Frequently Asked Questions

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Credit Valley Conservation does not endorse navigation of the river, trespassing nor suggests that it is a safe recreational activity. Navigate the Credit River by canoe, kayak, raft or tube at your own risk.

You can enjoy kayaking and canoeing at Island Lake Conservation Area and Ken Whillans Resource Management Area. We have rentals available. Please note, Credit Valley Conservation does not provide watercraft rentals for use on the Credit River or outside Island Lake Conservation Area and Ken Whillans Resource Management Area.

Please see our Fishing Regulations page for more information.

Controlled Burn

Controlled burns are carefully set and managed fires to help restore, maintain, and protect prairie and grassland habitat. The fire is carefully managed by fire experts to burn low to the ground capturing dried grasses and leaves without harming larger trees.

The goal of a controlled burn is to remove unwanted trees, shrubs and non-native plants so a healthy native grassland with diverse species can establish and thrive.

Controlled burns are conducted in early spring when many non-native plants are starting to grow, but the native prairie species are still dormant.

Ignition only takes place under ideal site and weather conditions to ensure wind speed and direction are favorable. To prepare for a burn, the fire crew mows the perimeter of the burn area down to bare ground to create “fuel breaks” at least one metre wide. Fuel breaks are pre-wetted before ignition.

During the burn, the burn boss will ignite and control the pattern of the fire to ensure fire lines are “burning into the black”, meaning the fire is usually burning towards areas already burned so there is no more fuel and the fire self-extinguishes.

The fire is constantly monitored by an experienced fire crew and everyone is in constant radio contact with one another. Water filled backpack suppression units, multiple ATV units outfitted with water tanks and sprayers, as well as a forestry power pump connected to a water source are on site.

Under ideal weather conditions, smoke from a controlled burn will rise without impacting surrounding properties.

Changing weather conditions, however, can lead to smoke temporarily reaching nearby residences. It’s recommended that neighbours close windows and doors as a precaution on the day of the burn. People with sensitivity to smoke, especially young children and older adults, are encouraged to stay indoors.

When CVC conducts control burns on our properties, we hire a burn boss who has been trained by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and has extensive experience in prescribed burning. The burn boss, along with their qualified fire crew, are responsible for setting, controlling and extinguishing the fire.

Wildlife have adaptive behaviours that help them escape from fire. Mammals, for example, can easily out-run ground fires or retreat to burrows or previously burned areas. Reptiles and amphibians may remain in the soil, retreat beneath logs and damp leaves, enter burrows, or escape to water.

CVC chooses a window of time when the site will have very low activity in terms of wildlife use. This includes respecting bird breeding windows. Overall, most animals benefit from the new growth that follows a fire and the open type of habitat it maintains. Some animals such as turkeys and birds of prey will move in to recently burned areas to look for food.

Religious Offerings

Credit Valley Conservation does not permit the scattering of ashes or religious offerings on CVC property, including our conservation areas.

The Ontario government permits scattering of ashes on provincial properties, including provincial parks such as Bronte Creek in Oakville and Forks of the Credit in Caledon. Please contact your municipality directly to find out if scattering of ashes or religious offerings are available.


Beavers have a role in our local ecosystems and help create important wetland habitat. Beavers can be on or around private property which can cause damage.

If a beaver is cutting down trees on your property, you can protect trees by wrapping them in a wire mesh. You can plant fast growing trees or shrubs such as willow or alder to attract the beavers to those plants instead of larger trees.

If a beaver dam is causing issues, there are ways to allow water to flow through the dam to reduce flooding. Beaver baffler is a long tube that goes through the dam and flows water out of the flooded area downstream. Read more about beaver management strategies and beaver bafflers in this resource.

While we recommend trying  non-lethal options, this is not possible or desired by all landowners. A landowner owner can hire a licensed trapper to trap and kill beavers. Trappers do not trap and release beavers. Removing a beaver may not be a permanent solution because it’s possible for a new beaver to move into the now available habitat.

To find a licensed trapper near you contact the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry at 905-713-7400.

Beavers have an important role in our local ecosystems and help create important wetland habitat. Beavers can be on or near private property which can cause property damage.

If a beaver is cutting down trees on your property you can protect your trees by wrapping them in a wire mesh. You can plant fast growing trees or shrubs such as willow or alder to attract the beavers to those plants instead of larger trees.

If a beaver dam is causing flooding on your property but the dam is not on your property, it becomes the responsibility of the landowner where the dam is located. Most waterways are owned by the local municipality but some are owned by landowners. Contact your local municipality to learn who owns the property where the dam is located.

Coyotes are common and a natural part of the environment in urban, suburban, and rural areas. While coyotes are shy creatures, they are curious and can find themselves in conflict with people.

To reduce the chances of coyote on your property be sure to keep food (including pet food) and garbage in an enclosed structure to reduce odors, pick up fruit from any fruit trees and never feed coyotes.

Keep pets on a leash and stay outdoors with them. To protect livestock, keep animals in a barn over night or get a guard animal such as a donkey or llama.

If you have coyotes frequenting your property, install a fence that is at least six feet above the ground and six inches below the ground. Motion-sensitive lights and sprinkler systems can help scare away curious coyotes.

Problem coyotes can be harassed, captured or killed if they are causing damage to your property. For more information contact the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry at 905-713-7400.

As people settled Eastern North America, coyotes from the west made their way east. During this expansion there was some cross breeding between coyotes and wolves. Today, what is known as the Eastern Coyote is actually a mix of coyote, wolf and domestic dog. Some people have given them the name coywolf to indicate this mix of genetics.

Eastern coyotes live in a variety of habitat including woodland, open fields and urban areas throughout Ontario. Their weight varies from 9-23 kilograms and their fur can make them appear larger than they are.

Gray wolves also live in a variety of habitats such as forest, mountains and tundra in Northern Ontario. A male wolf ranges in weight from 20-70 kilograms, while the female is slightly smaller. The Algonquin wolf prefers forested habitats and is found in and around Algonquin Provincial Park. They tend to be between the size of a coyote and a gray wolf and average 29 kilograms.

Because of their habitat range and needs it is very unlikely for a wolf to be found in the Credit River Watershed.

You can trap and move an animal that is causing damage to your property. The animal must be dealt with humanely, released within 24 hours of capture and can only be moved up to one kilometre from where it was captured. This can be done by yourself or a wildlife agent with the required criteria.

There are some exceptions for species at risk and white-tailed deer. Learn more by reviewing information provided on the Ontario government’s website.

In general, do not handle wildlife and contact your local animal services. Sick and injured wildlife may try to defend themselves and threaten your health and safety.

It may be appropriate to protect or help sick or injured wildlife that do not pose a threat to your health and safety (e.g. song birds). Only handle sick or injured animals if you are comfortable doing so and be aware of potential hazards relating to handling these animals.

Do not handle any injured animal, dead or alive, with bare hands. First, try to isolate the area the animal is in, keeping the public away if possible. If the animal is small and can be captured readily, use gloves and place it in a box in a cool dark location.

Some sick or injured animals can be sent to The Toronto Wildlife Centre for rehabilitation. Contact the Toronto Wildlife Centre at 416- 631-0662 as soon as you find a sick or injured animal. The Toronto Wildlife Centre is unable to answer calls but leave a message and they will return your call quickly. For information visit the Toronto Wildlife Centre website.

If the Toronto Wildlife Centre is unable to help, contact your local animal control or humane society.

First, determine if the animal is abandoned. Many animals leave their young unattended in a sheltered spot while they go looking for food. If you come across a fawn laying in some tall grass or bunnies in a small depression on the ground, they are likely just waiting for their mother to return. It’s best to leave these animals alone.

If you are concerned that the young are abandoned, there are ways to test if the mother is coming back. For detailed accounts of determining if an animal is abandoned please refer to information on the Toronto Wildlife Centre website.

If you have determined that the animal is abandoned contact The Toronto Wildlife Centre at 416-631-0662. The Toronto Wildlife Centre is unable to answer calls but leave a message and they will return you call quickly. They will advise you on how to gather the abandoned animal and where to take it. If The Toronto Wildlife Centre is unable to help, contact your local animal control or humane societies.

You can share any interesting wildlife sighting with us through social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Sometimes birds will nest in strange places such as a wreath on a door or a light near an entrance. Most birds are protected by the Migratory Bird Act and therefore you can not interfere or destroy a nest, no matter the inconvenience. The exception to this is if the nesting bird is a non-native species such as a house sparrow, starling or pigeon.

Most birds will be done with their nest within a month or so of building it. For example, American robin will incubate its eggs for 12-13 days and the young only stay in the nest for about 13 days. Waterfowl like ducks and geese leave the nest shortly after young have hatched.

If possible, keep your distance from the nest. If you have to get close to the nest such as to enter your house, move past quickly and quietly to reduce stress on the birds.

You can take this opportunity to participate in the citizen science project called NestWatch.

If a turtle is on the side of the road and staying in one spot, it’s likely nesting. Female turtles often use the gravely substrate on the shoulder of roads to dig a hole and lay its eggs. In this situation, leave the turtle alone. Watch from a safe distance where you will not disturb the turtle.

If you see a turtle crossing a road, only stop if it is safe to do so. You can help the turtle cross but remember to keep it going in the same direction, even if it is closer to one side.

Snapping turtles get quite large and heavy, and can be aggressive. Please use caution. If moving with your hands, be sure to wear gloves. Pick up the turtle by grabbing the back of the shell between the two hind legs so the tail is between your hands. Snapping turtle have long necks that can reach halfway down its shell. If you grab the turtle in the centre of its shell it may bite you. The turtle is likely to move and thrash its legs which can make it very difficult to hold on.

If the snapping turtle is too large to move by hand you can coax it across the road by getting it to bite a stick, by lifting up the back of the shell so the front legs are still on the ground and move it like a wheelbarrow, or lift it with a blanket, sweater, coat or shovel.

To move other species of turtles you can pick them up with two hands in the centre of the shell.

For more information and pictures on how to move turtle, review this resource from the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre.

Animals found dead on your property will be your responsibility to remove. In most cases, dead wild animals can be put in the garbage or buried. If you are uncertain of disposal arrangements, contact your local municipality.

If you find a dead animal on CVC property please contact us at 905-670-1615 or [email protected].

Call your local organization below for removal.

  • Brampton Animal Shelter: 905-458-5800
  • Georgetown/Acton – Major Region Rds. (J. Stervoski): 866-442-5866, Ext. 7862
  • Township Rds. (Town of Halton Hills): 905-873-2601
  • Mississauga Animal Services (8 am – 4 pm): 905-896-5858
  • Mississauga Animal Emergency (after hours): 905-615-3000
  • Orangeville (Cats/Dogs – SPCA): 519-942-3140
  • Region of Peel – has jurisdiction over roads in the Town of Caledon & Brampton (e.g. Hwy# 50, Mayfield Road, King Street, The Gore Road, Airport Road, Olde Base Line Road, Mississauga Road (South of Forks of the Credit Road), Bush Street, Forks of the Credit Road, Charleston Sideroad, Main Street (South of Queen Street in Alton) & Porterfield Road). Please visit for more information on Regional roads: 905-791-7800
  • Town of Caledon – Public Works: 905-584-2272 ex. 7750 or [email protected].

It is extremely important to stay calm. Don’t approach or run away from a threatening animal. Give the animal room to escape and do not make eye contact (as this is a threatening gesture to the animal). Back away slowly, keeping your eyes averted. Speak or hum in a low voice which may calm the animal. If the animal approaches, group together with other people if possible and make yourself look large and defensive while backing away; raise your arms in the air, put objects over your head such as a spread jacket or large stick. Be prepared to fend off any possible attack.

If the animal does attack, fight back. Hit vulnerable body parts such as the nose and eyes. If you are being bitten, do not yank your body part away as this can cause the animal to grasp or pull harder and aggravate any injury. Fend off the animal with force by kicking or hitting, preferably with a heavy or sharp object. Hitting the nose will often cause the animal to release its grip.

If you end up on the ground, cover the back of your neck and head with your arms or jacket, spinning to keep your legs between you and the animal. If it attacks, kick at it. You will need to fight hard to injure the animal so it will give up the attack (as it will find you too tough to deal with). An animal will be more reluctant to let go once they get a hold of you, so you must try to avoid allowing them to bite you in the first place by fending them off with aggression. Yell, shout and scream, to scare the animal. The ears of many predatory mammals are highly sensitive to sound.

All municipalities have by-laws regarding off-leash dogs and have fines associated with these by-laws. These by-laws are in place for the safety and comfort of the community, wildlife and your dog. For more information on by-laws related to dogs or to find the closest off-leash dog park contact your local municipality.

When visiting a our conservation areas, it’s important to keep your dog on leash. Remember our parks are natural and there could be areas that you don’t want your dog to get into. Some off-trail areas may have poisonous plants and dangerous wildlife, such as skunks and porcupines.

If you plan to bring your dog to the park, please keep them on a leash of six feet or less at all times. This is for their safety, and it also shows consideration for other park visitors who may be afraid of wondering dogs.

Our parks are also home to species-at-risk. These species can be in danger when dogs are loose. Learn more about dog walking at our parks.

A sick racoon is more likely to be sick with canine distemper than rabies but the symptoms of rabies and distemper are very similar. Without testing it can be difficult to know what the animal is sick with.

If you encounter an animal with symptoms of rabies or distemper such as difficulty walking, disoriented, or partial paralysis in face or legs, do not approach the animal and call your local animal services. If the animal is threatening you or someone else, call the police. All suspected cases of rabies must be reported to the Canadian Food Agency at 226-217-8555. Visit the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs for more information on rabies.

While rabies is uncommon in our watershed there have been several cases in the Greater Toronto Area in the past few year. We should be aware of the possibility of encountering a rabid animal. Racoons, skunks, bats and foxes are the most likely animal to encounter with rabies. For up to date information on rabies cases in Ontario visit the Ontario website.

  • Ontario SPCA (General number): 1-888-ONT-SPCA (668-7722)
  • Caledon Animal Shelter (Bolton): 905-857-5208
  • Brampton Animal Services: 905-458-5800
  • Upper Credit Humane Society (Erin, Hillsburgh, Wellington County): 519-833-2287
  • Halton Hills Animal Control (Georgetown, Acton, Limehouse): 905-877-6235
  • Mississauga Animal Services (Dispatch): 905-896-5858
  • Mississauga Animal Emergency (after hours): 905-615-3000
  • Orangeville SPCA: 519-942-3140

Management Plans

We create management plans to guide the management of our conservation areas. In developing a management plan, we create a list of activities and actions that are appropriate and highlight the uniqueness of that area. Our thorough approach to building such plans aims to assure the public and the Authority that we are doing the right things.

Management Plans include the following:

  • Sets goals and objectives and provides strategies for achieving them
  • A long-term vision that helps land managers and stakeholders manage the property
  • Advises on operational decisions and prioritizes actions
  • Involves municipal and provincial agencies, partner groups and the public

For any management plan, we begin with a “filtering down” approach to information gathering and synthesis.

  • In early project phases, we collect information and review it without emphasis on implications or recommendations.
  • As the management plan project progresses, we choose and apply filters and values. Filters that are applied include policy, regulations, values, industry best practice, scientific standards and underlying assumptions. These support focused decision-making.
  • At the end stages of a management plan project, we identify a set of actions for future site management.

CVC’s management planning process occurs in three distinct, but overlapping phases:

Phase I – Background Studies and Report

  • Review opportunities and limitations such as natural heritage, cultural heritage, infrastructure, existing resources, programming, policies, planning initiatives, and the role of the public

Phase II – Strategic Directions

  • Consult with the public, stakeholders and provincial agencies
  • A strategic direction report will include results and issues identified in the Background Report and public consultations

Phase III – Management Plan

  • Includes the results of Phase I and II
  • Reviewed by CVC staff and government agencies
  • Requires approval from the Niagara Escarpment Commission and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

We welcome questions, comments and feedback about management plans at any time. If you have questions or comments about the project, please contact us.

We also host public consultation activities at key stages of the project. Information about activities are posted on the individual management plan webpages and in our events calendar.

We are currently developing management plans for the following Credit Valley Park:

Island Lake Conservation Area

Belfountain Conservation Area

Conservation Area Management Activities

Planting trees and shrubs help forests to regenerate, speed up the recovery of areas that require restoration, provide habitat for wildlife and help make our watershed more resilient to climate change. Trees and shrubs need time to establish and grow.

Grazing by wildlife, such as deer and rabbits, is impacting a significant portion of CVC’s new deciduous tree and shrub plantings. If the planted trees and shrubs are not protected and allowed to establish to the height where most of a tree’s foliage and branches are above the reach of wildlife such as deer, we risk losing the new plantings. The loss of plantings will result in a re-invasion of non-native plants and return to low-quality habitat.

CVC is using multiple techniques to protect newly planted trees and shrubs in restoration areas.

In some restoration areas, we’re currently using temporary fences around pockets of new deciduous trees and shrubs that are being heavily impacted by deer. Learn more about deer fencing at Rattray Marsh Conservation Area.

In many of our restoration areas we’re also applying organic-based Bobbex, Regulation #29804, to protect newly planted trees and shrubs. Read more about Bobbex and the locations it’s being applied.

Boat Washing at ILCA

As of January 1st, 2022, Ontario has regulated watercraft (boats, canoes, kayaks) as a carrier of invasive species under Ontario’s Invasive Species Act. Boaters are now required to take the following steps before transporting a boat or boat equipment overland:

  • Remove or open drain plugs to allow water to drain from the boat or boat equipment
  • Take reasonable precautions to remove all mud, aquatic plants (weeds), animals and algae from any boat, boat equipment, vehicle or trailer

Before reaching a launch site or placing a watercraft in any body of water in Ontario, boaters are required to ensure their boat, boating equipment, vehicles or trailers are free of all:

  • Aquatic plants
  • Animals
  • Algae
  • Mud

Learn more about the provincial regulation.

We are hosting the events to help educate boaters about the new provincial regulation and to prevent the introduction of additional aquatic invasive species to the reservoir. The events are also acting as a pilot to support the implementation of the Island Lake Management Plan and inform a more permanent boat wash station.

Visit to view our events calendar to see upcoming Clean, Drain, Dry Day event dates.

Over the years, many aquatic invasive species such as phragmites, curly pondweed, banded mystery snail and common carp have been found at ILCA. There is concern that other invasive species like zebra or quagga mussels or rusty crayfish may show up in the future.

CVC has banned the use of external baitfish. This ban been in place at ILCA for several years.

Find more information on invasive species using the resources below.

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