Work: Resilience and Mitigation Branch, Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development

The Resilience and Mitigation Branch of ESRD continues on the work started with the Flood Recovery Task Force. The role of the Resilience and Mitigation Branch is to work with municipalities, First Nations, key stakeholders, and other branches of the Alberta Government to improve the flood and drought resiliency of our province.

Key Elements of Mitigation

The key elements guiding the approach to proper mitigation include:

What is the Resilience and Mitigation Branch doing?

The resilience and Mitigation Branch has identified seven elements of mitigation that will reduce the impact of future flood events on our communities. Some of the work below is being carried out by Municipal Affairs.

Overall Watershed Management

  • Consulting with Watershed Planning and Advisory Councils, irrigation districts and other stakeholders across the province
  • Implementing the Alberta Wetland Strategy to protect and maintain wetlands
  • Nearly $15 million in grants have been approved through the Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program to 11 organizations.

Flood Modelling Prediction and Warning Systems

  • Investing more than $8.5 million to update flood hazard mapping
  • Accelerating mapping of new areas and high risk communities

Flood Risk Management Policies

  • Introduced a relocation program for homes in the most flood-prone areas
  • Introduced legislation to prohibit development in floodways

Water Management and Mitigation Infrastructure

  • Directed the development of comprehensive engineering reports for the Bow, Elbow, Highwood, South Saskatchewan and Sheep rivers
  • Started engineering and design, and the Environmental Impact Assessment, for the Springbank Off-stream Reservoir
  • Reached an agreement with TransAlta to modify operations at Ghost Reservoir for flood mitigation purposes during the 2015 high run-off period
  • Funded a feasibility study for the Calgary underground diversion
  • Invested $104 million for priority water management infrastructure upgrades in southern Alberta
  • Set aside $150 million over three years to move major projects forward

Erosion Control

  • Invested more than $200 million in the Flood Recovery Erosion Control (FREC) program
  • Important erosion control work is scheduled or in progress in communities throughout southern Alberta

Local Mitigation Initiatives by Municipality

  • Provided a Municipal Recovery Toolkit to help guide communities with rebuilding
  • Implementing robust emergency management plans throughout Alberta communities
  • Approved 21 grants to 16 municipalities totaling close to $70 million through the multi-year Alberta Community Resilience Program

Individual Mitigation Measures for Homes

  • Updated flood mitigation building codes for homes in flood fringes
  • Updated flood mitigation repair codes

Next steps

Next steps include decisions on major projects for the Elbow River and Highwood River and further consultation with impacted communities.