Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Geography & Environmental Studies


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Graham Smith

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


The intent of this study is to investigate how river basin study delays could be avoided or shortened. Mitchell and Gardner (1983) identified the need for this type of research in order to make watershed planning credible. This study specifically focuses on how the institutional arrangement for flood plain management may be improved to provide more efficient and effective management, present institutional arrangement for flood plain management in Ontario. The research was divided into two phases. The first phase was a literature review pertaining to comprehensive river basin management, institutional arrangements for water management, and general planning. This review led to a discussion of the historical development of the Ontario conservation authority movement, pertinent pieces of government legislation for flood plain management, and an overview of Ontario flood plain management policy. This literature provides the background and context from which the institutional arrangements for flood plain management were analyzed through a case study approach. The second phase of research involved the selection of the West Ferris Flood Plain management Study, completed for the North Bay mattawa Conservation Authority, as a case study. The study, which was to have been completed in thirteen weeks, took over two and a half years. Interviews were conducted with the major study participants. These interviews revealed that the major cause for the delay was due to different institutional approaches for flood plain management. The research concludes that the study delay could have been avoided if: the West Ferris Study terms of reference had been clearer, all participants had remained committed to the planning process, and a more effective bargaining or negotiation process had been present for the study participants to air differences of opinion. In order to avoid such delays in the future it is recommended that: study terms of reference be more detailed and clearly stated, the Conservation Authorities Branch play a more active role in approving the technical aspects of water management studies, individual conservation authorities be responsible for final report approval to increase their accountability for studies and projects undertaken by them, and studies examining the protection of existing and future development be conducted by conservation authorities. The cost of sharing for these studies should be based on the benefits derived from the protecting existing development to those derived from the protection of future development.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season