Part of Shorelands

Rivers and streams

Rivers and streams can change course over time, and affect land ownership boundaries.


Rivers and streams are dynamic landscape features. They move across floodplains by:

  • depositing sediment (accretion)
  • undercutting and eroding banks (erosion)

Erosion and accretion are natural processes and usually occur slowly over time. As a river moves, so do its natural boundaries. Flooding may cause sudden changes in a river or stream course. But the location of ownership boundaries does not change.

The Crown generally owns the beds and shores of rivers and streams. For information on exceptions, see: