Wheatley River Improvement Group Inc.
Habitat Enhancement & Natural Meander Pattern Recovery Part II
This project took place in the Wheatley River watershed and its sub-watersheds including Luke's Creek, Ross Creek, Chapel Creek, Cymbria, Oyster Bed Bridge, and Hornes Creek. The purpose of this project was to enhance the habitat in our watershed by making lasting efforts to add forest cover, rehabilitates sections of stream that are crucial brook trout habitat, and invest in educational opportunities.
During this project, the WRIG crew planted, watered, and weeded just under 700 native trees and shrubs on 10 properties in the watershed. We also planted 88 new native flowering plants in and around the pollinator garden at Rackham's Pond. Every week, water quality was monitored at 20 sites in the watershed, and every month, a canoe survey to the Oyster Bed estuary was conducted to assess for signs of anoxia. The crew spent quite a lot of time maintaining and restoring the Pond area, including spreading mulch around the gardens and along the trails. WRIG also built out onto another existing structure further upstream to make more of an impact to that section of the river. This work took place along the straight portion of the Wheatley River upstream from Rackham's Pond. Previous to these builds, the river was over-widened and homogenous, lacking diversity, depth, and cover for fish. The wing deflectors are triangular structures that divert water flow to facilitate the creation of a pool on the downstream side and assist in re-establishing that natural meander pattern during high flow periods. A healthy river has a sequence of pools for fish refuge as they move upstream and this portion of the Wheatley River did not provide that.
Additionally, WRIG was able to host one larger public even this summer- our annual Celebrate Our River and River Duck Race- which was a great success. WRIG also collaborated with neighboring watershed groups to provide information to the public at a weekly pop-up booth, to build nesting boxes, to conduct shoreline clean ups, and to share learned skills amongst the groups.