16. IN-WATER AND SHORELINE WORKS IN WETLANDS
Wetlands are one of the most important and threatened natural resources along both waterways. Further significant loss of wetlands will result in the decline of biological diversity, water quality, manageable water flows, and recreational, natural resource and educational values. The maintenance (federal no net loss policy) of the wetland function takes precedence over access to water and proposals for the construction or installation of associated marine works or facilities.
Although all applications are reviewed with an eye towards avoiding or minimizing impacts on wetland habitat, the highest level of protection is afforded to significant wetlands.
The implications of in-water and shoreline works in or adjacent to wetlands include:
- Loss of wetland function;
- Significant impact to the overall heritage character of the national historic site;
- Reduction in biological diversity and habitats for species at risk;
- Habitat fragmentation and the loss of other wildlife species that require large undisturbed marsh areas to live within;
- Deterioration of water quality within the adjacent waterbodies;
- A reduction in flood level protection;
- Loss of educational and recreational value.
Parks Canada generally discourages applications for in-water and shoreline works in wetlands owing to the potential impact.
- The construction or installation of boathouses, boat ports, boat launch ramps and other similar types of marine facilities and dredging will not be permitted in wetlands. Only docks required to meet the minimum requirement for vessel mooring will be considered.
- The proponent will be required to provide Parks Canada with an environmental assessment that demonstrates neither significant (unmitigable) adverse impacts nor net loss of wetland or fish habitat function will be caused by the construction and associated use of a proposed dock before approval can be considered.