May 3, 2004

Ontario increases funding for COA-directed projects

This year, the Ontario government expects to invest approximately $13 million during 2005-05 in a wide range of projects designed to improve and conserve environmental quality in the Great Lakes basin. This year's funding, part of a larger allocation of $50 million over five years, was announced jointly by Environment Minister Leona Dombrowsky and Natural Resources Minister David Ramsay.

The projects are being carried out under the auspices of the 2002 Canada-Ontario Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem (COA), which has been signed by eight federal agencies and three provincial agencies. The activities will address various environmental priorities and will be implemented in co-operation with local Great Lakes partners across Ontario. The 2004/05 investment marks an increase over that of 2003/04, which totalled $10 million.continues to build on the success of past year's projects.

Last year, the government invested $10 million in priority Great Lakes actions. Approximately $3.6 million was invested in projects led by the Ministry of Environment and $6.4 million in projects led by the Ministry of Natural Resources.

In the year ahead, the various projects carried out by the two ministries will:

support the clean up of contaminated sediment in Ontario's 15 identified problem areas (Great Lakes Areas of Concern);

increase the monitoring and reporting of water and sediment quality, as well as the health of fish and wildlife in and around the Great Lakes;

reduce quantities of pollutants, such as mercury, entering the Great Lakes directly or indirectly;

integrate information from both governments and stakeholders to ensure that better decisions are made and appropriate actions taken;

support progress on fish and wildlife rehabilitation, wetland conservation and biodiversity protection; and

expand knowledge about the health of the Great Lakes and their tributaries.

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