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Evaluation of Freshwater Programs under the Action Plan for Clean Water


1) Explore possible options going forward to ensure that the funding allocations and the funding terms and conditions of the Freshwater Programs are aligned with program objectives and needs, notably:

a. The RDG, Ontario should explore possible options to provide a funding formula for GSLRP to support the achievement of program objectives.

  • To ensure the efficient implementation of GSLRP, more suitable terms and conditions than those currently stipulated are needed.
  • All Freshwater Programs have reprofiled funds. However, for the GSLRP in particular, the estimated costs and funding timelines have been difficult to predict and current estimates far exceed those established during the design phase of the identified projects.
  • The larger-scale infrastructure investments for sediment remediation require a flexible funding mechanism that ensures the availability of funds for priority projects as they are negotiated. The maximum one-third funding threshold for some projects has proven to be unrealistic in AOCs that do not have the municipal funding base or industry-based parties to deliver a contribution of the required magnitude. To achieve progress toward program objectives, a more flexible approach to the funding formula is required.

b. The RDG, PNR, in consultation with the ADM, S&T should explore possible options to adjust future funding allocations to enhance the proportion of overall funding that is available to restoration projects under the LWBI.

  • In the Lake Winnipeg Basin, the potential future Freshwater Programs funding allocation should be reviewed as the priorities to be addressed in terms of ecological issues in this lake evolve.
  • Science and governance, the two initial priorities of the LWBI, have advanced. Work to restore the lake--given the size of the watershed, scope of the challenges, and the significant associated costs--will require an adjustment to the proportional allocation of funds compared to that which was provided under the current program design.

2) If contribution funding for stewardship programs is renewed, the RDG, PNR, in consultation with the ADM, S&T, and the RDG, Ontario should review opportunities to leverage scientific evidence to ensure funding priorities and selection criteria are strategically focused to maximize the impact of stewardship projects.

  • In both the LWBSF and LSCUF, program priorities and criteria are broadly cast (e.g., geographic location, project type). The funding of stewardship efforts have, typically, been reactive--dependent on the types of proposals that are received. A more proactive funding approach, supported by the existing science foundation, should be explored. Aligning EC efforts with those of other key jurisdictional bodies where priorities and governance are shared within the aquatic ecosystem would strengthen this effort.

3) The RDG, PNR, in consultation with the ADM, S&T, and the RDG, Ontario should continue to work with other federal departments and agencies to promote a cohesive federal approach to addressing issues related to the restoration and maintenance of the Lake Winnipeg and Lake Simcoe basins.

  • Addressing challenges such as nutrient loading is a complex effort that requires the contribution of many federal partners to achieve objectives. While OGDs were involved to a limited extent in the Freshwater Programs (e.g., participation on technical committees to review applications for stewardship project funding), efforts moving forward would benefit from a more robust involvement of other federal departments (e.g., DFO, AAFC, AANDC) to work together to define priorities and ensure that the full array of policy, regulatory and community-based interventions address freshwater ecological challenges in a coherent fashion.
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