Let’s Work Together to Maintain Healthy Creek Systems

A healthy creek
A healthy creek

Do you live next to a creek, valley or floodplain? You can help keep our creek systems healthy by mulching grass cuttings on your property and collecting loose garden material and other debris to be placed out for collection.

While you might think that placing grass clippings and other natural material outside your yard is harmless, it could damage our environment:

  • Existing plant growth might be smothered, resulting in creek banks wearing away and becoming unstable
  • Invasive, non-native species might be introduced into natural habitats by mistake
  • Debris (natural or otherwise) could end up in creeks and get swept away during a rainstorm causing pollution and flooding downstream.
Material thrown in a creek valley instead of appropriate locations.
Material thrown in a creek valley instead of being properly disposed.
Material thrown in a creek valley instead of appropriate locations.
Material thrown in a creek valley instead of being properly disposed.

Help Us to Maintain Proper Drainage on Your Property

Neighbourhoods within the city have been designed for proper drainage. All properties have drainage swales, typically along the side and back yard property lines. Swales, which can be natural or created, are shallow points of land that are sloped to help direct rainfall flow off the property and into the city’s stormwater system to reduce the risk of nuisance flooding.

A swale along a side yard.
A swale along a side yard.

The stormwater collection system, which includes catch basins, storm sewers, ditches, channels and creeks, must remain open and uncovered for effective drainage.

Debris washed into the catch basins trapped in outlet structure
Debris washed into catch basins are now trapped in an outlet structure.

While we encourage beautification of neighbourhoods, including gardens, sheds, patios or retaining walls, we want to make sure that this work does not impact the drainage of your property and that of your neighbours. The city’s Site Alteration Bylaw helps to protect your property by ensuring proper storm drainage features are maintained and protected. If you are planning grading changes on your property, please check with the city before starting your project. The Bylaw requires that gardens and flowerbeds be placed at least 0.5 m from the fence line with the 0.5 m area remaining open and uncovered to maintain drainage features.

To learn more about keeping our creek systems healthy or the Site Alteration Bylaw 64-2014, please contact Teresa Giangregorio at 905-335-7600, ext. 7981 or email teresa.giangregorio@burlington.ca.

Take Action Burlington! Collectively we can all make a difference.


Content and photos for this blog post were provided by Teresa Giangregorio, stormwater technologist, with the City of Burlington.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s