The rain this morning was not much of a deterrent for the summer field crews from WRIG, HCWG, the volunteers nor DFO’s Western PEI CAMP coordinator Stephanie Cormier, when we set off en-mass to sample the 3 sites in the Wheatley River and the estuary.

Without the assistance of the HCWG’s field crew, this task would have been almost impossible to accomplish due to the sheer volume of algae (ULVA) collected in the sampling process.  Even with the extra person power this morning,  the third round of sampling at the site off the Stead Road had to be abandoned because the it was so profuse.

What is CAMP all about?  Biological data is collected with beach seines that capture and later release live small fish and crustaceans. From this, the participating groups collect samples and then provide important information, such as:

  • identification of fish species;
  • numbers of fish;
  • water temperature, salinity and dissolved oxygen;

The 2011 Wheatley River mini-CAMP is not a full fledged registered DFO CAMP site but is instead a pared down version created to help our watershed group collect some pertinent data about our estuary and bay.  It remains to be seen if we might be considered as a CAMP site sometime in the future.

In other CAMP sites, with the collected information, scientists working with government agencies and universities can undertake nutrient analyses, organic loading assessments, and changes in of the aquatic community structure. With this in hand, identification of cause may be determined and actions put into place to mitigate potential negative impacts.

Today’s mini-CAMP sampling was an education in estuary ecology for some of the crew members as they learned to identify species and life stages of fish i.e. mummy-chugs, various species of stickle back, silver sides, grass shrimp and killifish.