THE TUSKET RIVER CHAPTER OF TROUT UNLIMITED CANADA is an incorporated non-profit Society under the Societies Act in the Province of Nova Scotia whose chief goals are:
• Environmental Education
• Stream Enhancement and Habitat Restoration
• Promoting ethical and sustainable sport fishing
• Monitor/evaluate stream impacting activity
• Mapping stream characteristics
• Promoting recreational use of our watersheds
THE TUSKET RIVER CHAPTER of Trout Unlimited Canada was formed on Earth Day, April 22, 2005 to help protect and improve the Tusket River and all its habitat, and other water systems in the Tri-County Region (namely Digby, Yarmouth and Shelburne Counties) in South West Nova Scotia. Our chief focus is to educate all, most importantly the youth, about the importance of all fresh-water systems.
Activities recently have centered on our school based roots, with the Chapter sponsoring one of our local schools (South Centennial Elementary) in the Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, area in the Yellow Fish Road program. The program, with funding and volunteer help from the local Chapter, had 10 elementary students learn in an after school session about storm drains and about how when things are put into the drain, the runoff goes into the ocean where fish could be impacted. Students then painted warning signs, using eco-friendly paint, near the drains to warn people to not dump toxic material into the drains. The students also went around the neighborhood and gave out Yellow Fish Road information cards to residents to further explain the problem and the project. Yellow Fish Road is a nation wide program sponsored by Trout Unlimited Canada. The program is open to any school in Canada, and schools in our area are encouraged to contact the local Tusket River Chapter of Trout Unlimited Canada if they wish to join the Yellow Fish Road activity, as the Chapter can help with expertise and materials. Nine schools in the Tri-County Regional School Board are currently in the environment initiative programs of the Board, all sponsored by the Tusket River Chapter.
The Chapter also annually runs a very ambitious Earth Day program aimed at educating youth about their role as stewards of the environment in a true “think globally, but act locally” fashion.
In June 2007, the Chapter was given provincial responsibility for the Nova Scotia River Watch Program, as designated by the Inland Fisheries Advisory Committee, which has representation from our Chapter.
The newly redeveloped Nova Scotia River Watch Program is a province wide volunteer oriented initiative. The program has been designed to educate participants in the importance of our habitat and fisheries resources in addition to the proper observation, recording and reporting of violations affecting these resources. River Watch focuses on activities of the entire watershed including lakes, rivers, streams, ponds, riparian zones and estuaries.
RIVER WATCH is a voluntary fisheries monitoring program re-established jointly by the Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, through the Inland Fisheries Advisory Committee, and the Tusket River Chapter of Trout Unlimited Canada, with funding support from Trout Unlimited Canada.
River Watch Fisheries Monitors are not assigned to a specific area. They observe watershed activities all across the province. Participants assume a non-confrontational approach to all situations and are not intended to serve as a replacement for professional fisheries enforcement. They act as a communication link between government and the general public, and help government carry out the mandate to protect aquatic habitat and promote the sportfishing industry.
This community-based volunteer program stresses the relationship between the community and the watershed. It identifies positive and negative activities impacting the watershed, habitat issues and the use and misuse of fisheries resources. River Watch encourages anglers, landowners, industry and all other stakeholders to join in the protection of fish, fish habitat and the environment.
The principle benefits of the River Watch program are that there will exist an increasing volunteer monitoring effort that fosters an increased pride within the angling community as participants take a more active role in sport fisheries management.
River associations, angling and environmental groups across the province act as host groups for the program, recruit volunteers and hold one day training sessions for the participants. The Tusket River Chapter of Trout Unlimited Canada, aided by other Trout Unlimited Canada members and Chapters, most notably the Cumberland County River Enhancement Association Chapter of Trout Unlimited Canada in Amherst, will, upon contact, arrange a group to have the one day training and members may then join the River Watch program. Each participant attends this one day training session which focuses on the proper observing, recording and reporting of violations, habitat issues, communication, the link between the community and the watershed and the education of others. Each participant is provided with a River Watch manual, hat, crest, log book and public relations cards. A River Watch newsletter is now available.
River Watch is intended to be completely self-sustained and run by the volunteers themselves. It is the hope of the River Watch program that through education, communications, and an increased number of volunteers in the field, that the users and abusers of our natural resources will gain a greater appreciation of their vulnerability and learn to treat them with respect and discretion.
The Chapter has already trained three groups in the new program, and has contacts throughout the Province, and has already made a difference in one area, as a report from one of our River Watch Monitors resulted in the Department of Fisheries investigating a problem with fish access to a stream in Digby County and the Department then determining how to fix the problem, which was done.
River Watch information is also available on the River Watch website portion of our Chapter’s website (see the River Watch tab at the top of this page.)
Bill Curry, President and Provincial River Watch Coordinator, (902) 649-2428
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