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

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More funding for evidence-based habitat restoration projects

SCORE:
4.7
Theme:Conservation and Protection of Fish & Fish Habitat
on 11/17/2016 1479421128
Preemptive restoration of wild spawning, rearing and refuge habitats would have positive long-term economic and ecological effects. Proactively increa .... Read More

Preemptive restoration of wild spawning, rearing and refuge habitats would have positive long-term economic and ecological effects. Proactively increasing habitat complexity (eg. artificial reefs, shoreline restoration, large woody debris additions) and returning fish assemblages to levels of self-sustainability will reduce future needs for reactive measures after ecological crises. Increasing a habitat's natural output will reduce the need to supplement with hatchery stock on an annual basis, preserving biodiversity and reducing taxpayer burden. 

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12

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2

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3

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Number of people following the idea

3

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Sensitive Inventory Habitat Mapping

SCORE:
4.3
Theme:Conservation and Protection of Fish & Fish Habitat
on 11/17/2016 1479358626
SHIM methods ( http://cmnmaps.ca/cmn/files/methods/SHIM_Methods.html ) should be required by DFO as part of a land use proposal assessment, to descr .... Read More

SHIM methods ( http://cmnmaps.ca/cmn/files/methods/SHIM_Methods.html ) should be required by DFO as part of a land use proposal assessment, to describe the existing "fish habitat". This method has been used in BC for 15 years by many local governments to inform their land use planning and decisions. Those local governments have found it a practical method to meet their business needs. SHIM should be applied to several kilometres of a water course or most of a water body shoreline to establish a baseline data set and to capture any cumulative effects in a watershed.

Times idea has been viewed

15

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0

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3

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1

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Habitat Compensation/Offsetting/Banking (NoNetLoss) is Mostly a Myth

SCORE:
3.4
Theme:Compliance and Enforcement
on 11/16/2016 1479275367
DFO needs to require several activities of developers to ensure compensation and habitat banking is successful. - Establish baseline data prior to .... Read More

DFO needs to require several activities of developers to ensure compensation and habitat banking is successful.

- Establish baseline data prior to compensation actions to facilitate site planning and long term assessments of success using prescribed methods.

- Accurately map and inventory newly constructed projects to facilitate future monitoring and research.

- Monitor and apply adaptive management to mitigate stressors in perpetuity, because compensation and habitat banks are always near human activity which carries the risk of future unforeseen impacts.

- Many completed compensation projects have failed because the above process was not used and DFO needs to systematically find and fix broken habitat compensation projects, to repay the habitat deficit to Canada that has accumulated since the No Net Loss principle was adopted in the 1980s

Compensation, Offsetting and Habitat Banking are ecosystem assets owed to Canadians in lieu of land development. It needs to be considered a permanent cost of doing business not just a one off expense by the developer. There are many financial instruments DFO can use to ensure habitat created is not lost due to neglect.

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21

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2

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Number of Idea ratings

5

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Number of people following the idea

4

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Conservation and Protection of Marine Shore Spawning Forage Fishes

SCORE:
5.0
Theme:Conservation and Protection of Fish & Fish Habitat
on 11/08/2016 1478583444
Marine shore spawning forage fishes (Surf smelt, Capelin, Pacific sand lance) have a spawning habitat that is extremely finite and imperiled.  Spawni .... Read More

Marine shore spawning forage fishes (Surf smelt, Capelin, Pacific sand lance) have a spawning habitat that is extremely finite and imperiled.  Spawning beds occur along certain marine beaches. The spawning areas are very narrow and no, these fish can't spawn elsewhere, unlike herring that in BC waters can spawn on SAV (submerged aquatic vegetation) and intertidal cobbles.

In Washington State, these beaches are listed and protected as "critical wild salmon habitat".

Soft-sediment marine beaches (pebble and sand) are built by erosionary processes of the land and from water courses.  Sediments transported to marine receiving waters build up beaches.

Hardening of backshore and foreshore areas degrades and destroys these CRITICAL fish habitat.  Removing marine riparian vegetation impacts the quality of the beaches and reduces insect prey for juvenile salmonids.  Driving on beaches destroys the embryos and reduced the quality of these habitats.

 

Sea level rise threatens these critical habitats due to placement of seawalls at the high water mark, resulting in what has been termed "coastal squeeze".  Normally, over geological time beaches would retreat landward with rising sea levels.  Due to seawalls and other hard infrastructure, these beaches cannot transgress landward.  

Lands zoned to the high water mark are creating a situation where beaches cannot move back.  Critical infrastructure for cities and private shoreline property owners are all at risk due to zoning to the high water mark.  Even with regional districts and the Province of British Columbia recognizing the issue of sea level rise, why are building permits still allowing this type of development to continue?

In 10 years of working to educate the public, government and conduct spawning surveys, I have learned that protecting human security, ecosystem services and spawning beaches is possible if we setback from the high water mark, respect drift cell sediment processes and keep oil, vehicles and high impact activities (horse riding etc) off beaches.

The health of the Strait of Georgia and Puget Sound (the Salish Sea) depends on protecting, enhancing and restoring marine shore spawning habitat.  These spawning beds are not seawalls in waiting.

Under the Fisheries Act, and due to the fact that these are forage fish (so of ecological importance to CRA fisheries) and commercially/recreationally fished as well, you would think that there would have been a regulatory framework in place, similar to herring, to protect them. 

 

Timing windows of least risk for Surf smelt and Pacific sand lance do not occur on DFO's website.  

Guidance does not exist for working around these habitats.

Professional reliance is near zero.

Unlike Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, there are no habitat biologists in DFO trained and experienced in the area of marine shoreline spawning habitat.  Considering the importance of these fishes, it is shocking that they remain virtually ignored in British Columbia.

DFO's emphasis on freshwater systems has been to the detriment of marine shore spawning forage fishes as well as to their predators.

A restored DFO should include an "enhanced" DFO or a separate entity that can meet its statutory obligations that include marine shoreline habitat (from spawning beaches to marine riparian vegetation). 

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16

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Number of suggested comments

2

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Number of Idea ratings

9

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Number of people following the idea

3

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