Under present regulations, drainage maintenance can be classified as harmful alteration, disruption and destruction of aquatic, fish and wildlife habitat for which Fisheries can demand a net compensation gain, the gain usually in terms of loss of land use.
The land use loss occurs when DFO demands planting of shrubs or trees along the banks as a condition of allowing drainage maintenance. In the eyes of the DFO, the shrubs and trees planted along the watercourse constitutes a protected area for which they have the authority to regulate all activity adjacent to this protected area. A further loss of agricultural land use can occur if DFO insists on an application of fertilizers within 10 metres of the new protected area.
The overzealous application of the “HADD Harmful Alteration, Disruption and Destruction of Fish Habitat regulations to produce a net gain is producing net loss elsewhere, and in particular, to rural and agricultural property owners. Relentless application of the net gain policy regulations will eventually result in the elimination of agriculture from drainage area lowlands and possibly a few uplands.