Cost of Oversize Culverts

Res #: 24-06A
Number: 24
Year: 2006
Midterm: No
Expired: Yes
Responses Received: No
Departments: Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Resolution No. 24-06A

WHEREAS, the Federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans has moved into the prairie provinces and expanded their mandate to protect fish habitat to include creeks, streams and rivers; and

WHEREAS, the various mitigation measures they insist upon, including but not limited to buying oversized culverts so that a substantial portion of them can be submerged below the streambed, significantly increasing (in some cases nearly doubling) the cost of a culvert or bridge placement or replacement;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that, in those cases where municipal costs are increased due to fish habitat mitigation or streambed interventions, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans pay the incremental costs.

Response from Loyola Hearn, PC, MP, Fisheries and Oceans Canada:

I appreciate the concerns raised by your membership, and I want to assures you that DFO is sensitive to the economic issues facing Rural Municipalities in Saskatchewan.  DFO will continue to work with SARM in the coming years to address fish habitat issues in a cooperative and productive manner.

A key consideration of the fish habitat protection provisions of the Fisheries Act is to ensure the protection of sigh migration routes – for example, by ensuring that road crossings are constructed to allow unimpeded fish passage to spawning and rearing area.  All sectors of the economy involved in road building and maintenance are expected to carry out their activiites in an environmentally responsible manner, and in accordance with applicable legislation, such as the Fisheries Act.  The agriculture industry has long been considered a responsible steward of our natural resources and it is expected that road construction, the serve the agricultural community, will be carried out with appropriate environmental safeguards in place.

Additional costs are sometimes incurred by proponents to satisfy fish passage requirements under the federal Fisheries Act.  These requirements are determined on a case-by-case basis by DFO fisheries biologists, and are based on the importance of the particular stream and the fish populations supported.  Proponents may have access to federal assistance programs, such as the Canada-Saskatchewan Infrastructure Program, to offset some costs. 

The Saskatchewan Transportation and Environment Committee, in which both SARM and DFO are active members, provides a proactive forum for discussion of the issues and resolutions associated with stream crossing in Saskatchewan.  I encourage your association to continue to provide your feedback and participation through this avenue.