The Ontario government is investing more than $2.5 million in 19 new projects to protect the health of the Great Lakes as part of its commitment in the recently signed Canada-Ontario Agreement on Great Lakes Water Quality and Ecosystem Health. These projects will help improve the water quality of the world’s largest freshwater lake system by helping farmers and landowners adopt green infrastructure projects and best practices that improve the efficiency and sustainability of their operations while reducing the amount of contaminants and excess nutrients, like excess phosphorous, entering the Great Lakes.
“Our government is proud to be delivering on our commitment to protect, conserve and restore the Great Lakes,” said David Piccini, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. “The Great Lakes basin is home to 95 per cent of Ontario’s agricultural lands, which is why it is so important that we invest in projects that will give our agricultural partners access to the latest best practices and innovations to keep local waterways clean and healthy. These 19 initiatives will have a positive impact on the Great Lakes, their watersheds, and the well-being of the communities that rely on them every day.”
David Piccini, Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks was joined today by Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs and representatives from the Pine River Watershed Initiative Network to announce projects that include:
- $60,000 for the Pine River Watershed Initiative Network to provide outreach, education and guidance to local farmers and landowners to implement agricultural best practices, such as using plantings to reduce soil erosion and livestock stream crossings to keep manure out of the water.
- $300,000 for the Ausable Bayfield, Conservation Authority to provide soil management and crop production support to farmers. This includes the development of a strategy to identify the highest risk/value opportunities for best management practices and green infrastructure.
- $199,800 for Ryerson University to assess how farming practices can reduce the amount of nutrients entering rivers that drain into the Great Lakes and impact water quality.
- $265,000 for the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association to develop a Soil Health Mobile Technology Suite which allows soil health experts to demonstrate the impacts of soil compaction on soil health.
- These projects build on the work already underway through Lake Erie Agriculture Demonstrating Sustainability (LEADS), a five-year, $15.6 million commitment by the federal and provincial governments through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership to help farmers protect lakes and water sources by adopting more sustainable farming practices that will also build more resilient farm operations.
“Ontario farmers work hard every day to protect the environment by using agricultural best management practices on their farms,” said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “By further supporting our farmers in the implementation of the latest sustainable farming practices through this funding, they are protecting lakes and waterways and improving soil health”.
“We are thankful for the government’s support and opportunity to showcase the important work and programming that the Pine River Watershed Initiative Network has done, and continues to do, to improve the local water quality of Lake Huron and the Pine River Watershed,” said Donald Farrell, Director of the Pine River Watershed Initiative Network.
Funding for the 19 projects is part of Ontario’s $10.9 million multi-year investment to support projects run by conservation authorities, environmental not-for-profits, universities and Indigenous organizations across the province that are working to address commitments in the Canada-Ontario Great Lakes Agreement.
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