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PEI watershed groups making pandemic adjustment

‘I haven’t figured out a rain day yet’

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Personal distancing in the stream is an important requirement. Brian Higgins/CBC

Watershed groups on P.E.I. are combing through the projects they have for this year, deciding which ones are doable, and what adjustments are necessary to get them done.

The environmental groups are able to resume operations under Phase 1 lifting of restrictions that came into effect Friday.

“I was delighted,” said Fred Cheverie, the watershed coordinator with Souris and Area Branch of the P.E.I. Wildlife Federation, after learning his group could get back to work.

“There was work to be done and we felt it was the type of work that could be done and do it in a safe manner. It was great to hear that news.”

Physical distancing will still apply, and that will mean changes to the way watershed groups work, said Johanna Kelly, executive director of the Kensington North Watersheds Association.

“I’ll have to stagger start times for staff because we can’t have more than five at a time,” said Kelly.

“I haven’t figured out a rain day yet, because we can’t all be working inside.”

Her group will also have to buy more tools, so staff won’t have to share.

Physical distancing will slow some projects down, said Cheverie, and make others impossible. That’s a problem, because some funders have put up money to see projects done this year.

Both Kelly and Cheverie said funders have been understanding so far. Kelly is hopeful that before the season is done her staff will be able to work shoulder to shoulder and get all the scheduled projects done.