Trout River Environmental Committee
Found's Mill River Habitat Restoration Project
The Found’s Mill River Habitat Restoration Project has achieved substantial benefits for wildlife along the upper reaches of the river near the Graham’s Road community in western Queens County. The goals of this project were to:
Improve aquatic habitat for the benefit of brook trout and other aquatic life,
Diversify the native riparian vegetation to create quality habitat for a variety of birds and small mammals
Remove non-native invasive vines from the riparian zone.
The project has already been able to improve aquatic habitat substantially along the upper Found’s Mill river. Alder roots, woody debris and large clumps of Bittersweet Nightshade have been removed from the watercourse which has allowed the water to flow more freely, removing excess sediment from the river bed and trapping it in twenty brush mats we built for this purpose. The result has been much less sediment in the river bed and the re-emergence of gravel and rock that will provide better habitat for brook trout and aquatic insects which in turn support other wildlife.
We were also successful in our efforts to improve the diversity of native vegetation in the riparian zone. The riparian areas of the upper Found’s Mill river were formerly cleared for agriculture and the vegetation was not diverse, consisting mainly of speckled alders, pin cherry and non-native glossy buckthorn. In recent years, the non-native vines bittersweet nightshade and wild cucumber have greatly increased in abundance in these riparian areas and are choking out native vegetation. Through this project, we were able to create patch cuts in the riparian zone and plant a variety of native trees including yellow birch, elm, red maple, cedar and hemlock. With funding from the Wildlife Conservation Fund we were able to protect many of the planted hardwoods from browsing by building sturdy anti-browse cages using hardware cloth. This will greatly increase the survival rate of our plantings.
Bittersweet Nightshade and Wild Cucumber vines were removed by hand from the riparian zones. It is anticipated that the removal of invasive vines and the planting of 500 long-lived native trees will, over time, create healthier and more diverse riparian vegetation along the upper Found’s Mill river, providing higher quality habitat for birds and small mammals. The native trees will also provide long term shade and appropriate amounts of large woody debris to the river while stabilizing its banks. The Trout River Environmental Committee is very pleased with the outcome of the Found’s Mill River Habitat Restoration Project and would like to thank the Wildlife Conservation Fund Committee for supporting our efforts to restore wildlife habitat near Graham’s Road PEI.