The Rennie’s River watershed is one of the largest watersheds in St. John’s. This project examined the human impacts to the riparian and the instream areas throughout the watershed in order to identify areas needing future remediation efforts. The rivers were divided into 25 sections referred to as reaches for assessment. For each reach, a Visual Stream Assessment Protocol adopted from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Stream Visual Assessment Protocol Version 2 was used to score nine assessment factors, which were then averaged to give a ranking of poor, good, fair or excellent.
The Visual Stream Assessment Protocol assessment factors most commonly found to be problematic throughout the watershed were a lack of pools, lack of canopy cover, channel condition and bank stability. In addition to the conditions included in the assessment factors, noticeable issues also included the presence of garbage and debris and invasive plants.
Based on the findings of this project and the issues found during the assessment, recommendations were made to improve the ecological integrity and increase the value of the river system for recreational purposes. Recommendations included the removal of invasive plants, the planting of native plants, developing solutions for areas with severe bank erosion, removal and source control of garbage and debris, the development of riverside walking trails, the maintenance of stream crossing structures, and the engagement of business owners in watershed stewardship. The full report is available here.