4 watersheds get 'poor' rating in P.E.I. water quality report card

P.E.I. has issued its first-ever ratings of the water quality of watersheds on the Island, with four receiving the lowest grade, 'poor'.

Province and volunteers measured nitrate loads, sediment run-off and anoxic events

Kildare River looked fabulous in the summer of 2015, but it had some of the worst water quality in the province, according to a new report card. (Submitted by John Mcinnis)

Four of P.E.I.'s watersheds have "poor" water quality, according to the province's first water-quality report card.

The four watersheds are:

  • Kildare River/Montrose River
  • Mill River
  • Southwest River
  • Trout River (Coleman)

These waterways, like the 26 others in the report card, were ranked based on observations from government staff and watershed volunteers. The report, which is current to the end of 2015, looked at issues such as sediment-laden runoff, nitrate loads and anoxic events.

Nitrates, often found in fertilizers, are harmful for marine plant and animal life.

'We should continue to watch'

They are also responsible for the growth of algae, which can cause anoxic events (a lack of dissolved oxygen in the water) that can kill invertebrates, fish and shellfish.

"The four that would have received 'poor' would have had a number of those criteria events," said Robert Mitchell, minister of Communities, Land and Environment.

"That's something that we should continue to watch, monitor and do work in any way shape and form that will aid the outcomes of that."

The report looked at about a third of P.E.I.'s waterways. Mitchell said the province will work to get all waterways into the report eventually. 

Here's a complete list of the watersheds in the report card by status:


  • Bear River.
  • North Lake.
  • Percival River.


  • Boughton River.
  • Brudenell River.
  • Cardigan River.
  • Grand River.
  • Hillsborough River.
  • Morell River.
  • Murray River.
  • North River.
  • Orwell River/Vernon River.
  • Pinette River.
  • Souris River.
  • St. Peter's Bay.
  • Tracadie Bay/DesRoches Pond.
  • Trout River/Bideford River.


  • Covehead Bay/Brackley Bay.
  • Dunk River.
  • Hunter River/River Clyde​.
  • Montague River/Valleyfield River.
  • Trout/Stanley River.
  • West River.
  • Wheatley River.
  • Wilmot River.
  • Winter River.


  • Kildare River/Montrose River.
  • Mill River.
  • Southwest River.
  • Trout River (Coleman).

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With files from Nancy Russell