Gateway Gazette

Parks Canada Partners with Cheticamp River Salmon Association on Ecosystem Restoration

Government of Canada’s support in project will protect future salmon runs in the Cheticamp River

(Cheticamp River Salmon Association.CRSA 2013)
(Cheticamp River Salmon Association.CRSA 2013)

Cheticamp, Nova Scotia – The Honourable Peter MacKay, Regional Minister for Nova Scotia and Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, on behalf of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, today announced that Parks Canada and the Cheticamp River Salmon Association are restoring the main channel of the lower Cheticamp River in Cape Breton Highlands National Park to a more natural width and meander. This restoration work will protect the salmon run in the Cheticamp River by creating fish-passable depths for migrating salmon.

The Cheticamp River has one of only two healthy spring salmon runs in Nova Scotia. Currently, the over-widened section 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 water depths are already compromised by unnatural widening.

Preparations for the restoration project are already underway, but the construction phase will take place later this summer to minimize disturbance to migrating fish, anglers and seasonal visitors.

(Cheticamp River Salmon Association.CRSA 2013)
(Cheticamp River Salmon Association.CRSA 2013)

For this project, the Cheticamp River Salmon Association and Parks Canada are also partnering with Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnership Program (RFCPP), Nova Scotia Power, the Atlantic Salmon Conservation Foundation, Nova Scotia Salmon Association’s Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation (NSLC) Adopt-a-Stream Program, the Atlantic Salmon Federation, and Sage Environmental Program. The total project cost is $148,500.

Through initiatives like these, the government of Canada through Parks Canada is supporting Canada’s National Conservation Plan (NCP) by taking practical action to restore Canada’s ecosystems and contribute to the conservation of Canada’s lands and waters. In addition, Parks Canada contributes to NCP goals of encouraging local initiatives and partnerships that lead to tangible results.

Quick Facts

• 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.

• This restoration approach is based on recommendations, and will be designed and overseen by recognized stream and salmon habitat specialists.

• Parks Canada is a global leader in national park management and ecological restoration.

Quotes

“Nova Scotia’s beauty and charm contribute to our province’s popularity with residents and visitors alike. Our Government is working to preserve our unique heritage. Through Parks Canada, we are contributing to the National Conservation Plan, by working with a community-based association to restore an aquatic ecosystem; conserve the wild salmon population; and connect visitors with this important waterway in Cape Breton Highlands National Park, for the benefit of all Canadians today and tomorrow.”

~ The Honourable Peter MacKay, Regional Minister for Nova Scotia and Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

“Fly fishing for wild Atlantic Salmon is an important part of our local history. The Cheticamp River Salmon Association has been working with Parks Canada for over three decades to maintain the health of this important species. In order to ensure conservation, live release of all Atlantic salmon on this river has been in effect since the mid 1980s. Unfortunately, today’s salmon face a different set of challenges caused by climate change; less snow and earlier melting and dryer springs. This joint project between our association and Parks Canada seeks to restore certain sections of the main channel of the lower Cheticamp River to a more natural width and meander, creating fish-passable depths that will protect future salmon runs in the Cheticamp River.”

~ René Aucoin, Cheticamp River Salmon Association

(Parks Canada)

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