Efforts to restore Shearstown Estuary celebrated
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.