December 2, 2019 – Local Conservation Authorities are pleased with the findings of the independent review of the Spring 2019 flood. Retained by the Ontario Government, Special Advisor on Flooding Douglas NcNeil recognizes Ontario’s unique watershed-based Conservation Authority model and its success in minimizing flood risks and mitigating flood impacts.
Ottawa area Conservation Authorities (Mississippi, Rideau and South Nation) met with Mr. McNeil and other agencies in September to review the spring flood and discuss local experiences. Ideas were shared on how to improve protection of Ontario residents and their properties from flooding. The McNeil report contains 66 actions, and the three Conservation Authorities are pleased to see recommendations raised during those consultations in the report, including the need to:
- Update provincial guidance,
- Increase attention to floodplain mapping and the impacts of climate change,
- Conserve and restore green infrastructure like wetlands and forests that store water and reduce flooding, and
- Continue support for the role of Conservation Authorities in coordinating planning
Specifically, the report, available at ontario.ca/floodreport, encourages the Province to “consult with Conservation Authorities on their application of the natural hazards-based approach and the risk-based approach to managing flooding.”
Flood management is a shared responsibility among municipalities, emergency management officials, the Province, and Conservation Authorities. Authorities work closely with member municipalities to identify flood risk areas and to guide development activities outside of floodplains. The watershed-based approach has protected Ontarians for decades and has avoided millions in flood damages.
This approach has also built resilient communities that not only have flood control infrastructure but also important “green infrastructure” that reduces the impacts of climate change and flooding.
Local Conservation Authorities look forward to maintaining and improving flood management programs and are eager to assist the Province in implementing all of the recommendations outlined in the Flood Advisor’s report.
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