Riparian Areas Protection Regulation (RAPR)

Riparian areas link water to land. They border streams, lakes, and wetlands. The blend of streambed, water, trees, shrubs and grasses in a riparian area provides fish habitat, and directly influences it.

Protecting riparian areas, while facilitating urban development that embraces high standards of environmental stewardship, is a priority for the Government of British Columbia. Good quality streamside habitat is essential for ensuring healthy fish populations.

The Riparian Areas Protection Regulation (RAPR) was enacted under Section 12 of the Fish Protection Act in July 2004. The Fish Protection Act was subsequently re-titled the Riparian Areas Protection Act in February 2016. The RAPR calls on local governments to protect riparian areas during residential, commercial, and industrial development by ensuring that a Qualified Environmental Professional (QEP) conducts a science-based assessment of proposed activities.

Note: The former Riparian Areas Regulation was amended on November 1, 2019 and became the Riparian Areas Protection Regulation. Information on the regulatory changes can be found at this page: Amendments to the Riparian Areas Regulation

 Purpose of the Riparian Areas Protection Regulation

The purpose of the regulation is to protect the many and varied features, functions and conditions that are vital for maintaining stream health and productivity, including:

  • Sources of large organic debris, such as fallen trees and tree roots
  • Areas for stream channel migration
  • Vegetative cover to help moderate water temperature
  • Provision of food, nutrients and organic matter to the stream
  • Stream bank stabilization
  • Buffers for streams from excessive silt and surface run-off pollution