Every summer, our staff sit down to write weekly updates about all things going on in the watershed. Find out what keeps us busy during field work months right here!
Welcome back to the 2023 season of SSWA! This year, we are happy to welcome back Nicole Lawlor as our Habitat Enhancement Technician, and from two years ago, Catherine Viger who is returning for her fifth season as our Watershed Technician!
To start off the season, Matt and the girls went down to the Crapaud Trail behind the library and cleaned up some logs that had fallen and blocked access to the trail. This was in preparation for Kiss a Fish which will be happening soon! Tuesday, we organized our letters for our landowners in Desable, where we will be doing most of our work this summer. We are still looking to speak with landowners so if you have property along the river please send us a message, we’ll be happy to talk with you! In the afternoon Matt and Nicole headed to Borden to find a Killdeer that had nested there and put up a sign warning others where it had made its home. Its natural camouflage kept it well hidden and they wouldn’t have found it if it hadn’t let out a warning call when they got too close!
Wednesday, we planned some of our surveys for the season and brushed up on our stream knowledge, then headed out to Westmoreland to fix some signs that had been blown over. Later, Nicole and Catherine set out to speak with landowners around Desable, meeting some new and familiar faces. Thursday, Nicole and Catherine headed out to the shed and did a little spring cleaning then set off again to speak with some more landowners. That afternoon, we put up a new swallow box in Tryon before continuing on our adventures around the neighbourhood. Friday was used to catch up on office work. We are excited for the weeks ahead and can’t wait to share them with you!
Stay dry and Welcome back!
Fish, Friends, and
Fabulously clean waders
Welcome stream goers! It has been a week of sunshine and good temperatures which made it the perfect time to finish preparing for our summer students and the season!
Monday brought the newest mail order and the crew was very excited to receive a new office computer and to assemble some new and updated first-aid kits! The crew put up the first bat boxes and bird houses of the season, just in time for some new tenants to move in! Tuesday was finally the day to dip our toes in the water with the first stream assessment of the season. The crew got to practice their gymnastic skills as they navigated their way through a tough section of stream land. Fiona has certainly caused some damage and will make things difficult for the team this year but the crew is determined and we will press on!
On Wednesday we were very lucky to have Kirsten from CBWES come and visit our DeSable estuary. She provided some very valuable insight into the current status of the area and steps that could be taken to help improve the estuary’s health. In the afternoon the crew went scouting for tree planting locations and prepped for our Thursday event. Everyone was at work bright and early on Thursday to welcome the Englewood elementary students and teach them all about rainbow smelts! Thank you so much to Rosie from PEI Fish and Wildlife in assisting us with this fantastic event. Friday was the perfect weather to take care of some spring cleaning. Every pair of waders got scrubbed, cleaned, and patched. Maintenance was done on the chainsaws and everything was organized and readied to welcome our new crew members on Monday. We can’t wait for them to join us!
Time to stock up on sunscreen!
Watershed Workers or Amateur Acrobats?
Wow, this week has been busy! We are so happy to welcome two of our new crew members, Mel and Romy! Mel is an environmental biology major at UPEI and Romy is going into their third year at UPEI’s applied climate change and adaptation program.
This week got our crew moving right away as they hit the streams to do some assessing in the DeSable river system all day Monday. On Tuesday, Mel, Romy and Matt tidied up the pollinator gardens.They are now looking fresh and are ready to greet the birds, bees, and all types of bugs! We here at SSWA created and maintain five pollinator gardens across the South Shore and we highly recommend you go spend some time among the flowers.
Wednesday brought the return of everyone’s favorite activity, water quality! Matt used this time as an opportunity to show our new crew members around the watershed while Nicole attended a course to touch up on her first aid skills. Thursday and Friday flew by quickly as the crew practiced their acrobatic skills while they carefully navigated the large amount of trees that have fallen into the DeSable rivers. Friday afternoon the team prepped for the week ahead and got to spend some time doing an activity with the kids at Merry-Pop Ins daycare.
Don’t forget to do some stretches!
Stream Assessments, Headwater Checks and Landowner Permissions, Oh My!
We are hitting the ground running this 2023 season, and we have the muscle aches to prove it! To prepare for stream clearing this season we have had our hands full assessing our streams and headwaters in the DeSable area. By getting an idea of what the streams look like early in the season, especially post-Fiona, we have a better picture of the work ahead of us and how to plan our stream-clearing and restoration efforts.
We also welcomed Ashton and Keiran to the team this summer, jumping right into the streams and familiarizing themselves with the areas we’ll be focusing our efforts on this season. Ashton is a seasoned SSWA summer teammate coming back for his 5th year, and Kieran is a fresh face to the crew (pictured to the right looking snazzy in his camo waders).
While the rest of the folks were wading in the streams, Mel and Catherine were hard at work on the roads speaking to local landowners. By partnering with landowners we have more opportunities to work on larger parts of streams in privatized areas, which means better stream flow and composition! Huge thanks to all the landowners we had a chance to speak with and we look forward to working with you for the the 2023 summer season!
Thursday afternoon the big bosses Julianna and Matt were away at a workshop hosted by the PEI Watershed Alliance in Charlottetown about post-Fiona stream restoration. Meanwhile the newbies held down the fort back at headquarters, being busy beavers organizing GPS coordinates, landowner permission maps and making notes on stream reach statuses. Suffice to say the bosses were pleased with the progress made while they were away!
Enjoy your weekend folks, until our next check in!