Sunday, December 18, 2011

King Tides

The threat of future rising tides is a reality.  This current article in the Times Colonist outlines the potential scenario.

Rolling in the deep: King tide offers vision of 2050 world

Coastal residents can take a peek into the future next week as biannual high tides give us an idea of what may become our normal sea level.
The king tide, the biannual alignment of the sun and moon that creates especially high tides, begins Thursday in Victoria and will continue through Saturday.
"I would encourage everybody to go have a look and see what our world might look like in 40 years," said Roy Brooke, Victoria's director of sustainability.
"I think the higher water is one element, but when you go down there on the 22nd and you see the higher water, you then also have to imagine that higher water combined with a wind storm or wave or a storm surge in the middle of winter. Then you really start to see the reality of what our world might look like in Victoria."
The king tides are not related to climate change. They are extreme high-tide events that occur when the gravitational forces of the sun and the moon reinforce one another when the moon is closest to Earth.
But experts say they demonstrate what the local seashore might look like after higher global temperatures have melted polar ice caps and increased sea levels worldwide.
Rising sea levels have the potential to have serious impacts on local infrastructure as more flooding becomes the norm.
"Practically, it means we could overwhelm some of our infrastructure capacity because it just wasn't built for this. It's built for a cooler world and it's built for a lower ocean," Brooke said. "So some of our lowlying areas could be at risk of flooding and erosion. A lot of our infrastructure in the city is already old and this is going to add an extra burden."
Oak Bay councillors were recently told the municipality will have to spend almost $1 million to combat erosion at McNeill Bay as a consultant's study predicted that it could be as little as 12 1 ?2 years before the water is lapping up within 1.5 metres of the sidewalk.
According to the provincial Ministry of Environment, global sea levels have risen about 20 centimetres over the past 100 years.
As a consequence of warming caused by greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere, sea levels are expected to keep rising.
Climate-change experts says the sea level on the B.C. coast could go up by one metre by 2100.
Three years ago, the provincial government launched the B.C. King Tide Photo Initiative, in which it asked people to shoot pictures of the shoreline at high tide and upload them directly to a website or send them via email.
The aim is to raise awareness and encourage people to think about how they could adapt to a changing environment.
Provincial Environment Minister Terry Lake said: "When you look at some parts of British Columbia, and Richmond is a very good example, where there's a lot of infrastructure, [they] could potentially be at risk if the sea levels begin to rise combined with these types of events and winter storms."

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Submission to View Royal OCP review

Below is the executive summary of the Portage Inlet Protection Society submission to View Royal OCP review.  To view entire submission, click on "January 2011" in the Blog Archive sidebar.

A submission to the review of the View Royal Official Community Plan
by the Portage Inlet Protection Society
April, 2010

Executive summary
The Portage Inlet Protection Society has been invited, as a stakeholder group, to make a submission for inclusion in the OCP review. This paper is based where possible on best available science, is economically feasible, and promotes sustainable environmental principles
Studies are described which show that Portage Inlet generally has good water quality. Toxicological studies published in 2010 show that organochloride pesticides are likely of limited or no toxicological significance. There is no evidence that waterfront owners contribute any significant pollutants to the Inlet. However, fecal contaminants from watershed storm drains cause shellfish pollution, as do sewer overflows .
Topics discussed include: ecotones, buffers and setbacks in relationship to Development Permit Area (DPA) widths; exemptions to activities in DPAs; sea walls to protect from erosion; climate change and sea level rise; wharfs and docks; public access pathways; and riparian rights.
Recommendations conclude this paper.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Cosmetic Pesticides

Special Committee on Cosmetic Pesticides

Submission by Dr. Doug Critchley 

Dec. 13th 2011

I, Dr. J. D. (Doug.) Critchley am a retired member in good standing of the British Columbia Medical Association and the BC. College of Physicians and Surgeons, both of which organizations I did, for more than ten years represent, in a quasi-judicial appointment by Orders in Council, to an Audit Committee of the BC Medical Plan, the purpose of which was to sit in judgement of my peers at hearings, weigh evidence, and write orders, with reasons, enforceable in Supreme Court. Testimony was largely based on statistics.

I am recognized as an expert witness in Supreme Court.

I am a former president of the Victoria Medical Society. I was Chief of Staff at Queen Alexandra Hospital for sick children.

I recently sat on the View Royal Sustainability Task Force, and the View Royal Official Community Plan (OCP) Steering Committee. I am Research Director to the Portage Inlet Protection Society (PIPS), an Non-Government Organization (NGO) of waterfront residents on Portage Inlet and the Gorge Waterway with a mission to protect the health of the waterway, shoreline, watersheds and property rights.


Canada, particularly British Columbia, and the Western United States have identified invasive species as a major threat to the environment. Oregon and BC are, increasingly, educating the public in the harm caused by invasive plants.

Environmental sustainability cannot be maintained without improved Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies that have been proven to be effective, cost effective, and permanent. Delay in the implementation increases the future financial costs to the electorate, as well as fails to mitigate against irreversible damage to native plants and biodiversity.

Established, emerging, and future invasive plants are considered. This report also investigates the subject of herbicides and their safety or perceived risks. The implications of reducing the use of herbicides and insecticides for ‘non-essential’ use are considered.

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Loss of biodiversity as a result of the invasion of parks and open spaces by invasive plants is secondary only to the loss of habitat as a result of urban expansion. The Federal Pest Control Products Act (PCPA) defines biodiversity: Biological Diversity means the variability among living organisms within an ecosystem of which they form a part and includes the diversity within and between species and of ecosystems.

Best Available Science

Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) is responsible for administering the Pest Control Products Act (PCPA) on behalf of the Minister of Health. The PCPA requires the Federal Government to determine that the health, safety and the environment of Canadians are protected using a ‘science based’ approach which must be effective for its intended purpose.
The PMRA reviews existing pesticides and now has a ‘fast track’ method for registering new reduced-risk pesticides. There is a Federal Provincial Territorial Committee and an International technical working group, in compliance under NAFTA, harmonizing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and World Health Organization. 
The US EPA updated July 1st 2009 lists twenty new pesticides specifically for turf and ornamentals in the last 10 years. There are 141 others. It is essential that these newer, less-toxic pesticides be substituted in British Columbia as soon as they become available. BC should consider listing these under ‘exempt pesticides’. The Province, for clarity, might avoid blanket-wording ‘pesticides’ and instead list separately herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, etc. Mr. Lindsay Hanson has already testified as to safety.

Precautionary Principle

On December 13th 1999, the Commissioner of the Federal Standing Committee on Environmental and Sustainable Development, speaking to ‘risk management’, stated, “the Precautionary Principle should not be used as an excuse not to do sound science." It is a fact that there are many opponents of the Precautionary Principle, recognizing it as the opposite of objective science, since it seeks to make policy not on the basis of objective facts but on exploitation of the public’s fears.

"PRINCIPLE 15" (Rio Declaration June 1992) states, "In order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be widely applied by States according to their capabilities. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost effective measures to prevent environmental degradation."

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Canada has incorporated the above Principle 15 in the Canada Environmental Protection Act 1999, the Oceans Act, and the amended Pest Control Products Act and in other legislation. If the precautionary principle is to be used by the Special Committee on Cosmetic Pesticides, then, for clarity, it should use the precise wording of the 1992 definition.

Representing the National Round Table on the Environment and Economy, on which sat Johanne Gelinas giving evidence before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health (#077), 1st session, 37th Parliament, Wednesday May 8th 2002, Ms Gelinas stated: “Madam Chair, given that a clear and firm commitment in this regard (Rio Convention Precautionary Principle) is set out in various federal government documents, I do not see why it could not be included in the preamble of all new Canadian legislation dealing with environmental and sustainable development issues”.

Invasive Species

Invasive species are secondary only to land use in destruction of native habitat and have become a major threat to Canada’s economy and to biodiversity. The Greater Vancouver Invasive Plant Council (GVIPC) version 1, updated 12/09, lists 19 established invasive plants. These are so widespread, causing great impact on natural areas, that eradication is unlikely. Management is focused on reducing their impact at key sites and controlling further spread. Many of these have invaded Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland; e.g. Canada Thistle, Morning Glory, English Hawthorn, Scotch Broom, English Ivy, Holly, Lamium, Creeping Buttercup, Himalayan Blackberry. GVIPC list 25 emerging invasive plants found in isolated sparse populations but are rapidly expanding their range. Management is aimed at containing or eliminating populations and minimizing spread to new areas. Early detection can lead to successful eradication. Finally GVIPC lists 8 future invasive plants for which monitoring is important, including Garlic Mustard, Flowering Rush, Carpet Burweed, Spartina Densiflora and Spartina Patens.

Integrated Pest Management Strategies are well known. Much has been learned over the past ten years and I refer to the ‘Pest management Plan (PMP) for Invasive Plants and/or Noxious Weed Control on provincial Crown Lands for South Coastal BC March 2009 pages 19-25’. Table 4 lists sixty current coastal priority invasive plant species. Spot application of preferred herbicides including glyphosate , triclopyr or aminopyralid. “Costs are significantly lower than other treatment methods. It is unlikely that manual, mechanical, or cultural techniques alone will be effective . . . to reduce the spread of invasive plants”. It goes on to say “the degradation of habitat as a result of invasive plant infestation may exceed degradation resulting from the use of specific herbicides”.

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The BC Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries and Open Learning Agency in their publication “Seven Steps to Managing your Weeds” (step 5 page 29) provides good tables outlining the advantages and limitations of the six commonest strategies.

The Invasive Plant Pest Management Plan Southern Interior, based on field trials by the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, continually updates “Herbicide Application Rates” and “Preferred Target Species”. (See Table 5 p19).

The University of Oregon publishes the “Pacific North West Weed Management Handbook”; about 450 pages updated every year. One section includes the susceptibility of about 30 broadleaf weeds in turf to six herbicides or mixtures. 

San Francisco Marin County Water District, with a climate similar to that projected for Victoria, as a result of climate change, suspended herbicide use in 2005. By 2007 they have been losing the battle against invasive plants (Broom etc.) and now have a critical fire threat, reduced biodiversity and limited habitat for shelter of birds and animals. 1,000 acres are seriously infested and spreading quickly at a rate of 60 acres/year (6%). Mechanical mowing, hand removal, controlled burning, propane flaming are currently failing. Also goat grazing, soap-based heat foam, biological control, and ‘alternative’ non-toxic herbicides all have been proven to be limited in their effectiveness. At a public meeting to address the problem the Project Manager stated re chemicals: “It is cost effective. They kill weeds relatively cheaply. If herbicides cannot be used for Broom management the budget increase will be colossal. The cost of Broom management per acre with a combination of mowing and herbicides would be 24 man-hours of work. The same end without herbicides would cost 300-500 man-hours.” cgi/ Since March 2007, further analysis of Vegetation Management and Herbicides has continued.

In Victoria many parks and public areas are exposed to threats of serious or irreversible damage to native plants and biodiversity. Some public areas have undergone environmental degradation following invasion by Broom, English Ivy, Himalayan Blackberry and other invasive species. These threats are serious and/or irreversible. In observing the Precautionary Principle, cost- effective measures should not be postponed. Delay will increase degradation and future costs will escalate. In some areas it may already be too late. Garry Oak ecosystems require herbicides and a commercial plastic mulch which provides 100% efficacy according to Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team (GOERT) after Raj Prasad, et al. 2008.

There are serious and real implications to banning pesticide use, both on public and private land. Residents are faced with the same labour intensive realities and costs (as Marin County above) in controlling invasive plants. Furthermore, the same gardens are the source of present and most future infestations. Plants invade the ecosystems by escaping from gardens, e.g.Yellow Lamium and English Ivy, from hanging baskets, or ground covers like Periwinkle.

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Instead of a sweeping ban, the Provincial Government should provide education on pesticide use, either through garden centers or municipal parks personnel. That person should be available to the public and able to supply simple advice and/or pamphlets to residents describing the proper use of every permitted pesticide specific to each geographical location across the Province. Such pamphlets must have an “expiry date.” Newer information may contain corrections, revised methods of application or offer newer, less-toxic choices. For instance,

a) advice on the use of non-ionizing surfactants in water as an adjuvant (additive) to the herbicide under consideration, or
b) advice on use in wind, 
c) droplet size, 
d) rain, 
e) timing
f) strength of wick application for translocating herbicides etc., 
g) specific advice on the most effective way to eradicate specific plants from home parcels, such as Broom, English Ivy, Blackberry, Japanese 
Knotweed, Giant Hogweed etc., 
h) provision of a list of the most common and severe invaders, 
i) important advice to avoid exposure to chemicals during pregnancy etc., 
j) use of protective clothing and laundry instructions, 
k) simple advice to wear protective gloves, 
l) the correct mixing to avoid spills, 
m) removal of treated dead weeds from water to prevent eutrification, 
n) special advice for riparian areas if indicated.


The public is concerned about cancer being linked to or correlated with chemicals in the environment. Correlation does not mean causation. In 2002 a retrospective study (by Ma, et al.) performed in northern California linked childhood leukaemia, to exposure in utero and up to 2-3 years of age, with insecticides used (probably by professional applicators) inside the home. The association between herbicides and leukaemia was weak and non-significant. 
Dr Valkil told the committee of “the importance of protecting pregnant women from household ‘and garden’ use of pesticides.” Considering that cosmetic pesticides are crucial to your mandate it is inexcusable for her to seriously misrepresent the Ma findings by altering the author’s statement by adding the words ‘and garden’. The Ma report, which Dr. Valkil quotes, states the absolute opposite: no significant association was observed for exposure to outdoor pesticides”.

Dr. Valkil is a member of the Board of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE). CAPE has a membership of 5,200, not all of whom are physicians. The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) numbers 70,000 physicians in the Country.

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CAPE represents only 7.5% of that number. Dr. Valkil does not speak for this writer, or for the 65,000 majority of physicians. I have brought to your Committee’s attention the real facts of this matter and I further suggest that no weight be given to any of her testimony.

The Ma report provides an Odds Ratio (OR) of 2.1 or less which is a very small increase in risk as childhood leukemia is relatively rare. (See more on OR below.) The Ma study is criticized by peer reviewers as being retrospective, lacking measurements of both amounts and frequency of pesticide exposure. There was alleged “recall bias”. Families of leukemia victims might recall pesticide use better than healthy families who had less reason to remember whether they had been exposed to pesticides (in some cases up to 13 years prior). Other household chemical exposures during pregnancy might include paints, glues, solvents, and cigarette smoke. Interior use of pesticides includes insecticides, fungicides and rodenticides.
In follow up, a systematic review and meta-analysis (15 studies) by Turner M.C., et al, University of Ottawa, agreed with Ma’s figures. Exposure during childhood showed a link to insecticides (OR 1.61) but there was no association with herbicides.

In Kansas, Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL) has been linked to farm herbicide use (OR 1.6), greater for number of days per year; over 20 days per year (OR 6.0). However residential exposure showed no increase in risk with herbicides. Also the OR was not statistically significant for NHL in farmer’s home use of insecticides (termites). The “Cosmetic Pesticides” Committee should exclude evidence from industrial strength pesticide preparations as these are not available to the public.

The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) which is a volunteer group and not science based has sided with activists and promulgated the fear of pesticide links to childhood leukemia, NHL, childhood brain cancer, prostate and lung cancers. None of these are causal links. The CCS in stating “children are closer to the ground” is implying a risk. Mr. Lindsay Hanson has already informed you that there is no risk for children playing on lawns or eating herbicide-sprayed grass. The Committee's decisions should be based on science rather than the opinions of activists. The CCS must not be confused with the BC Cancer Agency (BCCA).

When studying cancer-related literature the experts to be cited for pesticides should be epidemiologists and toxicologists, rather than spokespersons from other disciplines. Health Canada remains up to date and should be used as the primary resource by the Province.

Odds Ratio (OR)
Odds Ratio is not the same as Risk but never-the-less it is a common way of describing the chance of a certain outcome. So, if the relative risk of developing childhood leukemia statistically is 4.3/100,000 then, if the OR from insecticide exposure is 2.0 or doubled,

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the risk is still very low. The incidence of lung cancer is high, with a relative risk of 60-70/100,000. So, with an OR of 40.4, smokers will increase their risk to 2,400-2,800/100,000; a good reason to stop smoking. Other common cancers are breast 124/100,000 and prostate 175/100,000. Statistically the increase in risk from a negative behaviour becomes higher when the disease is commoner. Odds ratios are most accurate when the OR is 1.0 and are still accurate up to about 20 but deviate above that. Biostatisticians need absolute figures when measuring results so that comparisons between treatments can be made. When it comes to making recommendations, ORs are adequate for the Committee’s purpose provided they are unequivocal.


Of a total of 4,700,000 Kg of pesticides sold in BC, 73% are wood preservatives; only 6% are herbicides (286,423 Kg). The Capital Regional District (CRD) share in 1995 was 5.5% (15,750 Kg). It is stated on the CRD web-site that only 1.6% of herbicides are used domestically (252 Kg).

The two herbicides, most-commonly used residentially (88%), are 2,4-D and glyphosate .

Health Canada PMRA in May 2008 concluded its re-evaluation of 2,4-D as safe to use according to label directions. In 2007 the U.S. EPA determined that “existing data do not support a conclusion that links human cancer to 2,4-D.” The PMRA uses a factor of 10x10x10 = 1,000 times the safe exposure figure in children in order to reduce the risk to infants and children. As you know, this summer, following the settlement of a lawsuit by Dow Agro, the Government of Quebec announced that “2,4-D does not pose an unacceptable risk to human health or the environment”. Ontario’s environmental commissioner agrees “there was no science to justify the ban”.

Of glyphosate the EPA stated “there is no evidence of carcinogenic potential”. Glyphosate (Roundup) pesticide tolerances, EPA Federal Register Sept 27, 2002 (Vol.67, #188), pages 60934-60950, last updated Friday Oct.30th 2009, considered safety, cumulative effects, aggregate risks, synergy, mode of action, and states “based on these risk assessments, the EPA concludes there is a reasonable certainty that no harm will result to the general population, and to infants and children from aggregate exposure to glyphosate residues. In making this statement the EPA considered the Precautionary Principle.

The Committee needs to decide which group to believe: i.e., Federal scientific experts, or activists.

Millions of public dollars have been provided to environmental activists in collaboration with scientists, to fund three current very large studies in the Eastern United States, in an effort to show causality between breast cancer and exposure to chemicals, including   

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gasoline, pesticides, detergents, plastics, flame retardant, personal care products, air and water pollution, grilled and smoked foods, tobacco smoke, vehicle exhaust, and fossil fuel burning. One of the studies in Cape Cod, where breast cancer is double the national figure shows no consistent association between breast cancer and pesticides.  Wasteful, expensive studies of DDT, which was used extensively in the ‘60s, are being performed, despite the fact that DDT has been banned for 40 years so that there can be no retrospective mitigation.

Problems with pesticide research results

Cancer Research UK states of pesticides “the evidence is not strong enough to give clear answers. Studies usually involve small numbers of people making it more likely the results are due to chance. The results from different studies are not constant and replicated etc.”

The BCCA states “environmental studies have produced controversial results,” and “individual single isolated investigations cannot produce the large numbers required for statistical results compared with large world-wide projects”. Studies need to include environmental exposure, life- style and individual gene make-up. This requires epidemiologists, bio-statisticians and population geneticists combined. To settle the environmental controversy a new BC Generations Project has commenced. It will be a prospective study with 40,000 volunteers from BC and 300,000 from Canada. It is part of a Canadian cohort International Trans-disciplinary approach. A separate task force is measuring potential carcinogenic chemicals.

Cosmetic versus function of lawns

When it comes to banning cosmetic use of herbicides on lawns, by most recent figures only 252 Kg of herbicide are used domestically in the CRD which amounts to 0.2 ounces per single family dwelling per year. Other geographical areas of the Province could be quite different. Compared to exposure from wood preservatives and agriculture, this CRD amount is of such low magnitude that it seems impossible that there could be anything to gain from a ban. Turf density can be maximized by mowing height (relates to type of grass), proper irrigation (too much or too little are both bad), correct fertilization, and selective removal of thatch in excess of 0.75-1.0”. A well-maintained lawn (see Health Canada lawn care directions) has many benefits including cooling (the front lawns of 8 homes have the cooling effect of 70 tons of A/C, enough to cool 16 homes). Lawns absorb rainfall. A Penn State University study showed that a thick lawn slows run-off and allows water to infiltrate 15 times better than a patchy lawn with a lot of weeds. Water detention is an important environmental function as it holds pollutants such as nitrates. Nitrates, throughout a watershed, undergo denitrification by microbes associated with grass roots, thereby reducing the nitrogen entering estuaries and rivers.

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Excess nitrate causes algal bloom (JoAnne Burkholder et al. 2007) and compromises estuarine ecosystems including fish and waterfowl. Monitoring of coastal seagrass abundance is performed worldwide by seagrass. Net http://seagrass.Net/ (114 sites in 32 countries). In addition to denitrification, lush lawns trap silts and adsorbs chemicals and metals, preventing those pollutants from entering storm drains and watercourses. Selective weed killers enhance these functions by destroying invasive weeds like black Medicus that can take over in two seasons.

Golf greens need special consideration because West Coast Fusarium Patch, which responds only to fungicides, damages them in 24 hours. Greens need to be “perfect” to attract the tourist dollar which could otherwise be spent outside British Columbia. Crane Fly larvae, also, need insecticide control.


1) There is no scientific evidence that cosmetic pesticides cause harm to humans so, unless that changes, there should be no bans.

2) Measures to enhance lush lawn functions should be encouraged on environmental grounds.

3) Golf courses should have a permanent extension to their present entitlement to use pesticides.

4) Invasive plants are damaging habitat and ecosystems. We are already seeing serious and irreversible harm. Cost-effective measures require ancillary herbicide use. Banning herbicides increases labour costs fifteen times (see page 5). Ranchland, green spaces, parks and residential lands require judicious use of herbicides to prevent and reverse habitat destruction. Some insecticides and fungicides are required when pest infestations are serious.

5) Public education on proper use of pesticides is preferable to blanket restrictions. Costs of education can be recouped by adding some form of “user tax”. If domestic pesticides are misused penalties can be applied.

6) Where crop economics are involved, adjacent garden use of pesticides should be mandatory at the interface with orchards, vineyards, etc. Consideration should be given to implement measures that would force owners of urban properties containing serious invasive plants to eradicate them.

7) People with inhalant allergies to plants or fungi should be exempt from restrictions.

8) Biodiversity should be considered in the Committee's deliberations. Red and blue listed native species need extraordinary protection.

Doug Critchley 
132 St. Giles Street
Victoria V8Z 5E5

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Swan family in Portage Inlet

                                            Resident pair attending to their single cygnet,  May 2011
                                                                      Photos by Shaun Lees

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Native plants for your garden

Native Plants
The benefits of using native plants are many:  including low maintenance, adapting well to local conditions and attracting beneficial birds and insects.  
A note to the wise is to be vigilant in removing invasive species such as English ivy, Himalayan blackberry, purple loosestrife, Scotch broom, spurge laurel(Daphne).  Check online for complete lists, descriptions and photos.  These intruders crowd out existing plants and trees and prevent new plants from becoming established.

Here are some examples of native plants thriving in the waterside garden of one of our PIPS members.


media manzanita

Oregon grape, red currant

flowering red currant

sword fern, red currant, Nootka rose

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Submission to View Royal OCP review

President: Terry Eckstein 12 Phillion Pl Victoria, B.C. V9A 4H9 Tel: 250 388 0398 email:
Portage Inlet Protection Society
Representing waterfront residents on Portage Inlet, Gorge Waterway and their tributaries

A submission to the review of the View Royal Official Community Plan
by the Portage Inlet Protection Society
April, 2010

Executive summary
The Portage Inlet Protection Society has been invited, as a stakeholder group, to make a submission for inclusion in the OCP review. This paper is based where possible on best available science, is economically feasible, and promotes sustainable environmental principles
Studies are described which show that Portage Inlet generally has good water quality. Toxicological studies published in 2010 show that organochloride pesticides are likely of limited or no toxicological significance. There is no evidence that waterfront owners contribute any significant pollutants to the Inlet. However, fecal contaminants from watershed storm drains cause shellfish pollution, as do sewer overflows .
Topics discussed include: ecotones, buffers and setbacks in relationship to Development Permit Area (DPA) widths; exemptions to activities in DPAs; sea walls to protect from erosion; climate change and sea level rise; wharfs and docks; public access pathways; and riparian rights.
Recommendations conclude this paper.

PIPS members value the quality of the environment. As stake holders we are allies of the Town in preserving our natural surroundings. In our newsletter The Shoreline Guardian, distributed to all shoreline residents on Portage Inlet and the Gorge Waterway, PIPS promotes awareness and proactive stewardship by remaining current with research based on best available science. We discourage application of domestic chemicals near the water between September and May

Review of View Royal OCP by Portage Inlet Protection Society Page 1 of 14

while salmon are present in the Inlet. We promote Best Management Practices on our properties at all times.
Portage Inlet requires protection from human-generated pollution occurring within its watershed. View Royal should control, where possible by design, storm water contaminants entering Portage Inlet and Craigflower Creek. All properties within the catchment area contribute storm water volume as well as silt, pollutants, unwanted chemicals and metals, plus introduced nutrients.
The Town will install engineered bio-retention on Island Highway. Bio-retention can remove 80% of nitrates and 80% of phosphates as well as metals. Any storm drains entering Portage Inlet can be retrofitted with modern de-nitrification filters.
All new developments using Limited Impact Development (LID) techniques will reduce peak storm-flows and can reduce pollutants. The Capital Regional District’s Annual Stormwater Quality Report, Core Area 2007, provides the most recent figures. (Testing was discontinued in 2008 to concentrate resources on identified issues.)

Present condition of Portage Inlet
Portage Inlet pollution is much reduced since View Royal septic tanks were replaced by sewers. Previous annual algal blooms in May due to excess nutrients from septic runoff no longer occur.
The 2008 measurements in surface water of oxygen, turbidity, nitrates, and pH are below pollution levels and summer coliform counts are safe for swimming but exceed shellfish harvesting safety levels. Native oysters are now abundant in Portage Inlet. Living adult oysters were extremely rare in Portage Inlet, though present in the Gorge in 1967 (P. Lambert 1967). Oyster presence is probably an indication of improved water quality. Portage Inlet is a migratory bird sanctuary and the oysters, clams and eel grass are providing regular forage. The birds are thriving.
Otters are higher up the food chain, live on fish and concentrate fat-soluble organochlorine PCBs and organochlorine pesticides in their bodies. Measurements of organochlorines in otters foraging in Victoria harbour as well as east and west along the coastline have been made between 1998 and 2006. Otters living in Victoria harbour are exposed to legacy PCBs. Those at a distance have much less, including a family that hunt in Portage Inlet. As well as measuring PCBs, organochlorine pesticides were measured. Even among Victoria harbour otters with 9 x higher PCBs the organochlorine pesticides, which are at the “no effect level”, are “generally low throughout the region and are likely of limited or no toxicological significance”. Other biota (crabs and herons) reflect the same results. ref: Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry Volume 29 #2 pp 275- 284, 2010.

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The conclusion is that Portage Inlet is currently healthy in the summer and pesticide residues are insignificant. There is still contamination by heavy metals and PAHs, etc., contributed by vehicles traveling the nearby Trans Canada Highway. (Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) are airborne particles which may be carcinogenic to humans if inhaled. They cause no harm to humans if dissolved in water.)
Colquitz Creek in Saanich has coliform counts of 340 and 360 which exceeds the safe swimming level of less than 200. This is from human sewage.
Craigflower Creek exceeds the guidelines for watercourse health in turbidity (from erosion), phosphates and fecal coliform originating from a developed area about 1,200m upstream. This requires ongoing monitoring and mitigation.
Hospital Creek had excess phosphate and coliform counts increasingly since 2005. Coliform is 340 and 1800 in winter and 620 in summer. There are many possible causes, but it is likely from human sewage. Further investigation is required to identify the source(s). Agricultural chemicals may contribute to the phosphates.
Storm Drain 0712, in the southwest corner of Portage Inlet, contributes much environmental contaminant; sediment sampling has been recommended. Fecal coliform counts of 120,000 (60 x the acceptable limit) has been cited as a priority. View Royal staff have narrowed down the source.
A serious source of sewage pollution occurs when overflow occurs at pump stations. This happens during storm events when storm water enters and overloads the sewer system or when there is a pump failure. The Scientific and Technical Review Panel, CRD Core Area Liquid Waste Management Plan, July 12, 2006, stated: “Municipal storm water waste management and watershed discharge affect marine areas where outflows are located. Overflow of sewage facilities causes severe fecal plumes, contamination of habitat and potential risk to human health.”
Waterfront properties contribute very little in the way of contaminants to Portage Inlet compared with the present traditional storm water drainage system. Withal, some form of protection should be employed for new development or redevelopment of Portage Inlet waterfront. The protection should be evidence based.

The salt water–upland interface is an ecotone which extends seaward to the low tide line and landward to the limit of salt-water penetration. An ecotone has a sinuous boundary; its length, width, nature, continuity, patchiness and height vary.

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It varies on a daily and seasonal basis, changes over years and decades. It is a source of energy and materials. It provides organisms, logs, nutrients, plant carbohydrates and insect proteins. It modifies wave energy, heat, and hydraulic flow which varies with tide height. It amplifies or reduces the intensity of waves by reflecting energy or absorbing energy by “run-up”. It acts as a mediator, filtering and altering chemical processes. It smoothes external impacts. It constrains energy and hydraulic pressure. Ecotones change humidity, temperature and sedimentation rate. They speed up mineralisation of organic matter and accelerate sediment build up. Ecotones change vegetation and nutrient retention.
It is unscientific to apply riparian (riverbank) ecology to saltwater estuarine upland. Likewise the term “riparian” cannot be used to describe a “supralittoral fringe” (above the beach) upland area. There are those who use the term, "marine riparian" instead of the term, "supralittoral." It is impossible to have a riverbank above a tidal beach. The misuse of “riparian” leads to confusion. The Department of Fish and Oceans is aware of this and emphasizes that you cannot apply the Riparian Area Regulations of the Fish Protection Act to the marine environment.

Buffers are that part of the ecotone between the natural boundary of the sea and
the landscaped upland above. In an attempt to apply best available science for
application of buffer widths and setbacks for urban coastal land planning use, a
Marine Riparian (sic) Expert Professionals’ Workshop was held in Tsawwassen
on February 17-18, 2004. It was a joint meeting of Fisheries and Oceans Canada
(DFO) and the Puget Sound Action Team (PSAT), Washington State.

The DFO/PSAT gathering identified data deficiency for establishment of vegetation buffer widths, aesthetic functions, soft versus hard engineering approaches, the effect of ground water flow disturbance and specifications for different plant species for their functions as restoration tools. Variable buffer widths by function was expressed: “Setback distances should be flexible at the time of decision, and all relevant issues should be accommodated in making decisions.”
Jim Brennan (King County Dept. Natural Resources, WA) states: “Unlike buffers, setbacks seldom account for ‘riparian’ or other coastal functions.” Variable vegetated buffer widths are difficult to implement in an urban environment with small lots but a narrow width can be set and expanded according to size of lot (as in Rhode Island). Likewise, setbacks should not be so restrictive as to totally, or nearly so, prohibit development. Single family

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residential development requires a 15 to 25-foot (4.5-7.5m) buffer for lots less than 10,000 square feet.
The main environmental value of a building setback is to leave room for a ground cover of grass to slow the surface runoff, control erosion, and for bacterial de-nitrification. This can be as little as 3 feet and up to 20 feet (three ft. removes 99% of coliform – Tillamook, Oregon). A 15-foot vegetated filter strip reduces nitrogen by 90% (Maddison et al. 1992). Most nitrogen removal is by de- nitrification; 66% by soil bacteria, 33% by plants. Roots promote soil bacteria. Most de-nitrification occurs in the top 6 inches, 88% in the top 2 cm. Trees are more effective than herbaceous plants because tree roots penetrate deeply and produce more carbon at depths. The area closest to high water should be planted with salt-tolerant trees that remove pollutants and nitrogen, which they store. To be effective, trees must be harvested or their nitrogen is restored to the buffer after they die. Trees also stabilize soil and protect against erosion. This buffer provides animal and bird habitat and increases biodiversity. Poplars remove up to 99% of nitrogen in surface runoff. Residential upland supplies nutrients and water so that a buffer works better than an undeveloped comparison. (Simmonds et. al. 1992)
Trees in a buffer should be pruned in the lower third or at least up to two metres for reduction in fire hazard. Excess fuel should be removed. Trees can be pruned to provide views, but should be thinned to reduce the chance of fire spreading from tree to tree. Deciduous trees are preferred over evergreens because of reduced fire hazard potential. Enough room should be available for a 10m. priority zone immediately adjacent to a given building to create an environment that will not support fire of any kind. [ Land Use Planning – FireSmart Chapter 7 p15.]
Newly-established buffer zones reach maximum function in 15-20 years. Shrubs provide limited function compared to grasses and trees. Lush weed-free grass lawns, such as creeping red fescue, remove pollutants and their rhizomes stabilize the soil. Grass is 3-6 times more efficient in nitrogen removal than other plants.

Development Permit Areas (DPA)
On July 14, 2009, an interim Natural Watercourse and Shoreline Areas Interpretation Policy, dated July 9, 2009, was presented to View Royal Committee of the Whole -- File #550-20-01.
The purpose was to clarify what areas were subject to the DPA.
The 1999 OCP contains a number of inconsistencies which make application of a policy difficult for Staff. An interim policy was later adopted for use until the new OCP provides rewritten DPA guidelines.

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A PIPS director made some comments at the time but was told by Council that the policy was only interim and that PIPS would have full input through the OCP DPA guideline review process. This submission with recommendations is presented as PIPS' carefully considered advice.
The width of a marine shoreline DPA describes the distance from the natural boundary of the sea within which a development permit is required. It is not to be confused with fresh water which is protected by the Riparian Area Regulations (RAR) of the Fish Protection Act (FPA)
The purpose of the DPA is to protect an Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA) such as Esquimalt Harbour. Portage Inlet, Craigflower Creek and Millstream Creek.
At issue is the decision whether to apply a DPA width of 15m from high water mark or to include a whole parcel. Does a development permit applied to 15m provide sufficient protection? It is known that a 15-foot (4.6m) vegetated filter strip removes 90% of nitrogen, 80 % of phosphate, and 50% of sediment and pollutants. In general, doubling the vegetation width only increases the mitigation by 10%.
To apply the DPA to a whole parcel could mean that for deep lots, such as at Hart Road on Esquimalt Harbour, the DPA would be 127m and a little less on some parcels on View Royal Avenue.
Lots bordering Portage Inlet are much smaller; 20 to 25 lots are 30 to 37.5m depth. The application of a DPA to the total area of small lots as well as larger parcels will require time consuming and expensive development procedure for no additional environmental protection. Applications for a variance will needlessly take the time of staff and Council alike. PIPS views application of DPAs to entire parcels as unfair, onerous, overly-bureaucratic, an unnecessary expense and creating hardship.
If there is concern about development activities adjacent and upland of the 15m DPA, this can be addressed by enforcing Best Management Practices (BMP) as well as demanding satisfactory vegetation enhancement appropriate to the probable functions of a 5m buffer zone. All FireSmart recommendations may be considered.
The Town can include Low Impact development (LID) principles.
PIPS therefore argues that Option A (staff's second choice), a maximum DPA of 15m from high water mark, be used as the guideline in the revised OCP and to remove confusion.
PIPS also recommends, for clarity and, importantly, in compliance with the Local Government Act (LGA), that a list of exemptions be included.

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Central Saanich OCP bylaw #1600, attached to the “Interim DPA policy” provided to View Royal Council July 2009. lists 16 exemptions. PIPS supports, where appropriate, most of the list, provided that a correction is made to a recurrent error which replaces "Qualified Environmental Professional (QEP)" — whose expertise is confined to freshwater application in the RAR — with a suitable expert such as a "Qualified Coastal Professional (QCP)" who has established marine shoreline expertise.

The exemptions which matter the most to PIPS under by-law 1600, 11.25. are:
C. The placement of impermanent structures, such as benches, tables and garden ornaments.
E. Repair, maintenance, alteration or reconstruction of existing legal or legal non-conforming buildings, structures or utilities provided there is no alteration of undisturbed land or vegetation (a building permit may still be required). For clarity a structure damaged more than 75% may be rebuilt on its existing footprint.
F. Repair and maintenance of existing roads, driveways, paths or trails, provided there is no expansion of the width or length of the road, driveway, path or trail, and no creation of additional impervious surfacing including paving, asphalting or similar surfacing.
G. Removal of trees deemed hazardous by a qualified arborist that threaten the immediate safety of life and buildings.
H. & J. Removal of invasive plants or noxious weeds on a small scale within the DPA provided such works are conducted in accordance with a vegetation management plan prepared by a certified expert and measures are taken to avoid sediment or debris being discharged onto the foreshore and the area is replanted immediately in accordance with Best Management Practices.
K. Construction of a fence so long as no native trees are removed and the disturbance of native vegetation is restricted to 0.5m. on either side of the fence.
N. Gardening and yard maintenance activities within an existing landscaped area, such as lawn mowing, tree and shrub pruning, vegetation planting, and minor soil disturbance that do not alter the general contours of the land.
O. The construction of a small accessory building such as a gazebo, garden shed or play house within an existing landscaped area, native trees are retained and no nearer than 10m. from HWM and total building area does not exceed 10m. squared.
P. Emergency actions required to prevent an immediate threat from fire, flood or to erosion protection works.

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Doug Myers of Puget Sound Action team, Office of the Governor, in discussion of guidelines within urbanized areas, concluded that neither managers nor scientists should act to reinforce the management measures in current legislation because the measures are somewhat arbitrary. They should instead advocate adjustments justified by best available science.
Rhode Island Redevelopment considers parcel size and recommends setbacks of 4.5 to 7.6m. for lots under 10,000 sq. ft. (A. Desbonnet et al). A 5m buffer removes 50% of sediment and pollutants.
Seattle’s Shoreline Master Program, August 2008, recommends a setback of 7.6m for residential development (SMP Policy Paper, Aug 26, 2008).
Washington State has site-specific setbacks so that a setback is 1/3 of the height of bluffs up to 100 feet. Therefore, a 30-foot bluff would require a 10-foot setback.
Saanich does not establish marine DPAs.
DFO is silent on the matter because of data deficiency but states “setbacks should be flexible at the time of decision”.
Green Shores, quoted by staff, is a voluntary, new, untried pilot project which “...enables project planning and design so that site-specific cost-effective solutions can only be achieved by using an integrated design approach.” Consequently, they recommend different setbacks for rocky shores, beaches, estuaries, mud flats, and coastal bluffs.
Green Shores states that “...rocky shores are stable and erosion resistant”. Surface bed-rock can support only limited vegetation (moss but not trees) and therefore a vegetated buffer cannot be grown. Reduction of a 15m setback to 5m (or 1/3 of height) would be subject to assessment by a Qualified Coastal Professional (QCP). Rocky shores are present in parts of Portage Inlet as well as in Esquimalt Harbour.
Mud flats are accreted from sediment derived from Craigflower Creek’s watershed. Vegetated buffers provide more protection to mud flats than setbacks.

Apart from site-specific variables by shoreline type described above, landowners may apply to the Town for setback exemptions in cases where a 15m. setback makes a developable area of a lot too small to be developed for its intended purpose.
Erodable shores require special consideration. Eroded shores in Portage Inlet have been armoured for many years as a protection by landowners against loss of land. DFO's March 2001 Fact Sheet states, “...shoreline vegetation is effective in sloped areas not directly influenced by wave energy. Steep bluffs cannot be

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protected solely by shoreline vegetation.” Winter storms on Portage Inlet are becoming more severe and frequent. If occurring at high tide, waves are running up and over sea walls and washing out upland soil and vegetation, contributing to siltation. Wave energy is considerable. DFO recommends a rip rap with size based on flow rates, the least requiring a 70% composition of 20 to 45cm rocks to absorb low velocity scour, with a minimum of a 45 degree slope at the base of vertical walls; however, a 2:1 or 3:1 slope is preferred. This also increases habitat and biodiversity. Permission is required to place rip-rap on Crown land though it is usually given if the purpose is to improve habitat

Sea Walls
PIPS believes that permeable sea walls should be constructed in such a way as to allow hydraulic processes to remain as natural as possible without changing the pressures exerted on the shore substrate — and living organisms therein — or affecting upland soil stability with an increased water pressure or natural saline penetration.
Pesticides and metals often bond to silt . To avoid silt traversing the wall, silt cloth or engineered gravel detention layers should be constructed. Though seldom necessary for a small home project. a Qualified Coastal Engineer (QCE) can provide advice. A QCE is an engineer, geologist or geotechnical engineer with demonstrated experience and/or training pertaining to shoreline protection measures and coastal processes.

Sea Level Rise (SLR)
PIPS members, by their location, are a group of stakeholders who are most vulnerable to SLR. We are concerned about a predicted SLR of 126cm as postulated as a worst case scenario by the International Panel on Climate Change. Should a storm surge combine with a high-high tide, plus wave run-up, this could reach 175 cm. Sierra Club quotes 6 meters, even 35 meters.
The tectonic plate subduction is an additional factor. If a severe earthquake occurs (risk 1% every 100 years) then a isostatic (bedrock) drop of 2m. would occur almost instantaneously, followed by a 12-foot-high tsunami.
View Royal requires a Sea Level Rise plan based on these three scenarios: storm surge, sea level rise and subductive earthquake. The OCP review should include these considerations.
As far as PIPS members and Esquimalt Harbour residents are concerned, property owners need to take precautionary measures to prevent erosion. For

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existing structures, Green Shores recommends enhanced shoreline protection. Seawall enhancement should be encouraged in the OCP.
Further SLR information is provided in a document prepared for DFO by the Institute of Ocean Sciences, Sidney B.C, 2008, authored by R.E. Thomson, B.D.Bornhold and S.Mazzotti.

Docks provide a structure to assist access to navigable waters which is a riparian right of waterfront landowners in B.C..
If it were not for a dock, water craft would cause damage to the upland and buffer vegetation during launch. Docks are part of the pleasures of living on the waterfront.
Floats provide habitat to native oyster spat that colonize the under-surface during their dispersal to final sites in Portage Inlet and the Gorge. Native oysters filter pollutants and clean the marine environment. Docks are composed of a pier or wharf, a ramp and a float.
A wharf is attached to the upland and should be supported on piles, which provide the least disruption to the shoreline. It should be aligned north to south to cause as little shadow as possible. The higher it is, the less shadow it casts. According to DFO, it should be at least 2m above the highest tide, though Green Shores says 0.5m. According to Gee Chapman (Sydney University, Australia) shade, in fact, allows for increased biodiversity.
The number of pilings used should be as few as can perform the required job, and constructed of long lasting materials to reduce the frequency of replacement. Concrete, plastic or steel is preferred over treated wood. Creosote piles have survived in Vancouver harbour for over 100 years though not generally recommended now. Modern treated wood uses lower concentrations of copper and arsenates which are effective in Canadian climates. The wharf area should not exceed 25 sq. m.
A ramp connects the wharf to the float and should, where possible, be of sufficient length to reach deep water. However, most of Portage Inlet is less than two meters deep with large mud flats. Dredging is not recommended. For safety, the ramp should have a maximum slope of 30 degrees at low tide and be 1 to1.5m. wide.
A float should be large and heavy for stability but DFO recommends a size of 3m. width X 8m. length (24 sq. m.) Green Shores is more permissive and recommends no greater than 35 sq. m. Floats should be constructed of

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environmentally-friendly materials such as encapsulated extruded polystyrene. Dock logs eventually become waterlogged and provide substrate for invertebrates in intertidal zones.
Further information on residential docks is available from “The Dock Manual” by Max Burns, 1999.

Narrow pathways perpendicular to the shoreline, for public access, should be constructed to preserve the vegetation in a buffer zone of sufficient width to protect the area. A 5m minimum shoreline buffer is recommended. Pathways which access viewing platforms or viewing areas can contribute to loss of privacy for adjacent home owners — graffiti, litter, vandalism, violence, late night disturbances, hangouts, drinking, drug use, and burglary. They should be established under Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles with advice sought from police at an early stage in the planning process.
Pathways parallel to the water should not be allowed. A linear vegetative wildlife corridor should be preserved where possible all along the shoreline. (See buffers and ecotones). The buffer absorbs pollutants and provides a source of arthropods for insect-eating fish. It has aesthetic values in providing an attractive view-scape from the water where small water craft operators can enjoy the natural scenic environment.

Riparian Rights in B.C.
See "Riparian Rights Public Foreshore Use" in the Administration Aquatic Crown Land Occasional Paper #5 revised August 2008
1. Protection of land
B.C recognizes the right of upland property owners to protect their land from erosion or flooding by building embankments, dikes, or other protective improvements. This right may be exercised only on the upland property. Owners have the right to install protective structures on their own land but they require the consent of the Crown to extend any structures below the natural boundary.
2. Accretion and erosion
In order for the property’s title to reflect the actual extent of ownership the upland property owner will have to retain the services of a B.C. Land surveyor to

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redefine the property and deposit an updated legal survey plan into the land title registry.
3. Access
Waterfront property owners have the right to unimpeded access to and from their property to deep water for the purpose of navigation. The right of access to and from the water applies to every point along the natural boundary of the waterfront property

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PIPS' Recommendations
1. A DPA width of 15 meters.
The following list of exemptions should be included. Provision for : (1) Reconstruction of non conforming buildings on the original footprint if
damaged more than 75% by fire etc. (2) Repair, maintenance of existing structures , roads, driveways, paths or
trails etc. (3) Removal of hazardous trees (4) Removal of invasive plants (5) Construction of approved fences (6) Landscape maintenance (7) Small accessory buildings (8) Erosion prevention
2. Setback to be site-specific with variables related to parcel size, shore type, rocky, beaches, estuaries, mud flats, coastal bluffs, etc. Maximum setback should be no greater than 15m . The reference to 30m in Section of the 1999 OCP should be deleted.
3. The width of vegetated buffers should be based on best available science. The minimum width for a small lot could be set at 4.5m. and expanded to 7.5m. for larger parcels.
4. The distance between a vegetated buffer and habitable structure ought to be adequate to cope with fire hazard.
5. Plants for buffer restoration should include deciduous trees as well as salt- tolerant grasses and native shrubs. Other plants which provide superior root structure for soil stability and erosion control should be included. Buffers require pruning and maintenance which follow BMPs.
6. Sea walls are necessary to prevent the loss of land subsequent to erosion from tidal flow scouring the base of a bank.
7. Measures to protect waterfront property from sea level rise related to climate change should be encouraged. View Royal should perform vulnerability assessments, acknowledging that current storm risks will increase in degree and frequency. Adaptive approaches are necessary.

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8. (Suggestions for construction of wharves, ramps, and floats are included in this paper above.)
9. Pathways for public access to the water should be constructed to preserve a vegetated buffer. Pathways parallel to the water should not be allowed unless they are upland of a fenced vegetated linear wildlife corridor sufficient to provide an adequate buffer designed so as to exclude humans and dogs.
10. Preservation of riparian rights: The rights of access to the water, protection of land from erosion, and ownership of accreted land must be respected.

Appendices (2)
Terry Eckstein, Bill Stavdal, Dr. Doug Critchley,
President View Royal Director View Royal Director

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