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Anderson Creek Fishway: Small Fishway, Big Impact

2018 – 2019 | Kitimat, BC

Kitimat is the Pacific terminus for LNG Canada’s proposed export pipeline. One of the environmental conditions required for Federal approval was to restore access for migrating pink and coho salmon to spawning grounds in Anderson Creek which had not been available to the fish for more than 65 years. Without the Anderson Creek fishway, LNG Canada would not gain Federal approval for its nearby terminal.

LNG Canada hired McElhanney as Prime Consultant to work as part of a design-build team with Ledcor-Haisla Limited Partnership (LHLP). McElhanney was tasked with designing the fishway to allow salmon to bypass a bridge apron that has deteriorated into a 3m concrete weir. The deteriorated concrete weir prevented fish from accessing moderate-to-high-quality spawning grounds that has been inaccessible for more than 65 years.

McElhanney worked with the builder, LHLP, to develop a fishway in a highly constrained and fluctuating waterway. Our team designed a stepped box culvert arrangement able to withstand considerable debris during flood events and with gentle steps that weaker salmon species can navigate. The design features a control weir which maintains critical water velocities throughout the fishway and the V-weirs allow fish passage over a wide range of water flows. McElhanney also designed a vital deflection wall to direct high flows away from the vulnerable banks.

The Anderson Creek fishway successfully restored 3,500m2 of spawning habitat – an area approximately two-and-a-half times the size of a hockey rink – that had previously been inaccessible to migratory fish since the 1950s. Since completion, hundreds of salmon have been spotted upstream of the fishway and it is estimated that the newly accessible spawning habitat could accommodate up to 500 mating pairs annually.

Fishway 'Steps'
Downstream pool
Coho salmon