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Lake Louise Campground Flood Control

Assessing flooding risks and providing solutions for damage mitigation at the Lake Louise Campground in Banff National Park

  • Lake Louise, Alberta

    Lake Louise, Alberta

A cost-effective approach to mitigate flooding aspects that could cause damage, rather than keeping the campground dry

In Banff National Park, Lake Louise Campground is a popular tourist destination that needed to be safeguarded from potential flooding damage. Parks Canada engaged us to assess the risk of flooding and provide solutions for damage mitigation. Our assessment revealed that a considerable portion of the campground contained old river channels—during a flood, overland flow avulsion could cause the Bow River to switch its main channel through the middle of the campground. We performed a hydrologic analysis to define flood frequency at the site and used hydraulic modeling to determine expected flood elevations. Estimates indicated that flooding would be expansive during a standard design flood event and mitigations to keep the campground dry would be costly, so an economical solution was needed.

Our cost-efficient approach? Mitigate the erosion and avulsion aspects of flooding that could cause damage to the campground, but not necessarily keep it all dry. We recommended a geogrid reinforced earthen berm to block off the sub-channels and the destructive flood forces generated at the upstream end of the site. The berm terminated where less damaging backwater could enter the site. To provide erosion protection without the need for in-stream work, we nested the riprap in the floodplain by burying it and vegetating it with riparian plantings.

The berm was tied into the landscape and pathway features, and vegetation included species transplanted from other areas of the campground. As foot traffic can cause restoration issues, we installed a pathway that can be tracked for cross-country skiing.

At a Glance

Meet Our Team

James Bigelow, Associate, Senior Hydrotechnical Engineer

As people, we are naturally connected to water—it’s our duty to design with both the natural habitat and community resiliency in mind.
James Bigelow Associate, Senior Hydrotechnical Engineer Read More

Matt Wood, Principal

I help build flood resilient communities by restoring rivers and riparian areas, designing riverine infrastructure, and flood mitigations.

James Bigelow

Associate, Senior Hydrotechnical Engineer

Matt Wood


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