The Shuswap Watershed Council is inviting another round of applicants to the Watershed Quality Grant aimed at protecting and maintaining water quality in the area’s lakes.
The purpose of the grant program is to provide financial help for projects and new practices in the watershed area to limit the amount of nutrient runoff from the land into the water.
When excessive amounts of nutrients, especially phosphorus, get washed into bodies of water from the surrounding landscape, they become algal blooms, which reduce the quality of water for drinking and recreation. Algal blooms can be toxic to people and animals.
Up to $55,000 is available for this phase of the grant. Farmers, landowners, hobby farmers, agricultural businesses and stewardship groups in the Shuswap watershed area can apply for funding towards projects or land management practices that reduce, capture or divert nutrients away from the water. Applicants must contribute at least half of the total project cost in cash and/or in-kind contributions. The funding will be given to chosen applicants early next year.
Erin Vieira, Shuswap Watershed Council program manager, said farms located along the Salmon or Shuswap rivers will be prioritized for funding. However, anyone with a farm or property in the Shuswap watershed is eligible.
The Shuswap Watershed Council has given nine grants to Shuswap and area farms and stewardship groups to date. These grants have helped projects that improve nutrient retention, stabilize riverbanks, develop wetlands, improve field drainage and protect against flooding, among other things.
More information about the Shuswap watershed and the ‘phosphorous footprint’ can be found in the council’s Phosphorus Action Plan.
Applicants can learn more about the grant program and apply at www.shuswapwater.ca. The application period is from Dec. 1, 2022 to Jan. 31, 2023.