Beaver Dam Monitoring Project

This summer our interns began working on a Beaver monitoring project in the Jijuktu’kwejk watershed. The purpose of this project was to see if beaver dam areas correlated with greater biodiversity, better water quality, and better riparian health as apposed to areas without beaver activity. This was all done with the end goal being the identification of potential Beaver Dam Analog sites.

What are Beaver Dam Analogs?

Beaver Dam Analogs are devices made from wood and natural materials that are meant to mimic beaver dams and encourage dam building. They are placed in areas facing problems with erosion, water quality, embedded sediment, or general low biodiversity. Our interns compared six sites in this project, three with dams and three without. These areas were surveyed and monitored by bird surveys, aquatic invertebrate surveys, fish surveys, riparian health assessments, water quality testing, and temperature monitoring.

How did it go?

We found that areas with beaver dams had greater health and biodiversity on average across the board! There are many areas on the Jijuktu’kwejk River that suffer from poor water quality, erosion, and lack of connectivity to the flood plain. There were two areas identified in this study that are now candidate sites for Beaver Dam Analog structures. We hope that if this means of restoration provides better fish habitat and water quality in our test candidate sites that these could be implemented in the future across the tributaries of the river suffering from habitat degradation. Our interns had a great time identifying and surveying these sites and found that many of the beaver dam areas provided suitable spawning conditions for native fish species including Atlantic Salmon. The river needs more suitable spawning habitat for fish as the sandy materials that fall from the banks due to erosion cover the gravel beds they require as an important part of their spawning process. Stay tuned to hear about our upcoming beaver projects!

Conclusion: Beavers are awesome.

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Well, That was Amazing!

Our 2021 Summer Report is ready for you! Our three interns worked hard to learn more about the watershed, and made the most comprehensive report yet.

Cover page of the annual report, showing fish swimming underwater
Read the report here!

This year our summer students Jonas Gow and Keeler Colton and Arianne Janes focused on two projects: a beaver monitoring project and a cold water refugia project, with some other smaller projects on the side such as water quality, and looking for endangered Bank Swallows, Atlantic Salmon, and Wood Turtles. Each week they would meet on the river from Monday to Wednesday to carry out these projects and explore the watershed looking for species of interest. Between Thursday and Friday the they would summarize the data and work on community engagement through social media. All field work done this summer was either on the freshwater portion of the river between Berwick and Kentville, or its many tributary systems such as Sharpe Brook, Lawrence Brook, and Mill Brook. This year our summer students Jonas Gow and Keeler Colton and Arianne Janes focused on two projects: a beaver monitoring project and a cold water refugia project, with some other smaller projects on the side such as water quality, and looking for endangered Bank Swallows, Atlantic Salmon, and Wood Turtles. Each week they would meet on the river from Monday to Wednesday to carry out these projects and explore the watershed looking for species of interest. Between Thursday and Friday the they would summarize the data and work on community engagement through social media. All field work done this summer was either on the freshwater portion of the river between Berwick and Kentville, or its many tributary systems such as Sharpe Brook, Lawrence Brook, and Mill Brook.

Keeler, Jonas and Arianne spent a lot of time on the watershed this year while walking its tributaries looking for Beaver activity and Wood Turtles. Many of these areas were new to our summer students and many important areas were found with high biodiversity. Interns canoed the entire freshwater portion of the river from Berwick to Kentville while looking for stream outflows for cold water refugia, Wood Turtles, and Bank Swallow nesting sites. This two day trip gave interns great appreciation for the river and understanding of the degradation it faces.

We couldn’t have done it without them! Thank you Keeler, Jonas and Arianne!

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Summer 2021- Here We Come!

Field work has just begun in the watershed and is being carried out by our summer interns Keeler Colton, Jonas Gow and Arianne Janes. Keeler worked last summer on the Jijuktu’kwejk watershed as our summer ecology intern and is currently in his final year of the Acadia Biology program. Arianne Janes, a recent graduate of the NSCC Natural Resource Environmental Technology program, will be assisting with their summer research. Keeler and Jonas are budding naturalists with a passion for freshwater ecosystems, wildlife conservation, river snorkelling, and fish behaviour.  

This summer our interns will be identifying beaver activity throughout the Jijuktu’kwejk watershed. Once certain areas are identified they will be comparing overall biodiversity of areas with beaver dams and areas without. They will be assessing the health of the ecosystems by overall biodiversity, water quality, riparian health, and habitat suitability. Methods such as aquatic invertebrate surveys, fish and bird surveys, and riparian assessments will be used this summer to get a better understating of what areas are in need of support. One of the goals this summer is to encourage dam building in areas without beavers to improve habitat for native wetland species. This summer Jonas and Keeler will also be looking for endangered species such as wood turtles and bank swallows, identifying cold water refugia areas for native fish species, monitoring turtle egg laying sites, and tracking water quality.

Keep an eye out this summer for future updates and events as our team works to restore our watershed!

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Win a Canoe!

The Jijuktuk’wejk Watershed Alliance is selling raffle tickets on a canoe! All proceeds from the raffle will directly support  local river restoration and water-quality sampling to help our group meet our goal of a swimmable, drinkable and fishable Jijuktu’kwejk River.

Click here to buy tickets now! Thank you!

The prize is a 16’ Nova Craft Prospector Fibreglass in Oxblood Red from Old Creel Canoe and Kayak in Waverly, Nova Scotia. 

Tickets will be sold online only on http://www.rafflebox.ca, CLICK HERE NOW!

Should you buy tickets to support restoring the Cornwallis River? Or because you want to win that beautiful, brand new, red canoe. It doesn’t matter but BUY LOTS OF TICKETS!


Click here to buy tickets now! Thank you!

Ticket auction will close May 21st at midnight, with a draw date of May 28th 2021.

Licence #AGD-308688-21

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Take a Virtual Tour of the River!

Our amazing summer students and team of volunteers have developed a virtual tour of the Jijuktu’kwejk watershed and river using a Story Map! “Saving the Jijuktu’kwejk River” is all the information and beauty of being on the river, without getting wet or getting mosquito bites!

Visit the story map now!

Using maps, land photos and aerial photography, our team has created an immersive learning experience for you!  

The themes in the story map are:

  • Introducing the Jijuktu’kwejk watershed
  • The importance of the watershed
  • Problems within the watershed
  • Restoring the watershed

A scrolling-style website, you can pass through these themes through maps, photos, and diagrams.  Anyone interested in the river or the watershed will surely learn something new!

This project would not have been possible without the support of Jijuktu’kwejk Watershed Alliance Board with special thanks to John Brazner, Keeler Colton, Ian Manning and Jennifer West.  Student workers from this project were funded by Canada Summer Jobs 2020.  Special thanks to Esri Canada for providing access to their GIS technology through the Esri Nonprofit Organization Program.

 

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Summer Summary!


Our summer students had an amazing season in 2020!  Keeler Colton did a great job in the field and helped us all learn a lot more about the watershed.  Jeff Smith created a beautiful story map, which is an interactive website that will launch this fall.  We encourage you to look through Keeler’s report, and keep an eye out for the story map in the coming weeks!

Click here to read the 2020 Summer Report! 

 

 

 

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Nothing Will Stop Us!

Our mighty little team is marching forward in our mission to restore the Cornwallis (Jijuktu’kwejk) River!

Summer Program

This summer we have two amazing student volunteers who are keen to help restore our watershed!  

Keeler Colton, Watershed Alliance summer volunteer

Keeler Colton comes to us from Acadia University – he will be doing field work on the river including water samples, tributary assessments, and documenting rare and unusual species that he encounters.  

Jeff Smith is a Remote Sensing (GIS) student from NSCC Centre of Oceanographic Sciences.  Jeff  is creating an online map to showcase the science and beauty of our amazing river!  

Both students are working remotely to help protect our river – stay tuned for updates on their work later this summer!

June Trail Clean Up

Participants in our January clean up- I bet they were out in June too!

We have had a great response to our June Trail Clean Up!  Although many people are adjusting to spending time outside, being near other people and finding a new normal, we were happy to see participants venturing out with their bags to pick up some garbage on the trails and paths where they usually walk.  This summer, take steps to make your favorite natural areas a little cleaner and safer, for you and your family, and for nature and all her family!

p.s. We still have prizes left to give away, so please send us an email with photos of your clean-up crew in action to be entered in the contest (jijuktukwejk at gmail.com)

Funding Update

Our 2018 summer students, working with equipment borrowed from Saint Mary’s University.

Unfortunately we did not receive our summer student grant this year, likely because of the increased pressure on the Federal Government for employment income.  We are glad to have our summer volunteers, but we don’t have the funds necessary to cover their water samples and technical equipment. We hope to raise funds to support weekly water sampling, an analysis probe for water quality, pesticide water samples, and even aquatic DNA sampling to look for signals of rare and endangered species.  

If you are interested in helping support grass-roots conservation efforts in your backyard, please consider supporting the work of our amazing volunteers by making a donation. 

Click the Make a Donation link at the top of the page!!

Thank you for checking in!  Stay in touch, and stay strong!

 

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June is Clean Up Month!

Help Clean Up the Trail!

We are cleaning the Harvest Moon trail from Annapolis Royal to Grand Pre and need your help!  Practice physical distancing while getting some sun, listen to the birds sing, and enjoy nature all while helping to ease some litter pressure off our beautiful trail!

 

We are launching a campaign to clean up the trail during the month of June.  If you walk the trail, take a bag and tidy as you go!  If you don’t walk the trail- bring a bag wherever you walk!

Win Prizes! 

We have gift certificates from local businesses to give away! To enter, send a photo of your litter adventures to jijuktukwejk@gmail.com, or post it on our Facebook page (no IM please). You could win a gift certificate to businesses such as Half Acre Cafe, Get Outside, Frasers Home Hardware, and more!

How to Participate:

Step 1. Find a bag.  Choose a bag to collect garbage on your walk.  This could be a grocery bag or a garbage bag.

Step 2.  Pick it up! Pick up litter however you feel most comfortable.  Some people will pick up the really big stuff, others will stick to smaller items.  Be safe and use your best judgment. Wear gloves and wash your hands thoroughly. If something isn’t safe to pick-up, let it be.

Step 3.  Bag it out. Take your waste home, or drop-off your bag at a safe location for pick-up from Valley Waste.

You MUST call or email Valley Waste so they know where to pick up!

Phone: (902)679-1325 Or 1-877-927-8300

Email:  andreag@vwrm.com

Just send a message like this:

“Hi there, we did a garbage pick up today and left some bags at [civic address, or landmark description].  Could you pick them up when you have a chance?  Thanks and have a great day!  We appreciate all you do for the planet!”

If you are leaving garbage bags near the trail, please leave them near a trail/road intersection for easy access.  Thanks!

 

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Summer is Coming!

For the summer of 2020, we have a great plan for students to help us learn about the river, so we can better restore and protect it!

We have a project that would be great for a young biologist looking to gain some experience with collecting samples, assessing river banks, identifying turtle habitat, and learning about the streams that come into the main Cornwallis River!  This will be for the position of “Ecology Intern”, and will be a 10 week position based with a local environmental group and their team of students and researchers (one of two potential offices).

The second project is for a student who knows a bit about mapping- this project will be for a young person with experience in GIS (Geographic Information Systems) who can collect existing maps and layers, create a storymap (Check out this storymap!), and help with research on wetlands, agricultural land and pesticides.  This will be for the position of “GIS Intern”, and will be a 10 week position based at the Centre for Ocean and Geographic Sciences in Lawrencetown.

Please check out these job postings for all the details, and see if one would be a good fit for you or someone you know!

Jijuktu’kwejk Watershed Alliance – Ecology Intern

Jijuktu’kwejk Watershed Alliance – GIS Technician

We are thrilled to work with students each summer – it gives young people a chance to gain experience in their field, and it gives us a chance to learn more about the river!  We hope to hear from you soon!

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New Year’s Resolution for the Planet

My new years resolution for the planet was to learn more!  I decided this year to feed my inner student and gain a better understanding of the GREAT things that are happening around climate change.  That’s right there are GREAT THINGS HAPPENING!  There are people and companies doing fantastic things that make my green heart beat a little faster.  Did you know that

You can add more learning to your life in so many ways.  Some people like listening to a 10 -20 minute podcast in their car or on the bus on their way to work!  Some people like to receive a newsletter in their email once a week.  Others like to curl up with a good book.  There are also documentaries, if you like to eat popcorn while you are learning!

Here are some of the ways that I enjoy learning- maybe you will like them too!

Podcasts:

The Last Environmentalist

Interviews with people who are making a real difference in the climate change- researchers, protesters, innovators and inventors, business owners and journalists.

Sustainababble

A British comedy about sustainability- if you need to laugh your way through this very serious issue.

Stay on top of news in general – be informed about the world!  Wait There’s More (Global), Front Burner (CBC), Today Explained, Democracy Now and many others.

Newsletters:

The Race to Zero Emissions

Activities or projects that are decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, those that are keeping emissions neutral, and those that have caused emissions to increase.

The Clean Energy Canada Review

Electric cars, resources in Alberta, update on emissions, municipal climate action on pension funds, and more!

Books:

The best books I have read lately have been about hope and inspiration around a changing climate and sustainability.  An older book that changed my life a little bit is called Why Your World is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller by Jeff Ruben.  A newer book about changing the way we think and act about climate change is called Out of the Wreckage by George Monbiot.  Doughnut Economics by Kate Raworth is an exceptional read for those of us who don’t always understand global politics and economics- this explains things pretty simply.  I have a reference book called Drawdown– I pick it up to learn more about a specific issue or resource.  These are easier reads than some of the larger and more intense books such as This Changes Everything and No is Not Enough by Naomi Klein.  Don’t forget you can get these from the library, and/or in audiobook format!

Friends!

There are several meet ups in the valley where you can learn about what’s going on locally.  There is a climate action group that meets every Monday evenings (7-9pm) at the Wolfville Farmers Market.  Come out to the Watershed Alliance events, and keep an eye out for interesting talks at Acadia’s brown bag lunch series.

Learning is a low cost or free way to better understand what’s going on, and can help put you on a path to making better decisions about the planet.  Happy New Year!

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