Salmon Assoc. Continues River Work with Federal Support

Above: Bill Yarn of the Cobequid Salmon Association

Truro Daily News
Salmon association to continue river work with federal funding

Raissa Tetanish
October 15, 2014

BRENTWOOD – Bill Yarn has a dream, one that could take him back to the 1980s.

“Back in the 80s, I can remember going fishing and there were 5,000 salmon in this river,” he said of Little River in Brentwood where he and Wayne Forbes of the Cobequid Salmon Association met with Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley MP Scott Armstrong on Wednesday. “Hopefully, if enough is done to the river, we will see that return. That’s our dream anyway.”

Armstrong met with the two men to see the work the organization has been doing on Little River for close to 10 years. And it was also a chance to announce that an application for federal funding was approved.

Thanks to the Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnerships Program, the Little River Restoration Project will receive $20,000.

“This will allow us to continue with what we’re doing,” said Yarn. “There are still miles of this river that haven’t been touched yet.”

With the men meeting at the river along the Brentwood Road, Forbes said it’s the “hard part” of the river. Working their way upstream, the next six work sites that have been identified for next year will take the organization near Brookfield.

“There’s a natural rhythm to the river,” Forbes explained.

“There’s a certain meander to each river, and there are 63 metres between structures on this one. In some cases, there are natural developments, but wherever we get to a position that is 63 metres from before it, if there’s not a natural curve, we put a structure to one side.”

The organization has been constructing wind deflectors along the river where needed, which brings the river in narrower. Digger logs are also installed, which help create pools of water that are deep and have enough oxygen in them to create spawning grounds for fish, such as salmon.

“Most of our (association’s) directors are old-time fishermen and we remember the good old days,” said Yarn. “I remember getting up at four in the morning and going to Economy because Economy was a healthy river. We know many of the problems aren’t in the rivers, but the more effort that is made to enhance the salmon runs, the more of a chance we’ll get back to that.”

Before the association began working on bringing Little River back to its natural state, Yarn said the river wasn’t up to par for spawning grounds.

“It was all silt and eel grass,” he said. “It was dead water. There was no oxygen. No salmon, or any other fish, would even dream of spawning in it. By creating that pool of water, there’s oxygen in it, it’s deeper and it’s cooler.”

With the Inner Bay of Fundy Atlantic Salmon being a species at risk, Forbes is hoping the work the association is doing will bring those levels up.

“Little River was probably the most prolific tributary into the Stewiacke River, and that’s why we’ve chosen to work on this river,” said Forbes. “If we can make this a little more pure, and the salmon are coming back, there are more chances of them coming up this river to spawn.”

During his visit, Armstrong told the men the program is one the current federal government is committed to.

“Last year, this was a new program and there were six projects in the province that were successful,” Armstrong said. “There is always funding for larger projects – this one is targeted to anglers and supporting smaller groups. We’ve seen some great benefits from (the program). We are seeing projects coming to fruition already.”

Under the first round of the program last year, six projects received a collective funding amount of $287,00. Across Canada, nearly $6 million was approved for 94 projects last year. Up to $5.5 million for 128 projects through the second round has already been approved for across Canada.