*Important Notice Regarding Site Visits:

We are starting to do site visits again on a limited basis and will follow COVID-19 physical distancing measures. Landowners are not required for site visits and the staff member assigned to your file will contact you prior to their visit with more information. 

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 a Pre-Consultation 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

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.

Permit application fees

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


Application TypeExamples Fee

Minor Work

Decks; residential pedestal solar panel installations; abutment or platform for cantilevered dock; patios at grade; etc.


Standard Work

New structures larger than 108 square feet; additions to existing structures; culvert replacements (same elevation/size/location); repairs to existing boat launch; repairs to existing boardwalk; dug/blasted wells; pools (above ground/in-ground); boathouses; new/replacement sewage systems; directional drilling; filling/grading/excavation outside the flood plain or adjacent to a wetland; etc.


Construction of a house, installation of a septic and well on one single lot will be combined into one standard work project


Any subsequent projects on the same property will be charged a minor work fee for each individual project


Major Work

Shoreline protection works; excavation of wildlife ponds; new/maintenance dredging; new boat slips; new construction of public utilities/infrastructure (roads/pipelines/water or sewer services); repairs to private dams; any other new development  within the flood plain/wetland (i.e. reconstruction of dwelling); new channelization/channel maintenance; alterations to watercourse; etc.


Any permit application that requires an engineering review, such as a review for slope stability analysis or new driveway culvert installation


New Infrastructure Work

New culverts; new/replacement bridges; applications involving slope stability review/coastal engineering/hydraulic analysis; etc.


Permit Amendment

Existing permit must be valid (no site visit/site visit)


Request for Hearing

Following denial of an application



Work undertaken without a permit

Double the normal application fee.



Application requirements

Before you apply, make sure that you have the following ready:

  • Landowner contact information
  • Contact information for agent/contractor/consultant if applicable
  • Address and location of proposed work
  • Copy of registered plan/survey if available
  • A detailed description of the project that must include volume of fill imported to site for septic systems, foundation, etc. and/or length of shoreline to be protected, as required
  • Plans/drawings of the project in both plan view and cross section that must include dimensions
  • Photographs of the shoreline if shoreline work is proposed
  • Signature of landowner on application if applicant is not the property owner

Additional reports/surveys/approvals may be required to be submitted with your application, for example a slope stability/erosion analysis, culvert design/calculations and flood plain surveys.

You can also use our Permit Application Checklist to help ensure you have a complete application.

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 a Pre-Consultation meeting by our calling our office at 613-968-3434 or Request a Site Visit.

Additional Information

Learn more about our regulation in our policy manual