THUNDER BAY – Ontario is helping three local groups to protect water quality and improve shorelines with nearly $100,000 from the Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund.
The Lakehead Region Conservation Authority is receiving approximately $49,000 to support two projects. The Mission Island Shoreline Naturalization Project will help strengthen and naturalize the shores of Mission Island by recruiting students to assist with planting and rerouting 330 kilometres of trails. The Slate River Erosion and Nutrient Control Project will implement and measure the success of cattle fencing and buffer zones along the Slate River in order to reduce nutrient run-off.
EcoSuperior Environmental Programs is receiving $25,000 for Waterfront Walkabouts, and will mobilize local residents to help cleanup Lake Superior’s public shorelines, recognize the value of the local waterfronts, and install outdoor ashtrays to reduce cigarette butt waste.
The City of Thunder Bay and the Red Sky Metis Independent Nation are receiving $25,000 to prevent contaminants from entering Lake Superior by installing an oil and grit separator in a storm water pond.
Pays Plat First Nation is receiving $25,000 for phase II of their project to maintain, improve and enhance the unique lacustrine wetlands, shorelines and beaches on the North Shore of Lake Superior in Pays Plat Bay.
Canadian Lighthouses of Lake Superior is receiving $24,500 for watershed and shoreline improvement. The Project will involve shoreline cleanups, improving trails to three lighthouses, completing dock improvements and repairing septic tanks and outhouses.
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 and other forms of vegetation
- Naturalizing stream banks and shorelines
- Cleaning up beaches or shorelines
- Creating rain gardens
- Restoring wetland habitat
- Controlling invasive species
Since 2012, the Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund has awarded $6 million to 305 community-based projects in Great Lakes watershed areas, including the St. Lawrence River Basin and the Ottawa River.
Investing in communities along the Great Lakes is part of the government’s economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes investing in talent and skills, including helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by expanding access to high-quality college and university education. The plan is making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario’s history and investing in a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement.
“I am proud of the newest Great Lakes Guardians who are keeping the Great Lakes drinkable, swimmable and fishable now and for future generations. In Thunder Bay, we are so very fortunate to live near the shore of such a tremendous natural resource. It is the obligation of all of us to do whatever we can to ensure a healthy Lake Superior as well as the other Great Lakes. The Great Lakes Guardian Fund not only recognizes and supports the substantial contributions of local Great Lakes champions, it empowers them to do their part to restore, protect and conserve our corner of the Great Lakes,” said Bill Mauro, MPP for Thunder Bay- Atikokan.
“The Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund helps to protect water and improve shorelines with this funding to ensure the aquatic ecosystems, habitats and species they support remain healthy, abundant and sustainable. Many communities in Thunder Bay – Superior North have an incredibly close connection with Lake Superior and this funding will help ensure that this ecosystem flourishes for generations to come,” stated Michael Gravelle, MPP for Thunder Bay-Superior North.
“The LRCA is pleased to once again receive valuable funding from the Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund. Mission Island Marsh Conservation Area is located within the heart of Thunder Bay, is adjacent to a Provincially Significant Wetland and sees over 34,000 visitors annually. The GLGCF funding will assist with slowing down erosion along the Mission Marsh shore, restore riparian buffers and improve trails. GLGCF funding will also be used to restore riparian buffers along a section of the Slate River to help improve water quality and limit erosion,” added Donna Blunt, LRCA Vice-Chair.
- Since 2012, the Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund has supported more than 11,000 volunteers to plant 85,125 trees, release 2,133 fish, create or enhance 643 kilometres of trail and collect over 600 bags of garbage.
- Since 2007, Ontario has invested more than $140 million into 1,000 local Great Lakes protection projects that have reduced harmful pollutants, restored some of the most contaminated areas, and engaged hundreds of partners and community groups to protect and restore the health of the Great Lakes.
- 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.
- The Great Lakes basin is home to nearly 99 per cent of the province’s population, over 95 per cent of the province’s agriculture and food production, 80 per cent of the province’s power generation, and 75 per cent of the country’s manufacturing sector.
- Ontario has 10,000 kilometres of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence shoreline, the longest freshwater coastline in the world.
- The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence region generated $5.8 trillion (USD) in 2014 and supports nearly 47 million jobs, which is almost 30 per cent of the combined Canadian and U.S. workforce.