If your project is located within 30 meters of a stream channel, river, lake, or other water body, including marine habitat, marine foreshore, beach, marsh, wetland, riparian area or ditch, you should contact a registered professional fisheries biologist for advice before you begin work. A professional biologist will be able to advise on best management practices, mitigation measures, permit requirements, and the potential for species at risk occurring in the project area.
Best Management Practices
Best Management Practices (BMPs) documents have been developed by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and Ministry of the Environment (MoE) for many types of activities that involve working around water and fish habitat. The BMPs will be required to be included as part of any mitigation to reduce the potential impact of a project on fish and wildlife habitat. Some existing BMPs include:
- Standards and Best Practices for Instream Works http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/wld/documents/bmp/iswstdsbpsmarch2004.pdf
- Land Development Guidelines for the Protection of Aquatic Habitat http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Library/165353.pdf
Are you working within 30 m of a stream, creek, river, lake, marsh, wetland or marine habitat? If the answer is ‘yes’, then the following also needs to be considered:
Will you be working with concrete?
- Concrete and concrete wash water are poisonous to fish and regulated under Section 36 of the Fisheries Act. Working with concrete around fish habitat requires an application and special mitigation from DFO.
Will sediment be created?
- During project construction, there is a potential for sediment created by the project to enter into a fish bearing stream or water course, which could impact downstream fish habitat. This is a contravention of the Fisheries Act (Section 35.1 and 36).
Will the project require that you remove riparian vegetation to gain access to a site near a river, creek or lake?
- You should submit a request for review to DFO and a notification to the Ministry of Forest Lands and Natural Resource Operations (FLNRO).
Will the project require that you cross or ford a fish bearing stream?
- You will need to submit a notification to FLNRO.
Will the project require that you drill or excavate within 30 meters of a lake, river, creek or marine habitat, or within a steep ravine up to 60 m away from a creek?
- You will need to apply to DFO for an approval and to FLNRO for an authorization.
What is the potential for federally (SARA) listed or provincially (red and blue) listed species in your area? The presence of listed species requires site specific measures to prevent harm and reduce habitat impacts. Examples of listed species in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia are included below:
- Nooksack dace (Rhinichthys sp.)
- Salish Sucker (Catostomus catostomus)
- Pacific Water Shrew (Sorex bendirii)
- Red-legged frog (Rana aurora)
- Tailed frog (Ascaphus truei)
- Oregon forestsnail (Allogona townsendiana)
You should contact a professional biologist for advice on best management practices, mitigation measures and permitting requirements when dealing with species at risk before you begin work.
Copyright John Black 2014. All rights reserved.