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Friday, June 14, 2013

Initiative Aims to Protect Watershed

Regional | by Rick Stow  

Central Huron Mayor says province has stake in funding Lake Huron partnership

A project begun by the Ausable-Bayfield Conservation Authority when Jim Ginn chaired the group in 2011 has gone back to the well looking for more money.

The initiative spread to involve five watersheds along the Lake Huron coastline, where demonstration plots were prepared to show farmers how they can adopt better land stewardship practises.

Jim Ginn says the aim is twofold: keep nutrients in the soil, and keep pollutants out of Lake Huron.

Because of the geographic scope involved, the five conservation authorities banded together as the "Healthy Lake Huron Partnership," covering the lake's east coast from Tobermory to Sarnia.

Ginn says an inventory of tasks has been completed and is now an "Action Plan" to move the matter forward.

The Health Lake Huron Partnership has costed the plan at 18.8 million dollars over five years, but so far the Province has been silent on funding.

The Central Huron Mayor and County councillor says paying for Environmental initiatives is a federal responsibility-- but the money flows first to the Province to be passed along.

Goderich Mayor Deb Shewfelt, who is also Chair of the Maitland Valley Conservation Authority, worries that Queen's Park may keep the federal dollars to off-set operational expenses.

The Health Lake Huron Partnership has begun a resolution campaign to convince Queen's Park that lake condition is a matter of urgent attention.

Huron County's Committee of the Whole voted to recommend Council adopt the stance at its official meeting in July.

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