Loblaw Water Fund making an impact on freshwater health, results show

Restoration work helps to reverse the global trend of declining freshwater habitat

TORONTO, June 1, 2016 /CNW/ - The second year of the Loblaw Water Fund Projects are now complete and WWF-Canada sees the positive effects the initiative is having on the health of freshwater in Canada after two years.

Loblaw Water Fund by the numbers:

  • 24: The number of projects completed.
  • $491,000: Total dollar amount invested in projects over the last two years, an average of $20,308 per grant
  • 553: Number of water samples collected
  • 85 hectares: Total area of the habitat created or restored. That's enough space to put 680 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
  • 13,444: Number of native trees and plants sown
  • 6,750: Number of Canadians engaged
  • Species affected by restoration efforts include: Freshwater mussels (rainbow mussel, black redhorse and silver shiner); western painted turtle; Pacific water shrew; Oregon spotted frog; nooksack dace; Pacific salmon; beavers; barred owls; herons; northern red-legged frogs; woodpeckers; bats; butterflies; American eel, Atlantic salmon, gaspereau; banded killifish; blacknose dace; common shiner; brook trout; rainbow smelt; striped bass; muskrat, wood turtles; and migratory birds such as canvas backs, redheads, black bellied plovers, least bitterns, black terns, foresters terns, and king rails.

Quote from David Miller, president and CEO of WWF-Canada
"The future of Canada's water health lies in the communities that do the on-the-ground work every day, and we are proud to support their efforts. The Loblaw Water Fund was created as a solution to help address the threats to our waters. In the first two years of completed projects, we are already seeing significant areas being restored, increases in local wildlife populations and communities being brought together. The volume of applications we get each year shows there is a demand for this program and we are excited to see what the 2016 project impacts will be."

Quote from Bob Chant, senior vice president, Loblaw Companies Limited
"Our communities, our colleagues and our business rely on clean, fresh water and we're proud of the Loblaw Water Fund and the many projects it supports across the country. We salute this year's recipients for their hard work and dedication."

Quote from Michele Kading, Executive Director, Save our Seine
"The rain garden creation project is important because the new garden will hold and clean runoff water and pollutants from the nearby parking lot before it enters the Seine River. Thanks to the Loblaw Water Fund, we were able to build the garden to help keep the river and lakes clean. We also were able to have students from local schools help us plant the garden as well as monitor water quality from two water collection stations. Having the students participate was important because it teaches them the importance of rain gardens and being involved in their community. We heard many positive feedback from students and teachers alike."

The trouble with Canada's freshwater
The freshwater health data is alarming. Populations of freshwater species in the world have dropped by a staggering 76 per cent over the past 40 years. In Canada, fish populations have declined in some regions by as much as 30 per cent. WWF-Canada's Watershed Reports indicate that many of our waters face significant threats, which are already leading to changes in the ecological condition of Canada's rivers and watersheds.

WWF-Canada's goals for freshwater
WWF-Canada's goal is to see all of Canada's waters in good condition by 2025. To reach that goal, we're compiling the first national picture of the health of our waters and the threats they face. We're also working to help protect key water systems across the country, from the wild, free-flowing Skeena River in B.C. to  New Brunswick's St. John River. WWF-Canada is also working with and supporting the efforts of water stewards across the country, who are protecting and restoring their local lakes, streams and rivers. We also help recommend the right laws, rules and citizen action needed to protect a healthy water future.

How Loblaw Water Fund helps
The Loblaw Water Fund is a national initiative that supports critical projects that protect and restore freshwater ecosystems. Loblaw Water Fund grantees — including conservation authorities, waterkeeper groups  and First Nations — deliver tangible results that help improve freshwater health in Canada in several ways. The fund is supported through partial proceeds from Loblaw's charge-for-plastic shopping bag program, which has eliminated more than eight billion plastic shopping bags from Loblaw banner stores nationally since 2007. To learn more about the current 2016 Loblaw Water Fund projects, visit wwf.ca/waterfund 

About World Wildlife Fund Canada
WWF-Canada creates solutions to the environmental challenges that matter most for Canadians. We work in places that are unique and ecologically important, so that wildlife, nature and people thrive together. Because we are all wildlife. For more info visit wwf.ca

About Loblaw Companies Limited
Loblaw Companies Limited is Canada's food and pharmacy leader, the nation's largest retailer, and the majority unit holder of Choice Properties Real Estate Investment Trust. Loblaw provides Canadians with grocery, pharmacy, health and beauty, apparel, general merchandise, banking, and wireless mobile products and services. With more than 2,300 corporate, franchised and associate-owned locations, Loblaw, its franchisees, and Associate-owners employ approximately 192,000 full and part-time employees, making it one of Canada's largest private sector employers.

SOURCE WWF-Canada

For further information: Rowena Calpito, communications specialist, rcalpito@wwfcanada.org, +1 416-489-4567 Ext. 7267

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