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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Conservation Authority?

Conservation Authorities are local, community-based environmental agencies. 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. The Conservation Authorities Act provides the means by which the province and municipalities of Ontario could join together to form a Conservation Authority within a specific area - the watershed - to undertake programs of natural resource management. Today, Conservation Authorities operate in watersheds in which 90% of the provincial population reside.

Key areas of Authority activity include:

  • Environmental Protection - The Conservation Authorities of Ontario protect local ecosystems and contribute to the quality of life in communities throughout the province.
  • Water Resource Management - The Conservation Authorities are Ontario's community-based environmental experts who use integrated, ecologically sound environmental practices to manage Ontario's water resources on a watershed basis, maintain secure supplies of clean water, protect communities from flooding and contribute to municipal planning processes (that protect water).
  • Lifelong Learning - The Conservation Authorities of Ontario create educational experiences in a natural environment that enrich the lives of peoples of all ages, by instilling an appreciation and enjoyment of our diverse natural heritage.​

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 watershed management?

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

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 26 members.​

What municipalities are in the NVCA watershed?

Adjala-Tosorontio, Amaranth, Barrie, The Blue Mountains, Bradford-West Gwillimbury, Clearview, Collingwood, Essa, Innisfil, Melancthon, Mono, Mulmur, New Tecumseth, Oro-Medonte, Grey Highlands, Shelburne, Springwater and Wasaga Beach.​

What role do Conservation Authorities play in the management of Ontario's water resources?

Conservation Authorities are part of the solution to improving water quality and quantity. CAs have the expertise and experience to assist in designing and delivering effective watershed management.
    The Conservation Authority watershed management model for dealing with flooding could serve as a model for delivery of programs & services that would for protect drinking water supplies as well.​

How do Conservation Authorities protect and manage the watershed?

Ontario's 36 Conservation Authorities are already organized on a watershed basis throughout Ontario 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, CAs are working with the Ministry of the Environment to establish a provincial groundwater monitoring network of about 400 stations.​

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 within Ontario.​

What does Conservation Ontario do?

Conservation Ontario works on behalf of Conservation Authorities to do the following:

  • Raise awareness through local, regional and provincial media relations and speaking engagements.
  • Build relationships with opinion leaders and decision makers through one-on-one contact, information resources and shared profile building.
  • Influence decision making and the outcomes of decisions on Conservation Authorities. Conservation Ontario promotes the Conservation Authorities' expertise in managing Ontario's environment and contributes to the quality of life that we enjoy - focusing on the tangible impacts of these accomplishments, in terms of dollars, lives, property saved; attracting economic development to healthy communities; and tourism.​