Environmental Planning and Development

Environmental Planning and Development

Increasing awareness of the importance of preserving our natural environment is reflected in changing policy and legislation that govern land use change.

Provincial and municipal policies recognize the evaluation of the natural environment as a key component of the decision making process when land use change is proposed (e.g., for severance, subdivision, or re-zoning). Ecological consultants must have an in-depth understanding of planning requirements and of the necessary supporting studies to effect a timely and successful development application. RiverStone has the expertise to coordinate and complete the natural environment components of development applications for all scales of projects, starting with due diligence, through the natural heritage and impact assessments, to the effective communication of the results to the agencies involved.


  • Site Evaluation Reports
  • Natural Heritage Evaluations and Impact Studies (Greenbelt/Oak Ridges Moraine/Lake Simcoe)
  • Environmental Impact Studies (EIS)
  • Site Suitability Analyses
  • Fish Habitat Assessments
  • Species at Risk Assessments
  • Lake Capacity Assessment
  • Construction and Ecological Monitoring

  • Site Plans and Mitigation Measures
  • Due Diligence Studies
  • Water Quality Impact Assessments
  • Wetland Evaluations and Boundary Delineation—Ontario Wetland Evaluation System (OWES)
  • Natural Environment Evaluations (Level 1 and 2) for Pits and Quarries
  • Lake Capacity Analyses
  • Expert Testimony - Litigation and Ontario Municipal Board

  • Lake and Assimilative Capacity Studies
  • Recreational Capacity/Boating Studies
  • Golf Course Management Plans
  • Wastewater and Stormwater Compensation and Mitigation Plans
  • Federal, Provincial, and Municipal Class Environmental Assessments
  • Environmental Assessment Screening (Trent-Severn Waterway under CEAA)

Land Development

A strong understanding of both the natural environment and the policy and legislation that govern land development is important for a successful project. RiverStone has extensive experience in the provision of practical solutions for land development, from due diligence studies prior to land purchase, to the appropriate placement of projects within the complex environmental policy and legislation framework. We also have in-depth experience addressing physical and natural heritage constraints.

Pits and Quarries

The development and expansion of pits and quarries is regulated through the Provincial Aggregate Resources Act. RiverStone has managed the natural heritage components of pit and quarry development and expansion applications, including Natural Environment Level 1 and Level 2 evaluations. We have also developed rehabilitation and restoration plans, and coordinated Endangered Species Act permits and other agency approvals.

Wastewater / Private Septic Systems

Large municipal treatment systems and individual on-site wastewater treatment systems have the potential to impact water quality. We perform site suitability analyses and water quality impact assessments for individual landowners requiring private sewage treatment systems, as well as assimilative capacity studies for larger projects, where discharge of treated effluent to waterbodies is required.

Environmental Assessments

Working with municipalities and engineering firms, RiverStone has completed the natural environment components of Federal, Provincial, and Municipal Class Environmental Assessments for roads, waste water treatment facilities, bridges, and other infrastructure projects.

Permits and Applications

Frequently, applications for land use change require environmental permitting from regulatory agencies (e.g., Conservation Authorities, Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ministry of Environment and Climate Change). RiverStone has extensive experience securing the necessary permits for development to proceed, following planning approval. Our senior staff is also proficient in assisting groups or individuals to resolve environmental litigation.

Our Products and Services

– Federal and Provincial Permit Applications (Fisheries Act, Public Lands Act, Lakes and Rivers Improvement Act, Endangered Species Act, 2007)
– Mitigation and Compensation Plans (Fisheries and Species at Risk)
– Letters of Intent and Fisheries Act Authorization Applications
– Agency Liaison and Support Following Litigation

Photo 1: Staff tracking Blandings Turtle to establish habitat use for ESA Permit application - 172(c) for new quarry.

Photo 2: Completed Nautral Heritage Impact Study.