In the Essex Region, ERCA protects more than 20 inland watersheds, 232 kilometres of shoreline and nearly 5000 homes that are built in low lying areas. This program is of vital importance to protect property owners from the dangers of flooding and erosion.

If you are living on a watercourse or in a flood plain, your property may be prone to natural hazards. Before building or altering any structures on your land or in the adjacent waterway, you will need to contact ERCA’s Watershed Management Services Department.


How do I apply for a permit?

Step 1

Pre-consultation

Call and discuss your plans with us. If you are considering a project that may require a permit, we strongly encourage you to first contact our office. This consultation will help to determine if you need a permit and the information required, such as plans and studies, that may be needed for us to assess your permit application. In order to submit an application, you must be the owner of the property listed on the application or complete a Landowner Authorization Form.

Step 2

Complete Your Application

When you are ready to apply, you will need to submit a completed application for permit and the appropriate review fee. This can be done online. Include all drawings, studies and information required, signed and dated, as we cannot begin to process your submission until the application is complete.

Step 3

The Review Process

Once ERCA receives your completed application, staff review the plans, complete a site inspection and/or survey if required, and take the steps needed to make an informed decision. This typically takes 15-30 business days. If staff are unable to issue a permit in compliance with our approved policies and procedures, a recommendation will be made to the Board of Directors for approval, approval with conditions, or decline of your permit application.

Frequently Asked Questions

You will need a permit for works taking place within the limit of regulation of the nearby water feature.  If your property is only partially within the regulated area and the works are taking place outside of the limit of regulation, a clearance will be provided assuring the municipality that a review of the proposed works has been undertaken and that a determination of no negative impact on the water feature has been verified.

ERCA ensures that lives and properties are safe from the risks posed by flooding, erosion and other natural hazards. This is done by administering a provincial  regulation made under Section 28 of the Conservation Authorities Act; the Development, Interference with Wetlands and Alterations to Shorelines and Watercourses (Ontario Regulation 158/06).  Under the provincial regulation, ERCA reviews and approves development proposals subject to Conservation Authority policies addressing provincial standards for preservation of natural features and protection from potential hazards like floodplains, bluffs, wetlands, rivers, lakes and drains in order to:

  • Prevent injuries and loss of life
  • Minimize property damage and restoration costs
  • Protect adjacent and downstream properties from harm cause by upstream development
  • Reduce the costs of emergency operations and evacuations
  • Minimize the hazards and expenses associated with development in floodplains and areas that are susceptible to flooding and/or erosion
  • Protect the critical natural benefits of wetlands, watercourses and shorelines

Within 10 days of submission, a permit will undergo a preliminary review to ensure that it is complete and that all necessary information has been provided.  From here, assuming payment has been made and barring complications or unforeseen issues, the permit can generally be issued within 21 days.

The cost of a permit will depend upon the size and scope of the project, whether a site visit is necessary and whether an engineering study must be reviewed.  Please see the attached fee schedule for further details.

Use the Interactive Mapping Tool, or contact our office.