The Benefit of Watershed Awareness

posted Apr 30, 2010, 6:14 AM by Cornwall Watershed
By Colin Cairns

Just before I was preparing to address the Holland College Environmental and Applied Science Technology program about our sampling exercise on April 29, 2010 I was approached by a man named Rollie MacKinnon.  For anyone who has done research about watershed enhancement on PEI you would come across Rollie's name.  I know when I googled PEI watershed projects Trout Unlimited's Rollie MacKinnon was one of the first hits on the list. 

Not a large man in stature but his presence demands respect with his quiet demeanor. If anyone wants to look at some of Rollies work click on the following link and scroll down to the second last story and read about Coles Brook.  The impressive thing is that when the Coles Brook group started out there was no funding available to the group yet they still made significant improvements.  Personally I think that if the CAWG follows the same path as Rollie's North River group we should get similar results.
I informed him about the CAWG/Environmental and Applied Science Technology sampling of Hyde Pond.  As luck would have it Rollie emailed me about the location of Hyde Pond (most know it as the Cornwall Pond) I emailed him directions and as we were getting prepared for our sampling exercise Rollie introduced himself to a few of us.  We started talking about the type of sampling we would be doing along with how the fishing was going in Hyde Pond.

Then I mentioned to him that I was in the process of submitting a dredging permit for the stream above Hyde pond to the Department of Environment.  Rollie informed me that his North River Watershed was looking at a similar project but were having trouble establishing a detailed plan as I am for the CAWG dredging project.  I think the hardest part about designing a dredging project is knowing how to make positive changes in waterflow and stream depth yet allowing the stream to handle high flows during peak water levels without effecting surrounding properties.  The only real way to know is through experience and I have never attempted to design a dredging project. 

The more detailed the plan the better chance there is to obtain a provincial permit.  Rollie mentioned to me that he had Jack Imhof, a national biologist for Trout Unlimited Canada based out of the University of Guelph, coming to the Island in June.  Silvia D'Amaelio is the Trout Unlimited Canada biologist for Ontario and may be accompanying Jack Imhof to PEI as well.  What could be better than having two experts with a ton of experience help a small watershed group design a dredging project.
These two vast resources will be made available to us (CAWG) when they come here in June to visit Rollie MacKinnon's North River Watershed Group.  In turn, I have offered to give Rollie's group detailed information and results from our CAWG/Environmetnnal and Applied Science Technology sampling project since he is looking at implementing a similar project for the North River Watershed Group.  The reason we will have access to these experts is because of the awareness created by the Sampling Plan and connections made through our CAWG website launch.  This shows that everyone in a group brings specific talents to the table even if it isn't physical labour or knowledge about watershed enhancement.   
Let's continue to create more connections in our watershed communities on the Island and beyond.  There are plenty of resources and success stories out there for us to model our group after.  My main message is that sometimes a large amount of awareness and knowledge can be obtained from the smallest of projects.  By staying positive and utilizing every members individual talents plus the experienced people and resources available to us we can make a huge difference without getting large amounts of funding.