River Restoration to Aid Salmon in NS's Inverness County

Cape Breton Post

River restoration to aid salmon stocks in Inverness County

Staff ~ The Cape Breton Post

August 18, 2014
'Today’s salmon face a different set of challenges'

CHETICAMP — The federal government announced Monday it will work with the Cheticamp River Salmon Association to narrow the main channel to protect the annual salmon run.

Restoration work to the lower section of the Cheticamp River will give it a “more natural width and meander,” René Aucoin of the Cheticamp River Salmon Association said in a news release.

The work on the project, which will cost $148,500, will also create fish-passable depths for migrating salmon, Aucoin said.

Preparations for the restoration project are already underway.

The construction phase will take place later this week to minimize disruption to migrating fish, anglers and seasonal visitors.

A series of large rock deflector bars will be installed to encourage the main channel to narrow and deepen. The deflector bars will be primarily large boulders, which will not wash out in storm events.

The Cheticamp River has one of only two healthy spring salmon runs in Nova Scotia.

Currently, the width of the lower river is creating passage problems for migrating salmon. Many factors contributed to the current unnatural widening of the river, from past logging to former bridge structures.

Warmer and drier springs are also having an impact on fish passage because unnatural widening already compromises water depths.

Aucoin said his association has been working with Parks Canada for more than three decades to maintain the health of salmon stocks.

“In order to ensure conservation, live release of all Atlantic salmon on this river has been in effect since the mid 1980s,” he said.

“Unfortunately, today’s salmon face a different set of challenges caused by climate change, less snow and earlier melting and drier springs.”