Farmers doing good job protecting towns water

Jason Malloy
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STEWIACKE - Farmers are doing a good job protecting Stewiacke's main water supply, a new report released Tuesday indicates.
The Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture commissioned the study of the St. Andrews River watershed and worked with the town to complete the project.
"Of the (roughly) 230 kilometres reviewed, there was about 90 per cent in real good quality," said Tom van Oirschot, environmental farm plan co-ordinator.
He said a small percentage of the remaining 10 per cent was as a result of agriculture practices. "In fact, there was probably a little more impact from ATV and forestry than agriculture," he said.
The study was based on officials walking along the waterways and scoring them based on standard criteria. The assessment was completed in the summer of 2008.
"Producers are showing due diligence and some of the issues identified have already been addressed," said the federation's first vice-president Beth Densmore.
The federation plans to meet with individual farmers in zones where problems were identified to review the details and discuss solutions.
Part of the project included funding to enable some farmers to fence off waterways to keep animals out.
The 10,000-hectare watershed has many small farms. The study identified 41 landowners as agricultural, based on either having agricultural fields or livestock, even if it was only a horse or two.
"The purpose of the project was to raise awareness, get our community involved with their surroundings, and discuss how we can best manage protection of the watershed," said Stewiacke Mayor Dereck Rhoddy. "It's not to police or single out anyone."
A new kiosk has been erected at
the entrance to the John Crawford Trail to educate the public about the watershed and its significance.
"At the end of the day we all, as a society, have to get involved and, I think, we have to appreciate the watershed is important," van Oirschot said. "I think, ultimately, if we do that collectively we can improve the problem."
The project received funding under the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's greencover Canada technical assistance program.

Organizations: Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Geographic location: STEWIACKE, Andrews River, Canada

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