This credit applies to the design or re-design of access to the shoreline from upland areas so that it avoids or minimizes environmental impacts on the shoreline area.
Shoreline owners typically want to get to the water’s edge, whether by a foot path, stairs, a driveway, or a ramp for boat access. Accesses can have negative effects on shoreline environments by trampling and removing riparian vegetation (favoring the colonization by invasive species), “hardening” the upland-shoreline interface and damaging backshore, foreshore, and intertidal habitats.
Where this credit applies
This credit applies to any development project, particularly in the riparian area, on any type of shore, and in both marine and lake environments. The access being applied for must meet any applicable local codes with respect to safety, aesthetic, and/or environmental impact. For example, if the access involves stairs, landings, or decks there may be local laws regarding height above ground, handrail requirements, foot guards, etc.
This credit offers up to 3 base points.
|Remove an existing shoreline access and replace it with native vegetation, or do not have/ build any access to the shore on your property.OR||
|Replace an existing access or, if there is no pre-existing access, build a new access that conforms to the ‘Best Practices’ (outlined below under “How to proceed”).||
|Share your access with one or more neighbors such that there is only one access per two or more properties.||
How to proceed
First ask “do I really need my own access to the shore? Is there a public access nearby that I can use, or could I a share an existing access with one or more neighbours?”
If the answer is “no, I don’t need my own access” you have just earned full points, saved the shoreline environment one more impact, and saved construction, approval, and maintenance costs and time.
If the answer is “yes,” follow these “best practices” for access design:
Ensure your access meets all local codes with respect to safety, design and/or environmental impact (e.g., height above ground, handrails or guards, etc.)
Assess the shoreline and backshore to determine the best place for getting to the water based on steepness, ground stability, soil softness, vegetation, drainage, environmental sensitivity, and habitat value. A rocky site is usually hardier than sites with soft sediments. Choose sites that have been previously impacted since they have lower habitat value than an undisturbed site. Do your utmost to protect undisturbed areas.
Provide for all needs in one access rather than multiple accesses.
The access should be no wider than 6 ft (3 m).
Size and align paths and stairways to address terrain (flat versus steep), to protect existing vegetation (particularly major trees, shrubs and rare plant groupings) and avoid hazardous areas such as ravines, bluffs, cliffs and embankments.
Use permeable, non-toxic materials for the access surface. For lightly used paths, native soils may be adequate. For heavier use or where drainage is an issue, crushed aggregate (gravel) with a lightly compacted aggregate sub-base is preferred. Bark mulch and hog fuel are not recommended as trail surfaces because they produce leachates that can cause water quality problems. Asphalt and concrete are also not recommended as they leach contaminants in the short term, and are impermeable and accelerate run-off in the long run. If solid surfaces are necessary, install pervious pavers.
Use raised walkways where required to avoid crushing ground cover.
Freshwater: An example of replacement of a hardscape access with a Green Shores-friendly access.
For more information
Canada and BC Government. 1996. Access Near Aquatic Areas. A Guide to Sensitive, Planning, Design and Management. 82 pg . Go to http://www.stewardshipcentrebc.ca/the-resource-centre/ and enter “access” in the search box.
WRIA 8: Lake Washington/Cedar/Sammamish Watershed – Docks and Shoreline Permits www.govlink.org/watersheds/8/action/greenshorelines