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We expect that many if not most workshop participants will be well aware of the SPR and various discussions of issues and approaches. To help ensure that everyone has at least some common starting point, however, we have compiled some background documents for participant review. We hope that all participants will take some time to review the SPR and the 4 pages of other 'primary' documents indicated below. Additional information and resources are also provided below.

PRIMARY ORIENTATION DOCS (Document set is included below)
especially relevant to Nov.22 workshop participants


Government of B.C.


SAN Presentation at Oct 10 meeting (Stewardship Action Network)

see link above for SPR itself

Primary interests of affected Government agencies and stakeholder groups (1p) Provided by MWALP based on October 10 2001 multi-stakeholder meeting

Provincial Government MWALP

  • Protect Fish Habitat in Urban Environments
  • Harmonize management approach between levels of government*
  • Reduce management transaction costs*
  • Increase efficiency of development approval process*
  • Implement a strategic and integrated approach to fish habitat protection*


  • Protect Fish Habitat in Urban Environments
  • Ensure compliance with Fisheries Act
  • Harmonize management approach between levels of government
  • Reduce management transaction costs (reduce referrals)*

Local Governments

  • Concern about downloading
  • Federal and Provincial responsibilities for protecting fish habitat passed on without the resources and expertise to fulfill them
  • Lack of capacity to respond and implement
  • Protection from liability for lack of compliance with Fisheries Act
  • Direction/incentive to protect fish habitat
  • Facilitate development

Private property use and development (BCRA, UDI)

  • Protect property values
  • Compensation for lost value
  • Protect development potential of property
  • Minimize transaction costs associated with development approvals*
  • Protect owners rights to use property
  • Concern regarding inconsistent application of the regulation between LGs and across land uses
  • Need to ensure fairness - e.g. appeal mechanism
  • Ensure flexibility in range of approaches to protecting habitat to maintain opportunities
  • Ensure efficiency in protection/maintenance of habitat - e.g. protect the best first, habitat trades etc.

Conservation and Environment (WCEL, SAN)

  • Protect fish habitat in urban environments*
  • Reverse trend towards increasing loss of fish habitat and fish populations in urban environments
  • Maintain quality of life services provided by healthy streams and fish populations*

* interests that are likely common to all sectors

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Status and Overview of SPR
Prepared By: Jodi Dong, Streamside Standards Specialist, Habitat Branch


The Streamside Protection Regulation, enacted under Section 12 of the Fish Protection Act in January 2001, calls on local governments to establish streamside protection and enhancement areas in residential, commercial and industrial areas and protect them through their land use plans and regulations by 2006. The purpose of the Regulation is to provide the features, functions and conditions that enable stream productivity including large organic debris, areas for channel migration, moderating water temperature, providing food, nutrients and organic matter to streams, stabilizing banks and buffering streams from pollution in surface runoff.

Implementation of the Regulation is currently under review by an Advisory Committee with representatives from the Union of BC Municipalities, Urban Development Institute, BC Real Estate Association, District of Maple Ridge, Stewardship Action Network, the T.Buck Suzuki Foundation, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection. This note provides an overview of the approaches the Committee will be examining, a summary of the kick off workshop, a range of potential solutions to the outstanding concerns and next steps.


Current Implementation Approach: Prescriptive
The current Regulation allows for prescriptive or flexible approaches. The prescriptive approach is built into the Regulation because Section 12 of the Fish Protection Act provided for streamside protection which “applies to local government zoning and rural land use bylaws and permits under Part 26 of the Local Government Act”. The prescriptive approach typically involves the establishment of streamside protection areas of 5 to 30 metres depending on fish presence or absence and on stream and vegetation conditions as outlined Section 6 (1) through (4). This would likely happen through the creation of development permit areas or through zoning bylaws. These tools designate broad areas that require approval by the local government before development can proceed. In order to obtain this approval, the proponent typically provides an environmental impact assessment of the site. Local governments and "mom and pop" landowners tend to prefer this approach because it is administratively simple, relatively inexpensive and provides due diligence protection under the federal Fisheries Act.

Current Implementation Approach: Flexible
Another approach provided for in the Regulation is seen as a more flexible one. Section 6 (5) outlines a list of criteria which allows local governments to vary the standards through intergovernmental cooperation agreements. These include: biophysical conditions, existing parcel sizes, existing or proposed roads, works or services, or the existence of artificial controls on a stream (dykes).These amendments can occur at the site specific or watershed scale and are meant to avoid adverse impacts on property use and value and make it work “on the ground”. This approach tends to be favoured by larger development companies who have the resources to conduct broad studies and are working on larger “greenfield” sites, or large new developments.

Implementation Support
The Union of BC Municipalities endorsed the Regulation at its 2000 Annual Convention on the condition that the Province provide adequate technical and financial support to implement it. That commitment was made, and staff have been working on focusing the Urban Salmon Habitat Program as a delivery mechanism to fulfill this commitment. Specifically, the Program needs to be expanded to cover the Southern Interior, and it needs to be reformed to ensure all local governments are on a level playing field in implementing the Regulation. It is estimated that a total budget of $9-10 million will be required over the next five years, or $2 million per year for implementation.

Status of the Review Process
Concerns continue to be raised regarding implementation of the Regulation. Implementation must be consistent with Government’s commitment to a scientifically based, balanced and principled approach to environmental management. The Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection must ensure that implementation:

  • Is flexible to meet local circumstances;
  • Is practical to implement with the resources of the Province and local governments;
  • Minimizes impacts on the use and value of property;
  • Protects fish habitat in a manner consistent with Government’s objectives for exemplary environmental stewardship.

In order to ensure implementation meets these objectives, an Implementation Advisory Committee has been established. A workshop was held on October 10 and attended by 60 representatives from industry, all levels of government and environmental non-government organizations. The following issues were identified at the workshop:

  • Misconceptions of the regulation and mistrust of flexible implementation evident
  • Broad consensus for flexibility based on ICAs, use of best available science, classification of streams
  • DFO, UBCM, WCEL, SAN believe this can be achieved with current regulation and are frustrated by current review
  • Those groups willing to participate in a Committee only if its intention is not to rewrite Regulation
  • Industry calling for: compensation, watershed planning, site specific assessments, flexibility
  • Industry concerned about inconsistent application among local governments
  • Local governments concerned about technical and financial support
  • Need to establish clear criteria that ensures consistency in a flexible approach
  • Broad support for a strategic, prioritized approach while protecting ephemeral streams

At present there are four potential solutions to these issues:

  • 1) Implement existing regulation, advised by Committee
  • 2) Revise and clarify Regulation based on Advisory Committee recommendations
  • 3) Provide provincial objectives only and leave delivery to local governments
  • 4) Eliminate regulation and leave to DFO

The Advisory Committee will examine these issues and potential solutions and provide recommendations on how to proceed with implementation in a manner that addresses each of them. The Committee will meet 3 times this fall.

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Flexible Approaches: Background for December 13/14th SPRAG Meeting

The following are the flexibility approaches that are currently built into the wording of the Fish Protection Act and the Streamside Protection Regulation. The table is provided as an aid to developing alternative flexibility approaches for discussion on this Thursday's conference call and for next week's meeting. You can use the table or provide some descriptive wording and I will incorporate in the table and ensure that any additional supporting material is appended. If you are proposing an alternative approach under a specific section of the legislation please indicate that otherwise the first column can be left blank

While the sections below relate to flexibility around streamside protection and enhancement areas there are other areas of flexibility incorporated into the legislation such as the 5 year phase in period.

Please also remember that any alternative approaches must also satisfy fish habitat protection requirements under the federal Fisheries Act.

FPA S. 12 (3) Policy directives . . . may be different for different parts of British Columbia and in relation to different local government powers and different circumstances as established by the directives.
This is an enabling section that allows for different approaches in different parts of the province where deemed necessary (eg different approaches that may be necessary to reflect differing bio-geo climatic conditions). Currently there are no such ‘variances' built into the regulation.

FPA S. 12(4) Ensure that bylaws and permits under Part 26 of the Local Gov't Act . . . provide a level of protection, that in the opinion of the local government, is comparable to or exceeds that established by the directive.
This section of the Act allows local government to develop an approach that provides a similar level or better protection of the features, functions and form of stream side areas as directed in the regulation. There are no conditions associated with this section aside from the need to meet the regulation objectives. Therefore local governments can adopt any approach they feel meets these requirements. One example of how local government could achieve equivalency is through the development of a watershed planning approach that maintains features and functions without explicitly using the SPEA figures identified in the regulation This would obviously be constrained by the powers available to local government under Part 26.

SPR S. 6 (5) In determining a streamside protection and enhancement area a local government may make allowances for one or more of the following if supported by an agreement under section (3)
This section allows local governments to take into consideration specific on the ground constraints in such as parcel size, biophysical condition etc. in determining whether the SPEA widths as defined in S.6(2) can be achieved. If not, and supported by an ICA under S.3 the widths can be varied. It should be noted that the list included in 6 (5) is not exclusive, ie other constraining features can be considered. This allows local government to deal with issues at the site level through DPs.

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