Local projects to help and repair Lake Simcoe's Black River subwatershed may eligible for a provincial grant.
Communities, schools, organizations, and municipalities can apply for the Ontario Community Environment Fund (OCEF) grants, including:
• First Nations and Métis communities
• schools, colleges and universities
• conservation authorities
• incorporated not-for-profit organizations
• incorporated community-based groupsWhen environmental instructions are not followed and there is a negative impact on Ontario’s environment, fines collected are used towards restoring that damage. This includes paying toward research for prevention of damage, helping communities set up restoration projects, and helping reverse spills and violations in the watersheds.
By starting these projects, communities can help clean up contamination in watersheds where violations occurred and penalties were collected. Projects such as planting trees, doing research and raising awareness on pollution, and developing action plans for future violations are all examples of how participants can help restore the environment.
This year, more than $209,000 from the OCEF is available for projects in the following watersheds:
• Black River - Lake Simcoe
• Central Abitibi
• Credit River -16 Mile Creek
• Humber - Don River
• Michipicoten - Magpie
• Upper Abitibi
• Upper Groundhog
Applications must be submitted by 5pm on May 25, 2017.
Lake Simcoe is the 6th largest lake in Southern Ontario, and is a crucial source of clean water for the residents all around. Neighbouring the lake itself is the Lake Simcoe Watershed — all of the rivers and lands that channel water into the lake.
The Lake Simcoe Watershed is also important for agriculture and tourism, making it vital for the stability of the economy and industry of the communities. This watershed covers 3,400 square kilometers, including 20 municipal borders from the Oak Ridges Moraine, through York and Durham regions, to Barrie and Orillia.
The Black River is an important river in the Lake Simcoe Watershed, starting at the Oak Ridges Moraine, and running through Sutton into Lake Simcoe. With more than 50 percent of its area of 375 sq km covering natural areas such as wetlands, it is an important recreational area for Lake Simcoe.
The Lake Simcoe area consists of 31 drinking water systems, and groundwater is a resource for municipal water supplies, private water supplies, and agricultural, industrial, and irrigation uses.
All the rivers in the watershed, including the Black River eventually drain into Lake Simcoe. All of the systems are connected, meaning that if one area is harmed or damaged, it has an impact on the entire watershed.
Compiled by Sara Taslim (files from Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change)