Introduction to Stream Crossings

Welcome to Logging and Sawmilling Journal's stream crossings Web section. The information displayed in this interactive tour is compiled from Logging and Sawmilling Journal's famous wall charts. We've designed this section to that you can click on any of the six categories from the clickable image map near the bottom of the page to visit another topic on this series. Or, if you wish, you can return to the main ForestNet menu at the very bottom of this page.

Forests Forever: Living up to the Promise

The forest industry throughout North America has been active for over a century. In the early days of commercial logging, it was widely believed that our forest resource was inexhaustible. Today, we recognize not only the limitation of our timber supply, but also the multitude of values associated with our forests and rangelands.

The values include complex ecosystems, First Nations' and Indian Reservations' culture and history, recreational opportunities, and the purity of local water sources.

What is a stream

A stream is defined as having continuous and defined banks and a crossing is required for all continuous and intermittent drainage flow channels, springs, seeps, and moist areas. The aspects of stream crossings examined in this Web site include planning, design, construction, revegetation, maintenance, and deactivation. They are not intended to be definitive, nor should they be interpreted as the only acceptable options. The material is drawn from Canadian governments, forestry papers, industry expertise, and guidelines, as well as from measures used in good forestry practices. This material may not necessarily reflect US government laws.

While it is recognized that there are general environmental techniques and procedures to minimize environmental damage, site-specific conditions may require a solution unique to that location.

Forest Practices

British Columbia has recently become a world leader in establishing forest practices legislation that will protect the working forests for future generations. In fact, many other provinces and countries are modelling new foerstry legislation after BC's recently introduced Forest Practices Code (the Code). The Code is setting high standards for forestry operations in BC and is establishing enforcement provisions that promote responsible forest stewardship.

The regulations lay out the forest practices that apply province wide. Standards may also be established by the chief forester to expand on the regulations. Forest Practices Code guidebooks have been developed to support the regulations. While not mandatory, the recommendations in the guidebooks provide information to help users exercise their judgement in developing site-specific management strategies and prescriptions to accomodate resource management objectives. When a recommendation or a passage from a guidebook is included in a plan, it then becomes enforceable under the Forest Practices Code.

Changes in and around a stream

The BC Water Act and similar legislation in other provinces allocates and regulates the use and diversion of water. The intent of this legislation is to protect the environment and the rights of other licensed users, and to minimize flood damage. A developer working on private land must obtain a water license or water approval before work is done in or around a stream. The legislation clearly defines a set of standards under which an applicant may undertake certain types of changes in and around a stream.

Safe Passage of Fish

The Federal Fisheries Act requires a review of any proposed activity which may impact anadromous fish, their habitat or their eggs, and prohibits deposition of deleterious substances into fish-bearing waters. You are obligated to ensure the safe passage of fish past any project that will use or change the natural flow of a river or stream, and it is an offence to deposit a deleterious substance into a fish-bearing stream.

Environmental objectives and procedures for water crossings

A water crossing must be carefully installed, maintained and well protected. It will minimally adverse impacts on fish and the aquatic environment by:

Stream Crossings Directory
Introduction Crossing Structures
Planning Revegetation
Protecting Aquatic Habitat Deactivation
Information for this wall chart was compiled by Eric L. Kay, of  Kay and Associates, Forest Road Consultants and International Training Consultants

This wall chart was produced by Logging and Sawmilling Journal