Table of Contents Creek Considerations

Creek Considerations

The stated goal of the British Columbia Fish Protection Act (the “FPA”) is to protect and preserve fish habitat in waters under provincial jurisdictions.  The Environmental Stewardship Division of the Ministry of Environment often recommends protection of a creek's banks to maintain fisheries equilibrium.  The FPA authorizes the Regional Manager, Water Stewardship, Ministry of Environment to take into account the impact on fish and fish habitat when deciding to grant a license of approval under the Water Sustainability Act.  When this happens, the Approving Officer should ask the subdivider to return to the Crown a seven-meter strip plus the creek bed if he or she owns it.

Riparian Areas Regulation (effective March 31, 2005)

The Riparian Areas Regulation B.C. Reg. 376/2004, enacted under Section 12 of the Fish Protection Act in July 2004, calls on local governments to protect Riparian Areas during residential, commercial, and industrial development.   They will do so by ensuring that proposed activities are subject to a science based assessment conducted by a qualified environmental professional.

The Riparian Areas Regulation model uses qualified environmental professionals, hired by land developers, to assess habitat and the potential impacts, develop mitigation measures and avoid impacts of development to fish and fish habitat, particularly riparian habitat.

The assessment methods attached as a schedule to the regulation are a key component of a regulatory regime for riparian protection that is clear and measurable, but does not rely exclusively on default set backs. The assessment is based on the best available science with respect to riparian habitats.

The Riparian Areas Regulation currently applies only to local governments located on the east side of Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland and the Southern Interior, as these are the parts of the province that are experiencing the most rapid urban growth. This includes the following regional districts and all municipalities within them: Capital, Central Okanagan, Columbia-Shuswap, Comox-Strathcona, Cowichan Valley, Fraser Valley, Greater Vancouver (except the City of Vancouver), Nanaimo, North Okanagan, Okanagan-Similkameen, Powell River, Squamish-Lillooet, Sunshine Coast, Thompson-Nicola and the trust area under the Islands Trust Act .

This guide is a living document; it is subject to change without notice. Please check the Rural Subdivisions Website ( to make sure your version is sufficiently current.