Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

October 03, 2007 13:01 ET

Canada's New Government Invests Nearly $1 Million to Improve Water Quality in Missisquoi Bay

SAINT-IGNACE-DE-STANDBRIDGE, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Oct. 3, 2007) - The Honourable Christian Paradis, Secretary of State for Agriculture, on behalf of the Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, today announced nearly $1 million in funding to the Cooperative de solidarite du bassin versant de la Riviere-aux-Brochets for a pilot project that will help decrease the occurrence of blue-green algae in the Missisquoi Bay area of Quebec.

"Canada's New Government is committed to preserving and protecting the environment and assisting our producers to do so as well," said Mr. Paradis. "This pilot project is good news for producers, the environment and Quebecers as it will reduce the incidence of blue-green algae in the area."

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) is contributing a total of $917,644 to this Ecological Goods and Services (EG&S) pilot project. Other contributing partners are the Quebec Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPAQ), which is contributing professional services and funding for a total of $235,740, the Institut de recherche et de developpement en agroenvironnement (IRDA) with an in-kind contribution of $23,000, McGill University with an in-kind contribution of $30,000 and participating producers who are contributing $67,200 of in-kind support.

"The close relationship between producers and the environment offers many opportunities for protecting ecosystems, making producers true enablers of sustainable development," said Pierre Paradis, representative of Quebec's Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and Member of the National Assembly for Brome-Missisquoi. "The pilot project invites producers to work together to protect the environment beyond the boundaries of their farm. This initiative complements the government of Quebec's blue-green algae response plan, which was announced on September 25."

"Producers in targeted sub-watersheds have agreed to participate on a voluntary basis in this important pilot project to protect our streams and shorelines," said Ernest-William Gasser, President of the Cooperative de solidarite du bassin versant de la Riviere-aux-Brochets. "When we appeal to their sense of cooperation, producers come together for a good cause. It is important to bear in mind that it is not only up to producers, but to society as a whole, to make the right choices and the necessary efforts to protect our environment."

Funding for EG&S pilot projects comes from AAFC's Advancing Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food (ACAAF) Program. ACAAF is designed to help implement innovative projects that will benefit the production and processing sector, bolster the industry's capacity to address current and emerging issues and position the agriculture and agri-food industry to seize new market opportunities.

Canada's New Government is proposing new regulations that will have a positive impact on filtering out substances like phosphates, which can lead to excessive blue-green algae production, as well as mercury and pharmaceutical products in sewage outflow, to improve the water quality in our lakes, streams and rivers.


BACKGROUNDER

Ecological Goods and Services

What are Ecological Goods and Services?

Ecological Goods and Services (EG&S) are the positive environmental benefits that Canadians derive from healthy ecosystems, including clean water and air, and enhanced biodiversity. Agriculture is both a beneficiary and a provider of EG&S. For example, farming's viability depends on ecosystem processes like soil renewal, climate regulation, and precipitation. At the same time, well-managed agricultural lands can provide benefits to society as a whole, such as the protection of wildlife habitat and biodiversity, preservation of scenic views, and purification of air and water through natural processes.

How do governments support EG&S related activities?

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) recognizes the contributions of farmers and rural landowners in protecting and enhancing the environment. The Government of Canada funds a number of programs and initiatives that provide assistance to farmers for EG&S activities.

AAFC is working with provincial governments to develop a framework for policies that are good for agriculture and that provide environmental benefits for all Canadians. Key elements of this work include research and pilot projects supported through the Advancing Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food (ACAAF) program.

Supporting EG&S-related activities also involves focussing on environmental objectives that are based on recognized scientific knowledge, that take regional issues and perspectives as well as societal concerns into account. Over the years, the Missisquoi Bay area, which is currently the site of an EG&S pilot project, has become a "laboratory" for studying phosphorus mobility in agricultural areas. The results of research carried out in the area provide valuable insights that can guide the choice of action to be taken to reduce the amount of phosphorus entering streams. The pilot project therefore affords an opportunity to translate scientific knowledge into concrete action.

In March 2007, the Government of Canada announced a $225 million investment in a national campaign to acquire and preserve ecologically sensitive land. Recognized conservation groups will be identified to work towards this common goal. In addition, tax exemptions announced during Budget 2006 for donations of ecologically sensitive lands provide further incentives for Canadians to help preserve our environment.

What activities will be undertaken as part of this pilot project?

The pilot project announced today will help reduce the amount of phosphorus entering the Riviere-aux-Brochets watershed, the main tributary flowing into Missisquoi Bay. In the first phase of the project, runoff control measures will be implemented to reduce the amount of phosphorus entering the watershed, and will involve the participation of approximately 60 producers. Farmland along shorelines will be planted with perennial crops and any change in runoff or water quality in the Riviere-aux-Brochets watershed will be monitored.

Phase 2 of the project will involve the participation of several targeted farm businesses in identifying land conservation measures. Steps will be taken to learn more about the producers' views on the possibility of their implementing the suggested conservation measures on an on-going basis.

Contact Information

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Media Relations
    613-759-7972
    1-866-345-7972
    or
    Office of the Minister of Agriculture,
    Fisheries and Food (MAPAQ)
    Jack Roy
    Press Secretary
    418-380-2525
    or
    Office of the Secretary of State
    Mark Quinlan
    Director of Communications
    613-759-1107