Surrey first developed a Watercourse Classification Map in 1995 that classifies streams based on their value as salmonid fish habitat. The Watercourse Classification Map is constantly updated when new information becomes available. The Map was first developed in an effort to streamline the process for the City to conduct works in and around watercourses, and was used mainly by the Engineering Department and Operations crews. It is now also utilized extensively as a tool by land developers and planners to determine fisheries stream setbacks for new development. The Watercourse Classification Map is compiled from various sources and is not warranted as to its accuracy by the City of Surrey. It is intended to be used as a planning tool only. New development applicants are advised to hire a Registered Professional Biologist to perform a watercourse assessment to verify the fisheries watercourses on subject properties.
Watercourses are divided into four categories, and are based on fish presence, duration and source of water, and surrounding vegetation potential:
Class A (RED): Inhabited by salmonids year round or potentially inhabited year round.
Class A(O) (RED dashed): Inhabited by salmonids primarily during the over-wintering period or potentially inhabited during the over-wintering period with access enhancement.
Class B (YELLOW): Significant food/nutrient value. No fish present.
Class C (GREEN): Insignificant food/nutrient value. No fish present.
The City of Surrey Planning Department follows the Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) Land Development Guidelines for the Protection of Aquatic Habitat when determining setback widths for buildings adjacent to streams.
More information about development setbacks is available through Planning and Development Department at the Surrey Municipal Hall or call 604-591-4441.