Feds’ funding of Burlington programs ‘great news’ for health of Hamilton Harbour

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Published August 13, 2021 at 3:30 pm

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A pair of Burlington projects aimed at helping improve the health of Hamilton Harbour are getting a financial boost from the federal government.

Burlington MP Karina Gould, on behalf of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, announced Friday funding up to $425,000 for the Royal Botanical Gardens’ Wetlands Rehabilitation Program and $154,000 to support the City of Burlington’s Grindstone Creek Erosion Control Planning.  

Investing in the protection and conservation of our natural environment, says Gould, helps us to better adapt to climate change, strengthen our clean economy and protect our freshwater resources for future generations.

“The Government of Canada encourages sustainable development initiatives to preserve our natural resources,” the Minister of International Development said. “This announcement is great news for Burlington and the wider community.

“We know that the health of our water systems is integral to the well-being of our community, and the federal government is pleased to support the development of sustainable projects for the future of the Hamilton Harbour and the Grindstone Creek.” 

This investment will enable the Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG), which plays a vital role in the protection and improvement of the local ecosystem from Lake Ontario to the Niagara Escarpment, to support the expansion of native species and the management of invasive species’ stressors (European Manna Grass, Phragmites, Common Carp), to restore fish and wildlife wetland habitat. 

It will also allow RBG staff to monitor water quality, aquatic vegetation, the fish community, and amphibians to assess the status of the beneficial use impairments. 

This will advance efforts as part of the remedial action plan to address three key issues in the Hamilton Harbour Area of Concern – Eutrophication or Undesirable Algae, Degradation of Fish and Wildlife Populations and Loss of Fish and Wildlife Habitat. 

“Support from the Great Lakes Protection Initiative is critical for invasive species management and aquatic ecosystem restoration in our coastal marshes, and is a valuable partnership for Royal Botanical Gardens in assisting with the implementation of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement objectives,” said Tys Theijsmeijer, Head of Natural Areas, Royal Botanical Gardens. 

“Specifically, funding will help us implement important restoration projects for the diverse habitats in the upstream portions of Cootes Paradise and Grindstone Marsh.” 

Funding for the City of Burlington will support detailed designs of priority erosion control protection projects in Grindstone Creek, an important tributary fish habitat in the Hamilton Harbour Area of Concern.  

The erosion is the cause of degraded fish and wildlife habitat and a source of nutrients that causes eutrophication in Grindstone Creek and the Hamilton Harbour.  

Future implementation of control projects will help to mitigate sediment discharge and improve water quality.  

“Today’s announcement is welcomed news for our community,” said Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward.  “Grindstone Creek is not only a beautiful part of our natural environment, it is an important piece of green infrastructure that protects our community from flood risk and one we need to protect and preserve as much as any other piece of essential infrastructure.”

Through the Great Lakes Protection Initiative, the Government of Canada takes action to address the most significant environmental challenges affecting Great Lakes water quality and ecosystem health by delivering on Canada’s commitments under the Canada-United States Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. 

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