Apply for a permit

If you are thinking about doing work or development on a property near a wetland, watercourse, steep slope or the shoreline of a lake, you may need a permit from Quinte Conservation. To see if you are within our Regulated Area, you can use the Property Regulation Map page.

If you would like to speak to staff before submitting your permit application, you can book an appointment or request a site visit. (PLEASE NOTE: The Safari web browser is not always compatible with this form.) 

How to apply

There are two ways to apply for a permit from Quinte Conservation:

  1. Online application (PLEASE NOTE: The Safari web browser is not always compatible with this form.) 
  2. Paper application: Print out a copy of our application form and drop it off or mail it in to our office.
    • NOTE: You must review our guidance document prior to submitting your application to ensure a timely review. 

Fees for Permit Applications

There is a fee for all permit applications. You must provide payment before we can process your application. Our permit fees are based on the type of project you are doing.

Please Note: If you apply for your permit within the same calendar year as your site visit, the fee you paid for the site visit will be applied against the applicable permit application fee.

Permit application fees

Our fees can be paid by cash, debit, Visa, Mastercard or cheque.


Application TypeExamples Fee

Minor Applications

When a Site Visit is not Required 

Examples include:


  • Non-habitable structures less than 14.9m2 (160 ft2)
  • Decks/patios at grade/gazebos/pergolas


Standard Applications

Examples include:


  • Habitable structures/additions/wells/new or replacement sewage systems/driveways, and accessory buildings greater than 14.9 m2 (160 ft2)
  • Non-habitable structures less than 14.9m2 (160 ft2) where a site visit is required by staff
  • Swimming pools
  • Repairs to existing boat launch/boardwalks/boat slips
  • Directional bore
  • Abutment or platform for cantilevered dock


Major Applications

Examples include:


  • Projects that require complex technical review and/or require multiple approval processes, generally including development proposals that require staff review of a report/study prepared by a qualified professional (geotechnical engineer/coastal engineer/ecologist/etc.)
    • There is an additional review fee of $500 per report for a total application fee of $1335.
  • Major infrastructure projects ($1335)
  • Shoreline protection works/shoreline alterations/maintenance dredges
  • Large/significant site alterations/site grading projects
  • New boathouses/boardwalks/boat slips
  • Ponds


Permit Amendment/Permit Re-Issue

A valid permit can be amended prior to its expiration date. Updated plans/ drawings/ etc. may be required.

Minor changes to an existing permit may be considered for an amendment, however additional/ new projects may not be issued under the same permit.




Frequently asked questions for permits

Here are some common questions regarding our permit program.

Why is my property regulated by Quinte Conservation and what features do you regulate?

Under Section 28 of the Conservation Authorities Act and O.Reg 319/09, Quinte Conservation has a

mandate to protect life, property and the environment. Specific areas and features are regulated through this legislation and our office is responsible for ensuring development is safe and does not create or exacerbate any hazards.

We regulate development around features such as watercourses, shorelines and steep slopes that are prone to flooding and erosion hazards, as well as wetlands and other sensitive environmental areas that can be affected by ecological and hydrological impacts.

What is the difference between the regulated area and a setback?

The regulated area is the distance around an environmental feature where Quinte Conservation has jurisdiction and where you need a permit from our office. The regulated area varies from 45m-120m depending on the feature. Being in the regulated area does not mean you cannot do work in the majority of cases, it just means you need a permit from our office for that work.

The setback is a distance around an environmental feature where development is not permitted by our office except in specific circumstances. These setbacks vary from 15-30m depending on the feature and are to account for unforeseen impacts such as wave uprush or ice jamming and are also to provide a buffer around sensitive features such as wetlands. The setback is part of the regulated area, not in addition to it. For example, if the regulated area around a wetland is 120m and the setback is 30m, the first 30m of the regulated area around the wetland is the setback, the remaining 90m is the rest of the regulated area.

What types of development activities are regulated by Quinte Conservation?

Development includes (but is not limited to) the following:

  • Construction or demolition of buildings or other structures (e.g. house, garage, shed, deck, etc.)
  • Site alteration, placement of fill or grade modifications. Fill can include gravel, rock, sand, soil, etc.
  • Installation and/or replacement of bridges, culverts and water control structures
  • Any shoreline alterations including docks, boathouses, erosion protection, etc.
  • Any realignment, channelization or dredging of a watercourse
  • Any changes in grade adjacent to a wetland or vegetation removal in a wetland

What is a wetland?

For the purposes of our regulation a wetland is a feature that meets the following definition:

"wetland means land that,

  1. is seasonally or permanently covered by shallow water or has a water table close to or at its surface;
  2. directed contributes to the hydrological function of a watershed through connection with a surface watercourse;
  3. has hydric soils, the formation of which has been caused by the presence of abundant water; and,
  4. has vegetation dominated by hydrophytic plants or water tolerant plants, the dominance of which has been favoured by the presence of abundant water, but does not include periodically soaked or wet land that is used for agricultural purposed and no longer exhibits a wetland characteristic referred to in clause (3) or (4)."

Can I protect my shoreline from further erosion?

Yes, with some conditions. If you have an existing retaining wall or other form of man-made protection you can replace it or repair it on the same footprint. You cannot expand the footprint of existing protection measures to either take up more space on the lake/creek bed or raise the grade so that flood water is blocked from coming onto the property.

New vertical walls are not permitted, however if you have a natural shoreline that is eroding you are permitted to place rocks, boulders, or other material provided it is sized appropriately and is placed at a stable slope along the shoreline. In general a 3:1 slope is considered stable. It is important to remember that any new erosion protection measures cannot extend out onto the lake/creek bed.

Do I need a permit for a dock?

You do not need a permit for a removable dock such as a floating dock. You will need a permit for the anchor point (size restrictions may apply) of a cantilevered dock or any other permanent structure associated with a dock. No part of any anchor point can be within the flood plain. Permanent docks are not permitted.

Do I need a permit for a deck?

You need a permit for a deck if it is located within the regulated area. Open (uncovered) decks are permitted to encroach closer to the flood plain or a wetland provided a 6m setback is respected.

Do I need a permit for a well?

You need a permit for a dug well. Drilled wells do not require a permit. Wells cannot be located in the flood plain or a wetland.

Do I need a permit to cut down trees?

You do not need a permit to cut down trees from our office provided the trees are not located in a wetland feature. Wetlands cannot be interfered with, and this included vegetation removal. We recommend that trees along a shoreline be “limbed up” or cut back to the stump so that the root system can still provide some added erosion protection to your shoreline. Check with your local municipality to see if they have any tree-cutting by-laws before starting any work.

What happens if I don't get a permit before starting my project?

Work that is completed without a permit is a violation of our regulations. Quinte Conservation can pursue legal action and charge the parties involved which will result in court action. If convicted, the court has several options for penalties that include jail time, fines and/or the restoration of the site to its original condition. This may involve removal of structures and fill at the expense of the parties involved. Depending on the type of work completed, you may also be subject to charges from other agencies.

Can I appeal a decision by Quinte Conservation to deny my permit application?

Yes. If staff denies your application you have 30 days to request a Hearing before our Hearing Committee, which is a sub-committee made up of members of our Board of Directors. Hearings are subject to a fee.

Will I need other approvals in addition to Quinte Conservation?

Possibly. A permit from Quinte Conservation does not override any other permit requirements from any other agencies, whether federal, provincial or municipal. You should contact your local municipality to discuss building permits and any other approvals that are required.

If you are doing work in or around the water, you should also contact the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF).

If you are doing work in a Source Water Protection Area you should inquire about any restrictions or risk management requirements. 

You can apply for a permit from our office and a building permit from the municipality concurrently but a permit from our office must be obtained before you receive a building permit. The Conservation Authorities Act is considered “applicable law” under the Building Code and as such must be taken into consideration first, before a building permit is issued.

What do I do if I need help?

Please contact us with any questions you have. We are able to answer most questions by phone or email.

If you would like to speak to a staff member in person or have them visit your property you can book an appointment or request a site visit.

Additional Information

Learn more about our regulation in our policy manual