This Operational Statement applies only to beach creation projects adjacent to freshwater systems that involve a small waterfront recreation area located entirely above the ordinary high water mark. Although fish habitat occurs both below the water and within riparian areas (along the banks of the water body), it is the riparian habitat that is most sensitive to this type of beach development. Riparian vegetation directly contributes to fish habitat by providing shade, cover and areas for spawning and food production. It is important to design your beach to meet your needs while also protecting riparian areas.
The disturbance of shoreline areas can also result in sedimentation and erosion of beach material into the water body, which may harm other important habitat. Improper use of equipment or use of unsuitable building materials can introduce deleterious substances into the water.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is responsible for protecting fish and fish habitat across Canada. Under the Fisheries Act no one may carry out a work or undertaking that will cause the harmful alteration, disruption or destruction (HADD) of fish habitat unless it has been authorized by DFO. By following the conditions and measures set out below you will be in compliance with subsection 35(1) of the Fisheries Act.
The purpose of this Operational Statement is to describe the conditions under which it is applicable to your project and the measures to incorporate into your project in order to avoid negative impacts to fish habitat. You may proceed with your beach creation project adjacent to freshwater lakes, rivers and streams without a DFO review when you meet the following conditions:
If you cannot meet all of the conditions listed above and cannot incorporate all of the measures listed below then your project may result in the violation of subsection 35(1) of the Fisheries Act and you could be subject to enforcement action. In this case, you should contact your Conservation Authority, or the DFO office in your area (see Ontario DFO office list), if you wish to obtain an opinion on the possible options you should consider to avoid contravention of the Fisheries Act.
You are required to respect all municipal, provincial or federal legislation that applies to the work being carried out in relation to this Operational Statement. The activities undertaken in this Operational Statement must also comply with the Species at Risk Act (www.sararegistry.gc.ca). If you have questions regarding this Operational Statement, please contact one of the agencies listed above.
We ask that you notify DFO, preferably 10 working days before starting your work by filling out and sending the Ontario Operational Statement notification form (http://www.dfo-mpo.ca/regions/central/habitat/os-eo/provinces-territories-territoires/on/os-eo20-eng.htm) to the DFO office in your area. This information is requested in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the work carried out in relation to this Operational Statement.
Ordinary high water mark (HWM) – The usual or average level to which a body of water rises at its highest point and remains for sufficient time so as to change the characteristics of the land. In flowing waters (rivers, streams) this refers to the “active channel/bank-full level” which is often the 1:2 year flood flow return level. In inland lakes, wetlands or marine environments it refers to those parts of the water body bed and banks that are frequently flooded by water so as to leave a mark on the land and where the natural vegetation changes from predominately aquatic vegetation to terrestrial vegetation (excepting water tolerant species). For reservoirs this refers to normal high operating levels (Full Supply Level).
For the Great Lakes this refers to the 80th percentile elevation above chart datum as described in DFO’s Fish Habitat and Determining the High Water Mark on Lakes.
Environmentally-friendly lumber and stains - Chemical wood preservatives used in Canada are regulated by the Pest Management Regulatory Agency, Health Canada. Approved preservatives used most commonly in lumber are Alkaline Copper Quaternary (ACQ) and Copper Azole (CA). Creosote treated wood should not be used in or near water. Ask your local building supply outlet for further information on available products.