Belfast Area Watershed Group
Spreading Roots in Belfast Area Watersheds
Belfast Area Watershed Group (BAWG) marked a second year of full operation in 2019. This year saw the group hire six crew members, including a newly established Communications and Outreach Coordinator. Through the UPEI Environmental Studies internship program an intern assisted the BAWG board of directors in organizing a successful family musical event 'Songs for our Streams'. Held in March, the event sold close to 130 tickets, and increased public awareness and BAWG membership as the field season began.
Despite poor weather conditions, BAWG in partnership with GoEast PEI, saw a strong turnout of over 36 people at a family fishing derby at Roseberry Pond. The event included a nature walk and BBQ and was attended by avid fishers young and old. Community outreach also included BAWG participation in Belfast Days, where staff and volunteers participated in the parade and handed out 300 native seedlings through the Greening Spaces program.
In July, a well-attended Environmental Flows presentation with guess speaker Dr. Michael van den Heuvel, educated the public both on water issues on Prince Edward Island and of the restoration efforts and future goals of BAWG. Due to Songs for our Streams, Facebook promotion, and community outreach over 60 trees swallow boxes were distributed with a waiting list created for 2020. This outreach to landowners enabled BAWG to plant trees/shrubs throughout the 2019 season in two riparian zones on the Belle River (500) and at Stuart Point (400). Planting was conducted in Little Sands and Earsncliffe as part of erosion control efforts, and along the Pinette river in the form of underplanting in an effort to increase diversity in the existing stand.
Signage was created for the larger riparian planting areas as part of ongoing community education efforts. Through the effort of our largest team to date, we were able to improve our restream restoration efforts and expand upstream on species in our watershed. Assessment surveys were also conducted on our smaller watersheds: Point Prim, Gascoigne, Black Marsh, and Little Sands. The coastal regions of the watershed were maintained through beach clean-up efforts, and continuing bank swallow surveys identified critical habitat within the watershed.