The Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) has played a key role in the delivery of water quality cost-share and education opportunities for many years. In partnership with OMAFRA, OSCIA has evaluated past program participation to better understand the water quality actions that were supported with cost-share funding in both the Lake Simcoe and the Lake Erie watersheds. The data provides a big picture look at water quality projects and aims to help the agricultural sector to assess progress in meeting phosphorus reduction targets, and inform the development of future environmental stewardship programs that are focused on water quality improvements in these regions.
Lake Simcoe Soil Health Improvement Project
In partnership with OMAFRA, the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association launched a two-year initiative: The Lake Simcoe Soil Health Improvement Project (LS-SHIP). The Soil Health Check-Up offered producers an opportunity to work with a Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) or Professional Agrologist (P.Ag) to identify soil health challenges and develop Best Management Practices (BMPs) tailored to the specific needs of their operation. Through the process, the farmer gains a deeper understanding of soil health issues, cropping practices and ideal farm conditions to work towards.
As part of the initiative, OSCIA completed a retrospective analysis of stewardship projects supported through OSCIA delivered stewardship programming in the Lake Simcoe watershed.
Over 12 years of project data was analyzed across 1,200 projects where trends in Best Management Practices (BMPs), investment, and farm business characteristics were analyzed. The information contained within this report will assist in the future design and implementation of targeted cost-share programming, ensuring opportunities are better tailored to the specific needs of farmers in the Lake Simcoe watershed.
Lake Erie Retrospective Analysis
Lake Erie is vitally important to the health, quality of life and prosperity of farmers, Ontario families and communities. Over the last several decades, Lake Erie has been threatened by declining water quality and increasingly harmful algal blooms from rising inputs of phosphorus.
This retrospective analysis builds upon previous retrospective data analyses and other past and ongoing research studies that have utilized OSCIA cost-share program data to identify BMP adoption trends across all phases of cost-share program delivery. These programs are just one of many tools in the Lake Erie basin that are helping to accelerate environmental action in support of Lake Erie’s ecological health and resiliency.
Over 13 years of project data was analyzed across 6,600 water quality improvement projects in the Lake Erie basin. The information contained within this report may be helpful in informing the needs of agri-environmental education and cost-share programming in the Lake Erie basin.
This project was funded by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, as part of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.
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