Wheatley River Improvement Group
WRIG Stream Restoration and Habitat Enhancement
This project benefited wildlife and improved wildlife habitat by increasing tree cover in a heavily agricultural area, by clearing debris to facilitate fish passage through waterways, by completing assessments that will provide a solid foundation for future restoration and enhancement work, by completing headwaters surveys that indicate changing habitat seasonally, and by educating the public and students who will be future decision-makers on environmental issues that directly impact habitat and wildlife.
The project goals revisited:
- Plant 500 native trees and shrubs. A total of 1,308 native tree and shrub species were planted. 978 trees were planted at 11 sites in the Wheatley River Watershed by the WRIG field crew, 96 trees were given to students from local schools at our Environmental Fun Day on June 10th, and 54 trees were given to WRIG members and local residents to plant on private land at the Celebrate Our River Event on August 27th. 180 trees were given to visitors on Canada Day to be planted on private land after taking the ‘Canada Day Tree Planting Pledge’, promising to plant and care for the tree properly. Swamp milkweed plants were also given to interested landowners in order to improve and enhance pollinator habitat.
- Complete 4 km of stream enhancement work. 8.65 km of stream along the Wheatley River and a portion of Horne’s Creek were walked and connectivity was restored. Fish passage was improved, blockages were removed, and 8 brushmats were constructed to trap sediment and stabilize banks. One patch cut was completed along Horne’s Creek in an area overtaken with alders; native species suited to the area were then under-planted. One major blockage was removed with a chainsaw near a new culvert off of Route 2, greatly improving flow.
- Complete 5 km of riparian health assessments. 13 km of riparian health assessments were completed, providing up-to-date information that will be used to guide future work.
- Complete culvert assessments along 10 km of stream. 29 crossings were assessed using the form included in the Riparian Health Assessment Report. This information will be used to prioritize which crossings need to be replaced, improved, or have the surrounding area enhanced
- Complete headwater surveys on major waterways. Headwater surveys were completed
- Community outreach and education. WRIG participated in and organized several events including work day at Rackham’s Community Pond, Celebrate Our River Event and River Duck Race at Rackham’s Pond, Environmental Fun Day for grade 6 students, Adopt-A-River educational days for grade 7/8 students at Gulf Shore Intermediate School and many more