Recreational trails of the Devon River Valley have experienced significant bank erosion from changing hydrologic conditions due to land development in the North Saskatchewan watershed. Trails adjacent to eroding banks of Battery Creek and the North Saskatchewan River are eroding due to flood events, spring freshet flows, and urban stormwater runoff. Bank erosion and shallow slope failure was observed throughout the study area in sites with limited woody riparian vegetation, primarily in areas subject to concentrated surface water runoff, and areas subject to high in-stream velocities such as the outside bend of channel meanders.
The Town of Devon retained Associated Environmental to prepare an application to Alberta Environment and Parks for grant funding under the Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program. Acquisition of the funding in 2018 secured the resources to develop a Conditions Assessment and Erosion Study, develop design and tender documents, host on-site bioengineering educational workshops, and advance environmental education programs within local schools.
The condition assessment identified priority sites requiring restoration, and Associated provided bioengineering designs to stabilize the eroding stream banks and river valley slopes. Soil bioengineering techniques provide permanent erosion control by restoring native woody riparian vegetation, thereby increasing shear strength of soils and decreasing flow velocities. These treatments minimize the need to operate equipment on unstable slopes, and provide low cost solutions that build watershed resilience. Restoration of four sites took place in October 2018 by contractors and volunteer workshops.