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Permits and Regulations

Who We Are and What We Do

  • We are highly skilled environmental planners, engineers, ecologists, hydrogeologists, and fisheries biologists with legal authority to manage regulated areas. Regulated areas are those that are hazardous (e.g. prone to flooding) or contain natural heritage features.
  • We provide environmental and planning expertise to landowners, developers, and our member municipalities.
  • We make sure that federal and provincial legislation and policies as well as municipal and conservation authority policies are taken into account when development occurs within regulated areas.

Why We Do It

  • to protect you and your family from loss of life, property damage and social disruption
  • to conserve, restore and manage the natural resources of the watershed
  • to maintain or improve water quality to ensure that pollution or other degradation of water bodies is minimized or eliminated
  • to protect naturally hazardous areas (examples are floodplains and unstable slopes)
  • to encourage responsible management and protection of environmentally sensitive areas (examples are shorelines and wetlands)
  • to promote "good planning" and conformity to approved municipal official plan documents where they support authority programs
  • to encourage a coordinated approach to land use and water management
  • to implement policies, technical guidelines and procedures resulting from approved watershed management plans
  • to advocate for the inclusion of conservation authority policies into local planning documents
  • to provide technical information to municipalities
  • to undertake responsible and effective resource management having regard to the Province of Ontario's Provincial Policy Statement, while taking into account local conditions

How We Do It

Our work in regulating lands has several major components.

1. Regulation Permits

We ensure that development proposals have regard for natural hazard features and the natural environment, while conforming with our watershed development policies. We are authorized under Section 28 of the Conservation Authorities Act to implement and enforce the Development, Interference with Wetlands and Alterations to Shorelines and Watercourses Regulation (Ontario Regulation 179/06).

Conservation Authorities Act
Ontario Regulation 179/06
Read our brochure explaining Regulation 179/06 (PDF)
Watershed Development Policies (PDF)

2. Plan Input and Review

We are responsible for representing the provincial interests with respect to natural hazards (examples include flooding, erosion and unstable ground) and natural features on applications circulated under the Planning Act. We are responsible for providing advice on the interpretation of the Provincial Policy Statement. We also have agreements with the Region of York, Durham, the City of Kawartha Lakes, and the County of Simcoe to provide comments on natural heritage features, which include significant woodlands, wetlands, environmentally sensitive areas, fish habitat, as well as rare, threatened and endangered species and their habitats.

3. Technical Assistance

Our engineering staff are available to regional and local municipalities within the watershed. Complementing our planning staff, they comment on the water management and natural hazard aspects of all planning applications. Our engineers clear conditions of approvals and issue permits where required. They are involved in preparing watershed plans, remedial strategies and stormwater management strategies and the design of capital work projects and major floodplain engineering studies. Our engineers design these projects, prepare tenders, and supervise the implementation and construction activities as required.

Key areas of expertise include: hydraulics and hydrology, planning input and review, regulations, data collection and computer modelling, remediation and restoration techniques, project design, tendering and supervision.

4. Watershed Development Policies

Recognizing that urbanization occurs within some limits and is ultimately limited by the capacity of the natural environment, our goal is to foster and consistently apply watershed development policies which protect the environmental integrity of our watershed.

Download our Watershed Development Policies
(PDF)

5. Landowner Assistance

Our Landowner Environmental Assistance Program (LEAP) provides technical and financial support to private landowners in completing environmental projects designed to improve local surface and ground water quality, reduce soil erosion, and enhance wildlife habitat.

Learn more about LEAP

6. Flood Forecasting and Flood Control

We are responsible for issuing flood warnings to help reduce flood damages. We do this by:

  • monitoring weather conditions and river flows
  • issuing flood messages (advisories and warnings) to a variety of public service agencies through the media and this website
  • controlling development in flood-prone areas to reduce potential property damages

See our home page for current flood conditions