‘Critical’: NVCA demands promised funding to restore Great Lakes
‘With accelerated growth … water availability and quality will continue to decline, putting even more pressure on the Great Lakes,’ says conservation authority official
Collingwood’s shoreline along Georgian Bay in Lake Huron.
The Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority (NVCA) will join organizations across Canada to ask the federal government to keep its promise to invest $1 billion to restore the Great Lakes.
“Nearly half of Canada’s population lives in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Basin, a region that includes our watershed,” said Gail Little, NVCA chair. “With accelerated growth in these areas, water availability and quality will continue to decline, putting even more pressure on the Great Lakes.
“It is critical that the federal government takes their commitment seriously.”
In 2017, the federal government committed $44.84 million to protect the Great Lakes through the Freshwater Action Plan. The plan includes six program areas, including preventing toxic and nuisance algae and enhancing the resilience of coastal wetlands.
This commitment was renewed in 2021, and the government promised an investment of $1 billion over ten years to restore major bodies of water across the country. However, only 19.6 million was budgeted for the Freshwater Action Plan in 2022.
“All the rivers and streams in the Nottawasaga Watershed eventually flow into Lake Huron,” continued Little. “We are calling on the federal government to make conservation authorities and municipalities eligible for future funding and allocate a portion of this funding to our watershed.”
NVCA has been restoring the Nottawasaga River for many decades. The current flagship project is the Nottawasaga River Restoration Project, where NVCA staff, partners and volunteers are extending high-quality sections of the Upper Nottawasaga River, Pine River and Sheldon Creek to improve water quality and restore fish and wildlife habitat.
“Member municipalities in the Nottawasaga Watershed have been clear about how invaluable federal investments are to the enhancement of our watercourses, environment, quality of life and economies,” added Jonathan Scott, vice chair at NVCA. “We are hopeful this funding will proceed so we can all work together to protect our natural world.”
If the federal government commits to this funding, NVCA looks forward to protecting and building resiliency for the towns of Collingwood and Wasaga Beach by reducing nutrient runoff from rural and urban areas.