Alliance News

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Climate Change Citizen Science Project

Clonal Plant Project

Interested in helping out with a project related to climate change?
We are looking for people to plant native shrubs and record observations on them every year!

Background:

This project involves the planting of genetically identical plants in different regions of PEI to monitor the climate differences with relation to growth and flowering/fruit timing. This is a long term project in conjunction with PEI Climate Lab at UPEI and the PEI Watershed Alliance with two main research questions:

1) How much does annual plant growth and flowering/ fruit timing differ across the island?
2) How much does annual plant growth and flowering/ fruit timing differ moving forward in relation to a changing climate?

Two species of native PEI plants have been chosen, Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus sericea) and Heart Leafed Willow (Salix eriocephala) and with the aid of staff at the J.F. Gaudet Nursery, genetically identical (clonal) plants are available for distribution for this project. By planting these shrubs under similar conditions across the island and then monitoring for annual growth and the development of flowers and fruit each year for a minimum of 10 years, you will be helping to understand how climate changes are impacting our island ecosystems.
Interested in helping with this project?

This is a citizen science project and we are looking for people who enjoy observing the natural world. All you need is a place to plant these shrubs and a willingness to observe them for the next 10 years. We will provide you with all the necessary training and documents.

Ideal Conditions for the shrubs:
– Planted in clusters of 2 or 3 plants
– Full sun or partially shaded areas
– Open areas with minimal tree canopy
– Fairly moist soil
– Minimal salt spray
– Moderately windy areas
– Both species of shrubs can be planted on the same site
– Easily accessible and visible area so that annual measurements and observations can be made for a minimum of 10 years

Time Commitment:

Time commitment of these plants involves measuring growth once annually and monitoring for flowering during a window period each year. You will be provided with information and training on how to measure and record growth and flowering as well emails and friendly reminders will be sent out annually.

Next Steps:

If you are interested, please let Mary Finch, at ecologist@peiwatershedalliance.org or 902-394-0999 know and she can arrange that the clonal shrubs get to you.
Dogwoods will be available at the PEI Watershed Alliance AGM on May 7th and should be planted the week of May 16 – 22nd while Willows will be available starting in June and should be planted by June 15th.

Annual General Meeting May 7th in Hunter River

The Annual General Meeting of the PEI Watershed Alliance is taking place on May 7th from 9am – 2pm in Hunter River at the Community Centre.
An agenda for the meeting can be found by clicking here.
Changes to the by-laws are being proposed.  Please click here to read the proposed changes.
These changes are meant to clarify the roles and mandate of the Alliance as well as some “house-keeping” items with regards to the location of the head office, allowing board members to serve more than one term and group jurisdiction (e.g., no two groups can claim the same watershed territory).

These changes will be discussed at the AGM and there will be a vote on whether to adopt changes to the by-laws.
Please RVSP to ecologist@peiwatershedalliance.org  by May 2nd if you plan on attending the AGM.

Funding for Upland Habitat Enhancement Projects available for PEI Watershed Groups

Representatives of the Ruffed Grouse Society (PEI) are offering a one-time funding opportunity for PEI Watershed Groups to complete habitat enhancement work focused in upland areas on PEI. Priority species are Ruffed Grouse and Woodcock although projects focusing on other upland species will be considered (i.e., songbirds). The sum of money available is not large (~$4000) and it is anticipated that the average funds granted for each project will be approximately $500.
Funding is available for equipment and supplies that are directly related to upland habitat enhancement such as tree guards, tree planting equipment, pruning equipment and trees and plants not covered through the Greening Space Program. Expenditures not covered by this funding include: administrative costs, professional services, labour, mileage, monitoring and research.

Application deadline is April 1st, 2016.

PEI Watershed Alliance is administering this fund however all funding decisions will be made by members of Ruffed Grouse Society (PEI).

Click here for details regarding this funding opportunity including word version of the sample application form.  If you have any questions, please forward them to Mary Finch at ecologist@peiwatershedalliance.org

PEI Nature Tracker App

PEI Watershed Alliance is excited to be working with the Forests, Fish and Wildlife Division of Department of Communities, Land and Environment on this project! Kudos to Kensington North Watersheds Association for their vision and hard work in moving this project forward.

We’ve had some great press on the project recently. Please click here and here for more information.  Check out the following video to learn more: Nature Tracker video 

The online template of the app can be found at: http://www.peinaturetracker.ca/

Keep tuned for upcoming news regarding this project including training seminars in spring 2016!

 

Water Act presentation by the Alliance

In September, members of the Watershed Alliance Board presented to the PEI Environmental Advisory Council about the Water Act.  A copy of this presentation is available here: http://www.peiwatershedalliance.org/Publications/water act presentation.pdf and the audio is online: https://www.gov.pe.ca/photos/MP3/watershed1.mp3.

Audio and presentations for the community consultations are available online at the Water Act website http://www.gov.pe.ca/wateract. We encourage you to check out this website and have your opinion heard. Written submissions are still being accepted until January 15th, 2016.  A draft Water Act is expected in Spring 2016 and another round of public consultations will occur at this time.

New Watershed Ecologist working for the Watershed Alliance

My name is Mary Finch and I am the new Watershed Ecologist hired to work with the PEI Watershed Alliance.   I am excited to work with all of you as I am continually amazed at the amount of good environmental work that watershed groups complete in PEI.

A little bit of background about myself, I have over 10 years experience in watershed and aquatic ecology.  I was born and raised in the Yukon, attended university in Ontario and then worked in Southern Ontario helping community groups complete stream rehabilitation work as a biologist with Trout Unlimited Canada.  Since moving to PEI in 2013, I worked with Fred Cheverie at the Souris and Area Branch of PEI Wildlife Federation.  I am very proud to be call PEI my home and happy to be raising my children here.

So what will I be doing as Watershed Ecologist? My role is to help and support you, the Watershed Groups of PEI.  My job duties include: providing technical advice on watershed projects (i.e., forest, riparian, wetlands and watercourse) including project identification, monitoring and implementation; connecting groups with resources and experts; identifying and coordinating training opportunities; supporting the Watershed Alliance; and facilitating communication among groups.

In the upcoming weeks and months, I will be traveling around the island to visit you and your groups. I am keen to meet all of you, to listen and learn first-hand about your watersheds, your successes, your challenges, and to work together in continuing to improve the island’s environment and watersheds.

Please feel free to contact me either through email: mrfinch@gov.pe.ca or by phone 902-394-0999.

Thanks!

Mary.

Water Act consultations begin in October

Dates and locations for the first round of public consultations related to creating a Water Act for Prince Edward Island were announced yesterday afternoon by the provincial government. All the details can be found on the CBC site here: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/p-e-i-water-act-consultations-begin-in-october-1.3193915.

The Water Act website is at http://www.gov.pe.ca/wateract/

There are a number of ways to make your voice heard, and the Watershed Alliance encourages you to do that.

Watershed training well attended

About 40 watershed employees attended a training session in North Granville on July 6th. The day started with training in how to prevent disease transmission between farms. Rosie MacFarlane gave an excellent presentation on all aspects of watershed wildlife and restoration techniques, then the afternoon was spent learning some of those techniques in the field.
Disinfection Station

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New staff trained in using WGIS

On June 30th, 14 people attended a Watershed Geographic Information System (WGIS) training course, including a number of new watershed coordinators and supervisors. The WGIS software, which was developed by the PEI Watershed Alliance last year, is being used by the majority of watershed groups to meet their GIS and GPS mapping needs. For those who were unable to attend the course, there will be another one in the fall.

WGIS Training

Province endorses PEI Watershed Strategy

The Prince Edward Island Watershed Strategy will ensure meaningful watershed enhancement and protection, said Minister of Communities, Land and Environment Robert Mitchell.

“The P.E.I. Watershed Strategy is the result of a strong partnership between the Island’s Watershed Alliance and the provincial government. The strategy provides a roadmap for us going forward as we work to improve watershed management across the province,” said Minister Mitchell. “I see this strategy as an important step towards setting an overall direction for watershed management in the province. I want to thank the committee members who worked hard on the development of this strategy to ensure it will be an effective resource in the future of watershed planning.”

The strategy is intended to be a guide for individuals, community groups, businesses and government agencies who are involved with the conservation and restoration of watersheds. It outlines how government and watershed groups will work together towards the achievement of noted long-term and short-term goals related to Island watersheds and presents collective responsibilities of action moving forward.

“Today marks an important day for watershed management on Prince Edward Island. It is extremely pleasing to see the completion of the P.E.I. Watershed Strategy and we emphasize the value of partnerships in reaching this point,” said Chair of the P.E.I. Watershed Alliance Dale Cameron. “We look forward to active participation from all Islanders in the implementation of this strategy resulting in meaningful watershed management and protection of P.E.I.’s most important natural resource – water.”

Objectives of the strategy include ensuring watersheds provide sustainable quantities of clean, safe water; enhancing watershed ecosystems; increasing capacity of individuals, organizations and industries to take responsibility for protecting and managing watershed ecosystems; enhancing partnerships to empower engagement on watershed management; and increasing public awareness.

It can be viewed online at www.gov.pe.ca/photos/original/cle_wtrshdstrat.pdf

Watershedstrat

Watershed Strategy moving forward

After a number of years, the Provincial Watershed Strategy will be formally presented to the Executive Council this Fall. The strategy includes promises made by the Watershed Alliance and the Provincial Government to begin the task of implementing the recommendations of several government sponsored environmental studies, including the Nitrate Commission and the Task Force for Sustainable Land Management.

Fish kills in the news again

As you will have heard, there was a serious fish kill in North River this month. This time it has drawn the attention of Charlottetown councilors, as it happened in the same watershed as the new city well-field. On average, we have had a reported fish kill every year since 1962, the majority of which are directly attributable to mismanagement of pesticides. Since 2011 we have suffered four major fish kills. A useful resource for fish kill data up to 2011 can be found here: http://www.macphailwoods.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/History-of-Fish-Kills-PEI-.pdf

Watershed Groups feature in all three PEI Environmental Awards

Congratulations to Winter River Tracadie Bay Watershed Association, to Kelly Lockhart and Myles Lord of South Shore Watershed Association, and to Summerside Intermediate School, for winning this year’s PEI Environmental Awards. SIS worked with Bedeque Bay Environmental Management Association, so all three awards are related to the hard work that these watershed groups have been doing over the past years. Click here for more details.

EnvironAwards 2014

Photo: Brian Simpson, Provincial Photographer