Is it illegal to pour concrete in the water to have a dock made out of concrete?
—Jarred Ashby, Kingston, Ont.

Well, under the federal Fisheries Act, anything that disrupts, alters, or destroys a lake’s fish habitat is prohibited—so potentially, yes! If you don’t get approval for your project, and your work is deemed harmful, you could be fined, imprisoned, or both.

Before you do any kind of work in or near the water, you should always check with your local governing authorities as to whether or not you need permits or approvals. According to Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), it may be hard to get the go-ahead for a concrete dock because these docks are the most environmentally destructive of them all. Putting a solid hunk of anything into the water takes up areas where fish and aquatic creatures live, feed, and hide, and unlike some other dock materials, concrete doesn’t provide any kind of alternative living habitat. For these reasons, the DFO suggests that dock builders avoid concrete unless it’s the only option.