Rains turn Montague River red

Steve Sharratt
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Possible causes are farmland and construction projects

The Southeast Environment Association conducts a cleanup by the Montague River in this file shot.

MONTAGUE — The heavy rains have turned the Montague River red, but Innovation Minister Allen Roach says steps are already underway to address the controversial watershed issue.

It’s been the bone of contention for the local town council and river stakeholders who have been waiting a year for some action. However, the local MLA said a meeting is in the works.

“We are getting the stakeholders together on this issue and it is a priority,” he said in an interview. “We need to identify the sources (of the contamination) and the solutions.”

A good rain turns the river red and the torrential downpour over the past few days has created a rusty-coloured waterway. The most likely causes are attributed to poor cropland control and possible highway and construction projects.

Roach said issues developed when the Montague watershed group disbanded a few years ago and the Southeast Environmental Association (SEA) found itself without federal funding this year. The loss of two working groups allowed protection concerns to falter. However, the watershed group has reformed this year.

“(Environment) Minister (Janice) Sherry is anxious to meet with the stakeholders and the town and get some action going,’’ said the minister. “We have to mirror the successes of other watershed groups in this province.”

Roach said he hoped the scope of interest went beyond the Montague River and included other eastern P.E.I. rivers as well. He expected a meeting would be forthcoming later this month.

Organizations: Southeast Environmental Association

Geographic location: Montague River, Eastern P.E.I.

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Recent comments

  • One Tune Only
    September 12, 2012 - 12:26

    INTOBED continues to bash farmers on every single issue. I was in Charlottetown when the rain came, and the amount of red soil running in ditches had nothing to do with farmers. It was from building lots and construction sites. Roadways can be a major source of silt. I had to drive east later on Monday, and I was amazed at how clean the ditches were (i.e. not full of silt), and that the river was in the best shape I'd seen for years after a major rainfall. Farmers deserve some credit for the improvements they've made, instead of a boot to the head every time.

  • farmers and subdivision developers
    September 12, 2012 - 11:51

    Just look at any property within the Montague River watershed and examine whether they have bare soil or not. Shale pits, farm fields, subdivisions and building sites are the culprits. Fine the suckers thousands of dollars and make them pay for the complete clean-up of the damage they have caused downstream and upstream.

  • intobed
    September 11, 2012 - 16:58

    Think about how many square miles are farmer's fields. Now think about how many square miles are roads under construction, or buildings being built. I think the answer to where the silt is coming from is pretty clear. Our farmers are killing PEI.

  • What a joke
    September 11, 2012 - 11:11

    Allen Roache, who's he?? Oh right, it's mister invisible who has had his thumb in his mouth while Ghiz and his cronies screw over Montague Intermediate, KCMH, and the Buffalo park. The meeting, well that will be to determine the government has no money, solutions or concern with the river or anything else happening in the community.