The federal government has announced more than half a million dollars in funding to help clean up the Thames River.

The Thames River Phosphorus Reduction Collaborative (PRC) has received $600,000 from the federal Great Lakes Protection Initiative.

The money will be used to develop and test technologies that intercept and remove phosphorus from agricultural runoff.

Phosphorus entering the system contributes to the growth of harmful algae blooms in the Thames River and Lake Erie.

“Mayors and farm groups have joined forces to find solutions to algae bloom problems in the Lake Erie basin,” said Randy Hope, Mayor of Chatham-Kent and the project’s co-chair. “The funding will allow us to move forward with practical, hands-on projects to help farmers and municipalities reduce the amount of phosphorus that’s getting into our creeks, rivers and lakes”.

Beginning this fall, and over the next four years, the PRC will use the funding to install phosphorus removal technologies and monitor their effectiveness at the edge of farm fields, and in municipal drains that collect agricultural runoff.

The PRC will promote the project, the technologies and the phosphorus removal results with farmers, municipalities, Indigenous communities, conservation groups, and drainage professionals in the Thames River Basin.

“We are working hard to find and make reliable, affordable technologies available to help farmers in their ongoing efforts to maintain and improve water quality,” said Mark Reusser, co-chair of the PRC and Vice-President of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture.

The PRC is a voluntary initiative cited in the Canadian Domestic Action Plan aimed at contributing to the commitment made in 2016 between Canada and the U.S. to a 40 per cent reduction in the total phosphorus entering Lake Erie.