Federal officials are investigating an Alberta logging company for building a bridge without a permit over a river considered crucial habitat for threatened species.
Spray Lake Sawmills is building the bridge over the Highwood River in Kananaskis Country, a popular Alberta recreation area, in order to reach a large swath of forest slated to be clear cut.
The river provides increasingly rare habitat for bull trout, Alberta's provincial fish and a threatened species with a federal recovery plan.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has confirmed no authorizations for the bridge have been issued, although the Species At Risk Act requires permits for such activities in critical wildlife habitat.
The company did not immediately return requests for comment.
Scientists say activities such as road construction and bridge-building damage habitat by silting up the stream beds, impairing the ability of fish to find food and hatch eggs.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 30, 2023.
The Canadian Press