The majority of the federal $11.1 million budget focused
on the protection of the agricultural lands most sensitive to
erosion, using buffer strips along water courses and tree plantings
on fragile land. This $8.2 million "permanent cover" component
was delivered by the
Ontario Soil and Crop
Improvement Association (OSCIA). In each of Ontario's 55
counties, OSCIA established a committee of local farmers to
set local priorities and rule on applications and bids under
The remaining $2.9 million was used for research, soil monitoring,
and conservation awareness projects, which were being carried
out by Agriculture Canada.
Permanent Cover Program
|Monitoring, Research And Soil Survey
ACTUAL FEDERAL EXPENDITURES
|Permanent Cover Program
|Monitoring Research And Soil Survey
The Permanent Cover Program of the National Soil Conservation
Program (Ontario) was developed to assist in the implementation
of on-farm conservation measures by funding buffer strips
along water courses, tree plantings on fragile land, and
retirement of flood plains.
There are three parts to this section of the program:
Education through Demonstration Sites - Original
Allocation - $605,000
Administration - Original Allocation - $2,060,000
Financial Incentives for Permanent Cover - Original
Allocation - $5,585,000, divided amongst counties on
the basis of row crop acres.
Agriculture Canada signed a contribution agreement with
OSCIA to deliver the permanent cover portion of the program
at the local level. Committees representative of the farm
community were established in each county/district to review
projects eligible for contributions under the permanent
cover portion of the program. Project proposals were submitted
on a bid/tendering basis to local committees of the Ontario
Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA). Local OSCIA
committees examined each applicant's proposal (bid), approving
only those which offered highest value per dollar of contribution.
Program Description and Results
Up to $10,000 per farmer was available under this three-year
program. Producers could receive funds for retiring and
protecting fragile land, especially farmland adjacent to
streams and open ditches. This protected land will act as
a shield from land that is under agricultural production
and will help reduce erosion and chemical runoff. Eligible
projects can include a number of program components, including
8 to 20 foot buffer strips with permanent grass and/or trees,
enhanced buffers, block plantings of trees up to 20 acres
on highly erodible and/or fragile land, and flood plains.
Long-term agreements of 5, 10, 15 years were signed with
recipients and over 90% of these were for 15 years. See
Appendix C for details by project
type and counties.
In total there were 1226 projects covering 5016 acres
at an average cost of $979/acre for a total expenditure
of $4,910,658.82. This represents 87.9% of the $5.585 million
Assuming a 16 foot (5 meter) width, over 1000 miles
(1600 kilometres) of buffer strips were established.
Of over 2,000 bids submitted, 1226 were approved.
Flood plain retirement accounted for 74 projects
on 570 acres (231 hectares)
NSCP helped farmers plant 2.5 million trees on fragile
NSCP helped establish 25 miles (42 kilometres) of
Financial assistance was made available through the NSCP
to establish demonstration sites. A maximum of $20,000 per
site, to a maximum of $605,000 across Ontario was available.
These demonstration sites focused on the retirement of fragile
lands through permanent cover, targeted toward buffer zones
adjacent to streams and watercourses, highly erodible sloping
land and flood plains.
The OSCIA was responsible for reviewing and approving
these demonstration site proposals. A Demonstration Site
Approval Committee was established for this purpose. Applicants
submitted a detailed project proposal including project
plan, demonstration value, cost-benefit analysis and institutional
involvement. Eligible applicants included Municipalities,
Universities and Colleges, Conservation Authorities, government
ministries, farm organizations and non-government agencies.
See Appendix C for complete
list of demonstration site locations.
31 projects were implemented with a total contribution
5 grass buffers, 5 grass and tree buffers, 10 highly
erodible land, 5 floodplain, 5 enhanced buffers and
one wetland buffer were established as demonstration
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR) Contribution
to Tree Plantings Under NSCP
The tree plantings that occurred under NSCP were successful
due to the cooperative approach taken by the Ontario Ministry
of Natural Resources, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture
and Food, the OSCIA and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
In 1990, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR)
signed an agreement with the Ontario Soil and Crop Association
(OSCIA) to supply nursery stock and the expertise to establish
trees on fragile agricultural land. See
Appendix B for details of master
contract. The price to be paid for tree establishment service
was based on the actual MNR costs incurred for tree planting
on private land. Landowners paid for their Tree Service
Contracts to OSCIA who in turn authorized MNR to establish
the trees as outlined in the Tree Planting Plan. At the
end of each planting season a summary of trees established
was sent by MNR to OSCIA who then reimbursed the Minister.
The price paid was $0.85 per tree.
For this amount the Ministry carried out the following
Site visits were made to determine the tree requirements.
Suitable nursery stock was supplied.
Site preparation was carried out.
Trees were planted.
Vegetative competition was controlled.
Assessments were made to ensure establishment.
The tree handling, planting and tending standards adhered
to were those in effect for regular MNR tree planting projects.
Tree establishment accomplishments under MNR were as
|Dollars (+ GST)
To promote a standard compilation of information
on the quality, extent and location of agricultural
lands in Ontario to provide standard reference data
for policy, planning and extension initiatives.
The soil survey upgrade sub-component had a budget of
$ 200,000 over the three year duration of the program, and
was administered by the head of the federal soil survey
unit in Guelph.
There were three areas of activity under this sub-program.
The first was the development of an overall approach to
soil survey information in the province. This included critical
assessment of the requirements for the information and guidelines
for upgrading surveys which were inadequate. This activity
was carried out in-house with a great deal of consultation
with associated agencies. The second activity consisted
of several small projects conducted in-house to speed up
the development of a generalized provincial level soil survey
map for broad scale planning at regional, provincial and
national levels. This activity also included a completion
of data compilation for a detailed soil re-survey map and
report. The third activity dealt with the need to upgrade
substantial areas of the province for which the current
soil survey information is inadequate. The requirements
for additional information to bring the survey up to modern
requirements were defined and developed into "Statements
of Work" which formed part of requests for proposals.
The following three proposals were funded for a total
cost of $125,000:
Application of Geographic Information Systems (GIS)for
Soil Survey Upgrading in Ontario University of Guelph
Development, Evaluation and Demonstration of Soil
Survey Upgrade; Upper Thames River Conservation Authority
Phase 1: Evaluate GIS and digital elevation technology
compared to conventional air photo interpretation
to assign slope classes and proportions to existing
soil polygons in the Oxford County pilot study area
Phase 2: Preparation of a multi-county digital
soil map for Oxford and adjacent counties
Unsolicited Proposal: Research and Development of
a Methodology for Soil Survey Upgrade and an Information
System; Gregory Geoscience.
Further details are available in the Report on the Soil Survey Upgrade
Component by Dr. K.B. MacDonald.
The remainder of the funds were used to support in-house
projects to prepare generalized detailed maps and reports.
RESEARCH SUB-PROGRAM OF THE NSCP
The purpose of the National Soil Conservation Program
(NSCP) Research Component was to encourage research related
to soil management practices toward the long term productivity
of soil. The Research Sub-program was given a budget of
$1.1 million for the two year duration of the program. The
Research component of the program was administered for Agriculture
Canada by the Harrow Research Station.
The key processes of land use, tillage practices and
cropping systems that result in changes in soil quality
were studied in terms of the sensitivity of soil to degradation,
the conditions under which degradation occurs and its impact
on productivity. A major task was research into changes
in soil organic matter, nutrients, erosion, and pesticide
levels related to land use, tillage practices and cropping
systems for intensively cultivated land.
The initiation of the process to handle this component
began in the fall of 1990. Dr. W. I. Findlay was appointed
Scientific Authority for the solicitation of proposals for
Soil Conservation Research. Through numerous committee meetings
and with the assistance of individuals from the private
sector, university, OMAF and Agriculture Canada, areas of
concern were consolidated to issues which were subsequently
developed into a "Statement of Work: which would be part
of the Request for Proposals (RFP). Proposals totalling
$4.45 million were submitted for consideration against the
$1.1 million available. A rigorous review system, often
involving out of province referees, was used with a preplanned
evaluation criteria form. Twenty-nine referees were involved
in the initial cut prior to committee prioritization. Six
proposals were selected for contract, three for in-house
support and two for contribution agreements. In addition,
a literature search on buffer strips was supported.
All of this effort was completed before Dr. Findlay announced
his pending retirement in the late spring of 1991. His dedication
and thoroughness as Scientific Authority set the stage and
paved the way for the smooth running administration of these
Projects were carried out by Agriculture Canada, universities,
colleges or other agencies.
The following areas of research were considered for
the development of soil management systems that
protect fragile land and improve the environment,
and are economically viable
the development of indicators of degradation
or conservation that can be used in monitoring the
development of methods to improve the transfer
of conservation technology, e.g. "expert systems".
Preference was given to projects which were complementary
to ongoing Federal and Provincial related research activities
in soil and water conservation e.g. Soil and Water Environmental
Enhancement Program (SWEEP), Great Lakes Water Quality
Agreement and the Land Stewardship Program.
Preference was given to extend existing research
projects, as compared to starting new research projects.
Preference was given to projects where there was
good potential for commercial application of specific
research results that had high potential for improvement
of soil and environmental quality.
Out of 48 proposals seeking $4.5 million, the available
$1.1 million, the following research was carried out and
Evaluation criteria used
in assessing proposals are presented in
Research Appendix A.
Universities, College, and Private Agency Competition
Within the general guidelines offered above, specific issues
were defined by the Implementation Committee in Ontario for
Canada's portion of the agreement. Competitions were based on
five issues plus one open category subject to the guidelines
One competition was open to Universities, colleges and other
agencies in Ontario. It excluded federal research stations and
laboratories except where collaborative participation at no
additional cost was indicated.
This call for research proposals was distributed through
Supply and Services Canada (SSC) with Statements of Work under
the following titles for the respective issues:
A "[PDF]" following
a Title indicates that a digital copy of the report
is available for downloading from the respective Report
Level of Effort
The suggested level of effort was $50,000.00 annually for
two years ($100,000) ending March 31, 1993.
PART II - IN-HOUSE RESEARCH
The issues to be addressed by Federal Research Stations under
Canada's portion of the agreement follow. This competition is
based on five issues plus one open category subject to the guidelines
The separate call for proposals for in-house research was
held for federal research institutions on issues complimentary
to those described above.
For these proposals Statements of Work were established under
the following titles for the respective issues:
A "[PDF]" following
a Title indicates that a digital copy of the report
is available for downloading from the respective Report
Level of Effort: The suggested level of effort was $40,000.00
annually for two years ($80,000.00) ending March 31, 1993.
DELIVERABLES AND PROPOSAL FORMAT
A detailed list of deliverables was provided to the respondents
as well as a format for presenting the proposals.
Included with the call for proposals was a copy of the "evaluation
criteria" (Appendix A) which was to be used by the Proposal
Review Committee when the proposals were reviewed. This Committee
consisted of a representative from the following groups: Agriculture
Canada, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food, University
of Guelph, Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association and
the Scientific Authority (Harrow Research Station representative,
RESPONSE TO THE CALL FOR PROPOSALS
An overwhelming response was obtained both from the SSC competition
and the in-house call, with 24 and 27 proposals being received
in each respectively. The value of 48 proposals deemed appropriate
for NSCP funding totalled $4.45 million, a measure of the level
of participation by the scientific community.
The proposals were circulated in groups of 4-5 to 29 outside
referees who were asked to provide technical evaluations and
peer review. The cooperation from soil scientists and other
specialists was outstanding. The evaluations by the referees
were used by the Proposal Review Committee to generate a short
list of the best proposals prior to a meeting for final prioritization.
PART III - CONTRIBUTIONS TO ON-GOING PROJECTS
Two Contribution Agreements
(listed below) were supported to continue two ongoing research
projects which were deemed extremely important to understanding
soil structure and erosion modelling.
The Relationship between
Landscape Position, Tillage Practices, and Soil Loss: Model
Development. University of Guelph - Dr. R. G. Kachanoski
- $76,528.00 [PDF]
Methodologies for Assessing
Soil Structure and for Predicting Crop Response to Changes
in Soil Quality. University of Guelph - Dr. B. D.
Kay - $83,472.00 [PDF]
The Soil Quality Evaluation Program
(SQEP) was initiated in 1989 in response to a requirement
of NSCP to monitor soil and associated environmental quality
for the agricultural soils in Canada. Considerable funding
($1.1 million from Ontario) for the first three years of
this program provided through the NSCP has allowed the Research
Branch (CLBRR - Centre for Land and Biological Resource
Research) the opportunity to more rapidly develop this program
and to provide for it's continuation beyond NSCP.
The first three years has seen the development of a conceptual
framework for the evaluation of soil quality and a Geographic
Information System (GIS) capability for regional and national
assessments of soil and environmental quality. A primary
focus of the program has been on assessing the susceptibility
to change in soil quality through the development of improved
capabilities to predict soil loss from wind and water erosion,
change in the quality and quantity of soil organic matter,
change to soil salinity and soil structure, and the impact
of agricultural chemicals on soil and groundwater. A land
use analysis capability has been established as a means
for integrating farming practices and soil quality change
and a network of soil quality benchmark sites provide a
validation capability for the predictive systems. Finally,
enhanced capabilities to evaluate the impact of soil quality
change on soil productivity have been developed as a first
step toward the evaluation of soil quality within the context
of sustainable land management.
SUB-PROGRAM OF NSCP
Early in the awareness program approximately $40,000
was transferred to headquarters for National Awareness activities.
A contract was signed with Ginty Jocius and Associates.
Awareness activities were then coordinated by Ginty Jocius
and Associates and the
Soil and Crop Improvement Association).
The following is an outline of Awareness activities:
OSCIA Program Division Staff Training
Program Description and Guidelines
Pre-packaged kits available through OSCIA and
local OMAF offices
NSCP pamphlet available for wide distribution
Available in English and French
Provincial Promotion (orchestrated by Ginty Jocius
Print Advertisement in "Farm and Country", "Ontario
Farmer" and "Agri-Comm". The major ad ran prior
to each of the three submission deadlines.
NSCP letterhead provided for program correspondence
"Farm and Country" newspaper articles describing
NSCP opportunities and typical achievements
800 standard metal signs prepared to identify NSCP farm projects
NSCP was part of local Land Stewardship II workshops
held in each county/district.
Standard slide set provided to each county/district
Colour overhead transparency set made available
for sign-out by OSCIA Committees for local program
Thirty-one farm demonstration projects established
across the province with assistance provided by
local partners. (e.g. Conservation Authorities,
MNR, OMAF, County/District SCIA)
Demonstrations were highlighted in the booklet
"Conservation Solutions on Fragile Agricultural
Land". The booklet was used as resource material
for the launch of the Permanent Cover II program.