City of Niagara Falls - Permit for activities to achieve an overall benefit to a species

Instrument type: Permit for activities to achieve an overall benefit to a species

ERO number
Ministry reference number
Notice type
Endangered Species Act , R.S.O. 2007
Posted by
Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
Notice stage
Proposal posted
Comment period
August 11, 2022 - September 10, 2022 (30 days) Closed
Last updated

There is no requirement to post this notice on the Environmental Registry of Ontario, but we want to hear your thoughts. Submit a comment and tell us what you think. Learn about the consultation process and types of notices on the registry.

This consultation was open from:

August 11, 2022
to September 10, 2022

Proposal summary

We are seeking input on a proposal for a permit to be issued to the City of Niagara Falls to replace the Beck Road Bridge. This activity may adversely impact American Water-willow, a species at risk plant. The proposal considers proposed actions to minimize adverse effects, as well as proposed actions to benefit the species.

Location details

Site location details

Beck Road Bridge, over Lyon’s Creek, Niagara Falls, ON

Site location map

The location pin reflects the approximate area where environmental activity is taking place.

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City of Niagara Falls
4310 Queen Street
Niagara Falls, ON
L2E 6X5

Why consultation isn't required

Although the permit proposal does relate to a plant, we are not required to consult on this permit proposal as the proponent is a municipality, and therefore does not meet the required criteria set out in subsection 1.3(6) of Ontario Regulation 681/94 of the Environmental Bill of Rights,1993. We are voluntarily posting this notice to advise the public of this proposal and to invite the public to submit written comments to the contact person identified in this notice.

Proposal details

The City of Niagara Falls has submitted an application for an overall benefit permit under clause 17(2)(c) of the Endangered Species Act, 2007 (ESA) for impacts to American Water-willow so it can replace Beck Road Bridge over Lyon’s Creek, City of Niagara Falls, Ontario.

The proposal may adversely impact:

  • American Water-willow individuals
  • approximately 31.2 m2 of American Water-willow habitat

Protecting species under the Endangered Species Act

The Ontario government is committed to protecting species at risk and providing strong environmental oversight, while working to support development opportunities in the province.

Ontario provides protections for species at risk and their habitats under the Endangered Species Act, 2007 (ESA). Sections 9 and 10 of the ESA provide protection for individual members of a species and their habitat if that species is listed on the Species at Risk in Ontario list as either:

  • extirpated
  • endangered
  • threatened

American Water-willow is listed on the Species at Risk in Ontario List as threatened; therefore, it is protected.

Habitat protection under subsection 10(1) of the ESA applies to American Water-willow.

Under clause 17(2)(c) of the ESA, the Minister may issue a permit authorizing a person to engage in an activity that would otherwise be prohibited by sections 9 or 10 of the ESA if the minister believes that:

  • an overall benefit to the species will be achieved within a reasonable time through the conditions of the permit
  • reasonable alternatives have been considered, including alternatives that would not negatively affect the species, and the best alternative has been adopted
  • reasonable steps to minimize negative effects on individual members of the species are required by conditions of the permit

Providing an overall benefit to a protected species under the ESA means improving circumstances for the species in Ontario. Overall benefit is:

  • more than "no net loss" or an exchange of "like for like"
  • grounded in the protection and recovery of the species at risk
  • more than mitigation measures or "replacing" what is lost

Actions to achieve an overall benefit to species

The City of Niagara Falls is working to identify proposed actions that would achieve an overall benefit for American Water-willow. These may involve:

  • establishing a new population of American Water-willow at a suitable location in the area
  • conducting detailed mapping and population monitoring of the existing, restored and new populations to examine population dynamics
  • comparing the success of transplanting and propagation to better understand the feasibility of restoring historic populations
  • increasing public awareness with educational signage, in collaboration with a local non-profit stewardship organization

Reasonable alternatives being considered

The City of Niagara Falls has explored alternatives, including alternatives that would not adversely affect American Water-willow and their habitat. These include:

  • not proceeding with the proposed project, despite the remaining life of the bridge being 1-5 years
  • rehabilitating the existing bridge, extending the life by 5-10 years
  • constructing a new bridge in a new location and removing the existing bridge
  • constructing a new bridge in the same location, but shifted by several metres and removing the existing bridge
  • proceeding with the proposed project, including removing the existing bridge and constructing a new wider bridge within the same alignment

The City of Niagara Falls has concluded that the best alternative involves removing the existing bridge and constructing the new wider bridge within the same alignment. It addresses the lifespan and safety concerns while minimizing the overall footprint of the project.

Actions to minimize adverse effects on the species

The City of Niagara Falls is seeking ways to minimize adverse effects on the American Water-willow and its habitat. These may include:

  • using cofferdams to minimize impacts to Lyon’s Creek and adjacent American Water-willow habitat
  • salvaging and relocating individual American Water-willow plants likely to be impacted by the project, prior to construction
  • using exclusion fencing to prevent construction equipment, materials, and personnel from encroaching further into American Water-willow habitat
  • ensuring that all personnel are made aware and trained on how to identify the American Water-willow, its habitat and mitigation measures, before construction
  • using measures to avoid the establishment of competing vegetation, including invasive species, while cofferdams are place
  • using sediment and erosion control methods to avoid water quality impacts
  • ensuring water flow from dewatering does not adversely affect remaining plants near the site
  • monitoring mitigation measures to ensure they are effective and in good working order
  • replanting individuals and restoring habitat, after construction

Other information

The Province has published a government response statement under subsection 12.1 of the Endangered Species Act, 2007 with respect to American Water-willow. The response statement will be considered before a decision to issue an overall benefit permit.

Posting this proposal on the Environmental Registry does not imply that the minister will issue a permit. A permit may only be issued where the legal requirements set out in clause 17(2)(c) of the Act have been satisfied.

Supporting materials

View materials in person

Some supporting materials may not be available online. If this is the case, you can request to view the materials in person.

Get in touch with the office listed below to find out if materials are available.

Species at Risk Branch

40 St Clair Ave West
Toronto, ON
M4V 1M2


Commenting is now closed.

The comment period was from August 11, 2022
to September 10, 2022

Connect with us


April Mitchell

Phone number
Species at Risk Branch - Land and Water Division

435 James St. South
Suite 114
Thunder Bay, ON
P7E 6T1

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