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Federal government invests $5.1 million in Great Lakes restoration projects

The RBG's Darlene Bennett-Howes and Tys Theijsmeijer pose with Burlington MP Karina Gould following Tuesday's funding announcement at the Rock Garden. Lisa Polewski / 900 CHML

The Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) is receiving a chunk of funding from a $5.1 million federal investment in protecting and restoring the Great Lakes.

Burlington MP Karina Gould made the announcement on behalf of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change at the RBG’s Rock Garden on Tuesday.

Gould says the money will go toward 46 projects that aim to improve the quality of the Great Lakes through the Great Lakes Protection Initiative.

Read more: Shoreline protection plan approved along Hamilton west harbour waterfront trail

The RBG will receive $53,000 of that funding, which will go toward restoring fish habitat and addressing algae issues in the Hamilton Harbour, as well as examine ways to better protect the coastal wetland habitat.

Darlene Bennett-Howes, director of business development and community engagement for the RBG, said that funding is “critical” in restoration efforts and battling invasive plant species.

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“Specifically, RBG will be eliminating invasive plants from the large meadow marsh habitat within the western Cootes Paradise marsh,” said Bennett-Howes. “As well as supporting future planning for further restoration projects.”

Read more: Hamilton, Ont. to hire monitor in response to sewage spill into Cootes Paradise

Over the next two years, the Great Lakes Protection Initiative will work toward restoring areas of concern, preventing toxic and nuisance algae, reducing the release of harmful chemicals, engaging with Indigenous communities on Great Lakes issues, and increasing public engagement through citizen science.

The federal government said it also plans to launch consultations in the next few weeks in an effort to develop a new Canada Water Agency, which would work with different levels of government, Indigenous communities, and scientists to address freshwater issues across the country.

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