In an effort to help protect New Brunswick's surface water resource from the effects of alterations such as, but not limited to, construction activities, uncontrolled landscaping and forestry activities, and the installation of obstructions (e.g. culverts, dams, causeways, etc.), the Department of Environment and Local Government administers the Watercourse and Wetland Alteration Regulation – Clean Water Act. Although, this Regulation has been in place for over 30 years, not everyone has a clear understanding of when a watercourse or wetland alteration permit is required.
The Watercourse and Wetland Alteration Regulation – Clean Water Act states that any person working in or within 30 metres of a watercourse or a wetland is required to obtain a Watercourse and Wetland Alteration permit prior to doing so.
Watercourses are defined under the Clean Water Act as “the full width and length, including the bed, banks, sides and shoreline, or any part, of a river, creek, stream, spring, brook, lake, pond, reservoir, canal, ditch or other natural or artificial channel open to the atmosphere, the primary function of which is the conveyance or containment of water whether the flow be continuous or not”.
Wetlands are defined under the Clean Water Act as “land that (a) either periodically or permanently, has a water table at, near or above the land’s surface or that is saturated with water, and (b) sustains aquatic processes as indicated by the presence of hydric soils, hydrophytic vegetation and biological activities adapted to wet conditions.