$150K awarded to Flying Dust First Nation for lake and river research

Flying Dust First Nation, 160 kilometres north of North Battleford, will receive $150,000 for environmental research in the Meadow Lake and Meadow River areas.

Money comes from fines collected for federal environmental damages fund

Meadow Lake and Meadow River will be studied during the research and restoration project. (Courtesy of Habitat for Humanity)

Flying Dust First Nation, 160 kilometres north of North Battleford, will receive $150,000 for environmental research in the Meadow Lake and Meadow River areas.

The money, which is part of Ottawa's environmental damages fund, is to be used to improve the water quality on Meadow River and its adjacent watersheds.

Cherie Young, the national policy manager for the fund, says the idea is to help ensure polluters take responsibility for their actions.

The money goes toward restoring and researching areas in the country that have been damaged by human activity.

"This [fund] is built on the premise that environmental good must follow environmental harm," Young said.

Money for the fund, which was created in 1995, comes from environmental violation court fines in the country.

According to Environment and Climate Change Canada, a company called Crop Production Services transferred some petroleum products into unidentified storage-tank systems on the Flying Dust First Nation in 2016.

The government says this was a violation under federal petroleum products regulations and the company was fined $150,000 under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.

Goal to restore river bank 

"The ultimate goal of this project is to restore approximately [half a hectare] of Meadow River river bank to its natural habitat and to create a model that will serve as a roadmap for the future restoration activities." Young said.

The project consists of determining baseline water quality through water sampling, studying the underwater depths of the river, studying flow velocity, identifying soil types along the river bank and installing erosion control measures.

It aims to restore the habitat for fish, birds and other species in and around the local area. The organization will also be removing derelict vehicles and debris from the site, as well as planting indigenous shrubs and plants.

The project is set to begin this month and is expected to last over two years.

Officials with the Flying Dust First Nation were not available for comment.