(Cowansville) Riparian owners of streams in the Brome-Missisquoi MRC have until the end of the year to ensure that their courses meet the standards of runoff.
By 1 January 2017, the 21 municipalities of the MRC should amend their rules so that it complies with Regulation surface water management (REGES). In last night meeting a concept of notice to this effect has been tabled. Mayors should adopt in May a resolution calling on municipalities to make the necessary changes.
The REGES includes a series of measures to reduce soil erosion and the banks and to improve water quality in lakes and rivers. Requirements are imposed on construction sites to prevent the excavation and the sites themselves do not cause runoff. Roads and ditches are also covered.
Minimum standards of riparian width are also identified by the Reges. In agricultural areas, the minimum requirement is two meters from the embankment while it is ten meters from the high water line in urban areas. Standards affecting the development of agricultural ditches are included in the regulations.
Discussions are still ongoing with the UPA on the principle of two meters from the embankment, said Robert Desmarais, CEO of the Brome-Missisquoi MRC. A majority of mayors believes that this is the simplest way to calculate the buffer width.
The Council of Mayors approved a temporary regulation on the control of runoff in October 2014. It then adopted the REGES few months later, giving two years to inform residents of the new requirements. “Mayors have focused on educating citizens. We are working for almost two years. At the end of the year, we will apply the regulation. People will have to comply, “says Desmarais.
The enforcement will fall under the jurisdiction of municipalities. Fines will be imposed for violations, said Mr. Desmarais.
The MRC will complete this year’s inspections of shorelines on its territory. Three university students were hired to roam the banks of rivers and streams. Photos with geographic data problematic sections are taken.
The affected owners will be faced by agents to discuss the work to be undertaken, said Simon Lajeunesse, coordinator of the water management of the MRC.
The evidence to date shows that 57.7% of riparian strips in agricultural areas and 45% in urban areas do not meet standards.
In two years, the riparian officers inspected 2,558 properties. All in all, the MRC has 3800 km of rivers.
Two information workshops on the management of riparian zones will be organized by the MRC. They will take place in Sutton and Cowansville on 10 and 11 May
Details of the workshops are on the website of the MRC.