Ontario Offering Grants to Help Protect the Great Lakes; Applications Now Open to Local Environmental Stewards

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

August 27, 2015


Kerr Georhe swims Burlington BAy 75

A former Burlington MPP, George Kerr swam in the Bay to prove is was not totally polluted. And yes there was once a car that could serve as a boat as well.

There was a time – maybe 30 years ago when the local MPP had to take a swim in Burlington Bay – Hamilton Harbour to convince people it was not that polluted. That was the best the government could do at the time.

It is different now – the government realizes that they cannot do all that much by themselves but if they involve the public they can be a part of making real and significant change.

Ontario created the Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund grant to help community groups protect, restore and enhance the Great Lakes.

Now in its fourth year, the fund provides a grant of up to $25,000 to not-for-profit organizations, schools, First Nations and Métis communities and other local groups for projects that have a direct environmental benefit to the Great Lakes. Past projects and activities supported by the fund have included:

• Planting trees
• Creating rain gardens
• Restoring wetland habitat
• Controlling invasive species
• Cleaning up beaches or shorelines
• Naturalizing stream banks and shorelines.

Applications will be accepted until October 23, 2015.

To qualify, your project must have a direct environmental benefit and support at least 1 of the 3 goals.

BG tree planter

When Burlington Green gets the opportunity their members turn out in droves to plant seedlings and save as much as they can of the fragile ecosystem in parts of the Beachway Park.

Goal 1: protect water quality for human and ecological health

Examples to meet this goal include: strengthening riverbanks to reduce erosion students restoring wetlands to manage stormwater runoff building fences to keep livestock out of waterways helping property owners maintain septic systems.

Goal 2: improve wetlands, beaches and coastal areas. Examples to meet this goal include:
youth planting native grasses to restore sand dunes, rehabilitating coastal wetlands by restoring fish habitats, organizing community events to clean-up shorelines, restoring wetlands using traditional ecological knowledge.

Goal 3: protect habitats and species. Examples to meet this goal include:
Students planting trees to provided shaded habitats along shorelines, creating habitats for wetland wildlife, restoring traditional harvesting areas by planting native species, creating fish spawning beds

This year’s fund will award $1.5 million in total for eligible projects.

BG watering plants on Beachway Aug 2013

Once seedlings are planted they need care and attention and sometimes water.

Since 2012, $4.5 million has been awarded to 221 community-based projects in Great Lakes watershed areas, including the St. Lawrence River Basin and the Ottawa River;  more than 11,000 volunteers have helped plant 85,125 trees, release 2,133 fish, create or enhance 643 kilometres of trail and collect 586 bags of garbage.

Ontario’s Great Lakes Basin is home to 40 per cent of Canada’s economic activity and 95 per cent of Ontario’s agricultural land.

If you want more information about the Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund and want to look over the application form CLICK HERE – that will get you to the government web site


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