ERCA Approves Draft Budget

Thursday February 12th, 2015

Posted at 8:48pm

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The Essex Region Conservation Authority has approved their draft budget for 2015.

Highlights include seeking over $400,000 in provincial funding towards flood and erosion control works in Windsor and Belle River, restoring at least 125 acres of land, creating four new wetlands, connecting the Greenway towards Leamington’s trail system and working with partners to reduce phosphorus runoff.

“This draft budget continues to build on and implement ERCA’s Five-Year Sustainability Plan: A Way Forward,” explained Richard Wyma, General Manager. “It positions us to more effectively respond to priorities and the continually changing operating environment by implementing capital and operational reserves and working toward directing funding to ensure the sustainability of ‘core’ programs and services with at-risk funding.” In 2013, the organization underwent a significant restructuring to enhance efficiencies and internal collaboration and communication, better respond to current and future needs of the region, and support innovative approaches to business and program development.

The totals $6,368,613 with a levy contribution from member municipalities of $2,817,434. “Based on 2013 Conservation Ontario statistics, ERCA was the 10th largest of all 36 Conservation Authorities in terms of total revenues,” Wyma added. “At the same time, ERCA ranked 25th out of 36 Conservation Authorities in terms of General Levy as a percentage of total revenues at 29.3%, well below the average of 39.1%. This clearly demonstrates the value ERCA is bringing member municipalities.”

New initiatives for 2015 include:

  • Integrate a new Watershed Management Services database which streamlines the permit and planning approval processes.
  • Complete Integrated Watershed Management Framework (IWMF) as a model for watershed planning in the region.
  • Develop a Comprehensive Watershed Planning and Development Policy Manual that integrates existing regulatory and policy direction with associated best practices to improve clarity and ensure consistency in review throughout Southwestern Ontario.
  • Continue with GIS based soil erosion loss modeling work (3-D Air Photos) to target beneficial management practices and further the accuracy of watershed mapping in the region.
  • Undertake research, projects and outreach to reduce phosphorus (P) runoff to Lake Erie, such as analyze water control structures for tile drainage management, construct rain gardens and urban Low Impact Development (LID) projects, and research farming practices that result in lower phosphorus runoff at our demonstration farm.
  • Enhance our Eco-schools partnership with school boards and continue to strengthen our environmental education programs.

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