Watershed Planning & Development
Conservation authorities were delegated the responsibility for floodplain management in the 1950s, following the devastation caused by Hurricane Hazel. Today, the North Bay - Mattawa Conservation Authority (NBMCA) administers the Ontario Flood Damage Reduction Program in order to reduce the risk of property damage and loss of lives due to flooding. The role of the NBMCA in the planning and management of floodplain lands involves:
Floods are a natural phenomenon which occur on a regular basis. Land use planning and regulation of new development in known floodplain areas is a key component to the prevention of loss of life and damage to property when floods do occur. To accomplish this, the NBMCA administers the Development, Interference with Wetlands & Alterations to Shorelines & Watercourses regulations.
The NBMCA is also actively involved in the protection of people and buildings that existed within the floodplain before preventative measures took effect. The NBMCA operates a major backflood control structure and channel maintenance program on Parks Creek which minimizes flooding of the creek and storm sewer backup. Stop-logs prevent high Lake Nipissing levels from creating backflood conditions along Parks Creek, and occasional dredging ensures a clear outlet for excess water from ice, snow and rain to flow into the lake. In addition, the NBMCA has been implementing the Chippewa Creek Flood and Erosion Control Program since 1978.
When a significant flood event does occur, it is important to ensure a coordinated, timely, multi-organizational response. The NBMCA’s flood forecasting and warning program has been developed to alert municipal representatives, media, local police, the Ontario Provincial Police, and the Ministry of Natural Resources if a flood situation is imminent. The warnings and alerts provide the municipalities with the information they need to then implement their flood contingency / emergency plans.
Along with weather monitoring, the program consists of regular snow surveys at designated stations along the Chippewa Creek, LaVase, and Wasi Watersheds. The depth of the snow pack and its water equivalent are monitored and used to estimate the spring run-off potential.
The NBMCA is also active in the Sturgeon-Nipissing-French-Wanapitei Water Management Group. The group is overseen by the Sturgeon-Nipissing-French Citizens' Advisory Group and closely monitors weather conditions and water levels in an attempt to minimize the impact of variable weather conditions and maximize the benefits to the fishery of the lake and river.