Wetland photo

Applications are being accepted for projects in 2023

The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) is seeking applications for its Restoration and Water Well Decommissioning grant programs for projects in 2023. Selected projects will help improve water quality and wildlife habitat as part of ongoing efforts to restore and preserve the Niagara Peninsula watershed’s natural heritage and water resources.

“The Restoration Grant Program is one of several ways the NPCA works to improve the health of the Niagara Peninsula watershed’s natural features, as research has shown it is highly degraded,” says Geoff Verkade, Senior Manager of Integrated Watershed Strategies at NPCA. “With eight categories and a variety of project options ranging from the creation of wetlands and tree plantings to riparian and upland habitat restoration, we welcome private and public landowners, NGOs, nature clubs, and ‘Friends of’ groups to join us in these efforts.”

In 2021, the program saw much success with 63,393 trees and 7,926 shrubs planted, 29.23 hectares of land reforested, 1.12 hectares of wetland restored, and 5.56 hectares of riparian habitat enhanced. “We continue to build on this momentum and the shared interest in a healthy and resilient watershed,” adds Verkade.

Restoration Grant Program success stories include:

  • In 2021, the NPCA completed the second phase of a project in the floodplain of the 20 Mile Creek in Lincoln. The first phase took place in 2020, in partnership with Ducks Unlimited Canada, and saw the construction of a 0.3-hectare wetland in a retired agricultural field. This work continued in 2021 with a spring tree planting supported by Forests Ontario, and a fall wetland habitat planting. This project saw 600 trees, 650 shrubs and 432 herbaceous plants added to expand natural cover and habitat along the 20 Mile Creek corridor.
  • A riparian planting project was completed at Binbrook in 2022, with support from Forests Ontario. The project began in 2021 with the hand-planting of 1,800 trees and 800 shrubs throughout 1.4 hectares of land surrounding West Wolf Creek. Based on the success of the 2021 planting, the landowner was eager to continue this good work and through the Restoration Grant Program, the NPCA planted an additional 1.4 hectares of land adjacent to this restored area. This second project was completed via machine-planting in the spring of 2022, increasing tree cover and wildlife habitat by an extra 3,000 trees and 200 shrubs.

While the Restoration Grant Program seeks to restore and enhance wildlife habitat and forest cover, improving water quality lies at the core of all its projects. The NPCA’s water quality monitoring program’s results indicate that most of the surface waters in the watershed are either poor or impaired. Restricting livestock access to watercourses and reducing animal waste contamination are two examples of eligible projects that will help improve water quality.

The NPCA also offers the Water Well Decommissioning Grant Program for watershed residents, designed to protect groundwater by plugging and sealing abandoned or unused water wells.

“These water wells can be a physical danger to kids and pets, and they represent a direct threat to groundwater supplies and, ultimately, our drinking water,” says Joshua Diamond, Water Quality Specialist at NPCA. “Since contaminants applied to the surface may easily flow through these open conduits and reach the water table, decommissioning an unused or abandoned water well plugs the pollution pathway and moves us forward in protecting groundwater quality.”

Residents of the Niagara Peninsula watershed are encouraged to take advantage of these two grant programs and join the NPCA to protect and restore local water quality and diverse habitats.

Applications for Water Well Decommissioning grants are accepted year-round on a first come, first serve basis. This program provides an 80 per cent grant rate to a maximum amount of $1,000 per well and a maximum of two wells per property. Funding for the program is limited; once funds are exhausted, the program will conclude for the calendar year.

The application intake date for Restoration Grant Program projects to take place in 2023 is fast approaching on November 21. Feasible projects will be eligible for grants of up to $15,000.

Both grants are available to qualifying landowners with lands located within the NPCA jurisdiction. To learn more about the Restoration and Water Well Decommissioning grant programs or to download the application form, visit npca/restoration or npca.ca/well-decommissioning.

For more information about the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority, visit www.npca.ca. Follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more updates.


A message from Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority