Okotoks Bioretention Research

Dec. 2021 Update: Findings from the Okotoks bioretention mesocosms will be incorporated into our February and March 2022 Designing for Tomorrow online monthly sessions. Join us to learn about the many learnings we have had from this site.

The Town of Okotoks Operations Centre is the home of a long-term bioretention research site. ALIDP Director Anton Skorobogatov is completing his PhD on the site through the University of Calgary with lead investigator Dr. Jennifer He.  

Twenty-four 2 m by 2 m beds compare the performance of three media types and the influence on and response of native perennials and woody species. Two media meet the specifications of the City of Calgary Bioretention and Bioswale Design and Construction Module (70 mm/hr Ksat and 40 mm/hr Ksat). The third media is clayey-loam amended with a large proportion of organics in the form of un-aged wood chips (CL). 

This long-term research site is fully monitored for water quantity and quality with a synthetic water application and contaminant-dosing regime. These beds were planted in 2017 and experimental runs began in earnest in 2018. 

You can read the rationale for the research in this presentation from The City of Calgary and more details about the setup of this research in this related file

In 2018 we had a field visit to the Okotoks site and presentations about another P-capturing filter bed project in the Milk River watershed by Alberta Agriculture, as well as a presentation about another project at the Okotoks Operations Centre about vegetation for landfills.

Phosphorus-sorbing Amendment Investigation

The ALIDP is spearheading an additional number of smaller experimental cells to investigate amendments for phosphorus removal. One year of monitoring is complete on this investigation but there are no funds to continue at this time. If you know of a potential amendment to be investigated, a source of funding, or of a student who would like to be involved in this work, please contact the ALIDP.

Research Partners