Habitat Assessments and Mitigation

salmon streamBritish Columbia's recent Streamside Protection Regulation and the federal / provincial Land Development Guidelines for the Protection of Aquatic Habitat are among several sets of requirements and regulations protecting fish and wildlife habitat. While aimed at preserving natural resources and environmental quality, habitat protection laws and approval requirements can profoundly affect a property's development potential.

Anticipated lot yields can be substantially altered due to minimum setbacks(leave strips widths) from streams, typically ranging from 15 to 30 metres - although some exceptions can apply on a site-specific basis. Preserving active nests used by birds of prey (eagles, hawks, owls, herons) can also exclude parts of a property from development.

salmon ladderGreater emphasis is be placed on managing runoff (stormwater) generated from new and existing urban development sites. Stormwater detention is required to store runoff and release it slowly to the receiving waterbody (often a stream) so that erosion, streambed scour or bank instability problems do not damage a stream during periods of heavy rainfall. Stormwater treatment to maintain suitable water quality often entails constructing vegetated ponds or swales which filter and biologically treat stormwater runoff before it is released downstream.

sandstone beach and shellsApprovals for municipal property development often depend on meeting the requirements of habitat regulatory agencies. These requirements can include providing habitat assessments for lengths of a watercourse that extend well beyond the development site it runs through.

Phoenix Environmental conducts habitat inventories, assesses priorities for protecting and enhancing habitat, designs stream enhancement, habitat replacement and constructed habitat, and provides construction monitoring services.

more info

Setback Analysis

Setback Analysis (pdf)
A map and aerial photo showing "Streamside Protection Areas" (buffer strips or setbacks) at a residential re-development site. A variety of setback widths may apply depending on the specific conditions at each location (e.g. width of an existing forested ravine; proximity of a house or street to an existing stream).


Bioswale (pdf)
"Bio-filtration swales" can be used to treat pollutants in storm runoff from residential streets and driveways by allowing runoff to soak ("infiltrate") below ground and to filter the stormwater. Some (oily) pollutants stick to plants at the bottom and edges of the shallow channel ("swale"), and are broken down by microscopic organisms. Other pollutants (metals) bind (adsorption) onto the surface of fine soil particles or organic material (peat) as water soaks underground in the swale.

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