Steps are being taken to reduce the likelihood of fish kills in the Trout River and, by extension, in any P.E.I. river.
Here’s the kicker: In a perfect world there would be no need for such steps.
In a perfect world there would be no pests and no diseases targeting agricultural crops. There would be no heavy rainfall to cause soil to wash out of fields and ditches into streams.
We don’t live in a perfect world.
Farmers deal with agricultural pests and everyone deals with the fallout when something goes wrong. Everyone has to deal with sudden and, sometimes, unexpected heavy rainfall.
The problem is that torrent of water has to go somewhere. There’s so much of it that it cannot possibly all be absorbed and filtered in the soil.
Despite all of those real world problems there can no longer be any excuses for fish kills and chemical assaults on our environment.
On Friday staff from the Department of Agriculture and Forestry demonstrated some soil conservation practices being implemented in fields along the Trout River watershed.
It’s fairly basic stuff, really – grass waterways to redirect and filter run-off, berms and terraces to contain and slow the flow.
The goal, of course, is to keep soil and pesticides from washing into streams. It’s not rocket science and it’s not a new concept; it’s just that its time has come.
Farmers along the watershed have committed to doing what it takes to address the run-off issues. Although time has come for that commitment, too, it is worthy of acknowledgement.
The proof of the effectiveness of the measures will be in the elimination of fish kills in the watershed. One fish kill is too many. Fish kills in the same watershed three years in a row is a disgrace.
And, even though this year’s fish kill has not officially been pinned on agricultural practices, even the farming community seems willing to agree they are implicated.
Admittedly, the late July fish kill likely wouldn’t have happened if it were not for the heavy rainfall at that time. That, of course, is all the more reason to implement soil conservation measures, even drastic measures, because Mother Nature cannot be counted on to deliver only gentle rain.
The bottom line here is the public simply cannot, and should not, stomach any more fish deaths in Island rivers and in the Trout River in particular.
Positive steps are being taken. Drastic ones will surely follow if these don’t work.