Water Programs

Aquatic Habitat Protection

Apply early. Current application review time 12 weeks.

Please note that application review may take up to 12 weeks. Please send your application well in advance of your project. 

Application Form Icon

Click any of the following links for more information:


Do I need a permit?

Examples of projects that need a permit

Industry projects

How to apply


Resources and Fact Sheets

Frequently Asked Questions



The Aquatic Habitat Protection Program protects aquatic habitat from impacts that may arise from development in, or near, water.

The program preserves and maintains aquatic habitat at the productive level which existed prior to the development activities by preventing:

  • temporary and permanent habitat alteration;
  • increased soil erosion and sedimentation;
  • impacts of construction timing and development on aquatic organisms and Species at Risk;
  • discharge of chemicals, oil, gasoline and other contaminants into water; 

The program also protects vegetation and habitat in the water and on the banks. 

You must obtain an Aquatic Habitat Protection Permit BEFORE doing work in, or near, water. Water Security Agency issues these permits. 


The laws governing development in, or near, water are set out in The Environmental Management and Protection Act, 2010 and The Environmental Management and Protection (General) Regulations.

you will need a a permit

Adverse effect means impairment of, or damage to, the environment or harm to human health, caused by any chemical, physical, or biological alteration, or any combination of any chemical, physical, or biological alterations.

Bed Bank Boundary


  • Bed: that portion of water body or watercourse covered by water - or that would be covered by water if flowing.
  • Bank: the rising ground bordering a water body that confines the water to the channel or bed.
  • Boundary: the end of the riparian zone (a minimum of five metres).
  • Riparian area: the transition zone between water and upland areas that borders streams, rivers, lakes and wetlands. Riparian areas can perform unique ecosystem services like filtration and sediment trapping and groundwater recharge, contributing to clean, abundant water and wildlife habitat. 



For more information see the Fact Sheets in Resources below.

Types of work that require an Aquatic Habitat Protection Permit include, but are not limited to:

  • Road developments, like culvert and bridge installation, maintenance and removal, low-level crossings; ford crossings, and temporary crossings,
  • Shoreline stabilization, including retaining walls,
  • Recreational developments like permanent crib-docks, beaches, boat launches, boat houses, lake access trails, marinas, breakwaters, and boardwalks,
  • Riparian and aquatic vegetation removal,
  • Water conveyance projects like channel clearing, channelization, wetland infilling/drainage, existing drainage ditch maintenance, and construction of new ditches, 
  • Pumphouses, water intakes, waterline development and other water infrastructure, and,
  • Drainage projects and wetland infilling require a drainage approval. For more information, see our Agricultural Water Management Strategy



There are exemptions for some types of work and sites as defined by The Environmental Management and Protection (General) Regulations:

  1. Work conducted on water bodies or watercourses wholly contained on private land owned by one individual and the watercourse(s) that do(es) not flow into other surface water do not require a permit.
  2. Beaver dam removal by hand or machinery.  See our Beaver Dam Removal Factsheet below for information to determine if your work meets the exemption.
  3. The placement of a floating or post/wheel dock that gets taken out by freeze up every year.  See our Temporary Boat Docks/Boat Lifts Factsheet below for information to determine if your work meets the exemption.



The Ministry of Environment issues Aquatic Habitat Protection Permits to certain industries. 

If your project involves the following activities, please contact the Minstry of Environment Inquiry Centre at (800) 567-4224 to obtain your permit:

  • Forest Industry
  • Industrial waste
  • Mining and mineral exploration
  • Oil and gas
  • Linear developments (telephone and power lines)
  • Road construction in a previously undeveloped right-of-way or where there is a new or expanded right-of-way



  • Send your completed application form and supporting information by email (preferred), mail, fax, or in-person. 
  • Please note our email is limited to 25MB per email. If your information exceeds that limit you could send multiple emails, or use a file transfer service (e.g. WeTransfer)

Email: for applications only


For inquiries, please see Contacts for the Specialist for your area. 


Aquatic Habitat Protection
Water Security Agency
300 – 2365 Albert Street
Regina, SK  S4P 4K1


(306) 787-0780

Please note that application review may take up to 12 weeks. Please send your application well in advance of your project. Incomplete applications may result in longer wait times. 

Your application must include maps and photographs of your project site and plans, sketches and/or drawings of the proposed work. See the Application Guide in Resources for more information about completing the application. 

Things to consider when planning your project:

  • Timing
  • Site isolation
  • Erosion and sediment control
  • Machinery operation
  • Hazardous substances and spill containment
  • Building materials
  • Work in Environmental Reserve/Municipal Reserve/Public Reserve
  • Landowner permission
  • Work on lands designated under the Wildlife Habitat Protection Act (WHPA)
  • Other approvals may be required



Use this interactive map to find the contact information and Aquatic Habitat Specialist for your area, OR

Click here for a static map (for slower internet connections)




Application Form

Application Guide

Application Review Process 

Fact Sheets

Beach Creation and Beach Maintenance

Beaver Dam Removal

Docks and Boat Lifts - Private, Temporary or Seasonal

Shoreline Stabilization

Laws and Regulations

The Enviromental Management and Protection Act (2010)

The Environmental Management and Protection (General) Regulations

Fisheries and Oceans Canada Projects Near Water