Habitat Restoration for species at risk in the Restigouche River watershed and estuary
The project aims to identify and restore priority habitats for three at risk fish species in the Restigouche River watershed and its estuary. The target species are Atlantic salmon, American eel and Atlantic Sturgeon. Funding for the work is provided by the Canadian Nature Fund for Aquatic Species at Risk over a period of 3.5 years starting in late 2019.
This project will support habitat restoration work such as the replacement or remediation of barriers to fish passage to restore habitat connectivity, as well as the reduction of runoff from agricultural and industrial sources. Through this work, GMRC will establish strong partnerships with various stakeholders and co-develop a sustainable habitat restoration strategy based on Mi’gmaq Ecological Knowledge, available biological data, GIS tools and new technology.
In the first year of the project the following was accomplished:
- Hosting a habitat fragmentation workshop to engage partners in the development of the project
- Conducting interviews with knowledge holders about the presence of Atlantic sturgeon in the Restigouche River estuary
- Identification of potential sites to restore using LiDAR data and GIS tools
- Site assessments for habitat fragmentation and siltation sites
- Permit application for restoration of an inefficient fishway
- Pre-restoration habitat assessments including electrofishing surveys at 12 locations along the Five Finger Brook
- Constructing nine new sediment traps and emptying three existing traps to reduce siltation
- Restoring three erosion sites located on forestry roads by creating runoff evacuation areas further away from streams
- Communicating with the public about the project through our website, social media, flyers, presenting at a conference and a radio interview.
In 2021, our team aims to restore at least 10 new sites including several previously identified habitat fragmentation sites, as well as more siltation sites. We will also monitor the impact of the restoration work through post-restoration surveys.
Major partners for this project are the Restigouche River Watershed Management Council, Listuguj Fisheries and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
- Year: 2019-2023
- Project Funding Source: Canadian Nature Fund for Aquatic Species at Risk