We are dependent on water – we drink it, wash with it, and use it for transportation or recreational purposes. The County of Huron recognizes that protecting our water sources is important to ensure that there is enough safe water for all our uses – now and in the future.
Huron County supports a series of initiatives developed to preserve the quality and quantity of water within this region. Research projects, public education and funding opportunities to improve environmental conditions are available for property owners, municipal Councils, and organizations.
Water Protection Steering Committee
The Water Protection Steering Committee is a group of partner organizations, within Huron County, working together to protect the quality of our water – both groundwater and surface water.
This multi-stakeholder group, which meets quarterly, was formed in 2004; it includes:
- Representatives from Provincial, County and Municipal government
- Conservation Authorities
- Agriculture, manufacturing and tourism associations, and
- Citizen groups
This partnership has undertaken and supports many projects ranging from research studies, planning initiatives, monitoring, outreach and education. If you are interested in learning more about the Water Protection Steering Committee, or would like to know what you and your group can do to protect local water quality, please contact Susanna Reid, Planner, Planning and Development Department at 519.524.8394, ext 3.
Huron Clean Water Project
The Huron County Clean Water Project is celebrating eleven years of financial and technical assistance to improve and protect water quality on Huron County farms and rural properties. Since 2005 county residents have completed more than 2200 stewardship projects using funds received from the Clean Water Project.
Clean Water Project grants have helped residents to plant more than 305 hectares of trees; complete more than 643 tree planting projects; fence cattle out of 20 kilometres of streams; plant more than 172 kilometres of windbreaks; decommission 91 liquid manure storages; complete eight forest management plans; upgrade more than 364 private wells; complete more than 186 erosion control projects; decommission more than 499 unused wells; and plant 10,000 acres of cover crops. Fixing individual sources of pollution contributes to healthy environment and community.
The Huron County Clean Water Project is one of the most successful on-the-ground water quality improvement projects in the province. Funding from the County of Huron is combined with other cost-share programs and landowner contributions. The projects have a total value of more than $5 million – that’s good for the environment and the economy.
Limited funding assistance covering up to 50% of the costs of eligible projects is awarded annually to county residents. Farmers can combine this funding with the Canada-Ontario Environmental Farm Plan cost-share program, Trees Ontario tree planting subsidy programs, Every Kilowatt Counts Electricity Retrofit Incentive Program, and the Green Communities ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive Grant.
|Erosion Control – Grassed waterways, catch basins, terraces and berms to reduce erosion of agricultural land|
|Special Projects – Innovative projects that demonstrate improved water quality|
|Rural Stormwater Management & Wetland Creation – Retiring fragile agricultural land through enhancement or creation of wetland features to improve surface & groundwater quality|
|Clean Water Diversion – Berms and eavestroughs to divert clean water from manure and exercise yards|
|Fragile Land Retirement – Planting trees and shrubs on erosion-prone land. Buffer strips along watercourses|
|Livestock Fencing – Fences, crossings and watering devices to eliminate watercourse livestock access|
|Manure Storage Decommissioning – Proper decommissioning manure storage to prevent water contamination|
|Community Projects – Stewardship and educational projects by community groups (matching dollars)|
|Cover Crop Incentive – Encourage farmers to try new cover crop mixes and techniques and demonstrate their use|
|Forest Management Plans and Woodlot Enhancement – Help with forest management plans, harvest advice, invasive species management, and other improvements under direction of a professional forester. This helps private landowners to optimize forest health, create long-term, sustainable returns from their woodlands, and to enhance forest cover to prevent soil erosion and benefit water quality.|
|Wellhead Protection – Pitless adapter caps, grading, sealing and upgrading well casings to prevent contamination|
|Well Decommissioning – Properly decommissioning abandoned wells to eliminate the link between surface and ground water|
|Stewardship Guide Implementation – Water quality improvement projects to implement action plans identified in the Lake Huron Coastline (PDF) or Rural Landowner Stewardship (PDF) Guides|
Wetland Restoration Incentive Program – remuneration for farmland taken out of production to create wide corridors between wetlands and woodlands, establish wet riparian areas. Maximum annual payment of $300 per acre for five years.
Municipal Wellhead protection area reforestation project – Cost of buying and planting trees, shrubs in 100-meter zone around municipal wells plus maximum annual payment of $500 per acre for three years.
Living snow fences – Costs of coniferous trees and planting along County of Huron and provincial highways in priority areas plus maximum annual payment of $500 per acre for five years.
Landowner Stewardship Guides
Working together we can protect the quality of our water – both groundwater and surface water such as streams, rivers, ravines, creeks, wetlands and lakes.
A new workbook-style guide developed by the County’s Water Protection Steering Committee and citizen’s groups emphasizes the role of lakeshore residents and non-farm property owners in protecting this precious resource in a responsible and collective way.
The publication – A Stewardship Guide For The Lake Huron Coastline – helps participants assess their property, buildings and structures, and identify areas where they are impacting the local environment and water quality. By protecting water quality, you are also protecting your investment as a property owner or resident in this landscape.
The guide is divided into three sections including:
- Introduction to Local Ecology, a look at the cultural and physical geography of the Lake Huron landscape;
- A Workbook, which includes 12 worksheets for rating activities on your property;
- And an Action Plan for analyzing potential problem areas and ways in which you can reduce the potential for environmental damage and water contamination.
Workshops on using this guide and property assessment tool are available during the summer months and can be arranged by contacting Susanna Reid, Planner, Planning and Development Department at 519.524.8394 ext 3. If you are a non-farm resident, cottager or property owner along the Canadian shore of Lake Huron, from Tobermory to Sarnia, you can become involved by:
- Helping to organize a workshop for shoreline residents in your area;
- Taking part in a workshop;
- Promoting the workshop to other members in your cottagers’ association;
- Becoming a water quality steward.
Rural Landowner Stewardship Guide
The Rural Landowner Stewardship Guide Program was developed as a response to the awareness that the health of the rural landscape depends upon the actions of all rural landowners, and not of farmers alone.
The overriding goal of the Rural Landowner Stewardship Guide is to protect and enhance the quality of our natural environment – both groundwater and surface water such as streams, rivers, ravines, creeks, wetlands and lakes, and the natural landscape features that support these ecosystems.
Both Landowner Stewardship Guides were developed by Ausable-Bayfield Conservation Authority; County of Huron Planning & Development; Friends of the Bayfield River; Huron Stewardship Council; Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation; University of Guelph.