Restoring and Enhancing Wetland Habitat on Prince Edward Island 2012-13

Final Project Report: Restoring and Enhancing Wetland Habitat on Prince Edward Island, 2012-2013

Goals and Objectives

Since 1989 with the signing of the Eastern Habitat Joint Venture (EHJV): Canada, PEI and DUC committed resources to the delivery of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan through the EHJV. This partnership has resulted in the delivery of more than 600 projects on PEI ranging from wetland restoration to soil conservation to riparian protection through livestock fencing. The negative impact of poor agricultural practices on natural aquatic resources has been well documented in Prince Edward Island. Wetland conservation has been promoted by DUC along with other PEI EHJV partners for over a decade, yet there are still wetlands being lost or destroyed. Wetland restoration has been identified as a Beneficial Management Practice (BMP) for which DUC has been the main delivery agent.

The main objective of this project is to identify 20 potential wetland restoration sites and deliver 10 wetland restoration/construction projects on the agricultural landscape of Prince Edward Island.

Educating landowners on the importance of wetlands and their associated habitat will also indirectly lead to the long-term securement of existing wetland habitat, water quality improvement by providing buffer areas between upland and wetlands or riparian areas (e.g. reduced sedimentation of waterways), and over the long-term, sustainable land use changes in the agricultural landscape.

The goals of this project are:

1) Identify, plan, and implement 20 wetland restoration and creation projects.

2) Raise awareness and promote the benefits of wetland restoration/construction to landowners.

3) Communicate the results of the project to key audiences of governments, landowners, APF delivery agents, and the general public.

Activities

May-November 2012: Perform site assessments and begin landowner negotiations. Conduct wetland restoration and construction projects.
All landowners will be asked to sign a minimum 15-yr stewardship agreement to ensure long-term habitat protection.

May-November 2012: Distribute “Wetland Care Guide” to landowners to raise awareness.

May 2012-March 2013: Promote projects to the public through site tours, DUC’s landowner newsletter The Pond Press, and other communication media.


Specific Habitat Products/Results Supported by WHC’s Contributions

We are proposing to work directly with landowners to identify 20 potential wetland restoration sites and create 10 wetland restoration/construction projects on PEI’s agricultural landscape. This project intends to conserve, restore and enhance 30 acres of wetland and upland habitat in PEI.


Benefits to Waterfowl, Wetlands-Associated Species, and/or Other Wildlife

 Increasing the number of breeding waterfowl through the restoration of degraded wetlands has been identified as a key component of the PEI EHJV Implementation plan. This project will contribute to the waterfowl and habitat goals identified in the PEI EHJV Implementation Plan by helping to offset past wetland degradation and loss.


Relevance to Habitat Planning, Decision Making and/or Management

Initially, this project is expected to have a direct impact on the participating landowners and on the wetlands and upland under their direct management. By emphasizing that wetlands act as natural water filters and purifiers, functions which hold particular significance in agriculturally dominated landscapes and have additional value as wildlife habitat, it is expected that landowners will be more likely to protect wetlands and associated habitats on their properties. Understanding how the conservation actions will enhance water regimes in degraded wetlands and improve surface and groundwater recharge are expected to increase the uptake of biodiversity enhancing wetland BMPs. Furthermore, emphasizing that maintaining wetland habitat also improves local and regional economics by providing fishing, trapping, hunting, birding, and other recreational opportunities is also expected to increase their likelihood to undertake these types of projects. In the longer term it is expected that this increased awareness fostered through the extension and communications component of the project will influence other landowners, watershed and community groups, and eventually public expectation and policy.

Project Location

The project will be located entirely on private land within the agricultural landscape, which comprises 222,186 hectares or 39% of the Province’s total of 568,360 hectares.

Project Contact

For more information on this project, please contact Jana Cheverie, Head of Habitat Retention & Planning, Ducks Unlimited Canada, PEI.