Volunteer profile – Mike Durant

July 26, 2016

Meet Mike Durant, a member of our PEI Advisory Committee.

A native Islander, Durant grew up in Summerside, but now lives in Charlottetown. He is married with two children ages 18 and 21.  Durant works for the Federal Government as an Information Technology Project Manager.   

“My father was an avid trout fisherman and from a young age in the early 1970`s I accompanied him on many fishing trips all over PEI,” said Durant. “In those days you could catch brook trout in every stream on the Island and there were several rivers where healthy populations of Atlantic salmon were present.”

“Since the mid to late 1970’s changes in land use caused major damage to our rivers – fish kills from pesticide laden fields, sediment and nitrate contamination following intense rainfall events, deforestation and removal of hedgerows, and extraction of groundwater from high capacity wells all contributed to a gradual decline in the health of our watersheds.”

“When my dad passed away a few years ago I decided to honor his memory by volunteering with a watershed group. One of my Dad’s favorite rivers was the West (Eliot) River, so I joined the Central Queens Branch of the PEI Wildlife Federation as they were actively engaged in restoration work in the West River and Clyde River watersheds.”

Durant is currently the President of the Central Queens Branch of the PEI Wildlife Federation and he also serves on the executive of the PEI Watershed Alliance, an umbrella group that represents all Island watershed groups. He first became involved in the PEI advisory subcommittee for ASCF in 2013. 

I had noticed posters recognizing ASCF`s contributions to various projects throughout PEI and I was intrigued by the diversity and scope of the projects that were supported. As I started my volunteer efforts with our watershed group ASCF was a major funder of the work that was underway; ASCF continues to this day to be a strong supporter of CQWF.”

Durant said he stays involved with the ASCF as it is a crucially important partner in restoring salmon habitat throughout the Maritimes.

“ASCF’s information sharing programs such as the Salmon Hub, its training and networking opportunities, and its project funding all provide direct and measurable benefits to watershed groups.”

He encourages others to get involved noting watershed restoration requires a long term investment in time and resources, adding ASCF’s project funding model allows watershed groups to pursue small and medium size projects that support an incremental year-over-year approach to habitat restoration. 

“Provincial sub-committee members provide valuable input to the advisory committee on projects that are considered innovative and effective within that province or region.  This is very important as each province has specific priorities as well as differing habitats that need to be accommodated. Successful watershed restoration activities can certainly be adopted but they must also be adapted; ASCF supports both of these best practices.”

Volunteers are crucial to the work ASCF does, and each month we will introduce you to one of our stellar volunteers to say thank you for all the work they do in Atlantic salmon conservation.