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​​Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Conservation Authority?

Conservation authorities are local watershed management agencies, mandated to ensure the conservation, restoration and responsible management of Ontario’s water, land and natural habitats through programs that balance human, environmental and economic needs.

There are 36 conservation authorities in Ontario, each one representing a grouping of municipalities on a watershed basis and working in partnership with others to manage their respective watersheds. 

Conservation authorities work under the provincial Conservation Authorities Act

Today, conservation authorities operate in watersheds in which 90% of the provincial population reside.

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How do Conservation Authorities protect and manage the watershed?

Ontario's 36 conservation authorities are organized on a watershed basis and currently manage flood and erosion control as a provincially delegated responsibility. A watershed approach makes the most sense since watercourses flow where nature takes them - across federal, provincial and municipal boundaries.

Conservation authorities work with partners such as municipal, regional, provincial and federal governments as well as watershed residents and other non-governmental agencies in planning and delivering watershed management programs and services. 

For example, authorities are working with the provincial government to establish a provincial groundwater monitoring network of about 400 stations.​

What is a watershed?

A watershed is an area of land that catches rain and snow and drains or seeps into a marsh, stream, river, lake or groundwater. 

Homes, farms, cottages, forests, small towns, big cities and more can make up watersheds. Some cross municipal, provincial and even international borders. 

They come in all shapes and sizes and can vary from millions of acres, like the land that drains into the Great Lakes, to a few acres that drain into a pond.​


What is integrated watershed management?

Integrated watershed management​ in its simplest terms means managing wisely upstream so that downstream remains natural and healthy.​

How big is the Nottawasaga Valley Watershed, and where is it located?

The Nottawasaga Valley watershed covers a large geographic area, approximately 3,700 sq. km, with jurisdiction in 18 municipalities in the counties of Simcoe,​ Dufferin and Grey, and the City of Barrie.

It stretches from the Oak Ridges Moraine to the south, Niagara Escarpment to the west and Oro Moraine to the east, encompassing all the water that drains along the Nottawasaga River (and a few smaller rivers systems) into Georgian Bay/Lake Huron​.

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What are the major rivers & subwatersheds in the Nottawasasga Valley Watershed?

​The Nottawasaga Valley watershed can be broken down to large subwatersheds​.​ These are often linked to a river or creek​ that is a tributary to (that is, flows into) the main Nottawasaga River.

  • Boyne River and its tributaries including the Primrose and Tosorontio Creeks (near Shelburne/Alliston)
  • Innisfil Creek and its tributaries including Beeton and Bailey Creeks (near Tottenahm, Beeton, Cookstown)
  • Lower Nottawasaga River, including Sturgeon, Lamont and McIntyre Creeks (near Edenvale/Phelpston/Stayner/Waaaga Beach)
  • Mad River, arising from two stream branches - the Mad and Noisy Rivers (near Creemore/Angus)
  • Middle Nottawasaga River, including Thornton and Bear Cree​ks (Near Egbert/Thornton/Utopia)
  • Pine River and its tributaries including Lisle Creek (near Horning's Mill/Everett/Angus)
  • Upper Nottawasaga River, including Sheldon Creek (near Mono)
  • Willow Creek, including Little Lake and Matheson Creek (near Barrie/Midhurst)
  • There are also several smaller rivers in the Blue Moutains Subwatershed that flow directly into Georgian Bay. These include Black Ash Creek, Silver Creek, Pretty River and Batteaux Creek.
NVCA periodically prepares watershed and subwatershed health checks​ to provide broad overview of forest, stream and wetland health and provide recommendations for the protection of healthy systems and restoration of degraded areas.

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What municipalities are in the Nottawasaga Valley watershed?

There are 18 municipalities in the Nottawasga Valley watershed, located in the counties of Simcoe, Grey and Dufferin:
  • Adjala​-Tosorontio
  • Amaranth
  • Barrie
  • The Blue Mountains
  • Bradford-West Gwillimbury
  • Clearview
  • Collingwood
  • Essa
  • Grey Highlands
  • Innisfil
  • Melancthon
  • Mono
  • Mulmur
  • New Tecumseth
  • Oro-Medonte
  • Shelburne
  • Springwater
  • Wasaga Beach​
Map of NVCA's Jurisdiction

What is the NVCA's vision and mission?

Our vision: Innovative watershed management supporting a healthy environment, communities and lifestyles.

Our mission: Working together to lead, promote, support and inspire innovative watershed management.​

What is NVCA's governance model?

NVCA is governed by a Board of Directors​ comprised of elected and appointed municipal officials from our watershed municipalities. Our Board of Directors is comprised of 18 members.​

How are Conservation Authorities funded?

Conservation Authorities are funded primarily by municipal levies and self-generated funds (fees for services). Provincial and federal grants provide additional sources of funding for CAs.​

What is Conservation Ontario?

Conservation Ontario​ is a non-governmental organization that represents the 36 conservation authorities in Ontario.​