Flood Mitigation

We monitor a range of hazards that may impact our community, including flooding.  Stay informed about current issues and restrictions on our hazards dashboard.

Our community is located in the heart of a dynamic river valley, bisected by the Bow River and fed by several mountain creeks. We know that we face potential future flooding events. That is why we are taking action to prepare, respond, and adapt to floods. 

Learn more below about how we are taking action through mitigation, monitoring, and policy to ensure that our community is more resilient to flooding. 

Taking Action for Flood Resilience

We are a safer community today because of the 2013 flood. The aftermath of the disaster gave rise to a new risk and hazard assessment process, safer steep mountain creeks, and resulted in a robust emergency management plan for future emergencies.

While we can’t prevent floods, we have taken the following actions to make our community better prepared for future flooding:

  • Conducted Forensic Assessments and Hazard and Risk Assessments on all priority creeks (Cougar, Three-Sisters, Pigeon, Stoneworks, Stone, Echo Canyon, and X,Y,Z creeks).
  • Created a Mountain Creek Hazard Mitigation Program (more info below).
  • Restored the channels on Three Sisters Creek and Pigeon Creek.
  • Restored and armored the channel of Stone Creek, Cougar Creek, and upgraded the Highway 1 culvert.
  • Currently constructing the Debris Flood Retention Structure on Cougar Creek.
  • Secured funding for the design and construction of long-term mitigation for the priority creeks from the federal government (Infrastructure Canada – DMAF) and the provincial government (Alberta Environment and Protect Areas – ACRP).
  • Implemented a Seasonal Flood Monitoring Program including annual spring inspection of creeks.
  • Installed weather monitoring equipment at both the Civic Centre and above Cougar Creek.
  • Updated the Land Use Bylaw(LUB) to include a Steep Creek Hazard Overlay (section 7.8).
  • Updated the Municipal Development Plan (MDP) to include a section on Steep Creeks (section 3.5).
  • Updated the Engineering Design and Construction Guidelines (EDCG) in 2020 to include steep creek hazard mitigation. 
  • Working with developers to ensure that the development in steep creek hazard zones or steep creek study areas are developed according to the LUB, the MDP, and the EDCG. 

Know Your Flood Hazard and Risk Areas

While the Bow River often dominates flood discussions, the nearby mountain creeks, exemplified by Cougar Creek in the 2013 flood, also threaten our community. We're actively assessing, mitigating, and monitoring these risks, but it's crucial for you to understand the hazards that could affect you.

Be prepared for flooding events that can occur without warning.

Bow River Flood Hazard Map

As of May 2024, The Province is currently completing an updated study for the Upper Bow River that includes Canmore. You can review the draft flood hazard map on their interactive mapping platform.

Steep Creek Flood Hazard and Risk Map

We conducted Hazard and Risk Assessments on all priority creeks (Cougar, Three Sisters, Pigeon, Stoneworks, Stone, Echo Canyon, and X,Y,Z creeks). We also conduct an annual Spring inspections of these creeks as part of our Seasonal Flood Monitoring Program

Mountain Creek Hazard Mitigation Program

We are installing infrastructure to protect our community against potential future flooding events. See below for details about our work on priority creeks.

We are constructing a Debris Flood Retention Structure (a dry dam) on Cougar Creek to reduce risk to downstream properties and infrastructure by minimizing peak flow and the quantity of debris and removing larger debris in the case of a future flood event.

Current Status

  • The rock-filled embankment dam is now 85% complete by volume and is on track to reach its full height of 34 m by the end of May 2024.
  • Once it reaches its full height, the embankment will offer a moderate level of protection for the project site and the community until it becomes fully operational by fall 2024.

Next Steps

  • Construction will continue through summer 2024. Please adhere to closures and posted signage for your safety.

Trail Closures

  • Lady MacDonald Trail will remain closed throughout construction for safety reasons. We appreciate your patience and will announce reopening dates when available.
  • Montane and Horseshoe Trails may experience short closures for blasting usually between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. These closures will last a maximum of 30 minutes.
  • Cougar Creek Canyon remains closed for the duration of construction. Hiking around the closure to access Cougar Canyon is not permitted.
  • Please respect closures and posted signage for your safety. For details visit Alberta Parks Advisories.

Project Overview

What will it look like?

  • 34m high rock-filled embankment dam 
  • Upstream and downstream faces covered by soil and seeded
  • 20m wide rock-cut spillway on the east abutment that includes wildlife crossing areas

What will it do?

  • Existing channel and downstream culverts can accommodate up to 50 m3/s, but a natural event on the creek could easily reach 80 m3/s peak flow with 20% debris (fine sediment to large boulders, including gravel and woody debris).
  • The new structure will reduce peak flow to 45 m3/s and will also reduce the quantity of debris and will remove the larger debris to reduce impacts on downstream property and infrastructure.
  • There is no water retention during regular operation (dry dam) – water flows freely through a low-level outlet.
  • A high-capacity spillway will ensure flows can bypass the structure during an extreme flood event.


  • In August 2023, the Province of Alberta approved a grant of $16.7 million, and on Sept. 5, Canmore Council approved the use of up to $8.3 million in capital reserves to fund the completion of this critical flood infrastructure project.

Contact Us

For more information on the project email us at cougarcreek@canmore.ca 

Current Status

Detailed design of the long-term mitigation has started and should be completed by end of 2024. The tendering process and construction will likely start in 2025.

Project Overview

  • The design and construction of the Three Sisters Creek long-term mitigation is an approved project by Council.
  • Flood rehabilitation and mitigation of the lower reach of Three Sisters Creek, between the Bow River and the pedestrian bridge was substantially completed in September 2018.
  • Three Sisters Mountain Village (TSMV) has assessed the steep creek hazard in relation to future development on the western portion of the fan through the Area Stucture Plan process. TSMV has also produced preliminary design report for the hazard mitigation of their new development. The proposed mitigation complements the Town’s long-term mitigation plan for Three Sisters Creek. Coordination between the Town and TSMV is still required to complete the design and during construction.

Current Status

Construction is planned to occur in the next couple of years. An update will be provided prior to construction start.

Project Overview

  • The construction of Stoneworks Creek long-term mitigation is an approved project by Council.
  • The design of the long-term mitigation is mostly complete. However, AltaLink is currently in the planning phase to rebuild their high voltage power lines crossing the Palliser lands, including Stoneworks Creek.
  • We are working with AltaLink to ensure that the rebuild is compatible with the planned mitigation. Once confirmed, the design will be finalized, and the project will be tendered for construction.

Current Status

  • We plan on undertaking design and construction of long-term mitigation works is planned in the next 5 years once we have completed projects on other priority creeks.
  • All required assessments on Stone Creek have been completed.
  • The project still requires Council approval.

Current Status

  • The hazard and risk assessments of X, Y, Z creeks (above the Peaks of Grassi) and Echo Creek Canyon (near Alpine Club of Canada) were completed in 2019.
  • The long-term mitigation options of X, Y, Z creeks were considered as part of the assessment. The options may be considered by Council and Administration as work on higher priority creeks is completed.

Current Status

  • All required assessments on Pigeon Creek have been completed.
  • The mitigation work on the lower reach of Pigeon Creek has been completed in 2018 by the MD of Bighorn.
  • Three Sisters Mountain Village will need to consider long-term mitigation when development in the Smith Creek area progresses.