Financial Assistance Programs

Close-up photo of wild Black-eyed Susan and Bergamot in a field.

We know that landowners play an important role in conserving our natural areas and resources, and that landowners embracing the role of stewardship benefits the rest of our watershed and communities. Conservation Halton offers a wide variety of financial support programs for landowners who are interested in stewardship projects on their property.

The majority of natural area in the watershed is owned and managed by private landowners, so the health of our communities and environment depend on the efforts of these landowners.

The Water Quality and Habitat Improvement Program is a funding incentive program that supports landowners who are carrying out projects that contribute to water and habitat quality. Project types that are considered for this program include:

  • Agricultural Best Management Practices
  • Creek Restoration
  • Tree Planting
  • Meadow Creation/Enhancement
  • Wetland Restoration
  • Rainwater Conservation
  • Invasive Plant Management

If the project you are interested in cannot be found on this list, but still has water quality or habitat benefits, please contact us at stewardship@hrca.on.ca and we will let you know whether or not the project can be submitted for review.

For more detailed information about the Water Quality and Habitat Improvement Program, please review the following guidelines, based on that which best fits your property:

Each year, this financial support program receives applications up until December 1 for projects taking place during the following calendar year. Submissions are reviewed and evaluated by the Project Technical Advisory Committee using the following attributes:

  1. Does the project address a water quality impairment?
  2. Does the project address a habitat impairment?
  3. Does the project contribute to improving water quality?
  4. Does the project contribute to improving habitat quality?
  5. Is the project located adjacent to, or in close proximity to a natural area?
  6. Does the project raise public awareness of water quality and habitat issues or opportunities?

Projects are not required to meet all of these attributes, but must meet at least one to be considered. Funding availability varies each year and unfortunately not all projects that merit funding will receive funding.

Landowners interested in financial support for their project are encouraged to consult with a Landowner Outreach Specialist prior to submitting their proposal. You can get in touch with a Landowner Outreach Specialist at stewardship@hrca.on.ca

Conservation Halton is looking for landowners interested in planting trees on their properties.

Program requirements:

  1. Minimum 500 trees to be planted may qualify
  2. Minimum 0.5 acres of open land that can be planted
  3. Willing to protect the trees from livestock, wildlife and machinery damage
  4. Able to cover the remaining costs of the tree planting after subsidies
  5. Eligible project types include afforestation, riparian, windbreak, and restoration
  6. Willing to sign 15 year agreement stating you will not cut, harvest, or otherwise remove the trees from the planted area for a minimum of 15 years after planting

Forestry staff will conduct a free site visit and create a plan for your property. Staff will manage the installation (planting) of the trees and monitoring, tending and infilling at one, two and five years is included.

Conservation Halton can also help you access and apply to funding programs to reduce the cost of tree planting. There is funding available from several sources, including the 50 Million Tree Program from Forests Ontario’s (ending in 2022) and the 2 Billion Tree Program from the Government of Canada.

If you think your property qualifies for this program, please contact us as treeplanting@hrca.on.ca

The Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program is available to landowners who own four hectares (9.88 acres) or more of land that is forested, and agree to prepare and follow a Forest Management Plan for their property. Under this program, landowners have the forested part of their property assessed and classified as “Managed Forest” and taxed at 25 percent of the municipal tax rate for residential properties.

Conservation Halton can assist landowners in compiling and submitting a Forest Management Plan based on forestry practices and landowner objectives. Costs associated with participation in this program can be reduced by funding opportunities through the Region of Halton.

For more information about the Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program, please visit the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry or contact our Managed Forest Plan Approvers by emailing us at forestry@hrca.on.ca

Most of our infrastructure has been designed to move water through our urban landscape as quickly as possible. As a result, creeks and other bodies of water are overwhelmed with the amount of water and suspended particulates during rainfall and snowmelt. The Rainwater Conservation Fund supports urban landowner projects that divert and infiltrate rainwater into the ground on their property. Projects that are eligible include:

  • Bioswales
  • Infiltration trenches
  • Soakaway pits/rain gardens
  • Water retention/storage systems
  • Detention basins
  • Permeable pavement/pavers
  • Projects that demonstrate the retention, infiltration, or conservation of rainwater

Landowners are eligible to receive a grant of up to $2,500 or 50 percent of the project cost. (Please note that funding availability varies each year and by region.)

In an effort to address source water quality issues for Hamilton Harbour, there is specific funding available for the following areas in 2022, thanks to a partnership with the Province of Ontario:

  • Burlington (Aldershot, Brant Hills, Pleasantview and Tyandaga)
  • Waterdown

How to apply:

  1. Review the rainwater conservation project type in the Urban Properties Guidelines to ensure that your project meets the eligibility requirements
  2. Complete the Rainwater Conservation Fund Application and submit by email to stewardship@hrca.on.ca

To learn more about this program, please contact a Landowner Outreach Technician at stewardship@hrca.on.ca

If your well is unused or has been improperly filled and sealed, you should decommission it, safely, to protect the groundwater and prevent health and safety issues for yourself and others in your community. Landowners are eligible to receive funding to decommission wells on their properties. (Please note that funding availability varies by region.)

Halton Region

Residents can apply for a grant to support the decommissioning of a well on their property through the Residential Private Well Decommissioning Grant. The grant covers 50 percent of the total cost up to a maximum of $1000 per well.

City of Hamilton

Residents can apply for a grant to support the decommissioning of a well on their property through the Wellhead Abandonment program. The grant covers 100 percent of the cost up to $1000 per well and is administered by Conservation Halton. The decommissioning must be completed by a licensed well contractor in order to be eligible.

Project Details:

  • Must comply with Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) procedures for plugging or abandoning unused water wells according to Ontario Regulation 903 under the Ontario Water Resources Act.
  • A drilled well inside a dug well is considered one project and therefore qualifies for one grant only.
  • The contractor is required to complete a Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks Well Record to document the steps taken to plug the well. A copy of the well record must be submitted upon completion to the program representative.
  • If you have an existing well record for the well that you are proposing to upgrade, please include a copy with the application form. If you do not have a well record, please see below for guidance on determining if a well record exists.
  • Information on licensed well contractors and well records can be found on the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Park’s Directory of Licensed Well Contractors in Ontario or by contacting the Water Well Help Desk at wellshelpdesk@ontario.ca
  • Please be aware that funding is not available retroactively.

If you are interested in applying for funding for decommission a well on your property, please contact a Landowner Outreach Technician at stewardship@hrca.on.ca

If you are interested in a water quality or habitat project that does not align with one of these programs, please contact us at stewardship@hrca.on.ca to discuss other opportunities.