Flood Hazard Identification
The catastrophic flood event of 2013 brought flooding and flood hazard identification to the forefront in southern Alberta. There are measures being taken at both the provincial and municipal level to assist the public with identifying flood hazards and mitigating future flooding.
Government of Alberta Flood Hazard Identification Program
Updates as of June 21, 2019 - see below
To assist Albertans in mitigating potential flood losses, Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) manages the production of flood hazard studies and mapping under the provincial Flood Hazard Identification Program (FHIP).
Flood hazard mapping identifies areas along water bodies where flood hazards exist using design flood levels. In Alberta the design flood level used is the one per cent flood event - events which have a one percent chance of occurring in any given year, (also sometimes referred to as the one in one hundred year flood).
The province's current flood hazard maps can be found on the Flood Hazard Mapping Application on the Government of Alberta's website here.
There are currently five river hazard studies being undertaken in Foothills County on the Bow River, Elbow River, the Highwood River, the Sheep River and Priddis and Fish Creeks. For detailed information please visit the Government of Alberta's website here.
The Bow and Elbow River Study
The Bow and Elbow River Study assesses 220 km of the Bow River and 70 km of the Elbow River
The study area covers the Bow River between Bearspaw Dam and the Highwood River confluence, and the Elbow River between Bragg Creek and the Bow River confluence.
Siksika Bow River Hazard Study
The Siksika Bow River Hazard Study will assess and identify river and flood hazards along 215 km of the Bow River downstream of the Highwood River confluence.
The study area includes Siksika Nation, Foothills County, Rocky View County, Vulcan County, Wheatland County, and County of Newell, including Bow City.
The Highwood River Study
The Highwood River Study includes 90 km of the Highwood River and 10 km of the Little Bow River
The study area on the Highwood River extends from upstream of Longview to the confluence with the Bow River and includes 10 km of the upper Little Bow River.
The Sheep River Study (Sheep River and Threepoint Creek)
The Sheep River Study assesses 50 km of the Sheep River and 35 km of Threepoint Creek
The Study area on the Sheep River extends downstream from approximately 336 Street West to the confluence with the Highwood River.
The Study area on Threepoint Creek begins at approximately 272 Street West and extends to the confluence with the Sheep River.
The Priddis River Study (Priddis Creek and Fish Creek)
The Priddis River Hazard Study will identify and assess river-related hazards along 30 km of Fish Creek and 15 km of Priddis Creek.
The study area includes Foothills County, Priddis, and Priddis Greens. This Study is being co-funded through the National Disaster Mitigation Program (NDMP) with support from Foothills County.
Foothills County's Flood Hazard Protection Overlay District
Foothills County's Land Use Bylaw 60/2014 created a new land use district in order to to provide for the safe and efficient use of lands within the floodway and flood fringe of all the rivers, streams, creeks and waterways.
The overlay district exists over top of a property's existing land use and includes areas within provincially mapped floodways and flood fringe as well as areas believed to have been impacted by the flood event of 2013.
The intent of this district is to discourage new development on lands subject to flooding and achieve the long term goal of maintaining or decreasing the overall density of development on lands that may be subject to flooding.
In the Flood Hazard Protection Overlay, the permitted and discretionary uses listed in the land use district in which the site is located shall continue to apply if supported by engineering and technical studies and are able to meet all applicable development requirements.
Foothills County River Modelling Projects
With the support of the Government of Alberta, Foothills County has retained the services of Advisian to produce detailed river modelling on the Highwood and Little Bow Rivers as part of the Scoping Study of Flood Related Areas of Concern on the Highwood River and Little Bow River within Foothills County.
For more information on this project please see the Flood Scoping Study and Mitigation Program page.