McElhanney Consulting Services and Urban Systems Ltd. of Kamloops took the top award for Specialized Engineering Services at the 12th annual Deputy Minister’s Consulting Engineers Awards, for their exceptional work on the Ellis Creek fish bypass channel in Penticton.
These two firms were awarded a $175,000 contract to design an upstream fish passage that would allow fish species such as kokanee, salmon and rainbow trout to freely navigate around a 1.5 metre high obstruction put in place more than 50 years ago on Ellis Creek. Removing this barrier was not an option as it contains an active municipal sewer main. Other design challenges included variable stream flows and limited space for the works to be constructed.
The team addressed these challenges with an innovative solution involving a series of weirs and pools in the main stem of the creek and a bypass channel that has a series of steps and pools to allow fish to access habitat above the barrier.
The designers also worked closely with key stakeholders, including the Penticton Indian Band which provided archaeological and environmental monitoring through the duration of construction.
Within 24 hours of the new channel being filled, fish were swimming along the new route with access to many kilometers of stream habitat that had been unavailable for a half century. In addition, other stakeholders are now able to carry out fisheries enhancement projects and stocking programs upstream of the project site.
“The recipients of this award are well deserving of this honour, representing excellence and innovation in their profession,” said MLA for Kamloops-North Thompson Terry Lake. “Their collaboration with First Nations and other stakeholders on this state-of-the-art project will provide significant benefits to the environment, to the ministry and to the people of British Columbia for years to come.”
The Ellis Creek fish bypass channel was undertaken by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure as fish habitat compensation work for the nearby Eastside Road widening project.
The finalists in this category were IBI Group for the Regional Transportation Management Centre systems integrator, and Dynamic Avalanche Consulting Ltd. and Thurber Engineering Ltd. for the Highway 16 Mile 35 avalanche fencing project.
The Deputy Minister’s Consulting Engineers Awards recognize technical excellence in consulting engineer services that improve transportation infrastructure in B.C. Finalists were chosen for their work in 2015 in the categories of:
- Design and Contract Preparation – Roads
- Design and Contract Preparation – Structures
- Construction Management and Supervision Services
- Specialized Engineering Services
- Alternative Transportation
For photos and videos: www.gov.bc.ca/celebratingexcellencetransportation
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