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Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

The following article written by CBC videojournalist Brian Higgins was reprinted with the permission of CBC. 

Daryl Guignion walks a newly reconstructed stretch of the Clyde River where a bridge will soon be built for the Cornwall bypass. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

The Cornwall bypass is intended to move more cars faster. A major piece of river realignment now underway is intended to help fish get around better, too.

“We’re putting the river back the way it used to be,” said Daryl Guignion, technical advisor to the Queens Wildlife Federation. “It’s become too shallow because of changes made to the watercourse over the past 200 years or so.”

Guignion donned a pair of chest waders Tuesday to walk through a newly reconstructed section of the Clyde River. Around him and above him, construction crews were preparing ground for a new bridge across the waterway, part of the final stretch of the Cornwall bypass.

“It’s five feet deep past here, seven feet if I take another step,” said Guignion, up to his chest in free-flowing water. The Clyde hasn’t run that deep in decades, due to gradual siltation that had been choking fish out of their former habitat.

“I do like what I see. It’s going to create deeper pools for fish,” said Guignion, carefully stepping up the bank.

The old river bed is shallow and slow moving. Machinery is preparing ground for re-routing of the stream. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

The river was rerouted by construction crews now working on the bridge. They were guided by a plan put together by an engineering consultant hired by the Department of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy.

The plan made a 325-metre section of the river straighter, with gentle curves, rocky sides, and large rocks placed strategically to create turbulence and to add oxygen to the water. By relocating the course of the stream, crews also created firm footing for the massive bridge to be installed overhead.

“We’re doing some unique work,” said Brian Thompson, director with Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy. “We minimize any impact on the environment and where we have the opportunity, like we do here, to actually improve habitat and improve the environment.”

Duck ponds and wetlands to be created

​The province is working with two local watershed groups — the Clyde River and the West River  — to complete the project.

As part of the work, the province will also rehabilitate the site of an old dam, upstream from the new bridge. Duck ponds and wetlands will be created or enhanced at several sites along the bypass, according to Thompson.

Guignion says he hopes to see walking trails built along the river too, similar to trails built by the province in recent years in nearby Bonshaw.

Link to the story on the CBC website here.

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West River Watershed

For the past several years the West River Watershed Group has been doing work during the summer months to improve the health of the Clyde River. Next Tuesday evening, members of the group will be providing an update on the work to date and the plans for the coming season.

Their presentation takes place at 7:00 pm Tuesday, April 17 at the Riverview Community Centre. Everyone is welcome to attend and find out more.

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Photo by Kim Mann, Saskatchewan, 2017 GBBC

(News release – National Audubon Society)
The 21st Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) will take place February 16 to 19 — in backyards, parks, nature centers, on hiking trails, school grounds, balconies, and beaches. This global event provides an opportunity for bird enthusiasts to contribute important bird population data that help scientists see changes over the past 21 years. To participate, bird watchers count the birds they see for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count, then enter their checklists at birdcount.org.

“The 2018 GBBC again promises to provide an important snapshot of bird occurrence in February,” says the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Marshall Iliff, a leader of the eBird program. “Some stories to watch in North America are mountain birds moving into lowland valleys and east to the Great Plains, crossbills on the move across much of the continent, and many eastern birds responding to extremes as the winter temperatures have oscillated between unseasonably warm and exceptionally cold.”

“The Great Backyard Bird Count is a great way to introduce people to participation in community science,” says Dr. Gary Langham (@GaryLangham), vice president and chief scientist for the National Audubon Society. “No other program allows volunteers to take an instantaneous snapshot of global bird populations that can contribute to our understanding of how a changing climate is affecting birds.”

In 1998, during the first GBBC, bird watchers submitted about 13,500 checklists from the United States and Canada. Fast-forward to the most recent event in 2017. Over the four days of the count, an estimated 240,418 bird watchers from more than 100 countries submitted 181,606 bird checklists reporting 6,259 species–more than half the known bird species in the world.

“Will we break last year’s record number of Canadian participants?” asks Jon McCracken, Bird Studies Canada’s National Program Director. “A lot depends on the weather, but a little snow and cold shouldn’t get in your way. Remember that you don’t have to venture far afield at all. You truly can count birds right in your own backyard or, better yet, take a pleasant winter stroll around your neighborhood.”

To learn more about what scientists discovered the past 21 years and how to take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count, visit birdcount.org. The Great Backyard Bird Count is a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society with partner Bird Studies Canada and is made possible in part by founding sponsor Wild Birds Unlimited.

The 21st GBBC is additionally notable because it is the February call-to-action for the Year of the Bird, a 12-month celebration of birds to raise awareness of how people can help birds by taking simple actions each month. The Year of the Bird is led by National Geographic, the National Audubon Society, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, BirdLife International, and more than 100 participating organizations. Learn more about Year of the Bird at www.birdyourworld.org.

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