Riparian Assessments

Trumbley Environmental Consulting - Riparian AssessmentsHill Environmental employs Qualified Environmental Professionals (QEP) who are trained in Riparian Areas Regulation Methodology. We have successfully completed RAR assessments on multiple streams and lakes within the Okanagan, Shuswap and Thompson regions. We are able to help our clients successfully navigate through the Riparian Areas Regulation and other applicable government bylaws. We have worked with many local governments including the City of Armstrong, District of Sicamous, North Okanagan Regional District, Central Okanagan Regional District, South Okanagan Regional District, City of Vernon and the Columbia Shuswap Regional District.

WHAT IS THE RIPARIAN AREAS REGULATION?

The Riparian Areas Regulation was enacted in July 2004 and implemented in 2005. This regulation is enabled by the Fish Protection Act and is aimed at protecting fish and fish habitat in BC. A healthy riparian area, or the "Streamside Protection and Enhancement Area" (SPEA) will provide shade, nutrients and cover to sustain healthy aquatic ecosystems. The regulation applies to all new residential, commercial and industrial developments that want to build within 30m of any creek, river, stream, lake, pond, wetland, spring or ditch that is connected through surface flow to a body of water containing fish.

I AM DEVELOPING WITHIN 30M OF A RIPARIAN AREA, WHAT'S NEXT?

A Riparian Areas Assessment (RAA) is required for development permit applications within 30m of any riparian area. The Riparian Areas Assessment must be completed by a Qualified Environmental Professional (QEP). Hill Environmental employs QEP's who have been conducting riparian assessments since the regulations inception in 2005.

WHAT IS THE RIPARIAN AREAS REGULATION AND WHAT IS THE PURPOSE?

The Riparian Areas Regulation came into effect on March 31, 2005 and is enabled by the Fish Protection Act. The regulation applies to riparian fish habitat affected by new residential, commercial and industrial developments within 30m of a creek, river, stream, lake, pond, wetland, spring or ditch that is connected through surface flow to a body of water containing fish. The main objective of the Riparian Area Regulation is to "provide protection for the features, functions and conditions that are vital in the natural maintenance of stream health and productivity. These vital features, functions and streamside area conditions are numerous and varied and include such things as sources of large organic debris (fallen trees and tree roots), areas for stream channel migration, vegetative cover to help moderate water temperature, provision of food, nutrients and organic matter to the stream, stream bank stabilization and buffers for streams from excessive silt and surface runoff pollution." (Riparian Areas, Environmental Stewardship Division, MOE, Province of BC 2007).

Trumbley Environmental Consulting - Riparian AssessmentsWHAT IS A STREAM?

The definition of a stream (under the Riparian Areas Regulation) includes any of the following that provides fish habitat:

(a) a watercourse, whether it usually contains water or not;

(b) a pond, lake river, creek, brook;

(c) a ditch, spring or wetland that is connected by surface flow to something referred to in paragraph (a) or (b)." (Riparian Areas Regulation Assessments Methods Version 3.3, April 2006)

WHERE DOES THIS APPLY?

The Riparian Areas Regulation applies to riparian fish habitat only in association with new residential, commercial and industrial development on land under local government jurisdiction. Development under the riparian areas regulation is defined in section 1 (1) as being any of the following associated with or resulting from local government regulation or approval of residential, commercial, or industrial activities or ancillary to the extend that they are subject to local government powers under Part 26 of the Local Government Act:

(a) removal, alteration, disruption, or destruction of vegetation

(b) disturbance of soils

(c) construction or erection of buildings and structures

(d) creation of non-structural impervious or semi-impervious surfaces

(e) flood protection works

(f) construction of roads, trails, docks, wharves and bridges

(g) provision and maintenance of sewer and water services

(h) development of drainage systems

(i) development of utility corridors

(j) subdivision as defined in section 872 of the Local Government Act, (Riparian Areas Regulation Assessments Methods Version 3.3, April 2006)

WHY ARE RIPARIAN AREAS IMPORTANT?

Healthy riparian areas support a unique mixture of vegetation which directly influence important fish habitat. Vegetation ranges from emergent and herbaceous plants to trees and shrubs which stabilize stream banks and shorelines. Riparian vegetation reduces water temperatures through shade and provides nutrients and shelter for fish. Leaves and insects from nearby vegetation introduce nutrients vital to the production of a healthy aquatic system.

Please visit the Riparian areas website for additional information at:

http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/habitat/fish_protection_act/riparian/riparian_areas.html

Download the pamphlet:

http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/habitat/fish_protection_act/riparian/documents/RAR_Pamphlet.pdf