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Great Lakes Article:

Quinte West - Donations from Renewal Foundation matched by Ducks Unlimited
By Kate Everson
Community Press Online
Published March 7th, 2005

A donation of $150,000 from the Ontario Great Lakes Renewal Foundation was matched by Ducks Unlimited to contribute a total of $300,000 to environmental projects in Ontario. About $134,000 of that will be used in the Quinte area to assist with natural wetland and fishpond development. The remaining $166,000 will be used in the St. Lawrence, St. Clair River and Niagara River areas for similar projects.

“This will provide money for 17 new restoration projects,” said Don Robinson, president and CEO of the Renewal Foundation, at a meeting at the Quinte Conservation Authority office on March 4.

The Foundation is a charitable organization with a goal to restore the Great Lakes ecosystem, which contains one fifth of the world’s fresh water and supplies 8.5 million Canadians (plus those in the U.S), with drinking water. Eight of the country’s largest cities are on the Great Lakes and contain 45 per cent of the industries in Canada. Tourism and recreation is also tapped into the lakes. The lakes were identified in 1987 as the one of the most severely polluted areas in the country.
“How can we clean up North America’s greatest legacy?” Robinson asked. “The answer is project by project, before it enters the Great Lakes.”

He said wetlands are nature’s most effective water filter. They also provide habitat for wildlife. The Foundation has partnered with Ducks Unlimited which has the technical capability to assist and identify areas of concern.

Robinson noted that the Foundation has successfully leveraged over $25 million in rehabilitation and restoration work at 60 projects in environmental hot spots around the Great Lakes.

“Our work is far from complete,” Robinson said.

The Foundation is working with the Ministry of the Environment, Ministry of Natural Resources and Ministry of Agriculture and Food as well as with an international joint commission to look after boundaries. “We want to move upstream,” he said. “We need to deal with chicken and pork farms and the refuse from those farms, as well as the agricultural products used in the fields which creates run-off. We want to be pro-active.”

Ron Maher, Manager of Ontario Operations for Ducks Unlimited, said the partnership contributes to 40 projects, working with landowners and conservation authorities. “This is a long-term plan,“ he said. “We have a strong core of volunteer fund raisers to improve the health of the community.”

MPP Leona Dombrowsky, Minister of the Environment, said she was delighted at the initiatives to support the local environment and protect water resources. She described wetlands as the kidneys where water is purified. “It plays an important role,” she said. “It picks up contaminants.”
She added that it costs 40 times more to clean up the water once it is polluted than to prevent pollution from happening. “Our goal is to have a healthy community,” she said.

The Ontario Great Lakes Renewal Foundation and Ducks Unlimited Canada also contributed almost $300,000 between 2000 and 2003 to the Quinte Watershed Project, the Walleye Spawning Project and the Belleville Marsh Stormwater Project which are under the management of Quinte Conservation.

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