Saturday, June 30, 2012

Today along the Bow River - June 2012

Train, on the way to McKinnon Flats.  Photo, Copyright Bow River Shuttles All Rights Reserved 2012

The deck on the train track overpass, near Indus on the way to McKinnon Flats, is under repair until August 15. Traffic lights have been installed at both ends.  This train came by while we were waiting for our green light during one of shuttle runs a week ago. 

For Bow River conditions and weather forecast, click on this link:

Traffic Control Trout

All photos, Courtesy John Ostram



Local photographer John Ostram has been out photographing the traffic signal boxes.

"The City of Calgary has started a program to help with the 'Graffiti problem'. Artists are being invited to paint Traffic control etc. boxes. This should help prevent 'tagging', which all real Graffiti Artists dislike. These boxes are convenient targets for these guys. This program will continue this year, so all you real artists out there, check it out."  - John Ostram, Calgary photographer.

Fisheries Minister promoting ‘flexibility’ for water pollution

Changes to the Fisheries Act will give the government more options to allow industries to pollute fish habitats.
Photograph by: Handout , Marine Harvest Canada

Fisheries Minister promoting ‘flexibility’ for water pollution

Digital Journal
June 29 2012

Vancouver - Canadian Federal Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield has created controversy and drawn harsh criticism from environmental advocates over statements in a letter recently released where he promotes options allowing the industry to contaminate fish habitats.

On March 31, Ted Hindmarch, President of “Nature Alberta”, formerly the Federation of Alberta Naturalists, wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper in connection with the announced amendments to the Fisheries Act. The letter was referred to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) Keith Ashfield who replied on June 13.

In his reply, Mr. Ashfield discusses the proposed amendments to the Fisheries Act included in Bill C-38, the “Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act”, which was tabled in the House of Commons on April 26, 2012. The amendments, says Mr. Ashfield, aim to support Fisheries and Oceans Canada's focus on protection efforts for fish that support fisheries relevant to Canadians and the threats to those fisheries.

Further down in his reply the Honourable Keith Ashfield refers to the pollution prevention provisions contained in Section 36 of the Fisheries Act and acknowledges that those provisions have played a decisive role in preventing pollution of Canadian waters and that they remain very valuable. However, in the same paragraph he adds the following:

“There are currently few tools to authorize pollution other than by detailed regulations. For example, the amended Fisheries Act will provide flexibility and establish new tools to authorize deposits of deleterious substances.”

“Nature Alberta”, the former DFO Minister Thomas Siddon, and organizations concerned about the quality of the environment, have expressed uneasiness about such statement from the minister. The interpretation is that Ashfield suggests the existing Fisheries Act should be changed since it doesn't provide enough options allowing industry to disrupt or contaminate fish habitats and that more flexibility and new tools are needed to approve pollution of water courses. Allowing or facilitating fish habitat pollution goes against the Minister’s constitutional mandate and responsibility.

The proposed amendments to the Fisheries Act include removing existing controls prohibiting pollution or harm to fish habitat and replacing those with new requisites to prevent "serious harm" to specific fisheries. Other changes would eliminate the need for environmental assessment of new projects, weaken protection measures for species at risk and limit public involvement in environmental reviews of industrial projects, reports Canada.com.

According to The Vancouver Sun, Ashfield has declined a request to explain his remarks. He relayed the queries to staff in his Department which in turn is passing on the questions to Environment Canada. The Sun reports that no one in Environment Canada was available to provide a comment.

LINK to original story, which contains useful links

Related Story:

Budget offers new tools to "authorize" water pollution, says Harper minister

By Mike De Souza,
Vancouver Sun
Postmedia News
June 25, 2012

Looking back along the Bow River - Season 2011

Photo, Copyright Bow River Shuttles All Rights Reserved 2012

Friday, June 29, 2012

Today along the Bow River - June 2012

Keeping one eye on the country music station. Photo, Copryright Bow River Shuttles 2012

For Bow River conditions and weather forecast, click on this link:

Frog Fest:: Dance with the amphibians (June 29-July 01)



Frog Fest got its start in 2005 at a community hall in Ogden. But like all frogs, it has seen some dramatic transformations in its life cycle. The three-day fest is now held under the stars and this year features Cowpuncher, LaserCake and No River.

Friday, June 29 to Sunday, July 1. Near Rocky Mountain House, Alta. $60. frogfest.ca.

Federal government slammed for 'gutting' fisheries protection program

Green party leader Elizabeth May says Fisheries Act 
changes are "an ideological targeting of science 
and especially fisheries science."
Photograph by : Herald Archive, Reuters


Ottawa 'gutting' fisheries programs

Biologist warns of increased environmental damage risk

Peter O'Neil, Calgary Herald
Published: Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Harper government has announced major cuts to its fisheries habitat-protection program, prompting a retired federal biologist to warn Wednesday of a dramatic increase in the risk of environmental damage.

The cuts coincide with Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield's launch of a public consultation process seeking input on how Canadian fisheries should be managed.

The announcement was mocked by government critics who predicted that Canadians will react cynically to being asked for their input long after the decision was made to make sweeping fisheries policy changes.

Retired federal fisheries biologist Otto Langer painted a grim picture of the effect of the job cuts on the environment.

"This puts (the department) back where it was in the early 1980s" in terms of staff and offices, Langer wrote in an e-mail.

In the West, B.C. is facing a wave of new industrial projects, including Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline, new gas lines and gas liquefaction plans, the New Prosperity gold mine, the Site C dam project on the Peace River, and the Roberts Bank port expansion.

"Never in the past 50-year history of habitat protection have we seen such great cuts in staff in the face of upcoming massive industrial development that can and will harm habitat and our fisheries of the future."

Ashfield, who has dismissed warnings that the Fisheries Act changes are intended to help industrial projects, said he now wants advice from the public.

NOTE: All bolding is ours

Alberta Alpine



Fly fishing in the Alpine Region of Alberta for Big Brook & Rainbow Trout

Looking back along the Bow River - Season 2011

This photo is a bit off-kilter, just like the old barn. On the way to Legacy Island.  
Photo, Copyright © Bow River Shuttles All Rights Reserved 2012

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Today along the Bow River - June 2012

Wild roses at Carseland.  Photo, Copyright Bow River Shuttles All Rights Reserved 2012

The few shuttle runs we managed to squeeze in last week gave us a chance to see all the flowers that had bloomed during our absence over the previous couple of weeks, due to high water. Especially noticeable were the wild roses, particularly around McKinnon Flats and Johnson's Island at Carseland.

For Bow River conditions and weather forecast, click on:

Flood watches lifted; sunny days ahead

Click on chart for larger image

Flood watches lifted;sunny days ahead

Rainfall levels a lot less than expected

"About half of the mountain's snow pack has melted, ... with the remaining melt expected to come at a controlled pace until mid-July."

Eva Ferguson,
Calgary Herald
Thursday, June 28, 2012

Southern Albertans can enjoy a welcome respite from flood worries over the next week as weather forecasters are calling for warm temperatures and clear, sunny skies.

River levels in and around Calgary stabilized Wednesday, with city water services confirming the Elbow River has peaked and is on its way down.

Most of the city pathways that were closed because of flooding are expected to reopen over the next two days.

Even though the weather will get warmer, Environment Canada says temperatures in the mountains are still cool enough that melting from this winter's record snowfall won't be too rapid.

"With temperatures in the mid20s, we will only see temperatures in the teens in the mountains," said meteorologist Brian Stifora, explaining that won't be enough for a fast melt.

"We're finally getting that upper ridge that's going to stabilize our weather for a while."

Click directly on chart for larger image

Melting snow raises water levels



Kevin Fleming reports on the melting snow

Looking back along the Bow River - Season 2011

Michelle chatting with shuttle clients.  Photo, Copyright Bow River Shuttles All Rights Reserved 2012

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Today along the Bow River - June 2012

Photo, Copyright Bow River Shuttles All Rights Reserved 2012

During a shuttle run a few days ago, just before the Bow River blew out again, we noticed an eagle feasting on some kind of 'river kill' that was tangled up in the mid-stream 'wood'. A magpie was helping out.


For Bow River conditions and weather forecast, click on this link:

The Greenland Northerns



Northern Pike on the fly from Homewaters Fly Fishing.

Revelstoke Dam Opens it's spillway!



In case you have not yet had your fill of 'water' here in soggy Calgary, here's an opportunity to watch some more. :-)

imagineParks... What do you see?




Are you a fly fisher who also appreciates City of Calgary parks?  If so, read on.

imagineParks Survey

The City of Calgary is creating a visionary 30-year plan for a sustainable, efficient and effective open space system. It will serve as the foundation for future City of Calgary Parks 10-year strategic plans and three-year business plans.

A fundamental step in developing this long-term plan is capturing the input of Calgarians and key stakeholders on what kind of parks and open spaces you want and envision by year 2040.

Engagement begins in May and runs through June. Parks is gathering input via: internal and external stakeholder workshops, a dedicated project web site, focus groups with citizens, telephone and online surveys and 3-1-1. The online survey will be available from June 13 to July 9.


Looking back along the Bow River - Season 2011

Photo, Copyright Bow River Shuttles All Rights Reserved 2012

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Today along the Bow River - June 2012

Mr & Mrs Duck playing it safe in the giant eddy that is normally the 22X/Fish Creek Park boat ramp. Photo, Copyright Bow River Shuttles All Rights Reserved 2012

For Bow River conditions and weather forecast, click on this link:

Canadian Water Summit (Calgary) June 28 2012



Canadian Water Summit

June 28 2012 Calgary

Since 2009, the Canadian Water Summit has served as a collaborative forum for leaders from diverse sectors to share insights and further a united mission: to build a sustainable water future for Canada.

The Water-Food-Energy Nexus: Strategies for Competitiveness

The 2012 Canadian Water Summit, hosted in Calgary, Alberta, will present opportunities for Canada to show its leadership within and across the energy, agricultural and municipal sectors.

As access to affordable and reliable supplies of water becomes a growing concern for the Canadian economy, the Summit will provide a timely window into innovation and smart water management opportunities that will drive competitiveness.


Looking back along the Bow River - Season 2011

Photo, Copyright Bow River Shuttles All Rights Reserved 2012.  
Click directly on photo for larger image.

Monday, June 25, 2012

How high's the water mama?

Fish Creek/22X boat ramp at 8:00 pm this evening.  
All photos, Copyright Bow River Shuttles All Rights Reserved 2012

Special thanks to Ted Horechka (Rainbow & Brown Fly Fishing Float Trips) for a phone call regarding the conditions at Policeman's Flats.  Please see our photos of Police below. 

Monday June 25 2012 at 8:00 pm

Streamflow Advisory Overview for Alberta

Advisories apply to streams and their tributaries unless otherwise noted.

• Saturday evening an intense band of thunderstorms along the foothills brought between 30 and 65 mm of precipitation to an area from Calgary down to Pincher Creek.

• Water levels in the smaller tributaries in this area have risen and are falling slowly while the larger rivers downstream are still rising in response.

• An upper cold low is expected to influence the province starting on Tuesday. Forecast amounts currently range from between 40 to 80 mm, over south and central portions of the province.

• River conditions are being monitored and updates will be issued as required.

Policeman's Flats boat ramp at 8:30 pm this evening.

The Bow River at Calgary has increased 39 cms over the past 24 hours.

The Bow River at Banff has increased 10 cms over the past 24 hours.

A High Streamflow Advisory remains in effect for the Bow River and its tributaries upstream of Calgary

A High Streamflow Advisory has been issued for the Bow River downstream of and including the City of Calgary

Bow River at Banff: 276 cms (up from 266 cms)
Bow River at Calgary: 449 cms (up from 410 cms)
Bow River below Carseland Dam: 858 cms (down from 873 cms)

Elbow River below Glenmore dam: 150 cms (up from 101 cms)
Fish Creek: 12 cms (down from 32 cms)
Sheep River: 60 cms (down from 104 cms)
Highwood River near the mouth: 283 cms (down from 506 cms)

Policeman's Flats parking lot at 8:30 pm this evening.

Wet Weather

After stormy weather in parts of southern Alberta Monday night, wet weather comes in on Tuesday. Rainfall amounts of about 20 mm are possible in Calgary, with even higher amounts NE of the city. The heaviest rain accumulations are likely to occur in a line from Drumheller to Lloydminster. Totals there could amount to 30 to 40 mm by early Wednesday morning.

On Wednesday, the sky will begin to clear, and sunnier, drier weather can be expected to the weekend.

CTV Calgary Weather: David Spence - Updated: Mon Jun. 25 2012 19:18:52

Bow River at Policeman's Flats at 8:30 pm this evening.

Policeman's Flats parking lot at 8:30 pm this evening.

A Silver Lining?

If Stewart Rood (University of Lethbridge) has anything to do with it, there may be a silver lining in the cloud of the recent Red Deer River oil spill.

According to the Calgary Herald, Steward spent last week in an inflatable zodiac boat on the Red Deer River with a team of U of L environmental science researchers looking for signs of oil. Rood says “his team’s research will try to determine effect of oil spills and turn it into a set of quidelines for developing oil pipelines around waterways”. He notes that “river crossings are especially prone to pipeline breaks”.

We’re reminded of the pipeline break that occurred in early July last year on the Yellowstone River. River scouring was suspected of causing that rupture as well.

Premier Redford is on record as saying that “she’s not opposed to a broader review of pipeline integrity.”

We hope all of this can happen before we experience something similar in the Bow River watershed.

Alberta environment minister Diana Mcqueen (left) and Premier Alison Redford visit the site of the oil spill at Gleniffer Lake on June 8. Redford says she's not opposed to a broader review of pipeline integrity once the investigation into recent leaks is complete. Photo, Dean Bicknell, Postmedia News   

Teams work to clean up Red Deer River oil spill

By Colette Derworiz and Stephen Ewart,
Calgary Herald
June 25, 2012

Stewart Rood has spent much of the past week in an inflatable zodiac boat with a team of University of Lethbridge environmental science researchers scouring the Red Deer River and its swollen tributaries looking for signs of oil.

In the days since a pipeline rupture spilled as much as 480,000 litres of sour crude oil into the important central Alberta river system, teams have been working to clean up the spill, but also to gain insight into how oil spills impact fresh water.

Rood didn’t know what to expect when he arrived at the waterway that supplies drinking water to close to 90,000 people. He had heard the June 8 spill by Plains Midstream described as everything from catastrophic to minor.

“You see very little impact from the spill,” said Rood. “It’s a fairly small spill on a fairly large river . . . you actually only rarely find small pools of oil.”

The pipeline rupture into the river system cutting through farm and vacation country northwest of Calgary near Sundre coincided with spring rains and early flows from the mountains to the west. The result left what Rood describes as a “bathtub ring” of oil deposits on shoreline plants.

“Everyone is hopeful the Red Deer River will recover to the point that we will not see any consequence of the spill,” Rood said, noting his team’s research will try to determine effects of oil spills and turn it into a set of guidelines for developing oil pipelines around waterways.

“River crossings are especially prone to pipeline breaks,” he said.

In the aftermath of three pipeline spills in Alberta, environmentalists are calling for a major review of pipeline safety in the province. The Alberta-based environmental group The Pembina Institute contends it’s enough to call the first major review of the integrity of Alberta’s extensive pipeline network in seven years.

Looking back along the Bow River - Season 2011

Photo, Copyright © Bow River Shuttles All Rights Reserved 2012

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Back to Square One

Click directly on graph for larger image

For just a few days late last week, the colour green was making itself known along the lower Bow River, from the city of Calgary, right on through to McKinnon Flats and Carseland.

However, the rain "showers" over the past 24 to 48 hours, have taken us all the way back to square one.

Sunday June 24 2012 at 8:00 pm

The Bow River at Calgary has increased 120 cms over the past 24 hours.

The Bow River at Banff has increased 45 cms over the past 24 hours.

A High Streamflow Advisory remains in effect for the Bow River upstream of and including the Town of Canmore

The flow rate in the tributaries has spiked significantly over the past 24 hours.

Bow River at Banff: 266 cms (up from 221 cms)
Bow River at Calgary: 410 cms (up from 293 cms)
Bow River below Carseland Dam: 873 cms (up from 395 cms)

Elbow River below Glenmore dam: 101 cms (up from 57 cms)
Fish Creek: 32 cms (up from 14 cms)
Sheep River: 104 cms (up from 63 cms)
Highwood River near the mouth: 506 cms (up from 138 cms)

Mon.: bit of a break

An Env. Can. severe t-storm watch continues into this eve. for much of Cent. and S.E. Alta. (not incl. Calgary). With clearing skies tonight, a few fog patches could develop by morning. Tomorrow will be a more pleasant day, with just the chance of an aft. sprinkle, more likely toward the foothills. Tue. we can expect rain and wind to develop in the A.M. and continue until Tue. night. Finally, a stretch of dry, milder weather looks set to begin mid-week. Hooray!

CTV Calgary Weather: S Rothfels - Updated: Sun Jun. 24 2012 16:59:55


Click directly on graph for larger image

Sharing our Rivers



Sharing Our Rivers: How Albertans Can Maintain Healthy Rivers, Communities and Economies

Water Matters Society of Alberta
By William F. Donahue and Julia Ko
MAY 29, 2012

With declining freshwater supplies and increasing demands for water use, Alberta requires creative solutions to deal with growing water allocation issues to reach all of the Water for Life goals that will benefit Albertans now and in the future. 

This is one of a series of briefs we have prepared to explain why healthy rivers are needed for a sustainable water future, but also to show we have the ability to manage, maintain, and restore healthy rivers for our future.  

Sharing Our Rivers: How Albertans Can Maintain Healthy Rivers, Communities and Economies highlights the critical need for science-based assessments of river health and decision-making in water management to meet the goals in Alberta’s Water For Life Strategy.

 Read more here

Looking back along the Bow River - Season 2011

We encounter freight trains on a regular basis, at a level crossing on the road to McKinnon Flats.  
Photo, Copyright Bow River Shuttles All Rights Reserved 2012

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Today along the Bow River - June 2012

Overcast today, +18C, but no rain  until late afternoon. Photo, Copyright © Bow River Shuttles 2012

Saturday June 23 2012 at 8:00 pm

The Bow River at Calgary has been steady over the past 96 hours.

The Bow River at Banff has increased 30 cms over the past 24 hours.

A High Streamflow Advisory remains in effect for the Bow River upstream of and including the Town of Canmore

The flow rate in the tributaries has increased significantly over the past 24 hours.

Bow River at Banff: 221 cms
Bow River at Calgary: 293 cms
Elbow River below Glenmore dam: 57 cms
Fish Creek: 14 cms
Highwood River near the mouth: 138 cms

Total Bow River flow below Highwood: 502 cms

Sun.: some P.M. sun?

An Env. Can. severe t-storm watch remains in effect for extreme S. Alta. (not incl. Calgary) into this eve. We'll see the wet weather continuing into tomorrow morning, with the heaviest amounts in the mountains and foothills. Sunny periods will develop tomorrow aft., and dry weather should prevail until Tue. eve. Watch out for another good dose of rain for mid-week - all this rain will continue to keep river levels high, so be careful if you'll be in such areas.

CTV Calgary Weather: S Rothfels - Updated: Sat Jun. 23 2012 16:51:48

Today along the Bow River - June 2012

Michelle getting "the shot".  

Photos, Copyright Bow River Shuttles All Rights Reserved 2012

 "The Shot" #1. 
The duckling followed its mother into the drink and quickly changed its mind.  
Here, it's struggling to re-join its mates.

"The Shot" #2

Can one of our readers tell me what breed of duck this is? Thank you. Michelle

Fly Casting From a Drift Boat

Fly Casting From a Drift Boat

by Philip Monahan

illustrations by Marshall Cutchin

Question: My husband and I are heading west this summer to float the Madison. We’ve only fished out of a drift boat once before, and we kept tangling lines. How can I avoid that — and the ensuing glares from the old man — on this trip?

Sheila C., Bethesda, Maryland

Answer: When I used to row a drift boat on the Yellowstone, I witnessed many examples of the marital discord you describe. For some reason, husbands always assume that the wife is the problem. I wonder why that is?

When there are two people fishing from a drift boat, there are usually two main problems: tangling lines and the front angler cutting off the rear angler’s casting lane. Here are some easy solutions:

The most surefire way to avoid tangles during casting is abstinence: don’t cast at the same time. Since the front angler usually has his back to his companion, it makes sense for the rear angler to be in charge of holding his cast until the front angler’s line is on the water. This requires a certain amount of forbearance, especially when you’re focused on rising fish or particularly good trout lies. Problems arise when the front angler wants to recast quickly after laying down his line or is inconsistent in the timing of his casts.



It makes more sense, then, to use casting angles to avoid tangles. If both anglers cast at similar angles to the centerline of the boat, their casting paths will not intersect, making tangles nigh impossible. Again, however, this assumes that neither caster is going to alter the angle based on what’s happening on the water. (Something that invariably happens once in awhile.) In general, both anglers should cast between 60 and 45 degrees to the centerline. If the front angler casts too far downstream or the rear angler starts casting directly at the bank (or even upstream), disaster is imminent. Not coincidentally, correct casting angles also protect the guy rowing the boat.

Another reason for the front angler to keep his casts downstream from the boat is to avoid cutting off the rear angler’s path to the bank. If the boat is moving faster than the current, the front angler must pick up his fly before it enters the rear angler’s lane. It can be very frustrating to sit in the back of a drift boat and have nowhere to cast because your partner’s line and fly are in the way. To help himself in this situation, the rear angler can open up more water and extend his drifts by making reach casts that end with his rod tip upstream of the boat.

These are general rules that will work in most situations where the boat is in motion and parallel to the bank, but your best bet is to listen to your guide. He knows where you should cast, and he wants to avoid tangles, as well. Plus, he doesn’t want to be beaned by a split shot or impaled by a size 4 Sofa Pillow.
MidCurrent Fly Fishing

Phil Monahan is a former Alaskan guide and was the long-time editor of American Angler magazine. He's now a columnist for MidCurrent and writes and edits the fly-fishing blog at OrvisNews.com.

Looking back along the Bow River - Season 2011

Photo, Copyright Bow River Shuttles All Rights Reserved 2012

Friday, June 22, 2012

Today along the Bow River - June 2012

Mid-day launch from McKinnon Flats today.  
Photo, Copyright © Bow River Shuttles All Rights Reserved 2012

Friday June 22 2012 at 8:00 pm

The Bow River in Calgary has been steady over the past 72 hours.

A High Streamflow Advisory remains in effect for the Bow River upstream of and including the Town of Canmore

Bow River at Banff: 190 cms
Bow River at Calgary: 290 cms
Elbow River below Glenmore dam: 20 cms
Fish Creek: 3 cms
Highwood River near the mouth: 62 cms

Total Bow River flow below Highwood: 375 cms

Wet Weekend Weather

An upper level low off the west coast will pump relatively warm, but very moist air into Southern Alberta on the weekend. The heaviest rainfall will happen in the foothills and mountains of Alberta, and in BC. Calgary will be on the eastern edge of the rainfall, so we'll get less rain in the city, and it will be intermittent. Our best chances of showers are Friday night, early Saturday morning, Saturday evening, and Sunday afternoon. We could get relatively heavy rain Saturday night and early Sunday morning. Thunderstorms are possible Sunday afternoon.

After all that, it will be warmer and drier on Monday.

CTV Calgary Weather: David Spence - Updated: Fri Jun. 22 2012 18:27:07