Federal government announces $2M in funding for Calgary's willow tree plantation farm
Project will result in reduction of about 200,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, Liberals say
The Government of Canada will invest $2 million in the City of Calgary's willow plantation program, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Jonathan Wilkinson announced in a teleconference on Tuesday.
The project uses biosolids from Calgary's wastewater treatment facility to fertilize land and improve the soil until it can sustain the plantation and life of willow trees, which help to reduce carbon emissions.
The additional funding will help the program expand by 300 new hectares of trees over three years, Wilkinson said.
It will be allocated from the Low Carbon Economy Fund, which provides up to $1.4 billion to support energy-efficiency projects in provinces and territories across Canada.
"This investment will help the City of Calgary to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by about 200,000 tons, accumulatively, over the life of the project," Wilkinson said.
"That is the equivalent of taking about 61,000 passenger cars off the road for one year."
Innovators by nature
The willow tree farm is part of the City of Calgary's biosolids management program, which was conceptualized with consultation from Alberta Environment and Parks in 2013.
Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said at the teleconference that the project works on three levels because it assists with wastewater treatment, helps manage land through a reduction in the use of chemical fertilizers, and reduces carbon emissions.
"Calgarians are innovators by nature, and the willow tree farm is the latest example of that," Nenshi said.
"We're grateful for the support of the federal government, which will help us double the size of this operation, offsetting an enormous amount of emissions while increasing our biomass production."
Wilkinson said the willow plantation is a great example of local climate action that will help Canada meet its emissions targets, which includes net-zero emissions by 2050.