Water quality improvement grants available for Dufferin County farmers and landowners - NVCA

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Media Release​

Water quality improvement grants available for Dufferin County farmers and landowners

Up to $5000 grants available, including new well upgrade grant!

UTOPIA, Ontario (February 12, 2020) – Farmers and rural landowners in Dufferin County are invited to apply for grants to help improve drinking water quality, recharge groundwater, improve crop yields and save precious farm topsoils. The grants can be applied through the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority (NVCA), and four other conservation authorities within Dufferin County.

Eligible projects include well upgrades, cover crops and erosion control structures, with grants ranging from 50-100% to a maximum of $5,000 depending on project type.

“The Dufferin Water Quality Program focuses on improving water quality for farmers and rural landowners, but the projects are a win-win for sustainable farming and the environment," said Shannon Stephens, NVCA's Healthy Waters Program Coordinator. “For example, cover crops help soils and nutrients stay on the field to nurture the next crop during high impact storm events, and don't end up polluting rivers and lakes. They also help turn soils into sponges, protecting crops against droughts, and reducing flooding."

Through water quality monitoring, the NVCA found that many of our rivers and streams are showing signs of stress due to increased nutrient runoff. Water that is too nutrient-rich will create toxic algae blooms that makes water undrinkable for humans and livestock. One nutrient of concern is phosphorus, which comes from soil erosion, fertilizer runoff, and malfunctioning septic systems.

“We're very pleased about the newly added well upgrade grant!" continued Stephens. “Studies show that farm wells often have a higher risk of contamination with fecal bacteria and nitrate. Well upgrades and other farm manure and nutrient management projects can help safeguard drinking water sources. We want to help keep everyone healthy, and help farmers protect their families and livestock."

To apply for the grants, contact Shannon Stephens at 705-424-1479 ext. 239 or sstephens@nvca.on.ca. She can help you plan your project, offer a free site visit, and fill out a short and easy grant application form. Farm properties need to have completed any version of the Environmental Farm Plan.

Eligible water quality projects include:

  • NEW! Upgrading wells
  • Decommissioning unused wells
  • Cover crops
  • Nutrient management planning
  • Livestock exclusion fencing from streams and wetlands
  • Clean water diversion from livestock yards
  • Tree planting
  • Erosion control structures (land and in-water)
  • ​Wetland creation to improve water quality

The Dufferin Rural Water Quality Program is available throughout Dufferin County. If your property is not in the Nottawasaga Valley Watershed, please contact your local conservation authority:

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About NVCA: The Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority is a public agency dedicated to the preservation of a healthy environment through specialized programs to protect, conserve and enhance our water, wetlands, forests and lands. www.nvca.on.ca

Media Contact: Marci Leung, Communications Coordinator, 705-424-1479 ext. 254 or mleung@nvca.on.ca