Streamside Development Permit Area

Streamside Development

Fallen Tree Trunk Spanning a Stream

The Streamside Development Permit Area (SDPA) aims to:

  1. Protect the land next to streams from new development.
  2. Restore streamside areas to enhance fish and wildlife habitat.

All land within 30 metres of a stream is in the SDPA. Please find out if you need a permit before you make any changes to the land or vegetation.

We adopted the SDPA in 2006 to comply with the Riparian Areas Regulation of the provincial Fish Protection Act.

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When do I need a Streamside Development Permit?

You cannot alter land, subdivide, or start construction in the SDPA without a Streamside Development Permit or a valid exemption.

If your property has a creek, stream or wetland, it is likely in the SDPA. You can find these streams and wetlands in the SDPA  Atlas.

Common permit exemptions:

  • Maintain an existing house or landscape.
  • Build a fence or small (less than 10 m2) accessory building without removing native trees or vegetation.
  • Agricultural uses within the Agricultural Land Reserve.

For a complete list of exemptions please see the SDPA guidelines.

Apply for a Streamside Development Permit

It is best to speak with Saanich Environmental Services before you apply.

Application Forms

Part 1

Part 2

Hiring a Qualified Environmental Professional

In some cases, you may need to hire a Qualified Environmental Professional (QEP). A QEP is a member in good standing of a British Columbia professional association. This could include a biologist, engineer, agrologist, forester or other professional. A QEP has the knowledge and experience to complete a stream and riparian area assessment and recommend actions to protect and possibly enhance it.

Review the list of B.C. Government-registered QEPs who work in the Capital Regional District:

What Should I Plant Near a Stream?

When developing within the SDPA, you may need to restore it. There are many native plant species that are best for planting along a streambank or wetland area in Saanich.

Native plant benefits

  • Provides habitat and food for wildlife.
  • Holds soil in place.
  • Prevents erosion.
  • Filters out pollution that could contaminate waterways.
  • Adapted to our climate and environment.
  • Naturally resists local pests and diseases.
  • Once established, needs no watering and little maintenance.

Learn more about the benefits of riparian (streamside) vegetation and suitable species for our area:

  • Native Riparian Plant List for Saanich: Lists native trees, shrubs, ferns and perennials suitable for planting along streamsides.
  • Saanich Native Plant Salvage Program: Learn more about this popular program, and sign up for membership. Members can salvage native plants from sites where they would otherwise be lost due to development.
  • Living by Water: This nationwide project promotes healthy shorelines for people and wildlife. Offers many resources for streamside stewardship.