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DFO has asked for input on Offsetting and Habitat Banking on two draft documents: the Policy for Applying Measures to Offset Harmful Impacts to Fish and Fish Habitat (Offsetting Policy), and the Guidelines for Establishing and Managing Fish Habitat Banks (Banking Guidelines).  Click here to download the attached PDF file. 

The commenting period is now closed.  The NBSC did submit to DFO on this matter following a vote ratifying the input at a Board of Directors meeting December 3, 2023. 

The basic premise of the proposed change as to how HADD (Harmful Alteration Disruption or Destruction) impacts to aquatic habitat and remuneration for those impacts are managed.  DFO is proposing to move to a banking of credits somewhat like the New Brunswick wetland compensation system utilized in New Brunswick and elsewhere.  This is a change NBSC has been promoting for a few years now.  Currently a proponent proposed to build a mine, a bridge, or a pipeline and impacts to aquatic cannot be avoided so they enter into an agreement with DFO to create or enhance aquatic habitat elsewhere and usually nearby with the same type of habitat and so on.  Enhancement projects are tied to the development and are not available to other entities who may want to conduct the project for a different project.  The introduction of off-sets and banking allows projects to be completed anytime to generate credits that can be applied to future projects but in the meantime the credits are “put in the bank” to be utilized later.  The details are available at the links above but basically NBSC sees this as an improvement over the current system.

Our response discussed many of the current and proposed pitfalls with these systems and suggested improvements to the proposed system.

Gary Spencer, P. Eng

Habitat Committee Chair.