The great strides that SSWA and its founding organizations have made in a relatively short time begin with community input, support and volunteerism. Businesses, not for profit organizations and individuals contribute in countless ways. The Province of Prince Edward Island, through its departments of Environment, Labour and Justice, Fish and Wildlife Division of Agriculture and Forestry, and Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal is a mainstay partner in protecting and enhancing our environment. Please read on to understand how projects could only be done with aid from the following:
SSWA Partner: RFCPP
Beginning in 2014 the Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnerships Program, a Federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans initiative, is a major partner in restoring recreational fish habitat and utility of Sherren’s Pond. This program is for exactly this kind of project: protecting and ensuring sustainability of habitat and angling resource moving forward. From an overall budget of $10 million, RFCPP may fund projects for up to $250,000 per year, covering up to half of eligible project costs, with the other half required to come through non-governmental sources.
Many types of fish, like trout must be able to move up and down streams to the sea and back to headwaters if the species is to do well in the longer term. The project at Sherren’s is a multi-phase project that restores trout and other migratory access to the east branch of Westmoreland River for the first time in many decades. Further, the resource that is Sherren’s Pond will be reinforced and improved as habitat. Last but not least, fishing will be more accessible, with provision for safe entry and parking at the Pond and for mobility challenged persons.
In 2014, a natural-appearing rock-lined fish ladder was installed, actually a carefully engineered watercourse along the southeast side of Sherren’s Pond. This is an attractive and practical departure from the more familiar concrete channel with alternating baffles that is seen at some other PEI locations. The many tons of excavated material from the former have been used to increase the height of the pond’s retaining wall and form a future parking area. An upstream crossing was removed, widening the channel and improving fish access to headwaters.
Project Phase Two, in 2015 will complete the ladder and basic landscaping, and install a draw-down structure that controls pond height and therefore water temperature. The plan is to eventually install a wheelchair accessible fishing platform, interpretive signage and related amenities.
SSWA Partner: WCF
PEI Wildlife Conservation Fund is an Island funding organization created in 1998 and until recently, entirely supported by licensed fishers, hunters and trappers for the protection and enhancement of PEI wildlife and wildlife habitat. Every licensed angler, hunter or trapper adds to the fund, with a contribution made at the time of annual license purchase. Groups such as SSWA apply in winter and sometimes fall to receive much needed capital for projects. Only worthy projects are supported, in keeping with protection and enhancement of wildlife and habitat, and as determined by a volunteer committee. The committee is made of mainly anglers and hunters, but also a representative from each of trappers, PEI Department of Agriculture and Forestry, PEI watershed groups, and one other.
Very simply put, to support PEI Wildlife Conservation Fund is an excellent way to help support PEI watershed groups. As the 2013 WCF committee chair, Doug MacEwen says, “You would be hard-pressed to find a watershed on Prince Edward Island that hasn’t benefitted from the Wildlife Conservation’s work” (The Guardian, October21, 2013). Most projects are for habitat enhancement but others are educational, or research and monitoring. Since 2006, over 250 projects have been supported. In the spring of 2013, WCF reached the very impressive $1,000,000.00 total in supporting Island projects.
The second million dollar funding mark will likely be reached much sooner, now that all registered auto owners have the opportunity to assist. Since fall, 2013, for an additional $10.00 per year, every Island car owner can select one of several special conservation vehicle license plates. According to Statistics Canada, in 2010 Islanders registered almost 87,000 passenger vehicles. Perhaps you would like a plate that features a Brook trout, a red fox, a Canada goose, a blue jay or our pink lady slipper orchid? While the program was organized by the PEI Wildlife Federation, the money earned will go to the WCF. Fund administrators are very enthusiastic about the new directions funding opportunities may take.
In 2013 and 2014, SSWA received Wildlife Conservation Fund project support enabling so much. Interpretive signage was created and placed in four popular sport fishing areas across our region. In the summers of 2013 and 2014, staff wages were partly paid by WCF, enabling stream restoration, tree planting, public education tours, habitat assessment, estuary monitoring and nature trail improvement. In winter of 2013, more public education was funded. In 2014, in addition to staffing, WCF aided in the removal of a failed crossing and in stabilizing and winter protecting a natural-type fish ladder. Both of these projects are associated with re-establishment of fish access to the east branch of Westmoreland River, near Crapaud.