Community Spotlight: South Shore Watershed Association
It was -6 degrees, the air was crisp and the water was cold; however, chilly weather doesn’t stop the South Shore Watershed Association.
Atlantic Water Network recently caught up with SSWA to check out a new project the organization is monitoring. A culvert is being installed in a stream SSWA monitors on a regular basis in Tryon, PEI and the team hit the water to complete a rapid stream assessment. AWN’s newest employee, Comms Specialist Amanda, got to experience her first field-day with SSWA and bravely tackled the stream whilst building her ‘watershed leg’ strength!
The stream assessment included taking several measurements of bank depth, water levels, stream width and more. With the installation of a new culvert, the stream should see an increase in flow and possibly draw in a heavier population of brook trout so SSWA got a head start on analyzing the area to watch the improvements throughout the next few months.
A Team Effort
SSWA recently celebrated their 10th anniversary of preserving and protecting the South Shore of Prince Edward Island and they know they wouldn’t have the success they do, without the support of their community.
The association speaks with local landowners on a regular basis to educate the public about climate change and the benefits of river restoration and water monitoring. Not only do they take the care to speak with their neighbors, but they’re adamant in educating the younger generations to pass along their tricks of the trade for future use.
With currently only one permanent staff member, the SSWA relies on the amazing support of volunteers and summer students to help with monitoring programs, surveys and restoration in their zone.
SSWA manages five watersheds in their area; however, they spent the summer of 2021 primarily focused on the Tryon watershed. This over 8km stretch of stream needed some TLC to help reduce erosion and protect the many wild species in this zone. This year, the summer students were tasked with building brush mats!
The streamwork conducted this season was to benefit fish habitats in the area, increase vegetive areas around streams, clean blockages and of course, to protect streams from future environmental damage.
Throughout the summer SSWA borrowed monitoring equipment from the equipment bank at PEI Watershed Alliance to assist with water monitoring programs in 17 streams throughout their 5 watersheds! Check out their data on Atlantic DataStream here.
SSWA teams started monitoring trail cameras more frequently this year and luckily, they were able to spot some fascinating creatures on camera! The team has their fingers crossed to capture something unique, like a river otter, in the near future.
The association was able to interact with several critters this summer, including a few salamanders they spotted while conducting amphibian and reptile surveys throughout the season.
As you can tell, the SSWA had a jam-packed season with many successful projects and they’ve already got a full agenda for 2022! Next year, they hope to focus on more water monitoring, community outreach to spread the word about flood resistant watersheds, the importance of healthy waterways and building stronger awareness of wildlife . Of course, they will also be heading back to the Tryon watershed project to manage and continue their river restoration.
By Amanda Doucette
Photos courtesy of SSWA and Amanda Doucette