As a cottage or land owner, you should be aware of federal requirements that may affect the way you choose to build or modify your cottage or property. Under the Fisheries Act, no one may carry out any work in or near Canadian waters that will result in the harmful alteration, disruption or destruction of fish habitat, without authorization from Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO).
As part of DFO’s work, the Habitat Management branch reviews projects to evaluate the potential for impact on fish habitat. In some cases, there can be some very significant impacts to fish habitat, particularly along shorelines where spawning and rearing habitats are most at risk.
In order to assist landowners, DFO has developed some guidelines (termed Operational Statements) that provide cottage owners and other developers with techniques that will allow projects to proceed without affecting fish habitat and without requiring a Fisheries Act authorization. These guidelines pertain only to federal requirements; additional provincial or municipal approvals or permits may be required.The most frequently used Operational Statements by cottagers are:
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