AbWCI App transition to Survey123
The Alberta Watercourse Crossing Inventory (AbWCI) App has now transitioned to Survey123. Learn more.
The watercourse crossing program aims to repair and upgrade water crossings along roads, rails and trails to reduce their impact on fish habitats and water quality.
Alberta is home to over 60 species of fish, including native Arctic grayling, Athabasca rainbow trout, bull trout and Westslope cutthroat trout. These species require cold, clean, clear and connected water to survive, and are now experiencing severe declines in population size and distribution, in part due to habitat fragmentation and declines in water quality.
Historical road building practices did not consider all the possible environmental impacts. Now the magnitude of the fish habitat restoration challenge is considerable, with thousands of crossings across the province spanning multiple industrial sectors and regulatory authorities.
Provincial and federal regulators work with crossing owners and stewardship groups to identify and prioritize crossings that maximize ecological outcomes. These regulators include:
- Ministry of Environment and Protected Areas (EPA)
- Alberta Energy Regulator (AER)
- Ministry of Forestry and Parks (FP)
- Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO)
Watercourse Crossing Management Directive
The Watercourse Crossing Management Directive is a voluntary program that enables crossing owners to inspect and report on the state of crossings on their properties. The directive will guide the development of a remediation plan, as needed.
Crossing owners that don’t participate in this voluntary program are subject to inspections by the appropriate regulator and may face enforcement actions by the appropriate regulator if their crossing does not comply with current legislation.
To comply with the directive, crossing owners must:
Crossing owners must have an inspection program for the watercourse crossings that they own. These inspections are subject to audit from the appropriate regulator. The following data must be collected annually for each watercourse:
- crossing location and crossing type
- structure sizing
- fish passage
- water quality (erosion or sedimentation)
- presence of barriers
- any structural issues of the crossing itself that contribute to the potential failure of the crossing
Watercourse crossing inspection data must be submitted to the applicable regulator by November 30 each year.
Crossing owners must submit a plan to address non-compliant crossings by end of March (of the year following their reporting).
Are you a crossing owner? Find more information about the program, and priority watersheds in the Alberta Watercourse Crossing Owner Information Package.
Watershed-based collaboration for priority remediation
Data and maps
The Watercourse Crossing Program compiles watercourse crossing data and mapping products.
Access the Watercourse Crossing External Map.
If you are a staff, regulator, or member of the directive and you would like to request access to the map, email us.
The AbWCI App has transitioned to a new platform, ArcGIS Survey123 (by Alberta Geospatial Services). You can easily download the new app and start adding watercourse crossings.
Learn more about how to download and use the app.
Municipal grant program
Dedicated remediation funding for municipalities
The Government of Alberta established the Watercourse Crossing Remediation Grant Program in 2021 to provide financial and planning assistance to municipalities to remediate and reclaim roadway crossings that are causing erosion, excessive sedimentation and fragmentation of fish habitat in Alberta. The program will fund $11.5 million of projects between 2021 and 2025.
- $1.5M in 2021-2022
- $4M in 2022-2023
- $3M in 2023-2024
- $3M in 2024-2025
The grant application guide outlines how qualified municipalities can apply for funding. The application deadline for 2023-24 funding closed on October 15, 2023. Applications will be accepted from July 2024 through to October 15, 2024 at 11:59 PM MST for 2024-25 funding.
Download the grant application guide and form.
Provincial and Federal legislation guides for the Watercourse Crossing Program.
- Code of Practice for Watercourse Crossings
- Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act
- Fisheries (Alberta) Act
- Public Lands Act
- Roadway Watercourse Crossing Inspection Manual
- Watercourse Crossings Management Directive
- Water Act
- Fisheries Act
- Species at Risk Act
Connect with the Alberta WCP: