Morell River Management Cooperative
Enhancing Aquatic and Terrestrial Habitat for Wildlife
The goals of Morell River Management Cooperative's 2020 project funded by the Wildlife Conservation Fund were completed by our dedicated field crew. The MRMC crew worked over the summer and fall months to enhance terrestrial riparian habitat and in stream habitat for PEI's native wildlife.
The MRMC summer crew enhanced three riparian zone project sites by planting a variety of native trees and shrubs. The riparian enhancement sites had been flooded for many years and lacked any trees or shrubs. By planting over 600 trees at these sites, the riparian zones will benefit native birds and mammals by providing food sources, the habitat. The trees and shrubs planted will benefit the stream habitat providing future shade, stabilizing the stream bank, and by slowing down runoff. The summer crew also expanded our pollinator garden at Mooney's Pond and planted more swamp milkweed and spotted joe pie weed. These plant species provide food for native pollinators. Swamp milkweed is especially important as it is a crucial food source for life stages of the monarch butterfly.
The MRMC stream enhancement crew also worked on in stream habitat enhancement. The crew build brush mats to improve salmonid habitat by collecting sediment, narrowing the stream channel, and uncovering gravel substrate. Salmonid spawning habitat was enhanced by raking embedded rocks in targeted locations. Raking the substrate loosens the gravel so that our native salmonids can dig into the substrate when creating their redds, where they lay their eggs.
After post tropical storm Dorian hit PEI in 2019, there were many trees that blew down across our island. Many of these trees blew down across streams in our watershed, creating large blockages. A large portion of the field season was spent clearing these large blockages to improve water flow and maintain barrier free access for fish to upper reaches of our river systems.
Despite the restrictions of COVID-19 and the unusual start to our field season, all our goals of creating and improving habitat were achieved!