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News from the Regions

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Spring Has Sprung and It Is Time to Start Counting Salmon
by Atlantic Salmon Federation on 

by Lewis Hinks, ASF Director of Nova Scotia & PEI Programs


Installing Smolt Wheel on West River Sheet Harbour on Apr. 18, 2017. Photo: Walter Regan

While the ASF Research Team is very busy getting ready for and starting their field work, things are also ramping up in the regions as field work and restoration projects begin.

One of the great parts of this job is getting involved, at times, in the field with many of the great projects.

This week, we started getting ready for more juvenile assessments on the West River Sheet Harbour project.  This exciting project has seen tremendous improvements in numbers of juvenile salmon in this acid stressed river.

I was part of a great crew that installed a smolt wheel and fyke nets to count juvenile salmon migrating to the ocean. We also monitor trout populations.

The adult counting fence will be installed in the next month or so.

Now the counting begins on this great project.


Fyke Net being installed on West River Sheet Harbour. Photo Lewis Hinks.

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Great October for Salmon Restoration in Nova Scotia
by Atlantic Salmon Federation on 
by Lewis Hinks, Director of Nova Scotia Programs

October has been exciting for salmon conservation and restoration programs in Nova Scotia. On Monday Oct. 3, watershed liming began on the West River, Sheet Harbour system as the first loads of powdered lime were dropped by helicopter onto the watershed. This is a joint project with Federal Government, NSSA, Eastern Shore Wildlife, Nova Scotia Government, Adopt-a-Stream, ACOA, Northern Pulp, Nova Scotia Sportfish Habitat Fund  and ASF all as partners.



 Edmund Halfyard explains how the watershed liming will help make long term restoration of the watershed possible.


This exciting project is part of a multi-year, multi-million-dollar project, led by Dr. Eddie Halfyard. With the West River doser in operation for the past 10 years, the watershed liming, a second doser planned for this coming winter and extensive habitat restoration, this will result in one of the most ambitious salmon restoration projects in Nova Scotia’s history. The watershed liming project alone is the largest in of its kind in North America.




On Tues. Oct. 4, partners gathered at the Cape Breton Highlands National Park to celebrate the completion of a 3 year major habitat restoration project on the main channel of the lower Cheticamp River.

 

This major project focused on a reconfiguration of the main channel in the lower part of the main river, narrowing the channel, re-establishing the proper thalweg, or meander pattern, and helping create and enhance several pools.



 

I cannot overstate how important this project is and how honoured I am to be part of such a dedicated and committed group. The support of Parks Canada, the expertise of the biologists and the determination of the Cheticamp River Salmon Association all came together to see the project completed.

 

These two important projects help highlight what can be done when everyone decides to do what is right or the salmon and put good science together with great people. It has been a good month!


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Assessing Salmon on the Nashwaak
by Atlantic Salmon Federation on 

by Nathan Wilbur, Director of New Brunswick Programs

In mid-September 2016 a research group consisting of Nathan Wilbur of ASF, DFO personnel, and four First Nation - Oromocto, Tobique, Woodstock and Kingsclear - worked together to assess the Atlantic salmon that have returned to the Nashwaak River, using it as an index river.


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Salmon habitat restoration on Base Gagetown
by Atlantic Salmon Federation on 

Nathan Wilbur, ASF Director, New Brunswick Programs

5th Canadian Division Support Base Gagement, often called CFB Gagetown or simply Base Gagetown, encompasses 1,100 sq. km south of Fredericton, NB.

Last week I was taken on a tour of Base Gagetown stream restoration projects with DND Biologist, Andy Smith. The Base encompasses most of the Nerepis River watershed, including its headwaters, and has undergone considerable land clearing and bombing, literally, since the 1950s. The Nerepis empties into the Saint John River estuary at Grand Bay and is part of the Outer Bay of Fundy Atlantic salmon population complex, which is being considered by SARA as being endangered. Andy pointed out that records indicate historical Atlantic salmon populations in the Nerepis may have supported a commercial salmon harvest of 8,000 lbs.

Andy Smith explained that in recent years he has found small numbers of salmon parr during electrofishing surveys, and has observed a few redds in the fall. During our tour around Base Gagetown, there was no doubt that habitat degradation, including heavy silt loads and reduced groundwater inputs to streams, had contributed to the decline in native Atlantic salmon and brook trout populations.


Biologist Andy Smith explains some of the projects now being undertaken to improve habitat within the Canadian Armed Forces Base Gagetown lands.

Andy has set out to turn that degradation around and has strategically been restoring streams on Base, along with building in best practices of crossing streams. For example, tanks used to cross streams wherever they pleased, but new practices limit them to designated Fords where Andy and his team have installed hardened crossings to reduce erosion and sediment input.

Another component of the strategy includes building small wetlands on non-fish-bearing streams to help with groundwater recharge. With the high density of restoration projects around base, it is clear that the work is starting to pay off in terms of aquatic water quality and rearing habitat for native coldwater species. We are keen to keep a close eye on improvements on Base, and congratulate Andy and his team on their hard work to restore salmon habitat in an area that so drastically needs the help.


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New Bridge in Maine benefits salmon and other migratory fish
by Atlantic Salmon Federation on 

by John Burrows, ASF Director of New England Programs

Last month, ASF and Project SHARE completed construction of a new 50-foot steel bridge over Allen Brook on the Stud Mill Road in Downeast Maine. The bridge replaces two undersized 4-foot culverts.

Allen Brook is a headwater tributary of the Narraguagus River and this project restored a nearly mile-long dead-water back to its natural, free-flowing condition and also provides access to a total of 3.55 miles of stream habitat for Atlantic salmon and brook trout along with 95 acres of pond habitat that was historically utilized by alewives.

The project was engineered and designed by Natural Resource Conservation Service engineers and Big R Bridge fabricated the bridge, sills and back walls and delivered them to the site. Hanscom Construction was hired to do the installation and site work.

Funding for the project was provided by NRCS, The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and The Nature Conservancy. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provided on-site technical support during construction.


Old culverts creating issues of fish passage on Allen Brook


New bridge built in 2016 to enhance migratory access for fish.


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