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Ontario, Canada seek to improve Lake Erie and St. Clair watersheds


January 19, 2021


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The governments of Canada and Ontario alike will begin accepting applications for project funding to help farmers improve sustainability and water quality for both the Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair watersheds.

Applications open tomorrow, Jan. 20.

The Lake Erie Agricultural Demonstrating Sustainability (LEADS) initiative is a regionally targeted cost-share program funded under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.

Up to $2.85 million will be allocated toward approved projects, which will target improved soil health and reduced risk of nutrient losses in the Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair watersheds.

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Eligible projects would include:

  • Establishing permanently vegetated buffer strips adjacent to streams, drains, rivers, ponds, wetlands and lakes to reduce nutrient loss and soil erosion;
  • Retiring environmentally fragile lands from agricultural production and planting permanent vegetative cover to reduce the loss of soil and nutrients from these lands;
  • Modifying equipment to improve management of agricultural nutrients, to support reduced tillage and to reduce soil compaction; and
  • Installation of soil erosion control structures including grass waterways and water and sediment control basins to reduce soil erosion losses.

The ongoing LEADS initiative has helped farmers in both areas improve their environmental performances, according to Neil Ellis, parliamentary secretary to the federal minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. Since 2018, the two levels of government have committed to cost-share support more than 4,200 projects.