Thursday, February 12, 2015

Environment News

Protecting Fish Habitat

Ombudsperson reviews Riparian Areas Regulations

Released by the BC Ombusdperson/Voice file photos


Steve Clegg (white) and members of the Fraser Valley Watersheds Coalition donated their time Saturday Oct. 15, 2011,  to help restore riparian areas alongside the Hope Slough in Chilliwack.


mbudsperson Kim Carter has released an update to recommendations made in Striking a Balance: The Challenges of Using a Professional Reliance Model in Environmental Protection – British Columbia’s Riparian Areas Regulation.


The update reflects implementation actions up to December 2014. Carter says the province has updated its website to accurately reflect the ministry’s responsibility for the Riparian Areas Regulation (RAR) – implementing one recommendation.  Action is still required in other areas, including recommendations intended to help local governments administer the RAR and protect fish habitat for British Columbians.


“We are still in the early stage of implementation,” says Carter. “Many of our recommendations address challenges that stem from the application of a professional reliance model in environmental protection.”



Fraser Valley Watershed Coalition volunteers work on a riparian area at Young Rd and Luckakuk Way in Chilliwack on Little Chilliwack River in October 2012.


In March 2014, the Office of the Ombudsperson made 25 recommendations to address deficiencies in the administration of the RAR, an environmental protection program that is aimed at protecting fish habitat located near populated areas. The Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations accepted all but one recommendation.


Carter expects to release a progress report annually. “We will continue to monitor progress made on implementing these recommendations to ensure fish habitat protection is implemented fairly, reasonably and consistently in communities that fall within the Riparian Areas Regulation,” Carter says.


Both Striking a Balance and the Update on Status of Recommendations are available online at


Download the recommendations here.


About the BC Ombudsperson

Since 1979, the Office of the Ombudsperson has had a statutory mandate from the provincial legislature to uphold fair and reasonable conduct by provincial public authorities. In addition to investigating individual complaints, the Ombudsperson also publishes systemic investigations and recommendations for policy or statutory changes that improve governance and public administration in B.C.



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