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Saskatoon News

Rockies, flood plains will need to be re-mapped

Expert says Alberta floods have changed the landscape forever
Reported by Ashley Wills
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An expert at the University of Saskatchewan says the flooding in Alberta has changed the Rocky Mountains forever.

"Things are different -- when people go out to the Rockies again their favourite trails are going to be different," said Dr. John Pomeroy, Canada Research Chair in Water Resources and Climate Change.

Under normal circumstances erosion happens very slowly, but last week it was proceeding extremely quickly, said Pomeroy.

"We had debris flows full of boulders, silt and sediment running down the mountains."

He said all of it washed down to the valley bottoms and has drastically shifted the landscape on the way.

"We're going to need to re-map a lot of the Rockies and flood plains in great detail in order to be able to calculate floods again with any accuracy," said Pomeroy.

In addition to the changing landscape, the water in Saskatchewan will be affected by the floods.

Pomeroy said in 2011, severe algae and water quality problems arose in Lake Diefenbaker late in the summer because of animal waste that came in from Alberta flood waters.

He said we may see this again.

Pomeroy said the train derailment in Calgary early Thursday morning could also impact the water in this province.

He said it wouldn't take much of a spill to taste the oil product in Saskatchewan drinking water.

awills@rawlco.com

Follow on Twitter: @ashwillsee