Community Spotlight: The Nashwaak Watershed Association Inc.
We recently caught up with The Nashwaak Watershed Association Inc. (NWAI), a New Brunswick-based organization that has been looking out for the Nashwaak River watershed since 1995!
One of The NWAI’s primary focuses is the restoration of floodplain forests on the banks of the Nashwaak River. Floodplain forests – mostly populated by silver maples – are adapted to absorb large amounts of floodwaters, greatly reducing the reach and severity of flooding along both the Nashwaak River, and flowing into the Wolastoq (Saint John River). These forests can also harbour TWICE the diversity of upland Acadian forests, since they are home to both terrestrial and aquatic species. The NWAI’s project is part of a growing global floodplain restoration initiative to create “room for the river”, which takes a nature-based approach to reducing flood risks.
The NWAI’s forest restoration efforts saw extra success this summer: the team carried out an ambitious seed harvesting exercise, sent them to a greenhouse, and have since discovered that they germinated over 60,000 seedlings! These seedlings will be planted in The NWAI’s larger-scale restoration projects in the years to come. These grassroots efforts connect people to their watersheds, fostering a strong community AND resilient ecosystems.
Community tree planting event – Marysville Flats Restoration Project, 2021
Another way that The NWAI is working to improve the ecological health of the watershed is through riverbank stabilization. Using a bio-engineered approach and by planting native vegetation along the riparian zone, the health of the stream can be improved! Riparian planting has many benefits: flood mitigation, reduced erosion, and improved water quality which helps sustain critical salmon habitat! The NWAI keeps tabs on water quality across the watershed with 38 temperature loggers and 13 water quality test sites located throughout the Nashwaak watershed.
We are grateful to collaborate with The NWAI team on a number of exciting projects. Most recently, The NWAI implemented a watershed map that showcases their up-to-date water quality data. This way, anyone interested in their water monitoring results can access data directly on their website!
by Eleanor Friddell
Photos courtesy of The NWAI