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OSCIA accepting applications for WET program

March 14, 2014 - The Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) is now accepting applications for the Water's Edge Transformation (WET) program.

According to OSCIA, "WET aims to reduce nutrient risks to freshwater resources through the uptake of various on-farm Best Management Practices (BMPs)". The program is a byproduct of the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan, which sought to unite local landowners, businesses and governments across the watersheds and help strengthen the health of waterways in the Lake Simcoe area.

Through the program farmers identify which key Best Management Practices (BMPs) they plan on implementing in return for cost-share funding. A technical specialist from one of the three partnering stewardship groups will visit the farm property and provide ideas and recommendations for improved performance of the riparian area.

Some of the BMPs eligible include installing eaves troughs on barns to divert clean water away from livestock areas, fencing off watercourses to prevent livestock access and planting trees and shrubs to create buffers along sensitive areas.

Once the chosen BMPs are identified through consultation with a technical specialist from one of the local stewardship groups, farmers determine the level of funding necessary to complete the project. This competitive bid process allows for determination of the projects' environmental benefits and provides farm businesses with an opportunity to tell OSCIA how much funding they need to complete their projects.

To be eligible for the program, farm properties must be located alongside a watercourse or have a stream, shoreline, wetland, pond or river on the property. Farm properties must be actively farmed (be able to provide a FBRN or equivalent) and have completed a third or fourth edition Environmental Farm Plan.

Applications are being accepted until March 31, 2014, and are completed online. For more information, interested farm businesses are encouraged to visit the OSCIA website to learn more or contact Brad Carberry, OSCIA Project and Claims Reviewer, at 1-226-979-2465.