Harvie Passage

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Project Details



Project Leadership:

Chuck Slack, P.Eng.

“Outstanding example of the application of collaborative engineering approach to solve a highly complex problem involving public safety, security of irrigation water supply, fish passage, creating added value and seasonal construction challenges within a multiple regulatory and stakeholder environment.”
-Consulting Engineers of Alberta (CEA) Judge


    • Extreme drowning hazard; difficult river passage for non-motorized boats (including canoes and kayaks)
    • Water diversion for agriculture needed to be maintained
    • Large river with varying discharge and harsh ice conditions
    • Project needed to span the entire width of the river
    • Flooding event in 2013 damaged part of the project; some areas needed to be rebuilt


  • Pools and rapids constructed downstream of weir to increase water levels to facilitate passage and improve safety
  • Two channels constructed – Low Water Channel provides bypass for novice boaters; High Water Channel provides whitewater play areas for more experienced boaters
  • Divide island built between the channels, providing bird and wildlife habitat and refuge for boaters
  • Fish passage enhancements including notches in existing weir to facilitate fish passage at low river flows
  • Weir modifications blended with natural surroundings of the river by using natural materials such as boulders, cobbles, and gravel where possible
  • Limiting impact of construction on aquatic environment was considered extensively in the design


  • Increased safety and navigability
  • Improved fish passage and habitat
  • Develop new opportunities for recreational boating
  • Increased tourism to Calgary and surrounding area
  • Using boulders with concrete provided robust, cost effective structures and faster construction, resulting in less impact on aquatic environment than conventional hydraulic structures
  • Multiple stakeholders involved in development of project safety plan and throughout construction and commissioning


Slack, C., D. Mack and A. Nilson. 2012. “Calgary Bow River Weir Project,” in: Annual General Conference of the Canadian Society of Civil Engineering 2012, Leadership in Sustainable Infrastructure, Edmonton, AB, June 6-9, 2012. Montreal: Canadian Society for Civil Engineering.