Project to reduce phosphorus loss, measure reductions

(Posted: August 1, 2016)

The Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) Great Lakes Agricultural Stewardship Initiative (GLASI) Priority Subwatershed Project has selected two subwatershed areas in Huron County to act as sites to help evaluate the effectiveness of agricultural stewardship in improving soil health and water quality. The selected areas are the Gully Creek watershed, north of Bayfield, and the Garvey-Glenn watershed, north of Port Albert. Both subwatersheds were also priority areas for Healthy Lake Huron: Clean Water, Clean Beaches and the Rural Stormwater Management Model Project.

"There are many factors that change from year to year, such as weather conditions and what crops are on the land," said Mari Veliz, Healthy Watersheds Supervisor at Ausable Bayfield Conservation. "It’s important to monitor on an ongoing basis, to collect a data set that helps to explain how well the different agricultural best management practices are working."

The GLASI Priority Subwatershed Project began in autumn of 2015, and aims to evaluate the effectiveness of focused stewardship efforts in a subwatershed by measuring improvements in soil health and water quality. The project will continue until December 2017. The project plans to implement focused best management practices (BMPs) in these defined subwatersheds. Staff members hope that they can measure reductions in loss of soil and nutrients – in particular, phosphorus. The project team also hopes these practices will benefit the farm operation.

Landowners in these two watersheds are eligible for up to 80 per cent cost-share grants (up to $25,000 per year) and, in some cases, per-acre incentives.

These incentives are for specific BMP projects in these categories:

  • Cover crops
  • Soil amendments
  • Erosion control structures
  • Retiring marginal lands
  • Contour and strip cropping
  • Conservation tillage
  • Phosphorus management
  • Crop and field nutrient management plans
  • Windbreaks and strips
  • Buffer strips
  • Drainage water management, and
  • Other innovative actions.

Landowners applying for grants must enrol in the program and eligible applications must be sent to OSCIA through Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) or Maitland Valley Conservation Authority (MVCA). Final decisions on eligibility of projects for grants rest with OSCIA. This year’s projects must be completed by January 2017, and next year’s projects must be completed by December 15, 2017. For more information on eligible invoice and claim dates, please contact your local conservation authority.

To enrol and apply for a grant or per-acre incentive, contact Mari Veliz at ABCA, 1-888-286-2610 or or MVCA at 519-335-3557.


Feature Article

Cover crops like those shown in the photo reduce erosion, lessen impacts on water,  and protect and improve soil health.
Cover Crops Doing Well in Huron County
Second year of Huron County Clean Water Project's cover crops incentive category surpasses surprising success of first year
Wednesday, July 26, 2017


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