Canada invests $1 million in priority ecosystems in Atlantic Canada

From: Environment and Climate Change Canada

Backgrounder

Atlantic Ecosystems Initiatives

  • enhance integrated ecosystem planning and decision-making;
  • increase ecosystem knowledge and science; or,
  • undertake actions in priority ecosystems to conserve, restore, and enhance the health of ecosystems.

New funded projects

1. Estuarine Impacts of Nutrients and Bacteria

Organization: Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence Coalition on Sustainability

Priority ecosystem: Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence watershed

Funding amount: $176,852

Date: July 22, 2020, to March 31, 2022

Description: Estuaries, the water passage where a river or stream meets the ocean, are very important areas for species to nest and breed and serve as a filtration system for water before reaching the open sea. This project will track the effects of bacteria and nutrient contamination on water quality in six estuaries. The group will study how contaminant levels impact the local environment and economy. The results will help direct future projects that further decrease contamination in the Gulf.

2. Microplastic Quantity and Impact Assessment in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Saint John River watershed

Organization: Bluenose Coastal Action Foundation

Priority ecosystem: Saint John River and southern Gulf of St. Lawrence watershed

Funding amount: $168,450

Date: July 22, 2020, to March 31, 2023

Description: Through the collection of water and sediment samples, this project will determine levels of microplastics in the watersheds and their impact on important species. After two years of collecting data, researchers will compare microplastics data across Atlantic Canada. As a result of this project, microplastics research and capacity will be expanded to new locations within the region.

3. Nutrients in the Wolastoq: Identifying Hotspots and Ecosystem Impacts

Organization: Atlantic Coastal Action Program (ACAP) Saint John Inc.

Priority ecosystem: Saint John River watershed

Funding amount: $193,468

Date: July 22, 2020, to March 31, 2022

Description: Through the assessment of water quality and fish health, this project will map sites in the Saint John River/Wolastoq that have high nutrient concentrations. Researchers will also examine how plants and animals change according to the level of nutrients in the ecosystem. The results will show water managers and policymakers the threats and effects of nutrients in waterways so they can better regulate water quality and communicate with Canadians.

4. Genetic Characterization of Microbial Communities in Cyanotoxin-Producing Benthic Mats along the Wolastoq/Saint John River

Organization: The University of New Brunswick

Priority ecosystem: Saint John River watershed

Funding amount: $186,800

Date: July 22, 2020, to March 31, 2023

Description: This project will increase the knowledge and understanding of blue-green algal mats. Algal mats are a combination of bacteria and sediment that form on water or rocks. This type of algae can grow rapidly and have a toxic effect on plants and animals. By researching the DNA and biology of these blue-green algal mats, researchers are looking to understand the factors that influence rapid growth.

5. Designing a Dynamic Watercourse Buffer for Priority Watersheds in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island

Organization: Eastern Charlotte Waterways Inc.

Priority ecosystem: Saint John River and southern Gulf of St. Lawrence watershed

Funding amount: $194,377

Date: July 22, 2020, to March 31, 2023

Description: Watercourse buffer zones protect the sensitive ecosystems at the edges of a waterway. This project will develop maps to show where these buffer zones are located in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. These maps will help us understand the factors that impact these buffer zones and inform future conservation and restoration projects. Additionally, this work will increase the overall understanding of the physical, chemical, and biological aspects of the Saint John River and southern Gulf of Saint Lawrence watershed.

6. Water Quality and Antecedent Present-Day and Future Water-Flow Dynamics in the Upper Saint John River Basin

Organization: The University of New Brunswick

Priority ecosystem: Saint John River watershed

Funding amount: $189,000

Date: July 22, 2020, to March 31, 2023

Description: This project will assess factors affecting water quality in the upper Saint John River/Wolastoq basin. The University will create water-quality maps and models to show the present conditions and predict future conditions. These maps and models will focus planning for future projects to improve the water quality in the upper Saint John River system.

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