Wild Northerner Magazine Spring 2017 - Page 32

Q - What has been one of the most thrilling parts of the job or project for you since you joined MS and why?

A - One of my many thrilling experiences with my job is that every year Manitoulin Streams help out the Municipality of Central Manitoulin with opening the mouth of the Mindemoya River. The mouth of the Mindemoya River is often obstructed by a large sand bar in the fall, created by coastal wave action and lack of water coming downstream. This loss of water during the summer dry season and into the fall reduces the velocity of the river. For this reason, the river is not able to scour the sand effectively from the mouth. This results in the low velocity water taking a path parallel with the beach, and then it eventually makes a shallow trickle out into Lake Huron. This shallow mouth is approximately 1-3 inches deep and cannot accommodate the spawning salmon who often become beached and die. In partnership, Manitoulin Streams and the Municipality of Central Manitoulin garnered appropriate provincial and federal permits needed to clear a temporary channel through the beach during peak spawning runs. This allows fish to freely move through the sand obstruction in the fall months during peak salmon spawning periods so that the fish can move upstream to prime spawning habitat to complete their life cycle and reproduce. In 2015, we opened up the river, and over a 20-minute time period we saw what looked to be dark waves in the bay moving toward the river’s mouth, and then at least 500 salmon made their way through the channel and upstream to some of our stream restoration sites to spawn. A lot of the spectators that gathered around to watch were ecstatic to see so many fish in such a short period of time. This was exciting to see, and was fulfilling to know that we helped ensure that they could complete their journey.