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  Rivers, Streams and Lakes

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Nechako River


Watercourses are important from a fishery and wildlife perspective, have an important function in storm water management and discharge, are useful in water storage, and provide a natural means of drainage.  Stream stewardship and the maintenance of leave strips along all watercourses ensure that these functions remain largely unimpaired.  Many of the stream and river corridors also act as wildlife corridors, thus protection of leave strips allows the maintenance of biodiversity and retains wildlife habitat.  In addition, the desirability for leave strips can serve public safety, by offering protection from erosion and potential land slides.  Vegetation removal in such areas can contribute to more rapid surface water run-off and will accelerate erosion and undermine public safety along streamside recreation corridors.  Maintaining leave strips also has the economic benefits through potentially higher market values for development adjacent to the conserved watercourse.   

What can you do to protect the stream in your yard (a minimum 15 m from the top of bank for most streams and 30 m from the Nechako and Fraser rivers)? 

  • Leave all trees and shrubs in place
  • Do not pile compost, lawn clippings, or debris
  • Do not use fertilizers
  • Sheds or similar structures cannot be built in riparian areas without prior approval from the City of Prince George


The City of Prince George has two main ways it protects watercourses in the City: Restoration and Enhancement, and Stewardship – click here to see some of our restoration projects.  Some main goals in enhancing and protecting the City's watercourses are:

  • To protect remaining riparian areas along city creeks, and to encourage restoration of riparian areas on both public and private lands.
  • To improve water quality in creek systems and reduce instances of point source and non-point source pollution.
  • To support groups and events such as BC River's Day, the Nechako White Sturgeon Recovery Initiative and the Nechako Watershed Council to help educate the public on local water-related issues.


Stormwater from roads, parking lots and industrial area flows into our City's streams. This runoff often contains harmful contaminants such as oil, grease, salt, metals and hydrocarbons.  Because water quality is vital to people, fish, plants and animals, the BC Ministry of Environment has established strict water quality standards for municipalities, industry and residents.  For information on these government standards, and general water quality guidelines, visit the provincial Water Quality website.

Substances discharged to watercourses must be disposed of according to the Provincial Environmental Management Act, Provincial Water Act, Federal Fisheries Act and the City of Prince George by-laws.


Riparian Area Development Permits

Riparian Protection Development Permits (DP's) allow the City of Prince George to manage specifics for Environmental development.   The Official Community Plan (OCP) defines a set of development guidelines that apply to each type of development within Prince George.  It has designated all areas within 50 metres of fish-bearing watercourses and wetlands as Riparian Protection Development Permit Areas.  Any development of the following type requires a development permit

  • Subdivision of land
  • Construction of, addition to or alteration of a building or structure
  • Alteration of land (in areas within 50 meters of all fish-bearing watercourses and wetlands as specified in the attached map)

The following circular provides information on Riparian Protection Development Permits.  Please feel encouraged to contact a planner at the Development Services Department (561-7611) to discuss your proposal.

More information on wildlife and urban development can be found in the Ministry of Environment guidebook Develop With Care.


Restoration Projects



McMillan Creek
Erosion Control on Hoffercamp Road





A steep slope over the culvert crossing of McMillan Creek on Hoffercamp Road was continually eroding into the stream.  Instead of using rocks, concrete or large blocks, the City opted for a more natural way to stabilize the soil around the culverts. Special engineered bags were stacked like bricks around both ends of the culvert.  The bags were filled with sand, soil and seeds.  Grass seed is mixed with the soil in the bags to produce a “living wall”.  The roots help to stabilize the bank and allow other plant species to become established.



A connecting device was placed between the sand/soil filled bags, which dramatically increases the sheer strength of the structure.  The result is an interlocking soil mass that promotes and sustains vegetation.  Over time, permanent naturalized structures built with this system become even stronger as plant and tree root systems grow throughout.  Eventually these bags will provide a vegetated face for erosion control, slope repair and bank protection. 



 Shellbrook Road
Culvert Replacement





A large culvert under Shellbrook Road was replaced to allow fish to access upstream areas.  When properly installed and embedded, culverts are both fish friendly and the least expensive option.  Once installed, the culvert was filled with gravel and larger rocks to mimic a natural stream channel.  Natural stream substrates like gravel, rock, sand and woody debris provide habitat features that support plant and animal stream life.  Theses features provide shelter, food and spawning areas for fish.   These substrate types are just as valuable when contained within culverts.

Willowbrook Bridge Deck

The old deck on the bridge over McMillan Creek on Willowbrook Road was rotten.  Rather than replacing the entire structure, just the decking was replaced.  Approaching the project this way, rather than replacing the entire bridge allowed all work to be done out of the stream channel, and therefore did not harm or alter fish habitat. Fabric was attached under the bridge to catch loose material when the old decking was removed.  



Stream Stewardship





A group from Terasen Gas worked very hard to clean out garbage and debris from Hudson Bay Slough.  Some of the larger debris was so imbedded in the mud that it had to be pulled out with a small excavator.

Heritage River Trail


The bank of the Nechako River, along the Heritage River Trail was armored with rip rap (large, angular boulders) to prevent erosion.  A portion of the trail was falling into the Nechako River, as the bank was eroded.  To prevent further soil erosion, the bank was lined with rip rap.

A temporary road was built beside the river to bring in rock with trucks.  The rocks were then moved into place with an excavator.  Along the top edge of the rocks, below the trail erosion control fabric was laid down on top of the exposed soil to help stabilize the bank.  Live stakes were pounded through the fabric and into the soil below.  These stakes will eventually grow into mature willow trees.  Natural and planted vegetation is now taking hold and gives excellent strength and stability to the river’s bank.


In conjunction with the rip rap placement and planting that was done on Heritage River trail, a compensation project was undertaken on Parkridge Creek, at Domano Blvd.  The stream gradient was too steep for fish to get past the culvert under Domino Blvd.  Again rip rap was used, but this time to create large steps (also called weirs) and pools on the downstream side of the road.  These steps raise the water level and make the area accessible to fish.






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©2013 City of Prince George 1100 Patricia Blvd. Prince George, British Columbia, Canada V2L 3V9 Telephone: 250.561.7600