Erosion is a natural process that happens along shorelines, embankments, rock formations, and when runoff from heavy rain carries away the top layers of soil. It’s only a hazard when it poses a threat to people, property or the environment.
Learn what to do about erosion.
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Several factors affect the pace of erosion:
- heavy rainfall can carry topsoil down embankments, slopes and valley walls, causing slope instability or failure
- human activity, such as building, digging and removing vegetation
- residential and industrial development in vulnerable areas, such as lakefronts, river lots and ravines
To manage erosion, under Ontario’s Provincial Policy Statement, municipalities must have policies in their land use planning documents that direct land development away from hazardous areas.
Natural shorelines are the most stable and erosion resistant shorelines.
Keep yourself and family away from steep and unstable slopes. If camping or hiking, be aware of your surroundings and stay in marked camp sites and trails.
If you want to buy property:
- Confirm with your municipality that the property isn’t in a hazardous area.
- Ensure there’s enough erosion protection along a slope, valley or watercourse – such as grass and shrubs.
- Check that property structures are far from the edge of a ravine, valley wall, embankment or shoreline – slope failure can happen wherever there’s a slope.
- Look for structural improvements such as retaining walls, that may indicate significant raising and/or lowering of land levels on the property.
If you own property:
- Don’t install pools or build structures that weaken the roots of vegetation or put pressure on a slope.
- Discourage children and pets from sliding down or climbing a slope.
- Don’t throw compost, leaves, gardening debris or garbage into a ravine. This material plugs the natural drainage outlets on the face of the slope and prevents groundwater from draining. This can weaken the slope, causing it to fail.
Take the following steps so you and your family are prepared in the event of erosion:
- Establish good vegetative cover on sloped areas of your property.
- If the surface runoff is significant from rainfall or spring thaw, and the flow is rapid, use rip rap to strengthen sloped areas.
- Avoid disturbing natural erosion controls and natural drainage patterns.