© Junction Creek Stewardship Committee Water chemistry at Junction Creek

Loblaw Water Fund

WWF-Canada and Loblaw are proud to support the freshwater community in its efforts to restore and manage our waters.

Canada is home to thousands of lakes, rivers, streams and wetlands. Many of these water bodies need our help to become and remain healthy. WWF-Canada’s Loblaw Water Fund is a grant initiative open to Canadians working on the ground to address the major threats affecting the health of our watersheds. The Loblaw Water Fund recognizes that we can do more together, supporting each other, than we can alone.

Improving Freshwater Health

The Loblaw Water Fund is designed to help improve the health of freshwater ecosystems across Canada while reducing the threats they face. The fund provides grants to registered charitable organizations and not-for-profit organizations for projects that aim to conserve, protect or restore freshwater and riparian habitats and the species living within them.

The Loblaw Water Fund supports action-oriented projects that take specific steps toward ecosystem restoration and/or the collection of data for long-term monitoring initiatives. Over the past five years, the fund has supported more than 60 projects across the country.

Results from these projects include:

  • Over 3,370 hectares of habitat for freshwater species restored
  • Planting of over 110,000 native trees and plants
  • More than 25,000 volunteers engaged in conservation efforts for their local rivers and lakes

These grants are made possible through partial proceeds from Loblaw’s charge for plastic shopping bag program in its stores, which has resulted in the removal of more than 10 billion plastic bags nationally since 2007.

Current Loblaw Water Fund Projects

In 2019, 12 projects received funding from the Loblaw Water Fund, ranging from preventing excess nutrients from cattle ranches from entering nearby streams in Saskatchewan to equipping citizens with water-monitoring kits to test local bodies of water throughout Canada. 

You can explore the Loblaw Water Fund projects at watershedreports.wwf.ca, or read more about them below:

© Assiniboine Watershed Stewardship Association Inc. Aerial view of Assiniboine Watershed

Yorkson, Saskatchewan: Assiniboine Watershed Stewardship Association Inc. Restoring Riparian Habitat in the Assiniboine River Watershed

The Assiniboine River Watershed’s aquatic ecosystems are at high risk from agriculture and livestock operations, which allow contaminants and excess nutrients to enter the waterways. By providing an incentive for ranchers to block direct access of their cattle to creeks, streams and rivers through exclusion fencing, tree and shrub plantings and off-site watering opportunities, the AWSA aims to improve the aquatic and riparian health at two locations in the watershed.

© Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority People in a canoe on the Ausable River

Exeter, Ontario: Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation — Restoring Wetlands to Improve Water Quality for Freshwater Mussels and Turtles in the Ausable River

This project will restore wetlands to improve freshwater mussel and turtle habitats in the Ausable River. Turtles face threats including, habitat loss, mainly from development, road mortality, predation, the pet trade and invasive species. The ABCF will complete four habitat restoration initiatives including wetlands, water retention ponds, vegetation filter strips and tree plantings.

© Staffan Widstrand Aerial view of Taiga forest and wetlands Mackenzie river delta

Lunenburg, Nova Scotia: Bluenose Coastal Action Foundation — Doubling Down in Nova Scotia: Monitoring and Restoration within the LaHave and Nictaux River Watersheds

This project will allow the continuation of long-term water quality monitoring within the LaHave River and collaboration with the Clean Annapolis River Project (CARP) to monitor water quality within the Nictaux River Watershed. By monitoring fish and increasing access to healthy habitat, the project can help ease the result of human impact and highlight areas that will require future attention, while creating a long-term record of the rivers’ health, fostering a sense of stewardship through public engagement and education.

© Comité ZIP Les Deux Rives / Sophie Lacoursière Person working in a field

Trois-Rivières, Quebec: Comité ZIP Les Deux Rives — Planting 20 km of Riparian Bands in Agricultural Settings for the Restoration of Lac-Saint-Paul

For the past five years, the committee has collaborated with close to 80 agricultural producers in the Lac-Saint-Paul watershed to plant 25 km of riparian vegetation near water bodies that pass through their lands. In the third phase of this project, agreements were signed with 16 agricultural producers to plant an additional 20 km of vegetation, which helps prevent sediment and excess nutrients from entering the lake, creating corridors for animals and attracting pollinators, while helping with erosion reduction and temperature regulation.

© Olga Gabay / Shutterstock Aerial view of Ontario Farms

Sudbury, Ontario: Junction Creek Stewardship Committee Inc. — Monitoring and Promoting Urban Stream Health

Junction Creek is a key watershed that connects the communities within Greater Sudbury. This project will enable the continued revival of the urban stream through research, restoration and community engagement. The Junction Creek Stewardship Committee will collaborate with community partners to fulfill long-term monitoring initiatives of Junction Creek as it recovers from the degradation caused by urban pressures and historic mining and logging practices. Fish communities will be studied to complement past research, fill data gaps and evaluate stream health. Brook trout distribution and habitat will be assessed to reflect the success of their reintroduction into the creek, while riparian habitat restoration activities will address known threats to water quality while engaging the community in water stewardship.

© Nicole Forest eastern perlshell petit codiac watershed

Miramichi, New Brunswick: Miramichi River Environmental Assessment Committee

Developed by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), the Canadian Aquatic Biomonitoring Network (CABIN) protocol is now a nationally applied technique for assessing the biological condition of freshwater systems. The Miramichi River Environmental Assessment Committee (MREAC), in partnership with the Esgenoôpetitj Watershed Association and ECCC, will implement the CABIN protocol on four never-before sampled river systems within the Miramichi watershed. An eDNA sample will also be collected at each of the sampling sites and will feed into the broader DNA-based Reference Condition Approach (RCA) for Atlantic Canada.

© Souris and Area Branch of the PEI Wildlife Federation / Frances Braceland Electrofishing in North Lake

Souris, Prince Edward Island: Souris and Area Branch of the PEI Wildlife Federation — Restoration and Monitoring in Northeastern PEI

Through this project, the Souris and Area Branch of the PEI Wildlife Federation will maintain and improve fish populations by completing fish surveys and habitat restoration in northeastern PEI. The Atlantic salmon and brook trout populations here are among the best on the island, with overall populations remaining steady and even growing in some areas. The monitoring will provide baseline data for fish numbers while the stream restoration activities will improve aquatic habitat, critical for the preservation of the species.

© Elodie Roger / Somenos Marsh Wildlife Society Blue-green algae bloom on Somenos Lake in August 2019.

Duncan, British Columbia: Somenos Marsh Wildlife Society — Somenos and Quamichan Lakes Clean Water Action Project

Somenos and Quamichan Lakes on southeastern Vancouver Island face serious threats from pollution and climate change. Water quality is poor because of phosphorus run-off from surrounding land and the increased pressure that comes from hotter, drier and longer summers. These factors have led to eutrophication and toxic blue-green algal blooms. The habitat is now unusable by fish for half of the year. The Somenos Marsh Wildlife Society and the Cowichan Land Trust are teaming up to work with waterfront property owners, First Nations groups and community volunteers to restore riparian buffer areas in key locations around the lakes to reduce pollution runoff and increase carbon sequestration. The local community will be engaged through volunteer planting events and a Lake Keepers workshop.

© Water Rangers / Cassidy Swanston Executive Director Kat Kavanagh shows Liz Hendricks how to test for dissolved oxygen

Canada-Wide: Water Rangers

Water Rangers is enabling water quality testing in 25 data-deficient sub-watersheds. This project will equip communities with citizen science test kits, provide them with online training and connect them to a growing network of communities participating in monitoring. Using equipment that allows testers to understand basic water health parameters such as temperature, clarity, pH, hardness, alkalinity, dissolved oxygen and conductivity, they’ll collect baseline data and educate their communities on the value of long-term monitoring. When people learn about, then test water, they are more likely to act to protect waterways. The project connects the collected data to regional and national databases to help fill gaps.

© NVCA people posing in a fish habitat

Utopia, Ontario: Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority

The capstone year of the 2020 Vision of Healthy Waters project includes a suite of three-year (2017 to 2020) projects targeting water quality improvement, habitat restoration and climate change resiliency. These projects are located within the Nottawasaga Watershed, which discharges into Georgian Bay. They address the complex issues facing streams, riparian habitats and wetlands. The projects help with watershed restoration targets such as stream connectivity, biodiversity, reducing thermal impacts exacerbated by climate change, meeting provincial water quality objectives and enhancing habitat for species. The projects also address habitat loss and riparian forest and wetland restoration.

© Wemindji River Voices Productions Water Wonders Project Water testing. Cree youth using the Water Rangers kit to test water from a river near

Cree Nation of Wemindji, Quebec: Wemindji First Nation Youth Department

Youth in the Cree Nation of Wemindji want to take care of waterways in and around their community. The rivers, lakes and springs here have always been important to their ancestors and are now important to them. They have been learning cultural teachings about water and now wish to complement these with scientific water quality data. This project is a baseline study of 10 culturally important freshwater sites, including Old Factory Lake and River, the Maquatua River and two natural springs located just outside the town, which are often used for drinking water. Once baseline data are established and Cree youth leadership is developed, the monitoring will likely become an annual activity, so the area will no longer be data-deficient.

© Heather Wright World Fisheries Trust Coastal Cutthroat Trout Fry, Colquitz River, Victoria BC

Victoria, British Columbia: World Fisheries Trust

The Coastal Cutthroat Urban Trout Revival project will evaluate and rehabilitate freshwater habitats and water flows that are necessary for improved cutthroat populations in the Colquitz River and Craigflower and Hospital Creeks in Victoria. These water bodies are impacted by pollution, flow regulation and development. The project will create and maintain healthy waterways and ecosystems in these neighbourhoods. The coastal cutthroat trout is a salmonid sub-species and improving and maintaining its habitat with community support will provide incentives for continuing this work locally and further afield. The project will also benefit other aquatic species in these streams, including coho salmon.

© Terry Kelly / WWF-Canada landscape of freshwater

Learn More About our Freshwater Work

WWF-Canada is working towards a future where all Canadian waters are in good condition, by building water-resilient communities, bringing big-water data to decision-making tables and creating a culture of water stewardship across the country.

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