Watercourses & Wildlife
The City has over 700 km of watercourses and ditches, as well as numerous lakes, ponds and wetlands. These aquatic habitats support populations of important fish and wildlife species, and the City has completed a number of initiatives to better understand and protect these important habitats.
The City's ongoing stream mapping program enables City staff to make better decisions with respect to land use and operations, as well as provide information to property owners and the community at large.
The City's watercourses and streamside areas are protected by the following bylaws and legislation:
- Waterways Protection Bylaw No. 269-96
- Streamside Protection Bylaw No. 1465-2005
- BC Ministry of Environment
- Fisheries and Oceans Canada
- Environment Canada
For detailed information refer to the following:
- Living Near Streams and Ravines handout for information about streamside protection
- Developing Near Streams and Ravines (Appendix A: Technical Information, Appendix B: Setback Comparison Table, Appendix C: Signage, Appendix D: Costing Sheet) information package for developing near streams
- BC Ministry of Agriculture's factsheet for information about agricultural building setbacks from watercourses and wetlands.
If you are interested in planting native plants in your riparian area or garden, please see the Gardening with Native Plants in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley guide.
From the lowland floodplains of the Fraser River, to the cliffs of Sumas Mountain, Abbotsford has a diversity of habitats that support many wildlife species. Management of wildlife, including species at risk, is under the jurisdiction of the federal and provincial governments.
While the City does not have direct jurisdiction for wildlife or species at risk, the City has an interest in ensuring development/activities are consistent with senior government legislation, best management practices (BMPs), guidelines, expectations etc., as this ensures development/activities align with the City's Community Sustainability Strategy and Official Community Plan. As such, the City requires Wildlife Assessment Reports be completed by development applicants as per the Wildlife Assessment Report Guidelines, and that nesting birds are considered during tree removal, as outlined in the Bird Nesting Information Bulletin.
Ecosystem mapping has been completed for the following:
- McKee Peak Terrestrial Ecosystem Mapping (2006)
- Sumas Mountain Sensitive Ecosystem Inventory - excluding McKee Peak (2010)
- Sensitive Ecosystem Inventory conducted by Metro Vancouver and is available to view in their GIS web-app.
Species at Risk
A species is defined as being “at risk” if it is:
- extirpated (no longer exists in the wild in Canada, but exists elsewhere in the wild);
- endangered (faces imminent extirpation or extinction);
- threatened (likely to become endangered if nothing is done to reverse the factors, leading to its extirpation or extinction); or
- of special concern (may become threatened or endangered because of a combination of biological characteristics and identified threats).
The City is known to provide habitat for many species at risk including:
- birds such as the Peregrine Falcon, Barn Owl and Western Screech Owl.
- mammals such as the Mountain Beaver and Pacific Water Shrew;
- amphibians such as the Red-legged Frog and Oregon Spotted Frog;
- molluscs such as the Oregon Forestsnail;
- fish such as the Nooksack Dace and Salish Sucker; and
- plants such as the Phantom Orchid and Pacific Waterleaf.
More information on species at risk is available from:
- BC Ministry of Environment - Species and Ecosystems at Risk
- Species at Risk Public Registry
- Species at Risk: a primer for BC