Lower Trent Conservation is celebrating its 50th anniversary! To commemorate this milestone occasion, we have released our ’50 in 50′ historical blog series. This special series features 50 articles highlighting some of the achievements, milestones and events of the past 50 years. We hope you enjoy them!
The Bay of Quinte Remedial Action Plan has a long history of implementing both urban and rural stewardship initiatives to improve water quality in the Bay. During the development of the Remedial Action Plan, the importance of rural Best Management Practices was highlighted as a key factor in improving water quality in the Bay of Quinte. The use of education/outreach and financial incentives have been effective tools in improving water quality.
Initially, the focus of rural stewardship programs was bacterial contamination due to the number of public beach closures. In 1994, the Rural Water Quality Program was initiated to encourage improved land management practices that reduced the impact of upstream pollution sources. The program provided grants and advice to landowners for: livestock access restriction and alternate watering systems; manure storage facilities; milk house washwater practices; conservation tillage equipment; and septic system upgrades.
Later, the Habitat Enhancement Program provided funding to landowners for shoreline naturalization, buffer plantings, fencing, osprey platforms, and nesting boxes. More recently, with phosphorus inputs to the Bay continuing to impact water quality, stewardship activities have focused on projects to reduce phosphorus levels. Through the septic stewardship program, landowners receive free educational site visits, septic pump outs, and inspections. The program for agricultural landowners offers free soil testing, mapping showing erosion prone areas, technical support/advice, and incentives to implement best management practices.
The continued implementation of long-term stewardship programs, with a focus on reducing phosphorus inputs to improve water quality for both rural and urban areas, will ensure the Bay of Quinte remains a healthy and vibrant ecosystem.