1 | What is a floodplain map?
During a flood, water levels rise. Areas not normally covered by water may be inundated. This could be because of land elevation, jams of ice and debris, and built development features such as pavement and houses. Floodplain maps use data and technical models to predict the path of floodwaters – the area known as the floodplain. It is important to remember that a floodplain map does not create a flooding hazard; it simply shows where the flooding hazard is.
2 | Why did ORCA make new floodplain maps?
This is the first update of floodplain mapping for the Otonabee Region watershed in many years.
Funding for the creation of new floodplain mapping was provided by partner municipalities and Public Safety Canada’s National Disaster Mitigation Program (NDMP), which aims to build safer and more resilient communities. The NDMP addresses rising flood risks and costs, and builds the foundation for informed mitigation investments that could reduce, or even negate, the effects of flood events.
The new floodplain maps are used by Otonabee Conservation and our partner municipalities to help direct future development outside the floodplain. The maps will also be integrated into municipal official plans. This will help us all mitigate the risks of developing inside areas that are prone to flooding, which may cause loss of life, personal injury, and damage to property.
3 | Why is it important to protect and respect floodplains?
Floodplain mapping is a tool to protect and respect the floodplain. Flooding poses dangers to people and property. Knowing the extent of the floodplain is critical to reducing potential property damage and risks to public safety, environmental protection and emergency management. Effective floodplain management is a key goal of Otonabee Conservation.
4 | How are floodplain maps created?
The process for mapping floodplain hazards is set out in federal and provincial guidelines. Technical studies of the area are conducted which help experts to create predictive models that allow us to map the size and shape of the floodplain. View our Floodplain Mapping Story Map to gain a greater understanding about how floodplain maps are created.
5 | Who is involved in floodplain mapping?
- Otonabee Conservation specialists with expertise in water resources engineering and geographic information systems perform the necessary studies. Once they have all the information they need and have created hydrologic models, they create the floodplain map.
- Otonabee Conservation works closely with local municipalities and other partners throughout the mapping process.
- Communities are informed at every step of the process. For example, we will notify property owners when the project begins and let them know that we may need to access their property.
6 | How might new floodplain maps affect me?
Floodplain maps help protect property and human life. There are planning documents that are used to guide decisions about land use and development. The floodplain map helps to determine where new buildings may be located, if the property in question is at risk during a flood or storm event. In some cases, it may be necessary for property owners to take measures to protect existing buildings from flooding.
7a | What does it mean if my property is not located anywhere near the red floodplain lines on the interactive map?
If your property is located within one of our floodplain mapping study areas and it is outside the red floodplain lines, then it is located outside the floodplain.
If your property is located outside one of our floodplain mapping study areas, you may still be located in a floodplain that is not covered by the new mapping.
7b | Do I still need an ORCA permit for development if my property is not within the floodplain?
Potentially. ORCA regulates the area that extends a further 15m. from the edge of the floodplain, therefore the regulated area may still impact a property that is immediately adjacent to a floodplain.
ORCA also regulates natural hazards including wetlands and erosion hazards (steep slopes), in addition to flooding hazards. Wetland boundaries, wetland classification (such as a Provincially Significant Wetlands), steep slopes, and their associated regulated areas are not present on the new floodplain mapping. Therefore, a property may still be within a regulated feature and require a permit from ORCA.
NOTE: A regulated area is an area within ORCA’s jurisdiction, as defined in Ontario Regulation 167/06.
For example, ORCA regulates 120m. from Provincially Significant wetlands and 15m. from the floodplain. The extent of ORCA’s regulated area is dependent upon the feature that is present. If you’re unsure if you require a permit, please fill out a Property Inquiry Form.
8 | Why did ORCA put my property inside the floodplain?
Floodplain maps don’t ‘put’ a property in the floodplain; they simply show where the floodplain is due to natural flooding impacts during large storm events.
9 | Are the rules for development in floodplains changing?
The rules around developing in a flooding hazard area have not changed; the maps are new tools that help us determine up-front if proposed development is at risk for flooding
10 | What is ORCA going to do with the floodplain mapping?
Otonabee Conservation will use this mapping to continue to ensure safe and responsible development in these areas as per our core mandate and regulatory obligations. The mapping will also be provided to our partner municipalities so that it may be included in municipal Official Plans.
11 | Were the Kawartha Lakes High Water Levels Maps previously posted by ORCA?
These maps were previously subject to public consultation and this information has already been incorporated into the Peterborough County Official Plan.
12 | Why don’t I see any mapping at Curve Lake or Hiawatha First Nations?
Otonabee Conservation regulations do not apply on lands that are set aside as reserves for First Nations people under Federal legislation.
13 | What does it mean if my property is located inside the floodplain?
Knowing that your property is within the floodplain will help you better understand your risk and prepare for any future flooding. Knowing where the floodplain is on your property can help you determine where you can safely construct a new building or addition early in your planning process, without having to pay for a surveyor.
14 | What should I do if I see flooding?
If you are concerned about current flooding conditions, please check our website for flood messages or call our Flood Watch Hotline at (705) 745-5791, extension 228.
15 | Why are some of my property’s features incorrect on the ORCA Floodplain map?
Basemaps for our Floodplain Mapping projects are provided to us through our mapping software, ArcGIS Online and ESRI Canada. These topographic basemaps include highways, major roads, minor roads, railways, water features, cities, parks, landmarks, building footprints, and administrative boundaries. Basemaps are created on a Canada-wide or Global scale. When the boundaries for these features are defined, the presentation of a feature may not be accurate based on the methods used to create the representation. Also, depending on the date of data collection for the basemap, some features may be outdated.
ORCA overlays a ‘floodplain layer’ onto the existing topographic basemaps to provide a visual representation of the extent of floodplain and unfortunately we are unable to make changes or corrections to the ArcGIS/ESRI basemaps.