[Riparian Management Area Guidebook Table of Contents]


Classifying lakes

There are four riparian classes of lakes (L1 to L4) as determined by:

The proponent is responsible to determine the riparian class of all lakes. Figure 16 provides a key to determine the lake riparian classification.

Determining lake area

Lake area can be determined directly from 1:20 000 or larger scale aerial photos or maps. The outer edge of a lake can be determined in the field by the normal high-water mark.

Determining the biogeoclimatic unit

Biogeoclimatic unit (zone, subzone, and variant) can be determined from biogeoclimatic maps and biogeoclimatic ecosystem classification field guides prepared by the Ministry of Forests, Research Branch.

Additional lake modifiers

In addition to the four lake riparian classes there are two modifiers that affect the application of the RMA.

L1 lakes less than 1000 ha

L1 lake riparian class (lakes >5 ha) have an additional lakeshore management zone (LMZ) that is established by the district manager adjacent to the riparian reserve zone. Proponents should consult their Regional Lake Classification Guidebook for lakeshore management zone guidelines.

L1 lakes greater than 1000 ha

These lakes are a category of L1 lakes that are greater than 1000 ha. There is no riparian reserve or riparian management zone required for these L1 lakes. However, the LMZ prescription should accommodate fisheries and wildlife values or biodiversity concerns. LMZ guidelines should be designed to maintain a wide variety of values including fish, wildlife, recreation, and water.

Establishing lake RMA boundaries

Table 3 shows the specified slope distance of the respective reserve zone and management zone of each lake riparian class. The outer edge of the lake is measured from the high-water mark or the edge of an immediately contiguous wetland.

Modifying the RMA

The Operational Planning Regulation makes provisions for varying the width of the riparian reserve zone or management zone. Proposals to vary the width of a reserve zone should be supported by sufficient information to justify the decision and to allow resource agencies to properly evaluate the proposals.

Supporting documentation should clearly identify the rationale for the proposal and describe the measures that will be taken to ensure that the riparian objectives stated in "RMA objectives" of this guidebook are addressed. It should provide sufficient information to justify the proposal over other reasonable options and allow an adequate assessment of the anticipated impacts to aquatic and terrestrial habitats adjacent to the proposed development and in downstream or surrounding areas.

Suggested supporting information

The scope and detail of information provided should be in proportion to the magnitude of the proposed removal or modification. For example, topping and limbing or removal of a very small number of trees from the reserve zone may require only a brief description.

The following information should be provided where appropriate to support the proposal:

Large rivers and active floodplains

Adequate planning adjacent to large rivers and active floodplains may require the production of a longer-term forest development plan as provided in the Operational Planning Regulation. The following information should be provided when proposing activities adjacent to large rivers and on any active floodplain:

Wetland complex

Adequate planning adjacent to or within wetland complexes may require the production of a longer-term forest development plan as provided in the Operational Planning Regulation. The following information should be provided when proposing activities adjacent to or within wetland complexes:

  1. the first nine points from "Suggested supporting information" above

  2. percentage of the upland area within the wetland complex previously harvested and proposed for harvesting within the period of the forest development plan

  3. ecological characteristics of the wetland complex (principal ecosystems of the uplands and wetlands; distribution of forest age classes and leading species; principal hydrological attributes of the wetlands such as presence of standing water, presence of lakes and streams, and flow between wetlands; fish and wildlife resource values, or other values).

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