Sustainability Fund provides $1.5M for 47 restoration projects in Great Lakes basinIn its latest round of project funding, the Great Lakes Sustainability Fund is providing $1.5 million to support 47 restoration projects in the Great Lakes basin. The fund supports projects undertaken to improve the ecosystem health of Areas of Concern (AOCs) designated under the Canada-U.S. Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. Based on partnerships with local government and community groups, the projects focus on a range of restoration activities. These include improved practices in the treatment of wastewater byproducts, restoration of habitat for fish and wildlife, and preventing agricultural runoff from flowing into waterways that empty into the Great Lakes.
"Restoring the health and sustaining the integrity of the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem is a priority for the government of Canada, and we're advancing through concrete action", said Environment Minister David Anderson. "Building on our success in the full restoration of Collingwood Harbour and Severn Sound, we're working with our partners toward ensuring a healthy and sustainable future for the Great Lakes."
Some of the projects receiving funds are outlined below.
A project with application to all AOCs will allocate $30,000 to optimize aerobic digestion processes for pathogens. This will involve evaluating modifications to aerobic digestion processes which would reduce the pathogens and pollutant content of biosolids and so reduce the risk of exposure to these contaminants after land application of the biosolids. The research will also look at how these substances pass through the aerobic digestion process, complementing a parallel study of the optimization of anaerobic sludge digestion processes. The results of the research will be used to develop recommendations for modifying current operating procedures.
Among the projects funded in the Detroit River AOC is an update of the model-based estimate of a retention treatment basin (RTB) for control of combined sewer overflows (CSOs) in the city of Windsor. An allocation of $20,000 will allow researchers to carry out field and laboratory studies needed to refine and finalize the design of the RTB proposed for CSO treatment in Windsor. Another allocation of $4,000 from the fund will be used to complete final revisions to the Ultraviolet Disinfection Manual for Area of Concern Municipalities and distribute it to interested municipalities and agencies.
Funding for the Hamilton Harbour AOC will be used for several watershed stewardship and restoration projects, including: the Hamilton Harbour watershed stewardship project ($40,217); the Grindstone Cree and Cootees Paradise rehabilitation project ($70,000); fish and wildlife habitat restoration in Hamilton Harbour and Cootes Paradise ($80,000); Indian Creek stream restoration ($20,000); and the Spencer Creek fisheries project ($38,666).
In the Niagara River AOC, the Niagara River Remedial Action Plan's non-point source agricultural implementation strategy for abatement program will receive $130,000 to carry out water quality improvement projects at high-priority locations throughout this AOC. A contaminated sediment management project for this AOC will receive $40,000 to test sediment in 12 potentially contamiated sites and list the potentially contaminated locations in order of priority. An allocation of $50,000 for the Niagara Falls CSO treatment system will support field and laboratory experiments to evaluate three CSO treatment methods in the city. A similar project, allocated $20,000, will conduct field and laboratory research needed to finalize design recommendations for a CSO treatment system for the city of Welland.
Among the St Lawrence River AOC projects is a class environmental assessment for the relocation of a disposal site for snow. Alternate sites for snow disposal, and the environmental impacts associated with them, will be reviewed and recommendations made to mitigate any negative impacts. The $50,000 in funding for this project will also be used to produce a plan for a long-term solution to mitigate the environmental effects of snowmelt surface runoff. In this AOC as well, the Lake St Francis and St Lawrence River tributary restoration project will receive $100,000 from the fund to implement additional water quality improvement projects, mainly focusing on prevention of runoff from agricultural operations.
The Thunder Bay AOC's Mercury Reduction Plan for the Lake Superior Basin has been allocated $30,000 to support recycling programs for items containing mercury, along with hazardous household waste collection days in North Shore communities and public outreach activities to encourage participation in the mercury reduction initiatives.
The Toronto region AOC has been allocated a total of $200,000 from the fund for more than a dozen restoration and rehabilitation projects to be carrried out in various waterways, watersheds and other natural areas throughout the area.
First announced in July 2000, the Great Lakes Sustainability Fund is investing $30 million over five years to help restore the remaining Canadian AOCs. This funding is part of the federal government's Great Lakes Basin 2020 Action Plan.