Prof Develops Guide to Help Reduce Water Problems

August 07, 2007 - News Release

With cottage season in full swing, farmers, landowners and vacationers alike continue to have concerns about water quality along the Great Lakes. A University of Guelph professor is working to break down misunderstandings between these groups and to encourage land stewardship.

Prof. Wayne Caldwell of the School of Environmental Design and Rural Development is developing a handbook to prompt landowners to take responsibility for their own contributions to water-quality problems.

Working with colleague Prof. Karen Landman, he is producing a "Rural Landowner Stewardship Guide" that helps landowners identify approaches to environmental issues on their property so they can reduce contamination.

Cottagers are often the most vocal about water-quality problems, said Caldwell, who is also the director of sustainable rural communities portion of the University of Guelph-Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs partnership.

"This project is about each of us as landowners, thinking about the daily decisions we make that contribute to water quality," he said.

"We can't simply point fingers at a group such as farmers when our own actions are part of the problem."

The guide is based on Caldwell's studies of water quality issues in Huron county. He has incorporated feedback that he received at meetings and workshops throughout the region about what problems people are encountering, where they think they are coming from and what they can do to help.

The Guide is available in two versions - one for lakeshore residents and a second for rural non-farm property owners. There is also a version intended for use across Southern Ontario.

Wayne Caldwell
519 824-4120, Ext. 56420

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338 or Deirdre Healey, 519-824-4120, Ext. 56982.

University of Guelph
50 Stone Road East
Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1