Twenty-two organizations, selected from 161 applicants from around the world, are sharing more than $2 million in grants for programs that help protect watersheds and improve access to clean drinking water.
Last week, RBC announced the first wave of its 2010 RBC Blue Water Project Leadership Grant recipients, with additional grants to be announced in the next few weeks. The funding will support a range of projects from wetland and shoreline restoration to water quality monitoring and sharing of sustainable water management practices in agricultural regions.
“This year, we noticed a significant change in the focus of projects for which organizations were requesting funds,” said Rob de Loë, professor and University Research Chair in Water Policy and Governance, University of Waterloo, and chair of the RBC Blue Water Project Advisory Panel. “In the first two years, a majority of the programs we funded were dedicated to public education and awareness. This year, we saw an increased number of strong applications for on-the-ground projects that will restore and reclaim riparian zones such as the shorelines of rivers, streams and lakes. I’m confident that our 22 finalists will make a demonstrable difference in the health of their local watersheds.”
The RBC Blue Water Project is a 10-year, $50 million philanthropic commitment to supporting organizations that protect watersheds and ensure access to clean drinking water in Canada and abroad.Applications for the 2011 grants are due in March 2011.
Canadian Recipients of the 2010 Leadership Grants:
• Atlantic Coastal Action Program Saint John: A grant of $80,000 will fund planning and site assessment studies required to enhance, restore and conserve the Marsh Creek watershed, one of Canada’s most degraded urban ecosystems.
• Ecology Action Centre: A grant of $80,000 will fund “Groundswell: Communitybased Support for Sustainable Groundwater Use in Nova Scotia,” a catalyst for action on groundwater monitoring, education and sustainability in Nova Scotia.
• Bedeque Bay Environmental Management Association: A grant of $90,000 will fund the expansion of their Water Education, Monitoring and Outreach Program to include school groups (English/French/Mi’kmaq) province-wide and regional watershed stewardship groups in PEI.
• Quidi Vidi Rennies River Development Foundation: A grant of $20,000 will help The Suncor Energy Fluvarium, a public centre for environmental education, expand its water quality monitoring program to elementary and secondary school students in remote or rural areas of Newfoundland and Labrador.
• David Suzuki Foundation – Quebec: A grant of $100,000 will fund “A River Runs Through Us,” a program designed to create an increased culture of watershed stewardship in Quebec. Using science based research, the program will raise awareness of the threats that degrade the watershed and mobilize citizens to implement sustainable water and land use practices.
• Restigouche River Salmon Conservation Foundation: A grant of $50,000 will help this organization develop and integrate forest management planning and survey methods covering the Restigouche River watershed spanning across Quebec and New Brunswick, protecting the area’s water resources and aquatic habitat.
• Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority: A grant of $100,000 will fund the Healthy Headwaters Initiative to protect, enhance and restore wetlands, riparian, and natural habitats in Middlesex and Huron Counties in southwestern Ontario.
• Conservation Foundation of Greater Toronto: A grant of $100,000 will support water conservation and education programs at the Kortright Centre, with a goal to helping citizens in the region reduce their water consumption through better conservation habits, alternative waste water treatment and water reuse systems.
• Essex Region Conservation Authority: A grant of $100,000 will fund a project to help identify priority water quality enhancement areas in the Big Creek Watershed region of southwestern Ontario, and increase the scale and intensity of beneficial agricultural management practices completed throughout the Essex region in collaboration with private landowners.
• Free the Children: As part of a Facebook campaign to attract 10,000 new fans in 10 days to the RBC Blue Water Project, RBC Foundation pledged $10,000 to Free the Children for its H2O 4U speaking tour. These funds are in addition to a $300,000 Leadership Grant given to the organization in 2009 to support this water-focused motivational youth speaking tour that kicks off in Toronto on June 11, 2010.
• North Bay – Mattawa Conservation Authority: A grant of $80,000 will help improve the water quality of North Bay through the restoration and stabilization of the Chippewa Creek shoreline, as well as the “Adopt Chippewa Creek” program to build community stewardship plans with local partners in the City of North Bay.
• St. Lawrence River Institute of Environmental Science: A grant of $100,000 will help improve the water quality at recreational beaches along the St. Lawrence River in Eastern Ontario. The project will determine the sources of bacteria and site characteristics at selected recreational beaches to develop predictive tools and management practices for local Health Units and beach managers.
• FortWhyte Alive: A grant of $100,000 will enable FortWhyte to build a major watershed stewardship exhibit within its Interpretive Centre, enhance its leading edge school field trip program, and lay the groundwork for FortWhyte becoming a satellite Aquatic Field Research Site for post-graduate studies.
• Manitoba Eco-Network: A grant of $100,000 will fund public education programs that connect people and organizations, in order to encourage water conservation and protection in Manitoba.
• Alberta Conservation Association: A grant of $100,000 will fund on-the-ground projects that will help restore the condition of streamside vegetation in problem drainage basins. This will be accomplished through outreach and collaboration with landowners, watershed groups, government and industry.
• Water Matters Society of Alberta: A grant of $100,000 will fund a program jointly conducted with Cows and Fish that will initiate and promote water stewardship at the local level, help new stewardship groups start up, and improve the efficiency of existing stewardship groups.
• Ducks Unlimited Canada: A grant of $400,000 will fund a three-year wetland
conservation project in Upper Assiniboine River in southern Saskatchewan to define
historic and existing wetland conditions and measure water quality.
• British Columbia Lake Stewardship Society: A grant of $50,000 will enable the Society to expand its educational reach with two new courses for community leaders, and engage communities in an Aquatic Macrophyte Survey Program, where volunteers monitor and assess the densities of aquatic plants in several lakes throughout the province.
• B.C. Conservation Foundation: A grant of $25,000 will help the Foundation expand its watershed education program and restore several degraded streams.