with the Federal
Review Team, identified and assessed potential
adverse environmental impacts of the Project
on the basis of:
••the proponent’s impact assessment, including
the proponent’s responses to the questions and
comments from the Federal Review Team
••additional studies submitted by the proponent
such as survey results, fish and mercury
level studies
••the information obtained during public consultations
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
17
••the expert opinions obtained from the federal
government departments.
The method used to assess the significance of the
effects considers six criteria, which are defined as:
••direction: the long-term trend of the effect
(i.e., positive, neutral, negative)
••magnitude: the amount of change in a
measurable parameter or variable relative
to baseline conditions (i.e., negligible, low,
moderate, high)
••geographical extent: the area within which an
effect occurs (i.e., local, regional, provincial/
trans-boundary)
••duration: the period of time required for a
resource component to return to its baseline
condition, or for the effect to be no longer
measured or otherwise perceived (short-term,
medium-term, long-term, far future)
••frequency: the number of times during a
project or a specific project phase that an
effect might occur (i.e., one time, sporadic,
regular, and continuous)
••reversibility: a rating of the permanence of
the effect (i.e., reversible short-term, reversible
long-term, irreversible)
Based on the nature and extent of the effect, a
conclusion was made as to whether the effect
would have a negligible, low, moderate, high
or unknown impact on the VEC.
••negligible: The Project effect is not expected
to have a measurable or detectable impact on
the population or resource
••low: the Project effect is expected to result
in subtle environmental changes that are
likely measurable or detectable but would
not constitute or result in a population
level effect;
••moderate: the Project effect is expected
to result in a measurable change in the
population or resource that would be of
potential ecological significance
••high: the Project effect is expected to result
18
in a measurable change in the population
or resource that would be of significance to
ecosystem structure and function
••unknown: the impact cannot be determined
due to inadequate baseline information or
uncertainty about the nature and extent of
the Project effect
Following the determination of level of impact,
the determination of significance was done
by considering thresholds beyond which
impacts would be considered significant. These
thresholds reflect the limits of an acceptable
state for each ecosystem component based on
resource management objectives, applicable
environmental standards, and guidelines. Where
standards were not available, professional
judgement based on experience and scientific
literature was used to determine thresholds
specific to each VEC. The level of confidence
and likelihood that the impact would occur
were also considered in their determination.
After taking into account identified mitigation
measures intended to reduce the incidence of
potential adverse environmental effects the
evaluation of significance was carried out for
each residual effect.
A summary of VECs and significant effects
is presented in Appendix 3. A summary of
residual effects for all VECs is presented
in Appendix 4. A summary of all proposed
mitigation is presented in Appendix 5.
7.2 Geophysical
The proponent used previously existing data
sources (reports, maps, etc.) to review assess the
geophysical environment including soil quantity
and quality in the LSA and RSA and the Alberta
Soil Quality Guidelines for Unrestricted Land Use
(AENV, 2001) to assess the soil for both topsoil
and subsoil as good, fair, poor, or unsuitable.
Mapping indicated that all of the test soil sample
sites, with the exception of one site located
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
outside the LSA but within the RSA, are rated as
good and have low reported values with respect to
measured salinity.
The proponent has noted that the processes of
wave erosion and sediment transport within the
reservoir have not resulted in a state of shoreline
equilibrium within the reservoir, but rather a
continuous process of shoreline erosion occurring
at a relatively consistent rate.
7.2.1 Potential environmental effects
Construction
Potential impacts to soil during construction
are primarily related to handling of topsoil and
the use, maintenance, and storage of heavy
equipment. Topsoil will be stripped from all
areas to be disturbed or developed and will be
stockpiled for use during reclamation. Heavy
equipment will be required for clearing and
grubbing, topsoil stripping, material transport,
and building structures.
The potential impacts that may occur
including: soil compaction, topsoil loss,
erosion, reduction of organic content of soils,
and the introduction of pollutants are all
of low magnitude, of short duration and
restricted geographically.
Operation
The primary impacts to soil that may occur
during reservoir operation include wind or
wave erosion at the sediment/water interface
and deposition of sediment into the reservoir
through wind or runoff erosion in near shore
areas. Wind erosion potential for the RSA is
rated as moderate to severe. Minor increases
in sediment deposition into the Little Bow
Reservoir as a result of the Project are expected.
Increased shoreline exposure and fluctuating
water levels are expected to result in a minor
increase in sediment deposition due to wave
erosion during Project operation. Fluctuating
water levels will result in cyclical submersion
and exposure of an area of approximately
2.13 km2 that will be subject to wind erosion.
Exposure of a larger area of shoreline to the
effect of wave erosion and wave action at
lower elevations may lead to undercutting and
destabilization of steep sloping shorelines.
Decreased slope stabilization poses a risk
to PRA users. Surface water erosion is not
anticipated to increase significantly as a result
of the Project.
7.2.2 Mitigation measures
To minimize the potential effect of the Project
on the geophysical environment Erosion and
Sediment Control (ESC) measures will be
implemented prior to work and maintained
during the work phase until the site has been
stabilized. The ESC measures will be inspected
regularly. The Erosion and Sediment Control
Manual (Alberta Transportation, 2011) and
standard AT construction practices will be
followed for all project phases. Wind and wave
erosion will be mitigated by installing riprap
armouring in the steeply sloped shoreline areas
in the vicinity of the new PRA. See Appendix 5
for details.
Monitoring will include both general
construction and reservoir turbidity monitoring
conducted by AT during the first two years
of operation and biannually thereafter as a
component of the Follow-up Program (see
Section 8 and Appendix 7) to determine the
extent and severity of erosion along the new
shoreline at FSL and within the reservoir
drawdown zone. These biannual surveys
will visually assess changes in shoreline
stability and erosion potential, which will be
photographed, mapped and compared to the
baseline condition. Areas of particular erosion
concern, such as those predicted in the EIS,
will be noted and the need for additional
mitigation will be evaluated on a case by
case basis. The proponent will work with
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
19
federal authorities to identify thresholds at
which monitoring results will trigger adaptive
management. Over the long term, monitoring
of the reservoir shoreline will be conducted
by ESRD on a biannual basis (once every
two years) to detect areas of potential erosion
concern or slope instability, in accordance
with established infrastructure management
procedures.
7.2.3 Residual environmental effects
Implementation of the proposed mitigation
measures will result in a negligible potential for
residual effects on soils as a result of Project
construction activities. During operation,
increased aquatic sedimentation resulting from
increased wind and wave erosion will not be
fully mitigated and will result in a residual
effect that is local in extent, continuous,
extending far into the future, and irreversible.
Wind and wave erosion is a naturally occurring
process that results from the existing LSA soil
conditions, but the Project will likely cause an
increase in the magnitude of this effect over the
long term. The residual effects of the Project on
soil quantity and quality are likely to be limited
in magnitude and geographic extent.
7.2.4 Government, public and Aboriginal
comments and proponent’s response
Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Environment
Canada had requested that the proponent
provide more detail with respect to the potential
increase in erosion as a result of the Project
including an explanation of the extent of the
increase in erosion due to increased water
levels and a fluctuating reservoir and details
on whether any monitoring will be conducted
within the reservoir to determine the extent and
severity of erosion. The proponent provided
further information on rates of shoreline
erosion, their methodology for calculation,
and proposed mitigation and monitoring to
address the potential impact. Fisheries and
Oceans Canada and Environment Canada also
sought clarification on the requirements of the
20
Contractor to conduct turbidity monitoring
and the methodology to be used for such
monitoring, this information was provided by
the proponent. Fisheries and Oceans Canada
and Environment Canada concluded that
a satisfactory amount of information was
gathered for assessing the effects.
7.2.5 The Agency’s conclusions regarding
residual environmental effects
Taking into account the implementation of the
proposed mitigation, as well as the FollowUp Program, the Agency concludes that the
Project is not likely to cause significant adverse
environmental effects on soil quantity or soil
quality.
7.3 Hydrology
Simulation modelling assisted the proponent in
identifying and developing an understanding of
potential issues including: water supply versus
water demand, instream objectives, reservoir
operation, and competing stakeholder objectives
(i.e., irrigation, fisheries and recreation).
Instream objectives (IO) are the amount and
quality of water in an aquatic ecosystem
necessary for the protection of a natural water
body or its aquatic environment; protection of
tourism, recreational, transportation or waste
assimilation uses of water; and management of
fish and/or wildlife.
The Bow River basin and South Saskatchewan
sub-basin have been reserved to limit future
licenses for water-taking to protect the aquatic
environment and improve the water supply to
existing licensees.
7.3.1 Potential environmental effects
There are no proposed changes to the existing
licensed allocations for the proposed Combined
TLBR; however, the size and timing of
diversions from the Bow River for the existing
allocations may change.
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
Construction
The proponent did not identify any anticipated impacts
to hydrology as a result of construction activities.
Operation
Impacts to hydrology with respect to Bow
River discharge may include a slightly greater
diversion in spring (April to mid-May) from the
Bow River downstream of the CBRH diversion
at Carseland. In the late summer and fall,
(mid-August to mid-October) less water will
be diverted from the Bow River as a result of
increased storage within the Combined TLBR,
thereby lessening the impact of CBRH system
diversions on Bow River temperatures. Over
the long term, there may be slight changes to
the number of weeks when the weekly Bow
River discharge downstream of the CBRH
diversion is above and/or below the IO.
Impacts to the Little Bow River Discharge
include an increase in the FSL of Little Bow
Reservoir relative to the existing operating
level (15.87 km2 over the entire reservoir). In
addition, annual fluctuations of the Little Bow
Reservoir will occur as a result of irrigation
demands. The effect of this change on current
use of lands and resources for traditional
and recreational purposes is discussed in
Section 7.12. Negligible changes in flow at the
Little Bow River discharge downstream
of Travers Reservoir are expected.
High evaporation water loss from Little Bow
Reservoir is expected as a result of an increase
in surface area. This is estimated to be 0.225%
of the water volume allocated for CBRH
System withdrawal.
7.3.2 Mitigation measures
Based on the water licenses allocated for
the CBRH system, no mitigation is required
with respect to reduced Bow River discharge
downstream of the CBRH system diversion.
AT notes that Alberta Environment’s Operating
Strategy 2010 will account for any fluctuations
in the system, limiting and/or temporarily
restricting diversions as necessary.
The potential for increased withdrawals from the
Bow River in the spring, as identified in the Water
Resource Management Model results, can be
mitigated in accordance with AENV’s Operating
Strategy 2010. In the late summer-early fall,
river diversions are expected to be less which
could result in a slight increase in the number of
weeks when the IO is met over the long term.
A Combined TLBR results in a net benefit as
Bow River discharges downstream of the CBRH
diversion are greater in the late summer-early fall,
when water temperatures are higher, than they
would be under baseline conditions.
The Project will result in increased evaporation
losses from Little Bow Reservoir due to the increase
in the flooded area. This loss cannot be mitigated.
Monitoring
Current monitoring of Bow River discharge, CBRH
diversion discharge, and Little Bow River discharge
upstream and downstream of the Travers Reservoir
will continue as in the past, as per existing licensing
requirements. Current water level monitoring of
the McGregor Reservoir will also continue, and
the water level monitoring previously conducted
for the Travers Reservoir will now be carried out
on the Combined TLBR. This monitoring will be
conducted by AESRD in liaison with WSC.
7.3.3 Residual environmental effects
There are no impacts to hydrology anticipated
as a result of Project construction activities.
The potential for increased withdrawals from
the Bow River in the spring can be mitigated
in accordance with AENV’s Operating Strategy
2010. A Combined TLBR results in a net benefit
as Bow River discharges downstream of the
CBRH diversion are greater in the late summerearly fall when water temperatures are higher,
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
21
than they would be under baseline conditions.
This positive residual effect is expected to be
negligible in magnitude, regional, and sporadic.
During operation, increased evaporation
resulting from an increase in flooded area will
not be mitigated and will result in a residual
effect that is regional in extent, is regular in
frequency, and will extend far into the future and
be irreversible during operation. Evaporation is
a naturally occurring process in any reservoir
or basin of water, but the Project will likely
cause an increase, although negligible, in the
magnitude of this effect over the long-term. This
increase is equal to approximately 0.225% of
the total water allocation for the CBRH System
and does not represent a significant increase in
withdrawal from the Bow River.
7.3.4 Government, public and Aboriginal
comments and proponent’s response
In response to a request from Fisheries and
Oceans Canada the proponent provided detailed
calculations and analysis of evaporation loss
in the Little Bow Reservoir. Fisheries and
Oceans Canada subsequently concluded that
a satisfactory amount of information was
gathered for assessing the effects.
The Métis Nation of Alberta—Region 3 and
the Siksika Nation expressed concerns that the
development may impact the ability of their
communities to access water resources (i.e.,
water withdrawals from the reservoir), and
had concerns about the reduced water levels
in the Bow River. In particular the Siksika
Nation sought reassurance that the Project
would not impact current and future use of the
water supply licenses allocated to the Siksika
Nation. The proponent responded that, based
on the water licenses allocated for the CBRH
system, no mitigation is required with respect
to reduced Bow River discharge downstream of
the CBRH system diversion as these licenses
are not subject to IO. However, as per AENV’s
Operating Strategy 2010, AESRD has made
a commitment to limit diversions to 34 m3/s
22
(maximum design discharge of 51 m3/s) if
different instream flow conditions are not met.
The proponent also confirmed with the province
that should the Siksika Nation wish to use their
existing water license, the water will be made
available to them. However, to date they have
not exercised their right to this water.
7.3.5 The Agency’s conclusions regarding
residual environmental effects
Taking into account implementation of the
proposed mitigation, as well as the FollowUp Program, the Agency concludes that the
Project is not likely to cause significant adverse
environmental effects on the hydrology,
specifically the Bow River discharge
downstream of the CBRH diversion, the Little
Bow Reservoir discharge downstream of
Travers Reservoir, or the Little Bow Reservoir
and Travers Reservoir water levels.
7.4 Surface Water Quality
The analysis of impacts to surface water quality
was wide-ranging in order to incorporate and
assess concerns with respect to the health and
survival of organisms living in (e.g., fish and
aquatic organisms) or otherwise exposed to
(e.g., agricultural crops and livestock), the
reservoir water.
The Little Bow Reservoir has high dissolved
oxygen content. Levels of total organic carbon,
nitrogen, and phosphorous are generally low,
and the trophic status of Little Bow Reservoir
is on the border between oligotrophic (i.e.,
cold, low nutrient levels) and mesotrophic
(i.e., moderate nutrient levels). Chlorophyll a
concentrations during the open-water season in
the Little Bow Reservoir are generally similar
to those in Travers Reservoir and are low
compared to natural lakes in the area. Alkalinity,
conductivity, and TDS are all generally low. The
dominant ions are bicarbonate, sulphate, and
calcium. The pH has been in the range of 8.0 to 9.0.
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
Travers Reservoir is between oligotrophic and
mesotrophic, due mainly to nutrient-rich runoff
from agricultural fields that potentially contains
fertilizers and/or cattle manure. Water releases
from Travers Reservoir have consistently low
concentrations of all water quality parameters
and have not exceeded of published guidelines.
Irrigation return flows only affected water quality
in the mainstem river during low flow years, when
total nitrogen, total phosphorous, and dissolved
phosphorous were increased due to nitrogen and
phosphorous forms in the irrigation return water.
7.4.1 Potential environmental effects
Construction and operation
Surface water quality in the Little Bow Reservoir
could potentially be impacted during construction
and operation as a result of erosion and
sedimentation from direct disturbance of the bed
and shoreline, or indirectly as a result of surface
flow or wave action. Decreased dissolved oxygen
concentrations and release of methane, CO2, and
other by-products as vegetation decays during
reservoir drawdown in winter are expected for
three consecutive years of construction. There
will be an increased nutrient and organic carbon
loading within the reservoir. Both nutrients and
dissolved oxygen may be transported throughout
the reservoir with re-suspended sediment during
heavy wave action and mixing.
Increased methylation of mercury is expected as a
result of decomposition of vegetation in the newly
flooded area. The assimilation of methylmercury by
aquatic life will result in an increase in fish mercury
level. Mobilization of metals (aside from mercury)
will likely occur as a result of decomposition
of vegetation in the newly flooded area. An
improvement to regional water quality under the
new combined operating regime as a result of
smaller river diversions from mid-August to
mid-October is expected. During the same
period temperatures in the Bow River are
expected to increase.
7.4.2 Mitigation measures
The primary potential impact to aquatic life is the
reduction of dissolved oxygen concentrations as
oxygen is sequestered during the decomposition
process; however the period in which the
decomposition process will occur within the
wetted perimeter of the reservoir has been timed
to coincide with the operational irrigation season
where open water conditions exist and the
reservoir is well mixed. Oxygen concentrations are
expected to be high throughout the water column
at this point; reducing the impact on aquatic
life decreased dissolved oxygen concentrations.
Supplemental aeration (i.e., adding additional
oxygen to the water) may be required to maintain
dissolved oxygen concentrations in the drawn
down reservoir if low dissolved oxygen levels are
measured, to ensure the survival of fish and other
aquatic life during the winter (see Section 7.6.1).
As such, the anticipated impact on water quality
as a result of decomposition of flooded terrestrial
vegetation is negligible. See Appendix 5 for details
of mitigation.
As Little Bow Reservoir experiences a rapid
water exchange rate, it is expected that any
increased nutrient loading within the inundation
zone would be offset through distribution within
the reservoir and flushing out of the reservoir
(i.e. adding new water to the reservoir). No
algal blooms or significant increases in aquatic
vegetation growth are expected in the Little
Bow Reservoir or in the BRID canal system
downstream, due to the nutrient inputs. Nutrient
input may actually help vegetation to establish in
the drawdown zone.
Fish tissue samples in both Little Bow River
and Travers Reservoir currently show mercury
levels exceeding the CCME criterion for
wildlife that eat fish and approaching the Health
Canada criterion for fish eaten by humans.
Environmental effects and mitigation measures
with respect to methylation of mercury in the
aquatic environment are further discussed in
Section 7.6 and Section 7.12.
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
23
Given that there have been no trends of high
metal content, other than mercury, noted in
sediment, water, or fish tissue samples collected
in the existing reservoir, the increased sediment
water interface is not expected to increase metals
leaching sufficiently to result in an impact.
For further mitigation with respect to erosion
and sediment control see Section 7.2.
Monitoring
Monitoring of turbidity levels will occur
during any construction activities within the
wetted perimeter of the reservoir. Construction
monitoring will be required to ensure that
erosion and sedimentation are controlled within
the construction footprint and that potential
impacts to surface water quality
are mitigated.
Monitoring of dissolved oxygen concentrations
will be conducted through the ice during the
three years when the Little Bow Reservoir is
drawn down for construction during the winter.
Supplemental aeration may be required to
maintain dissolved oxygen concentrations in the
drawn down reservoir if low dissolved oxygen
levels are measured, to ensure the survival of
fish and other aquatic life during the winter.
The Government of Alberta is responsible
for monitoring mercury content in fish in
Alberta water bodies and setting consumption
limits. Ongoing regional sampling programs
are employed throughout southern Alberta
to determine fish consumption advisory
requirements. Monitoring of methylation of
mercury and fish mercury levels is further
discussed in Section 7.6.
7.4.3 Residual effects
Two potential residual effects are and
increase in aquatic sedimentation resulting
from increased wind and wave erosion and a
potential net positive regional impact to water
24
quality related to changes in CBRH system
withdrawal rates and timing under the new
combined operating regime.
The residual effects with respect to increased
sedimentation are assessed in detail in
Section 7.2.
7.4.4 Government, public and Aboriginal
comments and proponent’s response
Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Environment
Canada requested more information with
respect to turbidity monitoring (as described
in Section 7.2). Environment Canada sought
more information on a water quality worstcase scenario. The proponent has committed
to a further discussion of the effects associated
with ongoing sediment loadings, along with
options for improving mitigation, through the
Follow-up Program presented in Section 8 and
Appendix 7. Fisheries and Oceans Canada
and Environment Canada were satisfied with
this response.
The Siksika Nation has expressed concerns
with respect to water quality and the aquatic
environment. Specifically, they are concerned
that the water may become unsuitable for
traditional activities, that swimming holes
will no longer be used due to water quality
issues, and that the ability to fish downstream
of the Project will be impacted. The proponent
has indicated that the proposed mitigation
measures, monitoring, and follow-up will
sufficiently address these concerns to the
extent that they relate to the Project. Mitigation
measures related to current use of lands and
resources for traditional and recreational
purposes are explored further in Section 7.12.
7.4.5 The Agency’s conclusions regarding
residual environmental effects
Taking into account implementation of the
proposed mitigation, as well as the FollowUp Program, the Agency concludes that the
Project is not likely to cause significant adverse
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
environmental effects on the surface water
quality, specifically in the Little Bow Reservoir,
downstream BRID canals, Travers Reservoir,
and Little Bow River.
7.5 Hydrogeology and
Groundwater Quality
Clay till dominates the surficial geology and
changes in the Little Bow Reservoir operating
level are likely to be dissipated over a limited
distance by relatively steep groundwater
gradients. Groundwater contours interpreted
from available data show that groundwater flow
in bedrock shale is toward the Little Bow River.
Similarly, groundwater contours in surficial
aquifers is generally away from Little Bow
Reservoir and Travers Reservoir towards the
Little Bow River valley. Based on the available
data and the interpreted groundwater contours,
there is no significant vertical gradient between
bedrock and surficial aquifers, and hydraulic
connection between the TLBR Connecting Canal
and springs on the Little Bow River valley slopes
south of the canal cannot be substantiated.
locally elevated groundwater levels include
increased seepage from ground surfaces such
as valley sides, low lying areas, and ephemeral
watercourses as well as local changes in
groundwater elevations south of the Little Bow
Reservoir in the Little Bow River valley where
groundwater discharge has historically occurred
naturally as spring flow, seepage, and likely as
base flow to the Little Bow River. Inflow water
quality to Little Bow Reservoir will not change
and no impact to local groundwater quality is
expected as a result of the Project.
7.5.2 Mitigation measures
As part of canal widening in the upstream
portion of the TLBR Connecting Canal, sand
and gravel exposures in the base and sides of
the canal were lined with a clay liner to mitigate
future seepage losses. Additional seepage
mitigation is not required as the impacts to
groundwater quantity resulting from the Project
are expected to be minor. Mitigation measures
may be required in the future if impacts on
groundwater levels, spring flow or seepage are
detected through monitoring.
7.5.1 Potential environmental effects
The upland plains portion of the LSA has
relatively flat topography and the shallow
hydrogeology is dominated by low permeability
clay tills. From the information available, there
are no buried channel aquifers that connect or
daylight within the area of inundation in Little
Bow Reservoir at its new FSL of El. 856.18 m.
Consequently, groundwater impacts to the
north, west and east of Little Bow Reservoir
are expected to be limited to areas close to the
reservoir and the TLBR Connecting Canal.
Increasing the FSL in the Little Bow Reservoir
and the TLBR Connecting Canal may result in
higher groundwater levels in areas immediately
adjacent to these structures. In areas where clay
till dominates the surficial geology, increased
groundwater levels are expected to be dissipated
over relatively short distances away from the
FSL contour and the residual groundwater level
effects will be limited to areas close to Little
Bow Reservoir and the TLBR Connecting Canal.
Minor increases in seepage rates will likely
occur in current seepage areas and new seepage
areas may develop down gradient of the FSL.
The increase in the Little Bow Reservoir FSL
will increase local groundwater recharge within
the LSA. Increased recharge will result in local
increases in groundwater elevations that will be
dissipated as groundwater flows radially from
Little Bow Reservoir. The potential impact of
The proponent has specified that contractors
will ensure ground water levels in wells located
on adjacent lands are not changed due to their
activities and that the groundwater quality in
adjacent landowner wells is not diminished due
to their activities. See Appendix 5 for details.
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
25
Monitoring
A groundwater monitoring program will be
conducted to monitor changes in groundwater
levels in response to the Project, for the
confirmation of conclusions regarding residual
groundwater effects.
7.5.3 Residual environmental effects
The residual effect of increased seepage rates
is expected to be local in extent, will fluctuate
regularly with increased head pressure as the
reservoir is filled, and will continue for the entire
operational existence of the Project. The residual
effects of the Project on hydrogeology and
groundwater are likely to be limited in magnitude
and geographic extent.
7.5.4 Government, public and Aboriginal
comments and proponent’s response
NRCan asked the proponent about time series
groundwater level data and potential climate trends
for surficial water and groundwater flow. The
proponent provided the raw data for groundwater
levels and explained that as long as the reservoir
is operated and maintained at proposed operating
levels, climatic influences on local groundwater
levels are expected to be insignificant. NRCan
concluded that a satisfactory amount of information
was gathered for assessing the effects.
7.5.5 The Agency’s conclusions regarding
residual environmental effects
Taking into account implementation of the proposed
mitigation, as well as the Follow-Up Program, the
Agency concludes that the Project is not likely to
cause significant adverse environmental effects
on groundwater quantity or quality.
7.6 Aquatic Environment
The LSA for the aquatic environment assessment
included the lower half of Travers Reservoir, the
TLBR Connecting Canal, Little Bow Reservoir
and the BRID irrigation canal immediately
26
downstream of the Little Bow Reservoir. The
RSA included the entire CBRH system, including
Little Bow Reservoir, Travers Reservoir, and
McGregor Reservoir, as well as the Bow River
at the CBRH intake and all connecting canals
(Figure 1.2).
7.6.1 Potential environmental effects
The aquatic environment impact assessment
focused on identifying the effects of construction
and operation of the Project, including the impact
of fluctuating water levels on the new littoral zone,
the effects on fish and their life stages (spawning,
rearing, feeding, etc.), the effects on fish habitat,
and the effects on aquatic invertebrates.
Construction
In general physical works associated with raising
and extending the Little Bow Reservoir Dam are
expected to have limited impacts on the aquatic
environment as the majority of the material used
to build the structure will be installed on dry land
to the north and west of the wetted perimeter of
the reservoir. Potential impacts resulting from
construction of the Little Bow Reservoir Dam
may include; a minimal impact on fish habitat
from additional riprap material that will be
installed along the dam face both above and below
the FSL as needed to ensure long-term erosion
protection and dam safety; some disturbance
to the substrates in the existing shallows from
heavy equipment used to place riprap along the
upstream face of the dam; wave erosion of newly
flooded borrow areas that may lead to increased
suspension and transport of sediment; temporary
loss of fish habitat from the construction of two
cofferdams comprised of clay till within the Little
Bow Reservoir during construction of the new
outlet structure and removal of the existing outlet
structure; and erosion or sediment deposition into
the reservoir from dewatering of the cofferdam
isolated work areas. Raising and extending the
Little Bow Reservoir Dam will also result in the
displacement of 37,500 m2 of fish habitat during
the construction of Enhancement Dyke 1.
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
The potential impacts resulting from
construction of the TLBR Connecting Canal
may include: the temporary loss of aquatic
habitat; increased sediment deposition
and suspension; and fish stranding during
construction and removal of cofferdams within
the canal. The construction of the TLBR
Connecting Canal will result in the permanent
loss of 5,500 m2 of fish habitat from the
footprint of the earthfill embankments and the
culvert structure.
There will be some positive effects associated
with the construction of the TLBR Connecting
Canal, including the creation of approximately
41,800 m2 of new aquatic habitat in the
medium- to long-term as a result of increasing
the width of the TLBR Connecting Canal and
an increase in fish habitat (~ 6,250 m2) from the
removal of both the inlet and outlet structures.
Another positive feature is that future reservoir
operation will create seasonal fish passage,
from approximately October 7 to April 15,
and will include unimpeded passage during
spawning periods.
Operation
The potential impacts resulting from reservoir
operation during construction of the Little
Bow Reservoir may include: potential impacts
to water quality if the grey water pumped
from the isolated work areas is released into
the reservoir; the complete loss of preferred
spawning habitat during construction
drawdown, reduction in populations of spring
spawners, such as northern pike, if water levels
are not raised to normal operating levels by
early spring to inundate the spawning habitat
typically used by these species; and decreased
dissolved oxygen concentrations and release
of methane, CO2, and other by-products as
vegetation decays during reservoir drawdown
in winter for three consecutive years of
construction. In addition, fish may be stranded
within any of seven ponded areas of concern
as the water levels recede during initiation of
construction. Stranded fish would potentially
perish during the winter, as these areas would
be shallow and would either freeze to the
bottom or be too shallow to sustain sufficient
dissolved oxygen through the winter.
The potential impacts resulting from future
operations of the reservoir and the TLBR
Connecting Canal are extensive and may
include: a seasonal increase in the total area
of fish habitat by 2.765 km2 in the Little Bow
Reservoir and TLBR Connecting Canal as a
result of an increase in FSL, complete loss
of all existing emergent cattail, bulrush, and
sedge around the perimeter of the Little Bow
Reservoir (~12,284 m2 total) due to inundation,
and an increase in reservoir productivity
as initial increase in the flooded terrestrial
vegetation decays and surficial substrates begin
to erode.
Seasonally fluctuating water levels in the
littoral zone are expected to be less productive
for plant and animal life than is the existing
stable water levels in Little Bow Reservoir.
These seasonal fluctuations in the Combined
TLBR will also result in seasonally variable
moisture availability and create uncertainty in
the establishment of new emergent vegetation
along the perimeter of Little Bow Reservoir at
the new FSL.
The reservoir may experience a reduction in
fish populations due to an expected loss of
emergent vegetation. This will result in a loss of
spawning and early rearing habitat for northern
pike, and rearing habitat for other juvenile fish,
including lake whitefish, and suckers. Die-off of
well-developed submergent aquatic vegetation
in the Little Bow Reservoir due to decreased
light penetration from the increased FSL is
expected. Limited establishment of submergent
vegetation within the seasonal drawdown zone
resulting from annual desiccation is expected.
A stable zone supporting submergent vegetation
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
27
will eventually become established between the
seasonal low water level and the limit of light
penetration at FSL.
A reduction in benthic community abundance
will occur in both the drawdown and littoral
zones due to fluctuations in surface elevation
during reservoir operation. The condition of
lake whitefish is expected to decrease as a
result of reduction in benthic invertebrates.
Elevated mercury levels are expected in
the biota from newly flooded soils that are
currently in the riparian area around Little
Bow Reservoir. Increased methylation
of mercury in the environment and the
bioaccumulation of mercury in fish will
occur as a result of elevating reservoir
levels. Increased mercury levels in predatory
fish such as northern pike and walleye are
expected while mercury concentrations in the
insectivorous lake whitefish are expected
to increase by a lower factor.
7.6.2 Mitigation measures
The proponent has indicated that a range of
impact avoidance and mitigation measures
will be employed to protect fish and fish
habitat in Little Bow Reservoir, Travers
Reservoir and the connecting canal, such that
most of the potential adverse effects of the
Project on the aquatic environment will be
minimized. The proponent will follow the
Alberta Transportation Fish Habitat Manual:
Guidelines and Procedures for Watercourse
Crossings in Alberta (AT, 2009) for instream
works, as well as any appropriate measures
contained in the Alberta Transportation
Erosion and Sediment Control Manual (AT,
2011) for terrestrial aspects of the project.
See Appendix 5 for details. Any impacts to
fish habitat that cannot be mitigated through
the proceeding measures will be mitigated
through fish habitat compensation measures,
as described in the Follow-up Program (see
Section 8 and Appendix 7).
28
Of note, the drawdown process will be monitored
to identify areas of potential concern with respect
to fish stranding during all three years that
construction drawdown occurs. A fish rescue
operation will be conducted in any areas where
fish may become stranded during drawdown of the
reservoir. Fish will be returned to the reservoir. All
areas that may potentially result in fish stranding
within the annual drawdown zone will be modified
to allow for either positive drainage or complete
isolation from the reservoir. This may require the
excavation of channels or construction of berms
and will be completed prior to the initial raising of
the Little Bow Reservoir to the new FSL.
Possible supplemental aeration, to maintain
dissolved oxygen concentrations in the drawn
down reservoir, will be used if low dissolved
oxygen levels are measured, to ensure the
survival of fish and other aquatic life during the
winter. Supplemental aeration would be done
by installing an aerator on the ice, which can
quickly increase the oxygen levels in the water.
AT will enter into an agreement with the commercial
fishery license holders to suspend the harvest of
lake whitefish during the three years of construction
drawdown. This will ensure that 13,600 kg of lake
whitefish (the annual commercial quota) is not
harvested from the Little Bow Reservoir each year.
In accordance with DFO’s policy on fish habitat
management, a fish habitat compensation plan
(FHCP) will be implemented to mitigate fish
habitat losses due to construction and operation
of the project. A conceptual FHCP has been
prepared by the proponent; a detailed FHCP will
be prepared for DFO as part of the application
for authorization of the Project.
The mitigation measures identified in Section 7.2
to prevent impacts from construction activities
near water bodies will be applied to prevent
sediment-laden water in construction areas from
entering the Little Bow Reservoir and the TLBR
Connecting Canal.
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
Implementation of mitigation measures for
mercury in fish as they relate to human health
that are presented in Section 7.12
Monitoring
A monitoring plan will be developed by the
proponent in consultation with federal agencies
to validate the assessment of residual impacts on
the aquatic environment. Areas for monitoring
will likely include:
••fish stranding monitoring during construction
and early future operation
••spring spawning water levels and habitat availability
••benthic invertebrate populations
••aquatic and riparian vegetation
••planktonic productivity
••turbidity
••compensation
••dissolved oxygen concentrations through the ice
during drawdown
••turbidity levels
••mercury concentrations in water and fish tissue
••chlorophyll to monitor shoreline erosion
including those upstream and downstream of the
Travers Reservoir outlet structure. The impact is
expected to be low in magnitude, local in extent,
short-term, and reversible.
Construction drawdown may result in a low
magnitude impact to lake whitefish due to reduced
spawning habitat suitability. This could result in
a short-term shift in lake whitefish population
structure towards older, mature fish with a higher
proportion of the total biomass comprised of
fewer fish. However, this moderate residual effect
is tempered by the effects of natural mortality
and harvest, and the fact that lake whitefish are
a long-lived species (reproductively mature fish
aged in range from 3 to 17 years). Suspending
the commercial lake whitefish harvest during the
construction drawdown period will also reduce
the negative draw on the whitefish population,
minimizing the negative effect from reduced
recruitment. The overall level of impact on the
whitefish population is expected to be local and
reversible in the short-term, low in magnitude and
the effect will not be significant.
Monitoring during the second year of reservoir
operation will be conducted to validate the
assessment of residual impacts to aquatic life. The
need for further monitoring will be determined
based on the results of this summary report.
If deemed necessary, the monitoring program
will be repeated in the fifth year following
construction. Monitoring will also serve to
validate the recommendations of the FHCP and to
determine whether the proposed compensation was
constructed as planned and is providing functional
habitat. If any part of the compensation works does
not function as planned, adaptive management will
be applied to ensure that the compensation measures
are remediated and begin to function properly.
The three years of poor lake whitefish recruitment
during construction drawdown could result in a
negative effect on piscivorous species that feed on
juvenile lake whitefish, including walleye, burbot,
and juvenile northern pike. A reduced number of
juvenile whitefish would limit the food source
available for other fish, forcing them to rely on other
sources of forage, such as spottail shiner, juveniles
of other species, and the young of their own species.
This could result in a reduction in the productivity of
these three species over the period of construction,
but the effect is expected to be buffered by the
availability of other food sources. The residual effect
is expected to be a minor decrease in productivity
which will be of short-term duration and is not
considered to be significant.
7.6.3 Residual environmental effects
Despite the application of mitigation measures,
it is likely that some sedimentation will occur
during installation and/or removal of cofferdams,
Despite proposed mitigation measures, it is
likely that some fish will remain stranded and
die, or be eaten by predators during reservoir
drawdown. Likewise, some of the fish salvaged
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
29
may not survive being captured and transported.
Relative to the total population of fish within
the Little Bow Reservoir, this represents a low
impact that is local and is reversible over the
short-term. The level of impact is negligible and
the effect is not significant.
The provision for fish passage from Little Bow
Reservoir into Travers Reservoir during future
reservoir operation will result in a positive effect
on fish populations. Upstream passage had
previously been impossible as a result of a drop
at the irrigation outlet structure at the outlet of
Travers Reservoir. This change is expected to have
a low to negligible enhancing effect on habitat
availability for all species in Little Bow Reservoir,
as suitable habitat is currently available.
a shift in the benthic invertebrate population of
the Little Bow Reservoir drawdown zone does
occur, the dominant species would be expected to
include chironomids and copepods.
A minor shift in invertebrate species assemblage
and biomass towards a more planktonic
dominated food source could result in a minor
decrease in the growth rate of lake whitefish in
Little Bow Reservoir. This effect is expected
to be of low potential magnitude and is not
expected to have a significant effect on the total
biomass of the lake whitefish population.
The potential minor increase in spottail shiner
food availability and decrease in lake whitefish
growth rate would be expected to have a
negligible effect on the populations of northern
pike and walleye. The potential changes are
not anticipated to be large enough to have an
appreciable effect on either species, as food
availability is not expected to be limiting.
It is anticipated that there will be a residual
impact on northern pike reproductive effort as
a result of a short-term decrease in spawning
habitat suitability during construction and in
the first few years of operation. The effect is
expected to be of low magnitude and reversible in Salvage of fish stranded during the first year of
the short-term.
operational drawdown may be required, and a
small portion of these fish are likely to perish.
The residual effect of submergent vegetation
This impact will be local, occur once, and will be
loss and change in community structure is
reversible in the short-term.
likely to have a measurable impact of ecological
significance, and a moderate magnitude impact
Increases in mercury are expected to peak
on rearing habitat. This impact will be local and
within 5 years to 10 year of Little Bow
likely be irreversible; however rearing habitat
Reservoir expansion, after which they will
will be available in the long-term elsewhere in
gradually decrease back to baseline levels
the reservoir
within 15 to 30 years. All predicted peak
mercury concentrations are within ranges
A moderate reduction in abundance and species
typically observed in southern Alberta
diversity of benthic invertebrates is expected
which typically exceed CCME water quality
to have an adverse impact on food chain input
guidelines. Increased mercury levels are
and productivity. This effect will be of low
predicted to have a short- to medium-term
magnitude, local, long-term, and irreversible.
impact on fish populations and will be
Based on the assessment of potential changes
monitored during the follow-up process.
in benthic invertebrate biomass and community
structure a minor reduction in total biomass of
7.6.4 Government, public and Aboriginal
benthic invertebrates within Little Bow Reservoir comments and proponent’s response
and a shift in the population of invertebrates
Fisheries and Oceans Canada asked the
within the drawdown zone is expected. Assuming proponent for more specific details on
30
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
submergent vegetation, riparian vegetation,
compensation and emergent vegetation. They
also requested that the proponent provide
an estimate of potential growth and survival
effects from expected or potential changes in
benthic invertebrate populations on all life
stages of VEC species.
Environment Canada asked the proponent
about water quality in relation to preconstruction water sampling of mercury,
contaminants guidelines, and worst-case
scenario for mercury concentrations through
construction and the medium-term operating
life of the facility.
Following the proponent’s responses, both
Environment Canada and Fisheries and Oceans
Canada concluded that a satisfactory amount
of information was gathered for assessing the
effects of the project on the aquatic environment.
7.6.5 The Agency’s conclusions regarding
residual environmental effects
Taking into account the implementation of the
proposed mitigation measures, the Agency
concludes that the Project is not likely to cause
significant adverse environmental effects on the
aquatic environment including northern pike,
lake whitefish, walleye, spottail shiner, benthic
invertebrates and vegetation communities in the
littoral and riparian areas.
7.7 Vegetation
The LSA includes the proposed construction
footprint and area of inundation at the
new operating FSL of 856.18 m. The RSA
(94.62 km2) was used to assess the effects of the
Project on the general vegetation community.
The LSA and RSA contain a variety of
habitats, such as shoreline, wetlands, aquatic,
grasslands, shrub and tree lands, and disturbed
agricultural land.
Rare plant species are defined for the purposes
of the EIS to include those species listed:
••by the Alberta Conservation Information
Management System (ACIMS) on the
tracking list for rare vascular and
non-vascular plant species
••within Alberta as At Risk or May Be at Risk
••within Alberta as Species at Risk by the
Alberta Endangered Species Conservation
Committee
••as Threatened or Endangered under the
Alberta Wildlife Act
••as Special Concern, Threatened, or
Endangered under the Species at
Risk Act (SARA)
Vegetation surveys completed in 2007 and 2010
identified four rare plant species (Common
beggarticks, Salt-marsh sand spurry, Prairie
wedge grass, American water-horehound) and
nine uncommon plant species (Low milk vetch,
Berlandier’s goosefoot, Louisiana broomgrape,
Plains cottonwood, Veined dock, Peach-leaved
willow, Common tickseed, Pale blue-eyed
grass, Bushy cinquefoil) within the LSA.
Several of these species are on the AESRD
provincial tracking or the ACIMS watch list.
The rare ecological vegetation communities
(western wheatgrass–low sedge and low sedge–
western wheatgrass), occur in seven locations
within the LSA.
7.7.1 Potential environmental effects
Vegetation within the LSA may be impacted
by construction activities include direct impact
and loss within the footprint of the structures
including the dam, dykes, canal, and new PRA,
temporary disturbance in laydown areas, access
roads, and work pads adjacent to the structures,
temporary disturbance during installation of
an overhead three phase power line, as well
as modification of some existing pipeline
infrastructure, and introduction and spread of
non-native vegetation species.
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
31
Reservoir operation effects will occur as a
result of raising the Little Bow Reservoir water
level to the new FSL and the new reservoir
operating regime. The potential effects of
the Project on vegetation VECs as a result of
future reservoir operation include the loss of
vegetation ecosystems. The terrestrial riparian
vegetation community may experience changes
in community structure. Some species that
currently exist such as sedge and rush may
be unsuccessful at reestablishment. Loss
of wetland ecosystems, emergent aquatic
vegetation (100% in LSA and RSA) and
changes in submergent aquatic vegetation
community structure and abundance are also
expected. It is estimated that a total of 2.9 km2
of wetland (0.028 km2), emergent aquatic
(0.031 km2), grassland (2.772 km2), and shrub
and tree (0.038 km2) vegetation communities
(including rare or uncommon plants and
ecological communities) will be lost as a result
of the Project.
Four rare and nine uncommon plant species
will be impacted by raising the Little Bow
Reservoir to the new FSL. All rare and
uncommon plants identified within the footprint
of the expanded reservoir will be lost however,
these species likely occur within the RSA and
none are listed as threatened or endangered.
In addition, it is anticipated that a small portion
of the western wheatgrass–low sedge and low
sedge–western wheatgrass plant communities,
which occur within the LSA, will be lost as
a result of flooding.
7.7.2 Mitigation measures
Wetland habitat will be lost as a result of the
Project and compensation must be provided
for all wetland complexes that will be affected,
which are identified as Class II or greater
according to the Stewart and Kantrud system
of classification (1971) and as per the Federal
Policy on Wetland Conservation. The total loss
of wetland habitat for which compensation is
required is equal to 0.028 km2.
32
Wetland compensation will involve one of the
following: reconstructing the compromised
wetland area at another location onsite;
restoring off-site wetlands which have
previously been degraded; enhancement of
existing wetlands; or paying compensation to
an accredited/recognized wetland conservation
and restoration organization. A compensation
plan outlining the proposed measures for
achieving compensation will be submitted to
ESRD, which will review the proposal to ensure
that the requirements of the Alberta Water Act
are met. Consequently, the Project is expected
to result in no net loss of wetland vegetation,
function, or habitat value.
Reclamation measures for grasslands will
include re-establishment of northern and
western wheatgrass within the LSA following
completion of construction activities.
However, EC recommends the amount of
western wheatgrass in the seed mix be kept
minimal—10 to 15 percent. Efforts should be
made to establish other species such as needle
and thread, green needle, june, or blue gramma
grasses. Should the proponent be unable to
complete sod salvage, salvaged topsoil from
the areas that will be inundated with water
should be spread over the area. In addition, the
LSA has been fenced, which will exclude local
cattle and contribute to an improvement of the
existing grassland areas.
The increased variability of soil moisture
conditions as a result of proposed reservoir
fluctuations will result in a larger area for
riparian and emergent aquatic vegetation to
establish in the upper portion of the reservoir
drawdown zone. The most suitable conditions
for establishment of emergent and riparian
vegetation within the future drawdown zone
include low gradient, protected bays.
Trees may be planted within the new PRA to
replace the mature trees that will be removed
however, if the mature trees that were removed
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
were not native to the area or ecozone, they
should not be replanted as this will disrupt
ecozone integrity. The only native trees in the
ecozone are cottonwoods that occur along the
river valley bottom in the flood zone, not on the
open prairie shorelines of lakes. The proponent
should discuss the planting of trees and shrubs
with appropriate federal authorities. Planting
of sandbar willow will be carried out as per
the conceptual FHCP.
Transplanting rare plant and rare ecological
communities from within the zone of
inundation will be attempted to offset the
potential effect on the regional populations of
these species. Suitable areas for transplanting
will be determined based on species growing
requirements. As the precise species
preferences are not typically well known and
parameters such as moisture content will have
to be predicted based on the future reservoir
operating regime, it is expected that the success
rate for transplanting may be low. However,
even moderate successful establishment will
help to reduce the short-term impact and could
result in a complete offset of the anticipated
loss over the long-term as individual plants
propagate and establish populations. Live
cuttings or potted saplings of identified
VECs, including peach leaf willow and plains
cottonwood will also be planted above the new
FSL of Little Bow Reservoir in and around the
new PRA.
In addition, a revegetation plan promoting a
native mixed grass community in disturbed
areas of the LSA would help to promote reestablishment of rare and uncommon plant
species by limiting competition with invasive
species. Likewise, re-establishment of a healthy
riparian zone would improve the likelihood
of hydrophilic rare or uncommon species
becoming re-established within the LSA.
All disturbed areas above the new FSL will
be revegetated as soon as practical after
disturbance using native grass seed mix to
inhibit invasive species introduction and
spread. Noxious and restricted weeds will
be controlled as per the requirements of the
Alberta Weed Control Act.
Monitoring
Post-construction monitoring will be conducted
to ensure that all mitigation, weed control,
and revegetation of disturbed areas have been
implemented. Regular weed control will be
completed until successful revegetation has
been achieved. The inspection will follow the
procedures and requirements of the Erosion and
Sediment Control Manual (AT, 2011).
Monitoring of transplanted rare plants will be
conducted to determine their success rate. A
survey will be conducted in July of the first
two years of operation to assess survival; the
results will be reported and the need for further
monitoring or mitigation assessed after two years.
7.7.3 Residual environmental effects
Residual effects on Little Bow Reservoir
vegetation include: an increase of
approximately 0.157 km2 of riparian
vegetation, changes in riparian vegetation
community structure, the loss of approximately
0.031 km2 of emergent aquatic vegetation,
changes in submergent aquatic vegetation
community structure and abundance,
the loss of approximately 2.772 km2 of
modified grasslands, and the loss of 13 rare
or uncommon plant populations within the
inundation zone.
The increase in riparian habitat available for
establishing water-loving species is expected to
result in a low magnitude increase in riparian
vegetation abundance. This effect will be local
in extent and it is expected that riparian species
will begin establishing in the short-term and the
transition to riparian species dominance will
occur over the medium-term. The overall level
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
33
of impact is expected to be low and the existing
riparian habitat was not a critical or limited
resource. A change in riparian vegetation
community structure is expected to occur as
a result of fluctuating water levels creating a
moisture regime that is different from the soil
conditions in the existing riparian area. This
effect is expected to be of low magnitude, local,
a single occurrence and will be irreversible
during future reservoir operation.
The loss of emergent aquatic vegetation is
expected to be moderate in magnitude within
the LSA as although some emergent vegetation
will likely re-establish, the existing species are
not likely to recover to the current productive
capacity for the duration of the Project.
However, the emergent vegetation within the
LSA was heavily dominated by cattail with low
species diversity and all species recorded are
common aquatic plants. Within the RSA, all
species are expected to occur in other permanent
water bodies such as wetlands, despite the
absence of comparable reservoir habitat.
As discussed in Section 7.6, a low magnitude
reduction in submergent vegetation abundance
is expected as well as a shift in species
composition as a result of fluctuating
water levels.
Loss of modified grassland vegetation is
expected to be high in magnitude within the
LSA, will occur once, and will be permanent
for the duration of the Project. With respect
to the RSA, the loss is of low magnitude as it
represents a small percentage of the regional
grassland vegetation area (4.7%). Likewise,
grassland habitat of equivalent quality and
species composition will continue to exist
within the vicinity of the new FSL.
Despite transplanting of rare plants, a onetime moderate magnitude of local impact that
is reversible in the short-term is expected. The
overall level of impact is expected to be low
34
as these species may re-establish populations
in the vicinity of the reservoir and additional
populations may exist outside of the footprint
of inundation or within the RSA. The species
have not been rated as endangered or threatened
under provincial or federal legislation.
7.7.4 Government, public and Aboriginal
comments and proponent’s response
Fisheries and Oceans Canada questioned the
proponent extensively on the effects of the
Project on riparian vegetation, as described
above in Section 7.6. Following the proponent’s
response with respect to re-establishment of
emergent, submergent, grassland and tree
and shrub vegetation, Fisheries and Oceans
Canada and Environment Canada concluded
that a satisfactory amount of information was
gathered for assessing the effects.
The Blood Tribe has concerns over the
relocation of traditional plants and believes
that they should be the ones to carry out
this relocation. The Siksika Nation noted
that it has become very difficult to find their
medicinal plants in the Little Bow Reservoir
area and more generally in the southern part
of the province of Alberta. The proponent
is encouraged to continue discussions on
reclamation with Aboriginal groups and
include groups in the planning and relocation
of traditional plants within the Little
Bow Reservoir.
7.7.5 The Agency’s conclusions regarding
residual environmental effects
Taking into account implementation of the
proposed mitigation measures and the Followup Program, the Agency concludes that the
Project is not likely to cause significant adverse
environmental effects on the vegetation
components of the Project including riparian
vegetation, wetlands, emergent and submergent
aquatic vegetation, grasslands, and shrubs and
trees and rare or uncommon plant species and
rare ecological communities.
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
7.8 Wildlife and Terrestrial Habitat
grasslands, shrubs, trees, islands and nesting
structures for cliff swallows (i.e., Little
Historically, colonial nesting waterbirds
Bow Reservoir and Travers Reservoir outlet
inhabiting the Little Bow Reservoir have
structures) during clearing, during site
included double-crested cormorants, American
preparation, and because of an increased FSL
white pelicans, ring-billed gulls, and California and a newly fluctuating operating regime.
gulls. Currently, a colony of double-crested
Ferruginous hawk nesting sites may be lost due
cormorants is located on an island in the
to the removal of mature trees. An indirect loss
northern portion of the Little Bow Reservoir.
of habitat close to intensive activity (traffic and
large machinery, etc.) and impedance of wildlife
There were eleven waterfowl species along
movement by physical barriers and disruptions
with common loons, red-necked grebes, and
is expected. A decrease in abundance and
American coots reported during waterfowl
reproductive success of songbirds in adjacent
surveys. Nine species of waterfowl were
habitats may occur. There may also be direct
observed in the 2011 Wildlife Surveys. Ducks
mortality of wildlife as a result of clearing and
and geese can begin breeding as early as March, grubbing during the nesting or natal period or
though the peak of the breeding season occurs
during the initial raising of the reservoir, which
in May.
is particularly a risk for nesting birds. Increased
vehicle traffic associated with construction, may
For this assessment, wildlife ‘species at risk’
also result in direct mortality by increasing the
are defined as being listed as endangered,
number of animals involved in vehicle-wildlife
threatened, or of special concern by COSEWIC, collisions.
SARA, or AESCC and have been documented
within the LSA. There were twelve species (all Reservoir Operation may potentially affect
birds) that may be found in the LSA that met
wildlife within the LSA through the loss of
this criterion. They include the Ferruginous
2.36 km2 of vegetation communities providing
habitat for various wildlife species and the
Hawk, Piping Plover, Long-billed Curlew,
potential submergence of early nests built below
Burrowing Owl, Short-eared Owl, Common
Nighthawk, Loggerhead Shrike, Sprague’s Pipit, the FSL.
Barn Swallow, McCown’s Longspur, Chestnut7.8.2 Mitigation measures
Collared Longspur, and Bobolink.
The following mitigation measures, primarily
to ensure compliance with the Migratory
Of these twelve species at risk, evidence of
Birds Convention Act, will be implemented
5 species were observed during surveying:
during construction. Clearing and grubbing of
ferruginous hawk (2008); long-billed curlews
(2009, 2011); common nighthawks (2008, 2009, wildlife habitat will be completed outside of
2011); Sprague’s pipits (2008, 2009, 2011); and the breeding season (April 15 to July 31) for
breeding birds protected under the Migratory
the chestnut-collared longspurs (2008, 2009,
Bird Convention Act and the Alberta Wildlife
2011). Suitable habitat was also found for each
Act. If Sprague’s Pipits are nesting in this area,
of these species, including high quality habitat
for burrowing owls, though none were observed. restricted activity dates of May 1 to August 31
will be followed. If, despite mitigation, a
Sprague pipit nest is found, it cannot be
7.8.1 Potential environmental effects
destroyed or moved and the proponent must
Construction may potentially affect wildlife
wait until the young have fledged. In such a
within the LSA through the direct loss of
case the proponent could contact Environment
habitat such as wetlands, emergent vegetation,
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
35
Canada Wildlife Enforcement to discuss the
matter. If limited clearing must take place
during the nesting season, EC recommends that
it be undertaken by qualified avian biologists
or avian naturalists that have expertise in
identifying indicated nests as well as in
identifying behaviour indicative of nesting (i.e.
aggressive or defensive behaviour, carrying of
nesting material, food or faecal sacs). Surveys
should be undertaken within seven days of
clearing, with the results submitted to EC for
review. The removal of structures, such as the
Little Bow Reservoir and Travers Reservoir
outlet structures where birds may be nesting will
be completed outside of the breeding season for
those species. The initial filling of the reservoir
will be delayed until July 15 to avoid flooding
of Sprague’s pipit nests, but not left until later
as predictive models suggest a later flooding
initiation date would not allow for full levels by
the end of the irrigation season
replanting trees and shrubs within the riparian
area of the new PRA, and controlling cattle
grazing within the LSA through maintenance
of fences, to improve the quality of grassland,
wetland, and riparian habitat.
7.8.3 Residual environmental effects
Mitigation measures will reduce or
eliminate most project effects on wildlife
during construction. However, some minor
effects due to disturbances associated with
construction activities will remain after the
application of the mitigation strategies. The
avoidance of suitable habitat by wildlife
due to disturbance is expected to be low in
magnitude, local, short-term, and sporadic.
The residual effects of disturbance are
expected to be negligible.
The few mature trees present within the PRA
will be removed during the construction
phase. While suitable nesting habitat for
The following mitigation measures are
ferruginous hawks will be lost, no nests
recommended by EC as a means to assist
will be destroyed during the construction
compliance with the Migratory Bird Convention phase. White the proponent has committed
Act and the Alberta Wildlife Act. The proponent
to planting new trees in the proposed PRA
will complete any grass mowing in the area to
based on EC’s understanding of the ecozone;
be inundated outside of both the Sprague’s pipits the only native trees should be cottonwoods
nesting period of May 1st to August 31st as well and should only occur along the river valley
as the breeding season for migratory birds of
bottom in the flood zone, not on the open
April 15th to July 31st. Therefore, the proponent prairie shorelines of lakes. EC notes that if
needs to mow the area before April 15th. If there the mature trees that were removed were
are any trees to be removed that have shown
not native to the area or ecozone then they
evidence of ferruginous hawk activity within
should not be replanted as this will disrupt the
the last two years, they should be replaced with
ecozone integrity. The continuous presence of
nesting platforms. Implementation of lowered
transmission towers in the area will provide
speed limits (less than 60 km/hour) within the
nesting opportunities for the hawks throughout
active construction area and along new roads
the operation phase of the Project; however,
will reduce the likelihood of wildlife/vehicle
nests on transmission towers pose a safety
collisions. In addition, installation of metallic
hazard (fire, mortality of birds) and are not
streamers may deter birds from nesting along
considered ideal habitat. The proponent may
the shoreline.
replace ferruginous hawk nests that have been
active within the last two years with suitable
During reservoir operations, mitigation includes habitat in the form of nesting platforms, thereby
reclaiming disturbed grassland habitat using
reducing the potential for birds to nest on
a grass seed mix containing native species,
transmission lines. Thus, the Project is expected
36
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
to have a negligible effect on ferruginous
hawks, with the effects being local, a single
occurrence and reversible in the short-term.
Once the Little Bow Reservoir water level
is raised to the new FSL, after the breeding
period, the islands currently used by colonial
nesting birds will be submerged. However, new
islands will become available in the vicinity of
the existing cormorant colony and will provide
isolation from land predators at all operating
levels. At the new FSL, the existing 23 islands
with an area of 0.059 km2 will be replaced by
an estimated 59 new islands with an area of
0.397 km2. No mortalities are expected due
to flooding. Although no colonies of pelicans
or gulls were observed, the establishment of
colonies may also occur as these species were
observed within the LSA. A net gain of nesting
habitat coupled with no increases in mortality
indicates that the Project will have a net
positive effect on colonial nesting waterbirds.
This effect may be regional, as additional
habitat may result in increased numbers of
birds residing at Little Bow Reservoir during
the breeding season. The loss of 23 islands
will occur once and will be permanent for the
duration of the lifespan of the Project.
The reduction of upland nesting habitat is
considered to be minor as equivalent grassland
habitat will continue to be available adjacent
to the new FSL. Despite the absence of
comparable emergent aquatic vegetation within
the RSA, wetland habitat is readily available
and will provide comparable habitat value
for waterfowl. The negative effect of habitat
loss is therefore considered to be local, of low
magnitude and minor when regional habitat
availability is considered.
Approximately 2.32 km2 of grassland habitat
will be inundated at the new FSL; however, not
all grassland habitats adjacent to the reservoir
at baseline is suitable for species at risk such
as burrowing owls, long-billed curlews,
Sprague’s pipits and longspurs. No habitat has
been defined as critical and suitable grassland
habitat exists elsewhere in the RSA. As such,
accounting for the entire area of inundation
as a loss of habitat is considered to be an
overestimation. The effect of habitat loss to
grassland species is considered negative, will
occur once, and will extend into the far future,
lasting the life-span of the Project. While a high
proportion of grassland habitat within the LSA
will be inundated with water, the geographic
extent and magnitude of the reduction in habitat
availability are considered to be low, as the
loss is equivalent to 5.0% of the grassland
habitat available within the RSA. The potential
mortality of breeding grassland birds will be
limited by raising the water level to the new
FSL outside of breeding season.
Monitoring
Revegetation of disturbed grassland, shrubs
and trees will be monitored. A survey will be
conducted in the second year, of operation
to assess the presence of and habitat use by
wildlife. This will include conducting breeding
bird surveys, observing of colonial nesting
waterbirds presence, and generally observing
wildlife. The need for further monitoring or
mitigation will be assessed after the second
year. If deemed necessary, the survey will be
repeated in the fifth year of operation.
7.8.4 Government, public and Aboriginal
comments and proponent’s response
Environment Canada sought clarification
from the proponent on how it intended to
avoid destruction to any migratory bird eggs
and/or active nests and adhere to each of the
species at risk setbacks and timing restrictions
for burrowing owl, ferruginous hawk and
Sprague’s pipit. The proponent provided further
explanation of the set-backs and strategies it
intended to use to avoid impacts to migratory
birds and species at risk. Environment Canada
also noted that with the new PRA will result
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
37
in the destruction of native prairie and may
affect species at risk. The proponent provided
its rationale on site selection, specifically
noting factors used to minimize impacts to
species at risk and native prairie. Following
the proponent’s responses, EC concluded that a
satisfactory amount of information was gathered
for assessing the effects.
7.8.5 The Agency’s conclusions regarding
residual environmental effects
Taking into account implementation of the
proposed mitigation measures and the Followup Program, the Agency concludes that the
Project is not likely to cause significant adverse
environmental effects on wildlife and wildlife
habitat, including colonial nesting waterbirds,
waterfowl, and federal species at risk.
7.9 Climate and Air Quality
The climate of the region is defined as the
Grassland ecoclimatic province. It has cold
winters and short hot summers with July usually
being the warmest month. The region has the
lowest mean annual precipitation (410 mm) of
the three ecoclimatic provinces, with a summerhigh typically occurring in the month of June.
The temperature regimes and precipitation
patterns make the Grassland Natural Region the
warmest and driest region in Alberta. Wind (or
airflow) patterns are usually northerly in winter
and westerly (or south-westerly) during other
seasons of the year. Air quality within the RSA
has been categorized as ‘good’, or as having an
air quality index (AQI) between 0-25.
7.9.1 Potential environmental effects
The change in surface area of the Little Bow
Reservoir is not sufficient to have a substantial
effect on the local climate. A minor moderating
effect on temperature within the micro-climate
immediately east of Little Bow Reservoir may
occur, resulting in slightly lower surface air
temperatures in the summer and slightly
38
warmer temperatures in the winter. There are
no aspects of the Project that could affect wind
or precipitation patterns; therefore, no changes
are anticipated.
Man-made sources of Greenhouse Gas
(GHG) emissions for the Project will include:
construction activities using mobile heavy-duty
diesel- and gasoline-powered equipment; motor
vehicle emissions generated by vehicles arriving
and leaving the Project site; and onsite fuel
combustion for other Project-related activities,
such as space and water heating and fireplaces
and/or stoves. In addition, the production of
methane will occur as a result of inundating and
resulting decay of the upland vegetation due to the
planned increase in water levels of the reservoir.
Approximately 494 tonnes CO2 equivalents and
1,462 tonnes CO2 equivalents respectively will
be emitted for the clearing of vegetation and the
subsequent flooding of the upland area of Little
Bow Reservoir, during construction and operation.
The Project will not be a major emitter of ozone,
nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulphur
dioxide, or total reduced sulphur compounds.
Potential impacts of the Project as a result of
construction activities, soil transfer or excavation
and from vehicle/equipment traffic on access roads,
strong wind conditions, and reservoir drawdown
may include an increase in emitted particulate
matter (PM), in the form of dust and an increase in
vehicle-related emissions of combustion gases, as
well as emissions from construction equipment.
7.9.2 Mitigation measures
No mitigation action is required with respect to
the Project’s potential effect on the temperature
of the surrounding micro-climate.
CO2 emissions are minor (0.000008%) in
comparison with the total provincial GHG
emission of 244 million tonnes of CO2
equivalents. In addition, the upland vegetation
that will be inundated at the new FSL will be in
dormancy during flooding. Therefore, clearing
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
of the vegetation prior to flooding is not
considered necessary.
Where required, site-specific measures such as
water spraying to damp down disturbed areas with
high dust concentrations or erecting silt fencing or
other structures will be erected to block wind in
areas of active excavation will be employed.
Monitoring
Dust levels will be visually monitored on site
during construction to assess the need for
additional measures to prevent topsoil loss and to
protect workers.
7.9.3 Residual environmental effects
Although the Project may result in a minor
moderation of the surface air temperature of
the micro-climate associated with the Little
Bow Reservoir due to the increase in surface
area of the reservoir, the effect is expected to be
negligible as it affects only the microclimate and
not the regional climate.
With the mitigation measures in place, strong
wind conditions at the site are not expected to
carry construction dust to areas of concern like
human residences. A low magnitude, irreversible
increase in dust created as a result of wind erosion
in the exposed drawdown zone is expected, and
will continue for as long as the proposed operating
regime is in place.
7.9.4 Government, public and Aboriginal
comments and proponent’s response
Neither the public or Aboriginal groups
expressed any concerns regarding AT’s
mitigation or approach to the climate and air
quality components of the Project.
7.9.5 The Agency’s conclusions regarding residual
environmental effects
Taking into account implementation of the
proposed mitigation measures, the Agency
concludes that the Project is not expected
to result in a significant contribution to
climate change or cause significant adverse
environmental effects on air quality.
7.10 Noise
The LSA for noise associated with the Project is
confined to the footprint of active construction
and the area of proposed inundation. The RSA
is the area in which regional impacts to sound
quality may potentially occur, which includes
a 3 km buffer extending beyond the boundaries
of the LSA. The average baseline day-night
sound levels for the Little Bow Reservoir were
found to be 47.6 dBA which is, according to
Health Canada guidelines, comparable to noise
levels found in quiet rural areas with an average
population density of 28 people per km2.
7.10.1 Potential environmental effects
Chronic noise, such as that associated with traffic
and large machinery, can affect the abundance and
reproductive success of songbirds in adjacent
habitats. The noise impact will be greatest in
locations that are closest to the source (the
construction site) and will then gradually taper
off with increasing distance from the source.
The Project will result in minimally increased
noise levels during construction by about 1 dBA
above current levels. No increase in noise levels
is expected during future operation.
7.10.2 Mitigation measures and residual
environmental effects
A change of less than 3 dBA is barely
perceptible to the human ear (Health Canada,
2011). For short-term construction, where an
increase of 1 dB is predicted, a comparison of
construction noise levels on human receptors
at receptors 1,800 m, 3,275 m and 5,250 m from
the source indicates that mitigation measures
at the source are not required. Calculations to
quantify long-term construction noise exposure
were not considered necessary because of the
attenuation of the construction noise levels
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
39
to 10 dBA below baseline levels at 3,275 m
and 5,250 m from the source.
Based on the impact assessment, the Project is
not expected to affect ambient noise levels at
the identified receptors, for both humans and
songbirds, and no further mitigation
was deemed necessary by the proponent.
7.10.3 Government, public and Aboriginal
comments and proponent’s response
Neither the public nor Aboriginal groups
expressed any concerns regarding AT’s
mitigation or approach to the noise components
of the Project.
7.10.4 The Agency’s conclusions regarding
residual environmental effects
In considering that there are no residual noise
impacts, the Agency concludes that the Projectrelated noise is not likely to cause significant
adverse environmental effects.
7.11 Navigable Waters
Navigability was selected as a VEC as changes
within a water body may impact the public right
to navigation legislated under the Navigable
Waters Protection Act. Impacts to navigation
were examined within the LSA which included
the entire wetted area of the Little Bow
Reservoir at current and future operating levels.
Boaters currently access the reservoir at the
public boat launch located in the PRA on the
east side of the reservoir. At times when the PRA
was closed and the boat launch was inaccessible,
sport fisherman launched their boats along the
northwest shore of the reservoir at other beach
areas accessible by four-wheel drive vehicles.
There is no anticipated commercial navigation
on the reservoir. The commercial fishery that
operates at Little Bow Reservoir is a winter
fishery. The only instance in which navigation
40
for commercial fishing could occur would be
in a year where there was no ice on the reservoir
and an open-water fishery was sanctioned
by AESRD.
There are several existing impediments to
navigability in Little Bow Reservoir that reduce
the overall potential for watercraft use. There
are significant areas of shallow water near shore,
including large bays too shallow to navigate
with an outboard engine, particularly along the
west and north margins of the reservoir. There
are also numerous submerged islands, bars, and
points in the reservoir. These features present
a potential hazard to navigation and as a result,
signage has been posted at the public boat
launch warning users to exercise caution. The
presence of dense submergent aquatic vegetation
also impedes travel. Passage between Little Bow
Reservoir and Travers Reservoir is not possible
because of the presence of the control structure
at the outlet of Travers Reservoir.
7.11.1 Potential environmental effects
Construction
During reservoir operation during construction
access to the public boat launch will be restricted
and launching at most locations along the shore
will be difficult after the reservoir is drawndown as the previously wetted shoreline would
primarily consist of mud, clays, etc.
Operation
Once the Little Bow Reservoir is operational, the
cofferdam may have an impact on navigation in
the open water season.
During operation, passage between the reservoirs
via the TLBR Connecting Canal will continue
to be unfeasible as a submerged culvert will
be installed at the outlet of Travers Reservoir.
Navigation within the vicinity of the culvert
structure could present a hazard to public safety.
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
During future reservoir operation and
maintenance fluctuation in reservoir levels
will mean inconsistent presence of hazards as
they will sometimes be exposed and sometimes
be submerged. Unplanned drawdowns for
maintenance activities that occur during the
summer could impact navigation.
7.11.2 Mitigation measures
The recommended means for mitigating impacts
to navigation is to post signage at the public
boat launch in the new PRA that identifies the
location of potential hazards. The sign will be
easy to interpret and clearly communicate that
hazards may be present at various water levels,
necessitating user caution at all times, which is
similar to the existing navigational conditions.
The sign should have a large air photo overlaid
with markings to show the location of the
hazards relative to the boat launch, with a
legend explaining all markings. In addition, the
UTM or latitude and longitude coordinates for
specific hazards can be provided below the map
so that recreational users who are interested can
program the information into their navigational
equipment. Additional signage will be posted for
construction activities and potential short-term
impediments or hazards.
To minimize navigational hazards all areas are
to be armoured with riprap such as the dam
slope and cofferdams, and areas prone to erosion
will be at a constant grade consistent with the
specified design or natural shoreline contour.
The armouring will not project into the reservoir
and, therefore, will not represent a hazard to
navigation. Buildings and other structures within
the portion of the existing PRA to be flooded
will be removed and all mature trees and shrubs
within the same area will be cleared and the roots
removed, prior to inundation. The new Little Bow
Reservoir PRA structure will be constructed in
the dry, prior to raising the reservoir level to the
new FSL and will be clearly visible at reservoir
operation levels. Access to the entire TLBR
Connecting Canal will be eliminated by installing
safety booms across the inlet to Little Bow
Reservoir and the outlet at Travers Reservoir.
7.11.3 Residual environmental effects
The only identified navigational impact that
cannot be mitigated is the presence of irregular
contours in the profile of the reservoir bottom,
which may create hazards as the reservoir level
fluctuates. These contours cannot be graded
and marking of individual hazards would
be impractical. The anticipated incidence
of hazards will be similar to the existing
navigational conditions in the reservoir,
necessitating boater caution. This impact is
expected to be low in magnitude, local in
extent, and regular in frequency.
7.11.4 Government, public and Aboriginal
comments and proponent’s response
The public and, Aboriginal groups did not
express any concerns regarding AT’s mitigation
or approach to navigation.
7.11.5 The Agency’s conclusions regarding
residual environmental effects
Taking into account the implementation of the
proposed mitigation measures and the Followup Program, the Agency concludes that the
Project is not likely to cause significant adverse
environmental effects on the navigability of the
Little Bow Reservoir.
7.12 Current Use of Lands for
Traditional and Recreation Purposes
This section contains an assessment of the
effect of any change the Project may cause
in the environment including impacts to
health and socio-economic conditions,
physical and cultural heritage, current use
of lands and resources for recreational or
commercial purposes or traditional use by
Aboriginal groups. The effect of any change
the Project may cause in the environment on
any structure, site or thing that is of historical,
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
41
archaeological, paleontological or architectural
significance is assessed in Section 7.13.
The LSA encompasses the Project footprint
and area immediately surrounding the Project,
including the Little Bow Reservoir at the new
operating FSL boundary, the outlet canal, and the
construction footprint. No residences are located
within the LSA.
The RSA likely includes historic traditional use
areas of surrounding Aboriginal groups, though
specific uses have not been identified as part of
the Project studies. The RSA is encompassed
within the historic Blackfoot traditional territory
and within an area of importance for traditional
uses, use areas, and traditional knowledge
for Blackfoot First Nation Peoples. It is also
within the traditional territory of the Nakoda
(Stoney) First Nation and the Tsuu T’ina First
Nation, and likely within the traditional use
area for Métis Nation—Region 3 members.
More specifically this means that the RSA
may include areas where hunting, fishing and
trapping as well as the gathering of berries and
medicinal plants may be carried out.
Fishing for recreational purposes occurs on
the Little Bow Reservoir within the LSA. It
is likely that a portion of the fish caught is
consumed. While unconfirmed, examination
of the limited information on traditional use
activities within the RSA suggested the possible
subsistence use of fisheries resources in the
reservoir by either First Nations or Métis
groups is also occurring.
Aboriginal peoples may hunt, trap, and/or fish
within the RSA for domestic purposes on all
unoccupied Crown land. Geographically, the
Project is not within, or close to, any Province
of Alberta Registered Fur Management
Areas, nor is trapping permitted in the Little
Bow Reservoir PRSA or any of the PRA or
provincial parks in the RSA (GOA, 2011g).
With the exception of bison hunting, treaty
42
First Nations may hunt for food throughout
Alberta year round for food related purposes
where they have a right of access for hunting
(GOA, 2009). Hunting white-tailed deer and
mule deer is allowed on surrounding private
and/or agricultural public lands provided the
hunter receives permission from the landowner
or leaseholder. Hunting or the discharging of
firearms is not permitted in the LSA or RSA
PRAs or the provincial park in the RSA (GOA,
2011h). There is no specific information on
whether the Blackfoot First Nations, Métis or
other Aboriginal groups currently use the RSA
or LSA as a hunting area.
Gathering of plants for traditional purposes
by Aboriginal people may occur within the
LSA and/or RSA, as plant resources gathered
for domestic uses by Blackfoot First Nations
people for traditional use, such as yarrow
and scarlett mallow, have been identified in
these areas; however, no gathering activities
were identified during the Project studies. No
Aboriginal traditional use of LSA and RSA
lands for commercial purposes were identified
during the Project studies.
The Little Bow Reservoir has been fished
commercially in winter for whitefish, northern
pike, and walleye since 1948 (Beak, 1983).
The value of the commercial fishery in
Little Bow Reservoir, Travers Reservoir and
McGregor Reservoir is vulnerable to changes
in spawning and rearing habitat availability
that are associated with water level fluctuations
(Beak, 1983). In the 1970s, commercial
catches decreased as a result of drawdown in
all three reservoirs (Beak, 1983). The Little
Bow Reservoir fishery was closed in 1982 for
several years to allow for population recovery
after over-harvesting throughout the late 1970s
(Beak, 1983).
7.12.1 Potential environmental effects
The proponent has indicated that preliminary
Project-related discussions with representatives
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
of local First Nations and Métis groups suggested
that traditional use activities were conducted
in the LSA and surrounding area in the past.
However, as the three First Nations and Métis
contacted by the proponent did not participate
fully in the Project studies due to lack of capacity
funding, the information presented by the
proponent was taken primarily from secondary
sources (e.g., publicly available reports,
Aboriginal websites, AANDC, Statistics Canada,
and government databases). The proponent
acknowledges that, as a result, the information
presented may not be wholly representative of
First Nations and Métis interests.
The Agency in turn made an effort to acquire
traditional land use information by directly
engaging with the Blackfoot First Nations and
Métis Nation—Region 3, however little projectspecific information has been provided to date.
As a cautious approach given the minimal
traditional land use information, the mitigation
measures presented below broadly address the
potential impacts of the Project on possible
traditional uses within the LSA and RSA.
Construction
The effect of construction on recreation
facilities and activities will be a temporary loss
of recreation-related infrastructure in the LSA
due to the two–year closure of the Little Bow
Reservoir PRA during construction. A reduction
in recreational activities and opportunities, such
as bird watching, boating, and sport fishing in the
LSA and, possibly, the RSA due to construction
activities, including lowering of the Little Bow
Reservoir will also occur.
No acquisition of properties and/or residences
in the RSA is required for the Project and
construction activities are not expected to generate
impacts to domestic land use. Temporary road
closures during the construction period could
result in inconvenience for local residents, but the
effect is expected to be minor and short-term.
Construction activities are not expected to
affect potential resource uses for traditional
purposes such as gathering, hunting, and
trapping in the LSA or RSA. The potential
impacts to the ten historical resource sites
which were identified within the LSA are
assessed under Heritage and Archaeological
Resources (Section 7.13).
During construction, fishing on Little Bow
Reservoir may be affected by the proposed
drawdown during construction as well as by
limited access to fishing sites. Drawdown
to El. 849 m and potential activation of an
aeration system will likely force fish to occupy
different areas of the reservoir and the typical
netting locations may not produce as well as
usual. Alternatively, drawdown could result in
concentration of fish in specific areas, resulting
in an above average catch rate in those areas.
The proposed structures and construction
activities are not expected to affect human health.
Operation
A new PRA was included as a Project
component and a larger recreation area with
infrastructure and facilities similar to those
at the current PRA (e.g., boat ramp, fire pits,
toilets, water pump, and picnic tables) will be
developed on higher ground near the southeast
perimeter of the Little Bow Reservoir. As such,
the Project will result in an improvement in
recreation facilities during operation. Existing
beach areas and boat launches will be affected
by the new FSL but these activities will be
available at new locations on the Little Bow
Reservoir during operations.
Traditional land use in the LSA may be
impacted during operation, as resource use
areas below the new FSL of El. 856.18 m will
be inaccessible due to inundation. Though this
could potentially result in changes to traditional
use areas and plant gathering areas of both the
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
43
First Nations and Métis groups, no specific
gathering areas in the inundation zone have
been identified.
Oil and gas facilities and activities in the LSA
and RSA are not expected to be impacted
during operation, as most existing oil and
gas facilities are situated above the new
FSL. Where oil and gas facilities are located
below the elevation of the PMF, and therefore
susceptible to short-term impacts during major
flood events, advance notice has been given
to respective companies so the appropriate
mitigation measures could be arranged.
Changes to the retail fish guideline exceedances
and consumption limit advisories are expected
to be transient in nature and will reflect the
timeline of mercury increases in the fish, i.e.,
peak increases within 5 to 10 years, followed
by gradual reversal to baseline levels within 15
to 30 years. Increased mercury concentration in
fish may result in a higher proportion of some
fish populations exceeding Health Canada’s
guidelines for consumption and consumption
advisories for some sport and/or subsistence
fish species may be required.
The navigable waters assessment contained in
Section 7.11 identified irregular contours of
the Little Bow Reservoir bottom at fluctuating
water levels as a residual effect of reservoir
operation. Due to the irregular nature of
contours in the reservoir substrate profile,
caution must be exercised by boat users on the
Little Bow Reservoir to avoid impacts to human
health. Failure to exercise caution may result
in such human health effects as accidental
drowning and/or death.
7.12.2 Mitigation measures
No mitigation strategies are proposed for the
temporary loss of the Little Bow Reservoir PRA
and infrastructure during project construction.
A new PRA will be available during operation
and will result in an improvement in recreation
44
facilities in the LSA. Mitigation for decreased
access due to construction road closures in
the LSA is not planned. Birding opportunities
will continue to be available in the RSA. No
mitigation is proposed for the loss of access
to the boat launch in the Little Bow Reservoir
PRA during construction. Boaters choosing
to access the Little Bow Reservoir during
construction via unofficial boat launch locations
will not be prohibited from doing so, but
this activity will be undertaken at the users’
risk. During operations, a boat launch will be
available at the new Little Bow Reservoir PRA.
No mitigation is recommended for reduced
access for sport fishing.
The loss of plants potentially gathered by
Aboriginal people is local in extent, will occur
once, and is permanent. Given the limited
geographic extent of this loss and the presence of
these plants elsewhere in the RSA, no mitigation
is planned to specifically address this loss.
Given the extent to which hunting and trapping
is already limited in the RSA and LSA as
a result of the presence of privately owned
land, extensive agricultural development,
and occupied Crown land (PRA, PRSA, and
provincial parks), the Project is unlikely to have
an impact on any hunting and trapping activities
potentially undertaken by Aboriginal people.
No mitigation is recommended for potential
effects on potential subsistence or commercial
fish catches during construction drawdown as
the impacts of drawdown on fish catches are
expected to be short-term in duration and local
in extent.
The TransCanada Pipelines Limited (TCPL)
pipeline near the proposed Little Bow Reservoir
outlet structure will be relocated by the pipeline
owner to coincide with the realignment of the
outlet channel. A protective concrete slab will
be installed where a new roadway is proposed
across a TCPL pipeline at the west end of
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
the Little Bow Reservoir Dam. Additional
protective measures such as concrete slabs
were not required for ConocoPhillips pipeline
crossings. Potential impacts to oil and gas in
the LSA and/or RSA during construction and
operation have been mitigated through advance
notice to respective stakeholders. Pipeline
companies have been advised of this risk so that
protective measures such as protective berms
can be incorporated, if deemed necessary.
The potential human health effect of boating
hazards, due to irregular contours, will be
mitigated through strategies detailed under
Section 7.11.
The Government of Alberta monitors all
recreational fishing areas for mercury levels.
If retail fish species and sport fish species that
are caught recreationally are found to have
elevated mercury levels, the Government of
Alberta will modify the consumption limits
for Little Bow Reservoir and surrounding
water bodies and tributaries. Fish consumption
advisories can be found at: http://www.
mywildalberta.com/Fishing/SafetyProcedures/
FishConsumptionAdvisory.aspx. Consumption
advisories may be required until mercury
levels gradually reverse to baseline in the
next 15 to 30 years. To avoid exceeding
mercury consumption advisory levels, people
concerned about exposure to mercury may
choose to primarily consume lake whitefish
(an insectivorous species).
Monitoring
Project-specific monitoring of mercury in fish
will be conducted by Alberta Environment
and Sustainable Resource Development
(AESRD) and will start in year 2 after
expanded operation and continue until
mercury levels peak and begin to decline.
After the initial operation phase sampling,
subsequent sampling will be conducted at
least once every three years, in year five and
year eight of operation. If values are close to,
or exceed the Health Canada guideline, the
sampling, frequency may be increased. After
mercury levels stabilize or begin to decline,
the monitoring frequency will be reduced.
After mercury levels decline, monitoring
would revert to general provincial monitoring
as directed by Alberta Health. A consistent
sampling method and analytical protocol will
be employed at all times to ensure that the data
is comparable.
7.12.3 Residual environmental effects
Residual effects include improvements in
PRA facilities, change in fish catch rates
during construction drawdown, changes in fish
consumption rates, including which species
are being consumed, increases in mercury
levels in fish over the next 5 to 10 years, and
irregular contours affecting boater safety. All
residual effects are local in extent, of limited
magnitude, and are reversible in the long-term.
7.12.4 Government, public and Aboriginal
comments and proponent’s response
Health Canada requested further information
from the proponent on Country Foods, with
a focus on types, quantities, and frequency
of consumption of fish consumed by First
Nations and Métis groups and their exposure
risk to mercury. The proponent has indicated
that although there is no evidence to suggest
that subsistence use of the fisheries resources
in the reservoir is occurring, measures such as
consumption advisories will help mitigate the
potential impact if there is in fact subsistence
fishing by Aboriginal people occurring.
Health Canada concluded that the proponent’s
response was satisfactory.
Environment Canada asked the proponent
about the calculation of baseline mercury
levels in the water and fish. The proponent
clarified its methods and sampling results.
Environment Canada concluded that the
proponent’s response was satisfactory.
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
45
7.12.5 The Agency’s conclusions regarding
residual environmental effects
Although limited information was provided
by the proponent or the Aboriginal groups,
on First Nations and Métis current and
traditional land use, given the implementation
of the proposed mitigation measures that
encompass potential current and traditional
land use within the vicinity of the Project, as
well as the Follow-Up Program, the Agency
concludes that the Project is not likely to
cause significant adverse environmental
effects with respect to health and socioeconomic conditions, physical and cultural
heritage, current use of lands and resources
for recreational or commercial purposes or
traditional use by Aboriginal groups.
cultural significance. The proponent identified
three sites as containing surface stone features
(i.e., tipi rings and/or stone cairns), that are
dated to the Pre-contact period. In addition,
one was a Historic period site, and through
further research was proven to be the former
residence of a dam operator, who likely lived
at the site during the 1950s.
7.13 Heritage and Archaeological
Resources
Final removal, where possible, of the
remaining historical features at the six sites
within the footprint of disturbance will occur
prior to inundation.
The LSA for the historical resources
assessment includes all terrain that will be
inundated by the Little Bow Reservoir at
the proposed FSL of El. 856.18 m, as well
as all lands that may be impacted during
construction of the infrastructure. The
assessment looks at physical and cultural
heritage, as well as any structure, site or
thing that is of historical, archaeological,
paleontological or architectural significance.
7.13.1 Potential environmental effects
Seven historical resource sites identified
within the LSA will be impacted by
the Project. Two sites as a result of the
construction of the Little Bow Reservoir
Dam and the new PRA, one as a result of
construction of an enhancement dyke and four
sites will be impacted by raising the FSL of
the Little Bow Reservoir.
Additional studies were conducted at the
four sites that will be inundated by raising
the Little Bow Reservoir to determine their
46
7.13.2 Mitigation measures
The successful documentation of all modern
and pre-contact surface features and precontact artefact assemblages was completed
and clearance documentation issued by Alberta
Culture and Community Services (ACCS)
under the Alberta Historical Resources Act
(HRA) has been received or is anticipated for
all of these identified historical resource sites.
Under Alberta law, the proponent and its
contractors are required to report the discovery
of any additional historical resources
(archaeological, paleontological, or Aboriginal
traditional use sites) that may be encountered
during construction activities. This caveat
is considered by the Government of Alberta
(GOA) to provide an appropriate level of selfmonitoring in the rare cases that significant
historical resources were to have previously
eluded identification during the Historical
Resources Impact Assessment process.
Monitoring
Specific requirements for monitoring either
during or post-construction are not listed as
a condition of the HRA Clearance (refer to
ACCS Project File 4825-09-002). Therefore,
monitoring of the construction activities, or of
residual effects of the construction, will not be
undertaken as regards historical resources.
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
7.13.3 Residual environmental effects
Although there will be a final removal
and/or inundation of remaining historical
features at the six sites within the footprint of
disturbance, such an eventuality is a routine
consequence of construction in all cases where
HRA Clearance is granted. Thus, the residual
effect of construction on these historical sites
is considered to be neutral.
7.14.1 Potential effects
Under the Act, and as part of the evaluation of
effects, an EA must consider the potential effects
the environment may have on the Project. The
Agency considers the following environmental
conditions as the most likely to impact the Project:
flooding, drought, and climatic variability.
In 2002, NRCan determined that the most likely
impacts to water resources as a result of climate
An increased understanding of past human
change on the Prairies were changes in annual
occupation of the Little Bow region of Alberta; stream flow with large summer declines, increased
represents a positive effect of the project.
likelihood of drought and aridity, and changes in
It is unlikely that a comprehensive study of
irrigation demand and water availability.
historical resources on the spatial scale that
was ultimately achieved would otherwise have As the Project lies in a seismically monitored,
been undertaken in this region.
but inactive area of Alberta, the proponent
did not provide an effect assessment related
7.13.4 Government, public and Aboriginal
to earthquakes.
comments and proponent’s response
The public and Aboriginal groups did
7.14.2 Mitigation measures
not express any concerns regarding AT’s
In the case of flooding, excess flows entering
mitigation or approach to heritage and
McGregor Reservoir can be either stored or
archaeological resources with respect to
routed to the north of McGregor Reservoir
the Project.
via its auxiliary spillway rather than
south into Travers Reservoir to minimize
7.13.5 The Agency’s conclusions regarding
downstream impacts. Following completion
residual environmental effects
of the proposed upgrades to the reservoir and
Taking into account implementation of the
associated structures, Little Bow Reservoir
proposed mitigation measures, the Agency
and Travers Reservoir will operate in tandem
concludes that the Project is not likely to
at a common FSL of El. 856.18 m. During
cause significant adverse environmental
the operational phase, negative impacts from
effects on any physical or cultural heritage
flooding are unlikely as the reservoir and
or on any structure, site or thing that is of
associated infrastructure have been designed
historical, archaeological, paleontological
to accommodate the PMF by routing flood
or architectural significance.
waters from Little Bow Reservoir through
the auxiliary spillway back into the Little
Bow River. The risk of extreme floods,
7.14 Effects of the Environment
greater than the 1:1000 year flood, within the
on the Project
CBRH System during the construction phase
is very low; however should one occur it
This section addresses potential effects
could result in drastic impacts to the Project
the environment may have on the Project.
and downstream areas. Emergency manual
The proponent examined these effects and
activation of the auxiliary spillway would be
proposed mitigation measures for the Project
required in this event to prevent overtopping
construction and operation phases.
of the Little Bow Reservoir Dam.
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
47
A primary objective of the Travers and Little
Bow Reservoir components rehabilitation is to
provide protection for extreme floods. Until the
Little Bow Reservoir Dam has been raised to
its new level, the potential consequences of an
extreme flood include dam failure and extreme
environmental, financial and social losses and
impacts. Although the probability of such an
event is considered to be very low, the potential
adverse consequences are considered to be
extreme. This is an inherent risk that will exist
until such time as the planned work is completed.
7.14.3 Residual environmental effects
A severe flood could cause significant impacts to
the construction works as well as the irrigation
infrastructure and downstream communities.
However, this risk is a constant threat under the
present operating conditions and the proposed
Project will provide sufficient flood control
capacity to mitigate this risk in the future. As
potential impacts are confined to the short-term
period of construction, there are no anticipated
residual effects as a result of the Project.
7.14.4 Government, public and Aboriginal
comments and proponent’s response
There were no comments with respect to AT’s
mitigation or approach to the environmental
effects of the environment on the
Project components.
7.14.5 The Agency’s conclusions regarding
residual environmental effects
Taking into account implementation of the
mitigation measures proposed by the proponent, the
Agency concludes that environmental conditions
are not likely to adversely affect the Project.
7.15 Effects of Possible Accidents
or Malfunctions
The environmental effects caused by accidents
or malfunctions are among the factors to be
examined pursuant to the Act. Accidents and
48
malfunctions can occur at any time during
Project construction and operations, with the
actual environmental effects being dependent
on the specific nature of the accident,
malfunction, or unplanned event (e.g., amount
of deleterious material released, scope of
cofferdam failure).
7.15.1 Potential effects
Construction
The proponent identified the spill or release
of deleterious substances as the main risk of
accident or malfunctions. The use of heavy
machinery, motorized equipment, and lightduty vehicles during construction and to a lesser
degree during operations presents an inherent
risk of spills or releases of gasoline, diesel fuel,
hydraulic fluids, lubricants, coolant, and other
deleterious substances. These substances can be
released as a result of equipment being in poor
repair, mechanical failure, damage sustained
during operation, poor fuelling practices, or
inadequate means of containment during storage.
Additional accidents and malfunctions include
failure of cofferdams installed to allow isolation
of work areas within the reservoir, which could
lead to hazards to the safety of workers and
impacts to downstream areas if a large scale
failure occurred at the outlet structures.
Future Operation
During future operation, a ‘sunny day’ dam
failure may occur, whereby a dam breach occurs
under normal or typical operating conditions
not associated with a storm or flooding. This is
an existing risk at the site as there are a number
of dams on the Little Bow system. There is a
very low potential for the Little Bow Reservoir
Dam or associated structures, or any other
dam or structure in the CBRH to fail under
normal operating conditions. There is negligible
potential for flooding to cause catastrophic
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
failure of the Little Bow Reservoir Dam after
it is rehabilitated. Activation of the auxiliary
spillway during a major flood could result in
significant erosion within the south channel
and in the Little Bow River valley. However,
activation of the auxiliary spillway would only
occur in the event of a 1:1000 year flood or
greater; therefore, the risk of this occurring is
considered to be very low.
7.15.2 Mitigation measures
The potential for a spill or release to occur
during construction can largely be mitigated
through best management practices, such as
frequent inspection of machinery for leaks, easy
access to spill response kits and the appropriate
usage, storage and disposal of waste and
hazardous materials. Therefore, the potential
for a spill or release to occur is low. If a spill
were to occur, the potential for a deleterious
substance to enter the Little Bow Reservoir
is also considered to be low. The majority
of the proposed works will occur above the
existing Little Bow Reservoir operating level,
and any work required within the Little Bow
Reservoir will be isolated by a cofferdam and
the construction area will be dewatered. A
Spill Prevention and Response Plan (including
provision for refuelling and servicing of
vehicles) will address the means to prevent
and/or deal with accidental discharges and
any emergency situations that may arise. See
Appendix 5 for details.
The risk of contact with an underground
utility during construction is typically
controlled by conducting line locates for
underground utility lines as well as by
general hazard assessment procedures during
work planning. Although utility owners in
the Project area have been contacted during
the previous investigation, design and
construction phases, provisions are included
for reconfirming all utility locations prior to
any new work. The potential for an incident to
occur is therefore considered to be low.
As the cofferdams are engineered structures
designed to withstand anticipated reservoir levels
and waves, there is low potential for a failure
to occur. In addition, regular inspections will
be carried out to allow for early identification
of any potential maintenance requirements.
The proponent’s Emergency Measures Plan
will include provisions to deal with any
unexpected failure or malfunction of a temporary
containment system.
In the case of extreme flooding during
operation, emergency manual activation of the
auxiliary spillway would be initiated to prevent
overtopping of the Little Bow Reservoir dam.
Completion of the Project will also mitigate the
possibility of an extreme flood as the existing
Emergency Response Plan will be updated to
include a procedure for manual activation of the
auxiliary spillway to prevent overtopping of the
Little Bow Reservoir dam during construction.
7.15.3 Residual Environmental Effects
No residual effects have been identified with
respect to accidents and malfunctions.
7.15.4 Government, public and Aboriginal
comments and proponent’s response
The Agency requested further information
from the proponent with respect to the
potential environmental effects of any accident,
malfunction, or unplanned event and the spill
contingency plans for the various components
of the site. The proponent supplied information
concerning potential accidents and malfunctions as
well as emergency response plan. As a result, the
Agency concluded that a satisfactory amount of
information was gathered for assessing the effects.
7.15.5 The Agency’s conclusions regarding
residual environmental effects
Taking into account the implementation of the
proposed mitigation measures, the Agency
considers that the Project is not likely to cause
significant adverse environmental effects through
accidents and malfunctions.
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
49
7.16 Cumulative Environmental
Effects
7.16.1 Approach
Cumulative environmental effects are defined
as the effects on the environment that are likely
to result from a project when a residual effect
combines with the effects of other projects
or human activities that have been or will be
carried out. This assessment of cumulative
effects is based on the Canadian Environmental
Assessment Agency’s Operational Policy
Statement on cumulative effects (Canadian
Environmental Assessment Agency, 2007), the
Cumulative Effects Assessment Practitioners
Guide (Canadian Environmental Assessment
Agency, 1999) and the proponent’s analyses.
7.16.2 Scoping
The scope of this Cumulative Effects
Assessment (CEA) was to examine the
predicted residual effects arising from
the Project that were identified in direct
assessments (e.g., fisheries, vegetation), that
could interact with the residual effects from
other projects or activities both past, present
and reasonably foreseeable. Residual effects are
defined as Project impacts that will potentially
exist following implementation of mitigation.
After residual effects were considered, potential
cumulative impacts in relation to the Project
and any other projects and activities that could
potentially contribute to cumulative effects
were identified. Where it was determined that
the potential residual effects of the Project
would not act in a cumulative manner with
similar effects from past, present or likely
future projects and activities, it was determined
that there would be no cumulative effects.
The RSA used for assessing cumulative
environmental effects includes the largest
defined resource component RSA to ensure that
all projects and/or activities that potentially
have effects that could combine with those
50
activities from the Project are included. The
temporal scope for assessing the cumulative
environmental effects of the Project was defined
as the period of time during which a residual
impact caused by a project related activity
would act in combination with effects from
other existing and foreseeable future project
activities, plus the period required for any
cumulative impacts to become undetectable and
for the resource to return to current background
levels. The Project baseline reflects existing
projects and the future temporal limit is set
to the lifetime of the Project, with specific
temporal boundaries relative to specific
ecosystem or social components
being considered.
Other regional projects or activities were
identified and reviewed to determine their
potential temporal or spatial overlap with the
Project. All potential Little Bow Reservoir
residual effects are summarized in Appendix 4.
Projects which met the temporal and spatial
criteria identified above were evaluated to
determine any cumulative interactions with
the residual effects of the Project in the areas
identified (see Table 7.16.1).
7.16.3 Potential cumulative effects
Residual effects on VECs of concerns that
have the potential to interact with effects of
other projects and/or activities were considered
within the analysis of cumulative effects.
Cumulative effects were assessed in cases
where the Project-specific residual impact is
expected to have a measurable or demonstrable
effect and is reasonably expected to occur; and
the Project-specific residual impact is likely to
act in a cumulative manner with the effects of
other existing or future projects and activities.
Following this methodology, three projects
or activities occurring within the vicinity
of the Project were identified as having the
potential to contribute to cumulative effects: the
Blackspring Ridge Wind Project, oil and gas
wells, and agricultural activities.
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
Table 7.16.1: Potential Effects of Past, Existing or Reasonably Foreseeable Projects with the Potential to Interact
Cumulatively with the Project
Project or Activity
Project Description
Potential Effects/Residual Effects
Potential for Cumulative
Effects
Existing Projects/Activities (including potential future changes to existing activities)
Agriculture
•Grazing lease, crop land
and ranching in the Little
Bow Reservoir RSA as well
as in the surrounding area.
•As most of the land in the
RSA is currently agricultural
land, future agricultural
use would be similar to
that currently occurring but
possibly in a different mix
barring changes to land use
designations.
•Future changes to agricultural
activities in the Little Bow Reservoir
RSA or surrounding area are not
known but would be expected
to follow land-use and other
guidelines.
•Continued displacement of native
grassland prairie within the RSA
with non-native agricultural and
noxious-weed species.
•Loss of potential habitat for
burrowing owls and other ground
dwelling species.
•Additional irrigation requirements
will result in more nutrientrich return water to Little Bow
River. This is not expected to be
significant.
•Potential cumulative
loss of grassland
vegetation.
•Potential cumulative
loss of wildlife habitat.
•Depending on
agricultural practices,
could act cumulatively
with wind erosion and
creation of dust.
Oil and gas
activity
•Oil and gas wells in the
Little Bow Reservoir LSA
and RSA as well as in the
surrounding area.
•Development of new gas or oil
wells could affect vegetation and
wildlife resources depending on
the location of the wells and the
clearing required.
•Potential for additional wildlife
habitat loss due to installation of
new wells within the RSA.
•Potential cumulative
loss of grassland,
vegetation, shrubs,
and trees.
•Potential cumulative
loss of wildlife habitat.
CBRH System
Overall
•Existing McGregor and
Travers Reservoir and
associated irrigation
infrastructure in the Little
Bow Reservoir RSA and
surrounding area.
•Diverts water to 85,000 ha
of agricultural land in the
BRID and 2,000 ha for the
Siksika Nation. The source
of water for the water
licenses supplied by the
CBRH system is the Bow
River.
•It is possible that future
maintenance activities may
result in different effects
depending on the nature of the
maintenance required. Should
major maintenance be required,
applicable permitting and
regulatory requirements would
have to be met and residual effects
from the Project would
be assessed.
•Cumulative effects
are not anticipated as
activities would not
act cumulatively with
identified residual
effects.
Commercial
Fishing
•Small commercial lake
whitefish fishery on Little
Bow Reservoir.
•Reduction in the number of
lake whitefish in the Little Bow
Reservoir.
•Cumulative effects are
not anticipated as the
Project is not expected
to affect lake whitefish
populations.
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
51
Table 7.16.1: Potential Effects of Past, Existing or Reasonably Foreseeable Projects with the Potential to Interact
Cumulatively with the Project (cont'd)
Potential for Cumulative
Effects
Project or Activity
Project Description
Potential Effects/Residual Effects
BRID (Water Use
in the Bow River
Basin)
•All unallocated water in the
Bow, Oldman, and South
Saskatchewan sub-basins
is reserved and further
licenses in these sub-basins
are limited to outstanding
applicants, First Nations,
IO, and for future storage
development provided the
development is to protect
the aquatic environment or
to improve water supply to
existing licensees.
•None identified
•No cumulative
effects as basin is
closed to further
water allocations and
unallocated water
must be used for
specified uses.
Established
Recreation
Sites (Little Bow
Reservoir PRA
and Travers and
McGregor PRAs)
•Existing Provincial Park
and PRAs on McGregor
Reservoir and Travers
Reservoir provide access to
reservoirs for recreation.
•Existing effects are expected to
continue and were captured in the
baseline and assessed in the EA.
•Cumulative effects
are not anticipated as
activities would not
act cumulatively with
identified residual
effects.
Roadways
•Existing roadways in
the Little Bow Reservoir
LSA and RSA and in the
surrounding area.
•Existing effects are expected to
continue and were captured in the
baseline and assessed in the EA.
•Cumulative effects
are not anticipated as
activities would not
act cumulatively with
identified residual
effects.
First Nations
Traditional Use
•Potential hunting, gathering
and other activities in the
RSA and surrounding area.
•Specific activities currently being
undertaken in the RSA have not
been identified. However, any
environmental effects associated
with ongoing activities are reflected
in the Project baseline.
•Cumulative effects
are not anticipated as
activities would not
act cumulatively with
identified residual
effects.
Recreation/
Tourism
•General recreation and
tourism activities outside the
Park and PRAs including
activities similar to those
undertaken in the Park and
PRAs as well as others
such as hunting.
•Existing effects are expected to
continue and were captured in the
baseline and assessed in the EA.
•Cumulative effects
are not anticipated as
activities would not
act cumulatively with
identified residual
effects.
52
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
Table 7.16.1: Potential Effects of Past, Existing or Reasonably Foreseeable Projects with the Potential to Interact
Cumulatively with the Project (cont'd)
Project or Activity
Project Description
Potential Effects/Residual Effects
Potential for Cumulative
Effects
Future Projects/Activities
Blackspring Ridge
Wind Project
•Proposed wind energy
project to be developed
immediately west of the
Project in Township 14,
Range 21 and 22, and
Township 13, Range 21, 22,
and 23.
•Potential residual effects include
increased mortality of bird and
bat populations as a result of
wind turbine interaction within the
RSA, including Sprague’s Pipits
which were observed within the
Blackspring Ridge Wind Project
study area.
•A minor loss of prairie grassland
habitat would be required for the
construction of 27 towers (~25
m2/tower). This represents a total
loss of approximately 675 m2 of
grassland.
•Potential cumulative
loss of grassland
habitat.
Siksika Water
License
•Siksika irrigation expansion
of 43,172 dam3 that
receives water from the
CBRH system.
•Siksika expansion is subject
to current IO on the Bow
River.
•Siksika expansion has been
considered in modelling scenarios
for the Combined TLBR. In
addition, the models assume a
20% increase in irrigation demand
within the Bow River basin.
•Cumulative effects
not expected as
potential effects have
been captured in the
assessment of the
Project.
Cumulative impacts to grasslands may occur as a
result of the combined influences of the new Little
Bow Reservoir operating regime and continued
agricultural activity in the RSA. The loss of
approximately 2.77 km2 of modified grasslands
as a result of the increased FSL in combination
with continued agricultural activity in the RSA
has the potential to further reduce the grassland
community biodiversity through overgrazing,
spread of adjacent crop species, and introduction
or proliferation of noxious or invasive species.
will be minimal. Therefore, the residual
cumulative effect on grasslands is not
considered to be significant. Likewise, the
cumulative effect of grassland vegetation
loss on wildlife habitat availability is not
considered significant.
The Project is expected to cause an increase
in soil loss through wind and wave erosion as
a result of an increase in shoreline length and
annual fluctuation in water levels. Cultivated
land is expected to have a much higher incidence
Further loss or degradation of grassland
of wind erosion than the grazing pasture adjacent
vegetation could contribute to a cumulative
to project. Because of the arid nature of soils
effect on wildlife within the RSA. Continued
in the RSA, it is expected that both soil loss
agricultural activity could result in degradation of as a result of the Project and wind erosion of
grassland vegetation as described above.
the exposed drawdown zone during future
reservoir operation will contribute cumulatively
Clearing for the Blackspring Ridge Wind
to wind erosion and increased dust occurring in
Project and any future oil and gas development cultivated land.
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
53
7.16.4 Mitigation measures
The effects of wind erosion can be minimized
through practices such as building shelterbelts.
Soil loss within the adjacent cultivated land
is expected to be reduced through the regular
application of irrigation water and zero tillage
practices. The magnitude of this cumulative
effect of wind erosion is expected to be low.
Likewise, the creation of dust from cultivated
fields is expected to have a low impact.
To mitigate the impact on grassland vegetation,
the Project area has been excluded from the
existing grazing lease and has been fenced
to control local cattle from accessing the
reservoir. This is expected to improve the
existing grassland areas by limiting degradation
through grazing and loss of species diversity.
All grassland areas disturbed by construction
will be revegetated with a native seed mix
and monitoring of the success of revegetation
conducted. No additional monitoring is
recommended.
7.16.5 Residual environmental effects
The majority of the existing grassland vegetation
within the RSA has been grazed for many
decades and further reduction in habitat value
is not anticipated as a result of ongoing land
use. Likewise, the land suitable for cultivation
has already been broken and it is not expected
that the remaining grassland vegetation will be
cleared for cultivation. The residual cumulative
effects on vegetation and wildlife are not
expected to be significant.
The residual cumulative effects on the
geophysical environment as a result of wind and
wave erosion and the creation of dust from fields
are not expected to be significant.
7.16.6 Government, public and Aboriginal
comments and proponent’s response
Fisheries and Oceans Canada requested further
information on how the existing works on
Travers Reservoir and other infrastructure
54
in the CBRH could impact the Project and
contribute to cumulative effects of the Project.
The proponent clarified that the baseline
environmental conditions assessed reflect the
current conditions on the landscape, and thus
account for accumulated residual environmental
effects of past and existing projects and
activities in proximity to the Project, such as
the existing works on the Travers Reservoir
and other infrastructure. Following the
proponent’s response, Fisheries and Oceans
Canada concluded that a satisfactory amount
of information was gathered for assessing the
cumulative effects of the Project.
The Agency requested that the proponent
provide additional detail on the rationale
and methodology used to determine that a
project or sector would not act cumulatively
with the identified residual effects of the
Project and that an identified residual effect
of the three project/sectors would have
limited or no interaction with an identified
residual effect of the Project. Following the
proponent’s explanation of its cumulative
effects methodology, the Agency concluded
that a satisfactory amount of information was
gathered for assessing the cumulative effects
of the Project.
7.16.7 The Agency’s conclusions regarding
cumulative environmental effects
Taking into account implementation of the
mitigation measures, the Agency concludes that
the Project is unlikely to cause significant adverse
cumulative environmental effects on grassland
vegetation, grassland habitat available for wildlife,
soil erosion or dust introduced into the air.
7.17 Effects on the Capacity of
Renewable and Non-Renewable
Resources
The Act under section 16(2)(d) states that
comprehensive study reports must “address the
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
capacity of renewable resources that are likely
to be significantly affected by the project to
meet the needs of the present and the future.”
expansion; however, this impact is considered
to be minor relative to the total area available
for grazing in the vicinity of the Project.
Renewable resources
As the Project is not predicted to have
any significant adverse residual effects on
renewable resources, the Agency concludes
that the Project’s impacts on the capacity of the
renewable resources will not be significant.
Water within the reservoir is a renewable
resource which is managed for irrigation and
domestic purposes. This water constitutes a
portion of a large network of canals and storage
reservoirs designed to transport water to areas
where it can be used for agricultural irrigation,
drinking water, household water, and watering
live-stock. This resource is critical for the endusers as there are few other options for procuring
water in these areas, hence the necessity for
the upgrades of the infrastructure required to
transport this water. This water resource is
carefully managed through the allocation of
water licenses to ensure that the capacity of the
system is not overdrawn. The proposed Project
has been designed to facilitate the continued
management of this water resource and the
proposed upgrades will ensure a sufficient
storage capacity for future water use and protect
against flooding. The regional requirements
for water usage have been established in the
Approved Water Management Plan for the South
Saskatchewan River Basin, which describes
water allocation limits, conservation objectives,
and management objectives for the future
(AENV, 2006).
The prairie grassland surrounding Little Bow
Reservoir is pasture land which has been used
for grazing cattle for many years. This land
base has historically provided a nutritional
component of the annual energy budget of the
herd maintained by the adjacent landowner.
Cattle are rotated throughout the pasture land,
consuming regenerating grassland vegetation
in cycles. The area of pasture that will be
inundated has already been fenced off and
excluded from the landowner’s grazing lease.
The grazing capacity of this resource (roughly
238 ha) will be lost as a result of reservoir
8. Follow-Up Program under
the Canadian Environmental
Assessment Act
The purpose of a follow-up program is to verify
the accuracy of the environmental assessment
of a project and to determine the effectiveness
of any measures taken to mitigate the adverse
environmental effects of the Project. The
results of a follow-up program will also support
the implementation of adaptive management
measures to address previously unanticipated
adverse environmental effects or to modify
existing measures.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Transport
Canada will be responsible for the Follow-up
Program and, with the support of the relevant
federal and provincial authorities, will ensure
that the proponent designs and implements a
detailed program.
Appendix 7 outlines the requirements and
objectives of the Follow-up Program pertaining
grassland vegetation, terrestrial wildlife,
groundwater, water quality, and fish habitat
(compensation structures and free passage of
fish) among other things. The program will take
into account the conditions of the federal and
provincial authorizations and approvals required
for the implementation of the Project, as well
as changes in environmental conditions and the
observation of environmental effects that may
arise while the Project is being carried out. The
proponent will undertake adaptive management
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
55
practices with respect to adverse environmental
effects that are identified through monitoring.
ultimately achieved, would otherwise have
been undertaken in this region.
As part of the Follow-up Program, the
proponent must produce reports describing the
results, their interpretation and any necessary
corrective measures. The proponent will
submit the reports to Fisheries and Oceans
Canada and Transport Canada as well as to the
relevant monitoring committees. The results of
the follow-up program will be made publicly
available on the Canadian Environmental
Assessment Registry.
During this evaluation, modifications were
made in response to comments received
from Fisheries and Oceans Canada and
Transport Canada to ensure that stream
crossings were designed so as to reduce fish
habitat loss and disturbance and maintain
navigability where necessary.
9. Benefits to Canadians
To reach a conclusion on the environmental
effects of the Project, the Agency took
the following elements into account in its
analysis:
The comprehensive study process gave the
Canadian public and Aboriginal groups
opportunities to participate in improving the
Project during the design phase thus
helping reduce the environmental effects
of its construction and operation. As a result,
the design, construction and operation of
the Project are not based solely on technical
or economic criteria, but also incorporate
environmental criteria that promote a
balanced approach in keeping with the
principles of sustainable development.
10. Conclusion and
Recommendation of the Agency
The Project will ensure that the Travers
Reservoir and Little Bow Reservoir are
capable of passing the PMF as recommended
in the CDA Dam Safety Guidelines (CDA,
2007), and are capable of providing a reliable
supply of water to users of the CBRH and
further downstream in the recreationally and
agriculturally important BRID canal system.
••the documentation submitted by the proponent
••the analysis and findings of this
comprehensive study report
••the opinions and comments of the public,
federal and provincial expert departments,
and Aboriginal groups
••the proponent’s obligations and mitigation
measures, as documented in Appendix 5,
Table of Commitments
• •requirements to be described in the
Fisheries Act authorizations and their
associated habitat compensation plans to
mitigate potentially negative impacts to fish
and fish habitat
••requirements to be described in the Navigable
Waters Protection Act approval
••requirements of the follow-up program to be
implemented by the proponent
An increased understanding regarding of past
human occupation of the Little Bow region
of Alberta represents a clear and significant
positive effect of the Project. It is unlikely
that a comprehensive study of historical
resources, on the spatial scale that was
In the event that the responsible authorities
take the course of action described in
paragraph 37(1) (a) of the Act, they will ensure
that mitigation measures are implemented in
accordance with subsection 37(2.1) and (2.2) of
the Act.
56
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
No significant adverse biological, health,
or heritage effects are predicted to result
from the Project. The environmental effects
of the Project have been determined using
assessment methods and analytical tools that
reflect current best practices. The EIS concludes
that the Project can be constructed and operated
without significant adverse environmental
effects, including the consideration of
cumulative effects and accidents and
malfunctions.
Taking into account implementation of the
mitigation proposed, including commitments
made by the proponent in this report and the
fulfillment of regulatory requirements, the Agency
concludes that the Project is not likely to cause
significant adverse environmental effects.
11. References
Alberta Environment (AENV). (1996).
Carseland-Bow River Headworks. License to
Divert and Use Water.
Alberta Environment (AENV). (2001). Salt
Contamination Assessment and Remediation
Guidelines.
Alberta Environment (AENV). (2006).
Approved Water Management Plan for the
South Saskatchewan River Basin (Alberta).
Alberta Environment and Sustainable
Resource Development (AESRD).
(2011). Forest and Vegetation Inventories.
Retrieved 2011, July from http://www.
srd.alberta.ca/MapsPhotosPublications/
Maps/ResourceDataProductCatalogue/
ForestVegetationInventories.aspx
AMEC Earth and Environmental Ltd. (AMEC).
(2010). South Saskatchewan River Basin in
Alberta—Water Supply Study. AMEC Earth
& Environmental in association with Marv
Anderson & Associates, Unitech Solutions Inc.,
and Klohn Crippen Berger Ltd. January, 2010.
Alberta Online Encyclopedia. (2011a). Treaty 7,
Past and Present: The Kainai Nation—Historical
Overview. Retrieved July 20, 2011, from www.
albertasource.ca/treaty7/ traditional/kainai_
overview.html
Alberta Online Encyclopedia. (2011b). Treaty 7,
Past and Present: Traditional Life—The Piikani
(Peigan) Nation. Retrieved May 4, 2011, from
www.albertasource.ca/treaty7/ traditional/
piikani.html
Alberta Online Encyclopedia. (2011c). Treaty
7, Past and Present: Traditional Life—The
Blackfoot Nation. Retrieved July 20, 2011,
from www.albertasource.ca/treaty7 /traditional/
siksika.html
Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource
Development (AESRD). (2010). Sensitive species
guidelines. Government of Alberta. Retrieved
November 21, 2012, from http://www.srd.
alberta.ca/FishWildlife/WildlifeManagement/
SensitiveSpeciesInventoryGuidelines.aspx
Alberta Transportation (AT). (2011). Erosion and
Sediment Control Manual. Retrieved July 20, 2012,
from http://www.transportation.alberta.ca/4626.htm
Alberta Transportation (AT). (2009). Fish
Habitat Manual: Guidelines and Procedures for
Watercourse Crossings in Alberta. Retrieved
November 21, 2012, from http://transportation.
alberta.ca/2644.htm
Bayne, E.M., Habib, L. & Boutin, S. (2008).
Impacts of chronic anthropogenic noise
from energy-sector activity on abundance of
songbirds in the boreal forest. Conservation
Biology, 22(5), 1186–1193.
Beak Associates Consulting Ltd. (Beak).
(1983). Environmental overview of the
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
57
Little Bow River basin. Prepared for Alberta
Environment, Planning Division. Edmonton,
Alberta, Canada.
Blood Tribe—Kainai. (2011). Retrieved July 18,
2011, from www.bloodtribe.org
Bruce, J.P. (2011). Climate change projections for
Alberta: A guide for regions of Alberta (draft).
Prepared for Alberta Climate Change Secretariat
by Marbek and Summit Enterprises International.
Canada—Alberta Environmentally Sustainable
Agriculture Agreement (CAESA). (1994).
County of Vulcan No. 2—Salinity Map.
Canadian Council of Ministers of the
Environment (CCME). (1999). Canadian Water
Quality Guidelines for the Protection of Aquatic
Life. Winnipeg, MB: Author.
Canadian Dam Association. (CDA). (2007).
Dam Safety Guidelines.
Canadian Environmental Assessment
Agency. (2007). Addressing Cumulative
Environmental Effects under the Canadian
Environmental Assessment Act. November
2007. Retrieved October 10, 2012 from
http://www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca/default.
asp?lang=En&n=1F77F3C2-1
Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.
(1999). The Cumulative Effects Assessment
Practitioners Guide. February 1999. Retrieved
October 10, 2012 from http://www.ceaa-acee.
gc.ca/default.asp?lang=En&n=439526941&offset=&toc=hide
Dempsey, H.A. (1987). Treaty Research
Report: Treaty 7 (1877). Treaties and Historical
Research Centre, Comprehensive Claims
Branch, Self-Government, Indian and Northern
Affairs Canada. Retrieved September 1, 2011
from http://www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/al/hts/tgu /
pubs/T7/tre7-eng.pdf
58
Environment Canada (EC). (2011). National
Climate Data and Information Archive.
Retrieved 2011 from http://www.climate.
weatheroffice.gc.ca/Welcome_e.html
Federation of Alberta Naturalists (FAN). (2007).
The Atlas of Breeding Birds of Alberta. 626 pp.
Government of Alberta (GOA). (2009). Profile
of the South Saskatchewan Region. Retrieved
December, 2011 from https://landuse.alberta.
ca/Documents/SSRP Profile of the South
Saskatchewan Region Report-P1-2009-11.pdf
Government of Alberta (GOA). (2011). Alberta
Conservation Information Management System
(ACIMS). Retrieved 2011 from http://www.tpr.
alberta.ca/about/default.aspx. Accessed June –
August 2011
Government of Alberta (GOA). (2011b).
Tourism, Parks and Recreation: Little Bow
Reservoir Provincial Recreation Area. Retrieved
November 21, 2011, from http://www.
albertaparks.ca/siteinformation.aspx?id=70
Government of Alberta (GOA). (2011g). Alberta
Regulations: Travers Wildlife Management
Unit (134). Retrieved November 21, 2011, from
http://www.albertaregulations.ca/huntingregs /
wmu/134.html
Government of Alberta (GOA). (2011h).
Tourism, Parks and Recreation: Hunting.
Retrieved November 21, 2011, from http://
www.albertaparks.ca/hunting.aspx#provincial
RecreationAreas
Habib, L., Bayne, E.M., & Boutin, S. (2007).
Chronic industrial noise affects pairing
success and age structure of ovenbirds Seiurus
aurocapilla. Journal of Applied Ecology
44: 176–184.
Heritage Community Foundation (HCF).
(2002). The Métis Nation. Retrieved August
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
31, 2011, from http://wayback.archive-it.
org/2217/20101208163234/http://www.
albertasource.ca/treaty8/eng/Peoples_and_
Places/Profiles_of_the_Treaty_Makers/Bands_
and_Nations/metis.html
Mirau, N., & First Rider, D. (2009, March).
South Saskatchewan Regional Plan (SSRP)
Traditional Use Studies Project. Retrieved
November 21, 2011, from http://www.
environment.gov.ab.ca/info/library/8261.pdf
Important Bird Areas of Canada (IBA).
(2010). IBA Site Summary AB016:
McGregor Lake and Travers Reservoir—
Vulcan, Alberta. Retrieved November 21,
2011, from http://www.ibacanada.com/site.
jsp?siteID=AB016&lang=EN
Natural Resources Canada (NRCan). (2002).
Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation:
A Canadian Perspective—Water Resources.
Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation
Directorate, Natural Resources Canada, Ottawa,
Ontario, Canada.
Leskiw, L.A. (1986a). Little Bow Area—East
of Carmangay, Level III Land Irrigability
Classification Report. Can-Ag Enterprises
Limited. Edmonton, AB.
Natural Resources Canada. NRCan.
(2007). Climate change and water. South
Saskatchewan River Basin final Technical
Report. NRC, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
Leskiw, L.A. (1986b). Annex I—Profile and Site
Description Summary and Laboratory Results
for Block 36 Little Bow East of Carmangay.
Can-Ag Enterprises Ltd. Edmonton, AB.
Reijnen, R., Foppen, R., Braak, C., &
Thissen, J. (1995). The effects of car traffic
on breeding bird populations in Woodland.
Ill. Reduction of density in relation to the
proximity of main roads. Journal of Applied
Ecology. 32: 187–202.
Little, J.L., Saffranz, K.A. & Fent, L. (2003).
Land Use and Water Quality Relationships in
the Lower Little Bow River Watershed, Alberta,
Canada. Water Qual. Res. J. Canada, 38(4),
563–584.
Métis National Council. (2011). The Métis
Nation. Retrieved August 31, 2011, from
http://www.metisnation.ca/index.php/who-arethe‑metis
Mitchell, P.B. & Prepas, E.E. (1990). Atlas of
Alberta Lakes. University of Alberta Press:
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Shetsen, I. (1987). Quaternary Geology
Map of Southern Alberta. Terrain Sciences
Department, Research Council of Alberta.
Map 207.
Travel Alberta. (2011). Little Bow
Reservoir Provincial Recreation Area.
Retrieved November 21, 2011, from http://
www1.travelalberta.com/search/details.
cfm?id=8684&TDR=South& title=Little Bow
Reservoir Provincial Recreation Area
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
59
Appendix 1: Summary of Project Components and Associated Activities
Little
Bow
PRA
Travers Little Bow Reservoir
Connecting Canal
Little Bow Reservoir
Area
Component
Existing Facility
New Facility/Activity
•Little Bow Reservoir
Dam
•Dam crest El. 857.25 m
•14 m high
•1,200 m long, relatively steep
slopes 1.85-2.75H:1V
•Riprap in poor condition
•Dam crest El. 860.5 m
•Raise by 3.25 m and lengthen to
3,300 m
•Flatten slopes to 3-3.5H:1V
•New riprap
•Widen on downstream side with
internal drains
•Little Bow Reservoir
Outlet Structure
•Design capacity is 76.5 m3/s
•Comprised of an inlet at El.
846 m, 7 cell conduit, and
basin section
•Structure to be partially
demolished and remainder
grouted and abandoned in
place
•Design capacity is 87.8 m3/s
•Comprised of an inlet at El. 848 m,
gatewell structure, 5 cell conduit,
and stilling basin section
•Slide gates 1.83 m wide by 2.44 m
high
•Offset 90 m east of existing outlet
•Enhancement Dyke 1
•No existing enhancement dyke
•Dyke crest El. 860 m
•Upstream slope varies 5-15H:1V
with no slope protection
•Downstream slope 3H:1V
•Canal Enlargement
(Downstream
Portion)
•24.4 m wide
•2H:1V side slope
•Unprotected slopes
•Invert at El. 849.8 m
•50 m wide
•2.5-3H:1V side slope
•Partial clay liner with gravel
armour
•Invert at El. 849 m
•Inlet and Outlet
Structures
•Travers outlet structure
consisting of 7 box shaped
concrete conduits with
2.438 m square radial gates
•Little Bow Reservoir inlet
structure consisting of
concrete chute with overflow
weir at El. 850.95 m
•Both existing structures to be
removed and no new structures
constructed
•Culvert and Roadway
Crossing
•No existing culvert crossing
•Roadway currently located on
Travers outlet structure
•Combined culvert and roadway
crossing
•Four 3 m wide by 3.5 m high
conduits
•Invert of culvert at El. 848.8 m
•Little Bow Reservoir
PRA
•Camping areas, toilets, picnic
tables, boat launch, and beach
•Camping areas, picnic tables,
toilets, breakwater and boat
launch at new PRA location
Appendix 1: Summary of Project Components and Associated Activities
(cont'd)
Miscellaneous
Area
Component
Existing Facility
New Facility/Activity
•Utilities
•Remove single phase power
•Abandon sections of phone
line
•Protect existing oil and gas
facilities
•Construct new three phase power
•Install new phone lines
•Relocate sections of pipelines
•Roadways
•Abandon sections of roadway
•Construct new sections of
roadway
•Topsoil Stockpiles
•Two existing topsoil stockpiles
•Two additional topsoil stockpiles
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
61
Appendix 2: Scope of the Project by Component and Associated
Activity
Component
Phase
Activity
•Little Bow Reservoir
•Construction
•Change in reservoir operation
including full supply levels
•Little Bow Reservoir
Dam
•Construction, operation,
and maintenance
•The rehabilitation of the Little Bow
Reservoir dam and its associated
works or activities related to
the raising of the main dam,
the extension of the dam, the
placement of riprap and drainage
materials, and the installation
of geo-technical and structure
instrumentation
•Little Bow Reservoir
Outlet Structure
•Construction, operation and
maintenance
•New irrigation outlet in the Little
Bow Reservoir and its associated
works or activities
•Enhancement Dyke 1
•Construction, operation and
maintenance
•Enhancement dyke at the south
end of the Little Bow Reservoir
•Canal Enlargement
(Downstream
Portion)
•Modification, operation, and
maintenance
•Enlargement of the remaining
1.8 km of connecting canal from
25 m to 50 m and any associated
works or activities
•Inlet and Outlet
Structures
•Decommissioning
•Removal of existing control
structures in the TLBR Connecting
Canal and its associated works or
activities
•Decommissioning
•Little Bow Reservoir inlet chute
and Travers Reservoir outlet
control structure in the connecting
canal, and its associated works
•Culvert and Roadway
Crossing
•Construction, operation and
maintenance of the
•Culvert crossing and its
associated works or activities in
the TLBR Connecting Canal
•Little Bow Reservoir
PRA
•Decommissioning
•Demolition and removal of the
existing recreation facilities in the
Little Bow Reservoir Provincial
Recreation Area and any
associated works or activities
•Construction, operation, and
maintenance
•New Provincial Recreation Area
and its associated works and
activities
Little Bow
PRA
Travers
Little Bow
Reservoir
Connecting
Canal
Travers Little
Bow Reservoir
Connecting Canal
Little Bow Reservoir
Area
62
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
Appendix 2: Scope of the Project by Component and Associated
Activity (cont'd)
Component
Phase
Activity
•Reservoir Systems—
Water Withdrawal
•Operations and maintenance
•Change to the annual operations,
and associated maintenance
activities, of the CBRH system
post construction with particular
focus on operations within the
Little Bow Reservoir and any
changes to timing or rate of water
withdrawal from the Bow River to
the CBRH system required for the
purpose of filling and maintaining
the Little Bow Reservoir to its new
expanded capacity
•Roadways
•Construction
•The reconstruction of the existing
gravel road north of the Little Bow
Reservoir dam
•Construction and maintenance
•Concrete protective slabs for the
existing roads crossing pipelines
•Disturbed Areas
•Reclamation
•Reclamation of disturbed areas
including re-distribution of topsoil
and re-seeding with vegetation
native to the area
•Fencing and Gates
•Construction and
maintenance
•Installation of remaining sections
of fencing and gates around the
reservoir boundary including
maintenance of the fencing and
gates throughout its operation
Miscellaneous
Carseland-Bow
River Headworks
(CBRH) System
Area
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
63
Appendix 3: Vecs, Significance Thresholds, and Spatial Boundaries
for the Project
Spatial Boundaries
VEC
Significance Thresholds
Local
Regional
Soil Quality
•Contamination exceeding Alberta
Tier 1 or CCME guidelines
•Permanent damage to soil
structure in an area greater than
5% of LSA
Soil Quantity
•Increased loss of soil will be
greater than 5% of LSA soil
The LSA includes the Little
Bow Reservoir, the lands
that will be inundated once
the reservoir is at the new
FSL (El. 856.18 m), and
the anticipated construction
footprint
Surficial and bedrock
stratigraphy is
discussed over a
broader RSA including
a significant portion of
southern Alberta
The LSA includes the
proposed area of inundation
at the reservoir boundary
of the operating FSL at El.
856.18 m
The RSA includes
the CBRH diversion
from the Bow River,
the CBRH system,
the reach of the Bow
River downstream
of the diversion, and
the Little Bow River
downstream of Travers
Reservoir
•Change in parameter
concentration that causes
an exceedance of regulatory
guidelines
The LSA includes the
proposed new FSL boundary
and the Little Bow Reservoir
outlet, and the waters
immediately downstream and
immediately upstream of the
Little Bow Reservoir (i.e.,
the BRID canals, Travers
Reservoir, and Little Bow
River)
The RSA includes the
entire CBRH system
Groundwater Quantity
•Increased seepage to surface
affects adjacent landowner
through changes in soil
structure or land use capability
Groundwater Quality
•Change in parameter
concentration that causes
an exceedance of regulatory
guidelines
The LSA includes the
proposed new FSL
(El. 856.18 m) of the Little
Bow Reservoir and adjacent
areas where baseline
groundwater conditions
could be impacted
For information
purposes, regional
hydrogeology is
discussed over a
broader RSA
Geophysical
Hydrology
Bow River discharge
downstream of CBRH
diversion
•Frequency of IO not being met
increases by greater than 1%
Little Bow River
discharge downstream
of Travers Reservoir
•Reduction in Little Bow River
discharge downstream of
Travers Dam exceeding
conditions of the Water License
Little Bow Reservoir
and Travers Reservoir
water levels
•Change significantly affects other
VECs, as evaluated within the
EIS
Surface Water Quality
Little Bow Reservoir
Downstream BRID
canals
Travers Reservoir
Little Bow River
Hydrogeology
64
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
Appendix 3: Vecs, Significance Thresholds, and Spatial Boundaries
for the Project (cont'd)
Spatial Boundaries
VEC
Significance Thresholds
Local
Regional
•Change in population numbers
or biomass greater than 20%
•Change results in contravention
of protected species legislation
•Residual effect after mitigation
contravenes legislation
•Change in tissue mercury
concentration that causes
an exceedance of regulatory
guidelines
The LSA includes the lower
half of Travers Reservoir,
the TLBR Connecting Canal,
Little Bow Reservoir, and
the BRID irrigation canal
immediately downstream of
the Little Bow Reservoir
The RSA includes
the entire CBRH
system, including
Little Bow Reservoir,
Travers Reservoir,
and McGregor
Reservoir, as well as
the Bow River at the
CBRH intake and all
connecting canals
The LSA includes the
proposed construction
footprint and area of
inundation at the new
operating FSL of 856.18 m
The RSA is
coextensive with
the boundary of
Township 14,
Range 20, W4M
The LSA includes the
proposed construction
footprint and area of
inundation at the new
operating FSL of 856.18 m
The RSA is
coextensive with
the boundary of
Township 14,
Range 20, W4M
Aquatic Environment
Northern pike
Lake whitefish
Walleye
Spottail shiner
Benthic invertebrate
density and
community structure
•Change in biomass greater
than 20%
Vegetation
communities in the
littoral and riparian
areas
•Change in areal extent greater
than 20%
Vegetation
Wetland ecosystems
•Change in areal extent within
RSA greater than 20%
•Change results in contravention
of protected species legislation
•Residual effect after mitigation
contravenes legislation
Aquatic vegetation
•Change in areal extent greater
than 20%
Riparian vegetation
•Change in areal extent within
RSA greater than 20%
Grasslands
Shrubs and trees
Rare/uncommon
plant species (see
Table 11.1 of the EIS
for a complete listing
of rare/uncommon
plant species
identified as VECs )
Rare ecological
communities
including the western
wheatgrass-low sedge
and low sedgewestern wheatgrass
communities
•Change results in contravention
of protected species legislation
•Change results in reclassification of provincial or
global listing
•Change results in local
extirpation of rare ecological
community
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
65
Appendix 3: Vecs, Significance Thresholds, and Spatial Boundaries
for the Project (cont'd)
Spatial Boundaries
VEC
Significance Thresholds
Local
Regional
Colonial nesting
waterbirds
•Published thresholds for
population viability are not
available
•A permanent 20% decrease in
island habitat surface area was
considered to be significant
The LSA includes the
proposed construction
footprint, the TLBR
Connecting Canal, and the
area to be inundated at the
new FSL boundary
The RSA is
coextensive with
the boundary of
Township 14,
Range 20, W4M
Waterfowl
•Published thresholds for
population viability are not
available
•Only a select number of
species of waterfowl and diver
(e.g., red-necked grebes) use
emergent vegetation for nesting.
The majority of species nest in
upland areas (e.g., mallards), or
in tree cavities (e.g., buffleheads)
•For the species that use
emergent vegetation for nesting,
a permanent 20% decrease
in emergent vegetation was
considered significant
Wildlife
Federal Species at Risk
Ferruginous hawk
•Use of a numerical threshold to
determine the significance of
Project effects on ferruginous
hawks was considered to be
inappropriate. The sparse spatial
distribution of nesting ferruginous
hawks in the region exists at a
scale that is not comparable to
the localized effects of the Project
•The permanent destruction or
disturbance of a ferruginous
hawk nest was considered
significant
Burrowing owl
•The use of a numerical threshold
to determine the significance
of Project effects on burrowing
owls was considered to be
inappropriate. The sparse spatial
distribution of nesting burrowing
owls in the region exists at a
scale that is not comparable to
the localized effects of the Project
•The permanent loss of an active
or historical burrowing owl burrow
was considered significant
66
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
Appendix 3: Vecs, Significance Thresholds, and Spatial Boundaries
for the Project (cont'd)
Spatial Boundaries
VEC
Significance Thresholds
Long-billed curlew
•Published thresholds for
population viability are not
available
•A 10% reduction of nesting
habitat for grassland species
within the RSA was considered
to be a potential threat to
regional population sustainability
for Species at Risk and would
be considered significant
Sprague’s pipit
Chestnut-collared
longspur
McCown’s longspur
Loggerhead shrike
Common nighthawk
Local
Regional
The LSA includes the
proposed construction
footprint, the TLBR
Connecting Canal, and the
area to be inundated at the
new FSL boundary
The RSA includes a
radius of 65 km
The LSA includes
the footprint of active
construction and the area of
inundation
The RSA includes a
buffer with a radius
of 3 km extending
beyond the boundaries
of the LSA
•Residual effect after mitigation
contravenes legislation
The LSA includes the
proposed construction
footprint, the TLBR
Connecting Canal, and the
area to be inundated at the
new FSL boundary
An RSA is not defined
for the historical
resources assessment
in accordance with
HRA Clearance
requirements
•Residual effect after mitigation
contravenes legislation
The LSA was defined as the
entire wetted area of the
reservoir at El. 856.18 m,
including the TLBR
Connecting Canal
As there are no
impacts to navigation
anticipated within the
region outside of the
LSA, an RSA was not
defined
Climate and Air Quality
Climate
•Change in total provincial GHG
emissions greater than 0.1%
•Change in local or regional
mean surface air temperature
greater than 1°C
Air Quality
•Change in parameter
concentration that causes
an exceedance of regulatory
guidelines
The RSA includes a
radius of 130 km
Noise
Noise
•Increase in noise level at a
Receptor is greater than 5 dBA
above ambient level
Heritage and Archaeological Resources
Historical Resources
Navigation
Navigability
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
67
Appendix 3: Vecs, Significance Thresholds, and Spatial Boundaries
for the Project (cont'd)
Spatial Boundaries
VEC
Significance Thresholds
Local
Regional
The LSA encompasses the
project footprint and area
immediately surrounding the
Project, including the Little
Bow Reservoir at the new
operating FSL boundary,
the outlet canal, and the
construction footprint
The RSA is
coextensive with
the generalized IBA
boundary for Site
#AB016
Current Use of Lands and Resources
Recreational land and
resource use
Domestic land use
Domestic resource
use
Commercial land use
Commercial resource
use
Human health,
specifically including
the potential entry of
contaminants into the
food chain
68
•A potential effect was identified
if there was a change from
the baseline condition (e.g., if
any activities, businesses, or
properties were affected)
•Professional judgement
considering baseline
information, the nature of the
Project/VEC interaction, and
ability to mitigate the effect
were considered in the effects
assessment and residual
effects discussion
•Health Canada’s methylmercury
guidelines
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
The RSA is
coextensive with
the boundary of
Township 14,
Range 20, W4M
The human health
RSA includes the
portion of the BRID
irrigated by water
from the Little Bow
Reservoir
Appendix 4: Summary of Identified Potential Residual
Effects of the Project
Resource Component
Phase
Activity
Residual Effect Description
Geophysical
Environment
Operation
•Reservoir operation at the
new FSL and at fluctuating
water levels
•Soil loss through wind and wave
erosion
Hydrology
Operation
•Changes to diversion of water
from Bow River
•Net reduction of diversion in late
summer/early fall during periods when
Bow River flows are typically low
•Increased surface area at FSL
El. 856.18 m
•Increased evaporation from Little Bow
Reservoir
Hydrogeology/
Groundwater Quality
Operation
•Reservoir operation at FSL El.
856.18 m
•Increased groundwater quantity and
seepage as a result of increased head
pressure
Surface Water
Hydrology
Construction/
Operation
•Reservoir operation at FSL El.
856.18 m
•Increased aquatic sedimentation
resulting from increased wind and wave
erosion
•Net positive regional impact to water
quality related to changes in CBRH
system withdrawal rates and timing under
the new combined operating regime
Aquatic Environment
Operation
•Operation during construction
drawdown
•Temporary reduced suitability of
whitefish spawning habitat in drawdown
zone
•Reduced access to spawning substrate
for northern pike
•Stranding of fish during construction
drawdown
•Reduced benthic invertebrate
abundance and species diversity
•Reservoir operation at the
new FSL and at fluctuating
water levels
•Loss of northern pike spawning
substrate (emergent vegetation)
•Loss of rearing habitat (emergent
vegetation)
•Loss of rearing habitat (submergent
vegetation)
•Reduced benthic invertebrate
abundance and species diversity
•Decrease in health of piscivorous
species that feed on juvenile lake
whitefish
•Shift in population structure toward
older lake whitefish
•Decrease in lake whitefish growth rate
•Stranding of fish during operational
drawdown
•Provision of fish passage between Little
Bow and Travers Reservoirs
•Increase in fish mercury levels, higher
levels expected in predatory fish
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
69
Appendix 4: Summary of Identified Potential Residual
Effects of the Project (cont'd)
Resource Component
Phase
Activity
Residual Effect Description
Vegetation
Operation
•Reservoir operation at the
new FSL and at fluctuating
water levels
•Net increase in terrestrial riparian
vegetation
•Annual fluctuation in water
levels
•Changes in riparian vegetation
community structure
•Changes in submergent aquatic
vegetation community structure and
abundance
•Reservoir operation at the
new FSL and at fluctuating
water levels
•Loss of emergent aquatic vegetation
•Loss of grassland vegetation
•Loss of locally rare/uncommon plant
populations
•Clearing and grubbing of
vegetation to prepare the
footprint of the structures
•Direct loss of shrubs and trees
(ferruginous hawk nesting habitat)
•Construction activity in
laydown areas, access roads,
and work pads
•Indirect loss of habitat through
disturbance and avoidance
Operation
•Reservoir operation at the
new FSL and at fluctuating
water levels
•Net increase in colonial nesting
waterbird habitat
•Loss of waterfowl nesting habitat in
grassland, emergent aquatic, and
wetland vegetation
•Loss of grassland nesting habitat for
burrowing owl, long-billed curlew,
Sprague’s pipit, and longspurs
Operation
•Increased surface area at FSL
El. 856.18 m
•Minor moderation of surface air
temperature within the microclimate
east of the LSA
•Annual fluctuation in water
levels
•Introduction of dust to the air as a result
of wind erosion in drawdown zone
Wildlife and Terrestrial
Habitat
Climate and Air
Quality
Construction
Navigable Waters
Operation
•Annual fluctuation in water
levels
•Changing navigational hazards due to
submerged topography
Current Use of Lands
and Resources
for Traditional and
Recreational purposes
Operation
•Construction of new PRA
•Improvement of PRA facilities
•Operation during construction
drawdown
•Change in fish catch rates for
commercial fishing during construction
drawdown
•Fluctuating water levels
•Navigational hazards affecting health
•Reservoir operation at the
new FSL
•Increases in mercury levels in fish over
the next 5 to 10 years
•Operation during construction
drawdown
•A severe flood could cause significant
impacts to the construction works as
well as the irrigation infrastructure and
downstream communities
Effects of the
Environment on the
Project
70
Construction
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
Appendix 5: Summary of Proposed Mitigation Measures
Project Phase |
Timing
Party
Responsible
The proponent will implement Erosion and Sediment (ESC) Control
measures found in the Erosion and Sediment Control Manual (Alberta
Transportation, 2011) prior to work and maintained during the work
phase until the site has been stabilized. The ESC measures will be
inspected regularly.
All project
phases
AT
2
The proponent will follow Standard AT construction practices which
include: topsoil will be salvage and stockpiling for re-use under nonfrozen and non-saturated soil conditions.
All project
phases
AT
3
The proponent will install the cofferdams and Enhancement Dyke 1, as
well as armouring of these structures and the Little Bow Reservoir Dam
face, during the periods when the reservoir is drawn down to El. 849 m.
All project
phases
AT
4
The proponent will install riprap armouring in the steeply sloped
shoreline areas in the vicinity of the new PRA.
All project
phases
AT
5
An evaluation of the need for armouring along the slope adjacent to the
south loop of campsites during development of the PRA (Area 2) will be
completed.
All project
phases
AT
6
Should the steeply sloped island (Area 3) adjacent to Borrow Area B
be included in borrow excavations; the proponent will ensure it is regraded to a more natural gradient, resilient to wind and wave erosion.
All project
phases
AT
7
The proponent will ensure ground water levels in wells located on
adjacent lands are not changed due to their activities and that the
groundwater quality in adjacent landowner wells is not changed due to
their activities.
All project
phases
AT
DFO
8
The proponent will apply fish habitat compensation measures to
mitigate any impacts to fish habitat that cannot be mitigated through
other identified measures.
All project
phases
AT
DFO
9
The proponent will follow the Alberta Transportation “Fish Habitat
Manual: Guidelines and Procedures for Watercourse Crossings in
Alberta (AT, 2009) for instream works, as well as any appropriate
measures contained within the Alberta Transportation Erosion and
Sediment Control Manual (AT, 2011) for terrestrial aspects of the project.
All project
phases
AT
10
The proponent will ensure grey water pumped from the isolated work
areas within Little Bow Reservoir will be directed into a silt curtain
contained area within the reservoir to settle on bottom in an area with
sand/silt substrates and no aquatic vegetation. If the grey water from
the isolated area is both high in volume and suspended sediments, it
will be pumped inland for release into a constructed sediment trap or
basin well away from the reservoir to infiltrate to ground.
Construction
AT
DFO
11
The proponent will ensure borrow areas are graded and compacted to
minimize the potential for erosion once construction of the Little Bow
Reservoir Dam is completed and no further borrow fill is required.
All project
phases
AT
12
The proponent will ensure access within the reservoir for installation of
riprap material on the dam face is controlled and confined to a minimum
area of the reservoir bottom to limit disturbance of fish habitat.
Construction
AT
DFO
No.
Commitment
1
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
71
Appendix 5: Summary of Proposed Mitigation Measures (cont'd)
Project Phase |
Timing
Party
Responsible
The proponent will ensure tracked or rubber-tired equipment, is
operated directly on the frozen bottom substrates, rather than
constructing work pads with fill material.
Construction
AT
14
The proponent will ensure installation of and removal of the cofferdams
upstream of the Travers outlet. Turbidity monitoring will be carried out
as per AT specifications and a silt curtain will be installed to prevent
suspended sediment from being distributed into the water body.
Construction
AT
15
The proponent will conduct a fish rescue operation in any areas where
fish may become stranded during drawdown of the reservoir fish will be
returned to the reservoir.
All project
phases
AT
DFO
16
The existing cattails, rushes and sedges will be left in place by the
proponent prior to inundation to provide seed stock for any such plants
that may take root after the FSL is raised; likewise for any sandbar
willow found in the existing riparian zone.
Construction
AT
17
The proponent will develop and grade borrow areas after use to ensure
positive drainage during periods of drawdown and to avoid entrapment
and stranding of fish.
Construction
AT
DFO
18
The proponent will monitor the drawdown process to identify areas of
potential concern with respect to fish stranding during all three years
that construction drawdown occurs.
Construction
AT
DFO
19
AT will enter into an agreement with the commercial fishery license
holders to suspend the harvest of lake whitefish during the three years
of construction drawdown.
Construction
AT
20
If required, the proponent will initiate supplemental aeration to maintain
dissolved oxygen concentrations in the drawn down reservoir if low
dissolved oxygen levels are measured to ensure the survival of fish
and other aquatic life during the winter.
Construction
AT
DFO
21
The proponent will modify all areas that may potentially result in fish
stranding within the annual drawdown zone to allow for either positive
drainage or complete isolation from the reservoir.
Operation
AT
DFO
22
The proponent will monitor drawdown during the first year of operation
during drawdown to the winter El. of 854.06 m to identify additional
areas where stranding of fish may occur.
Operation
AT
DFO
23
The proponent will provide wetland habitat compensation for all
wetland complexes that will be affected which are identified as Class II
or greater according to the Stewart and Kantrud system of classification
(1971) and as per the Federal Policy on Wetland Conservation.
All project
phases
AT
24
The proponent will include reclamation measures for grasslands such
as the re-establishment of northern and western wheatgrass within the
LSA following completion of construction activities (EC recommends
the amount of western wheatgrass in the seed mix be kept minimal,
10 to 15 percent).
25
The proponent will continue to maintain fences and control cattle
grazing to improve existing grassland areas.
No.
Commitment
13
72
AT
EC
All project
phases
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
AT
Appendix 5: Summary of Proposed Mitigation Measures (cont'd)
Project Phase |
Timing
Party
Responsible
Planting of sandbar willow will be carried out as per the conceptual
FHCP.
Operation
AT
DFO
EC
27
The proponent will attempt transplantation of rare plant and rare
ecological communities from within the zone of inundation in order to
offset the potential effect on the regional populations of these species.
Construction
AT
EC
28
Monitoring of transplanted rare plants will be conducted to determine
the success rate of mitigation.
29
The proponent will revegetate all disturbed areas above the new FSL
after disturbance using native grass seed mix to inhibit invasive species
introduction and spread.
All project
phases
AT
EC
30
Noxious and restricted weeds will be controlled by the proponent as
per the requirements of the Alberta Weed Control Act.
All project
phases
AT
31
The proponent will complete regular weed control until successful
revegetation has been achieved. The inspection of weed control will
follow the procedures and requirements of the Erosion and Sediment
Control Manual (AT, 2011).
All project
phases
AT
32
The proponent will conduct post-construction monitoring to ensure that
all mitigation, weed control, and revegetation of disturbed areas have
been implemented.
Operations
AT
33
Clearing and grubbing of wildlife habitat will be completed outside
of the breeding season (April 15th to July 31st) for breeding birds
protected under the Migratory Bird Convention Act and the Alberta
Wildlife Act.
Construction
AT
EC
34
If Sprague’s Pipits are nesting in this area, restricted activity dates of
May 1st to August 31st will be followed.
Construction
AT
EC
35
If limited clearing must take place during the nesting season, it will
be undertaken by qualified avian biologists or avian naturalists that
have expertise in identifying indicated nests as well as in identifying
behaviour indicative of nesting (i.e. aggressive or defensive behaviour,
carrying of nesting material, food or faecal sacs). Surveys should be
undertaken within seven days of clearing, with the results submitted to
EC for review.
Construction
AT
EC
36
Removal of structures such as the Little Bow Reservoir and Travers
Reservoir outlet structures where birds may be nesting will be
completed outside of the breeding season for those species.
Construction
AT
EC
37
The initial filling of the reservoir will be delayed until July 15 to avoid
inundation to avoid flooding of Sprague’s pipit nests.
Construction
AT
EC
38
The proponent will complete any grass mowing in the area to be
inundated outside of both the Sprague’s pipits nesting period of
May 1st to August 31st as well as the breeding season for migratory
birds of April 15th to July 31st. Therefore, the proponent needs to mow
the area before April 15th.
Construction
AT
EC
No.
Commitment
26
AT
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
73
Appendix 5: Summary of Proposed Mitigation Measures (cont'd)
Project Phase |
Timing
Party
Responsible
The proponent’s revegetation plan should include the replacement of
trees where ferruginous hawk nests have been active within the last
two years with nesting platforms.
Construction
AT
EC
40
The proponent will set speed limits (less than 60 km/hour) within the
active construction area and along new roads to reduce the likelihood
of wildlife/vehicle collisions.
Construction
AT
EC
41
The proponent should install metallic streamers to deter birds from
nesting along the shoreline.
Construction
AT
EC
42
Trees and shrubs will be replanted within the riparian area of the new
PRA. The Proponent should discuss the planting of trees and shrubs
with appropriate federal authorities.
Construction
AT
EC
43
The proponent will monitor revegetation of disturbed grassland, shrubs
and trees. A survey will be conducted in the second year following the
commencement of operation to assess the presence and habitat use of
wildlife. This will include conducting breeding bird surveys, observation
of colonial nesting waterbird presence, and general observation of
wildlife. The need for further monitoring or mitigation will be assessed
following the second year. If deemed necessary, the survey will be
repeated in the fifth year of operation.
Operations
AT
EC
44
The proponent will employ water spraying to tamp down disturbed
areas with high dust concentrations.
All project
phases
AT
45
The proponent will erect silt fencing or other structures to block wind in
areas of active excavation.
Construction
AT
46
Dust levels will be visually monitored on site during construction in
order to assess the need for additional measures to prevent topsoil
loss and protect workers.
Construction
AT
47
Signage will be posted at the public boat launch in the new PRA that
identifies the location of potential hazards. The sign will be easy to
interpret and clearly communicate that hazards may be present at
various water levels, necessitating user caution at all times, similar
to the existing navigational conditions. The sign should have a large
air photo overlaid with markings to show the location of the hazards
relative to the boat launch, with a legend explaining all markings. In
addition, the UTM or lat/long coordinates for specific hazards can be
provided below the map for recreational users that are interested in
programming the information into their navigational equipment.
Operation
AT
TC
48
Additional signage will be posted for construction activities and
potential short-term impediments or hazards.
Operation
AT
TC
49
The proponent will ensure all areas to be armoured with riprap such
as the dam slope, cofferdams, and areas prone to erosion will be at a
constant grade consistent with the specified design or natural shoreline
contour. The armouring will not project into the reservoir and, therefore,
will not represent a hazard to navigation.
All project
phases
AT
TC
No.
Commitment
39
74
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
Appendix 5: Summary of Proposed Mitigation Measures (cont'd)
Project Phase |
Timing
Party
Responsible
The proponent will ensure that buildings and other structures within
the portion of the existing PRA to be flooded will be removed and all
mature trees and shrubs in the same area will be cleared and the roots
removed, prior to inundation.
Construction
AT
TC
51
The proponent will construct the new Little Bow Reservoir PRA
structure in the dry, prior to raising the reservoir level to the new FSL.
Construction
AT
52
Access to the entire TLBR Connecting Canal will be eliminated by
installing safety booms across the inlet to Little Bow Reservoir and the
outlet at Travers Reservoir.
Operation
AT
TC
53
Should consumption advisories for some sport/subsistence fish species
that are caught be required the Government of Alberta will modify the
consumption limits for Little Bow Reservoir and surrounding water
bodies and tributaries and inform anglers of these changes.
Operation
AT
GOA
54
The proponent will report the discovery of any additional historical
resources (archaeological, paleontological, or Aboriginal traditional use
sites) that may be encountered during construction activities.
All project
phases
AT
GOA
55
The proponent will prepare and adhere to a Spill Prevention and
Response Plan (including provision for refuelling and servicing of
vehicles).
All project
phases
AT
56
The proponent will prepare and adhere to an Emergency Measures
Plan. The plan will include provisions to deal with any unexpected
failure or malfunction of a temporary containment system and a
procedure for manual activation of the auxiliary spillway to prevent
overtopping of the Little Bow Reservoir dam during construction.
All project
phases
AT
57
The follow-up program, which includes monitoring, will be carried out
(see Appendix 7).
Operations
AT
DFO
TC
EC
NRCan
No.
Commitment
50
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
75
Appendix 6: Summary of Concerns Raised by Aboriginal Groups
with Respect to the EA
Comment ID#
Group
Subject
Comment
1
Piikani Nation
•Heritage and
Archaeological
Resources
•Concerned about a Tipi Ring that was previously moved
on the Little Bow Basin.
2
Piikani Nation
•Surface Water
Quality
•Current Use of Lands
and Resources
•Concerned about loss of historically used Little Bow
[River] water for ceremonies.
3
Siksika Nation
•Surface Water
Quality
•Current Use of Lands
and Resources
•Concerned they can longer use the water from the
[Little Bow] river in their sweat lodges.
4
Siksika Nation
•Surface Water
Quality
•Current Use of Lands
and Resources
•Concerned that the children can no longer play in the
[Little Bow] river water, some experience skin irritation
and peeling after having been in the water.
•Unknown cause, concerned it could be related to the
Strathmore treatment plant and its effluent.
5
Siksika Nation
•Surface Water
Quality
•Current Use of Lands
and Resources
•Concerned traditional swimming holes [Little Bow River]
no longer exist due to reduced water levels/water quality.
6
Siksika Nation
•Surface Water
Quality
•Current Use of Lands
and Resources
•Concerned with fish deaths in Little Bow River.
76
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
Summary of Proponent Response
Agency Response
•The proponent confirmed that the Little Bow
Basin was not synonymous to the Little Bow
Reservoir.
•Agency confirmed that the ‘Little Bow Project’ (2004) created what
is now known as the Twin Valley Dam and Reservoir, approximately
50 km upstream on the Little Bow River from the project currently
under assessment.
•A joint Natural Resources Conservation Board (NRCB) and CEAA
Panel examined this as the ‘Highwood Storage and Diversion Project’
between 1998 and 2002.
•The potential impacts to surface water
quality within the Little Bow Reservoir were
assessed in the EIS, Section 8.
•Upstream impacts to the Little Bow River are outside the scope of this
environmental assessment; however this issue was forwarded
to DFO.
•Sections 7.4 and Appendices 3, 4, 5, and 7 outline the potential
effects, mitigation measures, environmental effects analysis,
commitments and follow-up measures related to surface water quality.
•The Agency is satisfied that the proponent has considered this
issue within the EIS and, taking into account the identified mitigation
measures, concludes that there will be no significant adverse
environmental effect associated with this activity.
•The potential impacts to surface water
quality within the Little Bow Reservoir
were assessed in the EIS, Section 8.
•Upstream impacts to the Little Bow River are outside the scope
of this environmental assessment.
•Sections 7.4 and Appendices 3, 4, 5, and 7 outline the potential
effects, mitigation measures, environmental effects analysis,
commitments and follow-up measures related to surface water quality.
•The Agency is satisfied that the proponent has considered this
issue within the EIS and, taking into account the identified mitigation
measures, concludes that there will be no significant adverse
environmental effect associated with this activity.
•The area of the Little Bow River near the
Strathmore treatment plan is not within the
scope of the environmental assessment and
is in fact upstream of the proposed project.
•The potential impacts to surface water
quality within the Little Bow Reservoir were
assessed in the EIS, Section 8. Impacts to
the Little Bow Provincial Recreation Area
were assessed in Section 17.
•Although this issue was not within the scope of the environmental
assessment, the Agency notes that the proponent’s assessment does
include an analysis of the swimming area located at the Little Bow
Reservoir Provincial Park however.
•Sections 7.4 and Appendices 3, 4, 5, and 7 outline the potential
effects, mitigation measures, environmental effects analysis,
commitments and follow-up measures related to surface water quality.
•Sections 7.12 and Appendices 3, 4, 5, and 7 outline the potential
effects, mitigation measures, environmental effects analysis,
commitments and follow-up measures related to recreational
use of lands.
•The potential impacts to surface water
quality within the Little Bow Reservoir were
assessed in the EIS, Section 8. Impacts to
the Little Bow Provincial Recreation Area
were assessed in Section 17.
•Although this issue was not within the scope of the environmental
assessment, the Agency notes that the proponent’s assessment does
include an analysis of the swimming area located at the Little Bow
Reservoir Provincial Park however.
•Sections 7.4 and Appendices 3, 4, 5, and 7 outlines the potential
effects, mitigation measures, environmental effects analysis,
commitments and follow-up measures related to surface water quality.
•Sections 7.12 and Appendices 3, 4, 5, and 7 outline the potential
effects, mitigation measures, environmental effects analysis,
commitments and follow-up measures related to recreational
use of lands.
•The potential impacts to surface water
quality within the Little Bow Reservoir were
assessed in the EIS, Section 8.
•Upstream impacts to the Little Bow River are outside the scope of this
environmental assessment; however DFO was notified of this issue.
DFO provided Siksika First Nation with their spill response number
should any additional dead fish in this or any other water body be
observed.
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
77
Appendix 6: Summary of Concerns Raised by Aboriginal Groups
with Respect to the EA (cont'd)
Comment ID#
Group
Subject
Comment
7
Metis Nation
of Alberta—
Region 3
•Wildlife and Wildlife
Habitat
•Concerned about the area of land that will be inundated
and how this will affect species at risk (including burrowing
owls and ferruginous hawks) and other wildlife species
(including red tailed deer, beaver, coyotes, fox, rabbits,
antelope and waterfowl.
8
Blood Tribe
•Current Use of Lands
and Resources
•Concerned about the relocation of traditional plants and
indicated that it is the Blood First Nations people that
should carry out that relocation as a form of mitigation.
9
Siksika Nation
•Current Use of Lands
and Resources
•Concerned that is has become very difficult to find their
medicinal plants in the Little Bow Reservoir area.
10
Siksika Nation
•Current Use of Lands
and Resources
•Concerned that during periods of drought possibly
exaggerated by the rehabilitation of the Little Bow
Reservoir that they will lose their license for irrigation water
under the “First in time, First in Right” Provincial policy.
11
Piikani Nation
•Current Use of
Lands for Traditional
Purposes
•Concerned that Project is a surrender of the tribe's territory
and that it is an erosion of land rights.
78
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
Summary of Proponent Response
Agency Response
•The potential impacts to wildlife and wildlife
habitat were assessed in Section 12 if
the EIS and associated Supplemental
Information Requests.
•Sections 7.8 and Appendices 3, 4, 5, and 7 outline the potential
effects, mitigation measures, environmental effects analysis,
commitments and follow-up measures related to wildlife and
wildlife habitat.
•The potential impacts to vegetation within
the Little Bow Reservoir were assessed in
the Section 11 of the EIS and associated
Supplemental Information Requests.
•Impacts to the current use of lands and
resources were assessed in Section 17
of the EIS.
•Sections 7.7 and Appendices 3, 4, 5, and 7 outline the potential
effects, mitigation measures, environmental effects analysis,
commitments and follow-up measures related to vegetation.
•Sections 7.12 and Appendices 3, 4, 5, and 7 outline the potential
effects, mitigation measures, environmental effects analysis,
commitments and follow-up measures related to current use
of lands and resources.
•The Agency is satisfied that the proponent has considered this
issue within the EIS and, taking into account the identified mitigation
measures, concludes that there will be no significant adverse
environmental effect associated with this activity.
•The potential impacts to vegetation within
the Little Bow Reservoir were assessed in
the EIS, Section 11. Impacts to the current
use of lands and resources were assessed
in Section 17.
•Sections 7.7 and Appendices 3, 4, 5, and 7 outline the potential
effects, mitigation measures, environmental effects analysis,
commitments and follow-up measures related to vegetation.
•Sections 7.12 and Appendices 3, 4, 5, and 7 outline the potential
effects, mitigation measures, environmental effects analysis,
commitments and follow-up measures related to current use
of lands and resources.
•The Agency is satisfied that the proponent has considered this
issue within the EIS and, taking into account the identified mitigation
measures, concludes that there will be no significant adverse
environmental effect associated with this activity.
•The proponent has indicated that, based on
•Sections 7.12 and Appendices 3, 4, 5, and 7 outline the potential
effects, mitigation measures, environmental effects analysis,
the water licenses allocated for the CBRH
system, no mitigation is required with respect commitments and follow-up measures related to current use
to reduced Bow River discharge downstream of lands and resources for traditional purposes.
of the CBRH system diversion.
•The Agency is satisfied that the proponent has considered this
•The proponent also confirmed with the
issue within the EIS and, taking into account the identified mitigation
measures, concludes that there will be no significant adverse
province that should the Siksika First Nation
wish to use their existing water license,
environmental effect associated with this activity.
the water will be made available to them
however, to date they have not exercised
their right to this water.
•The potential impacts to current and
traditional land use were assessed in the
EIS, Section 17.
•The environmental assessment process is not, in itself, a rights
determination process.
•However, with respect to current use and lands and resources
Sections 7.12 and Appendices 3, 4, 5, and 7 outline the potential
effects, mitigation measures, environmental effects analysis,
commitments and follow-up measures related to the current use of
lands and resources for traditional purposes.
•The Agency is satisfied that the proponent has considered this issue,
to the extent possible based on information provided by the Aboriginal
groups, within the EIS. Taking into account the identified mitigation
measures, the Agency concludes that there will be no significant
adverse environmental effect associated with this activity.
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
79
Appendix 6: Summary of Concerns Raised by Aboriginal Groups
with Respect to the EA (cont'd)
Comment ID#
Group
Subject
Comment
12
Siksika Nation
•Current Use of Lands
and Resources for
Traditional Purposes
•Concerned about the raising of water levels in the Little
Bow Reservoir.
13
•Piikani Nation •Current Use
•Siksika,
and Lands and
Nation
Resources for
•Metis
Traditional Purposes
Nation—
Region 3
•Concerned that site visit were not conducted.
14
Metis Nation—
Region 3
•Current Use of Lands
and Resources for
traditional purposes
•Concerned with harvesting in the area of Little Bow
Reservoir.
15
Metis Nation—
Region 3
•EA
•Concerned with lack of funding for EA review.
16
•Piikani Nation •EA
•Siksika
Nation
•Blood Tribe
•Concerned with lack of funding for EA review,
traditional use collection, and site visits.
17
Siksika Nation
Concerned with lack of proper consultation.
80
•EA
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
Summary of Proponent Response
Agency Response
•The details of increase in water levels are
presented the Executive Summary of the
EIS. The potential Impacts to current use of
lands and resources were assessed in the
EIS, Section 17.
•Sections 7.6 and Appendices 3, 4, 5, and 7 outline the potential
effects, mitigation measures, environmental effects analysis,
commitments and follow-up measures related to the aquatic
environment and include details on the impacts to the inundation
zone.
•Sections 7.12 and Appendices 3, 4, 5, and 7 outline the potential
effects, mitigation measures, environmental effects analysis,
commitments and follow-up measures related to the current use of
lands and resources.
•The Agency is satisfied that the proponent has considered this issue,
to the extent possible based on information provided by the Aboriginal
groups, within the EIS. Taking into account the identified mitigation
measures, the Agency concludes that there will be no significant
adverse environmental effect associated with this activity.
•The proponent has indicated that a Historical
Resources Impact Assessment (HRIA) was
conducted for the project.
•The proponent was not prepared to provide
funding to Aboriginal groups for the Little
Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation Project.
•Participant Funding was made available in 2010, but the only
application received was from Metis Nation—Region 3 who received
$4,000. No applications were received from these groups within the
application period.
•Sections 7.12 and Appendices 3, 4, 5, and 7 outline the potential
effects, mitigation measures, environmental effects analysis,
commitments and follow-up measures related to the current use of
lands and resources.
•The Agency is satisfied that the proponent has considered this issue,
to the extent possible based on information provided by the Aboriginal
groups, within the EIS. Taking into account the identified mitigation
measures, the Agency concludes that there will be no significant
adverse environmental effect associated with this activity.
•The potential impacts to current use of lands
and resources within were assessed in the
EIS, Section 17.
•Sections 7.12 and Appendices 3, 4, 5, and 7 outline the potential
effects, mitigation measures, environmental effects analysis,
commitments and follow-up measures related to the current use of
lands and resources.
•The Agency is satisfied that the proponent has considered this issue,
to the extent possible based on information provided by the Aboriginal
groups, within the EIS. Taking into account the identified mitigation
measures, the Agency concludes that there will be no significant
adverse environmental effect associated with this activity.
•The proponent was not prepared to provide
funding to Aboriginal groups for the Little
Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation Project.
•Metis Nation—Region 3 received up to $4,000 in Participant Funding
from the Agency in 2010.
•The proponent was not prepared to provide
funding to Aboriginal groups for the Little
Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation Project,
however was willing to conduct site visits if
the groups were prepared to attend.
•Metis First Nation—Region 3 attended such
a site visit.
•Participant Funding was made available in 2010, but the only
application received was from Metis Nation—Region 3 who received
$4,000. Participant funding is available to be used by groups for such
activities as site visits.
•No applications were received from these groups within the application
period.
•The proponent indicated on numerous
occasions that it was willing to consult and/
or provide a site visit, however was not
prepared to provide funding to Aboriginal
groups for the Little Bow Reservoir
Rehabilitation Project.
•The Agency met, in person, with Siksika Nation in February 2012
and attempted to arrange a site visit and/or meetings on numerous
other occasions. Siksika Nation was provided with all relevant
environmental assessment documentation and an opportunity to
comment on this draft Comprehensive Study Report.
•Participant Funding was made available in 2010. No application was
received from Siksika Nation.
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
81
Appendix 7: Focus of the Follow-Up Program
Element
Objectives and Requirements
Frequency and Duration*
Responsible
Department
Revegetation of
disturbed areas
•Monitoring to ensure the revegetation of
disturbed areas and survival of plantings
•Post-construction
DFO
•Implement corrective measures
depending on the results of the follow-up
•Based on 2nd year results,
determination will be made for
further mitigation and/or monitoring
DFO
•Invasive plant control
•Applied until successful
revegetation has been completed
EC
•Monitoring of transplanted rare plants to
determine success rate of mitigation
•Conducted in July for the first 2 years
of operation to assess survival
EC
•Implement corrective measures
depending on the results of the follow-up
•Thresholds at which corrective measures
are required should be implemented
should be established in conjunction with
the relevant federal department(s)
•Based on 2nd year results,
determination will be made
for further mitigation and/or
monitoring
EC
•Survey to assess the presence and
habitat use of wildlife, including breeding
bird surveys, observation of colonial
nesting waterbird presence
•To be conducted in the
2nd year following operation
commencement.
EC
•Implement corrective measures
depending on the results of the follow-up
•Based on results, determination
will be made for further mitigation
and/or monitoring to be carried out
in 5th year following construction
EC
Weed control
and rare plant
replacement
Terrestrial
wildlife
•Thresholds at which corrective measures
are required should be implemented
should be established in conjunction with
the relevant federal department(s)
Fish habitat
(compensation
works)
Surface water
quality
82
•Confirm the integrity and effectiveness of
the compensation works outlined in the
Fish Habitat Compensation Plan (FHCP)
EC
•As specified in the Fish Habitat
Compensation Plan
DFO
•Implement corrective measures
depending on the results of the follow-up
DFO
•Thresholds at which corrective measures
are required should be implemented
should be established in conjunction with
the relevant federal department(s)
DFO
•Reservoir turbidity monitoring
•Daily to weekly during construction
(depending on activities)
DFO
•Monitor to determine the extent and
severity of erosion along the new
shoreline at FSL and within the reservoir
drawdown zone
•During first 2 years of operation
DFO
•Monitor dissolved oxygen concentrations
in drawn down reservoir during winter
construction & mitigate as necessary to
ensure aquatic life survival
•During the 3 years when the Little
Bow Reservoir is drawn down for
construction during the winter
DFO
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
Appendix 7: Focus of the Follow-Up Program (cont'd)
Responsible
Department
Element
Objectives and Requirements
Frequency and Duration*
Groundwater
•Monitor for changes in groundwater
levels in response to Project to confirm
conclusions on residual groundwater
effects
•To be determined in discussion
with proponent
NRCan
Aquatic life
(including fish)
•Monitoring will be conducted to validate
the implementation of mitigation
measures to minimize impacts to aquatic
habitat
•During construction phase
DFO
•Monitoring to validate the assessment of
residual impacts to aquatic habitat
•During 2nd year of operations.
Based on results, determination
will be made to repeat monitoring
in 5th year following construction
DFO
•Monitor draw down process to ensure
avoidance of fish stranding
•During the 3 years construction
drawdown occurs and during first
year of operation when winter
drawdown to 854.06m El. occurs
DFO
•Monitoring of mercury concentrations in
the water and in fish tissue
•Periodically during construction
and annually during operation
EC
Mercury
monitoring
Navigation
Safety
•Implement corrective measures
depending on the results of the follow-up
EC
•Thresholds at which corrective measures
are required should be implemented
should be established in conjunction with
the relevant federal department(s)
EC
•Provide bathymetric signage of the Little
Bow Reservoir at launch facilities
•During construction and for the life
of the project
TC
•Indicate locations on map of potential
submerged islands/hazards
TC
•Indicate locations on map showing nonnavigable areas (Travers Reservoir DamLittle Bow Reservoir connecting Canal)
TC
•A floating safety boom and signage shall
be placed and maintained at the entrance
to and outlet of the Travers Reservoir
Dam-Little Bow Reservoir connecting
canal during all open water periods
as per specifications outlined in the
Canadian Dam Association guidelines
TC
*Depending on the results, the proponent may extend the duration
CEAA—Comprehensive Study Report: Little Bow Reservoir Rehabilitation and Upgrading Project
83
Was this manual useful for you? yes no
Thank you for your participation!

* Your assessment is very important for improving the work of artificial intelligence, which forms the content of this project

Download PDF

advertisement