The City of Charlottetown, in partnership with Environment and Climate Change Canada, has announced funding for the Ellen’s Creek Watershed Group (ECWG) for their Living by the Creek project.

The project will work with home and business owners in the city that live adjacent to streams and waterways to implement best management practices on their property including: planting in the buffer zone, rain barrels, swales, and other anti-erosion techniques. Participants will be part of the ECWG’s awareness campaign as well as provided with free support to improve their properties from a water management prospective.

“This project builds on the excellent work that has already been accomplished in Charlottetown in close partnership between the municipality and local watershed groups,” said Mayor Clifford Lee. “The Living by the Creek project will engage landowners and assist them to help make changes to improve the riparian zone bordering their property.”

The ECWG’s website described the project implementation as: “Through an on-site consultation process, property owners will learn what they can do to improve fish habitat by making changes in their on-land activities and planting trees and shrubs in the riparian zone bordering their property.” They will be offering free native trees, shrubs, and plants to select property owners who wish to make enhancements to the riparian zone—the narrow band of habitat alongside the Creek—on their properties. A healthy riparian zone has many benefits to brook trout, wildlife, and landowners. Some of these benefits include: increased property values, shelter for wildlife, an important food source, and it can act as a filter to slow stormwater.

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“Through the consultation and development of the ICSP, we have learned that water issues are ranked as the No. 1 concern of our residents from a sustainability perspective,” said the deputy mayor Mike Duffy, Chair of the Environment and Sustainability Committee. “We are committed to working with local and provincial partners to improve these conditions for residents and wildlife.”

Addressing urban encroachment was identified as a key brook trout management goal in the City of Charlottetown’s Brook Trout Conservation and Protection Plan, adopted by council on August 10, 2015. This plan identifies key goals and objectives to improve the health of city streams and supports the health of the brook trout population. By creating awareness of the riparian zone best management practices, the project hopes to change the way people in Charlottetown look at and maintain this sensitive ecosystem, which is very important to the brook trout and smelt population in Ellen’s Creek.

“People living and working next to Ellen’s Creek are so fortunate to have this amazing habitat literally in their backyards,” said ECWG Coordinator Norman Dewar. “We are excited by the possibilities created by this project to work with property owners to make it even more amazing!”

For more information about the Living by the Creek project visit: http://www.ellenscreekwatershed.ca/index.htm

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