Lake Winnipeg Basin Stewardship Fund (LWBSF)

Application Process


The water quality of Lake Winnipeg has been negatively impacted by excessive amounts of nutrients from both urban and rural sources. Lake Winnipeg is fed by a vast basin covering approximately one million square kilometres extending over four provinces and four states. More than half of the nutrients reaching Lake Winnipeg originate outside Manitoba's borders. Recent estimates indicate that 53% of the total phosphorus and 51 % of the total nitrogen to Lake Winnipeg is coming from upstream jurisdictions. Phase II (2012-2017) of the Lake Winnipeg Basin Initiative has committed $7.4 million to continue its support of the Lake Winnipeg Basin Stewardship Fund (LWBSF).

The LWBSF provides financial and technical support to implement high-impact solution-oriented projects aimed at reducing nutrient loads, and improving the ecological sustainability of the lake and watershed. Environment and Climate Change Canada administers the LWBSF with support from a Technical Review committee and a Public Advisory Committee.

Projects involving 'tried and proven' activities as well as projects demonstrating innovative techniques, technologies and measures to reduce nutrient inputs into Lake Winnipeg are good candidates for this funding. The LWBSF also supports activities that contribute to a better understanding of current conditions and track improvements in environmental quality within Lake Winnipeg and its watershed.

Cattail bale

Photo: © Environment and Climate Change Canada, 2014


Photo: © Environment and Climate Change Canada, 2014

Wetland Restoration sign

Photo: © Environment and Climate Change Canada, 2014

LWBSF Priorities

The LWBSF will support Canadian projects or activities having concrete, demonstrable results to reduce pollutants, and in particular, nutrient loads entering Lake Winnipeg. In support of the LWBSF’s purpose to reduce nutrient loads, all projects must meet the intent of at least one of the following priorities:

  1. reducing nutrient inputs from rural and urban sources;
  2. controlling point and non-point sources of nutrients;
  3. rehabilitating priority aquatic ecosystems that support nutrient reduction and sequestration; and
  4. enhancing research and monitoring capacity to assist in decision making.

Additional consideration will be given to projects and activities demonstrating:

  1. cost effective reductions in nutrient loads to the lake;
  2. on-going benefits to the lake and watershed;
  3. a high probability of success; and
  4. a high level of support for the project from credible third parties.

Who Can Receive Funding (Eligible Recipients)

  • Canadian non-profit organizations (eg. community organizations, environmental non-governmental organizations and groups, service clubs, co-operatives, charitable and volunteer organizations);
  • Canadian Aboriginal organizations and associations;
  • Aboriginal Governments;
  • Canadian research, academic, and educational institutions;
  • Canadian individuals;
  • Canadian for-profit organizations (eg. small businesses, industry associations, and agricultural associations);
  • Local organizations (eg. community associations and groups, senior's and youth groups, service clubs);
  • Provincial, territorial, municipal, and local governments and their agencies (eg. Crown corporations, Conservation Authorities).

What project costs are eligible?

  • Salaries and benefits;
  • Operating expenses such as travel and field costs, training, materials, supplies, production, translation, printing, office rent, and utilities;
  • Equipment purchase and lease (e.g. shovels, rentals of trucks/tractors/boats, office equipment, etc);
  • Costs for management, professional, technology and other services (eg. accounting, monitoring, communications, evaluation and audit, liability insurance costs, legal fees); and
  • Sales tax that is not reimbursable by the Canada Revenue Agency and Provincial Government.
  • Other incremental costs

What projects can be funded? (Eligible Projects)

Projects developed to enhance or maintain the sustainability of ecosystems in Canada can be multi-year in nature, and those that are not accepted in one funding round can be re-submitted in a future round. Please note that Phase II LWBSF funding can only be applied to activities completed by March 31, 2017.

 Examples of eligible projects include:

  • Implementation of Beneficial Management Practices (BMPs) that reduce urban and/or rural non-point sources of nutrients (e.g. surface runoff reduction, erosion control structures, vegetated buffers, phosphorus/nutrient management planning and recovery projects), assessment studies, restoration of aquatic habitat impaired by nutrient pollution;
  • Monitoring, assessment and reporting to aid implementation of stewardship and remedial actions;
  • Development and implementation of nutrient management strategies to achieve and sustain gains in load reductions;
  • Development and implementation of innovative technologies, techniques and demonstration projects that reduce nutrient loading from municipal wastewater systems and other point source discharges; and
  • Training and outreach to support the delivery of the Programs (e.g. to educate landowners, cottage (residential) associations about environmental principles and practices to support the program).

Additional examples of eligible projects are available in Appendix 2.


Photo: © Environment and Climate Change Canada, 2014

solar panel

Photo: © Environment and Climate Change Canada, 2014


Photo: © Environment and Climate Change Canada, 2014

What projects and activities CANNOT be funded (ineligible projects)?

  • Projects designed only to beautify an area;
  • The purchase or construction of municipal infrastructure (e.g. buildings, roads, and bridges);
  • The purchase of land;
  • Capital or operating costs of municipal infrastructure projects (e.g. sewers, sewage treatment plants, storm water ponds); and
  • Projects taking place outside of Canada.

Please note this is not a complete list. If you are unsure about any of the examples listed above or the eligibility of your project and activities, please contact us for clarification.

Matching requirement and LWBSF limitations

The LWBSF's contribution is generally limited to one-third of project costs and targets a one-third provincial contribution. However, in some cases the LWBSF may provide up to two-thirds of total project costs. Emphasis will be placed on leveraging other funding sources and collaborative partnerships. In cases where other federal programs are supporting partners in the project, the total federal contribution must not exceed two thirds of the total cost of the project.

Potential sources of matching funds and how collaborations are to be undertaken (cash, in-kind, contributions by the applicant, landowners or others involved in the project, use of equipment, expertise etc) must be clearly outlined and described in the Proposal.

Application Process

How Can I Apply?

PLEASE NOTE: Phase II of the Lake Winnipeg Basin Stewardship Fund ends March 31, 2017 and all funds have currently been allocated to existing multi-year projects.

The LWBSF uses a two stage process for funding eligible projects:

Stage 1: Letters of Intent:Letters of Intent are submitted and reviewed by Environment and Climate Change Canada against eligibility requirements. Applicants are asked to submit Letters of Intent (maximum 2 pages) (see Appendix 1 template) as follows:

  • An electronic copy by email, OR
  • The original, signed  Letter of Intent, by mail, to

Lake Winnipeg Basin Stewardship Fund
Environment and Climate Change Canada
Suite 150, 123 Main Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3C 4W2

Stage 2: Project Proposals:  Once a Letter of Intent is deemed eligible, applicants will be invited to submit a detailed proposal. Once proposals are received by Environment and Climate Change Canada, they undergo a technical review. The proposals and associated technical reviews are then evaluated by a Public Advisory Committee that makes funding recommendations to the Minister of Environment.

Lake Winnipeg Basin Stewardship Fund Time Table

StagesRound 8
Deadline for Letters of IntentOctober 1, 2014
  • Letters of Intent deemed eligible – a request for a detailed proposal will be sent to applicants
  • Letters of Intent deemed ineligible – a letter of explanation will be sent to applicants
October 13, 2014
Deadline for ProposalsNovember 17, 2014
Estimated Date for Notifying Successful CandidatesSpring 2015

PLEASE NOTE: Phase II of the Lake Winnipeg Basin Stewardship Fund ends March 31, 2017 and all funds have currently been allocated to existing multi-year projects.

Project Selection Criteria

The following criteria may be used in the assessment of projects:

  • Amount of leveraged funding;
  • Extent of project collaboration;
  • Project location is within a priority watershed known to be a significant source of nutrient loading to Lake Winnipeg;
  • Project addresses funding priorities;
  • Measurable environmental benefits derived from the project (e.g. expected phosphorus reduction);
  • Technical feasibility;
  • Potential for co-benefits of project implementation;
  • Clarity and scope of objectives;
  • Beneficial management practices that reduce urban and/or rural non-point sources of nutrients;
  • New and innovative technologies for storm water and nutrient management, cost-saving control technologies and rehabilitation methods;
  • Value for money;
  • Opportunities for technology and/or knowledge transfer to other parts of the Lake Winnipeg Basin and other watersheds; and
  • Quality and completeness of funding proposal.

Reporting Requirements and Information for Recipients of Funding

Proposals recommended by the Public Advisory Committee are sent to the Minister of Environment for final decision. Once a proposal is approved by the Minister, a Contribution Agreement between the applicant and Environment and Climate Change Canada must be negotiated and signed. Please note that funding is conditional on the successful negotiation of a Contribution Agreement.

It is important to note that project activities for which you wish to receive LWBSF funding cannot begin until the Contribution Agreement is signed. Therefore it is to your advantage to complete the negotiation process as quickly as possible.

Each Contribution Agreement must include written confirmation of all funding sources, a summary of project design, delivery, progress evaluations and anticipated results, as well a budget forecast. All of these components must be accurately completed before the agreement can be signed.

All approved recipients are required to submit reports to Environment and Climate Change Canada throughout the duration of the project. Payments are based on reporting meaning that payments cannot be made until a report has been submitted and reviewed. Reports are submitted to and reviewed by an Environment and Climate Change Canada project officer. Reporting dates are predetermined and tied to project objectives that are outlined in the Contribution Agreement. Once a recipient has completed a predetermined objective, it is their responsibility to complete a report and submit it to their project officer.

Once a recipient’s project has finished a final report is required. The final report should include a project evaluation, financial, in-kind contribution records and, if applicable, a financial audit. 

Appendix 1 – Template for Letter of Intent (maximum two pages)

Section NameRequired Information
Project TitleName of project.
Project Team

Name of the project lead / project manager, organization, mailing address, telephone, email and fax number.

(NOTE: The project contact organization and name must be the recipient and manager of funds allocated through an Environment Canada and Climate Change Contribution Agreement throughout the duration of the project. Once the project has been approved, no changes to the initial recipient are possible.)

Timeframe / Project Duration

Enter expected start date and completion date.

(NOTE: It is recommended that projects anticipate starting no sooner than April 1st to allow for LWBSF review and approval processes.)

Project Location

Describe location of the project by watershed, county, nearest municipality, etc.

(NOTE: Applicants are encouraged, if possible, to provide information demonstrating that the project location(s) is a source of nutrient loading into Lake Winnipeg.)

Relationship of
Project to LWBSF funding priorities
Identify which LWBSF funding priorities the proposed project supports and how it supports them. LWBSF funding priorities
Project DescriptionInclude a description of the project’s overall objective (what, where, when, why, size and scope); relation to established plans (e.g. Environmental Farm Plan; Integrated Watershed Management Plan); methods / processes to be utilized; Official Languages opportunities, and expected benefits.
Project Evaluation

Indicate the method(s) and indicators to be used in evaluating the project’s achievement of its objectives.

(NOTE: Applicants must demonstrate the ability to evaluate and measure the effectiveness of the project.)

Project Budget
  1. Funding sources: Enter all sources of project funding (federal and other), indicating whether the funds are cash or in-kind, and whether the funding is requested or confirmed.

  2. Clearly identify total funding requested from the LWBSF. For multi-year projects, indicate the amount of LWBSF requested by fiscal year.

  3. Expenses:Enter estimated total project budget costs for each fiscal year (April 1-March 31).

  4. (NOTE: If available, provide budgetary breakdown according to cost items (e.g. salaries, materials and supplies, contractors, travel, etc.)

OtherAdditional information (e.g. photos, web links, etc.) may be provided, as space permits.

Appendix 2: Examples of projects which might be funded through the LWBSF

List of projects funded by the LWBSF

Lake Winnipeg Stewardship Fund PrioritiesPotential Projects
Rehabilitating priority aquatic ecosystems that support nutrient reduction and sequestration
  • Habitat enhancement projects that reduce inputs of phosphorus to tributary streams and the lake
  • Wetland creation, restoration and preservation
Reducing nutrient inputs from point sources
  • Development and implementation of innovative technologies, techniques and demonstration projects that reduce nutrient loading from municipal wastewater systems and other point source discharges

  • (NOTE: Capital and operating costs for municipal infrastructure are not eligible)

  • Implement manure management systems and facilities
Controlling non-point sources of nutrients
  • Manage local surface water, improve groundwater quality and reduce soil erosion (e.g. promotion of conservation tillage; creation of stream buffers, tree plantings, livestock fencing to restrict cattle access to streams)
  • Accelerate the implementation of Beneficial Management Practices to address nutrient management in priority areas
Enhancing research and monitoring capacity to assist in decision-making
  • Development and implementation of economic models to assess the implications various nutrient management scenarios within the Lake Winnipeg Basin
  • Research on nutrient management strategies/practices and their applicability/benefit to priority areas within the watershed
  • Training and outreach to support the delivery of the programs (e.g. to educate landowners, cottage (residential) associations about environmental principles and practices to support the program)

Appendix 3: Examples of Environmental Indicators for LWBSF (measurable achievements)

  • Phosphorus reduced / diverted from use  ______ # of kg per year
  • Wetlands / aquatic habitat created, restored, or rehabilitated _____ # of hectares
  • Wetlands / aquatic habitat protected or conserved _______ # of hectares
  • Stream/lake bank protected or stabilized  ________ # of metres
  • Native plants, trees and shrubs planted  _________ # of plants/trees/shrubs
  • Manure storage structures built / repaired  ______ # of structures
  • Manure stored over-winter _______ # of tonnes
  • Manure removed permanently from site  _________ # of tonnes
  • Manure treatment systems built ______ # of systems
  • Wastewater treatment pilot technology/processes implemented/improved______ # of treatment facilities
  • Livestock restricted from surface waters____  # of livestock
  • Fencing installed to restrict livestock access to surface waters____  # of metres
  • Alternative watering systems / devices installed _______  # of systems / devices 
  • Surface water run-off from land retained _______  # of hectares
  • Erosion control structures installed _______  # of structures
  • Reduction in sediment release _____ # of tonnes per year
  • Environment Farm Plans developed / implemented ____ # of plans
  • Partnerships established ____ # of partnerships
  • Workshops / presentations held ____ # of workshops
  • Outreach / communications activities undertaken ____ # of materials
  • Reports / papers compiled and published ____ # of reports / papers
  • Other:  ________ (please indicate) 
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