Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

June 02, 2006 19:19 ET

AAFC: A New National Land and Water Information Service

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - June 2, 2006) - The Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, announced today that Canadians now have access to agri-environmental maps, data, tools and expertise through a new Web portal developed by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC).

"These tools are an example of the commitment by Canada's new government to agri-environmental sustainability that will benefit the agricultural sector and all Canadians" said Minister Strahl. "The Service will assist landowners and planners, community groups, the agriculture industry and different levels of government in understanding and applying geographic information to encourage responsible land-use decisions."

Examples of decisions that will be supported relate to protection of ground and surface water, adoption of soil stewardship practices, cost analysis in implementing appropriate fencing around riparian areas, proper planning of agricultural and rural development, environmental monitoring and reporting and emergency response.

The National Land and Water Information Service is being built on a foundation of partnership and collaboration with other federal departments, provincial, territorial and municipal governments, along with non-government organizations and the private sector. It provides access to geospatial data - information tied to a geographic location. Provincial Working Groups are in place to discuss areas of common interest and to help identify evolving business requirements and collaboration opportunities.

The bilingual one-stop Web portal gives users access to existing geospatial data and tools within AAFC through a recognized point of entry. Many of the applications were developed with other organizations which contributed their expertise and data. When fully operational in 2009, the portal should be recognized as Canada's source of information, analysis and interpretation of agri-environmental data on land use, soil, water, climate and biodiversity. Additional information is available at www.agr.gc.ca/nlwis-snite.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is working with provincial, territorial and industry partners to develop programs and promote sound farm stewardship practices which contribute to a cleaner, healthier environment for all Canadians and safer, healthier food for consumers. For more information on AAFC's environment programs and services, visit www.agr.ca or call 1-800-667-8567.

BACKGROUNDER

Overview of the National Land and Water Information Service

The National Land and Water Information Service is an Internet-based service being developed over the next four years to provide on-line access to agri-environmental information to help Canadians make responsible land-use decisions. The federal government is investing $100.1 million to implement the new service.

The first phase of project implementation began in May 2005. When the project is completed in 2009, the National Land and Water Information Service will be recognized as Canada's source of information, analysis and interpretation of agri-environmental data on land use, soil, water, climate and biodiversity to assist land-use decision makers. These land-use decision makers include landowners and planners, community groups, the agriculture industry and different levels of government.

Collaborative Approach

The National Land and Water Information Service will be built on a foundation of partnerships and collaboration. The project is being led by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC). Close collaboration with other federal departments, provincial, territorial and municipal governments, non-government organizations, producer and industry groups, and academic institutions will lead to the success of the service. The National Land and Water Information Service will make agri-environmental information from these dispersed sources available through a recognized point of entry on the Internet.

Provincial Working Groups have been established to help identify business requirements and priorities, provide advice and communicate project activities. The project is based on Geographic Information System (GIS) technology following national standards and specifications, as well as federal geomatics policies and practices, to achieve an approach that will be responsive to clients' needs and coordinated across Canada's geographic information community.

Agri-environmental Goals

By providing geospatial information, decision-support tools and improvements in national data collection, analysis and reporting, the National Land and Water Information Service will support a number of environmental programs under the Agricultural Policy Framework. Included in these programs are Environmental Farm Plans and Environmental Assessments, Greencover, National Farm Stewardship, National Water Supply Expansion and Water Quality Surveillance and Crop Cover Protection. This service will benefit the agricultural sector and all Canadians by contributing to the development of better agri-environmental policies, increasing public awareness of the relationship between agriculture and the environment, and improving land-use decision making and risk management.

Potential Benefits

The National Land and Water Information Service will provide on-line access to current and relevant agri-environmental information on a local, regional and national scale. Examples of decisions that will be supported relate to protection of ground and surface water, adoption of soil stewardship practices and cost analysis in implementing appropriate fencing around riparian areas.

One of the potential benefits from this service is the more effective use of GIS mapping technology for agri-environmental planning in rural municipalities. For example, analysis of detailed geospatial information on soil types, ground cover, soil drainage and setback distances from manure storage would encourage responsible environmental choices. When fully operational in 2009, the National Land and Water Information Service will make that kind of capability accessible through its Web site and will also provide expertise to help land-use decision makers interpret the information.

Phases of Implementation

The National Land and Water Information Service will be introduced in four phases over four years, with each phase bringing increased levels of service and benefits to users:

- In Phase 1, which was completed on March 31, 2006, applications, data and tools situated in various Web pages on the AAFC Online Web site were brought into a new Internet portal (www.agr.gc.ca/nlwis-snite) that will make access much easier. Several new applications, including the Land Resource Viewer, were created and made available on-line in both official languages.

- In Phase 2, to be completed in 2007, the information technology platform for the new service will be built and mechanisms will be established to manage and house agri-environmental geospatial information on the Internet according to national standards and policies.

- In Phase 3, to be completed in 2008, the National Land and Water Information Service will make accessible new GIS applications and services to users across Canada. It will provide direct access to geospatial data, maps and tools and develop improved Web-based services. Users will be able to access information and data in both official languages and in standardized formats.

- In Phase 4, to be completed in 2009, the access and linkages to data provided by other organizations will be enriched and new releases of products will be made available, enhancing the service's capacity to provide value-added resource information and expertise in support of land-use decision making.

This Major Crown Project is an investment in agri-environmental sustainability. When fully operational, the new service will help transform the way land-use decisions are made in Canada.

Contact Information

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Ottawa
    Media Relations
    (613) 759-7972
    1 (866) 345-7972
    or
    Minister Strahl's office
    Jeff Howard
    Press Secretary
    (613) 759-1059