Winter Salt Use

Winter Salt Use

Travelling safely on winter roads is important to all of us – and we can keep our roads and sidewalks ice-free while not degrading water quality, aquatic habitats, and infrastructure in the process. Community members and government departments need to work together to reduce salt use, find alternatives, and stop the pollution of our Province’s aquatic ecosystems.
 
Here is some useful information about how to use Salt more effectively. 
Here are a few tips on how to make the most of your household salt application:
 

1. Shovel first, and shovel well: get all snow out of the way before salting. Salt that is applied on top of snow melts into storm drains, then creeks and rivers much more quickly.

2. A coffee cup at a time: apply salt with a smaller container, like a coffee cup so you can control how much goes onto the ground more easily. A coffee cup of salt is enough to melt a 20 foot driveway.
 
3. Pick an alternative, like coffee grinds or traction sand: be mindful of the temperature, salt isn’t effective when it’s below -10C, so there is little benefit to applying it, use an alternative instead. Both traction sand and coffee grinds work at lower temperatures.
 
For more information about road salts, please contact us at belleislewatershed@gmail.com or follow us on Facebook.
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Nature Afterschool Program

Nature Afterschool Program

The BWC recently wrapped up our Nature Afterschool program that was joint venture of the Belleisle Watershed Coalition and the Saint John Boys and Girls Club. Over the past four weeks kids in the afterschool program have been engaged in discovering local wildlife and ecosystems building an understanding of wildlife biology and ecology in the Belleisle Watershed. The kids had barrels of fun building a beaver dam, dissecting a log to learn about microhabitats and insects, and dissect an owl pellet to learn about predator and prey relationships. The kids also got to learn about how our wildlife survives the winter!
 
The program has been presented by Paul Martin who does a remarkable job engaging the kids in natural science. Anyone who has joined us for one of our owl prowls or bird walks knows that the breadth and depth of Paul knowledge about wildlife and natural science is truly amazing and the kids had a great time throughout the program.
 
The BWC would like to extend a special thanks to Paul for all his efforts and to the Boys and Girls Club for giving us the opportunity to engage with the afterschool kids. We would also like to thank our funders who’s generous support make these programs possible.

Road Salt Sampling

Salt Water Testing

Did you know… After some winter storms salt levels in New Brunswick’s watercourses can reach 35 parts per thousand that’s the same amount of salt that’s in the ocean! Increased salt levels in streams can contaminate aquatic habitats, harm aquatic life, and make it tough for wildlife to find clean, safe drinking water. Many of us depend on local groundwater to feed our wells for drinking water. Well, systems are not equipped to filter out excess salt, so road salt can end up in our tap water, where it can cause health concerns for people with high blood pressure and even harm our pets and live stock.

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Belleisle Marsh Road Salt Sampling

Belleisle Marsh Road Salt Sampling

The BWC has teamed up again with Miss. Giddens Grade 9 Science Class from BRHS to continue to learn about how road salt affects Belleisle Marsh. The students were out in the marsh the other day and will be collecting and testing water samples throughout the winter and learning about water quality in a local context.

Last year we found lower than expected salt level and hope that’s a trend that continues in 2023. Results for this year will be available in the spring and we can’t wait to see what they discover!

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Cyanobacteria Results for 2022

E.Coli Results for Oct 2022

Water quality monitoring results for E.coli amounts from our October 2022 sampling are in. I am please to report that the results show a distinct decline in E.coli amounts for most of the sites tested. Results determined an average of 59.6 E.coli/100ml this is a significant decrease from September (257 E.coli/100ml) but still well above August (0.7 E.coli/100ml). 
 
The highest amount was at Hatfield Point Wharf (248.1 E.coli/100ml) this site has continued to see an increase in E.coli amounts and exceeds the Health Canada acceptable guidelines for the use of recreational surface water, and we advise residents’ to stay out of the water in this area. Anderson Point also saw an increase in E.coli amounts to 12.4 E.coli/100ml in October from 4.1 E.coli/100ml in September.  
 
Above Chart Compares September to October 2022
Although, the rest of the sites still had elevated amounts from what we normally expect they have significantly declined from the extremely high amounts seen in September.
The elevated levels we continue to observe in October are likely the result of the significant rainfall and warm autumn temperatures we’ve seen this autumn. 
 
These results continue to demonstrate the importance of maintaining well-vegetated stream banks and shorelines, the importance of having well-maintained and modern septic systems, and the affects of surface runoff on water quality. We will continue to monitor E.coli amounts in the Bay through to the end of November due to the elevated amounts.
 
For more information contact us at: belleislewatershed@gmail.com

Fish Passage Assessment

Fish Passage Assessment 2022

Fish require passage between and within watercourses to complete necessary stages of their life cycle including spawning, finding food and shelter. Additionally, fish assist with recycling nutrients in watercourses and help maintain healthy aquatic ecosystems. By assessing road-watercourse crossings, the Belleisle Watershed Coalition helped to identify barriers that block the natural movement of fish and degrade healthy aquatic ecosystems.

Over the course of the past summer, our hard working field staff assessed a total of 46 watercourse crossings within the upper Belleisle watershed. Results are now in and it was surprising to learn that only 10 of the 46 structures (21.74%) assessed were found to be completely passable by fish. Of the remaining 36 structures, 20 structures (43.48%) require remediation of a full barrier and 16 (34.78%) require remediation of a partial barrier. This means 250 kilometres (km) of stream habitat have a barrier to the free movement of fish. This is equivalent to putting 36 roadblocks on the highway between St. Andrews and Moncton! Yikes! Looks like we have our work cut out for us and will be working hard through the winter to start planning barrier remediation next year, stay tuned to learn more about this fascinating project.


This project was made possible thanks to the generous support from the Atlantic Salmon Conservation Foundation, the New Brunswick Environmental Trust Fund, the New Brunswick Wildlife Trust Fund, the New Brunswick Student Employment Experience Development and the Government of Canada’s Canada Summer Jobs program and Environment Canada’s Science Horizons Program.

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