Conservation authority (Ontario, Canada)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Conservation authority (Canada))
Jump to navigation Jump to search

A conservation authority is a local, community-based natural resource management agency[1] based in Ontario, Canada. Conservation authorities represent groupings of municipalities on a watershed basis and work in partnership with other agencies to carry out natural resource management activities within their respective watersheds, on behalf of their member municipalities and the Province of Ontario.[1] [2]

The 1946 Conservation Authorities Act provides the means by which municipalities within a common watershed can petition the Province of Ontario to form a conservation authority for that watershed to undertake programs of natural resource management. Conservation authorities are established as corporate bodies under the Act.[3] There are currently 36 conservation authorities in Ontario.

Conservation authorities are mandated to develop programs to further the conservation, restoration, development and management of Ontario's natural resources.[3] They carry out programs in natural hazard management on behalf of the province and municipalities, and may also carry out other programs that serve municipal interests, such as nature education, land conservation and management, recreation programs, and research.[1] Management programs generally occur in lands known as conservation areas, restoration areas or wilderness areas, though not all lands managed are necessarily designated as such.

Conservation authorities' primary responsibilities are in natural hazard management and environmental protection. While all conservation authorities carry out natural hazard management programs, their roles in environmental protection vary significantly because these are determined by local municipalities.


Each conservation authority is governed by a board of directors made up of representatives from its member municipalities.The number of representatives each municipality can have is determined by the Conservation Authorities Act based on its population within the watershed.[4] Board members act on behalf of the municipalities they represent. Conservation authorities are administered by a General Manager or Chief Administrative Officer who reports to the Board.[3]

Role in natural hazard management[edit]

Each conservation authority has a Regulation of Development, Interference with Wetlands and Alterations to Shorelines and Watercourses under the Conservation Authorities Act which conforms to a provincial template regulation.[5]

Under these regulations, conservation authorities regulate development and other activities in and near natural hazard areas such as shorelines, floodplains, unstable slopes, wetlands, and other hazardous lands, such as karst topography and Leda clay. Development is prohibited in areas designated by the regulation unless permission is granted by the conservation authority. Landowners or developers may need permits from a conservation authority, similar to a building permit, to do work such as constructing buildings or placing fill in these areas. These regulations were put in place after the devastating impacts of Hurricane Hazel in 1954.[6]

Conservation authorities also do flood forecasting and warning, flood and erosion control, ice management and drought programs, and contribute to municipal land use planning.[1]

Role in environmental protection[edit]

Conservation authorities may have programs to protect local ecosystems and contribute to the quality of life in communities throughout the province. Some of the activities conservation authorities may include:

  • Water resource management - Conservation authorities carry out research and activities to manage Ontario's water resources on a watershed basis, maintain secure supplies of clean water, and contribute to municipal planning processes.
  • Stewardship - conservation authorities collectively own about 146,000 hectares of land in Ontario. They also may work with landowners to plant trees or make other environmental improvements to private property, such as helping farmers improve drainage systems.
  • Recreation - conservation authorities own over 400 conservation areas for public use, with 8,400 campsites and almost 2,500 kilometers of trails.
  • Science, data collection and monitoring - conservation authorities may collect a variety of information about their watersheds, including about water quality, land use, and types of lands (e.g., amount of wetlands and forest cover).
  • Education - through school programs, at conservation authority facilities, and through participation at local events and festivals[7]

List of conservation authorities[edit]

Conservation Ontario is the umbrella organization for all 36 regional Conservation Authorities in the Province of Ontario:


  1. ^ a b c d Ministry of Natural Resources. ""Conservation Authorities"". Retrieved 8 August 2014.
  2. ^ "Home page". Conservation Ontario: Natural Champions. 2009. Retrieved 2013-02-15.
  3. ^ a b c [1] Conservation Authorities Act, e-Laws.
  4. ^ "Policies and Procedures for Conservation Authority Plan Review and Permitting Activities" (PDF). 2010. Retrieved 2015-01-30.
  5. ^ e-Laws. "Content of Conservation Authority Regulations under Subsection 28(1) of the Act". Retrieved 8 August 2014.
  6. ^ [2]
  7. ^ [3]

External links[edit]