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.