Interim code of practice: Routine maintenance dredging

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1 About this code of practice

This code of practice outlines national best practices for routine maintenance dredging. Routine maintenance dredging occurs at least once every 10 years and involves the mechanical removal of accumulated sediment from the bed of a waterbody with clamshell buckets, draglines or backhoes, suction dredges). Routine dredging helps to maintain the design depths of navigation channels, harbours, marinas, boat launches, docking sites and port facilities that contribute to tourism, recreation and the transportation of goods.

Some potential impacts to fish habitat from routine maintenance dredging could include but are not limited to:  sedimentation of aquatic habitat, change of aquatic habitat and vegetation, change in riparian zones and accumulation of deleterious substances.

This code of practice provides useful information on the measures to follow to ensure that fish and fish habitat are protected. This code applies to routine maintenance dredging only and does not apply to new dredging projects or to the expansion of a previously dredged area.

A project review by DFO is not required when the conditions and measures set out in this code of practice and all applicable measures to protect fish and fish habitat are applied.

This code does not remove or replace the obligation to comply with all applicable statutory and regulatory requirements of the Fisheries Act, or other federal, provincial, or municipal legislation and policies.

2 You can use this code of practice if:

Consult our Projects near water review webpage when the works, undertakings or activities do not meet all the criteria listed in section 2.

3 Measures to protect fish and fish habitat for routine maintenance dredging

1 Timing windows

2 Dredging

3 Limit impacts on riparian vegetation

Limit impacts on riparian vegetation to those approved for the work, undertaking or activity.

4 Limit impacts on habitat components

5 Ensure proper sediment control

Develop and implement a sediment control plan that minimizes sedimentation of the waterbody during all phases of the work, undertaking or activity.

6 Deleterious substances

Develop a response plan that is to be implemented immediately in the event of a release or spill of a deleterious substance and keep an emergency spill kit on site.

4 Project notification

Please submit a Notification Form (PDF, 50 KB) to your regional DFO office to help us improve this fish and fish habitat protection guidance over time.

5 Contact us

If you have questions regarding this code of practice contact the Fish and Fish Habitat Protection Program located in your region.

6 Glossary

Affected area
Area within which potential impacts from works, undertakings or activities are likely to occur.
Navigation channels
Channels in the sea, lake or river bed that are wide and deep enough to accommodate vessels passing through to, or accessing a harbour, marina, boat launch or a port facility.
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