CWWA Monthly Newsletters

CWWA Monthly Newsletter: March 2014

Stewardship Suggestions
From the Canaan-Washademoak Watershed Association

Over March Break, my children and I drove from Fredericton to New York City and back. As I sat behind the wheel and whirled through the landscape in my fossil-fuel-powered machine, the like of which has been around for less than a century, I watched the forested landscape give way first to fields, then to malls and highways, and finally to the sprawling east coast megalopolis of the Boston-Washington corridor. We spent a night in Portland and went to see a concert (Old Crow Medicine Show opened for The Avett Brothers – fantastic!), and pulled into our friends’ house in Brooklyn the next evening.

The next day, we took the subway into Manhattan, walked around Greenwich Village, and up to Union Square. We stopped for lunch at a vegan/vegetarian/whole-food restaurant in the Village; one of us had Thai rice noodles, one a veggie burger, and one two orders of spring rolls. My kids spotted a famous actress in the Doc Marten store on Broadway; we stopped for a designer coffee a few blocks further north; made a brief pilgrimage to the Hotel Chelsea and Chelsea Guitar; declared ourselves exhausted and hopped the subway back to Brooklyn.

We got a hotel room in mid-town for our last two nights in New York City; I showed the kids Times Square at night and the Upper East Side; we visited the Museum of Natural History; went to lunch in Grand Central Station, where my daughter forked over $8.00 for a small container of blueberries; and walked way over to 34th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues so my son could buy an electric guitar at Sam Ash.

On Saturday morning, after breakfast near Columbia University on the Upper West Side (just a few blocks from where the two buildings collapsed last week), we headed up the Hudson River and stayed the night with some friends in Kingston. All of us heaved a huge sigh of relief when we arrived at Betsy’s house, and had the best night of sleep of the vacation in her peaceful neighbourhood. On Sunday, we went onto Boston, stayed the night there; visited Quincy Market and saw the Body Worlds exhibit; hopped back in the van and made it home by midnight.

My 14-year-old son was tremendously grateful for the trip to New York, mostly because we got to see our friends and, of course, because he scored a new guitar. My 16-year-old daughter loved the City, but was as dog-tired on our last day as everybody else. My son spent 3 days with his eyes red, smarting, and watering, and all three of us experienced stuffy noses and sinus headaches – these were by-products of the state of the air quality in New York City. My feet were killing me after the first day of wandering the pavement, and deteriorated from there.

On our way out of town on Saturday, we drove down 9th Avenue from 116th St. to the 96th St. entrance to the West Side Highway. It was the first bright, sunny, and warm day of our trip. As we sat at a traffic light facing south, looking down an 8-mile tunnel of buildings, we could see a dark haze between us and the sun – New York smog. My kids were stunned that we had been breathing that all week. We all realized how artificial the entire experience had been – every single thing we did, from eating rice noodles to taking public transportation to attending a concert with several thousand other people, to driving on asphalt, were only possible because of our collective and grossly inflated use of fossil fuels. The net result of this is a spectacularly exciting city, but also the disappearance, literally for hundreds of miles north and south of us, of viable wildlife habitat and populations, potable water, clean air, and productive land. And, if our responses to the city are any indication, all this “progress” also takes its toll on human physical and mental health as well.

I think we have a false sense of security in New Brunswick - we’ve been lucky, not smart. Our land, air, and water are comparatively pretty clean. But, we don’t protect our landscapes, and our “forests” are plantations. Our cities are ringed by sprawling suburbs, and we roll in and out of box stores and malls as much as our neighbours to the south, believing that more stuff equates to a better life. As a result, New Brunswick’s wildlife, water quality, and ecological health and productivity have also been diminished considerably over the last couple of hundred years. Stewardship is up to all of us, both directly through our own land management activities, and by making our values and desired future conditions clear to our elected officials.

At our next meeting, Tracy Glynn of the Conservation Council of NB will speak about the new provincial forestry plan. We hope to see you on April 21 at the Women’s Institute Hall, 1 Cody’s Lane in Cody’s, 7:30-9:30 p.m. Everybody is welcome, as always.

Shawn Dalton Executive Director This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

CWWA Monthly Newsletter: February 2014

Stewardship Suggestions
From the Canaan-Washademoak Watershed Association

Last summer and fall, as part of our work funded by the NB Environmental Trust Fund, we were able to hire Parish Geomorphic to take water quality samples at 18 sites along the Canaan-Washademoak, and to purchase and install data loggers, to measure water temperature. Twelve temperature data loggers were placed during August 2013, in various tributaries and the main stem of the river and lake to provide a better understanding of the water temperatures throughout the watershed.

Salmonids, particularly brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) and Atlantic salmon (Salmosalar), are known to exist in the Canaan-Washademoak watershed and water temperature plays an important role in the survival of these cold water species. The loggers were left in the watercourses until the end of November 2013, when they were retrieved and the temperature data contained on the loggers was downloaded. Water temperature readings were recorded every 2 hours. A third of the sites had water temperatures that met preferred conditions for salmonids.

Along with water temperature, other water quality parameters are important in identifying watercourses with conditions that provide adequate aquatic habitat for the species that are most likely to exist there. The water quality measures we used were selected based on the ability to compare with the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) water quality guidelines for aquatic life and the associated Water Quality Index (WQI). In our watershed, aluminum amounts exceeded the CCME water quality guidelines for aquatic life at the majority of the sample locations. The pH (levels of acidity/alkalinity) and phosphorus measurements that were collected indicated that these too often exceeded the established guidelines. We have been sampling water quality and temperature for almost 20 years, so we can also detect changes in conditions over time.

At our next meeting, we will review a number of issues that could or will affect our watershed – these include the new provincial forestry plan, an overview of the recent NBEN pipeline workshop, and others. We hope to see you on January 15 at the Municipal Building in Cambridge-Narrows 7:30-9:30 p.m. Everybody is welcome, as always.

Robena Weatherley President This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Reace Black Member, Board of Directors This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Shawn Dalton Executive Director This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

CWWA Monthly Newsletter: January 2014

Stewardship Suggestions
From the Canaan-Washademoak Watershed Association

Our January meeting took place on the 15th, when representatives of TransCanada’s Energy East Pipeline project gave an overview of this enormous project, which is slated to run directly through the Canaan-Washademoak Watershed on its way to Saint John. The meeting was well-attended, with over 25 people in the audience. Much of the discussion centred around safety, both during and after construction; the alignment of the pipeline and possible adjustments to it based on landowners’ needs; the source and destinations of the crude oil once it has been refined; and local costs and benefits in terms of possible environmental, social, and economic impacts. We borrowed the text below from the TransCanada Energy East website (http://www.transcanada.com/energy-east-pipeline.html):

Called the Energy East Pipeline, the 4,500-kilometre pipeline will carry 1.1-million barrels of crude oil per day from Alberta and Saskatchewan to refineries in Eastern Canada.

Currently, the project has the following major components:

  • Converting an existing natural gas pipeline to an oil transportation pipeline;
  • Constructing new pipelines in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Eastern Ontario, Québec and New Brunswick to link up with the converted pipe;
  • Constructing the associated facilities, pump stations and tank terminals required to move crude oil from Alberta to Québec and New Brunswick, including marine facilities that enable access to other markets by ship.

While the exact route will only be determined after public and regulatory review, the planned starting point is a new tank terminal in Hardisty, Alta. Three other new terminals will be built along the pipeline’s route: One in Saskatchewan, one in the Québec City area and another in the Saint John, N.B., area. The terminals in the Québec City and Saint John areas will include facilities for marine tanker loading. The project will also deliver oil to existing Québec refineries in Montréal, near Québec City and in Saint John. New pipeline will be built in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Eastern Ontario, Québec and New Brunswick.

The Energy East Pipeline Project involves three major components: pipeline conversion, the construction of new pipeline and the construction of new pipeline facilities. Energy East will convert an existing natural gas pipeline to oil service between Burstall, Saskatchewan and Cornwall, Ontario. New sections of pipe will also need to be constructed in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Eastern Ontario, Québec and New Brunswick to link up with the newly converted pipe.

Lastly, associated facilities like pump stations, tank terminals and marine facilities will be constructed in order to successfully move the crude oil from Alberta to New Brunswick. For more information on this project, contact local Community Relations coordinators Pamela McKay ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) or William Thompson ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ).

At our next meeting, we will find out the results of our water quality and temperature monitoring in the Canaan River and Washademoak Lake – this work was carried out by our Monitoring Coordinator, Ron Jenkins, and his team at Parish Geomorphic. The meeting will be held on February 24 at the Canaan Recreation Centre, 408 Cherryvale Road, Cherryvale, 7:30-9:30 p.m. Everybody is welcome, as always.

Robena Weatherley President This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Reace Black Member, Board of Directors This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Shawn Dalton Executive Director This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

CWWA Monthly Newsletter: December 2013

Stewardship Suggestions
From the Canaan-Washademoak Watershed Association
Are We All Kidding Ourselves?

We’ve been talking about riparian zone protection for over a decade – kids we presented this to when they were in elementary school have graduated high school by now. Yet, the disruption to the riparian zone along both the Canaan River and Washademoak Lake has increased in this time. There’s the constant threat of development, and because the rate at which properties change hands appears to be escalating, so is the need to keep this important issue in the public eye.

Ten years ago, we conducted a study of the state of the riparian zone, and found that a total of 8.2 km of the shoreline along the lake had been denuded of vegetation. Now, in addition to ongoing vegetation disruption, we are also seeing an increase in the number of structures intended to stabilize the shoreline – and the engineering approaches they are using to do this are more and more aggressive as well.

Like many watershed groups, the Canaan-Washademoak Watershed Association is fighting an uphill battle: our members understand that the riparian zone is critical to the long-term health of both the aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Most members of the general public do not. In addition, while according to a recent mailback survey many landowners in the Canaan-Washademoak area think the health of the river and lake has declined in the past several years, they also think this is the fault of someone other than themselves. That is, few people are willing to accept responsibility for the role that their own land management strategies play in protecting or damaging the ecological health of the system. But individual land owners have an important role to play in watershed stewardship. In THIS watershed, this role is critical, since most of the shoreline is in private ownership.

Beyond this, the soils of this watershed are among the most highly erodible in the province, and the natural shoreline is both armoured with imbricated stone and heavily vegetated. Once either of these is disrupted, erosion occurs easily. We have observed repeatedly in our many publications and presentations, that it takes only a strong wind to stir up the bottom sediments in Washademoak Lake, and turn the lake reddish-purple. The accumulation of silt supports the growth of submerged aquatic vegetation, increasing water temperature, and algal blooms (including blue-green algae which can be harmful to human health, and to that of our pets). All of these have a negative impact on fish habitat, aesthetics, swimming, and other water-based recreation.

Recently changes in federal regulations have relaxed some of the rules around water course protection. It has become even more important for landowners to protect the resource themselves. We have observed that there is a rudimentary stewardship ethic in this area - albeit with some egregious exceptions. This is a common resource – it belongs to everybody. To protect it, it needs to become socially unacceptable for anyone to deteriorate or destroy the Canaan River and Washademoak Lake, and their tributaries. Evidence suggests that we are not doing a good enough job with this. Look around and judge for yourself – we may be setting ourselves up for a tipping point for severe deterioration, from which it will not be able to return. We hope we’re not kidding ourselves when we dare to hope that everyone will do their part to protect this spectacular watershed.

Please join us next month, when representatives of TransCanada Energy East will be discussing the proposed pipeline project. If it goes ahead as currently conceptualized, will move 1.1 million barrels per day of crude oil through our watershed. Come learn more on January 15 at the Municipal Building in Cambridge-Narrows 7:30-9:30 p.m. Everybody is welcome, as always. (Note, this is a Wednesday, not our usual Monday schedule).

Robena Weatherley Member, Board of Directors This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ,/p>

Shawn Dalton Executive Director This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

CWWA Monthly Newsletter: October 2013

Stewardship Suggestions
From the Canaan-Washademoak Watershed Association

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently released its fifth assessment of the physical science behind our current understanding of how the world’s climate is changing. According to that report, “warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia. The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, sea level has risen, and the concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased.”

What does this mean for us? It means that we will experience warmer, wetter winters, with less snow and a shorter duration of snow cover in the winter; changes in the amoun and timing of ice freeze up and break up; warmer summers with more frequent severe rain storms; changes in water levels in streams, with high water during and after storms and reduced based flow between them; and salt water intrusion into coastal aquifers.

We can also expect impacts on reliable, adequate water supply; degradation of fish habitat; more soil erosion; increases in stream water temperature; reduction in stream water quality. A reduced snow pack will cause a reduction in water storage in our watersheds; and because of the increased severity of storms, increased damage of shoreline property and infrastructure is likely.

As individuals and communities, we need to take steps to prepare for and adapt to a changing climate regime. The Canaan-Washademoak Watershed Association would like to work with residents, businesses, municipalities, and other stakeholders on a community-based climate change adaptation strategy. If you are interested in working on this with us, please contact one of us via email (see below).

The subject of our next meeting will be the TransCanada Energy East pipeline, which if it goes through as currently conceptualized, will move 1.1 million barrels per day of crude oil through our watershed. Come learn more on November 18 at the Women’s Institute Hall, 1 Cody’s Lane in Cody’s, 7:30-9:30 p.m. Everybody is welcome, as always.

Robena Weatherley President This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Reace Black Member, Board of Directors This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Shawn Dalton Executive Director This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

CWWA Monthly Newsletter: September 2013

Stewardship Suggestions
From the Canaan-Washademoak Watershed Association

What kinds of trees to you have on your property? Are they healthy? Do you have a diverse mix of species and ages in your forest? The Canaan-Washademoak Watershed Association can help you answer these questions: one of the projects we are working on this year is characterization of the forests in the watershed. We are doing this using forest biodiversity monitoring protocols developed by the Environmental Monitoring and Assessment network at Environment Canada.

We initiated this project several years ago, when we established plots on two pieces of private property, one upstream in the Canaan area and one downstream near Washademoak Lake. We staked out 20m x 20m plots, and identified all trees larger than 10 cm dbh (diameter at breast height). In addition, we plotted the locations of each tree on a map, noted height, health, and several other characteristics of the trees.

This year, we will go back to those sites and measure the same set of characteristics, to see whether and how the forest systems have changed. We also plan to add several news sites this fall, and invite you to contact us if you’re interested in having a site established on your property.

This work is beneficial and important in a number of ways:

  • Characterizing the current conditions in our forests can give a sense of the overall ecological health of the region.
  • Having baseline data allows us to detect change in forest ecosystems – this can serve as an early warning system, and help forest managers and scientists identify and address the effects of agents of change such as climate change, pest outbreaks, invasive exotic species, etc.
  • Individual property owners can make management decisions based on differences between current conditions and desired future conditions in the forests on their property.

To learn more about forest biodiversity monitoring, come to our next meeting on October 21. The meeting will be held at the Canaan Recreation Centre, 408 Cherryvale Road, Cherryvale, 7:30-9:30 p.m. Everybody is welcome, as always.

Robena Weatherley President This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Reace Black Member, Board of Directors This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Shawn Dalton Executive Director This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

CWWA Monthly Newsletter: August 2013

Stewardship Suggestions
From the Canaan-Washademoak Watershed Association

Nobody could have failed to notice the big rainfall event that we had in late July. The water levels remain high in the streams and lakes as a result of the water that ran off the land. Many people will also have noticed the large amount of soil that ran off with the water.

The Kennebecasis River, Belleisle Bay, and Hampton Marsh all turned a brick-red colour and the Washademoak Lake was a sort of sick mauve colour. Did you go on to ponder the reason for this colour change? Any place that had disturbed, exposed soil suffered a great loss and the waterways suffered a massive unwelcome addition of silt. Why is silt a problem? There are many reasons but for starters, it increases the amount of aquatic vegetation that chokes our coves and shorelines. It also coats fish eggs and prevents them from hatching. To say nothing of what it means to lose that much topsoil.

The storm did provide individual property owners with an opportunity to see what happened on their own land and to think of consequences and solutions. If you didn't actually see this yourself, you might like to make some observations the next time we have a downpour.

If you have removed shoreline vegetation, for instance, or if there is disturbed soil and drainage running through it, you may have seen damage. Have you considered some solutions that might spare you costly restoration? You could plant some native trees and shrubs on your property or you could just cease mowing and cutting and nature will restore some vegetation for you. That is, of course, the easiest and most economical situation. You will benefit by an appreciation that shoreline vegetation of all kinds is the best defense against the elements.

If you enjoy seeing birds and other wildlife, then it is important to realize that they need intact shoreline vegetation to provide them shelter, nesting opportunities and a natural habitat. Fragmentation of the riparian zone, leaving great open spaces is the least beneficial thing that you can do to encourage wildlife. Of course shade is extremely important as well to help keep the water from becoming too warm. Many species of fish have very narrow thermal tolerance and will simply die if the water temperature exceeds what they can tolerate.

We would like to suggest that you have a look at your own property, your drainage plan and land cover, and judge for yourself what kind of contribution you are making to the stewardship of our great common resource.... our waterway.

At our September 16 meeting, we will be talking about the potential effects of climate change on the Canaan-Washademoak Watershed, as well as what we can do as a community to develop adaptation strategies. The meeting will be held at the Canaan Recreation Centre, 408 Cherryvale Road, Cherryvale, 7:30-9:30 p.m. Everybody is welcome, as always.

Robena Weatherley President This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Reace Black Member, Board of Directors This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Shawn Dalton Executive Director This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

CWWA Monthly Newsletter: July 2013

Stewardship Suggestions
From the Canaan-Washademoak Watershed Association

New Brunswick’s many rivers, streams, lakes, and wetlands are among our most prized natural resources. We are water-loving people, and many of us spend as much time as we can on or near water, especially in the summertime. In our enthusiasm to get at the water, though, we sometimes inadvertently damage the ecological systems that keep it clean and clear – removing vegetation from the shoreline so we can see or access Washademoak Lake is an example of this, and one that appears to have been escalating in recent years.

Because keeping the riparian zone (the vegetated habitat along the shore) intact is critical to the health of rivers and lakes, the government of New Brunswick has created regulations to protect this area. One of these is the Watercourse Alteration Regulation 90-80 under the New Brunswick Clean Water Act C-6.1, Acts of New Brunswick, 1989. The guidelines for this regulation describe why we have rules about protecting watercourses, activities that are allowed and not allowed in or near water, and those that require a permit – listed below. In addition, the Rural Plan for Cambridge-Narrows includes a 30-m conservation zone around the perimeter of Washademoak Lake.

Activities Which Require a Watercourse Alteration Permit

Watercourse Alterations not only involve actual physical alterations of the watercourse, such as damming, re-routing or dredging, they include all activities taking place within 30 metres of the bank of any watercourse involving a disturbance of the water, soil, or vegetation:

  • bridge and culvert installation and repair;
  • use or construction of a ford;
  • road construction, landscaping, and tree removal within 30 metres of the edge of the bank of a watercourse;
  • addition of any material including clean fill, sand, gravel or rocks to the bed, shoreline or within 30 metres of the edge of the banks of any watercourse;
  • draining, pumping, excavating, or removing: water, soil, mud, sand, gravel, aggregate of any kind, or debris from any watercourse or wetland;
  • construction and installation of breakwaters, retaining walls, wharves, groins;
  • operation of heavy machinery within 30 metres of the bank of any watercourse;
  • installation or modification of a dam and/or any water level control structure;
  • installation or modification of any pipeline crossing;
  • pond creation, by-pass or dug out.

Please help protect our rivers and lakes by avoiding any alteration of the shoreline. If you must carry out activities in the riparian zone, be sure to get a permit approving your project design prior to starting the work. For guidance on your particular situation, we encourage you to seek guidance from the Regional Service Commission Inspectors. They can be reached at 506-453-2956.

Our next meeting will be held on August 19, 7:30-9:30 p.m. at the Cambridge-Narrows Municipal Building, 6 Municipal Lane in Cambridge-Narrows. Dr. Rodney Savidge, who teaches tree physiology and biochemistry at the University of New Brunswick will be giving a talk entitled, “Forestry VISION for New Brunswick - Acadian or Boreal Forest?”

Robena Weatherley President This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Reace Black Member, Board of Directors This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Shawn Dalton Executive Director This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

CWWA Monthly Newsletter: June 2013

Stewardship Suggestions
From the Canaan-Washademoak Watershed Association

The Canaan-Washademoak Watershed Association was established 10 years ago, because many local residents had noticed changes in the water in both the Canaan River and Washademoak Lake. There were places where the water had become less clear than it had been in years and decades past; algal growth on the rocks along the shoreline made them slippery; silt built up in coves and they subsequently became filled with aquatic vegetation, making them far less appealing for paddling and swimming than they had once been. In addition, quite a few people who had fished this area for decades had begun to have noticeably less success in catching fish, especially on the river.

Because these changes caused concern among long-time residents, the Watershed Association established 25 long-term water quality monitoring sites, which we have sampled several times in the past decade. We have also monitored age and species composition of fish, and measured water temperature through the watershed.

This year, we are going to replicate some of these ecological monitoring activities; we invite you to join us. There are plenty of opportunities to volunteer with the Watershed Association if you want to get outdoors and get your feet wet. In July, we’ll be installing 10 data loggers to monitor water temperature; in August, we’ll be collecting water samples at our 25 long-term water quality monitoring sites.

In 2006, we established two forest biodiversity monitoring sites. These are 20 x 20-metre plots where we identified, measured, determined the health of, and mapped every tree with a diameter at breast height (dbh) of over 10 cm. It’s time to go back and re-examine these sites to determine whether and how they have changed. Differences in tree species composition, health, or growth patterns can serve as an early detection tool for the effects of climate change or other ecological changes that may cause deterioration or improvement of forest health in our watershed. Ideally, we would have 100 random plots such as these throughout the watershed. If you are interested in establishing a long-term forest biodiversity monitoring plot on your land, or in learning how to monitor forest biodiversity, please contact us (see below for our email addresses).

We won’t be holding a meeting in July, as we will be busy with the activities described above, and will also have a presence at the St. John River Summit on June 22nd, and at Cambridge-Narrows Community Days on July 6th. Stop by and visit our booth at either event!

Robena Weatherley President This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Reace Black Member of the Board of Directors This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Shawn Dalton Executive Director This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

CWWA Monthly Newsletter: May 2013

Stewardship Suggestions
From the Canaan-Washademoak Watershed Association

On April 22, Hans Arisz of R.V. Anderson Associates, Ltd. gave a talk to the Canaan-Washademoak Watershed Association, entitled “Managing Runoff from Landscaping to Prevent Shoreline Erosion.” It surprised some of our members to discover that their upland land management practices can affect shoreline erosion quite dramatically. This is because heavy runoff causes rills to form from surface erosion, and piping effects from through-ground flow. We’ve all seen those big crevices that form where water runs off driveways and onto lawns, or along the edges of roads and into ditches – those are rills and they are easy to detect. But piping effects from water flowing below the surface are more difficult to see or address.

There are three primary ways to minimize runoff of surface water:

  • Do not concentrate runoff – allow water to spread out over a large surface area,
  • Control rate of runoff – detain water in small detention ponds or rain gardens,
  • Control flow over bank – the best way to do this, of course, is to leave shoreline vegetation intact

Erosion caused by subsurface flow is more difficult to control, and involves dealing with the problem after the fact. Again, the best way to protect your shoreline from erosion caused by subsurface flow of water is to keep the upland vegetation on the stump: this allows trees and shrubs to absorb water before it starts to move to the shoreline.

Other water management techniques include rainwater harvesting, rain gardens, and onsite ponding. All seek to manage both the volume of water traveling across or under your property, and controlling the rate at which water is released into groundwater systems or the land surface.

Please contact us by email if you would like more information on this subject; our addresses are below. Everyone is welcome to join us at our next meeting on June 17, 7:30-9:30 p.m., at the Canaan Recreation Centre, 408 Cherryvale Road, Cherryvale. A representative of the Assembly of First Nations’ Chiefs in New Brunswick will be giving a talk called, “New Brunswick First Nations: Treaty Rights, Roles, and Responsibilities in Natural Resource Management.”

Robena Weatherley President This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Shawn Dalton Executive Director This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

CWWA Monthly Newsletter: April 2013

Stewardship Suggestions
From the Canaan-Washademoak Watershed Association

The birds are singing, the snow has melted, and the huge chunks of ice on the banks of the rivers are shrinking away. It’s time to get outdoors and have some fun. For many people this involves working in our yards – so we’d like to talk a bit this month about how our individual land management practices affect the health of our environment. The way that grass is mowed, waste disposed of, and trees cared for makes a difference in the quality of our lives and those of future generations too. All systems in a watershed are interrelated; everything affects everything else. This is why the Canaan-Washademoak Watershed Association has always taken an ecosystem approach to our work, thinking of land in watershed units, divided along natural ecological and geological boundaries, rather than along political boundaries.

People love to live near water, so lowlands and floodplains in New Brunswick are the places we have most often chosen to build our communities. This made a lot of sense when we used waterways for transportation. These days, though, the wisdom of building houses and associated infrastructure is questionable, especially as our changing climate is likely to increase the frequency and intensity of storms. There are some things we can do on our own properties to help reduce our impacts, especially erosion, on nearby watercourses:

  • If it is necessary to expose soil, keep it covered with hay or straw mulch after reseeding to reduce erosion.
  • During construction, protect trees from heavy equipment by encasing them with heavy planks tied around the trunks vertically.
  • Protect the root systems of large trees from soil compaction by heavy equipment.
  • Avoid placing too much topsoil or other material over the root systems of large trees, as this can also kill them.
  • Consider using vegetation as a natural fence around your property. This provides privacy and makes great wildlife habitat.
  • Minimize mowing and leave clippings in place to add organic matter to your lawn.
  • Be stingy and careful with fertilizers and pesticides.
  • Control runoff by directing rainfall and snowmelt to safe drainageways. This will reduce scouring and keep the soil where we want and need it – on the land.
  • Remember that hard surfaces (whether compacted soil or pavement) are impermeable to water -- they increase runoff and reduce groundwater infiltration.

If you would like to learn more about this subject, please contact us by email; our addresses are below. Mark your calendar: our next meeting will be on May 20, where Cambridge-Narrows Mayor Blair Cummings will share municipal perspectives on environmental protection.

Robena Weatherley President This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Shawn Dalton Executive Director This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

CWWA Monthly Newsletter, March 2013

A Note about Watershed Stewardship From the Canaan-Washademoak Watershed Association

Spring is just around the corner! This is the time of year when we start dreaming about paddling in nearby streams and lakes, and itching to get outdoors and working in our yards. Last month, we introduced or reintroduced you to the CWWA, and talked about our watershed, and landownership patterns here. We mentioned that most of the stream- and lakeside properties are privately owned. This means that we all need to be careful about what we do to the vegetation along our own shorelines, and consider how our landscaping practices across our properties affect water flow and erosion. In fact, on April 22 our monthly meeting will be about just that – Hydro-Com Technologies will be giving a presentation called “Managing runoff from landscaping to prevent shoreline erosion”. The meeting will be held at the Cambridge-Narrows Municipal Building, 6 Municipal Lane, Cambridge-Narrows, from 7:30 till 9:30 p.m.

Whether you live or work on small lots, or large farms or forests, there are some simple steps you can take to help improve and protect water quality in local streams and lakes:
  • Retain and plant trees! The more vegetative cover in the watershed, the better chance water has of getting into soil and making its way to watercourses underground.
  • Allow a buffer strip of flowers, grasses, or shrubs to grow up around your yard and fields, and avoid disturbing any shoreline vegetation - it protects against erosion.
  • Never introduce invasive non-native species of plants or animals into our environment.
  • Never dump oil or other toxins into ditches or drains (these lead straight to the nearest stream), or directly into watercourses, and avoid using fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides on your lawn or garden.
  • Particularly in new building sites, be sure you have a drainage plan that will allow the increased runoff to safely make its way to the waterway without causing erosion.
  • Try to avoid disturbing large areas of soil, and do not allow soil to remain bare over winter, as it will erode both by water and wind, and may be carried to the waterway.
  • Retaining walls are a particularly bad idea, as they all collapse eventually, worsening erosion. Restoration is very expensive.
  • All shoreline alterations require approval by the provincial government – make sure you have your permits in place before beginning any shoreline management projects.
We invite you to get involved in the Canaan-Washademoak Watershed Association. You can reach us by email; our addresses are below. Better yet, come out to our next meeting - we hope to see you there on April 22!

Robena Weatherley, President This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Shawn Dalton, Executive Director This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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