Watershed Management on PEI
Watersheds on PEI
A watershed is an area of land that drains surface water and groundwater into a river or stream.
Prince Edward Island has more than 250 watersheds. They provide drinking water for the province, as well as water for agricultural and commercial needs. Every Islander has a collective stake in the health of Island watersheds because these areas are impacted by, and in turn influence, many human activities.
Watersheds are nature's boundaries. Managing PEI’s resources on a watershed basis is the best way to protect and enhance water quality. Watersheds need to be managed in a ‘holistic’ way in order to address both the symptoms and the sources of environmental problems. Watershed planning allows residents, landowners, businesses and others to make informed decisions for today and for future generations.
Why is watershed planning important?
Everything is connected. Natural resources can be better managed if watersheds are viewed as an entire unit. In many cases, water quality and quantity in community located on an estuary or on the lower part of a stream is affected by activities ‘upstream’ or outside the community.
Watershed planning is a grass-roots activity; it involves everyone that has a stake in the watershed. Planning involves local people and businesses. It allows them to determine the issues that are important, and the best way to manage the resources in their watershed.
A watershed plan provides a clear path forward for managing the natural resources in a watershed in an open and transparent way that is available to everyone.
How can I get involved with the work of my local watershed group?
There are many reasons to get involved with your local watershed group and they are always looking for volunteers. When you join your local group you can:
- Participate in activities that benefit your community. Projects can involve creating nature trails, improving wildlife habitat, or protecting natural resources
- Learn more about your environment
- Experience the outdoors and become more familiar with your watershed
- Help to protect the water quality in your community
- Have a say in environmental issues that are important to you
The first step is to join your local watershed group. These groups represent stakeholders' interests and coordinate work within the watershed. To find out which watershed group is active in your area or to contact your local group visit the PEI Watershed Alliance page and look under Groups.
There are some areas of PEI that don’t yet have an active watershed group. If you live in one of these areas, consider joining a nearby group or begin a new group.
Whatever your situation, a great way to begin is to read A Guide to Watershed Planning on Prince Edward Island. This guide has been developed for use by volunteer community watershed groups. It provides a 'cookbook' of ideas and strategies on how to engage local people in watershed planning and how to craft a watershed management plan based on their input.