A bless­ing or a curse?

Fu­ture of the Half­way River aboiteau re­mains up in the air

Valley Journal Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - BY COLIN CHISHOLM HANTSJOURNAL.CA

Driv­ing into Hantsport along the Wil­liam Hall VC Me­mo­rial High­way, just off High­way 101, some­thing seems off about the land sur­round­ing the Half­way River.

Nor­mally lush and green this time of year, the area around the river banks are brown, muddy and cov­ered with sed­i­ment. Many of the trees and other veg­eta- tion are ei­ther dead or dy­ing.

It might not look great, but not ev­ery­one is con­vinced it’s a bad thing. With the col­lapse of the aboiteau at the head of the Half­way River last win­ter, salt­wa­ter is reen­ter­ing the Half­way River through a tidal flow.

Fish are flow­ing back in as well.

A ter­ri­ble mess, or a beau­ti­ful thing?

Dar­ren Porter, spokesman for the Avon River fish­ery, said de­spite how ugly the land around the Half­way River looks right now, it could turn into a vi­brant and healthy salt­wa­ter marsh in a few years.

Speak­ing via cell phone, from just off the Avon River cause­way in Wind­sor, Porter said the ac­ci­den­tal fish pas­sage is a first for West Hants.

“The farm­land is be­ing re­claimed, it’s go­ing back to salt marsh,” Dar­ren said. “Farm­land has taken up about 80 per cent of the his­toric salt marshes, which means all of the an­i­mals, birds and in­sects that de­pend on those have been de­pleted.”

The fish­er­man, orig­i­nally from the Hantsport area, ref­er­enced the no net loss as­pect of the Fed­eral Pol­icy on Wet­land Con­ser­va­tion, adopted in 1991, to en­sure no net loss of wet­land func­tions.

The pol­icy dic­tates that if wet­land wa­ters are de­stroyed by devel­op­ment or for agri­cul­ture, more need to be re­built or re­claimed else­where. It’s of­ten re­placed by a two-to-one ra­tio be­cause of the im­por­tance of the habi­tat.

CA­ROLE MOR­RIS-UN­DER­HILL

Gil­lian Bergsma and Becky Camp­bell show this Hal­i­fax Tars player no mercy dur­ing the Hants County RFC’s se­nior women’s bout on June 28. The Wind­sor-based team is cur­rently un­de­feated. Turn to page B3 for more de­tails and photos.

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