’50 in 50′ Series: Shoreline Management – Living Along Lake Ontario (1987)



Lower Trent Conservation is celebrating its 50th anniversary! To commemorate this milestone occasion, we have released our ’50 in 50′ historical blog series. This special series features 50 articles highlighting some of the achievements, milestones and events of the past 50 years. We hope you enjoy them!

People living along the Lake Ontario shoreline are accustomed to constant change – water levels fluctuate, shorelines erode, and sands shift. In years with high water levels and big storms, the impacts can be devastating. Lawns are ripped away, buildings destroyed, and sometimes lives lost.

In 1987, to address this concern, Lower Trent Conservation began work on a shoreline management plan for its 100 kilometres of Lake Ontario shoreline, including bays and inlets.  This work was in conjunction with a Province-wide effort to develop shoreline management strategies to prevent future development in hazardous areas along the Great Lakes. Lower Trent Conservation completed the Shoreline Management Plan in 1989, encompassing strategies for prevention, protection, emergency response measures, and monitoring.

Lake Ontario Shoreline
Lake Ontario Shoreline in the Lower Trent Watershed

In 1990, Lower Trent Conservation, in conjunction with Central Lake Ontario and Ganaraska Region Conservation Authorities, completed a joint Lake Ontario Shoreline Management Plan with Sandwell Swan Wooster, Inc. This plan took the earlier draft one step further, with modelling and detailed surveys resulting in the identification of flood levels, erosion setbacks, and dynamic beach limits for every reach of shoreline from the Oshawa area to Wellers Bay.

Around the same time, detailed mapping delineating the flood line (at a scale of 1:2000) was prepared for the shoreline under the Canada – Ontario Flood Damage Reduction Program.

More detailed shoreline plans were developed by Lower Trent Conservation for Cramahe and Haldimand Townships in 1997 and 2003, respectively. These plans included more specific flood, erosion and dynamic beach limits for the municipalities, providing further direction for shore-lands protection. Erosion monitoring stations, originally established in the 1970s under the Flood Damage Reduction Program, were also re-surveyed or re-established to allow for long-term monitoring.

#18 Acquisition of shoreline
Lake Ontario Shoreline in the early 1970s

While the information was used to provide planning advice to municipalities on shoreline development proposals, it wasn’t until 2006 that the Conservation Authority’s regulations were amended to allow for regulation of the shoreline under the Development, Interference with Wetlands and Alterations to Shorelines and Watercourses Regulation.

With climate change and the unprecedented high water experienced on the Lake Ontario shoreline throughout the summer of 2017, the need to replace the 30-year-old mapping became evident.

PriceStW_LamtonSt_Gosport_Brighton (4)
Brighton Bay shoreline flooding as a result of high water levels in Lake Ontario (2017)

Lower Trent Conservation was able to obtain funding to update models and mapping in cooperation with Central Lake Ontario and Ganaraska Region Conservation Authorities through the Natural Disaster Mitigation Program (NDMP) and participating municipalities. This update to the Lake Ontario Shoreline Management Plan will improve staff’s ability to assist municipalities and landowners with flood damage prevention.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s