Historically many of the early settlements were located near rivers and streams where there was access to water for many uses including power to drive the mills. These locations were later found to be subject to flooding during extreme runoff events.
One of the major goals of the Grey Sauble Conservation Authority is to prevent flood damage and loss of life due to flooding. In addition to providing a flood forecasting and warning system, there are two main types of projects that have been employed to accomplish this goal. Flood Damage Prevention involves ensuring that new development is placed outside the floodplain. Flood Protection is implemented through capital projects and maintenance of channels to alleviate the effects of flooding on existing structures.
The first step in flood prevention is to identify the possible extent of flooding in major flood prone areas. Flood line mapping was produced to identify these areas. Mapping is available for the Tara\Invermay, Allenford, Bruce County Road 8, Jewels Bridge and Sauble Falls areas on the Sauble River. Other areas that have been mapped include Kimberley, Heathcote and Clarksburg on the Beaver River.
A major flood protection project is Clendenan Dam on the Beaver River, upstream of the village of Clarksburg. Constructed in 1975, the dam controls ice moving down the river, causing flooding in the village. In mid-September, four of the eight stop logs in each gate are removed to lower the water level. This maintains a pond behind the dam for the retention of sheet and frazil ice and also leaves an adequate opening in the event of freshet floods. Flooding in the village of Clarksburg has been significantly reduced since the installation of Clendenan Dam. An internal fish ladder was designed as part of the structure, allowing local fish species to navigate past the dam and migrate upstream for spawning.
Another protection facility constructed by Grey Sauble Conservation Authority, is the Taylor Street Detention Pond. This 2-hectare (4.9-acre) stormwater detention pond, built in 1996 on the southern end of the town of Wiarton, is capable of storing approximately 35,000 m3 (46,000 yd 3) of water. The pond is located at the junction of three tributaries of the Taylor Street Creek. A control outlet through a culvert limits the outflow of the pond and decreases peak flows released downstream through the town.
Each year we monitor ice conditions in of areas where ice jams historically cause flooding. If required, machinery is employed, in conjunction with the local municipality, to remove ice from the river to alleviate conditions that may cause flooding. These activities are regularly employed in Clarksburg on the Beaver River, and in Meaford at the mouth of the Bighead River. Allenford on the Sauble River is another location where ice removal is occasionally done.