What is a Natural Hazard?
A natural hazard is a natural process that has the potential to damage property and injure humans and wildlife. Depending on the severity of the event, a natural hazard may be deemed a natural disaster. The term natural hazard encompasses a variety of phenomenon ranging from fog and snow/ice to earthquakes, forest fires and tornadoes. In Halton Region, two natural hazards are of key concern: flooding and erosion.
Water levels can increase due to extreme rainfall or snowmelt or as the result of debris or ice blocking a watercourse. If water levels rise to high enough levels, the land surrounding a river or stream becomes covered in water – this is known as a flood! A floodplain is an area of flat land that lies adjacent to a stream or river. Floodplains are periodically flooded when water levels rise.
Erosion is a natural process whereby the earth’s surface is worn away by the action of water, wind, ice or waves. Erosion occurs in all rivers, streams and shorelines. Land use changes and flooding can accelerate the rate of erosion in a watershed. This accelerated rate of erosion can weaken the stability of slopes by, for example, interfering with the drainage system of a slope. This weakened stability increases the risk of slope failure (ie: sagging of an entire slope wall).
Planning and Permits
The way we plan and build our cities, communities and homes affects our natural environment. Conservation Halton is committed to supporting development decisions that protect the natural features of our watershed while safeguarding human life and property. Flooding and erosion are two of the issues/impacts considered by Conservation Halton. For more information on planning and permits, please click here.