Water Security Agency

Erosion and Sediment Control

What is erosion?

Erosion is the process that removes soil or rock from the ground surface and moves it to another location. The soil (often referred to as sediment) that erodes must be contained on your work site to ensure it does not enter a lake, stream or storm water sewer. The most effective way to control or minimize erosion is to maintain as much vegetation on the site as possible and not expose the soil to wind or water. In a well-vegetated area, the roots of plants help stabilize the soil. Preventing erosion and sedimentation on your site is important because erosion can affect your property and the environment. It will cost you less to prevent erosion than to control sediment and restore a badly eroded site.

The Water Security Agency (WSA) may require you to incorporate erosion and sediment control mitigations or conditions into your project. See the list of erosion control suppliers, designers and installers below for expert help.

How can erosion impact the aquatic environment?

Erosion and the resulting sedimentation can have a number of impacts on the aquatic environment: sediments can cover the small spaces between productive rock or gravel habitats; increased levels of sediment in the water can displace aquatic organisms from prime habitat into less suitable areas; cloudy or turbid waters affect visual predators’ (like northern pike) ability to forage; high levels of suspended sediment in the water can affect fish and other aquatic organisms’ ability to breath because it can physically irritate gills; and turbid water absorbs more sunlight energy increasing the water temperature, which in turn, does not allow the water to hold as much oxygen. Suspended sediment can also negatively impact the production of oxygen by aquatic plants as penetration of sunlight required for photosynthesis is reduced.

The conditions in an Aquatic Habitat Protection Permit are intended to mitigate impacts to the aquatic environment. The conditions are requirements, not recommendations. The erosion control conditions in your permit must be considered beyond the time the physical works are completed, to a time when the site is completely stable (i.e., re-vegetated) or adequately armoured (i.e., protected with clean rock rip rap)  and there is no ongoing risk of erosion. Many of the common permit conditions can be met by the proper installation of erosion and sediment control (ESC) measures / devices such as erosion control blankets, turf reinforcing mats, sediment fence, turbidity curtains, and revegetating or armouring disturbed soils. Often these ESC measures are temporary and only intended to provide stability until your site is permanently re-vegetated or armoured. Temporary ESC measures must be monitored regularly to ensure they are functioning as desired and may need to be maintained, upgraded or replaced to ensure they remain effective. Erosion and sediment control is a large, and sometimes, complex field. If you are not sure how to comply with your permit conditions, reach out to an erosion control specialist for assistance. There are times when WSA may require an environmental monitor to observe the construction of works. This construction monitoring can typically be done by erosion control specialists.

Suppliers/Installers in Saskatchewan

If you are a supplier or installer of erosion and sediment control materials and want to be added to this list (or removed from this list), please contact WSA at 1.866.727.5420. Please find the current list here. (This list is supplied as a starting point to access products and services; it is not an endorsement of the companies themselves.)