July Update!

Welcome to summer!  Have you noticed how many shades of green are evident in the landscape here?  This truly is a beautiful place!  We are enjoying the warmer temperatures and the revitalization that has come after the unprecedented amount of snowfall this winter.  It is now July and WRIG is busy in our watershed.  Our organization works to protect and manage the Wheatley River, Hornes Creek, Oyster Bed Bridge, Cymbria, Chapel Creek, and Lukes Creek, and is dedicated to promoting environmental stewardship in the places we live and work.

WRIG has welcomed me on as their new Watershed Manager and I am looking forward to this summer as we work to protect and enhance Wheatley River and the surrounding areas.  I grew up in Colorado Springs, Colorado before moving to Iowa for university where I received my Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies with a minor in Biology from Dordt College.  I moved here in January with my husband, Pete, and we now live in Anglo Rustico.  I have had the privilege of volunteering with the Cornwall and Area Watershed Group and now look forward to working in our watershed as well.  I am excited to partner with this community to protect and preserve this beautiful place we call home and am excited to work to make a difference in our natural spaces for our enjoyment and for the enjoyment of future generations.

On June 12th, WRIG partnered with the Hunter-Clyde Watershed Group to host the 2015 Environmental Fun Day which took place at the PEI Preserve Company’s Gardens of Hope in New Glasgow.  Approximately 90 students came from local schools to participate in this event.  They learned about fly fishing, water quality, forestry, and wildlife.  It was a great success and we enjoyed our time together!

WRIG is also pleased to announce that we have rehired two students, Brittany MacLean and Jerrica Cormier, to be our Field Crew Supervisor and Field Crew Technician for the 2015 field season.  Brittany and Jerrica worked with us for the 2014 WRIG field season as well and we are glad to have them back.  Funding for these positions is made possible through Canada Summer Jobs, the Jobs for Youth Program, the Wildlife Conservation Fund, and the Watershed Management Fund.  They started with us during the last week of June and will be with us through August.  This summer they will be focussing on planting trees and shrubs, clearing blockages from streams, working to enhance fish passage, and assessing riparian health in our watershed.  If you have stream front property and would like native PEI trees or shrubs planted, let us know!  If you see any blockages or debris in the streams that might hinder fish passage or notice winter damage from this year’s snow please feel free to contact us as well.

July has been excellent start to our summer field work here in the Wheatley River and sub watersheds so far.  On Canada Day we had a booth at the park in North Rustico and gave away approximately 200 trees.  We hope that they have all been planted and are being cared for!  Our summer field crew has also planted many native trees in various locations throughout our watershed; we select trees that are native to PEI and plant them in locations where each specific type of tree can thrive.  The trees are provided through the Greening Spaces portion of the Watershed Management Fund which helps make much of our work possible.  Thank you to everyone who has allowed us to plant trees on your property.  Tree planting helps to increase our forested area, stabilize the banks of our rivers and streams, and adds much needed shade for the fish that live there.

This year we will also be putting up wood duck nesting boxes in various locations.  Wood ducks are cavity nesters and will build nests in natural cavities in trees or in abandoned woodpecker holes near wetland areas.  It can be difficult for them to find natural nesting sites in many places.  The nest boxes we will be placing throughout the watershed provide alternative nesting options and will hopefully help to increase the wood duck population here.  Let us know if you spot a wood duck or if you know of a good place for a nest box!

Our annual Celebrate Our River event is coming up!  Get ready to come out to Rackham’s Pond for a fun-filled afternoon.  We will be having a BBQ and everyone is welcome!  We will also be hosting the popular Duck Race at this event, so make sure to buy your duck ticket.  With the purchase of a duck ticket, you will be assigned a racing duck to enter in the race from Rackham’s Pond down to the Wheatley River Bridge.  This is always great fun for all ages and we offer prizes for the first three people whose ducks make it to the finish line.  We will also be unveiling a memorial bench for Jack Hanley, a member of our community that passed away in 2014.  Jack was active in the community and dedicated to doing his part to live sustainably.  His help maintaining the area around Rackham’s Pond was greatly appreciated and he is missed.

Our summer newsletter which will be coming out in August so keep an eye out for that.  It will be available here on our website, www.wheatleyriver.ca, where you can also stay up-to-date on all of WRIG’s activities and events, and also at locations throughout the community.  If you would like to receive a copy or be added to our mailing list, email your request to Kayla@WheatleyRiver.ca.  Please feel free to contact us with any questions, concerns, or observations—we would love to hear from you!

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Giving away trees at our Canada Day booth in North Rustico.

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Jerrica and Brittany working to create a rock pool under a culvert to raise the water level and enable fish to move through it.