Richmond Bay Watershed Association

May 7, 2016

Watershed restoration projects require a lot of sweat equity while getting wet and dirty; a recent project completed by the Richmond Bay Watershed Association was no different.

The ASCF provided the group with $9020 in funding. The project focused on restoring Atlantic salmon habitat on the Trout River (Tyne Valley) and Little Trout River in Richmond, PEI.

Cathy Gallant, Executive Director of the Richmond Bay Watershed Association, said both rivers have become degraded over the years suffering from erosion, sediment build up, obstructions to free passage of fish, and the loss of native plants and trees along stream banks – all of which combine to have serious implications on water quality, Atlantic salmon, and their habitats.

“Our efforts were to improve in-stream habitat and habitat diversity for Atlantic salmon. On the Trout River Watershed the main issue in-stream is sedimentation and efforts have been made to trap and remove this sediment. Our efforts included in-stream restoration work such as installing brush mat structures, selectively removing debris/blockages, re-excavating a sediment by-pass pond, and restoring buffer zones by planting 1,500 native tree species.”

“Other efforts on the Little Trout River and Trout River were installing cover structures in areas of the river where sediment has been effectively dealt with and where the stream has returned to its original rock/gravel bottom. We are pleased with the results of these efforts.”

Gallant said many restoration techniques performed by the watershed group are to help move, capture, and stabilize sediment.

“Brush mats are made of spruce bows and alders and are staked and tied into place along the river’s edge. The brush mats help narrow stream channels and during high flow events sediment is picked up and placed in these brush mats. They also benefit by providing fish cover and they can stabilize stream banks.”

Gallant said a larger project carried out with this year’s project involved re-excavating one sediment by-pass pond.

“The newly constructed by-pass pond was supported by the ASCF 2013 project and the site required re-excavation in 2015. This sediment holding area works extremely well for capturing existing in-stream sediment and because it holds sediment in place, it also helps protect one kilometre of valuable downstream salmon habitat from on-going sediment movement during high flow events. Also, downstream habitats are returning to its originally state quite faster than if we had not taken this preventative measure. The site provides and enhances valuable wetland habitat for Atlantic salmon and is accessible to the public and provides recreational opportunities like angling, trapping, and bird watching.”

“In flowing coastal streams, like the Little Trout River and Trout River it is very important to have unobstructed access upstream and downstream for fish species to carry out their normal life processes. Multiple beaver dams (impoundments) located from tidal waters to headwaters restrict fish passage, increase water temperatures, and contribute to the large volumes of sediment located in the rivers. Five obstructions were removed and one kilometre of access was restored with this project.”

The project’s final report indicates 25 beavers were removed, 15 volunteers were directly involved in the project resulting in 312 volunteer hours, and 39 in-stream structures were installed.