New regenerative agriculture project underway in Fraser River estuary


Facts about Fraser River estuary funding
  • The Fraser River estuary is one of Canada’s most important areas for birds, with millions of birds migrating there annually.
  • Many species of birds are dependent on farmland for resting and food and these projects support wildlife habitat and healthy soils for food production.
  • Delta Farmland and Wildlife Trust is a non-profit organization that promotes the preservation of farmland and wildlife habitat in the Fraser River estuary.
  • Since its establishment in 1993, more than 89,000 acres of winter cover crops, 14,600 acres of grassland set asides and 10 kilometres of hedgerows have been planted and maintained.
  • Blueberry scorch virus was first detected in B.C in 2000 and is spread by aphids or infected plants, causing severe blossom and leaf blighting and reducing productivity. Infected plants do not recover.
  • In June 2022, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food launched an Advisory Group on Regenerative Agriculture and Agritech.
  • Through the ongoing work of the advisory group, opportunities to support regenerative agriculture projects like this are highlighted.
Regenerative agriculture programs supporting soil health

The Fraser River estuary is home to a biodiverse environment that is important for farming, wildlife and our food economy. The partnership project with Delta Farmland and Wildlife Trust will help growers produce food and nurture farmland, while improving soil health for food production and adding to food security in the province.

The planting and incorporation of cover crops and “set-asides” into crop rotations increases the adoption of regenerative agricultural practices that can improve soil health, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the effects of climate change.

Grassland set-aside program:

Grassland set-asides can improve soil health by relieving compaction, increasing carbon sequestration and enhancing soil structure. Grassland plantings remain in place for up to four years, with participating growers receiving annual cost-share payments. These payments assist with offsetting a portion of the costs for field preparation, seeding, management and leasing the land.

Winter cover crop program:

Winter cover crops are planted in late summer/early fall and establish dense vegetative covers that protect soils from erosion, improve soil fertility and reduce nutrient leaching. Growers participating in the program are eligible for a cost-sharing payment to assist with the costs of planting and managing a cover crop.

Blueberry rest program:

Blueberry scorch virus requires the removal of infected plants providing an opportunity to incorporate cover crops until replanted with new, virus-free blueberry plants. Benefits of the Blueberry rest program include rebuilding soil health by relieving compaction, increasing drainage, improving soil structure, and sequestering carbon. Growers participating in the program are eligible for an annual cost-share payment.