Water Quality Improvement Grants
The Shuswap Watershed Council would like to help you keep nutrients on the land, and out of surface waters
In February 2021, the Shuswap Watershed Council invited applications to its Water Quality Grant Program. The program offers grant funding to help farmers, agri-businesses, and landowners reduce or divert the flow of nutrient-rich waters or effluent away from creeks, rivers, and lakes in the Shuswap watershed.
Up to $85,000 is available in 2021 for eligible applicants, subject to approval by the Shuswap Watershed Council.
The Water Quality Grant Program is now closed to applications.
For more information, contact:
Why is the Shuswap Watershed Council offering grant funding?
Nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen are an important part of any ecosystem. In an aquatic system like Shuswap Lake, they are the basis of the food chain for algae, plants, invertebrates (insects), and fish. However, if too many nutrients – especially phosphorus – flow into a lake, it can trigger an algal bloom which in turn reduces the quality of water for drinking and recreation, creates odours, and can even be toxic to people, pets and livestock.
From 2016-2019, the Shuswap Watershed Council worked with researchers at the University of British Columbia – Okanagan to better understand nutrients in the Shuswap watershed. The results showed that the highest proportions of phosphorus in the lakes come from the settled valley bottoms of the Shuswap River and the Salmon River where there are farms, homes and commercial development.
To protect our water quality from too many nutrients, and the potential for more frequent or severe algal blooms, the Shuswap Watershed Council has created the Water Quality Grant Program to assist farmers and landowners with new management practices to reduce, capture or divert phosphorus-rich waters or effluent so that phosphorus doesn’t end up in rivers or lakes where it could contribute to water quality concerns.
Learn more about the SWC’s research in Understanding Nutrients and Water Quality in the Shuswap River and Salmon River.
Previous water quality improvement and restoration
The Shuswap Watershed Council has previously provided grants of $10,000 for projects on water quality improvement and restoration in the Shuswap watershed.
Gardom Lake Wetlands Restoration
In 2017-18, the SWC partnered with the Gardom Lake Stewardship Society on a wetland restoration project near Gardom Lake. This project is being done in phases; to-date, a small wetland has been created near a creek flowing into Gardom Lake. Wetlands are exceptional at improving water quality because they capture nutrients and sediment as water flows slowly through them. As a result of the new wetland, water flowing into Gardom Lake will be cleaner.
A volunteer with the Gardom Lake Stewardship Society is marking out where the wetland would be established near Gardom Lake. Photo: Gardom Lake Stewardship Society.
The newly created wetland near Gardom Lake, which will improve water quality in a nearby creek as it flows into Gardom Lake. The local stewardship society has plans to continue working on the wetland in subsequent phases, including planting native riparian species and creating wildlife habitat. Photo: Gardom Lake Stewardship Society.
Members of the Shuswap Water Protection Advisory Committee toured the wetland in May 2019.
Alderson Creek Exclusion Fencing
In 2016 the SWC partnered with Yucwmenlucwu, a resource management company owned and managed by Splatsin Indian Band, to install livestock exclusion fencing and plant riparian vegetation along the edges of Alderson Creek in the Shuswap River drainage. These techniques reduce erosion, siltation, and fecal pollution by livestock. The stream bank is stabilized, and the newly planted vegetation provides more shade and cover to the creek.
A crew works to install livestock exclusion fencing at Alderson Creek. Photo: Yucwmenlucwu.
One of the restored sites along Alderson Creek, with new livestock exclusion fencing and newly planted shrubs and trees. Photo: Yucwmenlucwu