Overview

Alberta has several fish species in population decline:

  • Arctic Grayling
  • Athabasca Rainbow Trout
  • Bull Trout
  • Westslope Cutthroat Trout

These fish are particularly sensitive to habitat fragmentation caused by poorly constructed watercourse crossings.

The goal of the Watercourse Crossing Program (WCP) is to address threats to fish survival stemming from poorly constructed and maintained watercourse crossings that cause habitat fragmentation, erosion and sedimentation. The magnitude of the fish habitat restoration challenge is considerable, with thousands of crossings across the province, spanning multiple industrial sectors and regulatory authorities. The regulators work with crossing owners to identify and prioritize remedial needs while providing crossing owners the flexibility needed to focus remediation efforts on priority crossings.

The Roadway Watercourse Crossings Remediation Directive outlines a strategy for a collaborative watershed-based approach to inspections and remediation of non-compliant crossings. It is a new regulatory strategy to identify and commence remedial watercourse crossing work to provide fish passage and regulatory compliance.

Alberta Watercourse Crossing Inventory App

The WCP created the Alberta Watercourse Crossing Inventory App (ABWCI) to:

  • collect data measuring the extent of the watercourse crossing problem
  • address and support watercourse crossing remediation efforts

This mobile app supports a data management system by capturing the location and condition of crossings from multiple users such as:

  • general public
  • industry
  • recreationalists
  • roadway owners and regulators

The ABWCI app is available for download on your iPhone or Android for free. You can submit information on the app by taking pictures and recording information about the watercourse crossing. To get started using the ABWCI app, please consult the following resource:

Videos: ABWCI App tutorials

Watercourse crossing legislation overview

The Watercourse Crossing Program covers all crossing owners in the province. Watercourse crossings are subject to regulatory requirements under:

  • Water Act
  • Public Lands Act
  • Code of Practice for Watercourse Crossings
  • Respective authorizations for all relevant legislation

This is not an exhaustive list of all legislation and crossing owners must comply with all provincial and federal statutes applicable to their watercourse crossings.

The legislation requires crossing owners to monitor and report crossings that contravene the acts. Participation in the WCP requires:

  • complete inspections on all crossings within each Hydrologic Unit Code (HUC) 8 watershed provincially
  • submission of inspection data to the regulator to coordinate remediation planning at a watershed scale

HUC 8 watersheds can be found in priority order in the WCP info package.

Email aep.wccrossing@gov.ab.ca for the package.

Resources

Legislation

Provincial

The guiding legislation for the WCP includes:

Federal

Contact

Connect with the Alberta Watercourse Crossing Program:

Phone: 780-427-2711
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Email: aep.wccrossing@gov.ab.ca
Email (Alberta Energy Regulator): aer.wcc@aer.ca