The Trout River watershed, which extends from Knutsford to Coleman, has taken an environmental beating in recent years. Dead fish floating in streams will do that.
In most, if not all, of the cases, the accusatory finger gets pointed at agricultural chemicals and farming practices. In a lot of the cases the fish deaths were discovered immediately following heavy rains. Downpours caused soil and the chemicals in it to wash directly into streams.
Industry members, in 2012, helped pen recommendations aimed at reducing the chances of future fish kills on the watershed and, by extension, across the island. Yet, the watershed was the victim of another fish kill last summer.
But the agriculture industry is not painted with a single brush. Many farming operations do follow the proper crop rotations and take care to prevent soil and chemical run-off from their fields, even taking acres out of the rotation to protect the environment from the potential of harm.
During the P.E.I. Federation of Agriculture’s annual meeting in Charlottetown on Friday Triple S Farms from Knutsford was presented with the Gilbert R. Clements Award for excellence in environmental farm planning. The farm was nominated for the award by the Prince County Chapter of Trout Unlimited.
It is noteworthy that the Trout Unlimited chapter has been very involved in stream enhancement efforts in the Trout River Watershed and has helped with the clean-up following fish kills. That it would nominate a farmer for the Gilbert R. Clements Award from the very watershed that has suffered so much environmental harm suggests this farm stands out for doing things right; that it is an example for other farms to strive for.
“As one of the larger potato growers in the area, they fully recognize the part their operation plays in the overall environmental health and go above and beyond to ensure good environmental stewardship is foremost in their operation,” the watershed coordinator wrote in Trout Unlimited’s nomination.
It is important that farmers, or any other entities, be held accountable when their operations cause environmental damage, but it is just as important to recognize those operations that put protection of the environment ahead of personal gain.