As we celebrate 25 years of incorporation in 2023, we are reflecting both on where we have come from and where we are going. We have grown from a humble monitoring group to an important contributor to scientific monitoring, habitat improvement, environmental assessments, and education & outreach both in our watersheds and beyond.
We are now preparing for our 27th season of water quality monitoring, with all of that data publicly available at Atlantic Datastream. We also monitor popular watering holes in the watershed to help keep swimmers safe through the Swim Guide app. We have long maintained an in-house lab where we process not only our own water samples but those of other groups as well, increasing regional capacity for this type of work. We have also conducted environmental assessments on several tributaries, wetlands, and sub-watersheds, and most recently had staff certified to conduct wetland delineations to improve our outreach to developers and expand on the services we can provide to our community.
We’ve also led long-term projects to reduce pollution in our watershed, with education and action on waste reduction, community cleanups, and microplastics. We’ve further reduced anthropogenic (human-caused) impacts through a cat collar program to reduce bird deaths and supported concerned citizen groups with our data and expertise. We’ve promoted and installed nature-based solutions and green infrastructure such as rain gardens, improved riparian zones, and alder weaving structures to use nature itself to heal negative impacts on our shared environment. One of our most established and accessible rain gardens is located at the entrance to Centennial park, between the splash pad and the dog park – definitely worth a visit when in the area!
The PWA has also been a provincial leader in important species-at-risk monitoring and restoration projects, such as wood turtles, brook floaters (fresh water mussels), striped bass, and salmon. We are also acting on important invasive species work, most recently with invasive phragmites, to prevent the massive and costly social, economic, and environmental impacts that are being seen in other jurisdictions before it is too late.
Educating the public and key stakeholders is an important part of our mission as an organization. We have conducted innumerable community education and outreach activities through conducting presentations to the public, schools, government, and community groups, hosting and attending events and festivals, talking about important issues in our social and traditional media, hosting workshops, authoring newsletters and reports, publishing how-to guides, and many other avenues.
With all of that and more under our belt, the PWA has already accomplished so, so much. It’s important to note that all of this is possible only through our incredible partnerships, funders, volunteers, and community – far too many to count. If you’d like to get involved as well, let us know!
To launch us into our next 25 years, we have refreshed our branding and launched a new and improved website that better highlights our impact and key messaging and increases access to data and reports – check it out! We have also made a much-needed move into a new office that will be better able to support our staff and projects in coming years. This new space also allows us to host small events, with plans for a rain garden onsite in the coming season that we can use to educate people right outside our doors! In the meantime, we are busy establishing new partnerships and new projects, and putting together big plans to highlight and celebrate the PWA’s 25 years of education, community, and science in Southeastern New Brunswick.
Since starting my role as Executive Director at the Petitcodiac Watershed Alliance, I have been consistently impressed by the dedication, curiosity, passion, and talent that staff, volunteers, and other community members bring to this work. It’s been a big year at the PWA, and I have to say that the team rocked it! I’m proud of our awesome staff for all that we have achieved in such a short period of time, and amazed every day by the talent and passion they bring to their work. I am honoured to lead this truly special organization into its next 25 years, and look forward to all that we can achieve together as an organization and as a community to improve the health of our watershed, and our impacts on it.