October Update!

The month of October brought vivid colours and even some snow to our beautiful island.  The colours of fall have been vibrant and breathtaking, giving us incredible and picture perfect landscapes.  With another successful field season completed, this is a quieter time of year for WRIG, but we have been staying busy with various events and projects!

On Saturday, October 10th, WRIG partnered with the Hunter-Clyde Watershed Group and the Island Nature Trust to take part in the 2015 Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup.  We walked along the Barachois Beach, the large sandbar that stretches across the area between the North Rustico harbour and Robinson’s Island, to collect garbage and fishing equipment that had washed ashore.  We collected a total of 27 kg of garbage during the cleanup.  Overall the beach looked fantastic, thanks to visitors that help keep the beach beautiful and safe by cleaning up after themselves and others!  The Barachois Beach is well-known to locals and is a relatively quiet beach making it an excellent location for observing several species of shorebirds, peaceful walks by the ocean, and enjoying time in the sun during the summer months.  This beach was also home to three pairs of nesting piping plovers this summer—their nesting areas were marked, protected, and monitored by the Island Nature Trust.  The piping plover is an internationally endangered shorebird that returns to PEI each spring to nest on our sandy beaches.  You can improve their chances of survival each year by helping to ensure that their marked nesting areas remain undisturbed.

WRIG has also been completing headwater surveys throughout our watershed.  These surveys involve locating the starting point for the major tributaries of the Wheatley River and marking them with a GPS point.  We will do additional surveys each spring and fall to monitor any changes in headwater location for each of these waterways.  Headwater streams are crucial because they are the source of water for our streams and rivers and a source of fresh water for the island.  Headwater streams are important for many reasons: they protect surrounding areas from floods by providing channels for the water to flow through; they influence downstream conditions by transporting nutrients, organic matter, and sediment; and they support abundant and diverse plant and animal life.  The health of the headwaters is directly related to the health of the entire river.

On Sunday, October 25th, a memorial ceremony was held for Jack Hanley.  Jack was a beloved member of the community and played a key role in keeping Rackham’s Pond beautiful for the enjoyment of others.  There is now a bench with a plaque dedicated to Jack Hanley located at the pond with a red oak tree in the center.  We are incredibly grateful that Jack was a part of this community, he is greatly missed.

WRIG will be holding a photo contest!  Send us your favourite picture from the Wheatley River area.  The subject can be landscapes, people, or natural details.  We want to see our watershed through the eyes of those who call it home!  The winner of the photo contest will have their photograph featured on the WRIG Facebook page and website, at our office, and will be published in the Northern Star.  Visit our Facebook page or check back here for more details!
Our fall newsletter will be coming out next month!  If there is anything you would like to see included or if you have an interesting article on this community or any relevant environmental subject please let us know!  If you’d like to stay up to date on WRIG events and receive the newsletter, contact us by emailing kayla@wheatleyriver.ca.  Follow us on Facebook or visit us here for more information!