Hants Journal

Work underway to make it easier for Atlantic salmon to travel through Fales River, NS

Paul Pickrem

Jul 30, 2019
GREENWOOD, N.S. — A team from Clean Annapolis River Project (CARP) is improving the quality of fish habitat of at-risk species in river systems throughout the Valley.

Hayley Doyle, fish habitat project leader for CARP, is supervising a team of field workers and student interns as they work on a section of the Fales River flowing through Greenwood.

She said tests were done last year to determine which species are using the Fales River system. The results showed the presence of at-risk Atlantic Salmon parr.

“Originally there were structures to improve fish habitat put in the Fales River in 1993. A lot of those structures have degraded over time, so there are a couple of structures we are removing and realigning to match how the river is flowing now, as opposed to 1993. And we are also putting new structures in to compliment what was already there.”

The structures CARP uses to make it easier for fish to spawn include creating riffles, where the water flows over rocks placed close to the surface, deflectors made of stones that direct the flow of the river, and placing digger logs that create pools of cooler water for the fish to rest in. A process called sand wanding uses special equipment to vacuum sediment off the river bed because Salmon and trout like to lay eggs on rocks and gravel, rather than sand.

“We know that these at-risk species are coming to use this river system for their habitat and spawning grounds, so we are trying to make sure they have good water quality and physical quality of their habitat to continue to spawn.”

The project is funded by organizations including NSLC Adopt a Stream, The Atlantic Salmon Conservation Foundation, and NS Power.

Regulations only permit work in a stream between June 1 and Sept. 30 to prevent disturbing natural fish spawning seasons.

Despite having to work outside during the recent heatwave with lots of mosquitoes and ticks, the workers are enjoying being part of the project.

Sebastian Conyers of Moschelle, Annapolis County, is a summer intern with CARP.

The Grade 10 Annapolis West Education Centre student is considering becoming a biologist.

“It’s something I’ve been doing for years as a volunteer with CARP. It’s something I have wanted to do since I was young,” Conyers said.

“I enjoy it immensely.”

Rachel Walsh is a student field assistant working on stream restoration.

She said she studied natural resources so, “this is right up my alley.”

“I like this work because I know I’m making a difference and I’m able to see what I did afterwards. If we put in a deflector, we can see we did this, and it’s going to make a difference, and it’s going to help raise the fish population, especially species at risk like the Atlantic Salmon.

I like to know I’m making a change and helping the environment. We really need that right now.”

The work to remove sediment from the river will continue over the summer.

Doyle said CARP welcomes the help of volunteers with the stream restoration project.

More information is available by reaching out to Katie McLean, CARP’s communications and outreach co-ordinator, at (902)-532-7533 ext. 6.


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