Erosion Risk Management

Managing the risk associated with the natural hazards of flooding and erosion is one of the primary roles of conservation authorities under the Conservation Authorities Act.

Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) fulfills this role through the delivery of multiple natural resource management programs and services, including the Erosion Risk Management Program (ERMP).

The ERMP focuses on the identification and remediation of shoreline and valley land erosion hazards throughout TRCA’s jurisdiction and encourages proactive prevention, protection, and management of erosion issues on private and public property.

Background

The Conservation Authorities Act gives Conservation Authorities the power to establish and undertake initiatives on private and public land to help achieve its objectives and can include:

  • monitoring of areas affected by flooding, erosion, and or slope instability;
  • study and investigation of the watershed; and
  • remediation of erosion and/or slope stability hazards

With respect to erosion control and remediation of erosion and/or slope instability prone-areas, TRCA has a long-standing Erosion Risk Management Program that monitors and remediates hazards on a priority basis to the limit of available funding each year.

This program is funded and tailored to the needs of TRCA’s various municipal and other partners based on the desired outcomes as work can scale based on risk and budgetary need.

Who We Are

TRCA’s Erosion Risk Management team consists of multidisciplinary professionals who have expertise in assessing, prioritizing, and remediating erosion and/or slope stability issues within the valley systems and along the Lake Ontario shoreline.

What We Do

The majority of funding TRCA receives is targeted towards monitoring and maintenance of existing erosion control structures along TRCA’s rivers and valleys that protect public greenspace, park amenities, and municipal infrastructure.

To determine where available annual funding is recommended to be allocated, TRCA monitors its existing flood and erosion control structures and known erosion hazard sites and assigns a priority ranking which helps determine whether detailed study, maintenance or remedial works, or further monitoring are recommended. Field inspections of structures or erosion hazards are performed mostly from May to September, but staff can complete fieldwork year round as required.

This program can be extended to the protection of private property where homes and other essential structures have been confirmed as at-risk by erosion or instability. TRCA’s ability to offer support to private landowners is limited and depends solely on the funding received from our municipal partners.  Currently, this support is limited mostly to City of Toronto properties that are located within the ravine system. Waterfront properties adjacent to Lake Ontario are excluded. There is a significant backlog of high-risk sites to still address that means TRCA has to continue to assessing the condition of lower-risk properties on an annual basis. This information is used to track the rate of erosion and change the priority if the risk increases.

Although TRCA is not compelled legally to assist private landowners with erosion control works, TRCA offers this assistance recognizing that staff have considerable experience in erosion hazard management. This supports TRCA’s municipal partners by mitigating past development decisions with cost-effective solutions that also foster resilient watersheds and contribute to the expansion of safe and enjoyable public greenspace.

When staff recommend that erosion control works be carried out to benefit private property, the landowners are subject to the execution of a binding erosion control agreement which requires the benefiting landowner(s) to contribute to the cost of the project in accordance with current TRCA policy.

This policy originates from a staff report brought forward to TRCA’s former Flood Control and Water Control Advisory Board in 1981. This operational criteria was adopted as policy by the Authority by Resolution #71/81 on October 9, 1981.

The current Private Landowner Contribution for Erosion Control Works Policy (revised January 27, 2017) can be found here:

Private Landowner Contribution for Erosion Control Works

How TRCA’s Erosion Management Program Can Help Landowners

TRCA’s extensive experience identifying and remediating erosion and stability hazards has established us as leaders in erosion hazard management. We are always happy to meet with property owners who live in our jurisdiction to discuss their stability concerns. TRCA staff are knowledgeable and can help share smart landscaping strategies that can help safeguard property against flooding and erosion.

The following resources also provide useful information related to erosion including native plants that landowners may wish to plant:

TRCA – Ravine and Bluff Brochure

City of Toronto – A Property Owner’s Guide to Healthy Ravines

OIPC – Grow Me Instead – A Guide for Southern Ontario