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  • News
  • April 22, 2016

Helping Markham Protect the Great Lakes

Ontario Invests in Local Environmental Projects

MPP Michael Chan is pleased to announce that Ontario is helping two local groups protect water quality and improve biodiversity with nearly $49,000 from the Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund.

The Friends of the Rouge Watershed are receiving $25,000 to help them organize 200 student and community volunteers to protect and restore the Rouge River Watershed and its wildlife habitats by planting native trees, shrubs and flowers, monitoring summer water temperature and quality, and training students to become environmental leaders.

The fund will also provide $23,500 for an Earth Day planting event organized by 10,000 Trees for the Rouge for Sunday, April 24, 2016. Over 1,000 volunteers will celebrate Earth Day by planting approximately 5,500 trees and shrubs to help restore the biodiversity and wildlife in the Milne Dame Conservation Park along the south shore of the Rouge River in Markham.

“Markham’s beautiful natural environment contributes significantly to our quality of life. Investments from this fund are helping to restore, protect and conserve our corner of the Great Lakes as well as supporting our local champions who are keeping our Great Lakes drinkable, swimmable and fishable.
— Michael Chan, M.P.P., Markham-Unionville

Now in its fourth year, the fund provides a grant of up to $25,000 to not-for-profit organizations, schools, First Nations and Métis communities and other local groups for projects that have a direct environmental benefit to the Great Lakes. Past projects and activities supported by the fund have included:

  • Planting trees and other forms of vegetation
  • Naturalizing stream banks and shorelines
  • Cleaning up beaches or shorelines
  • Creating rain gardens
  • Restoring wetland habitat
  • Controlling invasive species

This year, Ontario is investing $1.5 million in local environmental projects across the province.  Since 2012, the Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund has awarded $6 million to 305 community-based projects inGreat Lakes watershed areas, including the St. Lawrence River Basin and the Ottawa River.

Investing in communities along the Great Lakes is part of the government's economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes investing in talent and skills, including helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by expanding access to high-quality college and university education. The plan is making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario's history and investing in a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement.


  • Since 2012, the Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund has supported more than 11,000 volunteers to plant 85,125 trees, release 2,133 fish, create or enhance 643 kilometres of trail and collect over 600 bags of garbage.
  • Since 2007, Ontario has invested more than $140 million into 1,000 local Great Lakes protection projects that have reduced harmful pollutants, restored some of the most contaminated areas, and engaged hundreds of partners and community groups to protect and restore the health of the Great Lakes.
  • Ontario’s Great Lakes Basin is home to 40 per cent of Canada’s economic activity and 95 per cent of Ontario’s agricultural land.
  • The Great Lakes basin is home to nearly 99 per cent of the province’s population, over 95 per cent of the province’s agriculture and food production, 80 per cent of the province’s power generation, and 75 per cent of the country’s manufacturing sector.
  • Ontario has 10,000 kilometres of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence shoreline, the longest freshwater coastline in the world.
  • The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence region generated $5.8 trillion (USD) in 2014 and supports nearly 47 million jobs, which is almost 30 per cent of the combined Canadian and U.S. workforce.


Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund recipients

Ontario’s Great Lakes Strategy first progress report

Water Quality in Ontario 2014 Report

Great Lakes and Watersheds

Canada-Ontario Great Lakes Agreement

Guide to eating Ontario fish andhow you can combat invasive species

12-point plan on blue green algal blooms andGreat Lakes Agricultural Stewardship Initiative

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