Prince Edward Island is full, literally chalk full, of streams and ponds. We are lucky to have many groundwater sources which fed pretty much all of our waterways. This keeps our water fresh and cool. This allows PEI to have some of the best brook trout fishing in North America as well as world famous mussels from our bays and estuaries.

Local Watershed Groups

If you’d like to learn more about Watershed groups and their efforts across the Island to help maintain and restore our waterways & groundwater or if you are interested in getting involved with your local watershed group then take a look at some of the links below.

PEI Watershed Alliance : The Prince Edward Island Watershed Alliance (PEIWA) is non-profit cooperative association of watershed management groups on Prince Edward Island. They seek to improve and protect Island watersheds for the benefit of all Islanders, empower local watershed groups and to provide a voice on Island-wide watershed issues.

The PEIWA website offers lots of further resources on watersheds, including Provincial watershed strategies, manual for watershed management and info on fishkills, sea lettuce, fracking, oil & gas development and more.

Watershed Resources 

Watersheds: Prince Edward Island is full, literally chalk full, of streams and ponds. We are lucky to have many groundwater sources which feed pretty much all of our waterways. Look below for more information on local Watershed groups.

Riparian Zones & Animals: Streamsides play a key role in healthy wildlife communities and offer the richest diversity of any part of the forest.

Download a PDF version of

Fishkills: These are an unfortunate reality across Prince Edward Island due to our land use practices. These can range from anoxic events caused by nitrogen excess in ponds & rivers, through pesticides run-off killing local fauna, and through sedimentation of streams, marshes, and ponds.

The Orwell River & Orwell Bay Watershed

The Orwell River, a small second order stream, runs through the Macphail Woods. The river is part of the Orwell Bay watershed complex, located primarily in southeastern Queen’s county and into King’s county. The complex is comprised of four major sub-basins; Seal River, Vernon River, Orwell River, and the Newton River. Overall, the Orwell complex drains 200 km2’s of land area through 120 km’s of streams and rivers which drain into Orwell bay followed by hillsborough bay and finally into the Northumberland Strait on the south side of the island.

For the Orwell River, it’s length of stream is 19.56 km and drains a total area of 32.72 km2. It’s highest elevation is 46m where it originates from ground springs. Of the total area within the rivers watershed, approximately one third is forested (10.64 km2), while the rest is cleared primarily for agriculture. Since the topology is mostly flat, it is well suited for agriculture. In addition, 70% of the soils within the Orwell watershed are Class 2, well suited for crop production. Overall, PEI podzol soils were formed form the weathering of sandstone, thus are sandy, permeable and stone-free.

Orwell River Fishkill
During July in 1999, dead fish were discovered along the Orwell river that runs through the macphail woods trails. After an investigation, pesticides were determined to be the cause of the fishkill. The PEI government performed an investigation and have released a report.