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Track 2 Day 2: Fairley


Fish Habitat Banks: A New Funding Source for Stream Restoration

Thursday March 21, 2019
11:00 to 11:30 am


Brad Fairley, 5 Smooth Stones Restoration Inc.


While not even mentioned in the current Fisheries Act, DFO has been allowing, and even encouraging, fish habitat banks.

DFO has been supportive of fish habitat banks because they provide benefits over more traditional project specific offsetting. The offsetting is provided in advance of the impacts and its performance can be evaluated prior to issuing an authorization under the Act. In addition, DFO does not have to chase proponents to do the offsetting after the fact and continue to review monitoring reports and ask for repairs.

Because of these benefits, it appears that fish habitat banks will be explicitly included in the new Fisheries Act.

Habitat Banks also offer advantages for project proponents. They speed the DFO authorization process by allowing them to use credits from their bank to provide the offsetting required by the authorization process.

DFO is currently considering changes to the Fisheries Act that would make habitat banks even more attractive. DFO is considering allowing project proponents to use the bank credits rather than provide a Letter of Credit.

DFO is also considering third party banking. This means that agencies with a habitat bank could sell credits to project proponents. DFO is also considering an in-lieu fee program where project proponents could pay into a fund for smaller scale impacts rather than undertaking project specific offsets.

While DFO is still finalizing the text of the new Act, there is little doubt that Fish Habitat Banks will receive increasing support from DFO and that these Banks will provide a new and larger source of funding for stream restoration projects.


Learning Objectives

1. Learn what a habitat bank is and how they work.

2. Learn how habitat banks can help fund stream restoration projects.

3. Learn how the new Fisheries Act will address habitat banks.


Brad Fairley

Brad Fairley

Mr. Fairley has more than 35 years of professional experience involving both the public and private sector.

Building on a strong background in water resources management, he has focused on stream restoration for the last 20 years of his career. During that time, he has participated in and managed more than 100 fluvial geomorphology/stream restoration projects in Canada and the US.

Mr. Fairley has authored many reports and publications and presented at stream restoration conferences across North America. He has also provided expert testimony in court.

During the last few years, Mr. Fairley has focused on improving the quality of stream restoration work being carried out in Canada. This work has included advising DFO on stream restoration standards and helping develop post-construction monitoring protocols.

Most recently, Mr. Fairley has been focused on using habitat banking to provide a more reliable source of funding for stream restoration projects. During the last two years he has developed the first two DFO-approved fish habitat banks in Canada. This has involved the development of methods to quantify the amount of fish habitat within a stream.

Mr. Fairley is dedicated to information sharing as a way of advancing the science of stream restoration.