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Resolution 9-00F

Definition of Navigable Waters

January 1, 2000
Expiry Date:
December 1, 2003
Active Status:
Vote Results:

WHEREAS the term “navigable waters” is currently very poorly defined within federal legislation, but generally is interpreted as being any body of water on which a canoe can be floated;AND WHEREAS the broad nature of this definition can potentially lead to significant and unreasonable impediments to legitimate and necessary undertakings by municipalities, as well as by other proponents;AND WHEREAS the AAMDC Environmental Advisory Committee has consulted with the membership of the Association with respect to the development of a more appropriate definition;AND WHEREAS based on the results of this consultation, the AAMDC Environmental Advisory Committee has developed a proposed definition of “navigable water” which strikes a more appropriate balance between legitimate environmental, navigational and societal interests;

Operative Clause:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties urge the Government of Canada to amend its relevant legislation to incorporate the new definition of “navigable water”, as proposed by the AAMDC Environmental Advisory Committee.

RMA Background:

Proposed Definition of Navigable Water as Developed by the AAMDC Environmental Advisory CommitteeNavigable Water: a navigable water is a water body designated by a government authority as a navigable water for the purposes of managing development (over, under and adjacent to it) in a manner that will reasonably protect the navigable water for transportation, commercial or recreational uses.1. For further clarity, a navigable water:a. Must be, for at least three consecutive months per year, capable of supporting typical transportation, commercial or recreational type floating vessels suited to carry at least one adult person in reasonably safe manner, and must during its period of lowest level be at least 15 centimetres deep and 1 metre wide;b. Must be at least two kilometres in length and contain no fixed and permanent restrictions for floating vessels referred to in a) above, and may include: A single water body, or Only a specific section of a water body (e.g. a continuous 2 kilometre stretch of a stream which is in total 5 kilometres long), or A two-kilometre continuous stretch of connected water bodies (e.g. a lake, plus a river, plus another lake).c. May be man-made or a naturally occurring water body.2. A water body meeting the above criteria may be nominated for designation as a navigable water by a level of government only (either municipal, provincial, or federal).3. A nominated water body must be designated as a navigable water body through a process of public review and provincial approval. A joint federal/provincial approval process would apply for nominations where there are interprovincial or international navigational issues associated with a designation or non-designation of a nomination.4. Once a water body is designated as a navigable water it may be de-designated by following a similar process to that which led to its designation in the first place.

Federal Ministries and Bodies:
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
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