The restoration of Lake Ontario’s native Atlantic Salmon, described as a cornerstone of the province’s biodiversity strategy, will be supported for another five years through an agreement with Ontario Power Generation (OPG) as the lead program sponsor.
The Lake Ontario Atlantic Salmon Restoration Program was formed in 2006. LCBO and Banrock Station Wines initially sponsored the program during its first phase (2006-2011), contributing $1.5-million over those five years. OPG joined as lead sponsor in May 2011 as we entered Phase II and continued as lead sponsor for Phase III.
A look at our funding support
During that time, numerous supporters funded projects made possible by the core support provided by our lead sponsors. TD has funded tree planting events since 2011, totaling almost $600,000. The OFAH Conservation Lottery has provided over $220,000 in support. The Ontario Wildlife Federation has supported fish production, stocking, and education aspects of the program for six years with $167,060. The Kenneth M. Molson Foundation has provided $85,000 over three years to support habitat and outreach projects. An Ontario Trillium Foundation Grow Grant of $307,300 is funding our classroom hatchery program for four years. We received $300,000 from two Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnerships Program grants to support major habitat projects.
Our many other funders have included Cabela’s, the EcoAction Community Funding Program, Fish For Ever Foundation, Greenbelt Foundation, Pioneer Petroleum, York Environmental Stewardship, Green Side Up, Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund, Cuda, and DFO Habitat Stewardship Program for Aquatic Species at Risk.
OPG’s commitment to the program
This new agreement with OPG for Phase IV (2021-2025) will build on a decade of their support for this program and reinforces the company’s commitment to protecting Ontario’s natural habitats and biodiversity, which are key parts of their ambitious climate change plan. OPG’s support contributes to all four pillars of the program, but is weighted towards fish production. OPG Pickering Nuclear Generating Station became part of the classroom hatchery program in 2012 and OPG Darlington Nuclear Generating Station joined in 2019. Both locations house the hatcheries at their Information Centres and pair with a local school for the program, and during non-COVID years, bus them to the centre for the egg delivery and presentation about Atlantic Salmon history, biology, and restoration efforts in January, as well as organize a streamside garbage clean-up around Earth Day in a local park, and bring the students to a restoration stream to release the fish in June. In 2021 during COVID, OPG supported our virtual classroom hatchery episodes with a segment on how their stations produce energy.
OPG’s longstanding commitment to Ontario’s natural habitats has made them a recognized leader in biodiversity protection and a natural fit for supporting the restoration of our native Atlantic Salmon.