From Pages 30 and 31 of HRM Regional Municipal Planning Strategy (2006)
2.3 WATERSHED PLANNING
The Water Resources Management Study, which forms the basis of the policies contained in this Chapter, recognizes that watersheds are the fundamental unit for understanding water resources and undertaking watershed planning. Environmental features – water, soils, vegetation, habitat – within a watershed are all interconnected, and land use activities in one part of a watershed can adversely affect the quality and quantity of water in another. We must, therefore, plan communities based on watershed analysis to protect those environmental features and functions that sustain our desired objectives for water quality and quantity in urban, suburban and rural areas.
Planning on a watershed basis will be undertaken in greater detail during the review of secondary planning strategies, following the completion of watershed studies. These strategies may also be shaped by new information available from research to be undertaken as part of functional plans identified later in this Chapter. Policies here support the need for secondary planning strategies to reinforce and support the overall direction of this Plan, and provide a guide for the basis of secondary municipal planning strategies.
Watershed or sub-watershed studies concerning natural watercourses shall be carried out as part of comprehensive secondary planning processes. These studies shall determine the carrying capacity of the watersheds to meet the water quality objectives which shall be adopted following the completion of the studies. The studies, where appropriate, shall be designed to:
(a) recommend measures to protect and manage quantity and quality of groundwater resources;
(b) recommend water quality objectives for key receiving watercourses in the study area;
(c) determine the amount of development and maximum inputs that receiving lakes and rivers can assimilate without exceeding the water quality objectives recommended for the lakes and rivers within the watershed;
(d) determine the parameters to be attained or retained to achieve marine water quality objectives;
(e) identify sources of contamination within the watershed; (f) identify remedial measures to improve fresh and marine water quality;
(g) recommend strategies to adapt HRM’s stormwater management guidelines to achieve the water quality objectives set out under the watershed study;
(h) recommend methods to reduce and mitigate loss of permeable surfaces, native plants and native soils, groundwater recharge areas, and other important environmental functions within the watershed and create methodsto reduce cut and fill and overall grading of development sites;
(i) identify and recommend measures to protect and manage natural corridors and critical habitats for terrestrial and aquatic species, including species at risk;
(j) identify appropriate riparian buffers for the watershed;
(k) identify areas that are suitable and not suitable for development within the watershed;
(l) recommend potential regulatory controls and management strategies to achieve the desired objectives; and
(m) recommend a monitoring plan to assess if the specific water quality objectives for the watershed are being met.