O’LEARY -- Environmentally sustainable production of potatoes is not only in the best interest of the natural environment and all Islanders, but it is also the most economically sustainable option for growers, the P.E.I. Potato Board acknowledged in a recent press release.
The board was responding to the recently released report of the Actin Committee for Sustainable Land Management. The committee was struck to study last year’s fish deaths in the Barclay Brook, near O’Leary. The board was represented on the committee by its general manager, Greg Donald, and by board chair Gary Linkletter. Individual farmers along the Barclay Brook watershed also contributed to the study during the investigation and consultation process.
The committee subsequently determined last summer’s fish deaths were caused by run-off from agricultural fields during heavy rainfall.
Of the 18 recommendations the committee put forward to mitigate against future fish mortality, the Potato Board focuses on three – the need to implement soil conservation practices in fields adjacent to watercourses; the establishment of an environmental fund for the removal from agricultural production land that is prone to soil erosion and surface runoff, and the need to have agricultural engineers examine fields in the area of fish mortality as soon as possible after an event.
“Prince Edward Island potato farmers are supportive of efforts such as these that carefully examine events that impact the Island’s rivers and streams and provide specific recommendations that can be collaboratively acted upon,” outlined the board.
Island growers, the board advised, currently work with a number of watershed groups, soil conservation groups, and government officials to find better ways to grow potatoes while being effective stewards of the land and eliminating adverse effects on shared natural resources.