Spring Safety Statement: Stay Clear of Creeks, Ponds & Lakes

GRCA Administrative Office, Port Hope

With spring weather arriving early this year, unsafe ice conditions and slippery stream banks already exist. Mild air temperatures and high flows from spring rains will continue to weaken any remaining ice cover. These hazardous conditions can cause life-threatening injury if a person falls into the extremely cold water.

Flood Potential: Low

The Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority (GRCA) is reminding residents to practice spring safety and remember the following tips:

  • Riverbanks can become unstable in the spring due to high runoff and erosion.
  • Keep family and pets away from the surfaces and edges of all bodies of water to prevent falling into cold and fast flowing water.
  • Avoid recreational activities in or around water bodies, especially near ice-covered rivers and streams at this time of year.
  • Do not attempt to walk, skate or drive on ice-covered bodies of water.
  • Never drive through flooded roads or fast-moving water.
  • If you live next to a river or stream, move patio furniture or other objects away from the water’s edge to avoid losing them during potential spring high water.
  • Rescuing another person or a pet from icy or fast flowing water is dangerous. If you see someone has fallen in a body of water, call 911 for help immediately.

Significant ice formation on rivers and waterbodies has not occurred this year due to the milder temperatures throughout the winter and there have been no reported ice jams. However, any remaining ice coverage on lakes and ponds will be thin, and these areas should be avoided this spring.

GRCA continuously monitors the watersheds in its jurisdiction for potential flooding, through the Flood Forecasting and Warning Program, and will continue to monitor watershed conditions throughout the transition to spring.

Spring Safety Facts:

  • Even with the snowmelt finished, spring rainfall and frozen ground conditions could contribute to higher and faster flowing water in watercourses.
  • Slippery, unstable riverbanks and cold-water temperatures can lead to dangerous conditions close to any body of water.
  • Ice on watercourses, lakeshore areas, or other bodies of water can weaken and become unstable with warmer temperatures.

Spring Lake Ontario Water Levels:

Seasonal rise in water levels occur in the spring on Lake Ontario due to the runoff from all the river systems that drain into it. The greatest risk occurs when elevated water levels occur together with wave action from high winds. Impacts can include shortened beaches, flooding of low-lying areas adjacent to the lake, as well as erosion to trails and other public spaces.

For more information, contact your local Conservation Authority.

NOTE: This is a general notice issued during spring runoff to remind residents that potential conditions exist that pose a risk to personal safety.


If you have questions, please contact the GRCA:

Mike Smith
Flood Operations Officer

Cory Harris, P.Eng.
Flood Forecasting & Warning Supervisor