The Manitoba government will create a $52-million endowment fund for the Growing Outcomes in Watersheds (GROW) Program, as part of its commitment to implement a homegrown, province-wide program based on the successful Alternative Land Use Services (ALUS) model, Sustainable Development Minister Rochelle Squires has announced.
The GROW Program will support the enhancement of ecological goods and services on private land, helping landowners contribute to reduced flooding, improved water quality and nutrient management, and support the overall goals of the made-in-Manitoba Climate and Green Plan.
“Our government understands and values the significant benefit that ecological goods and services provide to climate change resiliency,” said Squires. “By supporting a made-in-Manitoba GROW program, this fund will help recognize the critical role that local producers play in protecting and strengthening our environment, and supporting our best-in-Canada, made-in-Manitoba Climate and Green Plan.”
The GROW fund has been established with an initial investment of $52 million and will be managed by The Winnipeg Foundation (TWF), with project payments funded from annual returns on the investment, and tracked and evaluated by Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation (MHHC). Through the fund, the Manitoba government will help producers with small water-retention projects, natural habitat restoration and enhancement including wetlands, riparian area management, soil health improvements, and shelterbelt and eco-buffer establishment. The fund also encourages private donations toward supporting these initiatives.
“We look forward to continuing to work with the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation on this program that further protects wetlands and supports environmental initiatives,” said Rick Frost, CEO, The Winnipeg Foundation. “The foundation appreciates the confidence the Manitoba government has shown by placing these new endowments under our stewardship.”
Final details of the criteria for the GROW program are being developed by Manitoba Sustainable Development and stakeholders will be engaged as part of that process, the minister noted. More details on the program, eligibility requirements, and how to apply will be made available later this year.