Certification Manual for Watercourse Alteration Sizers

Certification Manual
For Watercourse Alteration Sizers
January 2015
Certification Manual for Watercourse Alteration Sizers
2015
Contents
1.
INTRODUCTION ..................................................................................................................................................6
1.1
OBJECTIVE ...................................................................................................................................................6
1.2
LIMITATIONS OF THE CERTIFICATION MANUAL FOR WATERCOURSE ALTERATION SIZERS ......................6
1.3
REGULATIONS .............................................................................................................................................7
1.3.1
Government Departments & Agencies involved in watercourse alterations ....................................7
1.3.2
Definitions ..........................................................................................................................................7
1.3.3
Governing Acts and Regulations.........................................................................................................8
1.4
2
APPROVALS AND NOTIFICATIONS ........................................................................................................... 10
1.4.1
Approvals ......................................................................................................................................... 10
1.4.2
Notifications .................................................................................................................................... 11
1.5
NOVA SCOTIA WATERCOURSE ALTERATIONS STANDARD ...................................................................... 12
1.6
CERTIFICATION AND QUALIFICATION REQUIREMENTS........................................................................... 12
1.7
COMPLETION OF TRAINING PROGRAM .................................................................................................. 14
1.7.1
Eligible submissions for a Sizer ........................................................................................................ 14
1.7.2
Responsibilities of Certified Sizers ................................................................................................... 14
1.7.3
Failure to Comply............................................................................................................................. 15
POSSIBLE IMPACTS OF WATERCOURSE ALTERATIONS.................................................................................... 16
2.1
EROSION .................................................................................................................................................. 16
2.2
SEDIMENTATION ..................................................................................................................................... 17
2.3
WATER QUALITY ...................................................................................................................................... 18
2.4
RIPARIAN ZONE ....................................................................................................................................... 18
2.5
ALTERATION OF BANK AND BED OF WATERCOURSE .............................................................................. 19
2.5.1
3
Littoral Zone of Watercourse .......................................................................................................... 19
2.6
OTHER IMPACTS ...................................................................................................................................... 19
2.7
METHOD OF DEFENSE ............................................................................................................................. 19
PLANNING WATERCOURSE ALTERATIONS ...................................................................................................... 20
3.1
PROPOSED CROSSING LOCATION ............................................................................................................ 20
3.1.1
3.2
Areas to Avoid ................................................................................................................................. 20
FIELD INSPECTION ................................................................................................................................... 22
3.2.1
Scheduling the Field Inspection ....................................................................................................... 22
3.2.2
Choosing a Watercourse Crossing Location .................................................................................... 22
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3.2.3
2015
Information to gather during the field inspection .......................................................................... 24
3.3
WATERCOURSE SLOPE (only needed if you want to install a pipe culvert or other closed bottom
structure) ............................................................................................................................................................. 25
3.3.1
Create a watercourse profile diagram............................................................................................. 26
3.3.2
Calculating Watercourse Slope........................................................................................................ 27
3.4
TIMING OF AN ALTERATION .................................................................................................................... 28
3.5
SELECTING THE TYPE OF STRUCTURE ...................................................................................................... 28
3.6
PLANNING WATERCOURSE ALTERATIONS – EXISTING CONSTRUCTION ................................................. 29
3.7
MAINTENANCE ........................................................................................................................................ 29
3.8
MODIFICATION ........................................................................................................................................ 30
3.8.1
Replacement of Closed Bottom Structure with another Closed Bottom Structure ........................ 30
3.8.2
Replacement of a Closed Bottom Structure with an Open Bottom Structure ................................ 30
3.8.3
Culvert Lining ................................................................................................................................... 32
3.9
4
TYPES OF WATERCOURSE CROSSING STRUCTURES AND SELECTING STRUCTURES........................................ 33
4.1
5
THE NEXT STEP......................................................................................................................................... 32
ENVIRONMENTAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR SELECTION OF WATERCOURSE CROSSING TYPE .................. 33
4.1.1
Open Bottom Structures – bridges and open bottom pipe arches ................................................. 33
4.1.2
Closed bottom structures – box culverts, pipe arch culvert, pipe culverts ..................................... 34
SIZING OF WATERCOURSE CROSSING STRUCTURES ....................................................................................... 36
5.1
CLIMATE CHANGE .................................................................................................................................... 36
5.2
CULVERT SELECTION AND SIZING – CLOSED BOTTOM ............................................................................ 36
5.2.1
Requirements for culvert design and selection ............................................................................... 36
5.3
STEPS TO LAYING OUT A CULVERT ON A WATERCOURSE ....................................................................... 38
5.4
CULVERT SIZING....................................................................................................................................... 40
5.4.1
Calculating Diameter: Parameters................................................................................................... 40
5.4.2
Calculating Diameter: Closed Bottom Culvert ................................................................................. 42
5.4.3
Calculating Culvert Length ............................................................................................................... 46
5.5
FISH PASSAGE .......................................................................................................................................... 48
5.5.1
Culvert Installation in watercourses with a slope equal to or less than 0.5 % ................................ 48
5.5.2
Culvert Installation in watercourses with a slope greater than 0.5 %............................................. 48
5.6
ENERGY DISSIPATION POOL .................................................................................................................... 49
5.6.1
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Design .............................................................................................................................................. 49
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5.7
MULTIPLE CULVERTS ............................................................................................................................... 51
5.8
NEXT STEPS .............................................................................................................................................. 51
5.9
TIMING OF INSTALLATION ....................................................................................................................... 51
6
ARCH CULVERT AND BRIDGE CONSTRUCTION ................................................................................................ 52
6.1
REQUIREMENTS FOR OPEN BOTTOM CULVERT DESIGN AND SELECTION .............................................. 52
6.2
OPEN BOTTOM CULVERTS: SIZING .......................................................................................................... 53
6.3
PERMANENT BRIDGE STRUCTURES- REQUIREMENTS FOR SELECTION AND DESIGN ............................. 55
6.4
BRIDGE SIZING ......................................................................................................................................... 56
6.4.1
Calculating the Design Flow............................................................................................................. 56
6.4.2
Calculating the Waterway Opening ................................................................................................. 58
6.4.3
Verifying Bridge Size - Does it meet the requirements? ................................................................. 58
6.4.4
Bridge Length................................................................................................................................... 59
6.5
FISH PASSAGE .......................................................................................................................................... 59
6.6
NEXT STEPS .............................................................................................................................................. 59
6.7
TIMING OF INSTALLATION ....................................................................................................................... 59
7
TEMPORARY BRIDGES ..................................................................................................................................... 60
7.1
PLANNING CONSIDERATIONS .................................................................................................................. 60
7.2
CONSTRUCTION ....................................................................................................................................... 60
7.3
TEMPORARY BRIDGE REMOVAL .............................................................................................................. 61
8
EROSION PROTECTION – CALCULATING RIP-RAP SIZE .................................................................................... 62
8.1
9
Determining Water Velocity .................................................................................................................... 62
WATER CONTROL MEASURES WHEN WORKING IN A WATERCOURSE ........................................................... 64
9.1
SIZING REQUIREMENT ............................................................................................................................. 64
9.2
COFFERDAMS .......................................................................................................................................... 64
9.3
TEMPORARY DIVERSIONS ........................................................................................................................ 65
9.4
DAM AND PUMP...................................................................................................................................... 66
10
10.1
11
EROSION AND SEDIMENTATION CONTROL ................................................................................................. 69
DESIGN PRINCIPLES ................................................................................................................................. 69
MATERIALS USED IN WATERCOURSE .......................................................................................................... 71
11.1
FRESH CONCRETE CAN BE TOXIC TO AQUATIC LIFE ................................................................................ 71
11.2
TREATED WOOD ...................................................................................................................................... 71
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11.3
2015
ROCK MATERIAL ...................................................................................................................................... 71
12
AUDITING..................................................................................................................................................... 73
13
GLOSSARY OF TERMS................................................................................................................................... 74
14
REFERENCE DOCUMENTS ............................................................................................................................ 76
16
CONTACTS.................................................................................................................................................... 79
17
APPENDICES................................................................................................................................................. 82
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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Nova Scotia Environment would like to acknowledge the following organizations for their contribution to the Nova
Scotia’s Certification Manual for Watercourse Alteration Sizers:

Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Fisheries Protection Program, Maritimes Region for their collaboration,
knowledge, and assistance in editing this manual.

New Brunswick Environment and Local Government for allowing the use of New Brunswick’s Watercourse
and Wetland Alteration Technical Guideline in the development of educational materials for Nova Scotia.
The material contained within this manual is the property of Nova Scotia Environment. The material
contained within this manual is for the exclusive use of certified Nova Scotia Watercourse Alteration
Installers who have successfully completed the training course and is not for distribution. As such,
copying of this material is strictly prohibited without the expressed written consent of Nova Scotia
Environment.
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Certification Manual for Watercourse Alteration Sizers
to most alterations, but not all.
Specific
conditions pertaining to individual watercourse
alterations will vary with each project. In some
cases, supplemental mitigation measures are
necessary to resolve site specific problems.
1. INTRODUCTION
1.1
OBJECTIVE
The objective of the watercourse alteration program
is to promote environmental protection measures for
activities potentially impacting watercourses in an
effort to preserve watercourses and protect their
aquatic habitats.
The purpose of the Certification Manual for
Watercourse Alteration Sizers is to provide practical
information that focuses on environmental
protection. These stages include, but are not limited
to,
planning,
sizing,
replacement
and
decommissioning of crossing structures.

The manual does not cover alterations to
wetlands and does not cover activities in tidal
watercourses or coastal areas.

The manual is not a regulation and the manual
is not to be interpreted as a method of design
or a design code.

Following this manual does not exempt a
person from liability for any damage resulting
from the alteration of a watercourse, or from
the requirement to obtain an approval or
provide notification as stipulated in the
Activities Designation Regulations.

Following this manual places no liability for the
design, planning or construction of any
watercourse alteration on the Minister and/or
Nova Scotia Environment.

Following this guide does not exempt a person
from adhering to any legislation, regulations,
bylaws and other requirements, including
regulations and requirements mentioned in the
guide.
The goals of this training program are:

to train people on how to interact with
watercourses in a less impactful manner.

to improve the level of compliance with existing
watercourse alteration regulation through
education of regulations and standards.

to provide a better understanding of the
importance of environmental protection and
the Federal Fisheries Act.

to inform people on the watercourse
alterations approval and notification process.
1.2
LIMITATIONS OF THE CERTIFICATION
MANUAL FOR WATERCOURSE
ALTERATION SIZERS
2015
The following limitations are placed on the use of this
training manual:

The manual does not cover every type of
watercourse alteration type, but attempts to
provide general guidance for selecting and
sizing some watercourse crossings. It provides
recommendations which would be applicable
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Certification Manual for Watercourse Alteration Sizers
1.3
REGULATIONS
The following information describes the current
regulations, standards, and the approval and
notification process for Nova Scotia.
1.3.1
Government Departments & Agencies
involved in watercourse alterations
Nova Scotia Environment (NSE)
Nova Scotia Environment (NSE) has been designated
as the lead provincial agency to take such measures
as are reasonable to promote sustainable
management of water resources and to promote the
health and integrity of aquatic ecosystems, to protect
habitats for animals and plants (Environment Act,
clauses 104 (a) and (d)). The Act further authorizes
the making of regulations and standards to
implement and enforce this mandate.
Nova Scotia Environment is responsible for the
processing and issuing of all watercourse alteration
approvals and notifications as stated in the Activities
Designation Regulations under the Environment Act
(1995).
Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO)
DFO has the lead federal role in managing Canada’s
fisheries and safeguarding its waters.
The
Department administers and enforces the federal
Fisheries Act and the Species at Risk Act (aquatic
species only).
Transport Canada – Navigation Protection Program
Transport Canada administers the Navigation
Protection Act through the review and authorization
of works in navigable waters. The majority of work in
this area involves evaluating impacts to navigation
and acting to minimize risks to navigation through
decisions and compliance activities. Navigable fresh
waters in Nova Scotia include Bras d’Or Lakes, Great
Bras d’Or, and Lahave River (from rapids in
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Bridgewater to the Atlantic Ocean).
www.tc.gc.ca/eng/programs-632.html
See
Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
DNR administers the Wildlife Habitat and
Watercourse Protection regulations which protect
water quality and maintain various elements of
wildlife habitat on all forest harvest sites (on all lands;
private, industrial and Crown). The regulations
restrict tree and vegetation removal in areas next to
watercourses for forestry operations.
Many species at risk are associated with
watercourses, wetlands, or lands adjacent to
watercourses and wetlands. They are found
throughout the province but in rare and site specific
locations. Species at risk are listed and afforded
protection so it is critical to ensure work in or near
watercourses and wetlands does not disrupt these
rare plants and animals and their habitat. Refer to
guidance at www.speciesatrisk.ca to assist you with
the identification of species and their habitats and
check with Regional Biologists at Nova Scotia
Department of Natural Resources. Also see
novascotia.ca/natr/wildlife/biodiversity/specieslist.asp
Municipalities
Some Municipalities have by-laws, plans, or policy
that restrict or guide activity within areas next to
watercourses. For example, the Halifax Regional
Municipality requires a buffer of vegetation be
maintained next to watercourses (the buffer zone is
at least 20 metres wide).
1.3.2 Definitions
The following definitions are included in Environment
Act (1995) making them legally binding.

A watercourse is the bed and shore of every river,
stream, lake, creek, pond, spring, lagoon, or other
natural body of water, and the water therein,
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Certification Manual for Watercourse Alteration Sizers
within the jurisdiction of the province, whether it
contains water or not. This also includes all
groundwater.

Water Resource is all fresh and marine waters
comprising all surface water, groundwater, and
coastal water.

Wetland means any lands commonly referred to
as marshes, swamps, fens, bogs and shallow
water areas that are saturated with water long
enough to promote wetland or aquatic processes
which are indicated by poorly drained soil,
vegetation and various kinds of biological activity
which are adapted to a wet environment and
includes fresh and saltwater marshes.
The following definitions are included in the Activities
Designation Regulations making them legally binding

bank means that portion of a watercourse
between the ordinary high water mark and the
boundary of the watercourse in its fullest natural
state, but does not include any area of overflow
onto a flood plain.

bed means that portion of a watercourse that is
commonly submerged in water.

ordinary high water mark means the limit or edge
of the bed of a body of water where the land has
been covered by water so long as to wrest it from
vegetation or as to mark a distinct character on
the vegetation where it extends into the water or
on the soil itself.
A watercourse alteration is any temporary or
permanent change made to a watercourse or to water
flow in a watercourse.

Any change made to existing structures in a
watercourse including repairs, modifications or
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2015
removal whether water flow in the watercourse is
altered or not.

Any deposit or removal of sand, gravel, rock,
topsoil or other material.
Other constraints placed on projects through
legislation are those relating to the design or
construction or the carrying out of a watercourse
alteration by specific clauses in various Acts and
Regulations of the Legislature of Nova Scotia and the
Parliament of Canada (see Table 1-1).
1.3.3 Governing Acts and Regulations
The designating of watercourse alteration activities
for approval or notification is in the Activities
Designation Regulations. The approval and
notification processes are regulated in the Approval
and Notification Procedure Regulations pursuant to
the Nova Scotia Environment Act (1995). In addition,
watercourse alterations must comply with the
Fisheries Protection and Pollution Prevention
provisions of the Federal Fisheries Act and the
General Prohibitions of the Species at Risk Act. Fish
Habitat is defined in the Fisheries Act as "spawning
grounds and any other areas, including nursery,
rearing, food supply and migration areas, on which
fish depend directly or indirectly in order to carry out
their life processes.” Section 35 (1) of the Fisheries Act
prohibits any person from carrying on "any work,
undertaking or activity that results in serious harm to
fish that are part of a commercial, recreational or
Aboriginal fishery, or to fish that support such a
fishery". Section 35 (2) of the Fisheries Act provides
exceptions to Section 35(1) where work may be
carried out without contravening subsection (1).
Section 36 of the Fisheries Act prohibits anyone from
depositing a deleterious substance of any type in
water frequented by fish. This section is administered
by Environment Canada for most substances.
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Certification Manual for Watercourse Alteration Sizers
Table 1-1
2015
Provincial and Federal Acts and associated regulations or sections applicable to the watercourse
alteration program.
Please note: It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure compliance with the Acts listed in this
table and any other applicable Acts of the Legislature of Nova Scotia and the Parliament of Canada.
PROVINCIAL
NS Environment Act (1995)
Nova Scotia Environment
Activities Designation Regulations
Nova Scotia Environment
Approvals and Notification Procedures Regulations
Nova Scotia Environment
Nova Scotia Watercourse Alterations Standard
Nova Scotia Environment
Environmental Emergency Regulations
Nova Scotia Environment
Environmental Assessment Regulations
Nova Scotia Environment
Petroleum Management Regulations
Nova Scotia Environment
Sulphide Bearing Material Disposal Regulations
Nova Scotia Environment
Nova Scotia Endangered Species Act
NS Department of Natural Resources
Nova Scotia’s Wildlife Habitat and Watercourse
Protection Regulations
NS Department of Natural Resources
FEDERAL
Fisheries
Act
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Fishways (Sec. 20, 21); Fisheries Protection and Pollution
Prevention (Sec. 35, 36, 37, 38); Regulations (Sec. 43)
Species at Risk Act
General Prohibitions & Protection of Critical Habitat
(Sec. 32, 33, 58)
Canadian Environmental Assessment Act
Purpose (Sec.6);
Environmental Assessment of Projects (Sec.5);
General (Sec. 14, 15, 16, 17)
Canadian Environmental Protection Act
Objectives, Guidelines and Codes of Practice (Sec.54)
Navigation Protection Act
Transport Canada
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1.4
APPROVALS AND NOTIFICATIONS
The Activities Designation Regulations prescribe the
activities which require a notification, those
watercourse alterations that require an approval,
and exemptions for submission requirements. The
document titled “Changes to the Watercourse
Alteration Program: What are the New Regulatory
Submission Requirements?” provides some guidance
on what types of crossings require a notification, an
application for approval, or does not require any
submission to Nova Scotia Environment. (The
document is only guidance, refer to the Activities
Designation Regulations for legal purposes.)
A watercourse alteration application must be
completed and filed with the NS Department of
Environment. No watercourse alteration can begin
until the application has been adequately reviewed
and an approval issued.
The watercourse alteration program includes the
following types of submissions:
1. Approvals
2. Notifications
1.4.1 Approvals
 Approvals authorize work on a single
watercourse alteration within a specific time
period and with specific terms and conditions. A
fee per alteration is applicable. Approvals are
required for alterations that are typically higher
risk including alterations that do not meet the
eligibility criteria for notifications.

Amendments are used for alterations that have
an existing approval, have not yet commenced
or finished and require a change to the alteration
originally applied for. A fee per amended
alteration applies.

Renewals are used for alterations that have
existing approvals, have not yet commenced or
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finished and require an extension to the
approval expiry date in order to complete the
work. Renewals must be requested prior to the
expiry date of the existing approval.
Application for Approval Process
Applications for approval are reviewed by NS
Environment. Complete applications will be
processed within 60 days. Work cannot begin until
an approval has been received. All terms and
conditions in the approval must be followed.
a) Information accompanying the application
shall include all items listed on the
“Submission Checklist for Watercourse
Alterations”. Please refer to the checklist.
b) Information as to the location of any work in
progress, or work completed, must be made
readily available, upon request, to any
Inspector of NS Environment and should be
provided to any Inspector of the Department
of Natural Resources, or any Fisheries Officer
of the Federal Department of Fisheries and
Oceans for auditing or inspection purposes.
c) The approval application will be reviewed by
NS Environment. Copies of the application
and site locations will be forwarded to DFO
for comment.
d) Approval for alterations within a designated
watershed will require prior written
approval from the Municipality responsible
for the designated watershed.
e) A single approval may be issued to the
applicant containing the conditions required
to ensure proper execution of the activity.
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Certification Manual for Watercourse Alteration Sizers
1.4.2 Notifications

Notifications are notices that work on a
watercourse alteration activity is about to
commence. The process is a streamlined way
to inform NSE you are carrying out a
watercourse alteration activity.


Revised (amended) Notifications are used when
a previous notification has been submitted and
the notifier wishes to change the details of the
activity beyond what was indicated on the
original notification form. All revisions to a
notification must still be eligible for notification,
as is stated in the Activities Designation
Regulations.
Renewed Notifications are used when a
previous notification has been submitted and
the notifier wishes to continue the work beyond
the time period specified on the notification
receipt.
For watercourse alteration
notifications, the renewal will be granted for
the next year’s summer window (between June
1 and September 30). No work outside of the
summer window may take place under a
notification.
Notification Process
Nova Scotia Environment must receive a complete
notification a minimum of 5 calendar days in advance
of the proposed commencement of an activity. NSE
does not review your submission - if the notification
is complete and eligible according to the
requirements in the Activities Designation
Regulations, a notification receipt will be issued to
the notifier. If the notification is incomplete, then an
incomplete letter will be sent to the notifier. You
must receive a receipt from NSE indicating the
department has received your completed
notification before you can start work.
2015
notifier must understand the regulatory obligations
that apply to the activity and must ensure the activity
is carried out in accordance with requirements.

All activities taking place under a notification
must comply with the Nova Scotia Watercourse
Alterations Standard.
The notifier would complete and sign the notification
form for the alteration. If you are providing the sizing
for a watercourse crossing but your client is signing
the form, you will need to provide information
concerning the activity details (section 5 of the
form). Activity details include information about the
watercourse
and
information
about
the
construction/structure.
Please refer to Appendix D for guidance on how to
complete the notification form.
The calculations and other information used to
determine the type and size of crossing structure
must be kept. The information is not submitted with
the notification form but you may be required to
provide this and other information for an audit being
conducted by NS Environment. See section 10.0
Auditing.
Please note:
Blanket approvals will not be issued after October 1,
2014. A notification form must be provided for every
eligible alteration. For those activities that do not
qualify for notification or no submission, an
application for approval must be submitted.
The person who completes the notification form is
referred to as the notifier. Certified watercourse
alteration sizers or installers can be notifiers. The
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1.5
NOVA SCOTIA WATERCOURSE
ALTERATIONS STANDARD
-
The NS Watercourse Alteration Standard contains
the minimum requirements that apply to
watercourse alteration activities for which
notification is required to be provided under the
Activities Designation Regulations made under the
Environment Act (1995).
1.6
CERTIFICATION AND QUALIFICATION
REQUIREMENTS
The watercourse alteration program includes a
number of requirements for the involvement in
certified and/or qualified professionals in the
planning, design and installation of watercourse
alterations.
A certified Watercourse Alterations Sizer or a
Professional Engineer is required to size structures
under the following notification categories in the
Activities Designation Regulations:

the construction or modification of a single
culvert or other single closed-bottom structure
for the purpose of a road, railbed, trail or
footpath crossing, if the following conditions
are met:
the length of the culvert is 25 m or less,
the watercourse slope is less than or
equal to 0.5%*;
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the watershed of the watercourse
crossing does not exceed 20 km2; and
the work begins on or after June 1 and
ends on or before September 30.
*Note: a Professional Engineer may design
culverts on watercourse slopes up to 8% under a
notification, provided they follow the Guidelines
for the design of fish passage for culverts in
Nova Scotia, Fisheries and Oceans Canada,
Fisheries Protection Program, Maritimes Region
(as updated from time to time) and meet the
other notification conditions above. The
Guideline for fish passage can be found at:
http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Library/353873.pdf
The Standard can be found on the Nova Scotia
Environment website at:
http://novascotia.ca/nse/watercoursealteration/docs/Watercourse-AlterationsStandard.pdf.
Some or all of the requirements in this document
may become conditions of an approval for a
watercourse alteration.
2015

the construction or modification of a bridge or
other open-bottom structure for the purpose of
a road, railbed, trail or footpath crossing, if the
following conditions are met:
the bed of the watercourse is not
altered;
the bank of the watercourse is altered,
the span is a maximum of 15 m for a
bridge or 3600 mm for a structural plate
arch or other open-bottom structure;
any structural plate arch installed is 25 m
long or less; and
work that alters the shore of the
watercourse begins on or after June 1
and ends on or before September 30.
Although not always required certified sizers may
sometimes be involved in applications for approval
since sizers have some knowledge of watercourse
hydraulics and importance of aquatic ecosystems. A
sizer may assist in the development of some of the
accompanying documentation for an application for
approval.
As of October 2016, certified Watercourse Alteration
Installers will be required to carry-out the installation
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Certification Manual for Watercourse Alteration Sizers
2015
of watercourse alterations or directly supervise the
work for:


all watercourse alterations taking place under a
notification.
all watercourse alterations taking place under
an approval as per section 5A(2)(a) of the
Activities Designation Regulations.
o for example, alterations that do not meet
the notification conditions; dredging,
permanently diverting a watercourse
from its natural channel.
Note: an Installer certification is not required for
wetland alterations, water withdrawals, or dams.
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Certification Manual for Watercourse Alteration Sizers
1.7
COMPLETION OF TRAINING PROGRAM
Certified Watercourse Alteration Sizers have
successfully completed a course of instruction
relevant to the sizing of watercourse crossings that
has been approved by the Minister of Environment.
Individuals successfully completing this Certification
program will be recognized by Nova Scotia
Environment as having been suitably trained for
sizing bridges and culverts eligible for Notification as
per the Watercourse Alteration Standard (i.e. a
Sizer). Certified individuals are recognized to size
bridges and culverts up to the specifications
published in the Regulations to be installed between
June 1st and September 30th of the same year.
Notifications do not extend to alterations proposed
for wetlands areas. Any developments in or near
wetlands are regulated by Nova Scotia Environment
and are subject to a separate review process
involving other government agencies.
1.7.1 Eligible submissions for a Sizer
As a certified sizer you are able to:

Size culverts and closed-bottom structures that
are eligible for notification.

Size bridges and open - bottom structures that
are eligible for notification.

Apply for approvals for projects that exceed the
notification conditions, provided you have the
necessary expertise.
authorization to plan and size some watercourse
crossings under a streamlined notification process
and also to promote their ability to plan crossing that
follow best environmental practices.
The responsibilities of certified sizers include, but are
not limited to, the following:




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

1.7.2 Responsibilities of Certified Sizers
It is a Certified Sizer’s responsibility to be in
compliance with all relevant acts and regulations,
standards, approval or notification conditions and all
requirements of the application process.
2015

Know, understand, comply with all relevant
acts, regulations, and standards, and any
guidelines, and policies of NS Environment.
Ensure consideration of best practices for
environmental protection for all watercourse
alteration sites.
Plan watercourse crossing sites in accordance
with training provided for qualifying
Watercourse Alteration Sizers. Efforts should
include planning of entire road system or
project and not just individual crossing sites.
Select types and sizes of watercourse crossing
structures in accordance with instruction
provided during the training for Watercourse
Alteration Sizers and any updates provided by
Nova Scotia Environment from time to time.
Provide your name, phone number and
certification number as a Sizer on a Notification
Form.
If acting as a notifier for a watercourse
alteration, comply with the responsibilities of a
notifier as per the Approval and Notification
Procedure Regulations. A notifer is the person
who signs and submits a notification form to
Nova Scotia Environment.
Assist property owners and others complete
notification and application forms for
watercourse alterations.
Provide information to Nova Scotia
Environment in a timely manner when
requested related to projects which you are or
were involved.
Nova Scotia Environment encourages Certified
Watercourse Alteration Sizers to promote their
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
Provide updated contact information to Nova
Scotia Environment in a timely manner so
contact lists may be updated.
Sizers are also expected to communicate with the
Certified Installer on the following, where applicable:

Type of structure to be installed, including:
o Size of structure - diameter in the case of
circular pipe culvert; height and width for
box culverts, bridges and arch culverts,
and length.
o Type of material to be used.

Watercourse profile diagram for pipe culverts
and other closed bottom structures that
includes:
o Location of inlet and outlet of structures;
o Elevations of inverts of the inlet and
outlet;
o Size, location, dimensions of the energy
dissipation pool (EDP);
o Elevation and location of the downstream
control (showing the downstream control
as a natural riffle that is not to be
disturbed);
o Showing the natural streambed between
the EDP and the natural downstream
control riffle being undisturbed; and
o Location of survey benchmark.

Diagram showing dimensions and location of an
open bottom structure.

Type and size of erosion protection at inlet and
outlet of structure: headwall or rip-rap;
wingwalls or rip-rap.

Size of EDP and size of rip rap for the pool
including the material to be used for scour
protection (to withstand 1:100 year flood
event) in the downstream end of the pool (the
area from the bottom of the outlet of the pool
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2015
up to the natural streambed).

Recommended type of water control (coffer
dam, diversion, dam and pump) and
dimensions. The type of water control may be
determined with the certified watercourse
alteration installer.
1.7.3 Failure to Comply
Failure to comply with requirements in the
Environment Act, the Activities Designation
Regulations, the Approval and Notification
Procedure Regulations, the Nova Scotia Watercourse
Alterations Standard and other regulated
requirements may result in prosecution. Failure to
comply with regulated requirements may result in
suspension or cancellation of the Certificate of
Qualification.
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2
POSSIBLE IMPACTS OF
WATERCOURSE
ALTERATIONS
Nova Scotia has over 6,700 lakes, 1000s of named
rivers and many more that are unnamed, and
numerous
smaller
watercourses.
Healthy
communities and healthy aquatic ecosystems rely on
the sustainable use of water resources and
watercourse protection. Sustainable use of water
resources supports economic development,
recreational activities, and the health and quality of
life of Nova Scotians.
Any alteration at, near or in a watercourse, or its
flow, has the potential to damage the aquatic
ecosystem. The aquatic ecosystem is the interactive
community of living things (plants, animals,
microbes) and their physical setting. Damage can
result from such things as erosion and scour,
sedimentation, stream blockages, degraded water
quality, and habitat loss.
Nova Scotia Environment requires Nova Scotians to
take great care when working in and near
watercourses. The goal of having requirements and
restrictions for watercourse alterations is to protect
surface water resources and ensure sustainable use
for all beneficial uses, including drinking water
supplies, habitat for aquatic life, and recreational,
agricultural and industrial uses. Requirements are
also in place to mitigate flooding and scouring of the
watercourse channel leading to impacts on
ecosystems and on property.
Protecting our watercourses means:




Maintaining water quality.
Maintaining channel capacity and flow.
Maintaining stable banks and riparian
vegetation.
Maintaining and promoting aquatic habitat.
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2015
Any alteration done at, near or in a watercourse or
to the flow in it can result in a negative impact to the
watercourse and its aquatic habitat. Careful planning
must be employed. The following information
describes potential negative impacts and their effect
on the aquatic environment.
2.1
EROSION
Erosion is the detachment of soil particles and loss of
surface material from the earth's surface by the
action of gravity, ice, water, wind or as a result of
other natural occurrences or man-induced events.
During a watercourse alteration, an increase in soil
exposure may accelerate the rate of erosion if
protective measures are not properly executed.
If erosion does occur at an alteration site, it may have
the following impacts on:


Fish / Fish Habitat
o Disruption of migration patterns due to
large amounts of erodible material
blocking upstream / downstream
reaches.
o
Reduction in the food supply as a result of
a loss of vegetation along the banks and
adjacent areas.
o
Reduction in vegetated areas, which give
shelter to small fish.
o
Destruction of rearing pools / holding
areas by sediment deposition.
Water Quality
o Increases in water temperature and
decreases in hiding cover, shade and fish
food supply due to the loss of vegetation
along the banks and adjacent areas and /
or to the widening of the watercourse.
o
Changes in the water chemistry and
possibly species composition in response
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to increased levels of nutrients such as
nitrogen and phosphorus.
o Disruption of spawning activities due to
stress.
While the above focuses on fish and fish habitat,
erosion affects other aquatic life as well, such as
insects and amphibians.
o Changes in feeding efficiency in response
to decreased visibility.
2.2
SEDIMENTATION
Sedimentation is the deposition of fine particles,
such as sand, silt and clay, which have been eroded
from exposed soils and transported by water. It is a
natural, but potentially serious, consequence of
erosion which may be accelerated by a watercourse
alteration. Sedimentation is divided into two
categories determined by the mode of
transportation by which it moves through a
watercourse.


o Reduction in food supply due to a
decrease in photosynthesis affecting
algae and other aquatic plants.
Suspended sediment are soil particles
suspended or mixed in the water column.
Suspension is dependent on particle size.
Bedload sediment are soil particles that slide,
roll or bounce along the bed of the
watercourse. These sediment particles are
either too heavy to be suspended in the water
column or the water velocity is too slow.
If sediment, suspended or bedload, is present in a
watercourse, it may have the following impacts on:

Fish / Fish Habitat
o Suffocation of fish due to the clogging of
the gill surface membranes. Suffocation
of fish eggs and young fry due to
sediment filling the interstitial spaces in
the gravel.
o Hyperventilation in response to extreme
stress that causes an increase in mucous
production.
o Reduction in food supply due to a
decrease in aquatic invertebrate
populations.
o Reduction in suitable spawning areas due
to the interstitial spaces between rocks,
rubble and gravel being filled.

Water Quality
o Increased water temperature and
decreased oxygen levels due to changes
in water depth as a result of sediment
deposition.
o Decreased visibility as water clarity
diminishes in response to increased
turbidity.

Other users of the watercourse
o
Decreased water quality due to
suspended sediment in water being
used for commercial, industrial, or
municipal use.
o
Impacted water quality affecting
recreational use of watercourse.
JUST A REMINDER
Any activity which disturbs soil has the potential to
damage aquatic habitat.
o Abrasion or scraping of gill membranes
and fish scales.
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2.3
WATER QUALITY
In addition to siltation of the watercourse, water
quality can be affected by construction materials on
site. For example the lime in concrete can create very
alkaline conditions in a watercourse that is toxic to
aquatic life. Petroleum products for vehicles and
equipment and preservatives in wood products are
other examples of substances that can impact water
quality.
2.4
RIPARIAN ZONE
To protect important natural ecosystems, we need
to protect more than just the watercourse itself.
Riparian zones are those areas of land immediately
adjacent to watercourses including the banks of the
watercourse. Riparian zones are ecologically diverse,
provide a buffer that protects the watercourse from
impacts of agriculture, forestry and development,
and reduces severity of flooding. Some benefits of
riparian zones include:
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-
-
-
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2015
Travel corridors for wildlife along the
watercourse and provides access to
watercourses for wildlife requiring both
terrestrial and aquatic habitat (eg.,
mammals such as moose and mink).
Provide shade, reducing water temperature
in watercourses.
Contribute insects and detritus such as leaf
litter into the watercourse which act as food
sources for the fish.
Provides shelter - Riparian vegetation, in the
form of tall grasses, shrubs and trees,
protects fish from predators.
Provides natural erosion control - The root
system of vegetation contributes to bank
stability and intercepts runoff which limits
erosion and sedimentation, protecting fish
habitat
from
harmful
effects
of
sedimentation.
Provides natural filtration - vegetation and
root systems act to filter out pollutants such
as pesticides, bacteria, fertilizers, heavy
metals, sediment, and hydrocarbons.
Figure 2-1 Importance of Riparian Zone to Aquatic Habitat
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2.5
ALTERATION OF BANK AND BED OF
WATERCOURSE
The alteration of the bank or bed of a watercourse
can directly impact habitat for aquatic life. Altering
stream channels or altering water flow will also
affect flow dynamics and change the stream’s
morphology and can create unstable channel
conditions leading to erosion, meandering, and
increased potential for flooding and bed material
transport.
Flow velocity can be decreased in some areas of the
channel and increased in others. These changes can
result in severe scouring of banks and changes to
pools and shallow areas in the watercourse. In some
cases the impact is deposition of material. This
deposit of sediment can impact important aquatic
habitat downstream and can also impact property
owners if flooding occurs. These changes can impact
both large and small watercourses which all
contribute to productive aquatic ecosystems.
These changes will affect aquatic habitat in the
immediate area but can also have an impact
upstream and downstream of the alteration site.
Changes to the flow dynamic and the features of the
watercourse may also result in property damage
adjacent to the watercourse.
2015
Disturbance of this area and of the riparian zone can
impact waterfowl nesting areas and habitat for some
amphibians, aquatic insects, and reptiles.
2.6
OTHER IMPACTS
Improperly designed and installed structures such as
bridges or culverts which are incapable of passing
high water flows can cause flooding and result in
property and watercourse damage downstream.
Improperly constructed or designed structures could
fail, resulting in flooding, property damage, or even
loss of life. Alterations may also cause substantial
changes in the availability of water suitable for
domestic and industrial consumption as well as for a
number of other uses including agriculture, forestry,
fishing, mineral development, tourism, outdoor
recreation, and power production.
2.7
METHOD OF DEFENSE
Detrimental effects can occur as a result of shortterm or continuous long-term exposure to varying
levels of erosion or sedimentation and other harmful
substances. The best method of defense is to ensure
that all protective measures are planned before
beginning work and properly utilized and adjusted (if
needed) during the alteration. The first step of
planning is to choose an appropriate work site.
2.5.1 Littoral Zone of Watercourse
The shallow water areas of watercourses (called
littoral zones) where light penetrates to the bottom
of the water body are often highly productive for
aquatic life. Through complex food chains, virtually
all aquatic organisms are dependent upon these
rocky, silty, or sandy bottomed areas during at least
one stage of their life cycle. The penetration of light
allows plant organisms to grow creating part of the
essential interconnections between living organisms
and their habitat. For example, these areas are ideal
for spawning and nursery areas for many fish species
with ideal hiding areas and sources of food.
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3
PLANNING
WATERCOURSE
ALTERATIONS
Comprehensive planning is essential during the
preconstruction phase of proposed roads and
watercourse crossings and for the maintenance and
modification of existing watercourse crossings.
Environmental impacts such as erosion and
sedimentation can be minimized through careful
planning and design. Careful planning and design will
prove to be cost effective to the construction and to
the long-term maintenance of the road system.
Please ensure all other approvals that are required
are obtained. For example, for forestry operations,
all roads to be constructed on Crown Land require a
pre-approved road plan through the Nova Scotia
Department of Natural Resources.
3.1
PROPOSED CROSSING LOCATION
Use of topographic mapping, geology mapping,
orthophoto mapping and / or aerial photos for
planning watercourse crossings is essential. These
maps and photos often identify natural and
manmade features such as wetland areas and
existing roads that will assist in the road layout
process.
3.1.1 Areas to Avoid
Prior to deciding on a crossing location, it is
important to identify and outline all sensitive and
unique areas or habitats such as:


Ecological reserves, game management areas,
protected areas, domestic water supply areas,
historic sites or areas of significant
archaeological significance.
Sensitive areas such as deer wintering areas,
salmon spawning and rearing areas and
waterfowl breeding areas.
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2015

Nova Scotia Protected Areas including Nature
Reserves and Wilderness Areas. Additional
precaution may be needed for crossing sites in
watersheds shared with protected areas. See
http://novascotia.ca/nse/protectedareas.

All wetland areas including, but not limited to,
those designated as Provincially Significant.

Protected water supply areas designated in
provincial regulations
http://novascotia.ca/nse/water/docs/Protecte
d.Water.Areas.Map.pdf.
Protected Areas
In Nova Scotia there are 60 Protected Areas which
are divided into 37 wilderness areas, 21 nature
reserves, and two heritage rivers. Alterations of
watercourses flowing into nature reserves or
activities in the watersheds above nature reserves
must be completed with extreme care in order to
preserve the ecosystems found within the
protected area.
Nature Reserves
Nature reserves protect unique, rare, outstanding
or representative natural ecosystems, and the
habitats of rare or endangered species.
Wilderness Areas
Wilderness areas protect representative examples
of Nova Scotia's natural landscapes, biological
diversity, and wilderness recreation opportunities.
Canadian Heritage Rivers
Canadian Heritage Rivers recognize and promote
the of the best examples of Canada's river heritage
For more information on protected areas please
visit the protected areas website at:
http://www.novascotia.ca/nse/protectedareas/
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Drinking Water Supply Areas
Be aware that many Nova Scotians rely on surface water resources for potable water, agricultural
practices, and commercial and industrial use. Watercourse alteration projects must take this into
consideration and ensure water flow and water quality is maintained so that other users are not
affected.
If you are planning any activity within one of these water supply areas you should contact the
municipality that oversees the protection of the watershed.
In Nova Scotia, 25 Protected Water Areas designated in Provincial regulations provide drinking water to
communities. More requirements may need to be followed as prescribed in the regulations.
Protected water supply areas designated in provincial regulations are listed below and provide drinking
water to communities. Please note, this list is subject to change as Regulations come into effect or are
cancelled. See http://novascotia.ca/just/regulations/rxaa-l.htm#env for the Regulations in effect.
The Regulations place restrictions on land and water uses within the water supply areas. If you are
planning any activity within one of these areas you should contact the municipality that oversees the
protection of the water supply.
A map of the protected water areas may be found on the Nova Scotia Environment website at the link
provided below:
http://www.novascotia.ca/nse/water/docs/Protected.Water.Areas.Map.pdf


Habitat for species at risk. Species at risk are
listed and afforded protection so it is critical to
ensure work in or near watercourses and
wetlands does not disrupt these rare plants
and animals and their habitats. Refer to
guidance at www.speciesatrisk.ca to assist you
with the identification of species and their
habitats and check with Regional Biologists at
Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources.
Also see
https://novascotia.ca/natr/wildlife/biodiversit
y/species-list.asp.
Any critical habitat identified for a wildlife
species that is classified as endangered,
threatened or of special concern as part of a
Recovery Strategy, Action Plan or
Jan-15
Management Plan under the federal Species at
Risk Act (SARA). See the Species at Risk Act
Public Registry at www.sararegistry.gc.ca.
For a non-exhaustive list of Aquatic Species at
Risk found in Canadian waters see
http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/speciesespeces/listing-eng.htm.
For more information contact Fisheries and
Oceans Canada, Species at Risk Coordination
Office at http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/speciesespeces/regions/Maritimes/maritimescontact-eng.htm.
It should be noted that although not all sensitive and
unique areas are identified on maps or photos, they
must still be avoided. It is good practice to contact
provincial or federal government agencies to ensure
that all significant areas are addressed in planning.
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These agencies may include, but are not limited to,
Nova Scotia Environment, the Nova Scotia
Department of Natural Resources, Fisheries and
Oceans Canada and Environment Canada.
3.2
FIELD INSPECTION
A field inspection of the proposed crossing location
is essential in identifying any limiting environmental
factors not apparent during the planning process.
The field inspection may result in the need to make
adjustments to the planned location of watercourse
crossings.
3.2.1 Scheduling the Field Inspection
Schedule field inspections during the spring or fall
when potential water problems would be evident.
These problems would include springs, seeps, wet
areas, etc., which are not always visible on a map or
photo.
Field inspections should be completed on foot to be
most effective.
Choosing a Watercourse Crossing
Location
Establish and clearly mark minimum buffer zone of
30 m (100 ft) between the edge of the proposed road
and the watercourse.
2015
Locate watercourse crossings within a straight
section of the watercourse.
Road approaches should be stable with the minimum
slope possible for a distance of 30 m (100 feet) on
either side of the watercourse crossing.
Whenever possible avoid crossing watercourses at
locations where valuable fish habitat (pools,
spawning riffles) or habitat for endangered species is
present. If these features are present, move the
crossing location upstream or downstream.
Location of the crossing should be a straight and
relatively narrow section of the watercourse, with no
braiding or obstructions.
Crossing should be located in a section of the stream
with zero or near zero gradient and a constant water
velocity.
Avoid sections of watercourse that have tidal
influence.
3.2.2
Align the crossing structure to cross the watercourse
at right angles to prevent any redirection of the flow
in the watercourse.
Jan-15
Stream bottom should be stable with a rocky or hard,
non-erodible bottom.
Stream banks should have stable slopes with stable
soil/rock conditions and abundant vegetation.
Stream flow must not be altered to facilitate a
watercourse alteration.
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TIPS ON IDENTIFYING WATERCOURSES
See definitions of watercourse, bank and bed in Section 1.2.2. Further guidance on identifying
watercourses:



If a watercourse is drawn on a National Topographic Series (NTS) map it is considered a
watercourse by NS Environment.
If air photos less than 40 years old show evidence of a watercourse, then it may be a
watercourse. Evidence would include visible water, visible stream channel (riffles,
eroded areas, bars, rapids, pools, etc.) and vegetation which indicate a watercourse.
Visit the site. Look for a clearly defined stream channel. Is there a mineral soil channel?
Is there sand, gravel and/or cobbles evident in a continuous pattern over a continuous
length, with little to no vegetation? Is there an indication that water has flowed in a
path or channel for a length of time and at a rate sufficient to erode a channel or
pathway? Is there water flowing in this channel? Are there pools, riffles or rapids? Are
there aquatic animals, insects or fish? Are there aquatic plants? If two or more of these
characteristics are present than it is a watercourse unless otherwise determined by NS
Environment.
Be aware it is possible for a watercourse to disappear underground for a certain distance and
re-appear elsewhere. Some small streams may course through, or turn into, wetland in places.
You will need to walk some distance up and downstream to view conditions as part of a
determination and not be confined to evidence at one location.
Does the watercourse now exist in its present channel as a result of developments in the past,
and has the watercourse established itself as habitat for aquatic plants and animals? There are
lakes for example in the province that have been created or enhanced by man-made
impoundments. If a watercourse has been altered by ditching, dredging or other types of
development, such as a stream that has been dredged or straightened, it is still a watercourse.
If a channel has been diverted and the original channel is gone or dried up, the existing channel
is a watercourse nonetheless.
A watercourse does not include non-natural bodies of water. A ditch for a highway, forestry
road and agricultural drainage ditch or ponds created by humans are not watercourses.
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Certification Manual for Watercourse Alteration Sizers
3.2.3
Information to gather during the
field inspection
Information about the selected watercourse crossing
sites should be recorded and maintained (this is
applicable to new crossing sites or for existing sites
where a crossing needs to be modified):

Location of crossing (UTM coordinates: northing
and easting).

Photos of the crossing site and photos of the
watercourse upstream and downstream of the
crossing site.

An account of why the site was selected for new
crossings or why a modification to an existing
crossing is needed.

Features of watercourse at crossing site,
including bed material, bank material, and width
and depth of channel. Diagrams of the
watercourse in plan and profile view should be
completed for new crossings.

If you anticipate installing a closed bottom
culvert, survey data of elevations in watercourse
as per instruction in section 3.3. This information
will be used to develop a watercourse profile and
to determine the slope of the watercourse.


Some of this information will be required on the
notification form or the submissions with an
application for approval. The information will
also be helpful when determining the best type
of structure for this crossing. Further
information on selecting a structure is included
in section 3 and 4 of the manual.
Geotechnical information may be required at
some locations. For example for bridge
abutments, footings for open-bottom structures
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2015
or for boring or directional drilling under a
watercourse.
TIPS ON HOW TO IDENTIFY/MEASURE:
WIDTH – the width of the channel at the bank full
height. Find the bank full height by observing the
points of vegetation change on the banks of the
watercourse, where algae has been scoured from
the boulders, where sediment texture changes
abruptly, or where tree roots have been exposed.
Collect at least three to six bank full width
measurements along the channel where the
proposed crossing structure is to be located. Average
the measurements to get the bank full width.
DEPTH – The depth is the height of the watercourse
channel from the stream bed to the bank full height.
The depth can be measured as follows:
- The depth is measured from the bank full width
height to the bed of the watercourse.
- Measure the depth of the channel three to six
times along the channel.
- The depth measurements should be averaged to
get the watercourse channel depth at the
crossing location.
THALWEG - The line joining the lowest points
lengthwise of the bed of the watercourse defining its
deepest channel. The lowest channel of flow within
a watercourse, “the current”.
RIFFLE - shallow water extending across the bed of a
flowing watercourse with rapid current and with
surface flow broken into waves by submerged
obstructions such as gravel and cobble. The water
flow is rapid and usually shallower than sections
above and below. Natural watercourses often
consist of a succession of pools and riffles (or steps).
POOL - A deep, slow moving, quiet portion of a
watercourse.
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Certification Manual for Watercourse Alteration Sizers
3.3
WATERCOURSE SLOPE (only needed if
you want to install a pipe culvert or other
closed bottom structure)
Watercourse slope or stream gradient is the ratio of
drop in a stream per unit distance. A high gradient
indicates a steep slope and rapid flow of water (i.e.
more ability to erode); whereas a low gradient
indicates a more level stream bed and sluggishly
moving water, which may be able to carry only small
amounts of very fine sediments. High gradient
streams tend to have steep, narrow V-shaped
valleys, and are referred to as young streams. Low
gradient streams have wider and less rugged valleys,
with a tendency for the stream to meander.
2015
prove to be very challenging or even impassable to a
migrating fish.
Watercourse slope is defined as:
The vertical drop from the upstream control to the
downstream control divided by the length between
these two points and is usually expressed in
percentages or degrees. (See Figure 3-1)
Slope =( ( A –B ) / L ) * 100
Where,
A=
is the upstream control, located at the
thalweg elevation of the existing watercourse at the
proposed culvert inlet.
Watercourse slope or gradient is an important factor
in the creation of fish habitat. For example,
mountainous areas with long steep streams often
consist of rough shallow riffle-type waters, giving
salmon and trout fewer opportunities to rest and
gather energy in calm pools.
B=
is the downstream control, located at the
thalweg elevation at the first natural undisturbed
riffle located at a distance of 3 times the culvert
diameter (width) plus a minimum of 3.5 m
downstream of the proposed culvert outlet. (The
downstream control is not to be altered.)
The velocity and discharge of water in a stream are
also dependent on its gradient. The steeper the
terrain, generally the faster water will flow. A high
water velocity, combined with a steep stream, may
L=
is the distance between A and B.
Note: If the culvert has an apron, the culvert outlet
would be the downstream end of the apron.
Figure 3-1 Illustration of general culvert installation terms
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Certification Manual for Watercourse Alteration Sizers
If there are no identifiable riffles downstream of the
proposed culvert location or if the diameter and the
length of the culvert has not been calculated, then
survey the thalweg elevation at 5 metre intervals
for a distance downstream of the proposed culvert
outlet. This data can be used to develop a stream
profile, which can be used to determine the slope of
the watercourse once the diameter and length of
2015
the culvert is calculated. The watercourse should
be surveyed far enough downstream to capture the
elevation of the natural riffle, which will be the
control elevation downstream of the proposed
energy dissipation pool. As a rule of thumb, you
should capture the elevations of at least two riffles
downstream of the proposed crossing site.
3.3.1 Create a watercourse profile diagram
Using the survey data, create a watercourse profile
diagram. Figure 3-2 is a watercourse profile diagram
created with the site survey data in Table 3-1.
Figure 3-2 Example of watercourse profile diagram.
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3.3.2 Calculating Watercourse Slope
The watercourse slope is the vertical drop
measurement of a watercourse from the upstream
control to the downstream control then divided by
the length between these two points. Slope is
typically displayed as a percentage.
Table 3-1 Example of site survey data collected in the
field to design a proper culvert watercourse crossing
2015
EXAMPLE 3-1 Calculating Watercourse Slope
The watercourse slope is calculated as follows:
( ( A – B ) / L ) * 100
Where:
A = 100.35m - the elevation of the thalweg at the
proposed culvert inlet location
B = 100.2m – the elevation of the thalweg of the
natural undisturbed riffle downstream of the culvert
and the energy dissipation pool
L = 55m
Therefore: = ((100.35m – 100.2m)/55m)*100
= 0.27 %
In this example the watercourse slope is calculated
to equal a 0.27% gradient.
Example 3-1 is a calculation of slope for a proposed
culvert installation.
Before determining the slope of the watercourse,
the watershed size, diameter and length of the
structure should be calculated (see section 5). The
diameter of the culvert will be used to determine the
size of the energy dissipation pool. The downstream
control will be the elevation of the thalweg of the
first natural undisturbed riffle located downstream
of the energy dissipation pool. This downstream
control should not be altered.
If the first downstream control riffle/step falls
within the location of the proposed energy
dissipation pool then the design must use the next
downstream riffle/step in the design and
calculations.
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Slope is an important watercourse feature. Slope is
one of the primary controls on water velocity in a
watercourse. Slope needs to be measured properly
to ensure that the appropriate crossing structure is
used.
If the slope, as determined above, is 0.5% or less
then:
- a closed bottom culvert (without fish passage
baffles) or an open bottom structure may be
installed; and
- the sizing may be completed by a certified sizer
or a professional engineer.
If the slope is greater than 0.5% then:
- a closed bottom culvert with fish passage
considerations may be installed; the design
must be completed by a professional engineer;
or
- an open bottom structure may be installed and
the sizing may be completed by a certified sizer.
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3.4
Working during the summer season between June 1
and September 30 minimizes potential impacts by:

Avoiding sensitive periods in the life cycle of fish
such as migration or spawning.

Facilitating dam & pump systems, diversion
ditches, cofferdams, or other in isolation of
water flow construction techniques. It is easier
to isolate low flows in order to work in isolation
of water flow. Isolating high flows could lead to
flooding and increase the risk of introducing
sediment into the watercourse.

There should be adequate warm weather after
this period to re-establish vegetation on the
disturbed footprint bordering the construction
site. Providing the opportunity for vegetation to
become established immediately after the
completion of the project.

It is easier and less expensive to move and
stabilize soil during this period. Soils are often
either frozen or saturated at other times of the
year making them more difficult to stabilize and
costly to move.

with periods of increased sensitivity for fish, such
as spawning and egg incubation periods.
TIMING OF AN ALTERATION
All watercourse alterations involving instream work
should be carried out during the low flow period
between June 1st and September 30th of the same
construction season. Carrying out instream work at
low flows is intended to minimize any potential
impacts to aquatic ecosystem and to other users of
the watercourse (such as for recreational or
commercial use).
To minimize environmental impacts caused by
erosion and sedimentation, the length of time it
takes to carry out the permitted alterations must
be minimized and planned so as not to coincide
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
Specific conditions will vary for different areas
throughout the province depending on the
number and species of fish involved.

Generally, the construction period is best
planned to take place during the normal low flow
period which is between June 1st and September
30th, every year. The reasons for this are listed
below:
All notifications will be valid from June 1st to
September 30th. Be aware that when a notification is
submitted to Nova Scotia Environment the
expiration date will automatically be set to the next
September 30th. Notifications cannot be extended
beyond September 30th. If works are anticipated to
extend beyond the September 30th expiry date a
standard approval will be required to continue the
work.
Temporary bridges (portable bridges) may be
installed year round and when construction is
completed using techniques prescribed by Nova
Scotia Environment then there is no submission
required to install or remove a temporary crossing.
The bed and banks of a watercourse must not be
disturbed and the crossing must be constructed in a
manner that will prevent disturbing the watercourse
and the flow of the water during installation or use
of the crossing. The Certification Manual for
Watercourse Alteration Installer provides further
details.
3.5
SELECTING THE TYPE OF STRUCTURE
All crossings impact the environment to some
degree; careful planning and design can minimize
this impact. Bridges and open-bottom structures are
preferred over closed-bottom structures, such as
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pipe culverts. Bridges and open-bottom culverts
have less impact on aquatic habitat than culverts and
are the preferred method for providing access across
a watercourse. Structures which maintain the
natural bank and bed have the least impact.
All watercourse crossings should be designed to
minimize any alteration of the flow in the
watercourse, to retain natural stream morphology,
and to preserve fish habitat and fish passage. Poorly
designed crossings can result in inadequate capacity
leading to increased velocity or blockage followed by
flooding, erosion and washouts which could damage
aquatic habitat and physical property, endanger
human life, and prevent the utilization of upstream
habitat.
See further information in section 4.0.
3.6
PLANNING WATERCOURSE ALTERATIONS
– EXISTING CONSTRUCTION
Where there is already an existing structure an
alteration to that structure may be considered to be
either modification or maintenance. The distinction
is made by the type of work being proposed.
Depending on whether the work is maintenance or
modification there are different regulatory
requirements which must be met.
When approaching an existing structure for repair or
replacement consideration should be made to the
current condition of the watercourse and the
functionality of the crossing structure. If the
structure is not functioning properly (i.e. causing a
barrier to fish passage, causing flooding, dewatering
the watercourse, over/undersized, etc.) then
replacing the structure with the same type of
structure may not be appropriate or acceptable to
Nova Scotia Environment. The type of work
proposed to an existing structure must ensure that
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the structure functions properly so as to not impede
water flow in the watercourse and must be able to
pass fish.
3.7
MAINTENANCE
When approaching an existing structure for
maintenance consideration must be given to the
functionality of the structure.
Maintenance to a structure can be done at any time
of the year without the need of obtaining an
approval or notification receipt if:
- the work is restricted restoring the
structure back to its original or near
original condition; and
- all the work takes place above the ordinary
high water mark.
Maintenance to a structure requires notification if:
- the work is restricted to preserving the
alteration or structure in a state as close as
possible to the state it was in when it was
installed;
- the work is done below the ordinary high
water mark; and
- the work begins on or after June 1 and
ends on or before September 30.
NOTE: Maintenance work is restricted to the
original structures foot-print. If the
maintenance work proposed will extend,
minimize, or otherwise change the size of
the structure the work is considered to be
modification.
Restoring a non-functional structure to its original
condition may not be appropriate if the restoration
does not alleviate on-going water conveyance
problems or fish passage issues. Prior to initiating
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maintenance on an existing crossing structure a site
survey should be conducted to identify any
surrounding issues that the structure may be
causing. For example during a site survey the
following watercourse features should be reviewed:

Up/downstream bank stability;

Pool/riffle sequence up and downstream of
crossing;

Structure’s ability to pass fish (i.e. is the culvert
“hanging”, is the depth of water in the culvert
too shallow, etc.);

Scouring or erosion around rip rap or abutments;

Scouring of banks/dissipation pool at culvert
outlet; and

Structure’s ability to pass high water flows (i.e. is
there obvious signs of upstream flooding)
If a replacement is occurring because the previous
structure was deemed to be inadequate, or “failing”
to function properly, then extra consideration must
be given to how a new structure can remediate the
watercourse. An approval may be required in
situations where additional work is required to
repair the watercourse up and downstream of the
crossing location.
3.8.1
Replacement of Closed Bottom
Structure with another Closed
Bottom Structure
For a replacement culvert, sizing and application
requirements will be the same as for a new culvert
installation. The replacement culvert can be sized by
a Certified Sizer and done under notification if the
following conditions are met:
- the length of the culvert or structure is 25
m or less;
- the watercourse slope is less than 0.5%;
If some or all of these issues are observed then
maintenance may not be appropriate and a
replacement may be required.
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2015
MODIFICATION
Modification is defined as “a change to a
watercourse alteration including, but not limited to,
the replacement, removal, expansion or reduction of
the alteration.” The same careful planning is
required when modifying a structure, crossing, or
other alteration. If the modification is such that is
alters the capacity of the structure new sizing
calculations are required to ensure that the new
structure dimensions will be able to meet the 1:100
year storm flow.
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- the watershed of the watercourse crossing
is 20 km2 or less in area; and
- the work begins on or after June 1 and
ends on or before September 30.
Excavated materials associated with the structure
being replaced are generally at least partially
saturated and should not be used to backfill around
the new culvert. Excavated materials should be
removed and replaced with imported clean, dry
backfill material suitable for compacting.
3.8.2
Replacement of a Closed Bottom
Structure with an Open Bottom
Structure
Closed-bottom culverts can be replaced with openbottom culverts. In certain instances, it may be
appropriate to replace a closed-bottom with an
open-bottom culvert due to their ease of installation
or to re-establish a natural channel or to improve fish
passage.
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The utilization of open-bottom culverts in
watercourses is a feasible means of conveying water
flow under a roadbed in many situations. Openbottom culverts should not be used at sites where
soils are unstable or incapable of supporting the
structure. Erosion of the banks and streambed of the
newly constructed structure is of concern and must
be considered during planning. If in-situ soft, organic
bed material is exposed when the existing culvert is
removed, the site may not provide adequate support
for the new structure and may be susceptible to
erosion. An open-bottom culvert may not be the
most appropriate structure to use at this location
and geotechnical investigations may be required.
The removal of a closed-bottom culvert or other
structure requires careful planning to ensure that
the removal does not impact on the watercourse.
The use of open-bottom culverts as a replacement
requires the re-establishment of the watercourse
channel. Ensuring the channel is properly sized and
constructed is of the utmost importance.
The culvert shall be designed such that after it is
installed, the end area available is adequate to
ensure that the stream flow velocity does not exceed
1.8 m/s during a 1 in 100 year discharge event.
The new channel under the open-bottom culvert
shall be constructed with a depth and width similar
to the existing natural channel in the vicinity of the
crossing. The channel size, width and depth, can be
determined by averaging five measurements
upstream of the proposed site. These measurements
should be made in a reach of channel that was not
altered as a result of the installation of the existing
structure. (See section 3.2.3 for tips on how to
identify/measure channel width and depth.)
Fish passage facilities are not required if the openbottom culvert meets the following design criteria
together with the “Construction” guidelines below:
 a maximum length of 25 metres;

the span of an open-bottom culvert is no greater
than 3600 mm;

the new open-bottom culvert is installed along
the same alignment as the culvert it replaced;

a low flow thalweg (channel) is created to
provide fish passage;

The new defined channel shall be lined and the
banks stabilized with clean rock to provide
stability during a 1:100 year storm. The channel
must be lined in a manner so water does not
disappear into the interstitial spaces between
the rocks. An appropriate amount of fine
granular material, gravel borrow or pit run
material (20% fines, does not include clays)
should be mixed with the rock mixture to ensure
that the interstitial spaces are filled so that water
is not lost. When completed properly and to
ensure fish passage, the water should flow over
the rip rap and not completely disappear; and

To avoid sedimentation of the watercourse
downstream, the newly constructed channel
should be “washed” thoroughly to dislodge any
fine material. The wash water should be pumped
away from the watercourse to prevent
sedimentation of the watercourse. Once the
wash water runs clean then the permanent
Downstream sedimentation, proper design and
construction of a new stream channel, erosion, and
fish passage are four environmental concerns that
must be addressed for this type of installation.
Downstream sedimentation can occur if proper
controls are not in place during the removal of the
existing structure. A dam and pump-around or
temporary diversion are two of the techniques that
can be utilized to perform work in isolation of the
stream flow and to ensure the natural flow of water
downstream is uninterrupted and its quality
maintained.
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watercourse can then be re-directed through the
culvert.
This type of replacement structure is less likely to be
dammed by beavers compared to closed-bottom
culverts.
3.8.3
Culvert Lining
Culvert lining is the re-enforcing of a closed-bottom
culvert necessitated by a failure of the structural
integrity of the structure. This would include
replacing the bottom of corroded steel culverts with
concrete or other material or inserting sleeves inside
weakened or deformed culverts.
Culvert lining is considered to be a modification to an
alteration or structure. The work can be done under
Notification so long as the reduced capacity of the
culvert meets the regulatory requirement of having
a capacity to accommodate the peak flow for a 100
year return period (See section 5.3) and meets
Fisheries and Oceans fish passage requirements as
per the Guidelines for the design of fish passage for
culverts in Nova Scotia, Fisheries and Oceans
Canada, Fisheries Protection Program, Maritimes
Region (as updated from time to time).
3.9
THE NEXT STEP
During the planning process, watercourse alteration
sites are identified. For access across a watercourse,
structures such as culverts, bridges or temporary
crossings (portable bridges) may be used. In the
watercourse alteration program, the Nova Scotia
Watercourse Alterations Standard, the Nova Scotia
Certification Manuals for Watercourse Alteration
Sizers and Installers, and the watercourse alteration
guide have been developed to promote
environmentally acceptable methods of structure
design, construction/installation, stabilization and
maintenance.
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All watercourse crossings impact the environment to
some degree. Careful planning and design can
minimize this impact.
Bridges and open-bottom culverts generally have
less impact on aquatic habitat than closed bottom
culverts and are the preferred method for providing
access across a watercourse. Open bottom
structures also tend to have fewer issues with
blockages reducing maintenance efforts and failures.
Structures selected to maintain the natural bank and
bed of a watercourse have the least impact.
All watercourse crossings should be selected and
designed to:
4.1
4
TYPES OF WATERCOURSE
CROSSING STRUCTURES AND
SELECTING STRUCTURES

to minimize any change of the flow in the
watercourse, and

to preserve aquatic habitat and fish passage.
ENVIRONMENTAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR
SELECTION OF WATERCOURSE CROSSING
TYPE
4.1.1
Open Bottom Structures – bridges
and open bottom pipe arches
A good watercourse crossing, which does not cause
effects up and downstream, is selected and designed
to:
 retain natural stream morphology, which means
a consistent bank-to-bank width, similar
substrate material consistent with surroundings,
maintain meander pattern and pool/riffle
sequence. Any alteration to these features can
cause unintended effects up and downstream.
Bridges are the preferred watercourse crossing type
from an environmental and fisheries standpoint for
the following reasons:

retain water depth and water velocity
comparable to conditions upstream and
downstream.
Poorly selected and designed watercourse crossings
can result in inadequate capacity leading to
increased velocity or blockage followed by flooding,
erosion and washouts which could damage aquatic
habitat and physical property, endanger human life,
and prevent the utilization of upstream habitat.
Generally the types of crossing structures used in
watercourse crossings include:

closed bottom culverts, such as box culverts,
pipe arch culverts and circular pipe culverts; and

open bottom structures, such as bridges,
bottomless arch structures, and open bottom
box culverts.
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
Bridges retain the natural streambed.

Bridges help to maintain the cross sectional area
of the channel therefore maintaining the natural
flow regime.

Bridge crossings rarely provide a barrier to fish
passage.

Bridge construction requires less instream
activity; therefore, reduces the potential for
environmental impacts.

Bridges and other open bottom structures are
less susceptible to beaver damming.
Bridge crossing Location Considerations:
Generally, bridges should be chosen over culverts in
areas where any of the following situations are
encountered.

The channel is too wide or water too deep to
properly install a culvert.
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
The watercourse slope is too steep to
accommodate an acceptable culvert slope.
associated excavation takes place from the banks of
the watercourse landwards.

The stream banks are steep requiring a great
deal of infilling to properly install a culvert.
Stability of the banks and bed of the watercourse is
a concern and must be considered during planning
and installation.

The streambed is soft and unable to support a
culvert.



The crossing site contains valuable fish habitat
(pools, spawning riffles, critical habitat).
The watercourse is subject to rapid runoff, ice
blockages or debris dams which may cause
structural failure to a culvert and impede fish
passage.
Beaver activity is of significant concern. Beaver
dams often block watercourse crossing
structures, potentially impeding fish passage and
damaging roadways through flooding and
erosion.
Open bottom / Bottomless Arch Culvert
This type of structure is less likely to be damned by
beavers than circular culverts.
Open bottom culverts are similar to bridges. These
culverts are supported by footings situated outside
the bankfull limits of the channel. The maximum
permissible diameter for an open bottom culvert is
3660 mm (12 ft).
Material: Made from steel or concrete
 Advantages:
- Natural streambed and slope are
maintained if designed and installed
appropriately as there is no bottom.
- Less susceptible to corrosion than steel
pipe culverts.
 Disadvantages:
- Improper installation could result in
scouring and erosion if footings are not
founded outside the bank full limits of the
channel and not buried to a depth below
the thalweg.
4.1.2
Erosion/sedimentation and fish passage are two of
the environmental issues that must be addressed
with this type of installation. An open-bottom culvert
avoids the requirement for fish passage facilities as
long as it is installed such that the placement of the
structure including the foundation and any
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Closed bottom structures – box
culverts, pipe arch culvert, pipe
culverts
Closed bottom culverts, when installed properly, are
an acceptable method for permanent watercourse
crossings. Culverts are used on public roads, forest
roads, driveways and in areas where difficult terrain
limits where other watercourse crossing options
such as bridges are not suitable.
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Box Culvert
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2015
The wide, flat bottom may result in
reduced water depth, potentially limiting
fish passage.
Circular/Pipe Culverts
Box culverts in some respects are similar to bridges.
For example, their dimensions allow them to be used
in areas where fill is limited as they require little
backfill or excavation.
Material: Made from wood or concrete.
 Advantages:
- Maintain natural channel width.
- Baffles can be easily installed to provide
fish passage.
 Disadvantages:
- The wide, flat bottom may result in
reduced water, potentially limiting fish
passage.
Pipe Arch Culvert
Pipe arch culverts are closed bottom structures
embedded into the substrate.
Material: Made from metal or concrete.
 Advantages:
- Maintains the same slope and allow for
retention of bottom substrates.
- Useful in areas where road fill is limited.
 Disadvantages:
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Material made from metal, plastic and concrete.
 Disadvantages:
- Reduces the cross sectional area
potentially increasing water velocity. This
may disrupt fish migration, undermine the
inlet or scour the streambed at the outlet.
- May be susceptible to ice or debris
blockage obstructing fish migration and
flooding upstream areas.
- More susceptible to beaver damming,
especially if it is a baffled culvert.
- Difficult to install properly in order to
maintain fish passage.
- Concrete and plastic culverts have a much
greater velocity potential due to their
smoothness and have more potential to
result in barriers to fish passage.
- Maintenance costs are high (debris
removal, etc.)
JUST A REMINDER
Choose your watercourse crossing structure
carefully. Any structure unsuited to the site
or improperly installed can have a significant
environment impact on aquatic habitat and
the fisheries resource, and can result in
increased maintenance and replacement
costs.
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5
SIZING OF WATERCOURSE
CROSSING STRUCTURES
A properly sized culvert shall have the capacity to
accommodate the peak flow for a 100 year return
period. This means that there is a probability of a
peak flow event occurring once in every 100 years.
The following sections provide a method to
determine the size of a crossing structure.
5.1
CLIMATE CHANGE
We are already feeling the impacts of climate
change. Everyone plays a role in helping our
generation and future generations mitigate the
impacts to the climate system by not only reducing
greenhouse gas emissions but also by adapting to the
changes in climate.
Some of the impacts we can expect to see in Nova
Scotia include wetter summers, coupled with
warmer/hotter, drier summers, increased frequency
and severity of extreme weather events, changes in
precipitation patterns (more flood, more drought),
coastal and inland flooding, sea level rise, storm
surges, accelerated coastal erosion, loss of sea
ice/ice cover, and water availability constraints.
In particular for Nova Scotia, climate change is
leading to increased risk of flooding as extreme
precipitation events become more frequent, this risk
is increased by erosion and sedimentation that
affects the watercourse flow. When considering
watercourse crossings it is important to design the
alteration with climate change in mind. Future
climate conditions can have a significant impact on
the function, maintenance and longevity of the
crossing structure, and can cause serious impacts
elsewhere along the watercourse and floodplain if
not designed properly. The coefficients used in
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Appendix C to determine design flow in this manual
should be considered conservative in that they may
not completely represent the flows currently being
experienced under our changed climate.
5.2
CULVERT SELECTION AND SIZING –
CLOSED BOTTOM
The installation of any watercourse crossing should
have minimal impact on the flow of the watercourse,
maintain natural stream morphology, preserve fish
habitat and provide fish passage.
5.2.1
Requirements for culvert design and
selection
It is important to understand a number of terms
related to the characteristics of a watercourse and
related to the components of a crossing structure.
These terms may be defined in the Activities
Designation Regulations, the Nova Scotia
Watercourse Alterations Standard, and in the
glossary of this manual.

Certified Sizers are not eligible to complete sizing
for closed bottom culverts installed in
watercourses with slope exceeding 0.5 %.

The process for closed bottom culverts installed
in watercourses with gradients exceeding 0.5 %
(up to 8.0% gradients) requires that a
Professional Engineer design the structure and
the design must follow the Guidelines for the
design of fish passage for culverts in Nova
Scotia, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Fisheries
Protection Program, Maritimes Region (as
updated from time to time).

A properly sized culvert shall have the capacity
to accommodate the peak flow for a 100 year
return period. This means that there is a
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Certification Manual for Watercourse Alteration Sizers
probability of a peak flow event occurring once
in every 100 years.

All culverts must be designed to carry intended
loads.

The minimum circular / pipe culvert size
permitted for installation in a watercourse is 450
mm (18 in).

The maximum permissible diameter for an open
bottom culvert is 3660 mm (12 ft).

The drainage area (watershed) above the
watercourse crossing must not exceed 20 km2
for culverts under notification process.

The maximum length of any closed bottom
culvert to be installed is 25 m (82 ft) under the
notification process.

The culvert inlet invert elevation must be set at
the thalweg elevation of the existing
watercourse.

The culvert outlet invert elevation must be set at
a depth equal to 20% of the culvert
diameter/height, to a maximum of 0.4 m, below
the downstream control thalweg elevation (the
first natural undisturbed riffle downstream).
This downstream control is not to be altered.

Culverts installed under Notification must be
installed between June 1st and September 30th.

The headwater depth to culvert diameter / rise
ratio should be 1.0:1.0 for pipe arches and
circular/pipe culverts to avoid flooding and wash
out of culverts. A 1.5:1 ratio could be used to
determine the culvert size but there is greater
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chance of flooding and wash out of the culvert
(see section 5.4.2 for further information on
headwater depth).

Proper stabilization requires the placement of
rip-rap or headwalls and wingwalls at both ends
of a culvert to an elevation of at least one-half of
the culvert diameter/height above the top of the
pipe and a minimum of one culvert
diameter/height on each side of the culvert. See
section 8.0 for size of rip rap.

If rip-rap is used, the foreslopes shall not be any
steeper than 2 horizontal to 1 vertical.
NOTE: Closed bottom culverts may be designed to be
installed at greater than 0.5% slope. The notification
criteria require that the watercourse slope not
exceed 0.5%, but to accommodate a proper culvert
installation, the culvert may require a steeper slope.
Official Version of Regulations
Refer to the most current and official version of
the Nova Scotia Watercourse Alterations
Standard posted on the Nova Scotia
Environment website
(www.novascotia.ca/nse/watercoursealteration).
Also refer to the official versions of any
legislation or regulation on the Nova Scotia
Justice website, such as:
- Environment Act
- Activities Designation Regulations
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5.3
STEPS TO LAYING OUT A CULVERT ON A
WATERCOURSE
1. Site Assessment – general site conditions, is
it a watercourse (as defined by NSE) and are
fish present.
2. Once the watercourse and watershed has
been identified then the structure can be
sized for the 1:100 year estimated storm
flow. Once the diameter is calculated then
the length of the proposed culvert can also
be determined based on the proposed right
of way specific to that project, road cover
required and the proposed area of the
crossing.
3. Create the profile of the existing
watercourse slope by surveying the
watercourse far enough upstream and
downstream of the proposed structure to
capture at least two riffles upstream and two
riffles downstream.
2015
4. Determine the existing watercourse slope
((A-B))/L) *100:
Where A is the upstream control, located at
the thalweg elevation of the existing
watercourse at the proposed culvert inlet.
Where B is the downstream control thalweg
elevation at the first natural undisturbed
riffle located downstream of the proposed
energy dissipation pool. It is located at a
distance of 3 times the culvert
diameter/width plus a minimum of 3.5 m
downstream of the culvert outlet. The 3.5 m
may be needed to stabilize the downstream
end of the pool.
Where L is the distance between A and B.
(See Figure 5-1.)
5. Once the watercourse slope is calculated
from the existing stream profile in step 3
then that will determine whether it meets
the notification criteria. If the watercourse
slope is less than or equal to 0.5% and the
watershed area is 20 km2 or less, then the
structure can be installed under the
notification process.
Figure 5-1 Example of watercourse profile diagram
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If the existing watercourse slope exceeds
0.5% and the plan is still to install a closed
bottom culvert then it requires a design by a
professional engineer.
If it is decided that an open bottom structure
is to be installed under a notification, the size
calculation can be completed by a Sizer. Go
to section 6 of the Manual.
6. Starting at the upstream end the new culvert
inlet invert is to be located at the streambed
thalweg elevation, which becomes the
upstream control. This will also determine
where the culvert outlet will be located, as
the length of the structure would have been
determined in step 2 calculation. The outlet
of the culvert is to be set at a depth equal to
20 percent of the diameter (height) to a
maximum of 0.4 m below the downstream
control elevation (first natural undisturbed
riffle downstream).
7. If the sizing of the culvert needs to be
adjusted (diameter or length) then step 4
and 6 will need to be repeated to meet the
criteria under the notification process. If the
right of way extends beyond what was
surveyed, then step 3 will also need to be
repeated
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Certification Manual for Watercourse Alteration Sizers
5.4
CULVERT SIZING
Proper culvert sizing promotes fish passage and
minimizes changes to the aquatic habitat and water
flow. An undersized culvert may result in complete
washout of the culvert or increased water velocity
within the pipe creating a barrier to fish passage and
causing scouring at the outlet. An oversized culvert
may result in a decreased water depth which may
also act as a barrier to fish passage.
When sizing culverts, it is necessary to first calculate
both the required diameter and length.
5.4.1 Calculating Diameter: Parameters
The two parameters required to calculate culvert
diameter are:


Drainage area (watershed) is defined as the
area of land draining to the point along the
watercourse where the proposed crossing is
to take place.
Design flow is defined as the discharge
which a structure is designed to
accommodate without exceeding the
adopted design constraints.
Drainage area (watershed) is determined as follows:
The first step is to delineate the watercourse,
including all tributaries, upstream of the proposed
alteration site.
- Using a topographic map, mark the location of the
proposed crossing site on the map with a circle
(see figure 5-2).
- Highlight the watercourse including all tributaries
upstream of the location. The contour lines will
form a “v” where they cross the watercourse. The
“v” will point upstream.
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2015
Note: Mapping software such as Arc GIS, Map
Info or other software can also be utilized to
delineate drainage area.
The Atlas of Canada: Toporama
Find interactive topographic map at
http://atlas.gc.ca/site/english/toporama/index.
html. The dynamic map viewer makes it easy to
find your site and its watershed area.
Other resources
Wet Area Mapping
http://novascotia.ca/natr/forestry/gis/wamdow
nload.asp
Nova Scotia Topographic Database WMS
https://www.novascotia.ca/geonova/services/n
stdb_wms.asp
- Mark small dots on the high points along both sides
of the watercourse (see figure 5-3). The high points
are inside every closed circular shaped contour
line.
- Beginning at the proposed crossing site, connect
the dots around the watercourse moving in a
clockwise fashion. The line will not be straight; the
line should cross contours at right angles as much
as possible.
- Delineation is complete when the area is enclosed
(see figure 5-4).
Double check
To make sure you have delineated the
watershed properly, especially small
watersheds, delineate the drainage areas of
the watercourses next to the watercourse you
are working with. The boundaries of the
watersheds should align with each other.
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Certification Manual for Watercourse Alteration Sizers
- Using a Planimeter or Dot Grid, measure the
outlined area on the map to determine the
drainage area upstream of the crossing. The
planimeter or dot grid must be calibrated for the
map scale (eg., 1:50,000) that you are using.
2015
Figure 5-3 Topographic Map Identifying
High Points of Elevation Surrounding
Watercourse
Design Flow is calculated using the drainage area as
follows:
“A” = Drainage Area,
“Q” = Design Flow or discharge (see Example 5-1)
For the Province of Nova Scotia, the coefficient used
to determine design flow (Q) is based on the location
of the crossing within the Province due to the
variance in topography and precipitation intensity
across the Province. The coefficient to be used in the
determination of the design flow can be found in
Appendix C.
Figure 5-2: Topographic Map of
Watercourse Crossing Site Identified
Figure 5-4 Topographic Map Identifying
Delineation of the Drainage Area (Ex. 312
ha) Above Crossing Site
The design flow coefficient for Halifax, Hants and
Guysborough Counties will be used in the examples
in this manual. Ensure the proper coefficient is used
for each structure.
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Certification Manual for Watercourse Alteration Sizers
2015
Watercourse specific coefficients may be substituted
for those in Appendix C provided the data used is for
the 1 in 100 year rainfall event not instantaneous
gauged streamflow data. This data as well as the
source of the data must be provided with the
application.
Calculating Diameter: Closed Bottom
Culvert
The following procedure is used to determine the
capacity of a culvert for a known drainage area using
a nomograph (see nomographs provided in figures 55 and 5-6).
EXAMPLE 5-1
Calculating Design Flow
See Appendix A for the following nomographs:
What is the design flow (Q) for a drainage area (A)
equaling 312 ha (as determined in figure 5.4)?
Convert to km2 =
312
100
Design Flow (Q m3/s)
ha
=
3.12
= 1.25 x 3.12 km2
= 3.9 m3/s
3
The design flow is 3.9 m /s
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km2
5.4.2
For Corrugated Steel Circular / Pipe
 showing the determination of a culvert size using
1:1 ratio for HW/D
For Concrete / Plastic Circular Pipe
 showing the determination of a culvert size using
1:1 ratio for HW/D
For Corrugated Steel Pipe Arch
 showing the determination of a culvert size using
1:1 ratio for HW/D
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Certification Manual for Watercourse Alteration Sizers
2015
Figure 5-5 Nomograph for Corrugated Steel Circular / Pipe Culverts (data provided by
the Bureau of Public Roads) showing the determination of a culvert size using 1:1 ratio for
HW/D.
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2015
Figure 5-6 Nomograph for Corrugated Steel Circular / Pipe Culverts (data provided by the Bureau
of Public Roads) showing the determination of a culvert size using 1.5:1 ratio for HW/D.
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2015
1. Calculate the design flow / discharge (Q)
Headwater Depth
2. On the headwater depth to diameter column
(HW/D), locate and mark appropriate HW/D. It is
recommended to use 1:1 HW/D ratio (or 1 on the
nomograph column). A 1.5:1 ratio could be used
to determine the culvert size but there is greater
chance of flooding and wash out of the culvert.
See text box.
It is recommended the headwater depth to
culvert diameter ratio should be 1:1 for pipe
arches and circular/pipe culverts to lower the
risk of flooding and the wash out of culverts.
This is recommended for several reasons:
-
3. On the discharge column (Q), locate and mark
the design flow.
4. Connect the two marked points and extend to
the diameter of culvert column (D).
-
5. Where the culvert diameter falls between two
sizes, always use the larger one.
If a 1.5:1 ratio is used to determine culvert size it is
recommended that a site specific design flow for
1:100 year storm event be determined (as opposed
to using the coefficients for permanent structures
found in Appendix C). Also a ratio of 1.5:1 should only
be used when specific site conditions are
appropriate. Site specific conditions include type and
depth of road fill material, depth of fill over culvert,
velocity of water flow during storm event and impact
of flooding, etc.
The maximum allowable drainage area for standard
culvert sizes can also be calculated using a
nomograph.
-
-
Impacts of climate change include
increased frequency and severity of
extreme weather events resulting in
increased peak flows. Using a 1:1 ratio
decreases the risk of wash out and
flooding under peak flows.
Washouts and scour result in the
deposition of sediment in the
watercourse, impacting the aquatic
ecosystem as well as possibly
diminishing the hydraulic capacity of
the watercourse channel. Diminished
hydraulic capacity of the channel can
result in scour and flooding.
Flooding upstream of the crossings will
be less during peak flows because the
culvert is sized to accommodate
greater flows at a lesser depth.
Depending on the location, flooding
can cause damage to property and
infrastructure.
By avoiding flooding and washouts, the
cost of maintenance, repairs and
structure replacement are greatly
reduced.
NOTE: The maximum allowable drainage area
for culverts installed under Notification is 20
km2.
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

Draw a straight line from the diameter of culvert
column (D) to the 1.0 standard increment on the
headwater depth to diameter (HW/D) column.
Use the discharge (Q) value where the line
intersects the discharge column (Q) and convert
to drainage area.
For pipe arch nomographs, refer to the headwater
depth in terms of rise (HW/R).
For pipe arch nomographs, diameter of culvert is
measured as "Span x Rise".
5.4.3 Calculating Culvert Length
Culvert length must be determined prior to
installation. Culverts which are too short in length
can become destabilized as a result of scouring.
Culverts that are too long can create fish passage
problems and scouring.
2015
The parameters required to calculate length are as
follows (See figures 5-7 or 5-8):
"L" - the length of culvert required.
"W" - the road width
"H" - the total depth from streambed to road
surface, including height of cover
The length of the culvert must also extend 0.3 m at
both ends in addition to the calculated length. (This
measurement is "0.6 m" and is required that a length
of 0.3 m (1 ft) of culvert extend beyond the toe of the
fill at both the upstream and downstream ends).
Important note: When sloped end sections or flared
end sections are used, the apron must also be
included in the overall length of the culvert (L).
Where the road meets the stream at a right angle,
proper culvert length can be calculated using the
following formula:
In Nova Scotia the maximum culvert length under
the Standard is 25 m (82 ft). Anything greater than
25 m (82 ft) will require the submission of an
application for approval to Nova Scotia Environment
for review.
L(m)
L(ft)
=
or
=
W + 4 H + 0.6 m
W+4H+2ft
Figure 5-7 Culvert Length Parameters
Required Length of
Extension
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Certification Manual for Watercourse Alteration Sizers
In the event that the roadway meets the
watercourse crossing at an angle, it is necessary to
2015
add 10 % to the culvert length for each 10° skew
from the perpendicular.
Example 5-2
Calculating Culvert Length
What is the recommended length of a 1200 mm (48 in) culvert if the roadway is 6.0 m (18.0 ft)? The depth of fill
over the culvert is one-half the culvert diameter.
Total Depth (H)
= 1.2 m + 0.6 m (m)
= 1.8 m (5.4 ft)
Length (Lm)
= 6.0 m + 4(1.8) + 0.6
= 13.8 m (41.4 ft)
Where the road meets the culvert at a right angle, the recommended length is 13.8 m (41.4 ft)
5.4.3.1 Culvert length when using headwalls.
See figure 5-8 for the formula to use to calculate the culvert length when headwalls are to be used.
Figure 5-8
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5.5
FISH PASSAGE
To promote fish passage, the following conditions
should be met.
5.5.1
Culvert Installation in watercourses
with a slope equal to or less than 0.5
%
The invert of a closed bottom culvert must be
properly embedded into the streambed to promote
the deposition of a layer of natural substrate and reestablish the natural habitat.
2015
Proper embedding of culverts requires that the
culvert inlet invert elevation be set at the thalweg
elevation of the existing watercourse. The culvert
outlet invert elevation must be set at a depth equal
to 20% of the culvert diameter/height, up to a
maximum of 0.4m, below the downstream control
thalweg elevation (the first natural undisturbed riffle
downstream). The downstream control is not to be
altered.
A culvert must also have an energy dissipation pool
at its outlet.
Figure 5-9 Culvert installation in watercourse with a slope equal to or less than 0.5%
5.5.2
Culvert Installation in watercourses
with a slope greater than 0.5 %
Closed bottom culverts installed in watercourses
with a gradient exceeding 0.5% require engineering
and must adhere to the Guidelines for the design of
fish passage for culverts in Nova Scotia, Fisheries
and Oceans Canada, Fisheries Protection Program,
Maritimes Region (as updated from time to time).
The guideline can be found at http://www.dfompo.gc.ca/Library/353873.pdf. These structures can
be installed under a Notification, but require an
engineer to design them.
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The engineering requirement for fish passage in
closed bottom culverts installed at slopes exceeding
0.5 % can be avoided by choosing to install an open
bottom structure (such as pipe arches) or a bridge. In
areas where the stream gradient is in excess of 0.5
%, installing an open bottom structure, such as an
arch culvert or a bridge, may be the best option for
maintaining natural watercourse morphology which
is best for aquatic life and fish passage.
In the case of an open bottom structure no energy
dissipation pool is required.
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5.6
ENERGY DISSIPATION POOL
Energy dissipation pools must be constructed at the
outlet of all closed bottom culverts, regardless of
diameter. The use of an energy dissipation pool at
the outlet of a culvert serves two purposes:


to dissipate the extra energy of the water
resulting from the culvert placement and to
prevent brook destabilization resulting in a
perched culvert outlet; and
to provide a resting area for migrating fish.
The energy dissipation pool should be sized to
ensure stability of the pool during peak flood flows.
5.6.1

The average depth of the pool must be a
minimum of 1m.

The width at the bottom of the dissipation pool
is to be 2 times the culvert diameter (D) or 2
times the box width (W).

The length at the bottom of the dissipation pool
is to be 3 times D or W.

At the downstream end of the dissipation pool
(at 3D/W), the slope up to the existing elevation
of the natural stream is to be constructed at no
more than 1:2 (vertical:horizontal). This area of
the pool is to have rip-rap scour protection to
withstand a 1:100 year flood event. See figure
5-10 and 5-11.
Design

The energy dissipation pool should be stabilized
to prevent scour and erosion. The size of rip-rap
stone in the dissipation pool must be sufficiently
large to withstand velocities produced by the
1:100 year flood event.

A filtration layer of gravel (i.e., Gravel Type 2)
should be placed under the rip-rap to prevent
erosion.

Three boulders should be placed in the pool in a
triangle pattern (refer to figure 5-11) in order to
further dissipate energy and provide fish habitat.
For culverts equal to or less than 1.5 m the
diameter of the boulders should be
approximately 0.75 m. For culverts greater than
1.5 m the boulder diameter should be
approximately 1m.

No filter fabric to be used in the construction of
the pool.
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2015
Figure 5-10 Energy Dissipation Pool Dimensions
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Certification Manual for Watercourse Alteration Sizers
2015
Figure 5-11 Energy dissipation pool for non-baffled culvert

An appropriate amount of fine granular material,
gravel borrow or pit run material (20% fines,
does not include clays) should be mixed with the
rock mixture to ensure that the interstitial
spaces are filled so that water is not lost. When
completed properly and to ensure fish passage,
water should flow over the rip rap and not
completely disappear.

To avoid sedimentation of the watercourse
downstream, the newly constructed energy
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dissipation pool should be “washed” thoroughly
to dislodge any fine material. The wash water
should be pumped away from the watercourse
to prevent sedimentation of the watercourse.
Once the wash water is running clean then the
permanent watercourse can then be re-directed
through the culvert.
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5.7
MULTIPLE CULVERTS
A single culvert crossing is preferred over multiple
culvert installations. When a single pipe culvert is not
applicable than an open bottom crossing structure
should be considered as an alternative. Multiple
culverts are not recommended for fish-bearing
streams because they are more likely to become
blocked than a single large culvert. Debris blocking
multiple culvert installations can often lead to
flooding and may compromise the structure
integrity. Fish passage is also problematic when
multiple culverts become blocked.
In the rare instance that a multiple culvert
installation is approved by Nova Scotia Environment
the conditions would have to be shown such that the
installation is the only engineering solution for a low
cover situation, for a wide channel, or for a high
outlet velocity situation. The design would have to
be approved by NS Environment and there is no
option for a Notification.
If you are hired to size a multiple culvert crossing
some key installation features should be kept in
mind:




5.8
2015
NEXT STEPS
After the type of structure has been selected and the
size of structure, the following actions may be
completed:


5.9
Return to the field to layout and mark the
site for installation (at a minimum, mark the
location of the structure inlet and the outlet
and mark the outlet of the energy dissipation
pool).
Provide drawings and information to
installer with instruction on how to follow
the marked layout.
TIMING OF INSTALLATION
All instream activity, including culvert installations,
shall be carried out between June 1st and
September 30th of the same year preferably during
low water conditions. The actual time of
construction should be kept to a minimum in an
effort to prevent any unnecessary environmental
problems.
Minimizing the space between the culverts to
reduce the amount of granular material and clay
seals is desirable.
Horizontal space between two adjacent culverts
should be 1 culvert diameter/span or 1.0 m,
whichever is the greater.
One pipe must be designed to pass higher flood
flows and the other, main pipe must be installed
as the primary fish passage structure.
The pipe dedicated to fish passage must be
installed lower than the flood culvert(s) (i.e. the
“overflow culvert”) to ensure low flows are not
split, which might otherwise provide insufficient
flows or depth for fish passage.
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6
ARCH CULVERT AND BRIDGE
CONSTRUCTION
Open bottom culverts and bridges are the preferred
structures for fish passage and aquatic life simply
because the natural bottom of the stream is able to
be maintained.
6.1



There should be no voids between the footings
of a prefabricated open-bottom culvert and the
bedding material they are founded on.

Open-bottom arches must be assembled and
backfilled in accordance with the manufacturer’s
specifications, unless site specific installation
specifications are provided by a professional
engineer licensed to practice under the
Engineering Profession Act.

The footings should be embedded below the
thalweg. Geotechnical engineering assistance
may be required to determine the bearing
capacity of the soil.

No part of a bridge or open-bottom structure
may permanently disturb the flow of the
watercourse.
REQUIREMENTS FOR OPEN BOTTOM
CULVERT DESIGN AND SELECTION
Bridges and other open-bottom structures must be
designed with a hydraulic capacity large enough to
ensure a maximum velocity of 1.8 m/s during a 1:100
year return period storm event.
 A pipe arch or other open bottomed structure
may be installed under a notification if the banks
are altered and the bed is not disturbed. The
Sizer must account for this when selecting a
width of the structure so the Installer is able to
complete the required excavation to place the
footings, erosion protection and other materials
without disturbing the bed of the watercourse.
A watercourse must not be permanently
diverted to accommodate the construction or
modification of a bridge or open-bottom
structure.
The length of any structural plate arch installed
must be 25 m or less.

Bolted corrugated steel sheet or structural plate
arches used in the construction of bridges or
other open-bottom structures must meet the
requirements of CSA G401-14 Corrugated Steel
Pipe Products.

Prefabricated structures shall be installed using
machinery that can lift the components into
place. Prefabricated structures should not be
dragged across a watercourse into position.
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2015
Official Version of Regulations
Refer to the most current and official version of
the Nova Scotia Watercourse Alterations
Standard posted on the Nova Scotia
Environment website.
Also refer to the official versions of any
legislation or regulation on the Nova Scotia
Justice website, such as:
-
Environment Act
Activities Designation Regulations
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6.2
OPEN BOTTOM CULVERTS: SIZING
Maximum Design Velocity which is the maximum
flow velocity a bridge or open bottom culvert can
withstand and not reduce the life of the structure.


To determine water velocity the diameter of the
structure is needed.
To calculate the diameter of an open bottom
culvert, it is necessary to determine the:
Rise (R) which is measured from the streambed
to the underside of the vertical dimension of the
arch culvert.
Span (S) which is measured as the horizontal
distance between the footings.
2015
velocity exceeds the acceptable limit, the end area of
the open bottom culvert must be increased.
EXAMPLE 6-1 Calculating Arch Sizing
What is the waterway opening required if the design
flow is 6.98 m3/s and the maximum velocity is 1.8
m/s?
Waterway opening (a) = 6.98 m3/s = 3.88 m2
1.8 m/s
The manufacturer’s available sizes will dictate the
dimensions of the smallest arch that can be used
based on the calculated waterway opening. If an
arch matching the calculated end area cannot be
supplied, the next larger size available must be used.
The specifications provide a listing of available
culvert sizes and corresponding waterway openings.
Standard open bottom culvert sizes available may be
different for each manufacturing company. Match
culvert sizes with the corresponding end area.
Waterway Opening (a) is the cross-sectional area
under an open-bottom culvert or bridge available for
passage of water. It is also known as the end area.
To determine water velocity, calculate:

Waterway Opening (a) = R x S

Flow velocity (v) =
Design Flow (Q)
Waterway Opening (a)
The maximum acceptable flow velocity for open
bottom culverts is 1.8 m/sec (6 ft/sec). If the flow
Jan-15
To calculate drainage area, reverse the formula
procedure. The maximum acceptable water velocity
for open bottom culverts of 1.8 m/s must be used to
ensure the culvert is large enough.
Design Flow (Q) = (a) x Water Velocity (v)
Drainage Area (km2) = Q / 2.25 (use the coefficient
for geographic area)
Drainage Area (ha) = Drainage Area km2 x 100

Locate the abutments at a minimum elevation
equal to or below the thalweg of the stream as
figure 6-1.

The centre of the abutment should be located 1
m (3 ft) back from the bank.
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Figure 6-1 Open Bottom Arch Span
EXAMPLE 6-2 Calculating Drainage Area
What is the maximum drainage area that could be accommodated using the maximum accepted velocity and a
structure with waterway opening of 4.18m2?
Design Flow (Q m3/s) = 4.18 m2 x 1.8 m/s
=7.52 m3/s
2
Drainage Area (km ) = 7.52 m3/s
2.25
Drainage Area (ha) = 3.34 km2 x100
= 334 ha
The drainage area is 334 ha.
The culvert must be long enough to allow a stable
foreslope no steeper than 2 horizontal to 1 vertical
to be developed. This area must be stabilized against
erosion with rip-rap or other non-erodible material
which extends at least 1 span width beyond both
sides of the arch and up to the shoulder of the road
or at least one half the height of the arch above the
structure, whichever is less.
Jan-15
Erosion protection material must be placed on a
watercourse bank at a maximum 2 horizontal to 1
vertical slope, unless headwalls/wingwalls are used.
Rip-rap must be sized to withstand 1:100 year flows
in the watercourse (see table in Section 8).
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6.3
PERMANENT BRIDGE STRUCTURESREQUIREMENTS FOR SELECTION AND
DESIGN

The faces and ends of abutments must be
protected from erosion and scour.

Construction or modification of a bridge that
includes the application or removal of protective
coatings must be carried out in accordance with
the Guidelines for the Application and Removal
of Structural Steel Protective Coatings, as
published by the Department and updated from
time to time.

Bridge decking must be enclosed such that it
prevents debris, soil or other contaminants from
entering a watercourse.

A watercourse must not be permanently
diverted to accommodate the construction or
modification of a bridge or open-bottom
structure.

No part of a bridge or open-bottom structure
may permanently disturb the flow of the
watercourse.

Bridge abutments must be placed outside the
bankfull width of the channel to avoid
constriction of the natural flow of water and
reduction of the channel cross-section.
A permanent bridge is defined as a structure erected
to span a watercourse which supports a roadway or
footpath for vehicle traffic or pedestrians.
Under Notification process, any proposed bridge
construction extends only to single span bridges.
Certification and/or Notifications do not include the
construction of multiple span bridges or bridges
requiring instream supports.
Applications for these types of structures shall be
submitted individually and subject to review by the
appropriate government agencies.

The following requirements apply to the design
and construction of single span. Bridges and
other open-bottom structures must be designed
with a hydraulic capacity large enough to ensure
a maximum velocity of 1.8 m/s during a 1:100
year return period storm event.
2015

Footings and abutments must be designed and
installed such that the bed of the watercourse is
not disturbed or altered.

Bridge decking must be enclosed such that it
prevents debris, soil or other contaminants from
entering a watercourse.

A bridge or other open-bottom structure must
be supported by abutments or footings that
extend below the thalweg depth.

The bank of the watercourse is allowed to be
altered to accommodate abutment and rip-rap
installation.

Abutments and footings for bridges or other
open-bottom structures must be stone, rock,
concrete, steel or wood that is rot-resistant.

The length of the span must be 15 m or less for a
bridge, or 3600 mm or less for a structural plate
arch or other open-bottom structure.


Abutments and footings for bridges or other
open-bottom structures must be stone, rock,
concrete, steel or wood that is rot-resistant.
The area excavated for placement of an
abutment shall be backfilled up to the elevation
of the bottom of the watercourse bed with
unshrinkable fill, which must be installed in
compacted lifts of not more than 0.3m at a time.

The faces and ends of abutments must be
protected from erosion and scour.
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Certification Manual for Watercourse Alteration Sizers


2015
Calculate the design flow (Q, m3/s)
Erosion protection materials must not encroach
upon a watercourse bed beyond the thickness of
the largest material required for erosion
protection. Infilling of a watercourse must not
occur except for the placement of erosion
protection materials as noted above.
Calculate the waterway opening (a, m2)
Velocity =
Design Flow (Q)
Waterway Opening (a)
Erosion protection material must be placed on a
watercourse bank at a maximum 2 horizontal to
1 vertical slope, unless headwalls/wingwalls are
used.
Verify minimum bridge size using the maximum
design velocity of 1.8 m/s

Rip-rap must be sized to withstand 1:100 year
flows in the watercourse (see Table in Section 8).

Erosion protection materials must be installed
below the thalweg of a watercourse, sized based
on the calculated velocity of the stream (see
table in Section 8.0) and installed to minimum
thickness of 1.5 times the maximum stone size.
Bridges must be designed with a hydraulic capacity
large enough to pass a peak flow with a 100 year
return period. To meet this standard, calculate the
following parameters:

All instream work shall be carried out in isolation
of the streamflow (in-the-dry) by dam and pump
procedure or by temporary diversion.

The rise (height) of a bridge must provide
sufficient clearance for ice flows, debris, and
navigation in identified navigable waters (in
compliance with the Navigation Protection Act).

6.4
See Section 11 for materials used in structure in
or near watercourse.
BRIDGE SIZING
A properly sized bridge should not impede fish
passage, affect the water velocities or alter the
aquatic habitat. In situations where bridges are built
too small and the water flow becomes constricted,
water velocities may be increased resulting in
streambed scour. In addition, increased velocities
may result in the undermining of the abutments
potentially causing the bridge to fail.
Use the following steps to determine the minimal
accepted bridge size:
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6.4.1
Calculating the Design Flow

Drainage area is defined as the area of land
draining to the point along the watercourse
where the proposed crossing is to take place.

Design flow is defined as the discharge which a
structure is designed to accommodate without
exceeding the adopted design constraints.
Drainage area is determined as follows:
The first step is to delineate the watercourse,
including all tributaries, upstream of the proposed
alteration site.
Using a topographic map, mark the location of the
proposed crossing site on the map with a circle (See
figure 6-2).
Highlight the watercourse including all tributaries
upstream of the location. Mark small dots on the
high points along both sides of the watercourse (See
figure 6-3).
Connect the dots around the watercourse moving in
a clockwise fashion. The line should cross contours at
right angles as much as possible. Delineation is
complete when the area is enclosed (See figure 6-4).
Using a Planimeter or Dot Grid, measure the outlined
area on the map to determine the drainage area
upstream of the crossing.
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NOTE: Mapping software such as Arc GIS,
Map Info or other software can also be utilized
to delineate drainage area.
2015
Figure 6-3 Topographic Map – identifying
high points of elevation surrounding the
watercourse
Figure 6-2 Topographic Map of Watercourse
Crossing Site Identified
Figure 6-4 Delineation of the drainage area
above crossing site
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6.4.2
Calculating the Waterway Opening
The waterway opening represents the minimum
end area of the bridge required for a crossing
location. It is calculated by measuring the rise and
span from the crossing location.
EXAMPLE 6-3
CALCULATING DESIGN FLOW
What is the design flow (Q) for a drainage area (A)
equaling 1500 ha?
Convert to km2
Design Flow (Q)
(m3 / sec)
= 1500 ha/100
= 15.0 km2
= 1.25 x 15.0 km2
= 18.75 m3/sec
The design flow for a 1500 ha area is 18.75 m3/ sec.
Maximum Design Velocity is the maximum flow
velocity a bridge or open bottom culvert can
withstand and not reduce the life of the structure.
Maximum Design Velocity is the maximum flow
velocity a bridge or open bottom culvert can
withstand and not reduce the life of the structure.
The formula for calculating water velocity is:
Water velocity
= Design Flow (Q)
Waterway Opening (a)
In Example 6-4, the calculations indicate that the
proposed bridge size is large enough to meet the
hydraulic capacity required to pass a peak flow with
a 100 year return period. This may not, however, be
the minimum bridge size that should be used.
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Rise (R) is measured from the bed of the
watercourse to the underside of the stringers of a
bridge.
Span (S) is measured as the horizontal distance
between the abutments.
Waterway Opening (a) is defined as the crosssectional area under an open bottom culvert or
bridge available for the passage of water.
The formula for calculating waterway opening is:
Waterway Opening (a) = R x S
6.4.3
Verifying Bridge Size - Does it meet
the requirements?
The maximum acceptable design velocity passing
under a bridge is 1.8 m / sec (6 ft / sec). If the
maximum velocity exceeds the acceptable limit, the
end area of the bridge must be increased.
EXAMPLE 6-4 CALCULATING WATER VELOCITY
What is the water velocity for a site with a calculated
design flow of 14.25 m3/s? The span measures 4.1 m
and the rise is 4 m.
Waterway Opening (m2) =
Area (a)
=
=
Water velocity (v, m/s) =
rise x span
4.1 m x 4 m
16.4 m2
Q
A
= 14.25 m3/s
16.4 m2
= 0.86 m/s
A water velocity of 0.86 m/s is less than the
maximum acceptable limit of 1.8 m/s.
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Before finalizing the bridge size in the prescribed
submission, the bridge design must take into account
the existing conditions at the crossing site by
considering the following factors:



FISH PASSAGE
At all times during the construction period at least
one-third of the channel cross section must remain
open to maintain fish passage.
The design must provide sufficient span (width)
to prevent ice blockage.
6.6
The rise (height) must provide sufficient
clearance to keep the roadbed free from flood
waters which may overtop the structure during
period of high flow.
The rise (height) must provide for sufficient
clearance for navigation, if required. An increase
in the rise of 120 cm (48 in) above the high water
mark is suggested.
If the bridge design does not meet the required
hydraulic capacity or any of these preceding factors
exist at the proposed crossing location, the bridge
size must be increased by adjusting either the rise or
the span. In cases where the waterway opening
under the bridge must be dramatically increased, the
economics of the construction may result in choosing
another crossing location.
6.4.4
Bridge Length
Under Notification, the following applies to
determining the length of the bridge:

6.5
2015
The length must be equal to or exceed the width
of the watercourse at the crossing site.

The span must not exceed 15 m in length.

As a minimum the abutments must be placed at
the shoulder of the watercourse.

The bridge must not require piers or other
instream intermediate structural supports.
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NEXT STEPS
After the type of structure has been selected and the
size of structure, the following actions could be
completed:
o Return to the field to layout and mark the site
for installation (at a minimum, mark the
location of the structure inlet and the outlet
and the centre line of the abutment or footing).
o Provide information to installer with instruction
on how to follow the marked layout.
6.7
TIMING OF INSTALLATION
All instream activity, including permanent bridge
construction, will be carried out from June 1st to
September 30th of each year preferably under low
flow conditions.
The construction area should be kept to a minimum
in an effort to prevent any unnecessary
environmental problems.
Note: Bridge abutment work and associated
work below the ordinary high water mark
(OHWM) must be completed by September 30,
however work at the site may extend beyond
September 30 so long as the watercourse is able
to flow freely and any work below the OHWM
has been completed.
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7
impact to the watercourse from a temporary
crossing.
TEMPORARY BRIDGES
Temporary
crossings are
constructed or
prefabricated structures that provide access across
the watercourse for a limited period of time. They
are generally used:

to provide heavy equipment with working access
to a crossing under construction;

to maintain traffic flow for the general public
while an existing structure is being repaired or
replaced; and

to provide temporary access
watercourse for short term use.
7.1
across
a
7.2
Temporary bridges should not be left in place longterm because the waterway opening is typically
designed for a limited period of time, during normal
flow conditions outside the spring freshet, and the
construction materials may not be appropriate for a
permanent crossing. They are often constructed
from untreated timbers which may collapse due to
deterioration if left in place.
Temporary bridges should be used instead of
temporary culverts because their installation results
in minimal impact to aquatic habitat and disturbance
to the bed and banks of the watercourse. They also
have the least potential of creating a barrier to fish
migration.
Temporary crossings are designed to accommodate
peak flows, but only those expected to occur during
the period the crossing is required which must not
include the spring freshet period. In Nova Scotia
temporary crossing can be installed without an
Approval or Notification if they are installed in a
manner that does not impact the watercourse or
water flow. The following sections outline the
expected conditions to be met in order to reduce the
CONSTRUCTION
The conditions placed on construction activities are
influenced by the time of year during which the
crossing is to be installed and the length of time that
the crossing will be in use. The installation and
maintenance of the crossing must be given the same
environmental considerations as a permanent
crossing.

Hydraulic design for temporary structures is
based on the 1:2 year storm event based on the
average flows for the period of time that the
structure is to be installed; if the minimum
criterion outlined below is not sufficient to allow
the waters of the 1:2 year rainfall event, then
additional clearance will be required between
the deck and surface of water

No disturbance of the bed or banks of the
watercourse is to occur.

The bridge must completely span the
watercourse with the sills or abutments placed
back from the top of bank a minimum of 1 metre.

Sill logs used to support temporary bridges shall
be placed on firm, stable ground outside of the
watercourse bed.

Place sill log(s) parallel to the watercourse, at
least 1 m back from the edge of the bank(s) of
the watercourse, to found the stringers on. Sill
logs should be at least 4 m long and have a
minimum diameter of 250 mm.

Bridges composed of a single sill log on each side
of the watercourse must have spacers attached
PLANNING CONSIDERATIONS
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to the underside of the stringers to maintain the
span between the sill logs.



Structure backfill material and fill for the
roadbed is to be clean coarse granular aggregate
material, durable, non-ore-bearing, nonwatercourse derived and non-toxic to aquatic
life.

Erosion and sedimentation control methods
must be used to ensure silt or other harmful
materials or substances are not discharged into
any watercourse.
The structure shall not touch the water surface
during operation and must be capable of
carrying the intended loads.
The deck height shall be a minimum of 250 mm
above the bank height and there shall be at least
450 mm between the water surface and the
bottom of the bridge at the time of installation.
7.3

The structure must be lifted in place, rather than
dragged, and must be removed in the same
manner.

Approach roads on both sides of the crossing
must be stabilized against erosion by using brush
mats or clean granular material unless bedrock is
suitable to provide protection from rutting.

Stabilization should extend back at least 30
metres on either side of the crossing.

Bridge decks must be fully enclosed and kept
free of erodible soil.

Any soil on the deck must be removed in a
manner to ensure it will not enter the
watercourse.

The width of the structure shall not exceed one
lane.

Machine work is to be conducted from the
watercourse banks and machinery is not
permitted to enter the watercourse unless
otherwise approved in writing by the Minister or
Administrator.
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2015
TEMPORARY BRIDGE REMOVAL
When the temporary structure is no longer needed,
the deck of the structure and approach materials
must be removed from around the watercourse,
such that the riparian area closely resembles its preconstruction cross-section and all exposed erodible
soil stabilized against erosion either by rip-rapping,
hydro-seeding or seeding by conventional means
and blanketing with straw/hay mulch.
 Clean off the bridge surface and dispose of
material in an area where it will not migrate back
to the watercourse.

Completely remove the deck of the crossing
structure and all construction materials from the
crossing location, except the sill logs or
abutment material.

Sill Logs and any other abutment material shall
remain undisturbed during and after removal.
The removal of abutments and sill will cause
more damage than leaving them embedded.

Stabilize the approaches and the banks
immediately upon removal with rock, hydroseeding or hay mulch.

Use sediment and erosion control measures on
the approaches.
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8
2015
EROSION PROTECTION –
CALCULATING RIP-RAP SIZE
Erosion protection materials must be installed below
the thalweg of a watercourse, sized based on the
calculated velocity of the stream (see Table 8-1) and
installed to minimum thickness of 1.5 times the
maximum stone size.
Table 8-1 Riprap Sizing
Class 1
Class 1
1:100 year flow velocity up to and including 3 m At least 70% of the rip-rap must be between 0.3 m and 0.45 m
per second
Class 2
Class 2
1:100 year flow velocity greater than 3 m per At least 70% of the rip-rap must be between 0.3 m and 0.75m
second and up to 4 m per second
Class 3
Class 3
1:100 year flow velocity above and including 4 m At least 70% of the rip-rap must be between 0.5m and 1.2m
per second
8.1 Determining Water Velocity
In order to determine the size and quantity of
material required to do bank stabilization with riprap or the strength of materials required to build a
retaining wall, the velocity of the water must be
determined.
The watershed drainage area must be delineated
above the point where the stabilization is to take
place.
Design Flow is calculated using the drainage area as
follows:
“A” = Drainage area
“Q” = Design Flow or discharge (see Example 8-1)
Jan-15
Cross-sectional area of a watercourse
Cross-sectional area (a) is calculated from the
measurement of the width of the channel (span) and
the depth of the channel (rise). See figure 8-1.
EXAMPLE 8-1
Calculating Design Flow
What is the design flow (Q) for a drainage area (A)
equaling 312 ha (as determined in figure 5-4)?
Convert to km2 = 312 ha/100 = 3.12 km2
Design Flow (Q m3/s) = 1.25 x 3.12 km2
= 3.9 m3/s
3
The Design Flow is 3.9 m /s
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Water velocity
Water velocity is calculated using the design flow and
the waterway opening. See Example 8-2.
Figure 8-1 Cross-sectional area of watercourse
EXAMPLE 8-2
CALCULATING WATER VELOCITY
What is the water velocity for a site with a calculated design flow of 3.9 m3/s? The span measures 4.1 m and
the rise is 1.5 m?
Waterway Opening (m2) = rise x span
End Area (a)
= 1.5m x 4m
= 6.15 m2
Water velocity (v, m/s) = Q/ a
= 3.9 m3/s
6.15 m2
= 0.63 m/s
A water velocity of 0.63 m/s requires 70% of the rip-rap to be between 200 and 450 mm in size for rip-rap
erosion protection.
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9
WATER CONTROL MEASURES
WHEN WORKING IN A
WATERCOURSE
A Nova Scotia Watercourse Alteration Sizer may be
involved in the planning and selection of the most
appropriate water control measures for the site
conditions and type of crossing structure. All work in
a watercourse must be completed in isolation of
water flow to avoid sedimentation of the
watercourse. Keeping the work area isolated from
water flow also creates a work area where
excavation and construction can be completed
properly.
Construction activities within and immediately
adjacent to the channel or a watercourse must be
isolated from water flow in an effort to reduce the
impact of silt and fines on water quality affecting
aquatic life and other users. Water control measures
are to be temporary to allow the work to proceed
while minimizing impacts to the aquatic
environment. This can be done with the use of
cofferdams, temporary diversions and dam and
pump around techniques.
9.1
SIZING REQUIREMENT
Cofferdams must be of sufficient height and strength
to hold back the bank full velocity of a 1:2 year
rainfall event.
The design and construction of temporary diversions
and dam and pump methods should also withstand
1:2 year return flow and velocity.
9.2
COFFERDAMS
When cofferdams are used to isolate the work area
from flowing water (see figure 9.1):
1. As much of the channel as possible should
remain open at all times to allow unrestricted
water flow and fish passage. At least one-third
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2015
of the cross-sectional area of the channel must
remain open at all times.
2. Cofferdams should be constructed of nonerodible material to prevent washout of the
structure which may result in downstream
deposition and siltation.
3. Cofferdams should be of sufficient height and
strength to prevent overtopping or collapse as a
result of sudden increases in water levels.
4. They must be constructed tightly to prevent or
reduce the amount of seepage into the work
area.
5. Cofferdams should consist of: sheet piling or a
layer of 6 mil plastic sandwiched between an
inner wall of in situ earth fill and an outer wall of
either rocks, sandbags, or a steel H-beam
attached to the bottom of a sheet of plywood.
Sheet metal or wood panel cofferdams are
preferred to construction with till or pit run
material as they can provide a tighter structure
and do not create problems of siltation and
erosion. Sandbags filled with peastone are also
preferred as they can be removed easily.
6. No excavation may be carried out inside the
cofferdam or sediment filtering curtain until the
cofferdam/curtain is completely closed.
7. Water pumped from inside the cofferdam should
be pumped into a settling pond, behind a silt
filtering medium, or onto an adjacent vegetated
area sufficient in size to filter any water
returning to the watercourse, such that the
concentration of suspended solids in the
watercourse does not increase more than 25
mg/litre above background levels.
8. The cofferdam material must be completely
removed immediately upon completion of all
work in the wetted portion of the watercourse
and the watercourse substrate shall be restored
to closely resemble pre-installation grades and
profiles.
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9. If pier(s) are constructed in the wetted portion of
the watercourse where it is not possible to build
a cofferdam, a floating sediment barrier
anchored to the bottom with a medium that
9.3
TEMPORARY DIVERSIONS
When constructing a temporary plastic or rock lined
diversion:
1. Design to accommodate the peak seasonal flows
for the time period the diversion will be in place.
2. The diversion channel must not be any longer
than absolutely necessary to efficiently
accomplish the planned project and shall be
excavated from the downstream end in isolation
of water flow, see figure 9.2.
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2015
readily conforms to the substrate profile, should
be placed around the work area.
3. Excavate a temporary channel parallel to, and as
close as possible to the existing stream channel,
working from the downstream end to the
upstream point of diversion.
4. Line the temporary channel with plastic and
secure with rock. Stake the plastic into place at
the top of the channel side slopes, stabilization,
remove first the downstream then the upstream
cofferdam from the watercourse.
5. The diversion channel should be restored as
closely as possible to pre-project conditions.
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9.4
DAM AND PUMP
Stemming the flow upstream of the in-channel work
area and pumping the flow around the site to a point
immediately downstream of the work area (see
figure 9.3):
1. An impermeable cofferdam must be constructed
to block the flow upstream and downstream, if
necessary to prevent back flooding, of the
construction site.
2. Arrangements must be made to ensure the flow
is constantly pumped around the site until the
installation is completed.
3. Fill used in construction of a cofferdam shall
consist of only clean, sediment free materials.
4. Cofferdams should be of sufficient height and
strength to prevent overtopping or collapse as a
result of sudden increases in water levels.
5. Establish a water pumping system to transfer the
natural water flow directly downstream of the
work site.
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2015
6. Upstream of the installation site, locate the
intake pipe where stream elevation is lowest.
Movement of substrate material in the
streambed to accommodate the placement of
the intake pipe shall be done by hand.
7. The use of the pump should be done so that it
avoids the killing of fish. The pump must be
screened to prevent the entrainment of fish (fish
is drawn into a water intake) and the screen
must be carefully monitored for impinged fish
(fish is held in contact with the intake screen).
The pump might need to be temporarily turned
off long enough to allow fish to free themselves
from impingement on the screen. See figure 9.4
for temporary screening.
8. The discharge hose should be located in areas
with stable streambed conditions. Use material
such as plywood, sandbags or rock to stabilize
the area where stable streambed conditions are
not available. Stabilization of the discharge area
will prevent unnecessary scouring and erosion
problems as a result of increased water volume
and velocity.
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9. On the downstream side of the work site,
construct a second cofferdam above the
discharge area. This cofferdam is intended to
prevent the movement of sediment from the
work site into the watercourse.
10. Remove any fish trapped in the isolated area of
the existing stream and relocate migrating fish
upstream of the cofferdam and non-migrating
fish downstream of the cofferdam. A license to
collect and move fish may be obtained from DFO
prior to the fish rescue. Please contact DFO
through the National Online Licensing System at
http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/index-eng.htm.
11. Pump any residual water from the isolated area
of the stream channel into a designated
treatment area such as a settling pond behind
filter fabric dam or into a vegetated area. Once
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2015
filtered, the water can be released downstream
of the lower cofferdam.
12. Following culvert installation, remove first the
downstream then the upstream cofferdam from
the watercourse. Restore / stabilize any soil
disturbance along the stream banks or within the
work area.
13. The water pumping system must be continuous
whenever there is sufficient water to facilitate
pumping until the installation is complete. This
system must never be left unattended.
14. A complete back-up system should be kept onsite at all times to accommodate any increases in
water flow and as a precautionary measure in
case of breakdowns.
15. After completion of instream work, all materials
must be removed from the watercourse.
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Figure 9-4 Temporary Intake Screen
Fisheries and Oceans Canada. 1985. Technical Advice for Temporary Fish Screens
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2015
10 EROSION AND
SEDIMENTATION CONTROL
A Nova Scotia Watercourse Alteration Sizer may be
involved in the planning and selection of the most
appropriate erosion and sedimentation control
measures for the entire worksite not only as part of
the watercourse alteration.
Soil is subject to natural weathering and erosion.
Natural, or geologic, erosion by water, wind, and ice
has been occurring at a relatively slow rate since the
Earth was formed. Some shore and stream channel
erosion is natural. Natural erosion occurs slowly,
shaping the landscape century by century,
maintaining an environmental balance.
Any soil disturbance big or small and especially near
water can cause major issues. Therefore design
principles should be used. Construction activities
and large earth-moving projects accelerate erosion
dramatically, mainly by exposing large areas of soil to
rain and running water. If this runoff is not properly
treated, the result is often serious siltation of nearby
watercourses. The consequences are degradation or
destruction of fish and wildlife habitat, and water
being less useful for fresh water supplies, navigation
and recreation. For more information refer to Nova
Scotia Environment’s Erosion and Sedimentation
Control Handbook for Construction Sites at
http://www.novascotia.ca/nse/surface.water/docs/
erosionsedimentcontrolhandbook.construction.pdf.
IT'S A FACT
The major cause of soil erosion and sedimentation in
any project is caused by road construction, not
necessarily land clearing.
10.1 DESIGN PRINCIPLES
If basic principles for prevention of surface erosion
and sedimentation are considered at the design
stages of the project, potential problems will be
minimized. These principles are as follows:
1) Limit the size of the disturbed area.
2) Limit the time the disturbed area is exposed.
3) Plan construction to coincide with the low flow
period from June 1 to September 30 of any year.
4) Retain existing vegetation wherever feasible.
Erosion is minimal on a surface covered with
natural vegetation.
5) Encourage permanent re-vegetation of exposed
areas and replant riparian areas above the bank
full width of the watercourse to restore fish
habitat whenever possible.
6) Keep clean water clean by diverting upland
surface runoff away from exposed areas. Dykes
and constructed swales may be used to divert
runoff.
7) Keep the velocity of surface runoff low. This can
be accomplished by limiting the slope and
gradient of disturbed areas; covering erodible
soils with mulch, vegetation or rip-rap; and
constructing check dams or similar devices in
constructed swales and ditches.
8) All exposed soils must be covered with grass
seed and mulch and all stockpiled soil should be
covered with polyethylene or contain stockpiles
with a sediment control fence or mulch the
stockpile as a temporary solution.
9) Exposed soils must be managed until all erodible
soils are permanently re-vegetated or stabilized
with geotextile or rock.
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10) Silt-laden water must not be pumped directly
into a watercourse. It must be pumped into a
settling pond, behind a silt filtering medium, or
onto an adjacent vegetated area sufficient in size
to filter any water returning to the watercourse,
such that the concentration of suspended solids
in the watercourse does not increase more than
25 mg/litre above background levels.
Erosion and sediment control plans need to be
developed especially for large projects. The plan
should be guided by the following basic approach:
site evaluation, erosion control planning
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2015
incorporated into the work schedule, sediment
control and site management.
It is essential to plan and place sediment control
devices before the construction phase of a
watercourse alteration begins in order to intercept
and trap sediment before it reaches the
watercourse. These devices must remain in place
until permanent vegetation has been established or
the site is otherwise stabilized.
For information on erosion and sediment control
measures refer to the Erosion and Sediment Control
Handbook
for
Construction
Sites
at:
http://www.novascotia.ca/nse/surface.water/docs/
erosionsedimentcontrolhandbook.construction.pdf.
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nor repair of any existing structures. This
includes decking and stringers.
11 MATERIALS USED IN
WATERCOURSE
Only materials which will not negatively impact
water quality may be used in watercourses or in
close proximity to watercourses.
11.1 FRESH CONCRETE CAN BE TOXIC TO
AQUATIC LIFE
Fresh/wet/uncured concrete must not come into
contact with waterflow in the watercourse or in
contact with water that will flow into a watercourse.


Concrete used in a watercourse that has not
been isolated from water flow must be pre-cast
and cured away from the watercourse. Concrete
blocks must be cured for at least one week
before using at a crossing site.
Concrete used in a watercourse that has been
isolated from water flow must be permitted to
cure long enough prior to releasing water flow so
that it does not contaminate the water after the
flow is released. Concrete must be cured for at
least one week prior to form removal.
2015

The following wood materials can be used below
the ordinary high water mark of a watercourse:
o
Untreated rot-resistant timber, such as
hemlock, tamarack, juniper, or cedar;
Pressure treated Alkaline Copper Quaternary (ACQ)
or Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA) treated wood,
if treated in accordance with CAN/CSA-O80 SERIES08 (R2012) and as described in the Wood
Preservation Specification Guide (Ottawa, ON. Wood
Preservation Canada, 2014) as updated from time to
time.
http://www.woodpreservation.ca/index.php/en/sp
ecifiers-guide
Note: It is recommended to avoid the use of
wood pressure treated with chromated copper
arsenate (CCA) (i.e. wolmanized) below the
ordinary high water mark of watercourses.

Excess, unused concrete must not be permitted
to enter a watercourse.
Remember, a rainfall event can happen at any
time, washing over construction materials and
carrying toxic substances to nearby
watercourses.

Wash water contaminated with concrete must
not enter a watercourse.
11.3 ROCK MATERIAL
11.2 TREATED WOOD
Some treated wood (wood containing preservatives)
cannot be used in watercourses:

Lumber
treated
with
creosote
or
pentachlorophenol (PCP) must not be used in
the construction, modification, or maintenance
of any part of a structure.

The use of wood treated with creosote is not
permitted for use in any part of the structure,
Jan-15
Rock material used in a watercourse or next to a
watercourse must be clean coarse granular
aggregate material, durable, non-ore-bearing, nonwatercourse derived and non-toxic to aquatic life.
Material must not be sulphide bearing aggregate.
In some cases there may be a requirement for a
mixture of rock with a percentage of fines (20 %, with
no clays) when constructing an energy dissipation
pool for culvert installations or a new watercourse
channel. This rock mixture is to be “washed”
thoroughly prior to releasing the watercourse into
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the energy dissipation pool or channel. See Section
3.8 (new channel) and 5.6 (energy dissipation pool).
Rock must not be sulphide bearing aggregate. Some
rock, commonly referred to as slate or shale, can be
sulphide bearing and can be acid generating if
disturbed and exposed to air and water. Slate and
shale rock can be tested to determine its acid
producing potential.
In subsection 36 (3) of the federal Fisheries Act,
it is an offence to deposit, or permit the deposit
of a deleterious substance of any type in water
frequented by fish or in any place under any
conditions where the deleterious substance or
any other deleterious substance that results
from the deposit of the deleterious substance
may enter any such water.
WHY RISK IT
Follow the requirements for the drying and curing
time of pressure treated wood and concrete to
reduce the potential for serious water quality
problems.
Remember, a rainfall event can happen at any
time, washing over construction materials and
carrying toxic substances to nearby watercourses.
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12 AUDITING
All watercourse alterations are subject to audit at
any time.
Audits will be undertaken by inspectors representing
Nova Scotia Environment, Fisheries and Oceans
Canada and Environment Canada.
Audits may be completed before, during or after
installation/construction.
Inspectors will be auditing all aspects of a
watercourse alteration including, but not limited to,
installation / construction, stabilization and
maintenance follow-up. Inspectors will also be
auditing the planning and design of crossing
structures and other watercourse alterations.
2015
Failure to comply with regulated requirements may
result in an investigation and possible prosecution, a
directive or order to complete mitigation, or may
result in suspension or cancellation of a certificate of
qualification.
Regulated requirements include:
o
Environment Act
o
Activities Designation Regulations
o
Approval
and
Regulations
o
Nova Scotia Watercourse Alterations Standard
Notification
Procedure
It is important for notifiers to maintain all paperwork
pertaining to the planning and design of crossing
structures and other watercourse alterations.
Keeping documents that show you have followed the
Nova Scotia Watercourse Alterations Standard is
important. If an audit is conducted, a notifier may be
required to provide this information to an inspector
with Nova Scotia Environment. Documents to be
kept include, but are not limited to, the following:
o
determination of drainage areas for crossing
sites such as culverts and bridges;
o
calculations used to determine the type and
size of crossing structure;
o
for professional engineers, design of culvert
crossing showing it conforms with the
Guidelines for the design of fish passage for
culverts in Nova Scotia, Fisheries and Oceans
Canada, Fisheries Protection Program,
Maritimes Region (as updated from time to
time) for culverts in a watercourse with slope
greater than 0.5% but less than 8%.
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13 GLOSSARY OF TERMS
Foreslope: The side of a ditch which is part of the
roadbed.
Abutment: A wall or mass supporting the end of a
bridge, arch or span, and sustaining the pressure of
the abutting width.
Head: The height of water above any point or place
of reference.
Backfill: Fill used to replace material removed
during construction of a structure such as a bridge
or culvert.
Buffer Zone: A natural boundary of standing
timber and / or vegetation left between
watercourses and road right-of-ways or harvest
block boundaries.
Headwall: A retaining wall at the inlet and / or outlet
of a culvert serving as protection against scoring and
erosion of the foreslope.
Hydraulic: Pertaining to fluid in motion and the
mechanics of that motion.
In isolation of water flow: Separated from the
wetted portion of the channel.
Cofferdam: A temporary water barrier constructed
around an excavation to exclude water so that
work in or adjacent to a watercourse can be carried
out in the dry.
Interstitial: Small narrow spaces between substrate.
Design Flow: The discharge which a structure is
designed to accommodate without exceeding the
adopted design constraints
Navigation Protection Act: an Act, administered by
the Federal Ministry of Transport, developed to
protect the public right of navigation in a navigable
watercourse.
Discharge: The flow rate of a fluid at a given point in
time expressed as volume per unit of time, such as
cubic meters per second, gallons per minute, etc.
Drainage Area: The area of land draining to the point
along the watercourse where the proposed crossing
is to take place.
Dyke: An impervious bank of earth constructed to
confine water or another liquid from entering or
leaving an area of land.
Erodible: Susceptible to erosion.
Erosion: The detachment of soil particles and loss of
surface material from the earth's surface by the
action of gravity, ice, water, wind or as a result of
other natural occurrences or man-induced events.
Fish Screen: A screen set across a water intake,
outlet or pipe to prevent the entrance or exit of fish.
Jan-15
Maximum Design Velocity: The maximum flow
velocity a bridge or open bottom culvert can
withstand and not reduce the life of the structure.
Nomograph: A graph with three lines graduated so a
straight line intersecting any two of the lines at their
known values intersects the third at the value of the
related variable.
Peak: Maximum instantaneous stage or discharge of
a watercourse in flood
Peak Flow: The maximum instantaneous value of
discharge over a specified period of time.
Pier: On bridges of more than one span, the
intermediate supports between abutments; a
structure extending out into a body of water from
shore used as a landing place for boats.
Piling: A columbar timber, steel or reinforced
concrete post that has been driven or jacked into the
ground or bed of a watercourse to support a load or
resist lateral pressure.
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Pool: A deep, slow moving, quiet portion of a
watercourse.
Riffle: Shallow water extending across the bed of a
flowing watercourse with rapid current and with
surface flow broken into waves by submerged
obstructions such as gravel and cobble. (A section of
watercourse in which the water flow is rapid and
usually shallower than sections upstream or
downstream. Natural watercourses often consist of
a succession of pool and riffles (or steps).)
Rise: The distance from the bed of the watercourse
to the underside of the stringers of a bridge, or the
vertical dimension of an arched pipe.
Salmonid: Of or relating to the salmonid family of
fishes, including salmon, trout and char.
Sedimentation: The deposition of fine particles,
such as sand, silt and clay, which have been eroded
from exposed soils and transported by water.
Seeps: A place where ground water flows slowly to
the surface and often forming a saturated soil area;
a small spring.
Settling Pond: Artificial ponds designed to collect
suspended sediment and separate suspended
particles from water by gravity settling.
Silt Fence: Specially designed synthetic fabrics
fastened on supporting posts which are designed to
efficiently control and trap sediment runoff from
construction sites.
Span: The horizontal distance between the
abutments or supports of a bridge.
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2015
Spring: Any place where a concentrated, natural
discharge of groundwater issues forth as a definite
flow onto the surface of the land or into a body of
water.
Stream: A body of running water moving under the
influence of gravity to lower levels in a narrow,
clearly defined channel.
Stream
or
watercourse
morphology:
Characteristics of a stream or watercourse.
Temporary Bridge: A portable structure used for
vehicular watercourse crossings that shall remain in
place for a period of time (ie., not permanent)
usually not exceeding one summer season.
Thalweg: The line joining the lowest points
lengthwise of the bed or a watercourse defining its
deepest channel.
Upstream: Towards the sources or against the
current of a watercourse.
Waterway Opening: The cross- sectional area under
a bridge available for the passage of water.
Wetland: Any lands commonly referred to as
marshes, swamps, fens, bogs and shallow water
areas that are saturated with water long enough to
promote wetland or aquatic processes which are
indicated by poorly drained soil, vegetation and
various kinds of biological activity which are adapted
to a wet environment and includes fresh and
saltwater marshes.
Wingwall: A lateral wall built onto an abutment
serving to retain earth in the embankment.
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14 REFERENCE DOCUMENTS
Adamson, B. and A. Harris. 1992. Sediment Control Plans: Reducing Sediment Concerns at Water
Crossings. Northwestern Ontario Forest Technology Development Unit, Tech. Note TN-20.
Ammand, A. and A. L. Stone. 1991. Method for the Comparative Evaluation of Nontidal Wetlands in
New Hampshire. Appendix E: Interpretation of Topographic Maps and Watershed Delineation
Procedures. New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, Concord, NH.
Atlantic Industries Limited. Sales Pamphlets. Corrugated Steel Pipe; Bolt-A-Bin; Bolt-A-Plate.
Atlantic Industries Limited. Personal Communication. Roger Leger, CET, Maritime Sales
Manager.
Blinn, C.R., et al. 1998. Temporary Stream and Wetland Crossing Options for Forest Management.
United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service, North Central Research Station, General
Technical Report NC-202.
Braithwaite, G.C., P. Eng. 1992. Woodlot Roads Stream Crossings. Cooperation for Forestry
Development, Nova Scotia
Caracristi, H., and C. Smith. Fisheries and Oceans Canada. 2015. Guidelines for
the design of fish passage for culverts in Nova Scotia. Fisheries Protection
Program, Maritimes Region
Douglas, Robert A. Planning When Constructing Forest Roads and Stream Crossings,
University of New Brunswick. Workshop Proceedings "Maintaining Water Quality in Woodlands
Operations". August, 1999. Atlantic Branch of the Canadian Woodlands Forum.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada. 1985. Technical Advice for Temporary Fish Screens.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada. 1994. Technical Advice for Fish Screens.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada. 1999. Fact Sheets Prepared by Habitat.
http://www.nwafc.nf.ca/sealane/References/factsheet index.htm
Government of Canada. Fisheries Act. (R.S.C., 1985, C.F-14)
Government of Canada. Species at Risk Act. (S.C. 2002, C.29.).
Government of British Columbia. October 1996. Forest Practices Code. Community Watershed
Jan-15
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Certification Manual for Watercourse Alteration Sizers
2015
Guidebook. http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/TASB/LEGSREGS/FPC/FPCGUIDE/WATRSHED/watertoc.htm
Government of British Columbia. August 1995. Forest Practices Code: Forest Road Engineering
Guidebook.
http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/tasb/legs regs/fpc/fpcguide/road/FRE-TOC.htm
Government of British Columbia. A Working Draft for 1997 / 1998. Forest Practices Code:
Stream
Crossing
Guidebook
for
Fish
Streams.
http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/tasb/legsregs/fpc/fpcguide/stream/str%2Dtoc.htm
Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, Department of Environment. May 1986. Chapter 3:
Environmental Guidelines for Watercourse Crossings. Water Resources Division, Water
Investigations Branch.
Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, Department of Environment and Lands. January 1989.
Chapter 4: Environmental Guidelines for Bridges. Water Resources Division, Water Investigations
Branch.
Harland, J.A. and D.H. Waller. 1996. Planning for Erosion and Sediment Control. Centre for Water
Resources Studies, CWRS Internal Report No. 96-2.
J.D. Irving, Limited. Personal Communication. Mike Boyd.
Maine Department of Environmental Protection. March 1991. Maine Erosion and Sediment Control
Handbook for Construction: Best Management Practices.
Mead New England Forest Resources Group. Best Management Practices for Erosion Control & Water
Quality Protection in Northern New England Forestry Operations. Mead, Paper Division, Maine.
New Brunswick Department of the Environment and Local Government, January 2012.
Watercourse and Wetland Alteration Technical Guidelines.
New Brunswick Department of Justice and Consumer Affairs. Acts and Regulations.
http://www.gnb.ca/0062/acts/index-e.asp
New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources and Energy / Department of Environment and
Local Government. December 2001. Proposed Provincial Wetlands Conservation Policy.
New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources and Energy. May 1994. Forest Management
Manual for Crown Lands.
New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources and Energy. July 2000. Nuisance Wildlife Policy,
Appendix B.
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2015
New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources and Energy, Forest Extensions Branch.
Environmental Guidelines Manual for Watercourse Alterations on Private Woodlots.
New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources and Energy, Forest Extensions Branch. Module 13,
Private Woodlots and the Clean Water Act.
New Brunswick Department of Transportation, August 1998. Environmental Field Guide.
New Brunswick Department of Transportation. May 1998. Environmental Protection Plan for New
Brunswick Department of Transportation.
New Brunswick Department of Transportation. Personal Communication. Phil Hans.
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16 CONTACTS
Nova Scotia Environment – Compliance Division
Western Region
Area
Contact
Kentville Office:
Kings & Annapolis Counties
136 Exhibition Street
Kentville, NS
B4N 4E5
Phone: 902-679-6086
Fax: 902-679-6186
Bridgewater Office:
Lunenburg & Queens Counties
60 Logan Road
Bridgewater, NS
B4V 3J8
Phone: 902-543-4685
Fax: 902-527-5480
Yarmouth Office:
Digby, Yarmouth & Shelburne Counties
55 Starrs Rd. Unit 5
Yarmouth, NS
B5A 2T2
Phone: 902-742-8985
Fax: 902-742-7796
Central Region
Area
Contact
Bedford Office:
HRM, East Hants, West Hants
30 Damascus Road, Suite 115
Bedford Commons, Bedford NS
B4A 0C1
Phone: 902-424-7773
Fax: 902-424-0597
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Northern Region
Area
Contact
Amherst Office:
Cumberland County
71 East Victoria St.
Amherst, NS
B4H 1X7
Phone: 902-667-6205
Fax: 902-667-6214
Antigonish Office:
Antigonish & Guysborough Counties
155 Main Street, Suite 205
Antigonish, NS
B2G 2B6
Phone: 902-863-7389
Fax: 902-863-7411
Truro Office:
Colchester County
36 Inglis Place
Truro, NS
B2N 4B4
Phone: 902-893-5880
Fax: 902-893-0282
Pictou Office:
Pictou County
20 Pumphouse Road
R. R. #3
New Glasgow, Nova Scotia
B2H 5C6
Phone: 902-396-4194
Fax: 902-396-4765
Eastern Region
Area
Contact
Port Hawkesbury Office:
Richmond Co.
Southern Inverness
Town of Mulgrave
Community of Auld's Cove
218 MacSween Street, Suite 12
Port Hawkesbury, NS
B9A 2J9
Phone: 902-625-0791
Fax: 902-625-3722
Sydney Office:
CBRM
Victoria Co.
Northern Inverness
Jan-15
1030 Upper Prince Street, Suite 2
Sydney, NS
B1P 5P6
Phone: 902-563-2100
Fax: 902-563-2387
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Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Area
Contact
Nova Scotia
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Fisheries Protection Program
Maritimes Region
Attention: Referrals Secretariat
P.O. Box 1006
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
B2Y 4A2
Phone: 902-426-3909
Fax: 902-426-7174
E-mail: ReferralsMaritimes@dfo-mpo.gc.ca
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17 APPENDICES
APPENDIX A
NOMOGRAPHS
Corrugated Steel Circular / Pipe
 showing the determination of a culvert size using 1:1 ratio for HW/D
Concrete / Plastic Circular Pipe
 showing the determination of a culvert size using 1:1 ratio for HW/D
Corrugated Steel Pipe Arch
 showing the determination of a culvert size using 1:1 ratio for HW/D
APPENDIX B
CONVERSION TABLES
Standard CSP Pipes (Page 11-5)
Chart (Page 11-5)
APPENDIX C
Design Flow Formula Map for Nova Scotia for 1:100 Year Storm Event (Permanent Structures) (Page 11-7)
Design Flow Formula Map for Nova Scotia for 1:2 Year Storm Event (Temporary Structures) (Page 11-6)
APPENDIX D
Notification Form Guidance
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APPENDIX A NOMOGRAPHS
Data are derived from nomographs provided by the Bureau of Public Roads
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Data are derived from nomographs provided by the Bureau of Public Roads
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Data are derived from nomographs provided by the Bureau of Public Roads
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APPENDIX B
CONVERSION TABLES
Standard CSP Sizes
Inches = Milimeters
 12″ = 300
 16″ = 400
 18″ = 450
 20″ = 500
 24″ = 600
 28″ = 700
 30″ = 750
 32″ = 800
 36″ = 900
 40″ = 1000
 48″ = 1200
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Inches = Milimeters
 54″ = 1400
 60″ = 1500
 64″ = 1600
 72″ = 1800
 80″ = 2000
 86″ = 2200
 96″ = 2400
 108″ = 2700
 120″ = 3000
 132″ = 3300

144″ = 3600
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APPENDIX C
Design Flow Formula Map for Nova Scotia for 1:100 Year Storm Event
(Permanent Structures)
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APPENDIX C
Design Flow Formula Map for Nova Scotia for 1:100 Year Storm Event (Permanent
Structures)
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APPENDIX C
Design Flow Formula Map for Nova Scotia for 1:2 Year Storm Event
(Temporary Structures)
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APPENDIX C
Design Flow Formula Map for Nova Scotia for 1:2 Year Storm Event (Temporary Structures)
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Nova Scotia Environment
Notification for Designated Activities
watercourse alterations
APPENDIX
Environment
D
-
NOTIFICATION FORM
OFFICE USE ONLY
Application #
Date Rec=d (yyyy/mm/dd)
Ext. Ref. #
NSE File #
The notification form must be received by Nova Scotia Environment at least 5 days before work
commences. Work may only start after you (the notifier) have received a notification receipt from Nova
Scotia Environment.
If you provide your email address and your notification is complete, Nova Scotia Environment will aim to
send you the notification receipt by email within 5 days. If there is no email provided, Nova Scotia
Environment will aim to put the notification receipt in the mail within 5 days.
PLEASE PRINT OR TYPE. Complete sections 1, 3, 4, applicable parts of 5, and 6 or the notification will not
be accepted. Please keep a copy of your notification form. Incomplete forms will not be returned to the
notifier.
Type
notification:
New 
of
Renewed 
Amended 
If this is a renewed or amended notification, provide
previous notification #_________________________
For “Type of notification” please check one of the following boxes:
 New: if the notification is for a new activity
 Renewed: if the notification is to renew the notification for an activity that had been submitted in a
previous year. If this is the case, please indicate the previous notification number in the box that has “If
this is a renewed or amended notification, please provide notification #: ______________”
 Amended: if the notification is to amend the information provided for an activity that had previously been
submitted for notification. If this is the case, please indicate the previous notification number in the box
that has “If this is a renewed or amended notification, please provide notification #: ______________”

Note: your previous notification # will be on the Notification Receipt you received.
SECTION 1 – NOTIFIER
This section is mandatory. The notifier is the person who will receive the notification receipt.
Notifier: Are you the owner of the property where the activity will take place  ; the person with primary responsibility for
the designated activity, such as a certified watercourse alteration sizer or installer  ; an agent for owner or the person
with primary responsibility  . Please check one of the boxes to indicate who you are.
Company/Organization/Municipality
Business Number (BN) if applicable

Mr.
Ms.

First Name
Phone
Fax (
Mrs.

Professional Designation
Other:
Middle Initial
Home (
)
)
Business (
Family Name
)
E-mail Please
Ext.
Other (
)
Ext.
provide an email if you would like your receipt sent by email.
Civic/Street Address
Mailing Address (if different than Civic)
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Notification for Designated Activities
County
watercourse alterations
City/Town
Province
Postal Code
Country
SECTION 2 - NOTIFICATION CONTACT (Optional)
This is an optional section and only needs to be completed if you wish someone other than the notifier to receive
the official correspondence from NSE.
Company/Organization/Municipality
Business Number (BN) if applicable

Mr.
Ms.

First Name
Phone
Fax (
Mrs.

Professional Designation
Other:
Middle Initial
Home (
)
Business (
)
Family Name
)
E-mail Please
Ext.
Other (
)
Ext.
provide an email if an email has been provided for the Notifier.
Civic/Street Address
Mailing Address (if different than Civic)
County
City/Town
Province
Postal Code
Country
SECTION 3 - SITE/LOCATION OF ACTIVITY
This section is mandatory. Please provide all of the information about the location of the activity in the fields below.
Property Identification numbers (PID) are available at Service Nova Scotia.
1:50,000 Topographic Maps (identifying Easting and Northing) are available at Nova Scotia Environment.
Watercourse Name: If
there is no watercourse name, please provide the “Tributary to” the watercourse in the field below.
Watershed name:
Tributary to:
For help determining the watershed, please refer to
https://www.novascotia.ca/nse/water.strategy/docs/WaterStrategy_NSW
atershedMap.pdf
Site Name:
Civic/Street Address
County
Community
Property Identification # (PID)
1:50,000 Topographic Map #
Grid Reference
Easting (6)
Northing (7)
Please check you have the correct Community to match your PID. If the correct community is not provided, the notification
will be considered incomplete. You can find out your community by checking the deed for your property. If you are unsure
about the community or if you think your community has changed, please contact the Land Registry Office.
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watercourse alterations
You must provide the Easting and Northing for your alteration. You can find your Easting and Northing with a GPS, Google
Earth, or using 1:50,000 topographic map. Please refer to attached document titled UTM (Universal Transverse Mercator)
Collection for more guidance on how to find the Easting and Northing.
SECTION 4 – ACTIVITY
This section is mandatory. Please check only one box to indicate the type of watercourse alteration you are doing. Please
also check to make sure your project scope falls within the limits of what is eligible for a notification.
Please check () activity that applies. Please refer to Activities Designation Regulations to make sure the activity can
be completed under a notification, otherwise an application for approval may be required.
Watercourse alterations (work between June 1 and September 30 only)
 Bank alteration (restricted to 5 m or less; watercourse bed is not disturbed). Complete section 5A.
 Work to improve fish habitat (not to exceed 15 m; no use of vehicular machinery). Complete section 5B.
 Maintenance of structure in watercourse (does not include removal, replacement, expansion or reductions; work
done below the ordinary high water mark). Complete section 5C
 Culvert or closed bottom structure (on watercourse sloped less than 8%; watershed area not exceeding 20 km 2;
length of structure 25 m or less). Complete section 5D.
 Bridge or other open bottom structure (watercourse bed is not disturbed; bridge with maximum span 15 metres;
other open bottom structure with maximum length of 25 m and maximum span of 3600 mm). Complete section 5E.
Proposed Project Dates (yyyy/mm/dd)
You must provide projected start and end dates for the project. All work taking place under a notification must happen
between June 1 and September 30.
Start Construction Date:
End/Closure Date:
SECTION 5 - ACTIVITY DETAILS
This section is mandatory. Please complete the section that corresponds with the box checked in Section 4.
5A - All of the following information must be provided for a bank alteration in a watercourse or the notification will not be
accepted.
Purpose of bank alteration (check at least one):
 erosion protection  wharf or boat launch  water intake  other __________________
Bank Alteration: length _____m (cannot exceed 5 metres*) * if this is exceeded then you must submit an application for approval.
Information for the certified installer will be required as of October 2016.
Name of certified watercourse alteration installer (required after October 2016) ________________________________________
Phone # __________________________________ Certification # ____________________________________________
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5B - All of the following information must be provided for work to improve fish habitat in a watercourse or the notification
will not be accepted.
Description of work to improve fish habitat: Please provide a short project description including the scope of the project,
the type of installation (e.g., digger logs, rock sills, etc.) and how the work will be done (e.g., what kind of tools will be
used).
Length of watercourse alteration ____m (cannot exceed 15 m*) * if this is exceeded then you must submit an application for approval.
Information for the certified installer will be required as of October 2016.
Name of certified watercourse alteration installer (required after October 2016) ________________________________________
Phone # __________________________________ Certification # ____________________________________________
5C - All of the following information must be provided for maintenance of structures in a watercourse or the notification
will not be accepted.
Description of maintenance:____Please provide a short project description including the scope of the project and the
type of structure undergoing maintenance. Please note that any change to the size of the structure is considered a
modification and means the activity does not qualify under the “maintenance” notification category.
Information for the certified installer will be required as of October 2016.
Name of certified watercourse alteration installer (required after October 2016) ________________________________________
Phone # __________________________________ Certification # ____________________________________________
5D - All of the following information must be provided for a culvert or other closed bottomed structure, or the
notification will not be accepted.
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The Watercourse Alteration Sizer course teaches how to determine the information requested below. Please refer to the
certification training manual for guidance. All of the following information must be provided for this section.
Information about the watercourse:
Up-stream Drainage Area___________(km 2) (cannot exceed 20 km 2*)
Watercourse Slope_________% (cannot exceed 8%*)
Watercourse Velocity _________(m/s)
Watercourse Channel Width ________(m)
Watercourse Channel Depth __________(m)
Information about the construction (check one):
New construction ; Removal ; Replacement ; Expansion ; or Reduction 
Length of culvert ________(m) (cannot exceed 25 m*)
Diametre of culvert ______(mm)
Length of dissipation pool ________(m)
Width of dissipation pool _________(m)
* if this is exceeded then you must submit an application for approval.
Watercourse slope (check one):
 Culvert on a watercourse with 0.5% slope or less; or
 Culvert on a watercourse with slope between 0.5% and 8.0% (Requires a Professional Engineer to design)
You must provide the name and phone number of the certified sizer or Professional Engineer. Also provide the certification/
qualification number of the certified sizer or professional engineer.
Name of certified watercourse alteration sizer or professional engineer
Phone# _______________ Certification # ______________________________
Information for the certified installer will be required as of October 2016.
Name of certified watercourse alteration installer (required after October 2016)
Phone#__________________ Certification# _____________________________
5E - All of the following information must be provided for a bridge or other open bottomed structure or the notification
will not be accepted.
The Watercourse Alteration Sizer course teaches how to determine the information requested below. Please refer to
the certification training manual for guidance. All of the following information must be provided for this section.
Information about the watercourse:
Up-stream Drainage Area___________(km 2)
Watercourse Velocity _________(m/s)
Watercourse Channel Width ________(m)
Watercourse Channel Depth __________(m)
(cannot exceed 20 km 2*)
Information about the construction (check one):
New construction ; Removal ; Replacement ; Expansion ; or Reduction 
Check one and complete the information under the section checked:
 Bridge/concrete span;
Provide width of span _____(m) (cannot exceed 15 m*)
Or
 Pipe arch/open bottom structure
Provide width of structure _______(mm) (cannot exceed 3600 mm*)
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Provide length of structure _______(m) (cannot exceed 25 m*)
* if this is exceeded then you must submit an application for approval.
You must provide the name and phone number of the certified sizer or Professional Engineer. Also provide the
certification/ qualification number of the certified sizer or professional engineer.
Name of certified watercourse alteration sizer or professional engineer ______________________________________________
Phone # __________________________________ Certification # ____________________________________________
Information for the certified installer will be required as of October 2016.
Name of certified watercourse alteration installer (required after October 2016) ________________________________________
Phone # __________________________________ Certification # ____________________________________________
SECTION 6 – DECLARATION
This section is mandatory.
Please check one option that applies to your situation in the following statement:
You must check one of the following boxes.
 I own the site,
 I have a lease or other written agreement or option with the landowner or occupier that enables me to carry
out
the activity on the site, or
 I have the legal right or ability to carry out the activity without the consent of the landowner or occupier.
I agree that the information I have provided in this Notification, including personal information, may be disclosed to the
Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
I understand that I must provide all information about the activity, such as sketches, plans, and calculations, if requested
by Nova Scotia Environment for a compliance audit
I have read and understand the regulations and standard that applies to the activity to which the notification relates,
including the Nova Scotia Activities Designation Regulations, and the Nova Scotia Approval and Notification Procedures
Regulations.
I verify that I will carry out the activity in compliance with the Environment Act and the applicable regulations and
standard.
I agree with all of the declaration statements. You must sign and date the form. Scanned signatures will be accepted.
Notifier=s signature
Date (yyyy/mm/dd)
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UTM (Universal Transverse Mercator) Collection
UTM: Acronym for universal transverse Mercator. A projected coordinate system that divides the world into 60 north and
south zones, 6 degrees wide. http://support.esri.com/en/knowledgebase/GISDictionary/term/UTM
Nova Scotia is broken up into 3 UTM Zones, Zone 19, Zone 20 and Zone 21. The majority of the province will
fall into Zone 20. Zone 19 is a small area close to Yarmouth, Zone 21 is a small area close to Glace Bay on Cape
Breton Island. (See Zones below) The X and Y values for UTM coordinates are called
Northing and Easting. Nothing is a 6 digit number; Easting is a 7 digit number.
http://www.cccmaps.com/gps.html
There are three easy ways to collect UTM coordinates, you can use a GPS unit, Google Earth or take them directly
from a 1:50,000 topographical sheet. (NTS)
GPS Collection:
The first thing to do is enter your GPS unit’s set-up screen to set up the GPS to collect in UTM. Use your supplied
user’s manual to accomplish this. Most Garmin GPS units will follow the following procedure: (There may be
slight variations of these directions depending on which GPS you have)
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Main Menu > Setup > Scroll down to the Position Format > Scroll down to UTM Grid > select UTM UPS >
Map Datum NAD83
***Always take note of what zone you are
collecting in and write that information down****** Now any point you collect will be in a UTM format.
Google Earth:
Install Google Earth on your machine if you do not have it.
Click on the “Tools” dropdown menu and select “Options” The following window will open:
Change the default setting of Degrees, Min, Seconds to Universal Transverse Mercator in the Show Lat/Long
section of the options box(see graphic) Then click “OK”.
Depending on where you move the cursor the UTM coordinates will be displayed in the lower right hand corner
of the google maps screen. Google earth also provides you with the zone automatically depending on what part
of
the
province
the
curser
is
on.
(See
below)
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NTS Sheet (1:50,000 Topo)
Civilian UTM Grid Reference System
Horizontal lines are designated by their distance
from the equator in metres. Because Canada's
southernmost point is about 4 620 000 metres
from the equator, all horizontal lines in Canada
have a "northing" value above that figure.
Vertical lines are measured from a separate point
for each zone, namely, an imaginary line lying
500 000 metres west of the zone's central
meridian. Actually, zones never attain the full
width of 1 000 000 metres which such a
measurement suggests; in fact, in northern
Canada, zone widths shrink to as little as 80 000
metres (40 000 metres on either side of the
central meridian). In practice, this means that
vertical lines are counted from the central
meridian or 500 000 metre line, those to the left
of it having an "easting" value of less than 500
000 metres, and those on the right having a value
above that.
The number of metres north of the equator
represented by the bottom horizontal grid line on
a map is always shown in the lower left-hand
corner of the map. Similarly, the number of
metres east of the zero vertical line represented
by the left vertical grid line is also shown in the
lower left-hand corner.
If a given point on a map is positioned exactly at
the intersection of a vertical and horizontal line,
its location may be read off simply from the map
margins. Its full designation or its "coordinates"
on the northern hemisphere can be unmistakably
identified. There is a similar reference in the
southern hemisphere, but confusion never results
from this.
The civilian system of designating UTM Grid
coordinates is straightforward and, since it uses
only numbers, it can be handled by digital
mapping software and Geographic Information
Systems (GIS), an important consideration with
watercourse alterations
would include the zone number, followed by the
easting
and
northing
values.
On a 1 000-metre
grid,
these
coordinates might
read: Zone 14, 357
000, 5 476 000.
The values of the
first vertical and
horizontal
lines
appearing in the
southwest corner
of the map are
given in full. The
other grid lines are
numbered in an abbreviated fashion.
Few points, however, are conveniently located at
grid intersections. Usually the point to be
described (such as the church in Figure 4, right)
is somewhere between lines. In this case, it is
necessary to measure or estimate the distance to
the nearest vertical line to the west and to the
nearest horizontal line to the south and to add
these metric values to the grid values given at the
margin.
Figure 4 - Civilian System
As in the above example, if a point is located 400
metres east of the vertical line of 357 000, and
200 metres north of the horizontal line of 5 476
000, its coordinates would be: Zone 14, 357 400,
5 476 200. With these three numbers, any point
any kind of technical data. It does, however,
require the use of large and somewhat
cumbersome figures. To get around this, military
map-makers have developed a somewhat
different system consisting of a combination of
letter and numbers, the Military Grid Reference
System.
This material updated from The Universal
Transverse Mercator Grid, Department of
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Energy, Mines and Resources Canada, Surveys
and Mapping Branch, Ottawa, © 1969, The
Queen's Printer.
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