Environmental Watercourse Mapping

Coquitlam provides development applicants with a choice of three methods for determining SPEA setbacks and determining Streamside Protection and Enhancement Area (SPEA) setbacks from watercourses for fish habitat into the City’s Zoning Bylaw through the provincial Riparian Areas Regulation (RAR) (PDF).

Applicants can either hire a Qualified Environmental Professional (QEP) to determine the SPEA under the RAR Detailed Assessment Methodology, consult a map provided by the City showing the RAR Simple Assessment Methodology SPEA, or get a federal Fisheries Act authorization.


Layers showing the Simple Assessment Methodology SPEA setback (and associated layers) are available on QtheMap. The layers include:

  • SPEA - the SPEA setback, as determined by using the watershed-level RAR Simple Assessment Methodology, and being either 15 metres or 30 metres wide, as measured from top-of-bank or top-of-ravine bank.
  • RAA - the Riparian Assessment Area, a 30 metre-wide zone as measured from top-of-bank or top-of-ravine bank that defines the area next to a watercourse where the RAR applies (although it also includes the ravine portion).
  • Ravines - these are steep-sided valleys that form part of the SPEA setback.
  • Watercourse Fish Presence - this layer indicates the fish-presence colour-coding based on the RAR Simple Assessment Methodology classification of watercourse fish presence and permanence (colour coding explained in legend).
  • DPA - the Development Permit Area refers to the 50 metre-wide Watercourse Protection Development Permit Area. It is not associated with the RAR but was developed along with the RAR SPEA mapping project. It applies to Northeast Coquitlam only.

User notes and a disclaimer should also be reviewed prior to using the RAR SPEA map layers.

How to Use the Layers

Compared to the RAR Detailed Assessment Methodology, where a QEP is retained to determine the SPEA, an applicant using the RAR Simple Assessment Methodology SPEA layers would simply read off the setback, judging by whether the SPEA completely (30 metres) or halfway (15 metres) fills the RAA zone. The applicant would then still have to hire a BC Land Surveyor to accurately survey the top-of-bank or top-of-ravine bank (a step that is part of the RAR Detailed Assessment Methodology process as well) and buffer the appropriate setback width off this location.

The SPEA map layers will be updated on a regular basis as new watercourse survey information and aerial photography becomes available.