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Press Release

Harper Government Invests in Great Lakes Clean-up

Canada NewsWire

TORONTO, March 22, 2012 /CNW/ - Canada's Environment Minister, the Honourable Peter Kent, today highlighted 46 projects that have received funding under Canada's Great Lakes Action Plan. In total, the Government of Canada is contributing $3,322,321 from its Great Lakes Sustainability Fund for projects to advance remediation and clean up of the severely degraded geographic regions officially designated as Canadian Great Lakes Areas of Concern.

"The Great Lakes are fundamental to the well-being of millions of Canadians who live and work along their shores," said Minister Kent. "With this investment, the Government of Canada is working to realize a vision of healthy, prosperous lakes. Celebrating the good work being done to improve water quality in the Great Lakes is an ideal way to commemorate World Water Day."

Funding has been provided for work in 12 of the remaining 14 Areas of Concern, including the Toronto and Region Area of Concern. For example, Aquatic Habitat Toronto is using acoustic tags in fish species of the Toronto Harbour to track the seasonal movements of bass, pike, walleye and carp in order to understand their habitat use. Knowing how the species use the habitat helps to direct aquatic habitat restoration efforts, like the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority's projects creating 1.5 hectares of wetland on the Toronto Islands and restoring wetlands in the Humber Bay Marsh.

"The financial support of the Great Lakes Sustainability Fund has allowed Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, and its Aquatic Habitat Toronto partners, to pursue scientific research that help us to ground truth, and direct our habitat restoration efforts. This research ensures that restoration is carried out in a scientifically defensible manner. Results from the acoustic tagging project confirm that restoration projects in Toronto are meeting The Living City objectives, and have applicability to habitat restoration throughout the Great Lakes," said Brian Denney, Chief Administrative Officer of the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority.

Administered by Environment Canada, the Great Lakes Sustainability Fund supports projects to remediate each of Canada's remaining Areas of Concern within the Great Lakes Basin. Funding is provided to initiatives that serve to restore the environment. Such projects include fish and wildlife habitat restoration, contaminated sediment remediation, land stewardship, and initiatives to control of pollution from municipal wastewaters and rural runoff.

More information about Canada's Great Lakes Action Plan and the Great Lakes Sustainability Fund is available at http://www.ec.gc.ca/raps-pas/.

For more information and to view a backgrounder on this announcement, please visit the Web site of Environment Canada at http://www.ec.gc.ca/.