Central Queens Branch of the PEI Wildlife Federation
Restoration and Enhancement of Brook Trout and Atlantic Salmon Habitat on Howell’s Brook and West Branch of Clyde River
In this project, WCF funding was used for one specific activity that was integral to a larger habitat restoration project. Specifically, it was used to re-excavate an existing bypass pond sediment trap on Howell’s Brook, tributary to West River. Having this infrastructure in place allows for the continued capture of fine sediments liberated from in-stream restoration and clearing. By reducing the bed-load of sediment, there will be a direct increase in the amount of high quality habitat available to salmonids. Exposing and reducing embedding of the underlying gravel and cobble of the stream bed will increase spawning and juvenile habitat for salmon and trout. Reduction of sedimentation in-stream will also provide benefits to other species. A higher level of aquatic insects is associated with less impacted stream systems and these are an important source of food for many birds and fish.
The project goals revisited:
- 1. Reduce existing sediment bed-load in Howell’s Brook and Clyde River.
- Howell’s Brook was the major area of focus, and an area in Elmwood where no previous restoration work was done. The stream had alders growing on both banks reaching into and over the stream interlocking with alders from the other bank, growing in the stream itself and on top of dead stumps and embedded limbs. It was impossible to walk through. This overgrowth slowed stream flow, and over time resulted in severe sediment deposition (sediment was ~3ft deep). Alders were aggressively removed to allow the stream to flush its sediment and redevelop proper channel structure. There were noticeable changes in the stream even after returning the next morning. In the remaining section large obstructions from previous storms and floods were removed and alders managed on a more selective basis. 1,996m of stream was restored in this section of Howell’s Brook. The use of WCF funding to re-excavate the downstream bypass pond meant sediment mitigation infrastructure was ready for the downstream movement of mobilized sediments
- 2. Manage and mitigate current and future inputs of sediments in Howell’s Brook and the West River and Clyde River
- At the request of CQWF the PEI Department of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy began work to improve water management on a clay section of Peter’s Rd which crosses Howell’s Brook
- 3. Diversify and improve riparian zone along Howell’s Brook and Clyde River
- Small patch and strip cuts were made through the alders and re-planted with 496 native trees and shrubs. With continued maintenance, the newly planted trees will grow above, compete and begin to shade-out the alders and eventually re-establish a more diverse type of riparian habitat
- 4. Increase habitat for Brook trout and Atlantic salmon (spawning, cover, nursery)
- 5.95 km of in-stream habitat were restored. When obstructions were cleared, large suitable whole logs would be repositioned into places where they could serve a dual purpose of providing overhead cover for salmonids and protecting undercut banks. Some cover logs were also added where it seemed an area was lacking sufficient cover