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Stratford Area Watershed Improvement Group: A Glimpse into the Exciting World of Watersheds on Prince Edward Island

Pondside Restoration/Research Project

SEE BELOW FOR UPDATE!

t2w3622.jpgFor many years, the Pondside sub-watershed system was the primary source of water for residents in the Rosebank watershed; over 200,000 gallons/day were withdrawn to service the needs of residents. Although development has slowed and water withdrawn has decreased to 95,000gallons/day in the region, this watershed has suffered serious damage from siltation, lack of biodiversity in local forest stands, and low water levels.  SAWIG is seeking to help this system with various methods of restoration and enhancement.

Extensive development, water withdrawal, deforestation, and land-use over the years have led to the deterioration of the Pondside System, which begins behind Home Hardware (Kinlock Rd) and extends to Stewart’s Cove at the end of Aptos Drive; there is now a need for extensive enhancement and restoration efforts by the Town of Stratford and the Stratford Area Watershed Improvement Group.

pondside system

Issues within the Pondside System

  • Increased development
  • Increased water withdrawal
  • Decreased wildlife habitat
  • Increased phosphorous levels in open water bodies
  • Decreased water levels
  • Decreased dissolved oxygen levels

Originally, the group was planning a 5 stage project, such as wetland restoration, restoration oUntitledf Moore’s and Kelly Pond, and land acquisition and/or management of other areas within the sub watershed. Please click here for a brief summary of the original plan.

Dalhousie University Research in the Pondside System and Changes to the Original Project Plan

Research has indicated priority areas in need of restoration and enhancement which differ from the original 5-phase project developed by the watershed group.  Research partnership with Dalhousie University allowed the group to begin to establish a baseline from which to measure the success of this long-term project down the road.

Research was conducted monthly from May-October, 2012. Masters of Engineering (former) student, and Stratford

Water Testing in Pondside

Water Testing in Pondside, 2012

resident, Janeen McGuigan partnered through Dal to sample for water quality (including phosphorous and nitrogen), water depth, bacteria, water chemistry and sediment grain size analyses.

The results from these sampling events have strengthened the watershed group’s desire to improve this system, and will continue to work with Janeen in 2013 through further research. Janeen finished the Pondside report 2 years ago, which has been a guiding document for the group regarding long-term planning for enhancement and restoration in the area.

The recommendations from the Dalhousie Report are as follows:

Based on the results of the watershed assessment, the following recommendations are made for the consideration of SAWIG.
1) Implementation of a long term surface water quality monitoring program. This will allow for a more comprehensive assessment of baseline conditions, and the effects on any remedial measures applied in the watershed.
2) Development of a watershed rehabilitation plan to mitigate current sources of nutrient and sediment loading. The plan could include both structural (e.g. retention ponds, wetlands, infiltration systems) and non-structural (decreased fertilizer use) components. This should be developed and implemented before aquatic system restoration activities (i.e. dredging) occur.

Strategies may include:
1. Design and implementation of upstream stormwater treatment to remove contaminants before discharge into Moore’s Pond. One option is the use of decentralized stormwater best management practices along the discharge path to remove sediment and filter contaminants (e.g. vegetated swales, rain gardens, small scale constructed wetlands)
2. Development of policies for stormwater quality management and erosion and sediment control for new developments. Policies should have a focus on stormwater quality, in addition to stormwater quantity, to ensure that sediment and nutrient loading are minimized. In particular, policies should include a provision to ensure that new developments result in no net increase in phosphorus or sediment loadings to downstream water bodies.
3. A requirement that 25-50% of a land parcel proposed for development remain undisturbed. This area is to be protected from alteration for the purpose of stormwater
management and wastewater treatment system construction.
4. A requirement that erosion and sediment control measures be implemented to ensure
that construction and post-development sediment loadings do not exceed pre-development loadings.
5. A requirement that post-development phosphorous loadings do not exceed predevelopment loadings through the implementation of low-impact design techniques and stormwater best management practices to treat phosphorous laden storm water
discharging from a development.

Click here to view Janeen’s report.

UPDATE! Development of Water Quality Monitoring Protocol

One of the key recommendations from the Pondside watershed assessment is implementation of a long-term surface water quality monitoring program. The parameters involved in water quality, accompanied by the crucial role clean water plays in healthy ecosystems, justifies the development of the monitoring program by trained personnel.  Dr. Mike van den Heuvel, UPEI professor, was selected by the Stratford Area Watershed Improvement Group board of Directors to construct the water monitoring protocol due to his experience as Canada Research Chair of Watershed Ecological Integrity for the Canadian Rivers Institute.

Long-term, stable monitoring of water quality within the Pondside watershed will make mike.pngit possible for SAWIG to correlate changes in water quality to events occurring in the community, such as heavy rainfall, urban development and most importantly: rehabilitation efforts within the watershed. Having a professionally-developed water monitoring protocol will provide baseline data for the watershed, making it far easier to identify problems and assess the success of any rehabilitation efforts made in the future.

The completion and implementation of the water quality monitoring protocol will allow both the town and watershed group to establish baseline data for the foreseeable future within the Pondside system, and act as a model for possible future programs across the town of Stratford and beyond.

Currently, a few of the recommended parameters are being looked after; however, with very limited funding available to the group, there is limited opportunity to fully implement these recommendations. Discussions are currently underway between the town and SAWIG on how to proceed. Stay tuned.

Please click here to view Dr. van den Heuval’s report.

 

For further information, please contact the watershed group at stratfordwater@gmail.com .

Please watch for updates!

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