Permits & Approvals

Soft shoreline engineering project at Legacy Park

Watershed Management Services are some of the most essential provided by ERCA and all Conservation Authorities. It’s one of the most difficult parts of a Conservation Authority’s job, but one that is necessary and entrusted to us by our member municipalities, the Province, and the federal government.  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. We also aid municipalities with plan review to ensure that:

  • new development is protected against property damage due to flooding and erosion;
  • natural areas, water quality, stream flows, habitats, and shoreline processes are integrated in a watershed based fashion;
  • costly remedial efforts are avoided in the future;
  • clear, early input is provided to proactively resolve problems and avoids delays at the final approval stage.

Flood and erosion protection projects are a key component of ERCA’s comprehensive floodplain regulations programs. Since 1973, ERCA has protected, enhanced and restored many kilometres of shoreline and provided flood protection to more than 2000 previously flood-prone homes and significant municipal infrastructure.

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 the ERCA Watershed Management Services Department.  ERCA is responsible for approvals for construction and filling on floodplains and for alterations to river or stream channels. This permit process ensures that development will not create risks to public safety and that the natural features of the watershed are protected. ERCA’s “one window” service allows ERCA to provide permits on behalf of a number of public agencies, providing more efficient service to residents and municipalities that saves time and money while protecting the environment. This translates into efficiency for the applicants.

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.

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. These are available below. 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.

Click here to download more information: ERCA’s Permitting Services – What I Need to Know

To discuss your plans or make an appointment, call 519-776-5209 ext 346. To ensure the appropriate staff member is available to speak with you and minimize your wait time, we request that customers make an appointment before visiting our office.

Sample Application Package

Clearance Application

Application for Development Review – for technical review of development applications not subject to ERCA permit requirements.

Application for Permit – for development, interference with wetlands and alteration to shorelines and watercourses.

2017 Watershed Management Services Fee Schedule – Fee schedule for Floodplain Regulations and Related Services.

Site Information-Evaluation Application

Information to Assist Applicants for Development on Properties located within Hazard Lands

If you are not the owner of the property for which you are applying for permits, you must provide a ‘Landowner Authorization Form’ with your permit application – Landowner Authorization

Please note this important information about Changes to the Fisheries Act.

While it is best to contact our office to determine if a permit is required, please click here to see a map of our regulated areas.

ERCA has also developed the Detroit River Canadian Shore Restoration Alternatives Selection Manual.  This will guide design practitioners, contractors and the public when designing shoreline protection along the Detroit River.