Canada’s Premiers Recognize Excellence in Water Stewardship and Launch Enhanced Water Information Website

Northeast Avalon Atlantic Coastal Action Program – Newfoundland and Labrador
The Northeast Avalon Atlantic Coastal Action Program (NAACAP) is an environmental citizens’ non-government organization on the Northeast Avalon which works with all sectors of the community, including all three levels of government, to protect and enhance the aquatic environmental quality of the watersheds and coastline within the ACAP project area. NAACAP has a long history of environmental stewardship from its origins in 1993 when it focused on the issue of raw sewage in St. John’s Harbour. Today, NAACAP plays a major role in water quality monitoring throughout the Northeast Avalon, and is actively involved in public outreach activities and scientific studies, acting as a community advisor on watershed related matters, and partnering with various organizations to protect the aquatic environments of the Northeast Avalon.

Wek’èezhìi Land and Water Board – Northwest Territories
The Wek’èezhìi Land and Water Board (WLWB) works with communities to build local capacity for water quality monitoring in the Tłįcho region of the Northwest Territories. Communities are responsible for monitoring water quality under their water licences but capacity to do this monitoring is a challenge. To meet this challenge, WLWB trains Tłįcho community members in sampling procedures, results interpretation and other activities to attain monitoring requirements. This training increases communities’ understanding of water quality issues and their ability to meet licence requirements. WLWB also supports other programs where community members learn how to assess whether water and sediment quality and fish health are changing over time. Offered through WLWB, these innovative, locally-focused and action- oriented programs better prepare Tłįcho communities for the future and are a model for community water stewardship.

Groundswell Community-Based Groundwater Monitoring Ecology Action Centre – Nova Scotia
Groundswell was created at the Halifax-based Ecology Action Centre in 2010 as a model of community-based groundwater monitoring. The project connects community groups with groundwater monitoring wells, and allows monitoring of local groundwater resources. Groundswell volunteers are groundwater stewards, lending their voices, knowledge and expertise to emerging campaigns to protect local groundwater. Through ongoing monitoring over time, Groundswell will provide water level information to community leaders to promote long-term drinking water sustainability. Recognized nationally as an innovative and effective model for groundwater monitoring, Groundswell allows the community to continually assess whether their drinking water is in good health (water levels steady or increasing) or in poor health (water levels declining), and make sustainable decisions for each aquifer.

Community of Pond Inlet – Nunavut
Located in northern Baffin Island, the predominantly Inuit community of Pond Inlet is working on a needs assessment project around building capacity to monitor fresh water quality in a changing climate. Working with community member, Tim Anaviapik-Soucie, and supported by researchers from the Dalhousie University Centre for Water Resources Studies, Nunavut Research Institute and ArcticConnexion, the research involves producing valuable baseline information on the microbial quality of drinking water sources in Pond Inlet, as well as documenting local knowledge, practices, and perceptions related to procurement of drinking water from traditional sources. The project is very important to the community as they need to gain an understanding of how changing weather or new activities is impacting their source water and to be confident that their water is safe.

Green Communities Canada – Ontario
Green Communities Canada works with homeowners, businesses and communities to reduce impacts of storm water run-off on lakes, rivers and streams. Green Communities Canada designed RAIN, an urban water management program that supports practical ways to reduce storm water run-off such as rain water harvesting, porous paving, dog waste composters, and rain gardens. Delivered in nine Ontario communities, RAIN has changed the way people in these communities manage their storm water, based on the group’s message to “Slow it down, soak it up and keep it clean.”

North Rustico Sewer and Water Utility Corporation – Prince Edward Island
The North Rustico Sewer and Water Utility Corporation took progressive and forward-looking steps to improve its handling of wastewater by increasing capacity to meet future growth within North Rustico. Its system now surpasses new federal and provincial regulations for effluent quality, and the facility was relocated on higher ground to protect it from storm surges and the impacts of climate change. Increased capacity will enable people to discontinue use of septic systems, which will help protect the town’s well field. Assuring the quality of effluent will also protect the shellfish fishery and aquaculture, and enhance enjoyment of the scenic harbour. This project provides an excellent example for towns across Prince Edward Island.

Groupe d’éducation et d’écosurveillance de l’eau – Québec
Groupe d’éducation et d’écosurveillance de l’eau (G3E) has developed, adapted and distributed environmental water quality monitoring programs and tools for the acquisition or transfer of knowledge, which has allowed 35,000 young people and citizens, 25 watershed organizations and 16 national parks located in more than 18 regions of Québec to get involved in water management. G3E encourages local communities concerned with the quality of their waterways to participate in various programs and to commit to the protection of their aquatic environment. G3E has established a network in Québec and encourages cooperation between schools, community organizations, government institutions, financial partners and community businesses to achieve the common objective of water conservation.

Assiniboine Watershed Stewardship Association – Saskatchewan
The Assiniboine Watershed Stewardship Association began implementing Agricultural Environmental Group Plans (AEGP) in 2009. AEGP allow all farmers in the plan area to qualify for financial assistance to implement beneficial management practices which protect water. The Association approved more than 1,400 applications and provided more than $9 million in assistance for projects like seeding riparian areas to permanent cover, decommissioning abandoned wells and seeding perennial forage. The Association receives this award in recognition of the innovation they have shown in reaching out to landowners and selling the benefits of beneficial management practices, the impact on the watershed of the actions and the excellence shown in administration, promotion and delivery of the program.

Friends of McIntyre Creek – Yukon
Friends of McIntyre Creek (FOMC) is a volunteer, grassroots organization dedicated to protecting McIntyre Creek in Whitehorse. Since 2009, FOMC has been dedicated to maintaining the environmental quality of McIntyre Creek and ensuring that the needs of the wildlife and natural systems are balanced with recreational and environmental opportunities in the area. FOMC has contributed to the development and implementation of new trails and signage, installed interpretive panels, hosted a celebration walk and developed a new website to promote continued stewardship of McIntyre Creek.

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For more information:

Premier’s Media Office
Government of Ontario
(416) 314-8975
Lindsay de Leeuw
Council of the Federation Secretariat
(613) 563-4066
lindsay@councilofthefederation.ca