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Riding Mountain flood repairs continue this season

Working at the McKinnon Creek - Agassiz site.

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Working at the McKinnon Creek - Agassiz site.

Ongoing repairs in the wake of the 2011 flood are expected to be continue this year at Riding Mountain National Park.

The federal government approved $5.7 million in repairs in May 2012, although work actually began shortly after the 2011 flooding.

Restored creek bed at McKinnon Creek - Agassiz site.

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Restored creek bed at McKinnon Creek - Agassiz site. (SUBMITTED)

Realignment of Km 49 of Highway 10 as it goes through Riding Mountain National Park.

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Realignment of Km 49 of Highway 10 as it goes through Riding Mountain National Park. (SUBMITTED)

Damage was not limited to the areas near Wasagaming, and repairs have taken place throughout the parks 3,000 square kilometres.

"The projects were extensive and occurred in numerous locations throughout the entire park," said Richard Dupuis, acting field unit superintendent for Riding Mountain National Park. "Priority was given to the areas we felt were the most damaged and that had a significant impact on the park’s ecosystems as well as visitor experience."

That includes new boardwalk sections on the Ominnik Marsh Walk, which were installed last year, replacing the ones that were heavily damaged by flooding but also adding a new, shorter loop option.

Areas like Moon Lake and the Burls & Bittersweet also had new metal bridges installed to replace those that had been compeltely wshed out.

The Sugarloaf trail was so severely damaged that the Parks Canada Trail Crew had to devote a considerable amount of time repairing a number of damaged areas. The crew began working on the trail in November 2011 and wrapped up the project in January 2013.

A number of floating docks were installed last spring, replacing the existing stationary docks along the Lakeshore Walk. The new floating docks are better equipped to withstand the elements and ever changing lake conditions. Construction on more new docks is taking place this winter for installation in the spring of 2014.

The most severe damage occurred at the Agassiz Ski Hill site. The extreme runoff in McKinnon Creek carried large amounts of rock and shale debris — including entire trees — down the stream bed, plugging the large steel culvert at the Agassiz site.

That culvert, originally installed in the 1950s, had served its purpose well for many years. It was reaching the end of its serviceable life however, and the damage it sustained during the flooding left it beyond repair.

Workers had to creat a sandbag dam at the west end of McKinnon Creek, diverting water to leave a dry workspace in which to complete the construction and remediation. The entire culvert was removed and used for scrap, while the existing creek channel was rebuilt in a series of riffles and pools to enable fish migration. The stream banks were excavated, sloped, and erosion preventing textiles were installed.

The creek's banks were planted with grasses and shrubs which also adds additional stabilization and erosion control. Approximately 1,000 cubic metres of rock was used in the rebuilding of the creek bed and the construction and remediation, which took about five weeks.

The park also realigned Km 49 of Highway 10 through the park.

"The damage resulting from the 2011 flooding was extensive throughout Riding Mountain National Park," said Robert Sopuck, the Conservagtive MP for Dauphin–Swan River–Marquette. "I commend the Parks Canada staff on their tireless effort to repair and restore the flood damaged infrastructure."

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