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About Us


The Thames River Phosphorus Reduction Collaborative had its beginnings when the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) and the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative (GLSLCI) conducted an intensive consultation in spring, 2016 to come up with a strategy for dealing with the problem of toxic algal bloom incidents that had been becoming more frequent in the western basin of Lake Erie.


The steering committee that’s guiding the strategy represents many of the groups that were consulted, including farm, municipal, environmental, conservation, drainage, academic and First Nations. It is working to engender greater co-operation among all the stakeholders and to encourage government at senior levels to support and achieve the strategy’s implementation.

The strategy is aimed at raising awareness and providing extension services to reduce the surface and subsurface transportation of phosphorus off agricultural land, either directly into waterways or via municipal drainage systems. A small implementation team under the auspices of the OFA has been organized to carry it out.


A total of $300,000 was secured to carry out the first year of the strategy’s activities - $200,000 from the federal-provincial Growing Forward 2 program and $100,000 from the strategy participants. 

The Collaborative received $600,000 from Environment and Climate Change Canada under the Great Lakes Protection Initiative in July, 2018, and nearly $200,000 in September, 2018 from the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a federal-provincial initiative delivered in Ontario by the Agricultural Adaptation Council.

In order to carry out the entire strategy, an estimated $100 million needs to be raised and used over a ten-year period.

The Thames River PRC’s work supports several initiatives being pursued by governments on both sides of the border:

  • A commitment between Canada and the U.S. in 2016 to a 40 per cent reduction in total phosphorus entering Lake Erie, based on 2008 levels where localized algae is a problem.  The Thames River is a tributary to Lake Erie, and was identified as a problem area for algal growth in the reduction commitments.

  • The Ohio-Michigan-Ontario commitment to reduce phosphorus by 40 per cent by 2025.

  • The International Joint Commission’s quality board has conducted a number of assessments of both point source and non-point-source phosphorus. These results drove the future Canada-Ontario Draft Action Plan for Lake Erie, which was released in March, 2017 for consultation and is scheduled to be in place by 2018.

Thames River PRC Steering Committee members include:

  • Grain Farmers of Ontario

  • Ducks Unlimited

  • Middlesex Federation of Agriculture

  • Lambton Federation of Agriculture

  • Essex Federation of Agriculture

  • Kent Federation of Agriculture

  • Lower Thames River Conservation Authority 

  • Upper Thames River Conservation Authority

  • Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers

  • 4R Nutrient Stewardship

  • City of London

  • Chippewas of the Thames First Nation

  • Ontario Pork

  • Bluewater Pipe Incorporated

  • Land Improvement Contractors of Ontario

  • Drainage Superintendents Association of Ontario

  • Professional Drainage Engineers

  • Freshwater Alliance

  • Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada

  • Environment and Climate Change Canada

  • Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

  • Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

  • Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change

The Steering Committee Co-Chairs

From left: Randy Hope, President, White Knight Advisory International Inc.,  and Mark Reusser, Vice-President of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture

The Project Team

Back row from left: Mel Luymes, Tina Schankula, Jim Myslik, Henry Hecky, Don Hilborn, Charles Lalonde (Project Co-ordinator),
Front row from left: Nicola Crawhall, Tiffany Svensson & Lois Harris

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