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NB Power files EIA for removal of Milltown Dam

Dec 22, 2020

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Milltown Dam is the lowermost barrier to fish passage on the St. Croix River that is the boundary between Maine and New Brunswick. Tom Moffatt/ASF

On 21 Dec., 2020, the Department of Environment and Local Government registered NB Power’s project to restore Salmon Falls on the Skutik (St. Croix) River by decommissioning and removing the Milltown Dam.

“The removal of the Milltown Dam and restoration of Salmon falls will be good for fish like gaspereau and everything that eats them, good for the river, and good for the Bay of Fundy,” said Matthew Abbott, Fundy Baykeeper with the Conservation Council of New Brunswick.

The Milltown Dam is the first barrier migrating fish face as they swim up the Skutik river to their ancestral spawning grounds. Removing the dam and restoring Salmon Falls will allow for growing fish runs that are not limited by the size and effectiveness of the existing fish ladder.

The restoration of Salmon Falls comes in the context of widespread restoration efforts throughout the entire watershed of the Skutik River. This effort, led by the Peskotomuhkati Nation, has seen field teams assess barriers to fish passage on every tributary and stream in the watershed. Studies are underway to improve fish passage at other dams on the Skutik.

“We have seen significant recent increases in gaspereau runs, from 27,000 in 2013 to over 600,000 this year. Historically, the river supported gaspereau runs into the millions or even tens of millions,” said Abbott. “Salmon Falls restoration is a critical step in the ongoing watershed-wide rehabilitation effort to bring back the gaspereau, in turn benefiting seabirds, salmon, whales and people.”

The Conservation Council will closely review the EIA, provide comments, and work collaboratively with NB Power and other partners to see this important restoration project go forward in a responsible, timely, and effective manner.

A poll commissioned by the Conservation Council and the Atlantic Salmon Federation in July 2020 found very strong public support for the restoration of Salmon Falls. See the results here.

For more information, contact:

Jon MacNeill, Communications Director, Conservation Council of New Brunswick: | 506-238-3539