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What modern safeguards should be instituted in order to ensure appropriate protections for fish and fish habitat?

General Permits/Class Authorizations with Notification Requirement

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4.3
Theme:Conservation and Protection of Fish & Fish Habitat
on 10/19/2016

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In order to manage potential cumulative effects, DFO should develop class authorizations or minor work regulations for projects that pose a low risk to fish habitat individually but which contribute to habitat degradation through cumulative effects. These class authorizations would set out best practices for mitigation but otherwise would impose a minimal burden on proponents, which would be to notify DFO that their project or activity is being carried out. DFO would use this information to keep track of the totality of habitat-related activity in a given watershed, allowing it to assess and manage cumulative effects. 

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Laura Phalen By Anonymous
10/24/2016

Agreed. If proponents are allowed to self-assess and determine that they are not causing serious harm to fish, they should still have to submit a report of their works if it at all effects fish habitats. This should be banked in a database that allows for viewing of cumulative impacts in an area.

Agree  Agree (4)
Darcy Lightle 
The only way any regulatory agency (such as DFO) can speak to results of their BMP's/mitigation as being effective at preventing cumulative impacts, is to monitor project outcomes. This requires knowledge of how many, and what type of projects are occurring. That means DFO must be notified of all work with the potential to impact issues protected under their mandate. It also means they need a research program that monitors some form of baseline health of fish habitat for both fresh water and marine habitats.

Charles K Minns By Charles K Minns
10/27/2016

Class assessments and authorizations do not have a good record. They often merely relieve regulatory agencies of the requirement to have adequate staff and resources while permitting further loss and damage to fish and fish habitat.

Agree  Agree (1)
Martin Olszynski 
I don't disagree - the track record is poor. But at least with class authorizations, one requirement of which would be notification of the time and place of the activity, the regulator (DFO) will have knowledge of what is currently happening on the watershed, in contrast to the current situation which is effectively a black hole. I also think this tool will have a better chance of effective implementation if coupled with an online registry and map of authorizations (which would include notifications w/r/t class authorizations).

Darcy Lightle By Darcy Lightle
10/31/2016

I would add that the class process may be an opportunity to direct habitat offsetting at a better scale than the project by project basis used now.  Mr. Olszynski mentions cumulative effects are the driver for this using this option - if we agree there are some impacts (they may be low, but significant enough to need an authorization), technically we should be requiring habitat offsetting for each project that uses the class process.  And yes, as Mr. Minns mentions - the existing class process didn't have a great record, but perhaps adding offsetting requirements to use the class process (directed by DFO), might improve the outcome?  Could the use of a class authorization process give DFO better tools to direct a cumulative habitat offsetting conversation?

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