A new round of funding for projects designed to improve the quality of water in Shuswap and Mara lakes opened December 1.
Up to $55,000 is available to landowners, farms and businesses as well as stewardship groups through through the Water Quality Grant Program administered by the Shuswap Watershed Council.
“In particular, we’re looking to partner with and support Shuswap-area farms to introduce new nutrient management strategies,” program manager Erin Vieira says of the current intake.
Since the Water Quality Grant Program began in 2020, the SWC has awarded 13 grants worth a total of $178,169.
The last round of awarded $53,004 to five projects, including upgraded irrigation at Rivershore Nursery in Mara that will reduce water use and decrease run-off.
Other projects funded included the construction of livestock control fencing along the Eagle River at Crystal Lake Ranch in Malakwa; the planting of cover crops at Shuswap Organics in Enderby to build the farm’s soil health and improve nutrient retention; construction of a Rova Barn at Fresh Valley Farms north of Armstrong to automate management of pastured livestock, build soil health, and protect sensitive and wet areas on the farm; and new riparian fencing and off-stream watering for livestock at Iron Horse Ranch in Celista.
The grant program provides up to 50% financial assistance for projects and land management practices that keep nutrients on the land and in the soil, being used by crops and vegetation rather than washing into watercourses through rain, snowmelt or flooding.
Together with other funding sources and in-kind donations, the five projects awarded funding earlier this year have a combined value of $109,629.
Funding from the current intake will be distributed to successful applicants in early 2024.