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 1 Purpose
 2 References
 3 Definitions
 4 Private structures and works
 5 Special conditions
 6 Ditch Cleaning
 7 Wind erosion of soil - (Sumas Prairie)
 8 Removal of vegetation in, and immediately adjacent to, ditches


1   This procedure refers to the management of the rivers, creeks, streams, ditches and dykes maintained by the City within Matsqui and Sumas Prairies, as outlined on Map D217 and all revisions thereto.


2   (1) Municipal Act

(2) B.C. Water Act

(3) Provincial Fisheries Act and Federal Fisheries Act

(4) District of Abbotsford, Driveway Policy, Nov. 26/87

(5) District of Abbotsford, Driveway Policy, Apr. 25/88

(6) District of Abbotsford, Procedure for Rural Area Culvert Installations Dec.8/88

(7) Abbotsford Zoning By-law, 1996, as amended

(8) Engineering Policies and/or Procedures


3   In this

"Watercourses maintained by the City:": All watercourses which are indicated on Map D217 and all revisions thereto.

"Private Structures": Any and all structures such as: driveways; weirs; docks; bridges; irrigation suction pipes; field drains; pipe supports; hydrants; livestock watering areas; or any other conceivable works not placed by the City or its agent. Private structures which access, traverse, remove water for irrigation purposes, confine, redirect or in any manner infringe upon a watercourse are not to be overseen by the City.

Private structures and works

4   (1) All drainage, irrigation and other Private Structures, as listed herein, will not be placed without the approval of the City, and the necessary Fisheries approvals.

(2) Plans for permanent structures must be presented to the City Engineer for approval on an item- by-item basis. All listed requirements, Acts, bylaws, and policies must be adheredto.

(3) Permits for construction of various works must be obtained from the appropriate agencies, (Federal, Provincial and Municipal). A copy of all permits must be filed with theCity.

(4) The location of Private Structures must be approved, and conform to City bylaws, policies, codes and requirements.

(5) The requirements of the “Water Act”, “Fish Protection Act” and the “Fisheries Act” must be met in reference to Provincial and Federal requirements.

(6) All Watercourses: within the City of Abbotsford are under the jurisdiction of the Habitat Protection Act, Water Act, and Fisheries Act. Any works of permanent and/or temporary basis must be clearly defined for the Ministry of Environment, Province of B.C. This agency will inform all agencies concerned with the works proposed.

(7) The Regional Water Manager or designated officer or agent of the Crown has discretionary choice or approval over any watercourse within the City of Abbotsford. In administering the Water Actor Fisheries Act, the Regional Water Manager, etc., may require separate and/or additional approvals for works. It is recommended that owners first approach the City for assistance.

Special conditions

5   (1) Driveway Access from City Roadways to Private Land:

(a) The specific policy for driveway culverts is detailed in Policy Directive No. 2. A Highways Use Permit is also required under Bylaw No. 2516. This is to provide survey and inspection services. The size and type of access to private land is to be determined by the City Engineer. The minimum preferred size of culvert pipe is 600 mm (2 ft.) although, in a few instances, 300 mm culvert pipe may be used. Property owners may choose to complete a driveway using a private contractor or the City of Abbotsford. Prior to the City commencing any works, the full estimated cost is required. See Policy Directive No. 2.

(i) maintenance required due to normal deterioration of culvert material is the responsibility of the City,

(ii) maintenance required by the owner is shared equally (50/50) between the owner and the City.

(2) Water Licenses:

(a) “Water licenses” are issued by the Regional Water Allocation Officer to allow for the orderly and progressive extraction of water from watercourses. Licenses are issued for varied purposes, i.e., irrigation, stock watering, domestic use or other reasons. Licenses are a privilege held in perpetuity against the land referenced on the license. Annual fees must be paid to retain the license. Licenses are not administered by the City, but by the Ministry of Environment, Water Allocation Branch, Regional Office, Surrey, B.C.

(3) Irrigation Works:

(a) Two districts are operated by the City under the Irrigation Act [Bylaws?]:

(i) District A - east of Sumas Drainage Canal; and

(ii) District B - west of the Canal.

(b) A private District, East Sumas Irrigation District, is privately operated on the west side of the Channel (see Map D638). All other areas are held by private license. It is the policy of the City to require the removal of all irrigation works by October 15 each year to provide efficient drainage throughout Sumas Prairie.

(c) Notification will be given if obstruction devices are left in Watercourses:. Subsequent removal will be carried out at the land owner’s cost, with a minimum fee of $100.

(4) Livestock Waterholes:

(a) Watering of livestock in a free-running watercourse contravenes the Fisheries Act.

(b) The City realizes some keepers of livestock allow free range of livestock and access to natural Watercourses: for the purpose of watering. The City requires the keepers of livestock to construct a fenced watering place which is set back from the main stream of the free-running Watercourses:. A design for such works has been provided to the City by the provincial Ministry of Agriculture. The design of individual watering places will differ due to each location, but will be based on the agricultural design. The cost to construct the watering place will be that of the livestock keeper desiring to utilize the watercourse. The City accepts no responsibility for disputes between Provincial and/or Federal Environmental Agencies and the keepers of livestock. Fencing of waterholes along the course of streams and/or ditches is required to:

(i) protect livestock;

(ii) protect the banks against sloughing; and

(iii) protect the fish habitat.

(5) Buildings, Structures, Wharves, etc.:

(a) Buildings and other structures will be constructed in accordance with guidelines of elevations and setbacks as per Abbotsford Zoning By-law, 1996 - Flood Control Requirements and Watercourse Protection. Bridges will be constructed to approved plans and materials.

(b) The City Engineer must approve the location and plans. Wharves in the City are to be of the floating-type and the necessity of piling-type wharves will be assessed by the City Engineer. Bank protection carried out by a private individual will be approved by the City Engineer. Type of protection material may require approval by the Ministry of Environment, Water Management Branch, Regional Office, Surrey, B.C.

(6) Dykes:

(a) Due to the very definite threat of annual flooding to the prairie area, permanent access to the dykes within the City must be approved by the City Engineer and the Inspector of Dykes.

Ditch Cleaning

6   (1) Ditch cleaning will be carried out on a rotational basis. This contract work will be arranged by public tender and will be performed from July 15th through March 31st of each year.

(2) When required, land owners will be notified that their area will be cleaned in that particular year, during the period of July through March.

(3) The spoil from the cleaned ditches will be the responsibility of the land owner. The land owner will have the option of:

(a) receiving the spoil; or

(b) arranging for trucks to haul the spoil away at the owner’s cost. A minimum of two trucks are required to maintain the pace of the contractor’s excavator;

(4) Alternatively, the City will assist with the trucking of spoil along ditches in landscaped areas, areas adjacent to buildings, or other similar situations. A dump site will be required by the owner for spoil removed in these cases.

(5) The spoil removed from ditches shall be attended to by the land owner prior to the following July.

Wind erosion of soil - (Sumas Prairie)

7   The erosion of soil on Sumas Prairie has been a major problem. To reduce the loss of fertile soil and thereby minimize ditch cleaning work, it is recommended that the farming community apply good soil maintenance practices. The Ministry of Agriculture and the City can provide advice on this subject (i.e. windbreaks and crop covers). Any ditch which is included in the system, maintained by the City and becomes filled with wind-blown [debris ?] will be cleaned by the City. The cost will be attributed to the land from which the soil drifted. This, in most cases, is the adjacent property.

Removal of vegetation in, and immediately adjacent to, ditches

8   (1) When ditches, which are included on the Glossary of Ditches, are obstructed by vegetation, thereby significantly impeding the flow of irrigation and/or drainage water, the City will selectively remove the vegetation.

(2) Ditches which are not included on the Glossary of Ditches will be kept clean by the adjacent land owner(s).

(3) To provide a habitat for fish and other aquatic species which inhabit various Watercourses: by natural instinct, vegetation infringes of a minimum of one metre width is encouraged to be left. This includes grasses, overhanging shrubs, trees and emergent side vegetation such as bull rushes and reed grasses. Plantings are suggested to be natural to the area’s type of vegetation. Information is available from the Steam Stewardship Coordinator (City of Abbotsford).

(4) Vegetation growing adjacent to ditches (included on the Glossary of Ditches) which does not impede the flow of water may be removed by the adjacent land owner, if the growth causes the land owner concern.