Protecting Water and Restoring Wetlands in the Greenbelt

-Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation Announces New Grants-

TORONTO, Jan. 10, 2012 /CNW/ - Water is the focus of a new round of grants announced today by the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation. Five organizations have been awarded grants centred on protecting water systems and wetlands, extending the Greenbelt along major connecting waterways, and bringing more Greenbelt food into urban areas.

Results from Greenbelt public opinion polls consistently show that protecting water systems tops the list of environmental concerns for Ontarians. Two of the Foundation's new grants focus on improving the Greenbelt's water systems.

"The Greenbelt has meant greater protection for water. Our latest grants enhance water resources and ensure a clean source of drinking water for millions of people. They also enhance economic value by delivering over one billion dollars in environmental services through water filtration, waste treatment, and flood erosion control," said Burkhard Mausberg, CEO of the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation .

A grant to the Hamilton Conservation Foundation will facilitate the first steps in a 50-year Vision that will see the revitalization, protection, and enhancement of the Dundas Valley. The Valley is an abundant water resource with wetlands, waterfalls, and groundwater supplies like cold water streams.

"The Conservation Foundation recognizes the important roles both the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation and Conservation Authorities play in protecting Ontario's green spaces; we are privileged to play our part to conserve Hamilton's true nature," said David McInnis, Chair of the Hamilton Conservation Foundation.

The Foundation has also awarded a grant to Credit Valley Conservation to keep our water clean in the GTA by restoring the Credit Valley watershed and identifying solutions to keep it viable. They will be conducting research on how to entice farmers and private land owners to restore wetlands on their properties. This will lead to an incentive program for these landowners to take care of the wetlands. Restoring these lands will enhance the quality of the water fed into the Credit Valley and help to keep it clean.

In addition to grants that focus on water, this round of funding supports growing the Greenbelt, enhancing food systems, and expanding farmers' markets. To view all of the grants awarded this round, please see the corresponding backgrounder.  For photos and to view video, please visit: www.greenbelt.ca

Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation:

Ontario's Greenbelt is over 1.8 million acres of green space, farmland, vibrant communities, forests, wetlands, and watersheds - all permanently protected by world-leading legislation. In return, the Greenbelt gives back much to Ontario, providing $5.4 billion to Ontario's economy through farming and food production, and $2.6 billion in ecosystem services annually. 

The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation is working to help farmers in the Greenbelt be more successful; to protect and enhance natural features; and to strengthen local economies. To learn more about the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, please visit www.greenbelt.ca

 

Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation: Possibility Grows Here

New Grants Round

About the Projects:

The Greater Toronto Area Agricultural Action Committee (GTA AAC)/The Conservation Foundation of Greater Toronto: Supporting the Food and Farming Action Plan to grow the Greater Golden Horseshoe's farm industry - $210,000 (over two years)

The Greater Golden Horseshoe's food and farming industry contributes $35 billion to the provincial economy through jobs and economic activity. This project supports the implementation of key activities outlined in a newly developed Action Plan to recognize and grow this important economic driver.

The GTA AAC, along with their partners, the regions of Hamilton and Niagara, are receiving funds to get started on implementation of the Action Plan. The grant also supports a working group of regional and municipal economic development staff to attract new business that will lead to better integration of Greenbelt goods into the distribution chain, new processing infrastructure, and new markets.

Credit Valley Conservation: Improving the Restoration of Ontario Greenbelt Water Resources- $60,000 (one year)

The Greenbelt protects our natural environment and water resources from the impacts of urbanization and other major developments. Its landowners, including farmers that work over 50 per cent of the landscape, maintain and restore individual features like wetlands. The benefit of this restoration is flood control, water filtration, improving water quality and climate adaptation.

This project researches new opportunities that recognize the ecological goods and services landowners provide communities when they undertake stewardship on their lands. The research looks at how to more effectively compensate these stewardship activities and improve environmental outcomes for healthy wetlands in the Credit River watershed. The Region of Peel and the Peel Federation of Agriculture are leading partners in this research.

Hamilton Conservation Foundation: Enhancing the Rich Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Niagara Escarpment's Dundas Valley - $50,000 (one year)

Carved out nearly 10,000 years ago, the Dundas Valley is one of the largest glacial re-entrant valleys (a valley that collects and funnels water) along the Niagara Escarpment. The Hamilton Conservation Foundation's 50-Year Vision for the Valley outlines ways to sustain the ecology, agriculture and recreation activities of Hamilton's environmental "jewel" as urbanization concentrates along its borders.

This project enables the Conservation Foundation to work with the community to develop priorities for the next five years. Activities include producing a strategy for biodiversity, land securement, species at risk protection, developing strategies for outdoor education, and agricultural and recreational activities that maintain and enhance the Valley.

FoodShare/Greenbelt Farmers' Market Network: Developing a Nutritious Local Food System -$150,000 (over two years)

Farmers' markets are well-known as community local food hubs; but with an abundance of fresh, homemade and sustainable products on display, they are also a great place to learn about nutrition. This project investigates the link between market attendance, knowledge of local foods, and healthy eating. The results will help markets promote healthy options and benefits of eating local to families across the Greenbelt.

The Network will also continue to offer professional development to market managers, and support best practices and knowledge sharing, all in an effort to help markets and their farm vendors  economically thrive.

Environmental Defence/Ontario Greenbelt Alliance: Growing the Greenbelt, Garnering Support - $400,000 (over two years)

Greenbelt Alliance members work in communities across the landscape to protect the Greenbelt and embrace new opportunities to support its role in providing clean air, water and food to the region. A key partner in their efforts are the Municipal Leaders for the Greenbelt whose work is also supported through this funding.

The project also continues work to expand the boundaries of the Greenbelt to include many environmental features that cross its borders including natural heritage, water systems, and agricultural resources. The Alliance will assist with applications to grow the Greenbelt in Guelph, Hamilton, Toronto, Mississauga, and Brampton.

For more information about the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation's grants program, please visit: www.greenbelt.ca

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SOURCE Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation

For further information:

or an interview please contact:   
Carla Balabanowicz               Julienne Spence
Communications Coordinator                               Acting Communications Director
(416) 960-0001, ext. 306                                           (416) 960-0001, ext. 311
cbalabanowicz@greenbelt.ca                             jspence@greenbelt.ca

 

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