The Government of Canada supports Nova Scotia organizations in keeping water clean and protecting key ecosystems

News release

April 21, 2022 – Halifax, Nova Scotia

From addressing water quality to plastic pollution, the Government of Canada is working with Canadians across the country to keep water safe, clean and well-managed, now and for future generations.

Today, Member of Parliament for Halifax, Andy Fillmore, on behalf of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, announced $554,745 in funding for three new projects to directly address water-quality issues in the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Wolastoq/Saint John River watersheds. The funding comes from the Atlantic Ecosystems Initiatives, which aim to improve the health, productivity, and sustainability of priority ecosystems in Atlantic Canada.

Three Nova Scotia-based organizations will receive funding to lead clean water initiatives to help protect Canada’s environment from pollutants such as plastics and harmful bacteria. The projects will be carried out in collaboration with local Indigenous organizations and youth.

Saint Mary’s University and Atlantic Water Network will lead a project to create an online community-based Water Monitoring Knowledge Hub that will provide up-to-date, centralized information on creating and maintaining freshwater monitoring programs. This project will focus on both priority ecosystems: the Wolastoq/Saint John River watershed and the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence watershed.

Dalhousie University and Clean Foundation will lead projects that focus on building partnerships within Nova Scotia’s agricultural sector to encourage best practices in plastic disposal and to understand and address the industry’s impacts on coastal water quality in the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence watershed.

These projects are a demonstration of the Government of Canada’s commitment to addressing plastic pollution and keeping water safe, clean and well-managed.


“The Government of Canada understands that Canadians value clean water and its role in maintaining healthy ecosystems. That’s why we are pleased to support projects that build partnerships with Nova Scotia’s agriculture sector to protect and restore watersheds and contribute to the local economy through the Atlantic Ecosystems Initiatives.”

– The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“Atlantic Canada is shaped, literally and figuratively, by its coastline. The federal funding being announced today will support local organizations in Halifax that are working to protect our sensitive freshwater environment at a time when the conservation and sustainability of Canadian waters are a top priority for our government.”

– Andy Fillmore, Member of Parliament for Halifax and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

“Saint Mary’s University is proud to be working with the Atlantic Water Network to support community-based research. Our university has a long history of working with community groups and organizations to provide research expertise that has a significant impact on local and global communities. Thank you to the Government of Canada for its investment in protecting our watersheds.”

– Dr. Robert Summerby-Murray, President and Vice-Chancellor, Saint Mary’s University

“The Atlantic Ecosystems Initiatives facilitate critical environmental research. Dr. Kurylyk’s research on coastal waters contributes to Dalhousie’s growing strength and expertise in water science and will further enhance our ability to support safe water supplies and the challenges presented by climate change.”

– Dr. Graham Gagnon, Director of the Centre for Water Resource Studies and Dean, Architecture and Planning, Dalhousie University

“Salt marshes play a pivotal role as we all work to address climate change. They are great carbon sinks, they protect our shoreline, and they filter pollutants to improve water quality. We have seen the loss of salt marshes and poor water quality along the Northumberland Strait. Through this funding, Clean will conduct research on water quality in the region and work with the agricultural sector to implement best practices on agricultural lands to restore salt marsh habitat, improve water quality, and make the region more resilient to climate change.”

– Charlynne Robertson, Senior Manager of Clean Coasts, Clean Foundation

Quick facts

  • The funded projects include:

    • Saint Mary’s University and Atlantic Water Network ($195,595): From Data to Action: Developing a Holistic and Accessible Approach to Community-based Watershed Monitoring, Assessment, and Reporting
    • Dalhousie University ($200,000): Surface and subsurface nutrient loading to coastal waters: Assessing and mitigating risks in present and future climates
    • Clean Foundation ($159,150): Addressing Agricultural Water Quality Issues in Salt Marshes
  • Funding from the Atlantic Ecosystems Initiatives supports projects that address integrated ecosystem planning and decision-making, coordinated science, and action initiatives.

  • Since 2018, the Atlantic Ecosystems Initiatives have provided over $3.5 million in funding for 23 projects that conserve and protect the Wolastoq/Saint John River Watershed and the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence Watershed.

Associated links


Breton Cousins
Office of Andy Fillmore
Member of Parliament for Halifax

Kaitlin Power
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Media Relations
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Twitter page

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Facebook page

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