Grant program supports farmers in partnership with municipalities

CAMBRIDGE – The Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA), in partnership with local municipalities, supports farmers taking action to improve and protect water quality in the Grand River watershed.

The GRCA’s Rural Water Quality Program (RWQP), funded by Wellington, Brant, Oxford, Haldimand and Dufferin counties and the Region of Waterloo, supports projects that help producers make their farms more resilient, while helping improve downstream water quality.

In 2019, landowners across the watershed completed water quality improvement projects with a capital value of almost $2.3 million. Over $1 million in grants from municipal, federal and private donations were delivered through the RWQP to help offset the cost of 425 projects, including:

– tree planting projects to establish windbreaks and stream buffers;

– well upgrades and plugging of unused wells to protect groundwater;

– manure storage facilities to effectively manage nutrients and avoid winter spreading;

– erosion control structures and cover crops to protect soil from wind and water erosion; and

– wetland restoration projects.

Guelph-Eramosa area farmer Scott Timmings has completed a number of projects with this funding including tree planting, cover crops and an erosion control project, which involved a series of berms to help slow down the water moving across his field.

“We did the erosion control project so that we’re not losing soil and nutrients from the field, and we’re also not creating an environmental problem,” Timmings said.

“In the past, we’ve tried to do structures ourselves, but I would say that we don’t always get them right the first time. This program helps to pay for a professional to design the structure and have a contractor do the work. It doesn’t cost us more and we get it done right the first time. It’s good for us and it’s good for the Grand River and the environment.”

GRCA staff are available to help eligible rural landowners plan their project and apply to the program. If a site visit is required, protocols are in place to maintain appropriate physical distancing and keep everyone safe.

More information on the Rural Water Quality Program is available by contacting the GRCA at or calling 519-621-2761 and asking to speak to a conservation specialist.

To learn about services and grants available through the GRCA, visit