Watercourse Setbacks

Development applicants have three methods for determining Streamside Protection and Enhancement Area (SPEA) setbacks from watercourses for fish habitat through the City’s Zoning Bylaw and the provincial Riparian Areas Protection Regulation (RAPR) (PDF):

  • Consult a map provided by the City showing the RAPR Simple Assessment Methodology / SPEA (Instructions on how to use QtheMap can be found here).
  • Hire a Qualified Environmental Professional (QEP) to determine the SPEA under the RAPR Detailed Assessment Methodology 
  • Get a federal Fisheries Act authorization 

Environment Map Layers

Please review the user notes and a disclaimer before using the Environment map layers. Layers showing the Simple Assessment Methodology SPEA width (and associated layers) are available on QtheMap including:

  • DPA: The Development Permit Area refers to the 50 metre wide Watercourse Protection Development Permit Area. It is not associated with the RAPR but was developed along with the RAPR SPEA mapping project. It applies to Northeast Coquitlam only. 
  • RAA: The Riparian Assessment Area (RAA), a 30 metre wide zone from the top of the bank or top of the ravine bank, measured from the visible high water mark of a stream, or the boundary of an active floodplain. 
  • Ravines: These are steep-sided valleys that form part of the SPEA setback.
  • SPEA: The SPEA setback, determined by using the watershed-level RAPR Simple Assessment Methodology is either 15 metres or 30 metres wide, measured from the top of the ravine bank. 
  • Watercourse Fish Presence: This layer shows watercourses that are colour coded based on fish presence and permanence (colour coding explained in legend).

Using the RAPR Simple Assessment Methodology to determine the SPEA

Compared to the RAPR Detailed Assessment Methodology, where a QEP is retained to determine the SPEA, an applicant using the RAPR Simple Assessment Methodology to determine the SPEA would: 

  • Determine the width of the SPEA on the mapping layer. If the SPEA layer completely fills the RAA, then the SPEA is 30 metres wide. If it fills the RAA halfway, then the SPEA is 15 metres wide. 
  • Hire a BC Land Surveyor to accurately survey the top of bank or top of the ravine bank (a step that is part of the RAPR Detailed Assessment Methodology process as well).
  • Buffer the appropriate setback width off this surveyed boundary. 

The SPEA map layers are updated on an ongoing basis, as new watercourse survey information and aerial photography becomes available.

Notes to User and  Disclaimer should also be reviewed prior to using the Environment map layers.

  1. Top 10 Terms to Know
  2. Notes to User
  3. Disclaimer