Shuswap farmers and landowners can improve their nutrient management strategies with funding from the Shuswap Watershed Council.
SWC’s Water Quality Grant Program is accepting applications until April 30 for projects focused on the valley bottoms of the Shuswap and Salmon rivers.
“One of the SWC’s primary objectives is to protect and maintain the water quality in Shuswap and Mara lakes,” explains SWC program manager Erin Vieira. “In particular, we’re focussed on reducing nutrient inputs to rivers and lakes.”
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,” says Vieira.
In the first year of the program, $65,470 was distributed to five farm-based water quality improvement projects.
Funds covered seed costs for a cover crop project at Lakeland Farms; construction of an engineered berm at Hillside Dreams Goat Dairy; an effluent collection tank at Swaan Farms; pipes to a new concrete lagoon for the cheese plant at Grass Root Dairies; and fencing material for a partnership project in the Salmon River valley between the BC Cattlemen’s Association and Splatsin First Nation.
“After the positive outcomes achieved with the 2020 program, we’re very pleased to offer our grant program for a second year,” says SWC chair Paul Demenok. “We look forward to creating new partnerships in the Shuswap to protect our water quality while simultaneously helping farms and other land holdings reduce their phosphorus footprint.”
Up to $85,000 is available this year.
“The grant program is one of the ways the SWC is taking action on our research findings,” Vieira adds, referring to a three-year research project between SWC and UBC Okanagan.
Research results showed the greatest proportion of nutrients in the lakes originating from the settled valley bottoms of the Shuswap and Salmon rivers, where there are farms and homes.
Find more information about the grant program at www.shuswapwater.ca.