Protecting the Fisheries at Watercourse Crossings
Through various programs and initiatives in Quebec, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) helps to ensure the sustainability and ongoing productivity of the commercial, recreational and Aboriginal fisheries. In addition to conducting regulatory reviews of development projects under the Fisheries Act and the Species at Risk Act, the Fisheries Protection team at DFO develops a range of tools. They also collaborate with its partners to assist proponents in preventing or minimizing the impact of their projects on fish and fish habitats. Initiatives relating to transportation infrastructure projects affecting watercourse crossings are an excellent example of this.
Publication of the 2016 edition of Guidelines for Watercourse Crossings in Quebec equips designers to ensure that bridges, culverts and other related structures do not obstruct the movement of fish. Free passage is essential for fish to maintain access to quality habitats in order to feed, reproduce and find shelter. The methods set out in these guidelines are based on lessons learned from extensive follow-up actions out in the field and productive collaboration with various partners both in and outside of Quebec.
Working with the Quebec Ministère des Transports, de la Mobilité durable et de l’Électrification des transports (MTMDET), DFO has developed a series of valuable tools. One such tool is currently undergoing validation as part of a pilot project in three regions of Quebec. It features a decision-making grid to assist MTMDET in identifying watercourse crossing projects posing greatest risk to the fisheries with a view to allocating efforts based on the scope of the associated issues.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada is also offering training on the Guidelines for Watercourse Crossings in Quebec under the auspices of this pilot project.
Collaboration extending to forestry
The involvement of DFO Fisheries Protection staff in the development process at the provincial level concerning the new Règlement sur l’aménagement durable des forêts du domaine de l’État [Regulation respecting sustainable forest development in the domain of the State] (RADF) is another excellent example of collaboration to improve compliance with the Fisheries Act. In the case of the forest industry, the new regulation and associated tools aim to enhance protection of the free passage of fish through the thousands of culverts installed each year throughout Quebec.
For additional information, visit the Fisheries Protection Program website.
The 2016 edition of Guidelines for Watercourse Crossings in Quebec is available via email by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
Danielle Dorion, Dominic Boula and Marie Gaulin