Ef­forts to re­store Shearstown Es­tu­ary cel­e­brated

The Compass - - NEWS - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON ed­i­tor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Com­mu­nity vol­un­teers, mu­nic­i­pal lead­ers and other gov­ern­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tives gath­ered in Shearstown ear­lier this month to cel­e­brate the good work of a group tasked to pro­tect a lo­cal wetland area.

Joint Man­age­ment Com­mit­tee Inc. (JMC) re­cently clued up Phase 2 of a project to re­store the Shearstown Es­tu­ary to its orig­i­nal healthy state.

Bay Roberts and Spa­niard’s Bay signed a joint Mu­nic­i­pal Wetland Stew­ard­ship agree­ment in 1997, with a com­mit­ment made to man­age and pro­tect the wetland area of the es­tu­ary, which bor­ders the bound­aries of the two towns. The sign­ing of the agree­ment paved the way for JMC’s for­ma­tion in 2005.

The most re­cent work un­der­taken by the group fo­cused on im­prov­ing wa­ter flow and aid­ing de­graded wetland ecosys­tems in the Arnie’s Pond and Shearstown Pond ar­eas. With help from the Eastern Habi­tat Joint Ven­ture, the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment’s Wildlife Di­vi­sion and the Depart­ment of Fish­eries and Oceans, JMC pro­ceeded with a plan.

The prob­lem fac­ing JMC re­volved around the old tres­tle bridge built for the rail­way decades ago. This nar­rowed wa­ter flow and im­pacted nat­u­ral out­flow from the es­tu­ary to the ocean.

To al­le­vi­ate this, 12 cul­vert ex­ten­sions were added to the ex­ist­ing cul­verts to pre­vent in­fill­ing. Ri­par­ian veg­e­ta­tion na­tive to the area was also added in two 35-foot flowerbeds on each side of the bridge to in­crease sta­bil­ity.

The walk­ing trail por­tion of the berm ad­ja­cent to the bridge has also been up­graded. All-ter­rain ve­hi­cles are not per­mit­ted on the trail.

Two new posts were re­cently in­stalled at the es­tu­ary, with the hope be­ing to un­veil new in­terpre­tive signs next spring.

Im­prove­ments to the es­tu­ary could have eco­nomic im­pli­ca­tions down the road. Wild At­lantic salmon and sea-run brown trout are known to pass through the es­tu­ary.

DFO covered roughly half of the $29,700 bud­get for Phase 2 of the project.

The Shearstown Es­tu­ary bor­ders two mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties — Bay Roberts and Spa­niard’s Bay.


On hand to cut the cer­e­mo­nial rib­bon Nov. 18 in Shearstown were, from the left, Spa­niard’s Bay Mayor Tony Men­chions, Avalon MP Ken McDon­ald, Joint Man­age­ment Com­mit­tee chair­woman Cathy Klein­wort, Har­bour Grace-Port de Grave MHA Pam Parsons, and Bay Roberts Mayor Philip Wood.

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