Learn about erosion control projects

Erosion refers to the process of water, wind or other forces slowly wearing away shorelines. It happens more rapidly during severe natural events, such as flooding.

The Yukon has been experiencing more flooding events in recent years. This means property owners are more interested in protecting their property.

You can help reduce erosion along shorelines, such as:

  • planting non-invasive native plants;
  • placing rocks by hand; and
  • planting willow stakes.

These activities do not require a land use permit and make slopes more stable.

If you or a contractor are clearing vegetation by hand, you may need a forest resources permit. For more information, email forestry@yukon.ca.

Your erosion control project

You or a hired contractor may undertake erosion control projects near your property. Some erosion control activities on public land require a land use permit, such as:

  • moving earth or clearing land of vegetation like plants and shrubs with power-driven machinery; and
  • using equipment that:
    • weighs over 5 tonnes; or
    • puts 35 kilopascals or more of pressure on the ground.

You do not need a land use permit or an assessment to complete erosion control activities on private property.

If you’re unsure if your erosion control project requires a land use permit, email the Land Management Branch: land.use@yukon.ca.

Before starting erosion control activities

You or a hired contractor must follow certain rules before starting your project.

Check that the work can take place on public land

An erosion control project can only take place on public land:

  • when there is not enough room or slope on private land; and
  • within the 30 metres (98 feet) between the property line and the ordinary high-water mark.

You or the contractor will need to explain in your permit application why the construction must take place on public land. The Land Management Branch requires this information to approve your permit.

Know what you can build with

Certain materials are damaging to the environment. When building structures on public land, follow preferred practices for works affecting water.

You cannot use materials that impact the aquatic environment or degrade water quality. These include:

  • rock with a lot of fine sediment;
  • rock that’s metal-leaching or acid-generating; or
  • products containing or coated with hazardous materials, such as pressure-treated wood.

If you’re building on public land, your land use permit application needs to include designs of the structure. The designs must list what building products you’ll use to construct your foundation.

Learn what can hinder your permit application

In some cases, you will not be able to receive a land use permit for your project. For example, when you or a previous property owner completed work that is not on private property without approval, such as:

  • clearing native plants or shrubs within the 30-metre (98-foot) waterfront reserve; or
  • building structures on public land.

The 30-metre (98-foot) waterfront reserve is the area between titled property and the ordinary high-water mark.

Approval for a land use permit can happen once you remedy unauthorized work. Some examples of this include:

  • moving an unauthorized structure from public land on to private property; and
  • revegetating the waterfront with native plants.

Specific process at Marsh and Tagish lakes

Flooding has frequently occurred in the Marsh and Tagish lakes regions in recent years. Because of the high volume of erosion control projects in this area, there are many contractors already approved for this type of work.

The Government of Yukon can also add contractors to existing YESAB assessments specifically:

  • from McClintock Bay to Judas Creek at Marsh Lake; and
  • along California Beach and Taku Subdivision at Tagish Lake.

This does not apply to other lakes and river shores in the Yukon.

Email land.use@yukon.ca to:

  • learn more about the existing permit requirements; or
  • get a list of permitted contractors.

Apply for a land use permit

You need a land use permit to conduct specific erosion control activities.

How to apply

  1. Download and fill out the land use permit application form.
  2. Submit the completed form to the Land Management Branch.
    Email: land.use@yukon.ca.
    In person:
    Room 320 of the Elijah Smith Building, 300 Main Street in Whitehorse. Or, your local Compliance, Monitoring and Inspections office.
    Land Management Branch (K-320)
    Box 2703
    Whitehorse, Yukon Y1A 2C6

Application review and timeline for a decision

The Land Management Branch will process your application for a land use permit. This includes:

  • a heritage review;
  • site inspection; and
  • consultation with First Nations.

We'll tell you if you need to complete a YESAB designated office assessment for your project.

Submit your application early as it may take us up to 6 months or longer to process. Throughout the process, we'll be in touch:

  • to keep you up to date on the progress of your application; and
  • if we need clarification.

Our Land Use staff can assist you with any questions. Contact the Land Management Branch by phone: 867-667-5215, or email land.use@yukon.ca.