Huron County continues to support landowner work to protect water

Posted: Friday, April 28, 2017

Huron County landowners, community groups have completed more than 2,236 water-quality projects with support of Huron Clean Water Project

Landowners, residents, and community groups in Huron County can complete projects to protect their local creeks and rivers, and Lake Huron, with grant support from the Huron County Clean Water Project.

The County of Huron announced it will provide $400,000 in funding support this year for projects in Huron County that project local water quality. County landowners, residents and community groups have completed more than 2,236 projects since 2004 thanks to county support through this initiative.

The Huron County Clean Water Project provides up to 50 per cent grant support for projects in categories that include: erosion control; tree planting; cover crops; manure storage decommissioning; wetlands; watercourse fencing; well decommissioning; wellhead protection; composting toilets; forest management plans; and woodlot enhancement. Funding from the county program can be combined with other cost–share programs and landowner contributions.

Keeping soil on farm fields and out of drains, rivers, and the lake is a major part of the program through grants for berms, cover crops, and tree planting. The program has cost-shared nearly 200 erosion control projects over the years to keep soil on the fields and out of drains, creeks, rivers, and Lake Huron. Berms and inlets are designed to collect runoff during rainfall events and release it over a 24-hour period. This reduces erosion further downhill and allows sediment to settle out in the basin behind the berm.

Some agricultural producers tried out cover crops for the first time with the support of the Huron Clean Water Project. Some were traditional cover-crop mixes but the cash incentive allows people to try some new multi-species mixes. Cover crops can help to reduce soil erosion that occurs when there are no crops actively growing on the fields but cover crops also build soil organic matter, improve soil structure, and increase infiltration which reduces surface runoff and promote nitrogen fixation. The county project provides $10 per acre as an incentive up to a maximum of 100 acres. Plantings must include at least three species and residue must remain on the surface until the spring.

The program has helped with more than 800 projects to protect groundwater by providing grants to decommission unused wells or upgrading the casing on existing wells.

The Huron Clean Water Project is funded by the County of Huron. Service delivery is provided by the Maitland Valley and Ausable Bayfield conservation authorities. Landowners may call by phone to apply. Phone Maitland Conservation at 519-335-3557 or Ausable Bayfield Conservation at 519-235-2610 or toll-free 1-888-286-2610. To learn more visit,, or


About the Huron County Clean Water Project:

The Huron County Clean Water Project is celebrating more than ten years of providing grants which have helped county residents, landowners, and community groups to do more than 2,236 projects to improve water quality. Grants from the County of Huron, through the Huron Clean Water Project, have helped residents to plant more than 700 acres of trees; complete 643 tree planting projects; fence cattle out of more than 20 kilometres of streams; plant more than 150 kilometres of windbreaks; have 91 liquid manure storages decommissioned; complete at least 45 forest management plans; upgrade 364 private wells; complete 186 erosion control projects; and decommission 499 unused wells. The County of Huron provides funds for the Huron Clean Water Project and the Maitland Valley and Ausable Bayfield conservation authorities provide service delivery for residents.

People in Huron County have completed water quality projects valued at almost $9.1 million with about one quarter of that coming from Huron Clean Water Project grants. Ben Van Diepenbeek is chairman of the project review committee. He said the success has been possible because county council and ratepayers have shown their support for water quality, because the two conservation authorities have been able to work closely with residents to make it easy to apply for and complete projects, and because individual farmers, rural landowners, and community groups have shown their commitment by completing projects. “For every dollar invested by the county, another three and a half dollars’ worth of work gets done thanks to the additional contributions of landowners and other funding programs,” he said.

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  • Susanna Reid, Planner, County of Huron Planning and Development, 519-524-8394 or 1-888-524-8394, ext. 3;


  • Doug Hocking, Water Quality Specialist, Maitland Valley Conservation Authority. 519-335-3557;


  • David Pullen, Forest Conservation Officer, c/o County of Huron County of Huron Planning and Development, 519-524-8394 or 1-888-524-8394, extension 3; or e-mail

Backgrounder – Huron County Clean Water Project

People in Huron County have completed water quality projects valued at almost $9 million with about one quarter of that coming from Huron County Clean Water Project grants.

  • The ratio of total reported value to grants paid is more than 3.5 to 1 – that means for every dollar the County of Huron has invested an additional $3.50 or more has been spent on environmental projects thanks to contributions from landowners and other sources (for example, other funding programs).
  • Conservation authority delivery staff complete the paperwork required and this makes things easy for landowners to take part.
  • All landowners in Huron County are eligible to apply for grants through Huron County Clean Water Project.
  • No pre-qualification workshops or courses are required to submit an application and receive a grant payment.
  • Funding to landowners can sometimes be combined with other cost-share programs, when other programs are available.


County of Huron Clean Water Project – Completed Projects (2004 - 2017)

Total reported value of completed projects

$9.1 million

Number of completed projects


Fenced streams (km)


Trees planted (acres)


Tree planting projects


Windbreaks planted (km)


Wells upgraded


Wells decommissioned


Erosion control projects completed


Cover crops planted (acres) in first two years

of cover crop incentive category


Decommissioned liquid manure storages