The Canadian government has announced that $29 million in funding is available over five years for environmental clean-up projects in the Lake Simcoe and South-Eastern Georgian Bay areas of Central Ontario.
The funds, which come under the Government’s Action Plan for Clean Water, will be allocated by Environment Canada for projects such as reducing phosphorous inputs from urban and rural sources, restoring fish and aquatic wildlife habitat and populations, and addressing near shore toxic and nuisance algae growth.
Projects already under way are not eligible, neither are projects "designed only to beautify an area," nor projects related to the construction of infrastructure such as roads and brides, sewage treatment plants, and stormwater ponds.
Specifically, proposals are being invited for projects that, for example::
- support existing conservation plans and strategies for aquatic habitat protection, restoration, and creation projects in areas of known water quality problems (e.g., as per watershed report cards, management plans, and studies) and habitat degradation;
- support community stewardship projects to conserve aquatic habitat;
- support the implementation of Beneficial Management Practices that reduce urban and/or rural non-point sources of nutrients (e.g. surface runoff reduction, erosion control structures, vegetated buffers, cattle exclusion, alternative watering projects and phosphorous/nutrient management planning and recovery projects), assessment studies, and restoration of aquatic habitat impaired by excess phosphorous;
- support the promotion of septic system inspections, upgrades and replacements in areas of known water quality problems;
- support the development and implementation of innovative technologies, techniques and demonstration projects that reduce nutrient loading from municipal wastewater and stormwater systems and other point source discharges;
- support the development of approaches to improve the efficiency and effluent quality of municipal sewage treatment plants and communicate findings to decision makers.
The funds are also intended for:
- water quality monitoring to measure phosphorous in the aquatic systems of South-eastern Georgian Bay including nearshore and tributary systems;
- research and monitoring to assess conditions and causes contributing to increased phosphorous inputs into South-eastern Georgian Bay and nuisance and toxic algae growth to fill information gaps and aid in restoration and protection efforts; and
- other research and monitoring necessary to guide the development and implementation of measures to reduce phosphorous/nutrient inputs and address low oxygen conditions and toxic/nuisance algae growth.
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