The Streamside Development Permit Area (SDPA) aims to:
- Protect the land next to streams from new development.
- 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.
On this Page
- When do I need a Streamside Development Permit?
- Apply for a Streamside Development Permit
- Hiring a Qualified Environmental Professional
- What should I plant near a stream?
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 [PDF - 12.7 MB].
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.
It is best to speak with Saanich Environmental Services before you apply.
- Streamside Development Application [PDF - 267 KB]
- Guidelines [PDF - 2 MB]
- Election to Conduct a Riparian Areas Regulation Assessment [PDF - 68 KB]
- Fees [PDF - 61 KB]
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:
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 [PDF - 230 KB]: Lists native trees, shrubs, ferns and perennials suitable for planting along streamsides.
- Saanich Native Plant Salvage Program [PDF - 223 KB]: 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.