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RBS/CURB

 

In 1985, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment's (MOE) Water Resources Branch formulated the Provincial Rural Beaches Strategy (RBS) Program. Directed by the Provincial Rural Beaches Planning and Advisory Committee, it included representatives from MOE, Ministry of Agriculture and Food (OMAF), the Ministry of Health, and Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR). Studies were carried out and reports produced which identified and quantified agricultural bacterial and phosphorus sources upstream of recreational water bodies.

In 1991, Clean Up Rural Beaches (CURB) Program was announced as a ten-year program. The overall objective of the CURB Program was to identify the relative impact of pollution sources, and develop a course of action leading to the restoration and long term maintenance of acceptable water quality at provincial rural beaches.

CURB was to be a technical assistance and financial incentive program to encourage improved rural land management practices to reduce the impact from upstream pollution sources on rural swimming beaches.

The CURB Program addressed water quality problems in 150 subwatersheds in Southern Ontario. Approximately $20.0 million was distributed as grants for 3,512 projects. Watershed-wide baseline monitoring data previously did not indicate substantial improvements in water quality; however the data indicated that significant local improvements were achieved through implementation of CURB projects. Based on previous experience, about one half of the total number of problems would have to be remediated before downstream beaches could be re-opened.

Through on-site research and full scale demonstrations of new and innovative technologies CURB provided effective education, extension, and technology transfer to the client group.

However, as a result of the Ontario Government's Economic Statement in November 1995, the CURB Program was terminated prematurely, effective March 31, 1996.