Knowledge CentreTechnical Resources SearchConference PapersDIVERSION OF THE RIVIÈRE AU RENARD [Fox River] — GASPÉ



The Ministry of Transportation of Quebec (MTQ) had, since 1979, been planning to rebuild a portion of Highway 197 linking two areas of the City of Gaspé, namely Saint-Majorique and Rivière-au-Renard. This project also included replacing the Denis Bridge located approximately 7.4 km from the mouth of the Rivière au Renard on the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The area earmarked for reconstruction had very sharp curves that adversely affected users’ safety. This highway is bordered on the south by Forillon National Park and follows or crosses the Rivière au Renard, known for being very active and unstable in the valley sector, especially during high-water periods. Many personal accounts and documents pointed to the existence of serious river degradation problems that occurred with every high-water period. After the valley sector underwent considerable deforestation between 1950 and 1970, the Rivière au Renard experienced high water levels in the spring of 1954 that widened its riverbed and flooded several houses and properties. Extensive work was subsequently carried out between 1956 and 1974 to repair, divert and enstone the river and to install wattle. Then, in 1975, the Ministry of Public Works constructed a sedimentation basin to reduce the amount of sediment reaching the fishing harbour at the mouth of the river. From May to July 1980, the river ran exceptionally high. In May, three bridges located downstream from the reconstruction project were carried away. In order to eliminate the need for two bridges, the MTQ was forced to divert the river by enstoning the new channel (bed and banks). Although this new channel withstood the high water in July, considerable damage ensued upstream, i.e. significant erosion, the formation of meanders, and the destruction of a power line, a house, and nearly 35 metres of road (to the centre line) upstream from the Denis Bridge. The MTQ had to intervene, backfilling nearly a nearly fifty-metre section with stone. For its part, the Ministry of Environment and Fauna repaired the river at several locations following the July 1980 high water.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Environmental issues, Environmental legislation