Aquatic Studies 

HIGHWOOD's aquatic ecologists prepare focused aquatic assessments. We conduct water quality monitoring, sample and identify aquatic plants and benthic invertebrates, and provide fish and riparian habitat assessments. We collect and analyze baseline aquatic data, and design on-going monitoring programs to measure impacts. We interpret complex aquatic issues and clarify the results for the general public.

HIGHWOOD has conducted aquatic assessments for municipal wastewater treatment plants, forestry developments, stream crossings and oil and gas developments. Our services include permitting under federal and provincial regulatory agencies. We design practical mitigations for management of sensitive or vulnerable aquatic habitats.

Highwood's Approach

HIGHWOOD uses the strengths of its interdisciplinary teams to provide

          Services adapted to individual project requirements
          Practical environmental management tools for day-to-day operations
          Appropriate mitigations for reducing project impacts on aquatic resources

Highwood's Services

HIGHWOOD offers the following services related to the aquatic environment

          Stream crossing assessments
          Water quality monitoring
          Aquatic resources sampling and taxonomy
                 (benthic invertebrates, aquatic plants)
          Regulatory approvals
          Habitat assessment and mapping
          Assessment of wastewater and stormwater impacts

Stream Crossing Assessments

Our aquatic ecologists have conducted assessments for in-stream construction of pipelines, transportation routes, channel engineering and other developments. Our experience ranges from open cut projects of small
channels to directional drilling projects of large rivers with sensitive fish spawning habitat. Recent projects include stream crossing assessments on the Bow River for the City of Calgary and on the South Saskatchewan.

Water Quality Monitoring

HIGHWOOD collects baseline water quality data to monitor for effective management of impacts on the aquatic environment. We choose appropriate indicators and use the most efficient sampling frequencies, methods and models. Recent examples of water quality monitoring include the Kicking Horse River for Parks Canada and the Elk River for Fernie Alpine Resorts.

Aquatic Resources Sampling and Taxonomy

Our aquatic ecologists are experienced in sampling and identifying aquatic plants (algae and macrophytes) and benthic invertebrates in both streams and lakes. Appropriate tolerance and diversity indices are identified and the information is translated into an overall assessment of community health. Recent water monitoring projects were carried out for the B.C. Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection and Atco Lumber.

Regulatory Approvals

HIGHWOOD develops and maintains excellent working relationships with regulators at the municipal, provincial and federal levels. Our familiarity with aquatic regulations streamlines the compliance and approvals process for our clients. We have prepared applications under the Alberta Water Act, the B.C. Municipal Sewage Regulation, the Federal Fisheries Act and the Federal Navigable Waters Act.

Habitat Assessment and Mapping

HIGHWOOD's aquatic ecologists and associates prepare fish habitat and riparian health assessments and develop restoration plans for degraded instream and on-shore habitats. Our staff are experienced in mapping the biophysical components of streams and lakes. Recent projects include fish habitat assessments for Whiskey Creek in the Town of Banff and West Nose Creek in the City of Calgary.

Assessment of Water Impacts

HIGHWOOD is experienced in assessing the impacts of wastewater and stormwater effluents on the aquatic environment. We utilize effluent dispersion modeling, biophysical analysis and eutrophication indices in our approach, choosing indicators appropriate for the project. Our experience ranges from small wastewater treatment plants (e.g., Field and Fernie) to larger treatment plants and stormwater systems (e.g., Banff).