The Town of Banff continues to toy with the idea of further reducing parking and traffic along Bow Avenue, using the protection of bull trout critical habitat as one of the reasons.
More immediate action could be made to protect Bow River water quality such as cease dumping snow near the canoe dock. While it may be temporary, the snow dump is most likely within the 30-metre riparian habitat buffer zone along the Bow River, which is bull trout critical habitat.
If snow from roads is still considered toxic material, it is an immediate threat to the river ecosystem. Spreading salt to eliminate the icesheet flowing from the pile as it leaks towards the Bow River only exacerbates the problem.
Interestingly, according to the critical habitat description, existing roads within that 30-metre buffer are “excluded and not considered to be critical habitat.” Regardless, these sediments, nutrients, contaminants, and toxic substances are indeed “high risk” threats to the Bow River watershed as stated in the online bull trout recovery strategy.
I also wonder if the environmental assessment for the latest pedestrian bridge considered the sand and other materials that are now falling through the cracks between the timbers. That’s quite the collection now on the snow and ice beneath the bridge.