Over 50 environmental groups receive support for freshwater protection initiatives through EcoAction

News release

A biologist taking a water sample along the shore of a river. Text : EcoAction Community Funding Program: 53 community driven projects will receive funding to conserve and protect Canada’s water
Government of Canada invests in community-led projects to improve fresh water.

November 12, 2020 – West Vancouver, British Columbia

Having access to clean water is critically important to our health, economy, environment, and overall well-being. Across the country, Canadians are working to protect and maintain this network of fresh water. The Government of Canada is pleased to support these efforts as we work collaboratively to ensure that the needs of Canadians and their natural ecosystems are met during this challenging time.

Today, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, and the Member of Parliament for West Vancouver–Sunshine Coast–Sea to Sky Country, Patrick Weiler, announced approximately $4 million to support 53 new projects under the EcoAction Community Funding Program.

All 53 projects focus on protecting the health and quality of water. Some projects tackle chemicals in the water; others restore damaged wetlands; the remainder boost our ecosystems so that they have additional capacity to handle floods that are more frequently occurring due to the impacts of climate change. The funds will also support various communications and public-engagement initiatives aimed at ensuring that local communities have the tools they need to protect their water and related ecosystems.

For example, through EcoAction, the British Columbia Conservation Foundation will receive $85,000 to work with Indigenous communities to restore wetlands in West Sechelt, that were damaged by forest fires and logging activities. Project leader Dr. Michelle Evelyn joined the virtual event to highlight how this investment will be used to protect fresh water for British Columbians. With these funds, including additional matched contributions, the organization will be able to hire a field team including a biologist and an excavator to dig the new wetlands and plant native vegetation like reeds, rushes, willows, and shrubs. This project will have the added benefit of creating new habitat for wildlife.

By investing in community projects like these, the Government of Canada is supporting jobs, protecting wildlife, and helping our communities become more resilient in the face of climate change. 

Quotes

“Our government is pleased to invest in these community-driven projects aimed at protecting water, creating habitat for wildlife, and supporting good local jobs. Just like we did during this pandemic, Canadians are coming together through EcoAction to safeguard the health of our ecosystems, now and for future generations.”
– The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change 

“Our government is proud to support the work of the British Columbia Conservation Foundation, whose project will employ six community members and work with the shíshálh to restore wetlands in West Sechelt, that were destroyed by forest fires and logging activity. Through EcoAction, we are working together with trusted delivery partners to restore sensitive ecosystems, rehabilitate our environment, and create jobs in our communities during this difficult time.”
– Patrick Weiler, Member of Parliament for West Vancouver–Sunshine Coast–Sea to Sky Country 

“We are so grateful for Environment and Climate Change Canada’s support of our project, which takes place on the unceded territories of the Coast Salish Peoples, including the shíshálh (Sechelt) and Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) Nations. In partnership with EcoAction, we are thrilled to embark on this project to improve freshwater ecosystems on the Sunshine Coast.”
– Dr. Michelle Evelyn, Biologist and Project Leader 

Quick facts

  • Canada has approximately 20 percent of the world’s fresh water. 

  • The EcoAction Community Funding Program is a cost-shared program that leverages contributions and requires that at least 50 percent of the total project value be funded from sources other than the Government of Canada. 

  • The dollar value of partner contributions is over $9.6 million for funded projects this year, in the form of financial or in-kind resources. 

  • EcoAction projects are expected to achieve the following:

    • Protect, stabilize, or improve over 750 hectares of shoreline.
    • Reduce or divert over 550,000 kilograms of harmful waste.
    • Reduce water consumption by more than 15 million litres.
    • Plant over 800,000 native plants.
       
  • Combined, all EcoAction projects this year are expected to engage 40,000 people. 

Associated links

Contacts

Moira Kelly
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
819-271-6218
moira.kelly@canada.ca

Media Relations
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)
ec.media.ec@canada.ca

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Twitter page

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Facebook page 

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