Bank Stabilization


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You have selected this document because your project involves Bank Stabilization in or about a stream. Bank Stabilization refers to works undertaken to protect or armour a bank or shore from erosion and includes:

  • existing dike or erosion protection;
  • stream channel restoration or maintenance; and/or,
  • emergency erosion of flood protection works.

Management objectives for works should include prevention of harmful impacts to water quality, riparian areas, aquatic habitats and fish and wildlife species related to the installation or repair of bank and shore stabilization. When planning your project, develop designs and select locations to minimize potential impacts to fish and fish habitat. If your works are outside the scope of this Guidebook then a MOE Approval application must be completed and DFO contacted to determine if a review and/or Authorization under the Fisheries Act is appropriate.

How to proceed with your Bank Stabilization Project

The following steps will help guide you through the provincial and federal Notification, Approval and/or Authorization process for Bank Stabilization works:

Does your project involve Bank Stabilization in or about a stream?
Proceed to Introduction to reselect project appropriate activity
or
Contact your local MOE and/or DFO representative for assistance.
Have you considered all applicable Legislation, Regulations and Policies?
Proceed to Introduction for further details on Legislation, Regulations, Policies, Avoidance of HADD under the Fisheries Act and applicable Region Operational Statement(s)
Proceed to BMP Section of this document and apply relevant BMPs and Conditions to help your project adhere to the required Standards and Conditions.
Proceed to BMP Section of this document
Notify MOE & DFO prior to beginning work for projects requiring attention before the next flood event or Submit MOE & DFO Notification 72 hours following works requiring immediate attention

Best Management Practices

The following Best Management Practices (BMPs) are methods, that if followed, will help ensure your project minimizes potential impacts to fish and fish habitat and will provide a standard level of protection to the aquatic and terrestrial environment potentially affected by your project.

It is the responsibility of the proponent/developer to ensure that they are in compliance with all applicable legislation. There are three (3) types of BMPs you should consider:

  1. General BMPs and Standard Project Considerations applicable to any project;
  2. Bank Stabilization specific BMPs (below); and,
  3. Supportive information applicable to project design, implementation and Bank Stabilization techniques.

General Project BMPs and Standard Project Considerations

Please proceed to the General BMPs and Standard Project Considerations section to review considerations applicable to your project.

Bank Stabilization Specific BMPs

To achieve the required Standards and objectives that your activity must meet, apply the following BMPs as applicable to your works. To reduce impacts on fish and wildlife habitats and populations, your Bank Stabilization activities must consider:

A. Existing Dike or Erosion Protection Maintenance or Repair

Design

BS01 ensure General BMPs and Standard Project Considerations have been consulted and appropriately applied prior to commencement of work;
BS02 ensure works adhere to Regional Timing Windows to prevent disruption of fish and wildlife habitat;
BS03 only undertake stabilization works when work can be justified by
  • level of risk to existing buildings, roads, or services that are being threatened by the erosion;
  • technical rationale specific to the design developed, signed and sealed by an appropriately qualified professional; and,
  • evidence of erosion and/or slope instability is present to warrant works.
BS04 use vegetated or integrated stabilization techniques;
BS05 adopt the following design considerations if your project occurs in or around a lake:
  • stabilize banks in areas with low to moderate wave action using low-cost vegetative stabilization or bioengineering techniques;
  • stabilize banks in areas with moderate to high wave action using a combination of vegetation and natural hard structures such as large woody debris and/or riprap;
  • where required stabilize banks in areas with high wave action using "hard" engineering (i.e., engineer designed hard structures) to ensure effective erosion protection. A technical rationale, as to why softer bioengineering or integrated techniques cannot be used, should be developed for such situations, specific to the design proposed, and signed and sealed by an appropriately qualified professional; and,
  • ensure hard engineering will not create erosion problems off-site.

Operational

BS06 ensure General BMPs and Standard Project Considerations have been consulted and appropriately applied prior to commencement of work;
BS06 use natural materials, such as live vegetation (where required) and natural acid free rock and avoid anthropogenic materials such as broken concrete, tires and other materials;
BS07 minimize impacts to the active floodplain and channel of the stream;
BS08 minimize direct and indirect impacts to riparian vegetation, fish and wildlife individuals, populations, species and habitats when conducting bank stabilization works;
BS09 minimize direct and indirect impacts to other properties or services;
BS10 bio-engineering techniques should be utilized as a priority over hard-engineered structures. Such work may include appropriate native and ecologically suited shrubs, live stakes or live bundles installed into any proposed rockwork, together with sufficient rooting soil to ensure vegetation growth and survival and to promote site restoration;
BS11 maintain existing wildlife access to the bank (e.g. ensure that proposed works do not form a barrier to wildlife movement);
BS12 inspect sediment control measures regularly to ensure proper function and make all necessary repairs if any damage occurs;
BS13 retain existing instream and riparian vegetation and other features, including trees, bushes, shrubs, weeds or tall grasses along any stream bank, mats of floating vegetation, overhanging vegetation, natural large woody debris and large boulders;

Post works mitigation

BS14 maintain effective erosion and sediment control measures until complete re-vegetation of disturbed areas is achieved;

B. Stream Channel Restoration or Maintenance

Design

BS15 ensure General BMPs and Standard Project Considerations have been consulted and appropriately applied prior to commencement of work;
BS16 design instream activities to coincide with low flow conditions, when eggs and alevins are not present in gravel and when there is the least risk to fish, wildlife populations and habitats (see Regional Timing Windows);
BS17 during project design, consider whether removal of object(s) or material from the watercourse would cause more damage to fish and wildlife populations and habitats than would result if the object(s)/materials are left. If the object is large and is more than one-third buried in the stream substrates, its removal may result in a large amount of sediment being resuspended, discharged or may result in significant changes to in-channel habitats. Consult a Qualified Professional (QP) for changes to in-channel habitats;
BS18 address channel maintenance by considering development of long-term solutions to flood or debris flow risk to eliminate or reduce channel maintenance. Long-term solutions may include:
  • appropriately constructed and licensed instream sediment traps (requires additional Water Act Approval);
  • control or reduction of upstream sources of sediment;
  • increased drainage control structures in the watershed;
  • construction of off-line detention or retention facilities; and,
  • shade trees and shrubs planted to shade out instream vegetation.

Operational

BS19 remove material only needed to alleviate flood or debris flow risk;
BS20 retain existing instream and riparian vegetation and other features, including trees, bushes, shrubs, weeds or tall grasses along any stream bank; mats of floating vegetation; overhanging vegetation; natural large woody debris and large boulders;
BS21 maintain or improve the existing channel complexity by retaining or creating a diverse mix of instream structures and overhanging vegetation;
BS22 do not disturb stream banks that can expose underlying soils, cause silt to enter the stream or result in loss of fish habitat;
BS23 removal of material must not lead to channel instability or increase the risk of sedimentation into the watercourse;
BS24 remove spoil materials in a way that ensures sediment or debris does not enter the watercourse;

Post works mitigation

BS25 maintain effective erosion and sediment control measures until complete re-vegetation of disturbed areas is achieved;

C. Emergency Erosion or Flood Protection Works

Design

BS26 ensure an appropriately qualified professional confirms all emergency works and properly classifies works as Type 1 or Type 2 emergencies
Type 1:works requiring immediate attention during a flood event or as designated under the Provincial Emergency Program. These situations have caused or present an immediate (within 24 hours) high potential danger to human life, damage property or fish and wildlife habitat.
Type 2:works requiring attention prior to the next flood event. These situations present a high potential danger to human life, damage property or fish and wildlife populations if not addressed prior to the next flood event.
BS27 ensure Type 1 emergencies use the following protocols:
  • commence necessary works to alleviate the emergency and immediately advise appropriately qualified professional monitors (at any time of day or day of the week);
  • incorporate the standards and Best Management Practices appropriate to Bank Stabilization works being competed to ensure the protection of fish and wildlife populations and habitats;
  • ensure monitoring professionals attend the site immediately to conduct salvages and environmental protection measures are designed, constructed or installed and maintained appropriately. The monitor should remain at the site full-time to monitor the works until completion;
  • ensure only works necessary to mitigate the emergency are completed. Any remaining works should be deferred until the next work window or conducted through the regular process; and,
  • ensure monitors notify MOE, DFO and any other appropriate agencies by fax and phone within 72 hours. The monitor should include technical rationale for justification of the proposed emergency works, information associated with the Notification and any special mitigating Best Management Practices used for completing the works outside the work window (agency staff may visit the site after receipt of the Notification).
BS28 ensure Type 2 emergencies use the following protocols:
  • advise appropriately qualified professional monitors during the first available office hours;
  • ensure only works necessary to mitigate the emergency are proposed. Any remaining works should be deferred until the next work window or conducted through regular processes;
  • schedule works to be completed prior to the next flood event and ensure designs incorporate the recommended standards and Best Management Practices appropriate to the type of works proposed. If appropriate, special mitigative measures should be incorporated into the design to reduce the risks of working outside work windows;
  • ensure monitoring professionals notify MOE, DFO and any other appropriate agencies by fax and phone and include all design, plans and mitigation documents. The professional should include in the communication the use of appropriate protocols, technical rationale for justification of the proposed emergency works, information associated with the Notification and any special mitigating best practices used for completing the works outside work windows (agency staff may visit the site after receipt of the Notification);
  • ensure monitoring professionals meet onsite with agency staff, if available, to review designs, associated plans and proposed works. Any additional Best Management Practices should be discussed and agreed to during the site visit. Works should then be completed prior to the next flood event; and,
  • ensure monitoring professionals attend the site prior to conducting any works to complete salvages and to ensure environmental protection measures are constructed, installed and maintained appropriately. Works should be monitored full-time until completion.

Operational

BS29 ensure an appropriately qualified professional monitors all emergency works full time and has extensive knowledge and experience in erosion and sediment control and fish and wildlife salvage;

Post works mitigation

BS30 ensure monitors provide a report within 10 working days of completion of the majority of works to proponents and a final copy to MOE and any other agency(s) in the jurisdiction;
BS31 ensure monitoring reports contain:
  • detailed accounts of the completion of works including milestone events;
  • confirmation of the use of standards and recommended best practices or supported alternatives through an appropriate professionals' supported signed and sealed technical rationale;
  • confirmation of consistency of completed works with the submitted Notification;
  • fish and wildlife protection mitigation difficulties encountered and how those difficulties were managed; and,
  • outstanding issues with the Notification, how and when those activities will be completed and confirmed and how and when they will be reported.
Where to start?

If you are unfamiliar with Instream Works, please use the interactive Introductory flowchart to help guide you through the process.

Glossary

Important words, denoted by blue underlined text are defined in the glossary.

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More information...

See the Supportive Information section at the end of this document for links to other websites and documents.