Jun 29

Blown Out Bow River

A washed out boat launch at Policeman's Flats

June 20 2013

Destruction and devastation of the likes I have never seen firsthand with my own eye balls. I witnessed the floods here in Calgary in 2005 and thought that was massive, which it was. Now this flood is at least three times worse than 2005 and I have heard worse than the flood of 1950. I work in the Town of High River which is completely under water and has been evacuated under military law. Our collision repair shop has taken on at least three feet of water at the time of our evacuation; it could be worse now after two days of taking on more water. It was mass chaos leaving the town on Thursday afternoon with cars and people scattering to get out. Once the river breached it’s already low banks, the town was underwater in a matter of a few hours.

A co-worker and I drove up the block to see just how bad down town High River was flooded out. We got out of the car and were standing by the rail road tracks where the water edge was at that time. I snapped three pictures in about three seconds. By the time I took the third picture, we were running back to my car to escape the onslaught of water that was coming fast. We drove back to the shop to inform our boss that we needed to take immediate action. We all worked together to lift the electronic equipment off the shop floor, mig welders and tools were all brought upstairs. Just as we got all the tools away from harm, I went outside and saw the water come around the street!  I quickly jumped in my car and burned off amongst heavy traffic and people running everywhere. I managed to save my car but my boss lost his vehicle as he decided to stay and help other people and business owners.

I drove back to Calgary and looked over the bridge which carries traffic over the Bow River; the river was seriously swollen and now raging with dark, debris filled water. The rain continued to pound down putting the Bow and Elbow Rivers in jeopardy of flooding out. Two hours later and the Bow had breached its banks in many major populated areas of the city. Police and emergency crews were everywhere with reinforcements called in from Edmonton to help with the rescue and safety efforts. Many homes along the Bow and Elbow Rivers are now completely flooded out and some homes even completely destroyed by nature’s brute force. You know it’s really bad when most of the down town core is flooded out near the Bow River.


It’s known that the Brown Trout are the most durable of all the trout species. They can live in dirty water and water which is sometimes uninhabitable by all the other trout species. However with that said, this was major serge of over 1100.00 CMS of dark raging water. There would really be nowhere for the fish to take cover from the onslaught of Mother Nature’s raw force! In 2005 when we flooded badly here in Calgary, many fish biologists feared the worst for the Bow River trout population. It was indeed a major catastrophe which destroyed many of the boat launches along the Bow. Once the river had flushed out, I floated that year and the fishing was actually decent. Most of the fish somehow survived and fear gave way to faith. This flood was about three times worse than the floods of 2005!  My faith in those beloved fish I hold dear to my heart is fading away to fear. I remain hopeful that all is not long and some of the fishing season can be salvaged.

The Rainbow Trout population could be at risk as they need clean oxygenated water to make their living. That water is saw was so dark and so fast, I could put them at a higher risk of dying off then the Browns. Most of our fish were self-reproducing and the High Wood River is the Bow River’s major spawning tributary for the resident Rainbows of the Bow. Not much spawning habitat left on the High Wood River after what I saw. But I am not an expert in nature and I am surly not the big guy in the sky! The earth has a way of working that no human power can completely understand.

I am planning on posting a report on the state of the boat launches in my next post accompanied by many images to illustrate. I hope all who live along the river are safe and starting to get back to a normal way of life.


    • Maury on July 2, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    My best wishes in these trying times for you Albertans. Such a catastrophe. Some pictures would be interesting to see ie wood jams, erosion of the river banks etc.

  1. Thanks Maury, I plan on posting some images in the next few weeks. I also plan to float the river asap and document the damages seen from the water.

    Thanks for your comment,


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