What do I do about high lake water levels impacting my property?​

We are currently experiencing record high lake water levels along the Georgian Bay shoreline of the Nottawasaga Valley Watershed. If you are considering doing shoreline protection work, you must apply for a permit from the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority before starting any work.

In most circumstances, you will need to consult with a coastal engineer to evaluate what you are planning to do.

Note that the NVCA is only an approval agency, and it is the responsibility of the land owner to construct and maintain shorewalls.

Why are we experiencing high lake water levels?

The high lake water levels are mostly from the weather conditions over the last few months. Strong northwest winds are also pushing the water onto the shore.

Fortunately, for the residents along the Georgian Bay shoreline, water levels have begun to drop several centimetres from their recent peaks and the forecast is for continued gradual decline through the rest of the year.

Here is some more information from Conservation Ontario about why the Great Lakes fluctuate and the permitting process is important.

When do I need a permit when doing shoreline work?

A permit is always required prior to doing shoreline work in the NVCA regulated area. To find out if your property is in our regulated area, check our Interactive Property Map.

Why do I need a permit?

The permitting process allows NVCA to:

  • prevent injuries and loss of life;
  • ​minimize property damage and restoration costs;
  • protect adjacent and downstream properties against harm caused by upstream development;
  • reduce the costs, both public and private, of emergency operations and evacuations;
  • minimize the hazards associated with development in floodplains and areas that are susceptible to erosion, which in future years may require expensive protective measures​
  • protect the natural benefits offered by wetlands, watercourses and shorelines.

How do I determine if a permit is needed?

If you want to do shoreline work and if your property is in the NVCA regulated area, a permit is required.

To find out if your property is in our regulated area, check out Interactive Property Map

Not sure if your property is in a regulated area? Complete our online property inquiry form to find out more about your specific situation. You can also call or visit the NVCA office during regular business hours.

What type of permit is required to do shoreline work?

A Development, Interference with Wetlands and Alterations to Shorelines and Watercourses Permit is required to do shoreline work.

In most instances, you will need to consult with a coastal engineer to draft a shoreline study of what you are planning to do. NVCA staff is also available to do pre-consultation.

To apply for a permit, visit our Permit Frequently Asked Questions page

When can I expect to get my permit?

Permit applications are processed in a first come first serve basis. Our service timelines are governed by the Conservation Authority Liaison Committee. The NVCA is required to complete a policy review within 21 business days, and complete a technical review within 90 business days.

Make sure you submit all of the required documents to ensure timely processing.

How can I get more information about natural hazards?

Understanding Natural Hazards is a publication prepared by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources about addressing natural hazards along the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence River System.

More information about the permitting process

For more information about how to obtain a permit or our permitting process, please visit our FAQs about the Permit Process page​