Weekly updates from the watershed to YOU!

SSWA BLOG

Week 7 - We're gonna need more chairs

Hello everyone!

The week was off to an eventful start as we welcomed back returning staff members Heather, Ashton, and Ian along with our newest member to the team, Cole! The crew was also very excited for the long awaited arrival of our new chainsaw. Due to the exponential increase in manpower SSWA was able to divide into three teams for the week to tackle the task list.

Overcast weather on Monday created a pleasant atmosphere for team 1 to do some maintenance at our Westmorland nature park while teams 2 and 3 were knee deep in their respective streams clearing sediment and downed trees. Team 2 continued their stream restoration work in the afternoon while teams 1 and 3 got to work planting many of the trees that were received in last weeks shipment.

Tuesday team 1 was tasked with creating brush matts for a local stream. Creating brush matts involves taking cuttings off trees and securing them to a stream bank with stakes and jute. These matts will collect and trap sediment to improve the shape of the stream and help stabilize the stream banks. Team 2 was busy installing 6 new HOBO’s while team 3 worked away restoring a stream.

Warm weather on Wednesday meant it was a perfect day for the SSWA crew to tackle our water quality route and head to the beach! While the crew did head to the beach there was no time for swimming as they were busy planting marram grass and cleaning up the shore. Due to there efficiency the crew was also able to squeeze in one more macroinvertebrate survey before the end of the day.

Everyone worked hard on Thursday removing invasive species and creating more brush matts. The Friday rain didn’t put much of a damper on things as the crew took turns sifting through the collected macroinvertebrate samples and continued to prep for upcoming festivities.

Have a lovely weekend!

Love, SSWA

Week 6 - Olympic boulder lifting team

Hello everyone!

This Monday, we kicked things off with some macroinvertebrate surveys. While one person walked up the stream with the kicknet trailing behind them, the rest of the crew was cheering them on from the banks! Once they hit the three minute mark we continued the remainder of the survey, collecting the contents of the net and using a velocity headrod to take measurements of the stream width, depth and flow. The last step on our list was crucial, and involved three of our luckiest crew members for the infamous rock picking! The procedure includes each person walking a section of the stream, while doing so we reach into the stream to pull rocks for measurements as well as embeddedness. I say our “luckiest” crew members because the stream water made it a hand-numbing job!

For Tuesday we continued with our Macroinvertebrate surveys throughout the morning into the afternoon. Once the rain rolled in, we finished up our final survey of the day and made our way back to the office to get some supplies ready for our upcoming Canada day festivities.

Wednesday morning we got to go out and check what our various trail cams picked up throughout the following week. Afterwards we met up to unload and sort a full truck load of 565 trees and shrubs! After lunch the rain rolled in, so we finished off the day sanding tree cookies and preparing for our upcoming activities.

 

We started off strong Thursday welcoming a returning worker from last season… NOUT!!! We were happy to expand the crew, especially while we tried out a new piece of surveying equipment! The purpose of the Leveling rod and laser level are to measure the slope of our ever changing streams and rivers. For the morning we headed back to the previous survey sites of the Macroinvertebrates, to gain a bit of extra data. To end the day JL, Baylee, Nicole and Nout headed to Tryon to do some invasive species clearing.

Friday the whole crew spent the morning finishing up our slope surveying at our last two spots in Tryon. After lunch we split up to get caught up on some of our office work as well as getting the chainsaw out to continue with our efforts to collect supplies for the Canada Day activities. 

 We hope you all enjoy your weekend! 

Love, SSWA

Week 5 - Will Matt survive the chopping block?

Hello everyone! 

Your favourite time of year is upon us… it’s stream restoration season! Stream restoration is very important here in P.E.I as our fish often have trouble finding their way upstream to spawn. Common issues such as, extensive alder growth, bank erosion, and fallen trees/debris causing stream blockages all can make it difficult for fish to move freely.

Monday morning the crew was ready and eager to start stream restoration in Tryon. That afternoon we removed a downed tree blocking the trail at our lovely Lords pond and trimmed some of the hedges to make signage more visible. Matt unfortunately left us until Friday to take a course on Rapid Geomorphic Assessments… Tune in next week to see if we forgive him!

Tuesday the team was back to work restoring streams in the Tryon area for most of the day. Besides some minor blockages, this particular stream looked really good!

You know what Wednesday means…. WATER QUALITY!!! On top of collecting our weekly water quality data, the rest of the crew also collected the data from our trail cameras and it seems as though our furry friends have been pretty busy lately.

Thursday was a little rainy which gave us a good opportunity to catch up on office work and logging importing data. Logging data properly and keeping a record of data from previous years is a big part of conservation work as it allows us to view trends and patterns over an extended period of time.

Friday we had the pleasure of working with the Invasive Species Action Team to tackle common buckthorn in the Tryon area. Unlike many other invasive species, Buckthorn grows steadily over time so picking these plants before they flower will be the best way to stop them from spreading. Big thanks to Gage, Ben, and Katrina for joining us this lovely Friday

We hope you all have a lovely weekend!

 

Love, SSWA

Week 4 - No mow problems

Hello everyone! 

To kick off the week we welcomed another new crew member to the SSWA team, Baylee DesRoches! Monday the crew split up into two teams to tackle various jobs. Team 1 was busy planting native wetland tree species in the Tryon area while team 2 cleaned up the Tryon trail by removing wooden debris and storm damage. The team cut and collected small wooden discs for an event we are hosting on Canada Day – stay tuned!

Tuesday the whole crew pitched in to plant a total of 257 native tree species, such as Red Maple, Eastern Larch, Yellow Birch, & more in the Tryon area! The tree species listed above thrive in wet habitats, so planting next to streams and adding to wetlands is ideal!

By Wednesday we had seen plenty of wildlife. The most exciting being a few Garter Snakes. PEI has 3 snake species; Garter Snake, Red Bellied Snake, and Eastern Smooth Green Snake. All of them are non-venomous. However, all of them can bite if aggravated – so best to leave them be!  

Thursday morning the crew planted more trees in the Tryon area near a local tributary. The crew split up in the afternoon to do a stream assessment in Westmorland while the rest of the crew went on a much needed shopping run to get a new push mower for maintenance in our parks!

Friday we put the new push mower to good use trimming the trails at the Westmorland Nature Park, and planted even more native species near one of our water quality sites in Tryon. 

We hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Love, SSWA 

Week 3 - Pitter-patter, let's get at 'er

Hello everyone! 

After the long weekend our staff were well rested and ready to tackle another busy week!  

Monday evening marked the beginning of our bi-weekly anuran surveys. Staff visited several different locations to listen for anurans (frogs and toads) and made notes on what they found. These surveys provide information on the species and populations of anurans found at the five locations.

Tuesday was yet another stream assessment, this time on the West branch of Tryon. This branch was full of wildlife, the crew got to meet a lovely little leopard frog and the sounds of a ruffed grouse drumming could be heard in the distance! After a quiet lunch to recoup some energy, the crew headed down to do a clean up on Victoria beach.

Water quality Wednesday brought sunshine and productivity as data was collected and HOBOs were installed. HOBOs are small temperature collecting devices that the crew placed in several streams across the Tryon area. Matt and Jen also got a driving lesson in the boss’s car! While driving stick shift comes naturally to some, to others it does not.

The remainder of the week was filled with learning, planning and trail maintenance. We received a large shipment of trees that required sorting and the crew took advantage of the Friday rain to collect the tree guards along the Tryon trail and make notes of other trail maintenance that may be required.

Enjoy the weekend!

Love, SSWA 

Week 2 - New Challenger Approaching!

Hello again everyone! 

We are so pleased to welcome our new summer technician, Nicole Lawlor, to the crew this week! Nicole is currently earning her degree in Marine Biology.

To kick off the week, the crew continued head water stream assessments on the East branch of Tryon, where they found beautiful fish habitat, blooming spring plants, and lovely areas of the South Shore. Staff took note of trees and debris creating blockages along the stream that will need to be removed with a chainsaw in June. Chainsawing blockages in the stream is an activity done by certified individuals, and only after June 1st, when permits allow. This permitting is in place so that spring flora & fauna can go undisturbed. 

The rest of the week consisted of checking trail camera footage, testing water quality in the streams, estuary watch surveys, & cleaning out the pollinator gardens. The gardens received newly “planted” signage that will give viewers information on the importance of pollinator gardens. 

Staff were lucky to witness so much of what nature has to offer this week. While completing surveys, some were fortunate to witness a mink in his natural habitat along one of the streams. Other team members were excited after witnessing a pair of mating bald eagles in Westmoreland. Eagles will engage in this behaviour by entangling their talons and spiraling out of the sky – neature. 

The remainder of the week was spent prepping four event on Saturday – ‘Art & Exercise in the Park’. We are looking forward to what the next week shall bring. 

Love, SSWA

Week 1 - Season prep!

Your favourite blog is back! We hope you all are as excited to read about our adventures as we are to write about them. We have a fun filled season coming up full of tree planting, stream restoration, and conservation work! 

On Monday we welcomed back Matt and Jean-luc, certified Wildlife Technicians and supervisors from previous seasons. They are both happy to be back and missed the streams during the off season. 

Monday was a full day of cleaning & organizing our equipment for the upcoming field work.  While Wednesday marked the first day of the season for our water quality testing and estuary watch surveys. This data gets posted to our website at the end of the seaosn.

We were honoured to meet with Simon Wilmot, Forestry Habitat Specialist for the Watershed Alliance, who graciously leant his expertise to assess one of our trails in Tryon. SSWA was happy to know that the Tryon trail is teaming full of abundant diverse flora & fauna habitat. 

Thursday was spent deploying our amphibian survey boards. Boards are 1 metre squared & made of either wood or steel. They are placed in low lying areas of the watershed where amphibian eggs are often spotted. The boards will lay undisturbed for 2 months before they are checked for amphibians. Each board has a flagging tape above it so that no amphibians get lost along the way ;)

Have a lovely weekend everyone! -Team SSWA

2022 Season Coming Soon!

Over the course of the winter months, our team has been working hard making sure all is in order to begin our exciting summer work season! 

The SSWA team welcomed certified Wildlife Technician, Jennifer Woods, to the full-time staff this winter. Jenn has 3 years of experience working with local PEI watersheds. She has been updating our website, assisting with funding applications, and designing new projects for the season ahead.

Our Annual General Meeting was held on April 27, 2022 where we were lucky to have Government Fisheries Biologist, Rose MacFarlane, present the importance of monitoring, managing and reducing the impacts of aquatic invasive species – Thank you to all who attended!

We wrapped up the Annual Photo Contest for this year; winners were announced at the AGM. Winners and honourable mentions can also be viewed here! 

SSWA is looking forward to having awesome students join us once again  this summer to help us with the field work around the watershed.

Stay tuned for more weekly updates about the watershed!