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How a ‘slick’ P.E.I. invention is helping the environment — and the fish

A P.E.I. watershed group is testing out a new invention that sucks up silt from a river and uses it to build the base for a saltwater marsh.

They’re calling it, at least for now, the silt gator, and it has the potential to reduce greenhouse gases.

“The saltwater marsh ecosystem is one of the fastest disappearing in the world with climate change,” said Fred Cheverie, co-ordinator of Souris and Area Branch of the P.E.I. Wildlife Federation.

Creating a saltwater marsh has a couple of benefits, Cheverie said.

“By creating a saltwater marsh and getting grasses to grow in that, what will happen is they will suck up nutrients which will lighten the nutrient load downstream,” he explained.

“Secondly, those saltwater marsh grasses have a wonderful capacity for sequestering carbon, so you’re doing two wonderful things for the environment at the same time.”

Cheverie’s colleague, Keila Miller, says salt marsh plants can suck up 14 times more greenhouse gas emissions than trees, “which is incredible.”

And given the global emphasis on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the Souris group’s project is timely, she said.

“A lot of our funders are very eager to get on board to fund these types of projects because it is important.”