The Province defines riparian areas as “the areas bordering on streams, lakes, and wetlands that link water to land. The blend of streambed, water, trees, shrubs and grasses directly influences and provides fish habitat. A healthy riparian area has both economical and ecological benefits. Protected natural areas make neighbourhoods desirable and can have a positive impact on your property values."
Protected riparian areas mean:
- Improved water quality
- Decreased flood hazard
- Lower stormwater management costs
- Higher aesthetic values
- Increased shoreline stability
- Decreased heating and cooling costs
- Better air quality (MFLNRO 2016)
If you’re planning to develop, any portion of a proposed residential, commercial and/or industrial use footprint that occurs within 30m of ditches, streams and/or wetlands requires a Riparian Areas Regulation (RAR) Assessment Report. The RAR Assessment Report is completed by a Qualified Environmental Professional (QEP) and submitted to the Province. This is required in advance of issuing permits. The footprint includes, but is not limited to, the structure(s), garage(s), driveways, walkways, toe of fill slope associated with the footprint, associated reasonable landscaping, pool, etc. The RAR Assessment Report will establish a Streamside Protection Enhancement Area (SPEA) in advance of proposed development and address measures and monitoring requirements to protect the SPEA.
Though the Riparian Areas Regulation (RAR) does not apply to farm practices as defined in the Farm Practices Protection Act, please note RAR does apply to agricultural lands for activities that are not farm practices (eg: residential construction). ALR Land owners are encouraged to reference the Riparian Factsheet: Agricultural Building Setbacks from Watercourses in Farming Area prepared by the Ministry of Agriculture (2011). The City encourages vegetation retention and riparian protection on farmland on a voluntary basis.
The City of Pitt Meadows is pleased to announce its undertaking of Riparian Protection and Management Strategy. This framework will help address gaps that have been identified on the protection and management of provincially-regulated riparian areas. ISL Engineering Ltd. (ISL) biologists will be completing watercourse surveys in select areas of Pitt Meadows as part of this project.