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Water Resources

To complement our core Geotechnical services, our Water Resources Engineering department provides added capabilities for projects where design requires focus on both earth and water. Our services in the Water Resources discipline include hydrologic assessments; flood protection; hydraulic modelling for design and assessment of bridges, hydraulic structures, open channels, and reservoirs; drainage assessments and environmental protection designs.

  • Hydrologic Assessments
  • Hydraulic Modeling
  • Bridges, Culverts and Hydraulic Structures
  • Flood Protection
  • Drainage Assessments
  • Environmental Protection

TREK Hydrologic Assessments

Hydrologic Assessments

Detailed hydrologic assessments include a range of catchment areas from watershed scale for floodplain management to small local drainage areas for the design of bridges, culverts and drain infrastructure. Hydrologic analysis supports the design of water supply reservoirs (extreme event analysis), mine tailings ponds or storm retention basins. Typically, these services are provided as part of hydraulic design and assessment processes, however stand alone assessments can be undertaken to support facility planning studies.

TREK Hydraulic Modeling

Hydraulic Modeling

The detailed hydraulic analysis and assessment of waterways - small and large, is fundamental for the numerous applications including the assessment and design of flood protection infrastructure, riverbank erosion protection, design and assessment of bridge and culvert structures and the design of hydraulic structures including dams and gradient controls. TREK can provide the necessary hydrotechnical services required to develop detailed hydraulic models to carry out the a wide range of hydraulic assessments. Our background and extensive knowledge in water resource management and hydrotechnical design facilitates the development and application of these models to the hydraulic assessment and design of challenges presented by our clients.

Hydraulic modeling analysis and design services include:

  • Floodplain Modeling
  • Dam Safety (Dam Break Modelling)
  • Transportation Infrastructure (Bridges, Culverts)
  • Drainage Infrastructure (Channels, Weirs, Level of Service analysis)
  • Fish Passage / Fish Ladder Design
  • Storm Water Management (Drainage Plans & SWMM Model Development)

TREK Bridges, Culverts and Hydraulic Structures

Bridges, Culverts and Hydraulic Structures

Our staff are specialized in the hydraulic design and assessment of new or replacement bridges, culvert structures and hydraulic structures. Past experience by the staff include the design of small single span bridges up to large multi-span bridges, concrete box culverts, large diameter concrete and corrugated steel culverts and the design of gradient control structures. The assessments typically include a hydraulic survey of the project sites with complete topographic and bathymetric data collection to enable the development of comprehensive hydraulic models which support the necessary hydraulic assessment for the project.

Hydrotechnical design includes the provision of recommendations for ice loading to enable the design of bridge piers and shoreline structures to resist static and dynamically applied loads due to ice sheets and floes.

TREK Flood Protection

Flood Protection

Our staff are experienced in analysis and design of flood protection infrastructure. This includes extreme and typical hydrologic events, models to predict flood inundation zones, and hydraulic design of new or upgraded flood protection structures such as: dikes, gates, weirs, pumps, diversions and erosion protection measures. We also provide geotechnical services related to the design and construction of flood protection measures.

TREK Drainage Assessments

Drainage Assessments

TREK can provide assessment and design of rural drainage infrastructure. Our services include coordinating necessary site surveys, estimation of runoff discharges, preparation of plan-profile drawings, the assessment of existing drainage capacity and detailing the required drainage upgrades in channels and piped conveyance infrastructure.

TREK Environmental Protection

Environmental Protection

TREK Hydrotechnical provides support to systems which protect the riparian environment. These protection designs are applied to river bank and shoreline erosion protection, site erosion and sedimentation control plans (at construction sites, bridge abutments and culvert installations). Best management practices (BMPs) for Erosion and Sediment Control are applied from a collection of industry standards, provincial regulations and client-specified BMPs.

Included in the environmental protection are preservation of fish passage conditions, provision of navigability clearances, and analytic support for assessment and protection of aquatic habitat.

James Blatz, Ph.D., P.Eng., FEC

President and CEO
Senior Geotechnical Engineer

James Blatz is a Senior Geotechnical Engineer and founding partner at TREK with 20 years of experience in consulting and applied research. James provides technical support and project management on geotechnical projects for diverse projects across our market sectors. He specializes in numerical modeling of soil behaviour including finite element stress deformation, seepage, thermal and multi-phase flow applications as well as interpretation of soil behaviour from laboratory testing. James has extensive experience as a technical design reviewer on major projects such as the Keeyask Work Camp foundation design and construction, the Red River Floodway Expansion, the Fort Hills Ore Processing Facility design, the Ste. Adolphe Emergency Bridge Rehabilitation and as a technical expert on a number of legal claims and formal alternative dispute resolution processes. James also has extensive research experience in the areas of geosynthetic soil reinforcement, ground improvement techniques, temporary flood protection products and probabilistic slope stability analysis. James is President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at TREK and a key member of TREK’s leadership team.

Nelson Ferreira, Ph.D., P.Eng.

Senior Vice-President and COO
Senior Geotechnical Engineer

Nelson Ferreira is a Senior Geotechnical Engineer and founding partner at TREK with over 16 years of experience practicing in Manitoba, western Canada and the North. His experience involves earthworks, riverbanks and bridges including the Red River Floodway expansion, the Distance Early Warning (DEW-Line), and several East Side Road projects (both roads and bridges). Nelson completed an M.Sc. in geotechnical engineering in 2002 studying the effects of unsaturated soils on the stability of cutting slopes. In 2016, he completed his Ph.D. in geotechnical engineering examining the risk to buried gas pipelines subjected to ground movements (landslides). Nelson specializes in geotechnical investigations, construction management, erosion protection, materials, and engineering in remote locations. Nelson is Senior Vice-President and Chief Operations Officer (COO) and a key member of TREK’s leadership team.

Michael Van Helden, Ph.D., P.Eng.

Vice-President Finance and CFO
Senior Geotechnical Engineer

Michael Van Helden is a Senior Geotechnical Engineer and founding partner at TREK with over 10 years of experience. He specializes in numerical modeling and design of slope stabilization works, the use of probabilistic methods in geotechnical engineering, and the design, construction and testing of deep foundations. Michael has lead the design and construction of foundations for dozens of bridge and culvert structures in Manitoba and Ontario. Michael manages dynamic pile load testing services at TREK, and has provided PDA testing and CAPWAP analysis on numerous structures. He achieved the rank of Intermediate on the Dynamic Measurement and Analysis Proficiency Test for PDA testing. Michael was the project manager and lead geotechnical engineer for some notable projects, including the replacement of the 1st Street Bridge in Brandon, Manitoba, which includes driven steel pile and drilled shaft foundations in clay shale. Michael was recognized for his career achievements with the APEGM Early Achievement Award in 2013. Michael is a Vice-President and the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and a key member of TREK’s leadership team.

Kent Bannister, M.Sc., P.Eng.

Vice-President Engineering and CTO
Senior Geotechnical Engineer

Kent Bannister is a Senior Geotechnical Engineer and partner at TREK having worked in the geotechnical engineering field for 18 years in both the private and public sectors. His consulting experience has included positions in Manitoba and Alberta, and he also served as the Head of Manitoba Hydro’s Geotechnical Engineering Section for several years. Kent experience is diverse, ranging from dam safety, to mine waste containment, heavy industrial foundations and riverbank stabilization projects. Since joining TREK in 2012, Kent has been the project lead for several large design-build or PPP infrastructure and energy projects, including the Keeyask Generation Station Work Camp foundations, Winnipeg’s Southwest Rapid Transit Stage 2 project, the Riel Converter Station Synchronous Condensers foundations, and the McOrmond and Boychuk Interchanges in Saskatoon. Kent contributed to TREK’s rapid growth and joined the ownership team and Board of Directors in 2013; Kent is now a Vice-President and Chief Technical Officer (CTO) and a key member of our leadership team.

Ken Skaftfeld, M.Sc., P.Eng.

Senior Geotechnical Engineer

Ken Skaftfeld is a Senior Geotechnical Engineer and partner at TREK and has over 30 years of experience. Ken specializes in slope stabilization, engineering in peat and muskeg, and cold regions engineering. Throughout his career, Ken has contributed to projects in Western Canada, North-western Ontario, the Yukon Territory, Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Ken has diverse experience in the public and private sectors, including work on railways, roads, bridges, mine tailings facilities, dams, slope stabilization and erosion protection. Some notable projects Ken has worked on include Decommissioning of DEW-Line sites in the Canadian arctic, as well as Dike Upgrading works at the Farley and Fox mine sites in Lynn Lake, Manitoba. Kens impact on TREK’s practice has been invaluable and he joined the ownership team and Board of Directors in 2013.

Brent Hay, P.Eng.

Director, Corporate Secretary
Senior Geotechnical Engineer

Brent Hay is a Senior Geotechnical Engineer and partner at TREK and has nine years of geotechnical and geo-environmental consulting experience. The extent of his work includes project management, contract administration and the geotechnical design and analysis for various projects throughout Manitoba, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Nunavut. Brent’s projects have included civil infrastructure and remediation of contaminated sites, foundation design for bridges and structures, community flood protection works and slope stabilization and rehabilitation works. Major projects Brent has been involved with include various Dew Line Clean Up Project sites in Northern Canada, the Keeyask Generating Station Work Camp Construction, the Keewatinohk Bi-Pole III Converter Station, and the Former Snow Lake Mine Site Surface Capping System in Northern Manitoba. Brent joined TREK in 2011 and has been on the ownership team and Board of Directors since 2014.

Ryan Belbas, M.Sc., P.Eng.

Senior Geotechnical Engineer

Ryan Belbas is a Geotechnical Engineer with 10 years of consulting experience. Ryan has extensive experience in construction, having observed the installation of thousands of piles, as well as high-strain dynamic load testing (PDA testing) of hundreds more. Since joining TREK in 2014, Ryan served as Lead Geotechnical Engineer and Project Manager on numerous projects, including the Ness Avenue Replacement Bridge over the Sturgeon Creek. Ryan has provided construction observation of rock-socketed caissons in Winnipeg at several sites, including the Riel Converter Station, and participated in the first Osterberg-cell load test in Wininpeg.

Jim Friesen

Jim Friesen, P.Eng.

Manager of Water Resource Engineering
Senior Water Resource Engineer

Jim Friesen is a Senior Hydro-technical Engineer and Manager of TREK’s Water Resources group and has 20 years of experience. Jim has provided hydrologic and hydraulic analysis and designs to urban, rural and First Nation Clients in Water Resources and Municipal Engineering. His services have been applied to hydraulic modelling; infrastructure design; flood protection development; technical investigations; mine water management, environmental protection designs; Geographic Information System (GIS) analysis; economic cost benefit studies; and provision of resident engineering services relating to the design and construction of municipal infrastructure, drainage and shoreline protection. Jim joined TREK in 2017 to lead a new Water Resource Engineering group to complement our established geotechnical practice.

Bruce Harding, P.Eng.,

Senior Water Resource Engineer

Bruce Harding is a Senior Hydraulic Engineer at TREK and has 28 years of hydraulic engineering experience on water resources related projects. Bruce has considerable experience in hydraulic structure design, having participated in the design of various spillways, control structures, fishways, bridges and box culverts for numerous clients. Bruce has developed designs to provide habitat (fishery) compensation to mitigate habitat disruption and loss at numerous projects. After 12 years as a sole practitioner, TREK acquired Bruce Harding Consulting in 2017 to form a new water resources group under Bruce’s technical oversight.