Wharf, Pier, Dock, Boathouse & Mooring


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You have selected this document because your project involves Wharves, Piers, Docks, Boathouses and/or Small Moorings in or about a stream. Works addressed in this Guidebook section include:

  • wharf, pier, dock and/or boathouse removal, construction or maintenance; and/or,
  • small moorings.
These structures can impact important habitat by covering spawning habitat, removing rocks and logs that provide shelter, causing erosion and sedimentation from bank disturbance, introducing deleterious substances if improper building materials are used and disrupting sensitive fish life stages. 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 Wharf, Pier, Dock, Boathouse or Moorings Project

The following steps will help guide you through the provincial and federal Notification, Approval and/or Authorization process for Wharf, Pier, Dock, Boathouse or Small Moorings Construction, Maintenance or Removal works:

Does your project involve Wharf, Pier, Dock, Boathouse or Mooring Construction, Maintenance or Removal 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)
Does your project involve Wharf, Pier, Dock, Boathouse or Mooring Construction, Maintenance or Removal as defined by the Water Act Regulation?
Will your project meet all of the Sizing Conditions (see Step 3 Addendum)?
Does your project consider provincial Crown Land Private Moorage (see Private Moorage Policy)?
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 and apply relevant BMPs and Conditions to help your project adhere to the required Standards and Conditions.
Proceed to BMP Section of this document and apply relevant BMPs and Conditions to help your project adhere to the required Standards and Conditions.

Sizing Conditions for Construction or Maintenance Activities Associated with Wharves, Piers, Docks, Boathouses or Moorings:

Size limits for new or replacement structures, including any attached fingers are as follows:
· structure must fit in a 80 m2 rectangular area or envelope adjacent to the shore. If your project structure exceeds 80 m2 you must obtain DFO Authorization and MOE Approval;
· a maximum of two fingers may extend from the main structure;
· combined maximum surface area of main structure and fingers is 46 m2; and,
· first 3 m of structure adjacent to the shore must be provided as an open span to accommodate water circulation and exchange and fish movement.

Diagram of dock sizing conditions
Click for full-size image

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. Wharf, Pier, Dock, Boathouse or Small Mooring Construction, Maintenance or Removal specific BMPs (below); and,
  3. Supportive information applicable to project design, implementation and Wharf, Pier, Dock, Boathouse or Small Mooring Construction, Maintenance or Removal 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.

Wharf, Pier, Dock, Boathouse or Small Mooring Construction, Maintenance or Removal 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 Wharf, Pier, Dock, Boathouse or Small Mooring Construction, Maintenance or Removal activities must consider:

A. Wharf, Pier, Dock or Boathouse Removal Activities

Design

DSM01 ensure General BMPs and Standard Project Considerations have been consulted and appropriately applied prior to, during and after commencement of work;
DSM02 ensure works adhere to Regional Timing Windows to prevent disruption of fish and wildlife habitat;

Operational

DSM03 minimize disruption to habitat by ensuring removal activities do not include dredging, blasting and/or placement of fill below the waterbody high water mark (HWM);
DSM04 remove existing structures and/or pilings in a manner that prevents foreshore disturbance and/or sediment generation;
DSM05 cut or brake off any piles as close to the waterbody bottom as possible if they cannot be pulled out;
DSM06 remove any old structures or pilings to a suitable upland disposal site away from riparian vegetation to avoid waste material from re-entering the watercourse;
DSM07 immediately notify MOE and DFO if significant damage to a lake or foreshore or if significant quantities of deleterious substances occur to a lake as a result of removal works (MOE Emergency Management Plan Incident Reporting Hotline 1-800-663-3456; DFO Observe, Record and Report Hotline 1-800-465-4336);
DSM08 remove debris by hand, where possible;
DSM09 remove spoil materials in a way that ensures sediment or debris does not enter the watercourse;

B. Wharf, Pier, Dock or Boathouse Construction & Maintenance Activities

Design

DSM10 ensure General BMPs and Standard Project Considerations have been consulted and appropriately applied prior to, during and after commencement of work;
DSM11 ensure works adhere to Regional Timing Windows to prevent disruption of fish and wildlife habitat;
DSM12 design and construct private structures using Qualified Professional(s) (QP), dependent on scale and scope of the project;
DSM13 select structure locations to avoid lake inlet/outlet streams and riparian vegetation;
DSM14 design and locate structures to avoid the need for future maintenance dredging;
DSM15 ensure elevated structures extend a sufficient distance offshore from the waterbody high water mark (HWM) to prevent grounding of floating sections;
DSM16 design minimum clearance below a floating structure at low water to be 1.5 m to avoid the wash from propellers disturbing the waterbody floor;
DSM17 design structures to have a minimum of 50 m (undisturbed shoreline) between other in-water structures;
DSM18 prevent interruption of water currents and reduce potential for altered patterns of erosion or sediment deposition by leaving the site in as natural a condition as possible and installing a minimum number of well-spaced pilings;
DSM19 ensure existing rocks and logs in the aquatic environment remain where they are and are not used as building materials;
DSM20 construct elevated decks and walkways so they are spaced to allow light penetration to the foreshore;
DSM21 do not use rubber tires as floatation system components for proposed floating dock sections as they are known to produce extracts that are toxic to fish and aquatic invertebrates;
DSM22 avoid construction of multiple structures in a localized area by designing communal structures rather than private structures;
DSM23 minimize shading from access ramps or walkways by elevating them above the surface of the water and designing them to have a maximum width of 1.5 m;

Operational

DSM24 minimize disruption to habitat by ensuring construction or maintenance activities do not include dredging, blasting and/or placement of fill below the waterbody high water mark (HWM);
DSM25 conduct pile driving from a floating structure (i.e. a barge) so that disturbance to the waterbody bottom is prevented, if required for construction or maintenance, where feasible;
DSM26 if pile driving activities are required to be conducted from a barge, ensure activities adhere to the following:
  • sufficient water must be present to prevent the barge from grounding on the foreshore;
  • minimize the use of barge stabilizing spuds and their disturbance to the foreshore;
  • fully restore any foreshore areas disturbed by barge stabilizing spuds by hand, in the dry, and during low water prior to the next spring freshet; and,
  • during maintenance or construction prop scour of the foreshore must not occur from tending vessel(s). This may require maneuvering of barges in shallow water with ropes tied to shore and/or pilings.
DSM27 isolate fish from the work area (e.g. bubble curtains) prior to the commencement of any pile driving operations;
DSM28 if conducting pile driving work during the winter, inspect foreshore substrates to determine whether frozen substrate conditions exist and machine pads are required to minimize foreshore disturbance;
DSM29 ensure construction activities involving pile driving are monitored on a full-time basis by an appropriately Qualified Professional (QP) during project start-up and during any instream work or sensitive activity periods;
DSM30 replace or relocate rocks, stumps or logs required to be moved from the waterbody bottom or foreshore during construction to an area of similar depth. Do not remove these materials altogether from the bottom or foreshore;
DSM31 use inert or untreated materials (e.g. fir, cedar, hemlock) as supports for structures that are to be submerged in water. Treated lumber must not be used as it may contain compounds that can be released into the water and become toxic to the aquatic environment;
DSM32 cut, seal and stain (non-toxic) all lumber away from the water and ensure it is completely dry before used near water;
DSM33 ensure plastic barrel floats are free of any chemicals inside and outside of the barrel before they are placed in water;
DSM34 install concrete abutments entirely on land above the high water mark (HWM) if required to secure structures,
DSM35 prevent deleterious substances such as uncured concrete, grout, paint, sediment and preservatives from entering the waterbody or stormdrains;

C. Small Mooring Activities

Design

DSM36 ensure General BMPs and Standard Project Considerations have been consulted and appropriately applied prior to, during and after commencement of work;
DSM37 ensure works adhere to Regional Timing Windows to prevent disruption of fish and wildlife habitat;
DSM38 avoid locating moorings in sensitive aquatic habitats such as fish spawning areas;

Operational

DSM39 when installing on the bottom of the waterbody, avoid installing mooring structures in areas of submerged aquatic vegetation;
DSM40 ensure moorings (including anchors and floats) are made of clean, inert material;
DSM41 pre-cast and cure concrete anchors, if required, away from water prior to use to prevent seepage of potentially toxic substances into the waterbody;
DSM42 locate moorings in depths that allow structures and vessels to remain afloat at the lowest possible water levels and that prevent propellers from disturbing bottom sediments;
DSM43 select mooring anchors of an adequate size to secure vessels or structures and prevent the anchor from shifting or dragging along the bottom of the waterbody;
DSM44 size the length of mooring lines, chains or cables to avoid excess line, chain or cable accumulation on the bed of the waterbody;
DSM45 ensure native beach material such as logs, sand, gravel and boulders that are important components of fish habitat are not used as mooring structures and are left in place on the foreshore;
DSM46 derelict or unused floats, lines, chains or cables should be disposed of in accordance with appropriate legislation and standards; and,

Post work mitigation

DSM47 ensure moorings are kept in good repair by regularly inspecting and maintaining the structure.
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.