Feasibility of Habitat Banking in Manitoba
According to the habitat protection provisions of the Fisheries Act, industry must develop or restore habitat as compensation for a “harmful alteration, disruption or destruction to fish habitat” to achieve “no net loss of the productive capacity of fish habitats (NNL).” Occasionally, compensation projects completed in accordance with the conditions of a Fisheries Act Authorization do not achieve NNL of fish habitat. The feasibility of using habitat banking as a compensation tool was investigated through qualitative document review, semi-directed interviews, site visits, and a modified Delphi approach workshop. Results indicated that habitat banking is feasible in Manitoba; however, feasibility in northern Manitoba diminishes because much of the land is owned by the Crown and is sparsely developed. It is recommended that DFO National Head Quarters develop a standard tool for measuring the productive capacity of fish habitat and strive for Canada-wide consistency in their application of the habitat banking policy.