With all the flooding that is happening right now, I can’t help but think of what this will mean for our lake shores, streams, creeks and ravines in the future?
If you’re not familiar with riparian areas, and how they can affect you, then you’ve come to the right place. Riparian areas are the boundaries which are bordering on streams, lakes, and wetlands, that link water to land. The blend of stream-beds, water, trees, shrubs and grasses within a certain parameter, directly influence and provide for fish habitats. BC has put regulations in place that protect waterways and their natural habitats. However, these regulations typically only affect those who are building new developments or rebuilding a current development within an assessment zone.
Currently within the regional district of the North Okanagan, if you are located in a “riparian assessment area”, any building in the region must be at least 30 meters from the riparian area. In addition to this, the builder is required to hire a qualified environmental professional to provide an assessment report. The report must be presented to the Ministry of Environment, as well as Fisheries and Oceans Canada, who must approve it before the local jurisdiction can issue a building permit.
Now that we have established a new “high water” mark in the Okanagan, I find myself curious about how this will potentially affect the riparian areas and regulations that are currently in place. While we may not have those answers today, I am positive that riparian area regulations will be re-evaluated in the future. It should be interesting to see what changes may come of our current situation, in regards to these regulations.
If you would like more information on riparian areas you can visit:
Riparian Area Information – Government of BC
Alternatively, if you would like to read about our current regulations, you can visit:
Riparian Regulations – Regional District of the North Okanagan