Grants are once again being made available to North-Okanagan-Shuswap farmers and other landowners for projects that protect water quality in Shuswap Lake.
The Shuswap Watershed Council (SWC) is accepting applications for its Water Quality Grant Program for 2021. Up to $85,000 is available through the program and farmers, agri-businesses, landowners and others are invited to apply for funding to go toward projects or land management practices that reduce, divert or capture nutrients, especially phosphorus, that might otherwise make their way into local rivers and lakes.
According to the SWC, excessive amounts of nutrients, especially phosphorus, are known to contribute to algal blooms, which reduce the quality of water for drinking and recreation, and can become toxic for people, pets, and livestock.
“The goal of the grant program is to help farmers and landowners keep nutrients on the land and in the soil, being used by crops and vegetation – not washing off into nearby creeks and rivers through rain, snowmelt, or flooding,” explained SWC spokesperson Erin Vieira.
The call for applications comes on the heels of a video from the SWC, describing nutrient management projects on four Salmon Valley farms in 2020, made possible with grant funding from the SWC.
The application period closes on April 30. Vieira explained the program is one of the ways in which the SWC is taking action its findings over a three-year research project that determined the greatest proportion of nutrients in the lakes originated from the settled valley bottoms of the Shuswap River and Salmon River, where there are farms and homes.
More information about the grant program and how to apply is available at www.shuswapwater.ca.