EcoWeek,  July 18, 2005

Industry-NGO program provides $105K for 20 restoration projects

Through the Unilever-Evergreen Aquatic Stewardship Grant program, 20 organizations across Canada will receive a total of $105,000 to support a variety of undertaking projects to restore local aquatic habitats. Activities will include planting native trees and shrubs, controlling runoff and erosion, educating the public and showcasing innovative new restoration techniques.

Since launching the program in 2003, Unilever and Evergreen have donated a total of $210,000 to 41 organizations. The goal of the initiative is to engage communities in the care of Canada's urban aquatic habitats.

The largest single grant, of $8,000, was awarded to the Friends of the Rouge Watershed, in Toronto, followed by $7,500 to the Grand Concourse Authority in St John's, Newfoundland. Grants of $7,000 went to each of three projects in British Columbia.

One of these is the Mark Creek Recovery Program of Wildsight in Kimberley, BC, led by the East Kootenay Environmental Society. A highlight of this project is the creation of an Eco Park on the site of a former parking lot. The park will be situated along the banks of Mark Creek, in an urban stream reach that has been severely degraded by 100 years of mining operations and urbanization.

"We're planting native vegetation, restoring in-stream habitat for blue-listed Westslope cutthroat trout, installing a drainage system that allows runoff to infiltrate the ground instead of flowing into the creek, and creating interpretive signage and a large metal cutthroat trout sculpture," explained program co-ordinator Helen Sander.

Altogether, seven projects in Ontario received funding, four in BC, three in Quebec, two in New Brunswick and one each in Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland.

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