Environmental Projects and Studies

Learn more about the town's environmental projects, studies and initiatives.

Flooding studies

In 2008, the town completed a Flood Prioritization Study looking at major open-channel waterways, streams, rivers and lakes to identify flood-sensitive areas in Oakville. 

One of the objectives of this study was to see all flood-sensitive areas in relation to one another and categorize areas as low, medium or high risk of flooding.

Now that the study is complete, the town is in a position to take advantage of provincial, federal or private flood reduction/mitigation funding programs should they come available.

The town is carrying out a Municipal Class Environmental Assessment evaluate mitigation and flood reduction options for Fourteen Mile Creek and McCraney Creek from Lake Ontario to Dundas Street. 

The study, which began in 2011, is being completed at a master plan level and is nearing completion, having detailed information of creek flood-prone sites and recommended options to help mitigate flood risk in these areas. These options include the following solutions:

  • culvert/bridge upgrades – replace/supplement at select creek crossings
  • flood proofing buildings through the use of flood protection berms
  • flow diversions
  • flood control via stormwater storage measures
  • combination of measures above

Next steps include finalizing the master plan and initiating site specific studies for the preferred solutions through the Class Environmental Assessment process. Timing is subject to budget approval and other town-wide priorities.

We are nearing completion of the Joshua’s Creek Flood Mitigation Opportunities Study which has assessed flood risks along Joshua’s Creek south of Upper Middle Road to Lake Ontario. The study is being conducted in compliance with a Schedule ‘B’ Municipal Class Environmental Assessment.

Building upon the recommendation of the town-wide Flood Prioritization Study, the current Flood Mitigation Opportunities Study provides a detailed evaluation of flood prone sites within the Joshua’s Creek watershed and assesses possible mitigation measures to help reduce flood risk.  

Next steps include issuance of the Notice of Study Completion and preparation of the Project File for public review (anticipated late 2023/early 2024).

Presentation slides

An overview of the issues, alternatives, evaluation, and preliminary preferred alternatives solutions presented at the October 14, 2021, Public Information Center (PIC):

Development design

All new development must be designed to ensure that there is no increased risk to flooding. This is carried out by ensuring that flows from a site are controlled through stormwater management best management practices such as incorporating on-site ponding areas and detention tanks into the design.

All new and future development north of Dundas Street must meet the requirements dictated in the North Oakville Creeks Subwatershed Study. Stormwater for development uses end of pipe controls such as stormwater management ponds that are sized to control the Regional storm peak flows which are roughly two times greater than 100 year peak flows. This provides protection to prevent any increases in flooding as a result of the development in the north. Stormwater management ponds also provide water quality treatment and erosion control measures to prevent impacts downstream.

Addressing debris jams

Routine maintenance of town owned creek blocks are carried out throughout the year, including removal of debris jams resulting from woody debris from fallen trees, debris and garbage. 

If you see concerns with debris jams in the creek, you can report this information to Service Oakville by email at service@oakville.ca or by phone at 905-845-6601. 

Erosion issues

The town carries out creek inventories to assess conditions and identify risks to infrastructure and property to develop implementation plans and prioritize erosion mitigation works on town-owned watercourses. The last inventories were conducted in 2015 and 2021. 


Diana Michalakos
Project Leader, Capital Projects

The town is carrying out a Municipal Class Environmental Assessment for a detailed assessment of mitigation and flood reduction alternatives for Lower Morrison and Lower Wedgewood Creeks. This study builds upon the recommendations of the town-wide Flood Prioritization Study.

This Flood Mitigation Opportunities Study provides a detailed evaluation of flood-prone sites to determine the degree of flooding and assess the most effective flood mitigation options. The study also evaluates stormwater management design criteria for the planned growth of Midtown Oakville.

The study is being conducted in compliance with Schedule 'C' of the Municipal Class Environmental Assessment Process, which is approved under the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act.

Next steps include issuance of the Notice of Study Completion and preparation of the Environmental Study Report (ESR) for public review (anticipated late 2023/early 2024).

We have completed the Munn's Creek Flood Mitigation Opportunities Study. 

The study area included lands south of Upper Middle Road to the Morrison Wedgewood Diversion Channel. The purpose of the study was to assess impacts from riverine flooding, assess potential risks, and develop mitigation options.

The recommended solution to reduce flood risk includes the replacement of existing culvert crossings with larger structures, once the culverts have reached their end of service life.   The structures recommended for upgrades include:

  • McCraney Street West culvert
  • Miller Road culvert
  • Oakdale Drive to Onslow Court pedestrian culvert crossing.

The recommended culvert upgrades will also be designed to improve fish habitat and wildlife passage and enhance the ecological function of the Munn's Creek corridor.

The goal of the Saville Area Stormwater System Improvement Study is to identify drainage deficiencies, explore opportunities for stormwater system improvement, and develop preferred options to improve drainage.

Learn more about the Saville Area Stormwater System Improvement Study.

We have completed the Sheldon Creek Flood Mitigation Opportunities Study to identify flood-prone sites to determine the most practical and responsible options to reduce flood risk.

Several alternatives were evaluated based on environmental, physical, social, and economic considerations. The options selected are a combination of berm construction and emergency preparedness.

The study was carried out in accordance with the requirements as described in the Municipal Engineers Association’s Municipal Class Environmental Assessment (EA) document, approved under the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act. 

Infrastructure projects

We are currently in the detailed design and approval phase to rehabilitate a section of Sixteen Mile creek valley slope located just upstream of the Rebecca Street west bridge abutment. Work is anticipated to include sheet pile wall installation.       

Construction is planned for Fall/Winter 2024-2025 (subject to permit timing, harbour operations, and weather conditions). Works will be carried out in conjunction with the Sixteen Mile Creek Outfall Repairs.

We are currently in the detailed design and approval phase to carryout repairs to three existing stormwater outfalls located along Sixteen Mile Creek (Lawson Street, Randall Street and, Forsythe Street. Works include concrete headwall repairs and creek bank stabilization.   

Construction is planned for Fall/Winter 2024-2025 (subject to permit timing, harbour operations, and weather conditions). Works will be carried out in conjunction with the Rebecca Street Bridge Valley Slope Rehabilitation.


The project received funding from the Canada Community Building Fund (CCBF). The CCBF provides direct, permanent, stable funding to help each municipality in Ontario address local infrastructure priorities. Its purpose is to grow the economy, promote a cleaner environment, and build stronger communities all by investing in local infrastructure.

The town has completed the Shorewood Promenade Shoreline Rehabilitation Study. The purpose of the study was to assess the problem of shoreline erosion and evaluate alternatives to reduce risk to public and private property. 

The recommended solution to reduce erosion risk within the study area includes construction of an armour stone revetment to protect the toe of the natural bluff. The recommended solution addresses the long-term sustainability of the shoreline and considers such factors as lake levels, wave events, ecological function, tableland uses and impacts on adjacent shoreline sites.

The presence of bank swallows, which are designated under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and Species at Risk Act (SARA), were confirmed during the course of the study.

Town staff and our consultants are working closely with the Ministry of Environment Conservation and Parks (MECP) to obtain the necessary approvals for this project to demonstrate an overall net benefit to banks swallows, subject to the ESA and SARA though compensation works planned at South Shell Park (See South Shell Park Shoreline Rehabilitation)

Detailed design and permitting process is underway. Construction is planned for Summer/Fall 2024 (subject to permit timing)

We currently in the detailed design and approval phase to carryout shoreline repairs to the the existing armour stone wall and stone/mortar wall located at South Shell Park (east of the pier).   

As part of the project the town will be incorporating artificial nesting habitat features for bank swallows with opportunities for on-site interpretive public education for this endangered species.

Construction is planned for Summer 2024 (subject to permit timing).

State of the Environment Report

The town's Environmental Sustainability Plan (ESP) is a framework for our environmental sustainability efforts. The State of the Environment Report (SOER) is a partner program to the ESP, which tracks select initiatives to provide an understanding of how we are doing with environmental sustainability.

Browse the four main categories below information on areas we're tracking, or check out our 2017 highlights report (pdf).

Active transportation

Active transportation refers to any form of human-powered transportation — walking, cycling, roller blading or skateboarding. Choosing active transportation instead of driving reduces air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and traffic congestion. 

  • Oakville has 200.6 kilometres of active transportation routes.
  • In addition to expanding the network of routes, the town has invested in supporting cycling infrastructure. 

Ecological footprint

The ecological footprint is a measurement tool that tracks the environmental impact of human consumption. Oakville’s ecological footprint measures household consumption of food, transportation, housing, goods and services, and government services. Then, it shows the findings in terms of the land area needed to support that level of consumption in global hectares (gha) per person. 

  • The ecological footprint for Oakville has shown decreases since it was first measured in 2010.
  • The per capita ecological footprint for Oakville is 8.3 gha.


Oakville’s recreational trail system is an important asset that helps residents and visitors connect with the outdoors, stay active, and engage with the natural environment. Studies indicate that access to nature contributes to physical and mental wellbeing and overall health.

  • Oakville has one of the most extensive trail systems in Southern Ontario. Frequent additions of new trails has greatly expanded trail availability throughout the town.
  • In 2016, the town maintained 220.3 kilometres of recreational trails.


Public transit reduces the number of cars on the road improving air quality and lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Public transit is also, generally, a more cost effective choice and is better for the environment than traveling by car. 

  • Ridership data tells us how many people are using Oakville’s public transit system. In 2016, annual ridership reached 2.9 million trips which equals an average of 15 trips per Oakville resident.

Air quality

Exposure to air pollution can make it harder to breathe, irritate your lungs and worsen chronic diseases. Studies have shown that even minor increases in air pollution can cause small increases in emergency room visits, hospital admissions and deaths.

  • In 2016, 34 days were classified as posing a moderate health risk due to air pollution levels. The remaining days in the year were classified as low risk. Oakville experienced zero days at high risk levels.

Hard surfaces

How permeable a surface is lets us know how water moves through it. Water can either be:

  • absorbed by soil or natural cover (permeable), or
  • it can flow on top of hard surfaces such as roads, driveways, parking lots and most buildings (impermeable).

Water that does not soak into the ground is called runoff and can pick up debris or chemicals as it moves into lakes and rivers causing polluted water. Runoff can also cause flooding, which is a growing concern with more extreme weather and rain due to climate change.

  • In 2017, about 45% of the town had impermeable land cover. We are looking at ways to expand the amount of naturally covered area to increase the town's resiliency to flooding.


Greenspace is important for better air and water quality, flood protection, climate stability and biodiversity protection.

Accessing greenspaces and natural areas has been shown to improve mental and physical wellness, increase quality of life and foster stronger community cohesion.

  • Oakville has 2,519 hectares of publicly owned greenspace. Over the last five years, the town has added 18 hectares of greenspace and continues to identify land for protection and opportunities to expand greenspace.

Water quality

High phosphorus levels impact plants and animals in our water by causing algae to grow faster than ecosystems can handle, lowering oxygen levels and contaminating the water. Ways that phosphorus get into our water include fertilizers, manure, organic wastes, detergents and wastewater treatment plant discharge.

  • Average annual phosphorus levels for Sixteen Mile Creek, Fourteen Mile Creek and Bronte Creek all had annual phosphorus levels well below their respective ten-year averages.

Chloride is another naturally occurring nutrient that can be toxic to aquatic life if levels are too high. Elevated chloride levels in Oakville creeks are primarily a result of road salting during winter months.

  • Average annual chloride levels vary across Oakville’s creeks. Fourteen Mile Creek is consistently above, Sixteen Mile Creek fluctuates above and below and Bronte Creek has remained below. As of 2014 the trend for all three creeks has been trending upward.

Corporate greenhouse gas

The town is committed to reducing the use of non-renewable energy at town facilities and improving air quality in Oakville. By using less electricity and natural gas, we not only save money, we lower our impact on the environment. 

  • The town’s baseline year of measurement is 2012, with a goal to achieve a 15% reduction in energy consumption at town facilities by 2019.
  • As of 2016, the town has seen a 3.7% energy use intensity reduction since 2012.

Environmental outreach

Education and outreach programs support the awareness of environmental sustainability issues.

Monitoring the number of events that the town hosts and/or participates in each year helps understand our efforts in raising the profile of the environmental sustainability efforts. 

  • The trend is hosting fewer but larger events.
  • In addition to the events, the town provides online education material and outreach through social media and works to deliver programs with community partners such as Conservation Halton, Oakvillegreen and the Halton Environmental Network.

Renewable energy

Renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and geothermal can help replace non-renewable fossil-based sources such as nuclear and natural gas. Most renewable energy sources produce little to no greenhouse gas emissions which helps lower environmental impacts. 

  • In 2016, Oakville Enterprises Corporation (the parent company of Oakville Hydro) generated 27,336 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity from renewable energy sources. These sources included solar, gas capture from landfill and hydro.


Electricity generation can produce a number of air pollutants or toxic materials depending on how the electricity is produced.

Reducing electricity use is good for the environment and lowers household electrical bills, saving you money. 

  • Electricity consumption levels have been relatively stable the past three years. Electricity consumption per person in 2016 was 2% below the five-year average and virtually unchanged when compared to 2015 levels. 


Natural gas is a fossil fuel that, when burned, contributes to climate change and other air pollutants.

Reducing natural gas use is good for the environment and lowers gas bills, saving you money. 

Programs targeted towards reducing home energy use and more energy efficient heating systems can contribute to decreases in household heating costs. On average, the natural gas consumption per person is 742 cubic metres annually.


The amount of waste diverted from landfills helps us understand how effective our efforts have been to recycle, reduce and reuse.

Diverting waste through recycling and composting programs extends the life of our landfills, reduces energy use, and limits the need for extracting, refining and processing new raw materials.

The amount of waste generated per person has decreased in the past decade with more waste being diverted through blue bin recycling, organics, yard waste, and white goods and metal recycling programs. Rates have been consistent over the last five years hovering around 58 per cent.


Efficient use of water reduces our impact on water resources and reduces the energy required to treat and transport water to our homes. It is also good for cost avoidance, because it is cheaper to conserve water than it is to increase treatment capacity. 

  • Despite increasing population, total residential water use has remained steady since 2005. Gains in population have been offset by lower household water use. The average water use per person, per day, is 220 litres.

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