25 Nov AgriWatershed Partnership Supports 2 Land Management Demonstration Projects
One of the Agri-Watershed Partnership’s projects for 2020 was to work with watershed group(s) and landowners to identify areas where agricultural runoff had impacted surface waters and to facilitate the use of the best management practices (BMPs) to address the problem. Financial support to complete the projects was provided by the AgriWatershed Partnership on a cost-shared basis with the landowners involved.
During the winter and spring of 2020, a list of 9 potential BMP projects was compiled from discussions with local watershed personnel and landowners. Each submission was evaluated and ranked, using factors that affect the impact of runoff identified by the AWP Steering Committee, by a selection committee from the Technical Working Group. Landowners from the top 2 ranked sites were contacted and the process to design land management projects to address runoff issues on the properties was initiated. Soil & Water Engineers from the Department of Agriculture worked with the landowners to design soil conservation plans for each property and work was begun in August and 2020.
Figure 1 One of the grassed waterways at the Visser project. The first demonstration site is a field owned by J&S Visser Incorporated of Orwell. The landowner, Steven Visser had worked with the local watershed coordinator, Clarence Ryan of the Pisquid River Enhancement Project, to identify the site and promote it to the AgriWatershed Partnership. The project included several farmable berms and a major grassed waterway that serves as an outlet for soil conservation work in a neighbouring field as well.
In November 2020, the Ministers’ of Agriculture and Land, and Environment Water and Climate Change toured the site where they heard from the watershed coordinator and farmer on their experience working with the AgriWatershed Partnership and the collaborative, targeted approach to identifying and addressing runoff issues.
The second demonstration site is a field owned by Arthur Mooney & Sons, St. Catherine’s. The field is in Red Point and Fred Cheverie, coordinator with the Souris Branch of the PEI Wildlife Federation, was key in working with farmer Merlin Mooney, to promote the project.
Working through both demonstrations projects has helped the AgriWatershed Partnership develop a framework for expanding the BMP Support program for 2021. It is hoped that more watershed personnel and farmers will work together to promote several more projects for the coming growing season.