Huron County supports water quality projects
Huron County renews commitment to improving water quality
Septic system upgrade category added to the Huron Clean Water Project
The County of Huron has announced its continued support for the Huron County Clean Water Project with a $400,000 allocation in the 2019 budget. The program provides financial and technical assistance for on-the-ground projects that improve surface and ground water quality, conserve soil and increase tree cover.
Service delivery is provided by Maitland Conservation and Ausable Bayfield Conservation. To learn about grant rates and eligible projects phone Maitland Valley at 519-335-3557 or Ausable Bayfield at 519-235-2610 or toll-free 1-888-286-2610.
The grants have helped people complete more than 2,800 projects since 2004. Combined with support of local landowners, the value of completed projects is more than $10 million over the program’s history and about $1 million worth of projects are completed in a single year. That’s good for water quality and the economy, according to staff delivering the program.
The program’s success has three pillars: stable funding from the county; water and soil expertise; and – most importantly – landowner participation. “The program wouldn’t exist if landowners didn’t get involved,” said Kate Monk, Manager of Stewardship, Land and Education at Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA). “Huron County has some of the most productive farmland in Canada. Grants help people be good stewards while making a living.” The stable funding helps people complete projects on a time frame that’s affordable.
“People might install an erosion control project after wheat in the crop rotation, plant trees along a creek another year, and decommission unused wells they come across,” said Doug Hocking of Maitland Conservation.
Anyone with property in the county is eligible to apply. Conservation authority staff complete the paperwork with the applicants and present the proposals to a review committee. Grants cover up to 50 per cent of project cash costs and can be combined with other funding sources. “These projects preserve valuable topsoil; keep nutrients on the land and out of our creeks, rivers, and lake; control erosion; and provide economic benefits too,” he said.
The grant categories include cover crops, erosion control, well decommission or upgrades, barn yard runoff control, manure storage decommission, forest management plans, fencing livestock out of watercourses, tree planting (plantations, windbreaks, watercourse buffers), and wetlands. The new category this year is septic system upgrades for systems that contaminate water quality, especially along Lake Huron and near municipal wells. The category is limited to only 20 projects so people are advised to apply early.
Huron County property owners have, with the support of the county initiative: planted more than 580,000 trees (more than 800 acres); decommissioned more than 550 unused wells; planted more than 20,000 acres of cover crops (more than 30 square miles); established 180 kilometres of windbreaks; completed more than 220 erosion control projects; decommissioned more than 90 liquid manure storages; upgraded more than 380 private wells; and completed more than 120 forest management plans.
To learn more visit abca.ca, mvca.on.ca, or huroncounty.ca.
PROTECTING AND IMPROVING WATER QUALITY WITH SUPPORT OF HURON COUNTY CLEAN WATER PROJECT – This photo shows staff of Ausable Bayfield Conservation planting ball and burlap White Cedar along a watercourse as a riparian (riverbank) buffer in the Bannockburn sub-watershed. The trees will increase the width of the riparian buffer and provide shade for the watercourse as the trees are planted on the south side of the buffer. This project will contribute significantly to protecting and improving water quality by reducing the potential for sediment and nutrients to enter the watercourse; maintaining cooler water temperatures thus allowing greater oxygen concentration to the benefit of aquatic life; etc.. The trees will also provide the benefits of a windbreak, reducing soil erosion caused by wind. Projects like these are taking place to protect water in Huron County thanks to support of the Huron County Clean Water Project and participating landowners.
County of Huron Clean Water Project – Completed Projects (2004 – 2019)
- Total reported value of completed projects $10 million+
- Number of completed projects 2,800+
- Number of trees planted 587,000+
- Acres of trees planted 840+
- Windbreaks planted (km) 186
- Cover crops planted (acres) 20,000
- Cover crops planted (square miles) 30 miles2
- Watercourses buffered (square kilometres) 75 km2
- Wells decommissioned 553
- Wells upgraded 389
- Manure storages decommissioned 94
- Community projects 35
- Erosion control projects completed 221
- Wellhead protection 380+
- Clean water diversion projects 110
- Fragile land retirement projects 760+
- Septic projects 100+
- Forest Management Plans 128
- Constructed wetlands 16