Water’s Edge provides fluvial geomorphology, natural channel design, and water resources engineering consulting services to government, agency, and land development clientele. The company’s senior staff has completed numerous stream restoration projects, ranging from full-scale design projects on large river systems to Class Environmental Assessments, baseline studies, and monitoring.

Water’s Edge offers a strong package of research and applied fluvial geomorphological assessment services to our clients to ensure that assessments and designs are specific to each project. We utilize a natural science approach to geomorphological assessments, channel designs, and water resources projects to ensure a properly-functioning stream system which will remain stable in years to come.

Water’s Edge staff have completed projects across Ontario as well as in South America and Asia.

We are committed to an integrated, multi-disciplinary approach to our designs in an Adaptive Environmental Management framework and have worked extensively with aquatic and terrestrial biologists, engineers and planners to create natural stream solutions.

Fluvial Geomorphology is “the science of understanding rivers in their natural setting and their response to human-induced changes in a watershed”.

Water’s Edge provides fluvial geomorphic services to government, agency, and land development clientele in restoring our natural heritage systems and protecting private property and municipal infrastructure. These services include:

  • Fluvial Geomorphic Assessments: We undertake desktop and field-level analyses of river systems in order to understand how rivers shape and modify landscapes through erosion and deposition, to understand river processes and form, and determine the physical characteristics of a river. Using state-of the-art tools and software, we assess, rank, and report on existing fluvial conditions and concerns in our river systems. In many studies, recommendations for viable, natural solutions are provided.
  • Sediment Erosion/Transport Assessment: Flowing water naturally erodes, transports, and deposits sediment. However, anthropogenic influences can cause a natural system to behave unnaturally. Sediment transport analyses will monitor the stream to determine the cause of any imbalances as it is an important part of any stream design project.
  • Erosion Threshold Assessment: How much additional flow can a stream accept, or is the additional flow going to create erosion in the stream? These questions are routinely asked when stormwater management facilities discharge into existing streams. Our team assesses the receiving stream to determine the sensitivity and allowable discharge rates based on stream characteristics and substrate/bank conditions. Our approach is to use multiple metrics, determine data convergence trends and recommend streamflow targets.
  • Meander Beltwidth Assessments: We determine meander beltwidths, including the assessment of historic aerial photographs over time to determine the 100-year erosion rates, in order to support setbacks and limits of development from our stream systems. This assessment is typically used as a planning tool.

While fluvial geomorphology focuses on the physical characteristics of stream systems, the relationships between local biota and these physical processes are very important. We are committed to an integrated, multi-disciplinary approach to our assessments in an Adaptive Environmental Management framework. We have worked extensively with aquatic and terrestrial biologists, civil engineers, and planners to understand the science of our natural stream systems.

Natural Channel Design is “the art of making rivers look and function like rivers rather than canals” (Dave Rosgen). 

We approach the art of natural channel design (aka stream restoration or applied fluvial geomorphology) with the intent to restore degraded channel systems to its natural state to the greatest degree possible within the constraints of each project. The art of improving the environmental health of rivers or streams through a set of activities with the goal of restoring the natural state of functionality to the streams is a key service that Water’s Edge provides.  Improved health supports biodiversity, flood management, recreation and landscape development. Water’s Edge seeks to restore our river systems naturally by providing the following services:

  • Channel Restoration or Realignment is a common step taken when a river has eroded or changed to such an extent that either private property or infrastructure is at risk of being negatively affected.  Other times a channel can be extensively realigned due to development of property or changes to roads and bridges. Water’s Edge gathers the relevant information to properly design a new channel that can successfully integrate into the existing river system, and typically incorporates natural features throughout the restoration work.
  • Bioengineering is the use of natural materials, primarily plants, to control or prevent erosion on stream banks or slopes. Water’s Edge successfully uses bioengineering techniques such as fascines, brush mattressing, brush layering, vegetated riverstone, crib walls and live stakes in support of slope and stream restoration projects. Our success hinges on the use of local, native plant species to recreate hydrologic and engineering functions.
  • Stream Crossings: Culverts and bridges are locations where stream flow is typically concentrated into a narrow channel and natural processes such as sediment movement, flow patterns, and overbank flows are adversely impacted. Water’s Edge assesses local geomorphic conditions to recommend proper structure sizes and design properly functioning transitions.
  • Streambank Protection is designed by Water’s Edge to reflect local geomorphic and geotechnical site conditions with natural solutions such as bioengineering to create stable systems.
  • In-stream structures such as cross vanes, step-pool features, boulder clusters, LUNKER structures, sweepers, and deflectors are examples of a few of the structures that can be used to stabilize a stream or provide habitat for fish species.
  • Infrastructure Protection for exposed sewers, pipelines, and manholes is required in many urban cities.  Water’s Edge works with the client to provide the best long-term solution while also incorporating natural enhancements.  

We are committed to an integrated, multi-disciplinary approach to our designs in an Adaptive Environmental Management framework and have worked extensively with aquatic and terrestrial biologists, civil engineers and planners to create natural stream solutions. 

As Dave Rosgen once wrote: “Protect the best, Restore the rest”.

Water Resources Engineering is the understanding natural processes of the hydrological cycle to plan, design, procure, build, manage, and operate infrastructure to meet the often-competing demands of domestic users, industry, agriculture, and navigation. We also undertake hydraulic analyses of our river systems to determine flood depths, velocities, and floodplain limits. Our Water Resources Engineers support our key activity of stream assessment and restoration design by providing the following services:

  • 1D and 2D Hydraulic Modelling including the preparation of floodline and floodplain mapping in CAD or GIS (e.g. HEC-RAS, River 2D, etc.).
  • Hydrologic Modelling for water quantity and quality modelling of our local watersheds (e.g. HEC-HMS, GAWSER, SWMHyMo, QUALHYMO, etc.).
  • Monitoring the surfacewater quantity and quality of watershed conditions, construction performance, systems compliance and effectiveness including development of the monitoring program, QA/QC, statistical analyses, mapping, reporting and integration.
  • Surveying using GPS and Total Station then brought into AutoCAD Civil 3D, we complete geomorphic and engineering surveys, Baseplan Preparation, Mapping, As-Constructed surveys and Layouts for a wide range of projects.
  • Contract Administration includes cost estimation, tender preparation, tendering, construction inspection, contract management, as-constructed surveys, and certification of construction activities.

The process of identifying flood prone areas using engineering methods is known as Flood Plain Mapping. The identified flood-prone areas are then used in land use planning, flood forecasting and other watershed management activities.

  • Our staff have vast experience of floodplain mapping in Ontario and in other jurisdictions across Canada and the USA, having completed 60+ mapping projects and peer reviewed 70+ projects done by others during the last 25 years.
  • Very familiar with NRCan’s FHIMP framework – completed about 12 FHIMP-funded projects during last three years.
  • Familiar with applicable guidelines such as MNR’s 2002 Natural Hazard Guidelines, NRCan’s federal mapping framework, MNR’s 1986 FDRP guidelines, and local protocols of conservation authorities.

We provide full-spectrum service in floodplain mapping, from field data collection to report writing to agency approval. This includes:

  • Project identification, scoping, and budgeting
  • Data collection and processing – river cross-section, bathymetry, LIDAR, bridge, culvert, dams, and other hydraulic structures
  • Hydrologic analysis – flood frequency analysis, watershed modelling, etc. – return period events and regional storms (Hazel, Timmins)
  • Hydraulic or HEC-RAS modelling – 1D and 2D
  • Calibration and validation
  • Estimate impact of climate change
  • Post processing of hydraulic modelling – such as depth and velocity maps
  • Vulnerability assessment of road crossings
  • Preparing flood risk maps for agency approval
  • Preparing technical report for agency approval and public distribution
  • Conducting public consultation
  • Conducting peer review process

Some of our reports are publicly available at and at

In addition to the technical work, we also provide:

  • expert opinion in courts and Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT)
  • peer review of floodplain mapping done by others
  • investigate the feasibility of floodplain modification including cut-and-fill
  • impact assessment of human intervention, land development, new infrastructure