Chatham-Kent – The Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority (LTVCA) is excited to announce the launch of the new McGregor and Jeannettes Creek Phosphorus Reduction Program. The purpose of the project is to improve soil health and reduce the amount of agriculturally sourced phosphorus entering the Thames River, Lake St. Clair and ultimately the Western Basin of Lake Erie.
“Our Government is pleased to be working with Ontario farmers to support innovation and on-farm action for sustainable farming practices that will improve soil health and water quality of the Great Lakes,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. “A sustainable and prosperous agriculture sector contributes to a strong economy and a brighter future for Canadians.”
“This project, which supports our Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan, is part of our work to improve water quality in Ontario’s rivers and the Great Lakes,” said Ernie Hardeman, Ontario’s Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “We’re dedicated to supporting collaboration with farmers to meet water quality improvement goals while enhancing their productivity.”
The new voluntary program will build on the work that began through the Great Lakes Agricultural Stewardship Initiative (GLASI) Jeannettes Creek Priority Subwatershed Project that occurred from 2015-2018 under Growing Forward 2. Financial contributions will be available to all eligible farmers in the McGregor and Jeannettes Creek subwatershed catchment areas to implement agricultural BMPs (Refer to the map below).
In addition to supporting producers with the implementation of BMPs, the LTVCA will monitor water quality, land use, and climate conditions in the subwatersheds. The collected data will be used to configure and calibrate subwatershed Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) Models, to simulate the phosphorus reduction that results from the implementation of agricultural BMPs.
The project began in 2018 and will conclude by March of 2022. The program will provide farmers with the opportunity to implement a targeted suite of BMPs at a reduced cost. Cost-shares and $/acre incentives will be available to farmers to implement the following BMPs:
- *Cover crops
- *4R Nutrient Management Plans
- *Alternative Phosphorus Application Practices
- *Erosion Control Structures
- *Marginal & Sensitive Land Restoration
- *Farmer Innovative Solutions
For additional information on the incentives available through the program refer to the following link and program brochure, or contact Colin Little at the LTVCA.
If reductions are observed, they will assist with meeting Canada and Ontario’s targets to reduce the phosphorus loads from the Thames River to Lake St. Clair and ultimately Lake Erie. The Thames River has been targeted under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement for a 40% reduction in spring total and soluble reactive phosphorus loads (from 2008 levels), as its loads contribute to the development of nearshore cyanobacteria blooms in Lake St. Clair and hypoxia in the central basin of Lake Erie. Furthermore, in 2017 a cyanobacteria bloom developed in the Thames River.
“The program will provide farmers with financial incentives to assist with addressing the barriers associated with implementing soil health and water quality BMPs”, explains Colin Little, the LTVCA’s Agricultural Program Coordinator. “Furthermore, we are very excited to work with interested farmers to quantify the potential phosphorus reductions that results from their efforts to implement BMPs in the McGregor and Jeannettes Creek subwatersheds of the Thames River.” This information will be very significant to farmers as the agricultural industry moves forward in addressing the issue of non-point source nutrient losses in the Great Lakes Region.
Environment and Climate Change Canada has also approved funding from the Great Lakes Protection Initiative to support program monitoring, research and Best Management Practice (BMP) incentives for subwatershed farmers (2018-2022).
Project monitoring and applied research costs are funded in part through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership), a federal-provincial territorial initiative . The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists in the delivery of the Partnership in Ontario.
For more program information or inquiries contact:
Agricultural Program Coordinator
519-354-7310 ext. 231