More remediation needed on streams

Letters to the Editor (The Guardian)
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Editor: There have been many letters and opinions in this forum lately on the deep-water irrigation wells controversy. I’m not going to add my two cents worth on that subject here, but on a related matter: the deterioration of our rivers and streams over the years. What brought this to mind was an opinion piece by Bob Crockett (“Causeways back then, deep-water wells now,” The Guardian, Feb. 14).  Mr. Crockett referred to a “raging debate of years gone by on the provincial government’s decision to replace bridges with causeways over the North and West rivers.”

We know now the resulting restriction of water flow seriously affects the ecology of river systems, and that very expensive remedial work had to be done to those causeways years later to improve the flushing action.  What Mr. Crockett didn’t mention, though, was that there were many other causeways and bridges with narrow spans built across the Island years ago with the same results. One can only conclude the reasons for installing these structures were mainly political and economic, with little regard for scientific research into the possible environmental consequences. Many of those bridges/causeways have since been remediated to improve water flow (at great cost to the tax payer) — e.g., Vernon Bridge Causeway, South Pinette Causeway and the Cardigan Bridge, to name a few. No doubt there are many more that need to be fixed in the same manner.

Of course, there are other major factors contributing to the deterioration of our rivers and streams such as siltation from heavy rains and runoff from agricultural fertilizer and pesticides. Like Mr. Crockett, I remember going fishing as a boy in my own community of St. Peter’s Bay. You didn’t have to go very far back then to find a good spot to cast your line and come home with a nice “gad” of trout.  Now, those streams and rivers have either been choked off with weeds and overgrowth, dried up, and/or become anoxic from agricultural runoff and other contaminants. I guess the lesson here is that when you mess with Mother Nature you had better be prepared for the consequences.

David MacCallum,

Charlottetown

Geographic location: Charlottetown

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