Bruce Smith

Bruce Smith is seeing springs running in the Winter River watershed that were dry last year. (CBC)

All the snow that's fallen this winter could be good news for the Winter River watershed.

The Winter River-Tracadie Bay Watershed Association is reporting higher water levels than last year, which is encouraging after some streams there ran dry in the past two summers.

Watershed coordinator Bruce Smith was pleasantly surprised when he walked along the Winter River recently. Because of all the snow, river water levels are way up from this time last year.

"They're much, much better than they were over the summer and the fall," said Smith.

"The springs that had stopped flowing - all the ones that I checked - are flowing. The river looks in much better shape."

That's good news for the river's ecosystem. When the water is shallow, as it was last summer and autumn, fish and other water creatures are crammed together, leaving some species vulnerable.

But it is still too early to predict a good season for the river, says Bruce Raymond, who manages watersheds for the provincial Environment Department.

"The answer is not straightforward simple, unfortunately," said Raymond.

"While we have good groundwater levels now, if we have dry conditions between now and then, that's sufficient time for groundwater discharge to deteriorate and still be dry."

Water levels in the Winter River watershed have often been in the news in the last few years. It is the main source of water for Charlottetown, and the city has come under criticism for drawing too much from it.