Animals & Riparian Zones

Small brook trout may live in the shelter of larger rocks or tree roots, darting out in search of food. Raccoon and mink prowl the banks and flip over stones to find hidden insects or try to capture fish; birds and animals of many kinds come to drink or bathe along its edges.”

Department of the Environment, Wildlife and the Island

Streamsides play a key role in healthy wildlife communities and offer the richest diversity of any part of the forest. Shrubs and trees provide food and cover for many species of birds, amphibians and mammals. Plant species unique to narrow zones along streams add to the richness. These areas are also important as travel corridors, where animals can move from one area to another with some measure of protection.

Along streams, trees help reduce erosion and prevent waterways from silting up. Roots bind the soil together, leaf cover lessens the impact of heavy, potentially-eroding rains and large, dead trees on the ground can stop soil from moving downslope. Silt can smother the gravel beds needed for trout and salmon spawning habitat and destroy aquatic insects.

Shrubs and trees also shade waterways, preventing overheating that can be harmful to fish. Especially within older forests, logs and woody debris falling into streams create pools that provide useful habitat for fish.

What you can do:

  • Always maintain cover along stream edges. The Forest/Wildlife Guidelines and Standards for Nova Scotia call for a special management zone of 20 m (66 ft) or more on either side of the stream. Herb Hammond, a British Columbia forester specializing in holistic forestry, urges that no cutting at all should take place in very wide areas alongside streams. A cautious approach is certainly called for – concentrate on returning a healthy forest community to these areas. Some of the deeper valleys still have large specimens of Acadian species growing and may play an important role as sources of seed.
  • These are very productive areas for wildlife and the number of snags should be increased to 25-30 per hectare (10-12 per acre).
  • If the area beside a stream is full of dying trees, this is where you should concentrate your efforts. The Montague Watershed Project successfully under planted yellow birch and hemlock along streams in the area.
  • Natural selection harvesting systems offer exceptional protection for streamsides, since the whole forest is maintained as a greenbelt.
  • Keep heavy harvesting machinery away from streamsides – if you must remove trees blocking a stream, use a winch or horse.
  • Make sure that any bridges meet or exceed standards set by the provincial Department of Energy and Forestry, to protect against erosion and siltation.

Upcoming Events

9:00 pm Summer Camp: Young Ecologists Se...
Summer Camp: Young Ecologists Se...
Jul 6 @ 9:00 pm – Jul 10 @ 3:00 pm
Young Ecologists: Session One This camp will begin to introduce the campers to the amazing complexity of our native Acadian forests. They will dissect owl pellets, take part in forest restoration planning and plantings and
9:00 pm Summer Camp: Nature Discovery Se...
Summer Camp: Nature Discovery Se...
Jul 13 @ 9:00 pm – Jul 17 @ 3:00 pm
Nature Discovery: Session One This camp will introduce the children to the woods, stream and native tree nursery that surround our Nature Center. The campers will delight in learning to use all their senses to
9:00 pm Summer Camp: Becoming a Naturali...
Summer Camp: Becoming a Naturali...
Jul 20 @ 9:00 pm – Jul 24 @ 3:00 pm
Becoming a Naturalist Session One This camp focuses on encountering and describing the natural world. Through the use of art and other hands-on outdoor activities, they’ll expand their understanding of life in the woodlands, waterways,
10:00 am Tracking the Mammals of PEI
Tracking the Mammals of PEI
Jul 25 @ 10:00 am – 11:30 am
Come on out and learn about the native and introduced mammals found on PEI, as well as a brief look at some of the mammals we’ve lost. After a brief slideshow, we’ll head off to
9:00 pm Summer Camp: Bushcraft Ecology A...
Summer Camp: Bushcraft Ecology A...
Jul 27 @ 9:00 pm – Jul 31 @ 3:00 pm
Bushcraft Ecology Ages 12-14 These campers will delight in learning survival skills such as one-match fire making, shelter building, rope making with natural fibres, and tracking animals. Touching on plant and tree identification, campers will

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