© Guardian photo by Brian McInnis
Wright's Creek/Andrew's Pond had to be drained to remove sediment and improve the watershed.
Andrew’s Pond in Charlottetown is in the process of being drained to continue the dredging program that began last year.
Coun. Terry Bernard, who represents the area, said the permit that was granted for the project permits silt removal from the north side of St. Peter’s Road and is good until Sept. 1.
“Silt in this pond has accumulated over the years which has a negative impact on the health of this pond,’’ Bernard said.
The depth of the pond, which used to be 10 to 14 feet, is now no more than four to six feet.
Andrew’s Pond and the Wright’s Creek Watershed group have partnered with the City of Charlottetown to have silt removed from the pond and return it to its natural depth.
Over the past number of years, the watershed group has worked hard to reduce the silt entering the pond and opened a number of fresh water springs that were silted over.
“The springs provide an excellent flow rate to keep the pond healthy,’’ Bernard said. “Last season, the east side of the pond was dredged and the recovery of fish and wildlife has been remarkable.’’
This summer, the plan is to remove silt from the west side of Andrew’s Pond which is expected to help the pond recover significantly. Plans are also in the works to create walking paths around the pond and install small docks in the area for the public to enjoy.
The city is spending $60,000 on the restoration project with the watershed group chipping in an additional $18,000. On top of that, the wildlife conservation fund is helping out with approximately $4,000 for developing a new trail system while the provincial government contributes more than $9,000 each year to help with projects such as this one.
Andrew’s Pond and Wright’s Creek suffered major damage caused by storm water runoff from the expanding airport and residential development. It’s the only large body of fresh water within the capital city’s boundaries. In the 1950s, provincial wildlife officials routinely claimed that more fish were caught in Andrew’s Pond on the first day of the fishing season than in any other pond in P.E.I.
“We’re trying to create as much habitat as we can for what we’re doing,’’ Darren Riggs, co-chairman of the watershed committee, told The Guardian in October 2013. “It’s going to be a totally different spot when it’s all done and the water is back in.
Riggs also noted the restoration was already breathing new life into the area’s habitat, with the trout stock rebounding almost immediately.