Water Quality Grants
UPDATE ON APPLICATIONS:The most recent Water Quality Grant application period closed on January 31, 2022. At this time, we anticipate the next round of funding will be available in Fall 2022. Please check back.
The Shuswap Watershed Council would like to help you keep nutrients on the land, and out of surface waters
The Shuswap Watershed Council would like to help you keep nutrients on the land and in the soil, and out of surface waters
The SWC's Water Quality Grant Program was first launched in early 2020. The purpose of the grant program is to provide financial assistance to farms and other large land holdings for projects to improve nutrient management, and to ultimately reduce the amount of nutrients that wash off or leach out of soils into nearby creeks, rivers, and lakes within the Shuswap watershed. By retaining nutrients in soils, and preventing their movement to nearby watercourses, a win-win situation is created for farms and for water quality.
The grant program is administered through a process of applications, review, and approvals.
For more information about the SWC’s Water Quality Grant Program, see the following:
For more information contact:
Erin Vieira, Program Manager, Shuswap Watershed Council
T: 250 314-9660
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 SWC's research in Understanding Nutrients and Water Quality in the Shuswap River and Salmon River.
Summary of water quality improvement projects completed with funding from the Shuswap Watershed Council
The first round of water quality improvement projects assisted by grant funding from the SWC was carried out in 2020. Here is a summary of those projects.
Swaan Farms installed a "HarveStore" to safely collect and store liquid effluent from dairy manure to be applied to crops on the farm at the appropriate time.
Hillside Dreams Goat Dairy completed a few projects including the installation of fencing between the farm and the Salmon River to keep livestock out of the river; construction of a stable berm between the river and a barn to mitigate the risk of flooding and prevent floodwaters from becoming nutrient-enriched in the nearby barnyard; and re-construction of a manure pit to improve its impermeability.
Lakeland Farms completed a cover-crop trial project, which involved planting various species for cover and demonstrating the techniques and benefits of cover crops to other producers in the area. Mike Schroeder of Lakeland Farms has summarized the five cover-crop trials carried out in 2020 on his farm: read Cover Crops Project - Fall 2021 report.
Grass Roots Dairies replaced an effluent treatment storage facility, including the installation of a sump, pump and pipe.
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The SWC produced a short, informative video with these four Salmon Valley-based farms that received grant funding from the SWC in 2020.
Another round of water quality improvement projects are being carried out in 2021 with funding from the SWC.
Previous water quality improvement and restoration partnership projects
The Shuswap Watershed Council has previously provided one-time grants of $10,000 for water quality improvement and restoration projects.
Gardom Lake wetland restoration
In 2017-18, the SWC partnered with the Gardom Lake Stewardship Society on a wetland restoration project near Gardom Lake. A small wetland was built 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 marks out where the wetland would be established near Gardom Lake. Photo: Gardom Lake Stewardship Society.
Members of the Shuswap Water Protection Advisory Committee toured the wetland in May 2019. Photo: Erin Vieira.
Alderson Creek exclusion fencing
In 2016, the SWC partnered with Yucwmenlucwu, a resource management company owned and managed by Splatsin First Nation, to install livestock exclusion fencing and plant riparian vegetation along the edges of Alderson Creek in the Shuswap River drainage. These restoration 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.