Water Stewardship Information Sources

Citation Willmott, T, Lange, J and Morgen, J. 2013. Salt Spring Island riparian area regulation stream identification - Bullock, Fulford, Maxwell, Stowell, and Weston Watersheds. Prepared for Isalnds Trust.
Organization Islands Trust
URL http://www.islandstrust.bc.ca/media/241677/13.0030%20FINAL%20Saltspring%20Island%20Riparian%20Area%20Regulation%20Stream%20Assessment%20SSI%20reduced%20size.pdf
Abstract/Description or Keywords The Riparian Areas Regulation (RAR) is the basis of streamside protection in British
Columbia. The RAR was enacted in 2004 under Section 12 of the Fish Protection
Act. The RAR is a joint initiative with Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), the
Ministry of Environment (MoE) and local government. The RAR uses a sciencebased
approach to help ensure land development activities do not result in a harmful
alteration, disruption or destruction (HADD) of fish habitat.
In BC, the definition of fish habitat includes all aquatic and terrestrial areas that
affect fish life processes. Fish habitat, therefore, includes the area directly adjacent to
a stream (i.e., the riparian area) because it provides food, nutrients, and other
functions vital to fish survival.
In order to become compliant with the provincial RAR, Islands Trust contracted
Madrone Environmental Services Ltd. (Madrone) to conduct fieldwork to identify
RAR-applicable drainages in 5 watersheds on Salt Spring Island – Bullock, Fulford,
Maxwell, Stowell and Weston. Islands Trust will use the stream-mapping data to
develop a process that recognizes focus areas adjacent to applicable streams (e.g. by
incorporating Development Permit Areas or implementing other regulations).
The primary objective of the project was to map the centre-line of streams with a
high level of accuracy (within 1 m – 5 m), to allow Islands Trust to accurately
identify RAR applicable watercourses. As per the RAR, any development within the
Riparian Assessment Area (RAA) triggers the requirement for an assessment
completed by a Qualified Environmental Professional (QEP). The RAA occurs within 30 m of applicable watercourses, and is measured from the
Top of Bank (TOB), or in the case of ravines, from the High Water Mark (HWM) to
a point that extends either 10 m or 30 m back from the Top of Ravine Bank (TORB),
depending on the width of the ravine. The RAA for wetlands is measured from the
HWM. The scope of this project did not include locating the TOB, TORB, or HWM,
but ravines were identified during the fieldwork.
In order to help determine the extent of riparian setbacks under the RAR (referred to
under the regulation as Streamside Protection and Enhancement Areas – SPEAS),
bankfull stream width measurements were taken during fieldwork. The objective of
this exercise was to supply Islands Trust with additional data to help with the
implementation of planning tools to manage riparian areas. As per the RAR, SPEAs
are measured as horizontal distances from the HWM.
Information Type report
Regional Watershed Vancouver Island South
Sub-watershed if known Salt Spring Island
Aquifer #
Project status complete
Contact Name
Contact Email