Minister Jim Bradley with students from Toronto Island Public Natural Science School
We love our Great Lakes. Ontario is working to keep the Great Lakes drinkable, swimmable and fishable for today and tomorrow's generations of Ontarians.
On June 6, under sunny skies at Toronto's Harbourfront, Minister of the Environment Jim Bradley announced his intention to table the proposed Great Lakes Protection Act later in the day.
With the Ministry of the Environment's science vessel, The Great Lakes Guardian, moored in the background, the noon event got a great response from media and drew a crowd. Special guests included grade one to three students from the Toronto Island Public Natural Science School, as well as members of Earth Rangers.
If passed, the proposed Great Lakes Protection Act would help to improve water quality, protect beaches and coastlines, and ensure that wetland habitats and native wildlife are cared for.
The goal is to arm Ontario with tools and resources to support a renewed effort to restore and protect the Great Lakes.
The proposed act would establish a council to align provincial Great Lakes priorities and funding.
It would work with an ever-evolving Ontario Great Lakes Strategy.
You can check out the draft Great Lakes Strategy at http://www.ene.gov.on.ca/environment/en/subject/great_lakes/STDPROD_096896.html that outlines the challenges and goals for the Great Lakes.
Be sure to provide your comments and ideas on how we can protect and restore our Great Lakes.
The proposed act would be accompanied by a Great Lakes community action fund, which would empower community groups to take action around the Great Lakes.
The funding program would make modest monetary grants to help these groups undertake improvement projects in their corner of the Great Lakes.
A cottagers' association could conduct a spring clean-up project ... a service organization could organize a weekly beach patrol during the warmer weather to remove trash from a stretch of shoreline ...a fishing club could sponsor tree plantings to shade and cool the water, improving sport fish habitats.
The Ministry of the Environment will issue an invitation for community organizations to apply for these grants later this year.
The aim is to help Ontarians undertake a wide range of Great Lakes improvement projects over the coming years.