uOttawa Students Recognized for Outstanding River Engineering Design

Posted on Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A team of uOttawa Civil Engineering students have won the Mike Sheflin Student Paper Competition for 2015.

At this annual event, students from the University of Ottawa and Carleton University face off in a public works design competition. This year, on April 10, our university’s team claimed their victory with their project “Nipigon River Walleye Habitat Rehabilitation”. The team’s members, Zachary Chartrand, Pascale Leclerc-Sirois, Alexandre Tourigny, and Christopher Valela, were working under the supervision of Professor Colin Rennie.

This team had been chosen to represent uOttawa through prior internal competition. The final judging took place at the annual luncheon held by the Ottawa Valley branch of the Ontario Public Works Association (OPWA), which sponsors the event. The uOttawa and Carleton teams were each given the chance to present their fourth-year capstone projects before a panel of practising engineers, who then selected a winner.

Professor Rennie praises the students: “I very much enjoyed working with the design team. They consistently demonstrated engineering skill and professionalism, and they should be proud of their achievement.

The team won $350 for their river engineering design, meant to improve the habitat of the walleye fish in the Nipigon River in the Thunder Bay District, which is the largest tributary to Lake Superior. The group developed a two-dimensional Mike21 hydraulic model of the reach, with which they evaluated various options to control flow patterns and bank stability and thereby maximize walleye spawning habitat in the reach. The final design included distributing a portion of the river flow into an abandoned meander bend and stabilizing an eroding bank using submerged groynes. As Professor Rennie explains, the students “used sophisticated modelling tools to develop a practical solution for a real environmental problem.

The students appreciated working with the support of Josh Wiebe and Graham Frank of the consulting firm Baird and Associates Ltd, who have experience related to this issue. They provided the design problem and background information for the project.

The Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Dr. Claude Laguë, applauds the team: “My sincere congratulations to Pascale, Zachary, Alexandre, and Christopher for this outstanding achievement that is making all of us in the Faculty of Engineering very proud – well done!

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