Spring Safety

Follow TRCA’s spring safety tips and exercise caution near rivers, streams and other bodies of water this time of year.

Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) is urging people to keep family and pets away from edges of waterways during the spring.

Since January, TRCA watersheds have received higher than normal snowfall amounts, as well as periods of milder weather and rain-on-snow events, resulting in additional risks near bodies of water.

Practice spring safety and remember the following tips:

  • Keep family and pets away from the edges of all bodies of water.
  • Avoid all recreational activities in or around water, especially near ice jams or ice-covered rivers, streams, and bodies of water.
  • Do not attempt to walk on ice-covered bodies of water or drive through flooded roads or fast-moving water.
  • If you live next to a river or stream, move objects such as chairs or benches away from the water’s edge to avoid losing them during potential spring high water.
  • Avoid walking close to/across riverbanks and ice-covered water to prevent falling through. Riverbanks can become unstable in the spring due to snowmelt and erosion.
  • Rescuing another person or a pet from icy water is dangerous. If you see someone has fallen through the ice call 911 for help immediately.
follow TRCA spring safety advice and avoid recreational activities near ice jams and bodies of water
Avoid recreational activities near ice jams or ice-covered rivers (shown above), streams, and bodies of water.

TRCA continuously monitors the watersheds in its jurisdiction for potential flooding, through the Flood Forecasting and Warning Program, and will continue to monitor watershed conditions throughout the transition to spring.

Additional Spring Safety Facts

  • Ice jams can be defined an accumulation of ice blocks along a river that may act as a dam and may cause water levels to rise behind it, and subsequent flooding.
  • Melting snow due to warming temperatures, combined with spring rainfall and frozen ground conditions throughout the jurisdiction, could contribute to higher and faster flowing water in watercourses.
  • Slippery, unstable streambanks and extremely cold water temperatures can lead to dangerous conditions close to any body of water.
  • Ice and snow cover on watercourses, lakeshore areas, or other bodies of water can weaken and become unstable with warmer temperatures.

A Note About Lake Ontario Water Levels

March 10, 2022 – It is still too early to forecast peak water levels for Lake Ontario for this upcoming spring and summer season. The range of forecast levels depends on various factors including:

  • Inflows from Lake Erie, which currently remain above normal levels, but lower than 2021
  • Spring rainfall and runoff amounts into Lake Ontario, which are yet to occur
  • Spring peak flow of the Ottawa River into the St. Lawrence River, which will influence the outflow of Lake Ontario at the Moses-Saunders Dam in Cornwall

For more information about Lake Ontario water levels and forecast, visit the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board website.

Learn More About Spring Safety

For more information, contact your local Conservation Authority: