The process of altering a land surface or adjusting the landscape slope for drainage. This may be achieved through manual or mechanical compaction, cutting, filling, or smoothing operations in order to meet a designated form and function. It does not include excavation or dredging.
Pathways of Effects diagrams have been developed by Fisheries and Oceans Canada as a tool to communicate potential effects of development proposals on fish and fish habitat and were developed through extensive consultation. It is expected that these diagrams will be updated to describe new activities and stressors as required.
Change in habitat structure and cover: The addition of in-stream organic structure and the deposition of eroded soil can affect the capacity of a watercourse to maintain a dispersed and diverse community of aquatic organisms by restricting habitat connectivity and the opportunities for organisms to use, colonize, and move between existing aquatic environments. The removal of in-stream and riparian vegetation can reduce channel stability, cover and protection from predators and physical disturbances, and the availability of diverse and stable habitats.
Change in sediment concentrations: Increased erosion of stream bank soils and rocks result in an excess of fragmented organic and inorganic material which is transported by water, wind, ice, and gravity. These sediments, which contain nutrifying elements and can capture or absorb contaminants, are suspended or else settle and collect in waterways affecting physical processes, structural attributes, and ecological conditions such as water clarity (by reducing visibility and sunlight and damaging fish gills) and reducing the availability and quality of spawning/ rearing habitat (through infilling).
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