Erosion and Sediment Control

Controlling erosion of sediment from development sites is an ongoing issue across Prince Edward Island. The fine particulate nature of PEI’s soil makes it particularly susceptible to erosion. 

Sediment is defined as a contaminant in the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) (Environmental Protection Act, 2022, Section 1, Part B). When sediment enters a watercourse or waterbody in high concentrations it causes negative impacts, including smothering benthic organisms, reducing egg-laying habitat, blocking sunlight from aquatic plants, excessive nutrient loading, damage to fish gills, reducing visibility in water, reducing water quality, and creating costly restoration projects for future generations. 

Our project to rehabilitate the Pondside watershed system is a direct result of several years’ worth of heavy sedimentation from upstream development sites entering and settling in the system.

In partnership with Town of Stratford, we have created a set of guidelines that developers and contractors should follow, which lays out best practices for control structures and methods and explains the current regulatory environment relating to sediment and erosion control. We have also created a brochure to act as a quick reference guide for contractors and construction workers to follow best practices on site.

TOS_Erosion_and_Sediment_Control_Guidelines_2022 (1).pdf
ESC Brochure.pdf

There are two types of projects, with different requirements depending on size and proximity to critical areas.

 A critical area refers to all areas that can be negatively impacted by sedimentation, including but not limited to existing developments, public roadways, watercourses and other natural ecosystems and habitats. 

A Type 1 project is less than 0.4 hectares (ha) of soil disturbance and not in close proximity to critical areas. Type 1 projects are required to follow the ESC best practices as outlined in Section 4.2 of the Town of Stratford guidelines. 

A Type 2 project is greater than 0.4 ha of soil disturbance and/or adjacent to a critical area. Type 2 projects are required to submit a full ESC plan for approval prior to initiating striping or grading. The Town of Stratford Erosion and Sediment Control Guidelines document explains these requirements in depth.

We have also created a pre-disturbance checklist and a weekly checklist for contractors to use to identify control structures that they have put in place prior to beginning development, and to regularly check the condition of these structures at least once per week and prior to heavy rainfall events.

2 TOS SAWIG ESC Checklist - Weekly.pdf
1 TOS SAWIG ESC Checklist - Predisturbance.pdf


SAWIG regularly monitors runoff after heavy rain events downstream of development sites within the Town of Stratford and communicates with developers and contractors to provide guidance on erosion and sediment control measures and reminders to repair structures when they are damaged due to runoff events.

The Water Act Public Consultation Report released in May 2016 states that, following the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) guidelines, human activities should not increase suspended sediment concentrations by more than 25 mg/L above background levels during any short-term exposure period. Applying this guideline to PEI would mean a province-wide maximum permitted level of 29 mg/L of total suspended solids (TSS) in watercourses (Water Act Public Consultation Report, 2016, p.24).

Examples of poor or absent sediment control structures

Examples of good sediment control structures

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This project was primarily funded through the EcoAction Community Funding Program by Environment and Climate Change Canada.

Other funding partners included the Cornwall Area Watershed Group, the Town of Stratford, the Town of Cornwall and the Province of PEI.