Looking back at our 2017 field season

We had another busy and productive field season here in Cheticamp this year. Thanks to the continued support and financial help from our project partners and funders, the Cheticamp River Salmon Association was able to continue work on important existing projects as well as take on some exciting new work in 2017.

In particular, we would like to thank the following for helping make this another successful year: Fisheries and Oceans Canada (specifically funding from DFO's Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnership Program and staff from the Conservation office in Cheticamp for their inkind contributions to our water temperature study), the Atlantic Salmon Conservation Foundation, Nova Scotia Salmon Association's NSLC Adopt-a-Stream Program, Parks Canada (specifically, staff at Cape Breton Highlands National Park for co-managing our Cheticamp River project and making important inkind contributions), Sage Environmental Program, the Cheticamp branch of the RBC, Destination Cape Breton Association, the Atlantic Salmon Federation (inkind contributions from Lewis Hinks, Director of Programs for Nova Scotia), and the Clean Foundation and Service Canada's Canada Summer Jobs Program for help hiring summer staff.

Below are some highlights of the work we accomplished this year:

2017 marked our fourth year of habitat restoration work on the lower Cheticamp River, undertaken in partnership with Cape Breton Highlands National Park (CBHNP). This year our habitat restoration team installed thirteen new instream structures (a combination of rock deflectors and rock retarding bars, or groynes) and carried out maintenance work to two existing structures. The structures were installed at three works sites, above Fence Pool, below Fence Pool, and at Petit Cap (Gauge station). The restoration plan, designed by stream restoration specialist and former DFO Habitat Coordinator Charles MacInnis, called for the installation of structures at key locations to encourage the river to gradually narrow and deepen through overwidened sections, process bedload in locations where extreme bedload deposition had occurred, and improve fish passage through areas where divided thalwegs and mid-channel diagonal bars restricted upstream migration of Atlantic salmon and trout.

Front end loader moving rock to work sites below Fence Pool

Front end loader moving rock to work sites below Fence Pool

Charles MacInnis giving instructions to excavator operator during installation of one of the structures above Fence Pool

Charles MacInnis giving instructions to excavator operator during installation of one of the structures above Fence Pool

One of the completed rock deflectors above Fence Pool, with excavator busy on another structure further upstream

One of the completed rock deflectors above Fence Pool, with excavator busy on another structure further upstream

One of the many ways that Parks Canada staff at Cape Breton Highlands National Park contributed to project on the Cheticamp River was by capturing before and after drone footage of the project work sites. The aerial photos and video are part of our efforts to document project achievements and evaluate the effectiveness of the instream work. 

Geomatics Technician Michée Lemieuxwith CBHNP flies a drone over project work sites prior to the start of instream work.

Geomatics Technician Michée Lemieuxwith CBHNP flies a drone over project work sites prior to the start of instream work.

Sample aerial photo captured with CBHNP drone, this one showing some of the instream structures installed above Fence Pool

Sample aerial photo captured with CBHNP drone, this one showing some of the instream structures installed above Fence Pool

In addition to the instream work on the Cheticamp River, the CRSA also partnered with CBHNP to carry out a water temperature study on the Cheticamp River and the Cheticamp reservoir (source of the Cheticamp River and part of NS Power's Wreck Cove hydroelectric project). Both were interested in better understanding water temperatures on the Cheticamp River and at the reservoir as salmonid fish (including Atlantic salmon and trout) are sensitive to water temperature as it affects the availability of dissolved oxygen in the water and the metabolic rates of the fish. The combination of climate changes and unnaturally overwidened sections of the lower Cheticamp River – locations that result in warmer water temperatures due to the shallow depths, as well as insufficient depths for fish passage – has raised concerns about how water temperatures may be affecting the health of Atlantic salmon and native trout species on the Cheticamp River.

The CRSA installed submersible probes to collect water temperature data at various locations on the Cheticamp River and at different depths through the water column in the reservoir.The CRSA also hired Gabrielle McLaughlin, a recent biology graduate from St. Francis Xavier University, to help carry out the study and prepare a report (still in progress) of the findings.

Gabrielle MacLaughlin and Jeremy Camus - summer student with the CRSA - retrieving water temperature data from one of the data loggers installed on the Cheticamp River

Gabrielle MacLaughlin and Jeremy Camus - summer student with the CRSA - retrieving water temperature data from one of the data loggers installed on the Cheticamp River

Gabrielle MacLaughlin and Kayla Blackwood - crew supervisor for CRSA's Habitat Restoration Crew - deploying temperature loggers at Cheticamp reservoir. Thanks to DFO for providing access to a boat and operator for this part of our project. 

Gabrielle MacLaughlin and Kayla Blackwood - crew supervisor for CRSA's Habitat Restoration Crew - deploying temperature loggers at Cheticamp reservoir. Thanks to DFO for providing access to a boat and operator for this part of our project. 

While not working onthe Cheticamp River, the CRSA was also busy getting work done on a number of smaller watercourses in and around Cheticamp. For example, Kayla Blackwood, a 1st year NSCC Natural Resources Environment Technology student, was working as the CRSA's Habitat Restoration Crew Supervisor, leading a variety of projects on Aucoin Brook, a tributary of the Cheticamp River. Kayla and her one man crew were able to get an impressive amount of work done, including removing blockages, carrying out maintenance to existing instream structures (mostly digger logs and deflectors), installing brush mats, helping with riparian planting, and conducting water quality monitoring. In addition to the work on Aucoin Brook, the CRSA also carried out some important fish passage work on Fiset Brook, and began fish passage work on Farm Brook (to be completed in 2018).

Kayla Blackwood and Jeremy Camus completing a site visit as part of the CRSA's ecological monitoring program

Kayla Blackwood and Jeremy Camus completing a site visit as part of the CRSA's ecological monitoring program

Jeremy and Kayla demonstrating how to install a brush mat as part of a site visit with the Clean Foundation

Jeremy and Kayla demonstrating how to install a brush mat as part of a site visit with the Clean Foundation

Check back for updates on the results of the water temperature study as well as plans for next year. Hopefully we can continue to work with our partners to take on more interesting and important projects!

Adopt A Stream Training

We attended to the Adopt a Stream training program and Amy Weston taught us the significance on digger logs and how to build one at the Centre of Arts in Inverness. It was divided into 2 groups and each group has built and placed a digger log at More Brook, and everyone learned how to use various tools and got the chance to try them. - July 10th, 2017

Fly Casting Workshop

An experienced angler and past president of the Margaree Salmon Association (John Hart) from Margaree and a master fly casting instructor (Lewis Hinks) from the Atlantic Salmon Federation offered their time and shared their knowledge and expertise on how to fly cast. The workshop began with Lewis Hinks teaching how to fly cast and the proper techniques to be used. After practicing on how to fly cast properly, the students quickly got the hang of it and began to test their fly fishing skills at Joel Camus’ pond. Before everybody fished, John Hart taught how tie a fly onto the line by demonstrating. Every student had caught at least 2 trout each and were excited and filled with joy after hooking on to one. - June 28th 2017

Cheticamp River Salmon Association Tree Planting Project

On the week of June 19, the Cheticamp River Salmon Association (CRSA) organized a tree planting event for the purpose of aquatic habitat enhancement. Along with help from Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), Cheticamp branch, Parks Canada staff as well as grade 3-4 teachers and students from NDA. The goal of this project is to contribute to our community by planting 1000 native specie trees in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park and various locations within the Cheticamp area.

It is important to note that Nova Scotia is over 70% privately owned property, meaning that we the people are responsible for over 70% of what happens to our environment. This can be from a lack of knowledge, improper forestry activities, climate change, or a lack of disregard.  Planting trees is a solution, but it should not replace protection of the remaining natural areas. Many wetlands, woodlots and other natural ecosystems are threatened by development, especially within and around urban areas. A healthy forest enhances the ecosystem as well as the quality of human life. Our plan is to plant the trees at least 20 meters from a watercourse, this is called a riparian area. A riparian area is a section of land that is adjacent to ditches, streams, brooks, lakes, and different types of wetlands. These areas support a mixture of vegetation, from trees and shrubs to emergent and herbaceous plants. The vegetation in riparian areas directly influences and provides important aquatic and terrestrial habitat. They are also important for stream bank stabilization; erosion control, the roots from the trees help support the banks along a watercourse. They also lower water temperature; with the increase in shade the water stays cooler for the fish and other aquatic life in the watercourse. Provides shelter for fish and a source of food from the insects, leave litter, and other organic materials that fall into the water from the vegetation above. Over the past few years Cape Breton has experienced flash floods that have lead to extensive damage of not only residential areas but forested areas as well, an example of this would be the lower half of the Cape Breton Highlands Nation Park which is also where we planted. Much later these trees can help with flood prevention. The mature vegetation along the watercourse helps to slow down or block the water from coming though.

The Acadian Forest Region grows over most of the Maritime Provinces, the Acadian Forest is closely related to the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Forest and to a lesser extent, the Boreal Forest. Red spruce, along with yellow birch, sugar maple, red pine, eastern white pine and eastern hemlock are just a few of the tree species native to the Acadian forest. Thanks to the RBC for providing us with the funding we were able to purchase and plant 1000$ worth of these Acadian forest species. The CRSA purchased the tress from Scott & Stewart Forestry, which is a tree nursery located in Antigonish.

On June 21 and 22 roughly 500-600 trees were planting in the camp ground and on the salmon pools trail. A big thanks to the hard work and dedication by Chris and his crew from Parks Canada who not only helped us plant but also helped us prepare the site for planting. We could not have done it without their support. Thank you to the RBC for allowing us to take part in such a rewarding community project and to be able to give back by making a difference. Also, for taking the time to come down on a Friday evening and plant with us.  We also want to thank local landowner, Arthur Cormier, for providing us the space needing to make this venture a success.

2017 Spring Stream Stocking

More great things happening here in Cheticamp for the CRSA. On June 14, 2017 I met with the Fraser Mills Fish Hatchery truck at the college DE L’Acadie in St. Joseph du monie. Prior to heading out many different watercourses in the area were chosen to be stocked and the hatchery had delivered 2,200 brook (speckled) trout.

We started off at Farm Brook, which runs past the Cheticamp Back Rd, and was stocked with an estimated 500-600 trout. The Second stream that was chosen was Fiset brook, which flows adjacent to Le Platain Rd where an additional 500-600 trout were released into the brook. We then decided to make some stops along the Cheticamp Back Rd to two different small ponds that I am told are frequently fished by younger local anglers. Approximately 150-200 trout were released in each of these ponds. Our last spot was Aucoin’s Brook, off Prairie Rd in Petit Étang where we realized the remining 700-750 brook trout.

These types of fish stocking are done annually twice a year. Once in the spring and again in the fall. These projects are important to supplement existing fish populations, or to create a population where none exists. Stocking also benefits the recreational fishing in our area, but can also be done to restore or increase a population of threatened or endangered fish. Overall it was a great day, the rainy weather held off till we were finished and we look forward to working with Fraser Mills Fish Hatchery again in the fall.

2017 Annual Spring Fishing Derby

Hi Everyone! First, I want to start out by introducing myself. My name is Kayla, and I am a first-year student in the Natural Resource Environmental Technology program at NSCC. I have been hired by CRSA through the Clean Foundation to be the Stream Restoration Crew Leader and represent a Youth Corps leader for my summer work term. I am really enjoying it and I am excited to get the rest of the summer students here to get our hands dirty out on the river.

The Annual Fishing Derby event is hosted CRSA and is always held during Nova Scotia's official Sport fishing weekend. The goal is to offer an outlet for families to come and enjoy a fun outdoor activity by getting kids involved and provides great opportunity for people of all ages to get out for a day of fishing.

The derby started at 8 am on June 4th, however the lake was open to the public at 6 am and from what I heard there were many catches early in the morning. We had the BBQ running all day and plenty to drink. The derby ended at noon where we the gave out smaller prizes to the younger children for their participation in the event and also gave out prizes for the top youth anglers. Top prize went to Maria Aucoin (13)- 2lb 3oz, Second place prize Declan Deveau (5)- 1 lb 10oz, Third place Damien Grace (6)- 4.9 oz, and fourth place was Eli LeBlanc (5) 4.0oz.

The Cheticamp River Salmon Association would like to thank everyone who came out to the derby yesterday and helped make this day another success. To all the volunteers and board members who helped and donated their time and recourses. To the families for taking part in this event and, despite the poor weather conditions, for sticking it out throughout the day. We saw lots of smiling faces. A big thank you to all our local business for your generous donations (Happy Clam Café, Évangeline Restaurant, Harbour Restaurant, Le Gabriel, Cheticamp Boat Builders, Mr. Chicken, Wabo’s Pizza) Its wonderful to see our community coming together to support each other and I know the prize winners appreciated it. I also want to thank the Cheticamp Co-op for donating the food for the BBQ, it was greatly appreciated and enjoyed. Overall, it was a great and we hope to see you all next year!

Annual Spring Fishing Derby

The Cheticamp River Salmon Association is happy to announce that its annual fishing derby will be held Sunday, June 4th. The derby is taking place in Grand Etang, at Petit Lac (Delaney Lake). The lake will be open to the public from 8 am to 12pm for a day of free fishing – no fishing license is required to fish on this lake for this day only. This is a great opportunity to try sport fishing, and is also a fun outdoor activity for the whole family. As part of the derby, there will be a BBQ as well as a biggest fish competition for anglers 16 years and younger, with prizes for the top catches donated by local businesses. So, bring your fishing poles and come out to catch some trout! The lake will be stocked prior to the derby, and so will be closed and patrolled by DFO staff starting at 6 am on Thursday June 1st . The lake will be reopened for fishing starting at 6 am on the morning of the derby.

L'association du saumon de la rivière de Cheticamp aimerait d'annoncer que leur derby de pêche aura lieu le dimanche 4 juin au Petit Lac (Delaney Lake) à Grand-Étang. À partir de 8h du matin, le Petit Lac sera ouvert gratuitement au publique - aucun permis de pêche n'est requis pour pêcher au Petit Lac pour cette journée seulement. Le derby sera une excellente occasion d'essayer la pêche sportive, et aussi une activité de plein air amusante pour toute la famille. Le derby sera accompagné d’un BBQ et d’une compétition pour les participants de 16 ans et moins. Des prix subventionnés par des entreprises locales seront accordés aux pêcheurs qui réussissent d’attraper le plus gros poisson. Alors, le 4 juin, venez pêcher des truites avec les membres de l’association du saumon de la rivière de Chéticamp. Notez que le Petit Lac sera stocké avant le derby et sera fermé le jeudi 1 juin pour rouvrir de nouveau le 4 juin à 6h pour le derby.

First couple weeks with the summer crew!

The first couple weeks have been busy for the new CRSA summer students Jeremy Camus and Mathieu Muise. Our first week involved many orientation activities, Occupational Health and Safety training sessions and water quality monitoring of the Aucoin Brook. Last Tuesday, we attended the Adopt a Stream training day in Margaree where we had the opportunity to learn about various in-stream structures and even got to help install a digger log! Last Thursday we volunteered at the Margaree Fish Hatchery and helped transfer thousands of young salmon to new pools. The same day we had a nice visit at the Margaree Salmon Museum. Monday morning was greeted with some wet weather, but we had the opportunity to learn from CRSA President, Rene Aucoin, how to tie some simple flies during an impromptu workshop. Tuesday we were lucky to have Rene Aucoin take us out for some Flycasting lessons on the Cheticamp River! Wednesday we helped out on the Cheticamp River by putting in hay bales to help remove excess sediment from the stream during heavy machinery work. We also had our first go at removing some impressive beaver dams in the Aucoin Brook, what hard work! Thursday we partnered with workers from GAMS (Gulf Aquarium and Marine Station Cooperative) and got to help sample many interesting invertebrate species along the shore line of Cheticamp! 

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June 14th Flycasting Workshop!

Last Tuesday, experienced angler from Margaree, John Hart, and Master Flycasting Instructor from the Atlantic Salmon Federation, Lewis Hinks,  shared their expertise, rods and flies with the 6th and 7th grade students from Ecole N.D.A. 
The workshop was divided into two lessons. At one station, John Hart taught students Clinch knots to attach hooks to lines. At the other, Lewis Hinks taught them to cast and provided expert tips throughout the lesson. Students then got to head down to the pond and test out their new skills. Many students were quick to hook fish and several of them caught impressive Rainbow and Brook trout from the pond. They encouraged each other as they battled to bring larger fish to the banks, and smiled for pictures with their instructors and catch.

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The CRSA would like to thank the students and teachers who participated in the workshop and for making this year such a great success.
A special thanks also goes out to Robert Leblanc, who was a great help and kindly contributed his time and experience with the students as well as Joel Camus who generously offered his fishing pond and surrounding property to be used for practice.

Spring start off and annual fishing derby

Hi there! My name is Gabrielle and I am the new student crew leader working with the CRSA on the Aucoin Brook restoration project. I am so excited to have this opportunity and to work in such a lovely community. The season is just starting up and I've already had so much fun helping out with the annual Fishing Derby last sunday, June 5th. There is much more to come and lots to look forward to, so stay posted! 

Here's a look at last weekend's Fishing Derby at Petit Lac hosted by the CRSA! 
The derby was held during Nova Scotia's official Sportfishing weekend. This annual occurrence allows for resident and non-resident anglers to fish without a licence and provides great opportunity for people of all ages to get out for a fun day of fishing. 

This year's derby kicked off at 6am with some early birds setting up for a beautiful day of fishing. Many families started to arrive around 8am, and as the hunger started to set in, the CRSA fired up the free BBQ from 9:30am until shortly after noon. At this time, we did the final weigh-in and handed out prizes to all children and youth.

The first place prize was awarded to Emily Leblanc (12) with her mighty two pound twelve ounce brook trout. The second place prize went to Tyler Arsenault (5) who caught an impressive two pound eleven ounce brook trout. The third place angler was Dawson Timmons (10) with his superb two pound five ounce brook trout. 

A big thank you to our volunteers, as well as to everyone who came out and made this year such a big success! A special thank you to the local businesses (the Frog Pond cafe, Mr. Chicken, Wabo's Pizza and the Cheticamp Co-op) who donated the prizes for this year's event. We look forward to seeing everyone again next year! 

 

Plans underway for continued restoration work on the Cheticamp River

The Cheticamp River Salmon Association is continuing its partnership with Cape Breton Highlands National Park and planning for a third phase of habitat restoration work on the Cheticamp River. The work planned for this year will build on work completed in the first two phases of the project (2014 and 2015), aiming to improve fish passage at critically overwidened sites on the lower river.

Part of the habitat restoration team (from left, Rene Aucoin, President of the CRSA, Lewis Hinks, Director of Programs for NS with the Atlantic Salmon Federation, and Archie Doucette, with Parks Canada) looking at the work completed at Fence Pool last year, and discussing plans for Phase III work

Part of the habitat restoration team (from left, Rene Aucoin, President of the CRSA, Lewis Hinks, Director of Programs for NS with the Atlantic Salmon Federation, and Archie Doucette, with Parks Canada) looking at the work completed at Fence Pool last year, and discussing plans for Phase III work

We will be sharing more information on this project as preparations get underway. In the meantime, here are some photos of recent work completed on the Salmon Pools trail, a Parks Canada trail that the habitat restoration team used as one of the main access routes for Phase II work sites. Conditions on the trail have been improved as far as the Fence Pool in order to allow the safe passage of heavy equipment and the delivery of materials for the instream structures at upper work sites.

Bulldozer working to smooth the surface on the Salmon Pools trail

Bulldozer working to smooth the surface on the Salmon Pools trail

Truck unloading material on to help level and improve conditions on the Salmon Pools trail  

Truck unloading material on to help level and improve conditions on the Salmon Pools trail

 

Looking forward to another busy and exciting field season. Stay tuned for further updates. 

Big changes post-flooding on the Cheticamp River

It has been over three weeks since the severe flooding event on the Cheticamp River, but that doesn't mean people have stopped talking (and writing!) about it.  Most recently, Lewis Hinks, the Atlantic Salmon Federation's Director of Programs for Nova Scotia, blogged about the flood and the dramatic changes to the river. You can read Lewis' blog here (he does a nice job of summarizing the habitat restoration work on the Cheticamp River and the August flooding event.

While the ASF blog highlights some of the changes to river, the following series of before and after shots attempt to further reveal some of the major changes that have taken place on the lower Cheticamp River. As Lewis put it, what a difference a day can make. :)

Work site above Fence Pool (looking downstream) during the construction phase this summer. Notice the shallow, wide channel through this section.

Work site above Fence Pool (looking downstream) during the construction phase this summer. Notice the shallow, wide channel through this section.

Work site above Fence Pool (looking downstream) after the major flood event on August 22nd. Notice the loss of the mid-channel bar, development of the bar on the eastern (near) bank, and the narrowing and deepening of the main channel.

Work site above Fence Pool (looking downstream) after the major flood event on August 22nd. Notice the loss of the mid-channel bar, development of the bar on the eastern (near) bank, and the narrowing and deepening of the main channel.

Work site below Fence Pool (looking upstream) after the installation of rock retarding bars this summer.

Work site below Fence Pool (looking upstream) after the installation of rock retarding bars this summer.

Work site below Fence Pool (looking upstream) after the flood. Notice the massive bar that formed between and over the rock bars installed on the eastern bank. The channel is now considerably narrow and deeper and a nice looking pool has formed mid-way down the bar and extends below the structures.

Work site below Fence Pool (looking upstream) after the flood. Notice the massive bar that formed between and over the rock bars installed on the eastern bank. The channel is now considerably narrow and deeper and a nice looking pool has formed mid-way down the bar and extends below the structures.

Work site above the Cabot Trail bridge (looking downstream) after the installation of rock retarding bars in August, 2014.

Work site above the Cabot Trail bridge (looking downstream) after the installation of rock retarding bars in August, 2014.

Work site above the Cabot Trail bridge (looking downstream) after the August, 2015 flood event. The flooding further narrowed the channel here (the instream structures had already contributed to the narrowing and deepening of the channel in this site) and led to the formation of another new pool.

Work site above the Cabot Trail bridge (looking downstream) after the August, 2015 flood event. The flooding further narrowed the channel here (the instream structures had already contributed to the narrowing and deepening of the channel in this site) and led to the formation of another new pool.


Flash flooding of the Cheticamp River

The Cheticamp River habitat restoration project, undertaken in partnership between the Cheticamp River Salmon Association and Parks Canada, was recently affected by torrential rainfall and severe flooding. Upwards of 150mm of rain fell late Saturday, August 22nd, and resulted in flash flooding that led to the evacuation of the Cheticamp campgrounds. The heavy rains and flooding also impacted the efforts of the habitat restoration team to improve fish passage through a number of overwidened sites on the lower Cheticamp River.

Fortunately, many of the instream structures appear to have weathered the storm reasonably well, and the combination of the structures helping the river to dig and contributing to the formation of bars, has resulted in the river narrowing and deepening in key locations. The flood was also responsible for deepening and extending some of the existing pools as well as forming a number of new pools. Not surprising given the severity of the flood, however, the Cheticamp River also suffered many negative impacts from this most recent natural disaster including extensive damage to banks in places (including the loss of large hardwoods), loss of fish (mostly juveniles), and massive accumulations of trees and other woody debris.

View of the Cheticamp River post-flood with large accumulations of debris along the West bank (Photo credit: Lewis Hinks)

View of the Cheticamp River post-flood with large accumulations of debris along the West bank (Photo credit: Lewis Hinks)

Archie Doucette, with Parks Canada, standing beside a large pile of debris near the outlet of Robert's Brook

Archie Doucette, with Parks Canada, standing beside a large pile of debris near the outlet of Robert's Brook

Massive oak deposited by the flood on a newly formed bar below Fence Pool

Massive oak deposited by the flood on a newly formed bar below Fence Pool

Members of the Cheticamp River Salmon Association have been on the ground since the flood helping to locate fish that were left stranded outside of the main river after the waters receded. In addition to helping to return well over 100 juveniles to the river, the CRSA was also able to help catch a large adult salmon that was trapped in some water off the Salmon Pools trail and release it safely back into the river.

Jerry LeBlanc, with Parks Canada, releasing a large salmon that was found stranded off the Salmon Pools trail

Jerry LeBlanc, with Parks Canada, releasing a large salmon that was found stranded off the Salmon Pools trail

Jillian Baker, with the Cheticamp River Salmon Association, helping release a large adult salmon

Jillian Baker, with the Cheticamp River Salmon Association, helping release a large adult salmon

Although the August flooding will create delays and necessitate some modifications to the work plan, the restoration team is already making plans to proceed with the instream work.

What's happening at Wreck Cove?

Representatives from the Cheticamp River Salmon Association made their way to Cheticamp Lake this week to attend a meeting with NS Power staff concerning the Wreck Cove project. The meeting was timely given that Wreck Cove, Nova Scotia’s largest hydroelectric plant, is undergoing a major refurbishment and overhaul (click here for a link to a recent news article covering the plant upgrades).

Specifically, the event, which was initiated by the Cheticamp River Salmon Association, was an opportunity for NS Power to provide information and answer questions concerning the D1 Refurbishment Project and Wreck Cove Approval negotiations.  Ray Sampson, the D1 Dam Refurbishment Project Manager, and Paul Breski, the Operations Superintendent of Wreck Cove, were among those present to provide information and answer questions.

Representatives from the Margaree Salmon Association were also in attendance and have written up a nice summary of the meeting and shared it on their website, here. In addition to reading about the Wreck Cove project update meeting, you can also visit the Margaree Salmon Association’s website to learn about what our neighbouring salmon association has been up to recently. 

Rene Aucoin, President of the Cheticamp River Salmon Association, on a tour at the Wreck Cove facility

Rene Aucoin, President of the Cheticamp River Salmon Association, on a tour at the Wreck Cove facility

Construction taking place at the D1 site  

Construction taking place at the D1 site

 

Weeks 3 & 4 with the student work crew!

The summer is going by quickly for us on Aucoin Brook! The past two weeks have been our last with the  YSI Water parameter probe, generously loaned to us by the SMU Environmental Monitoring Network, and we completed all of the data collection for 2015. We are glad to be testing the water at various sites along the brook, all the way from the rocky First Barrier falls to the silty and slow-flowing sections near the Cabot Trail bridge. Prior to any data analysis, the water temperatures throughout the water course are steady and range between 11 degrees (upstream sections) and 17 degrees Celsius (downstream sections). 

A stunning view from our first monitoring site at Aucoin Brook!

A stunning view from our first monitoring site at Aucoin Brook!

We have also been assisted by local chainsaw expert Albert Deveaux in removing the alders that have grown down into the flow of the brook. We decided to begin this project by the suggestion of  Daryl Guignion, a river sedimentation specialist and biologist from UPEI, who came to visit both the Cheticamp River Project and Aucoin brook in Week 3. 

Jeremy Camus and Stephane Muise work on filling the data collection forms.

Jeremy Camus and Stephane Muise work on filling the data collection forms.

We are looking forward to the remaining three weeks of our summer and have lots of work planned. Stay tuned for more updates!

Cheticamp River habitat restoration team receives national award

The habitat restoration work being completed on the Cheticamp River in partnership between the Cheticamp River Salmon Association and Parks Canada received national recognition this year with the receipt of a Parks Canada CEO Award of Excellence. 

 The Parks Canada CEO Awards of Excellence recognize Parks Canada team members and partners who have demonstrated a high level of excellence or achieved outstanding results. This year’s award for Engaging Partners was presented to the Cheticamp River restoration team, made up of members from the Cheticamp River Salmon Association and  Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Team members who received the award here Rene Aucoin and Jillian Baker (Cheticamp River Salmon Association), and Archie Doucette, Claudie Maillet, Jacques Chaisson, Willie Deveau, Jerry Leblanc, Kelly Deveaux, James Bridgeland, Chris Bellemore, and Coady Slaunwhite (Cape Breton Highlandlands National Park).

Buoyed by the results from the work completed in 2014, the restoration team is enthusiastically undertaking the second phase of the project. 

Derek Quann (Acting Superintendent for Cape Breton Highlands National Park) presenting CEO Award of Excellence to Rene Aucoin, President of the Cheticamp River Salmon Association.

Derek Quann (Acting Superintendent for Cape Breton Highlands National Park) presenting CEO Award of Excellence to Rene Aucoin, President of the Cheticamp River Salmon Association.

Parks Canada CEO Award recipients and presenters, from left to right: Jerry LeBlanc, Archie Doucette, Jillian Baker, Blair Purdy (Field Unit Superintendent for Cape Breton Field Unit), Willie Deveau, Jacques Chiasson, Coady Slaunwhite, Kelly Deveaux, Claudie Maillet, George Green (Parks Canada's Vice-President of Heritage Conservation and Commemoration), James Bridgland, Chris Bellemore, and Derek Quann (Acting Superintendent for Cape Breton Highlands National Park).  

Parks Canada CEO Award recipients and presenters, from left to right: Jerry LeBlanc, Archie Doucette, Jillian Baker, Blair Purdy (Field Unit Superintendent for Cape Breton Field Unit), Willie Deveau, Jacques Chiasson, Coady Slaunwhite, Kelly Deveaux, Claudie Maillet, George Green (Parks Canada's Vice-President of Heritage Conservation and Commemoration), James Bridgland, Chris Bellemore, and Derek Quann (Acting Superintendent for Cape Breton Highlands National Park).

 

Instream work begins on Cheticamp River habitat restoration project!

Last week, the Cheticamp River Salmon Association and Parks Canada started instream work on the Cheticamp River. The second phase of this habitat restoration work will involve installing instream structures at three locations this year: above and below Fence Pool, at Robert's Brook (on the brook itself and above the outlet), and below the Cabot Trail bridge (a continuation of work completed at this site in 2014).

The first week of work focused on the sites above and below Fence Pool. So far, eight rock retarding bars have been installed (three above and five below), as well as five rock deflectors. The structures are designed to improve fish passage by helping to focus the flow, deepen the thalweg, and narrow the overly wide channel. In addition to these structures, a section of vulnerable bank was armoured to reduce erosion. 

Next week, the habitat restoration team will be resuming work and moving to the Robert's Brook sites. More photos and updates will be posted - stay tuned!

Cheticamp River Salmon Association's student work crew setting up sediment control measures before the start of instream work

Cheticamp River Salmon Association's student work crew setting up sediment control measures before the start of instream work

Heavy equipment working to install rock retarding bars above Fence Pool

Heavy equipment working to install rock retarding bars above Fence Pool


Excavator installing rock deflectors above Fence Pool

Excavator installing rock deflectors above Fence Pool

Project consultant points out locations for further instream structures

Project consultant points out locations for further instream structures

Week 1 and 2: June 30th to July 10th

Last week was the training week for the summer students; Stephane Muise, Jeremy Camus and Rachelle Aucoin, who are all high school students who are working with the CRSA.  We had orientation, training on the river and First Aid.  The following Monday was the first day on the job, where we worked on cleaning up the Salmon pool trail. This involved raking, shoveling and clearing the area of broken branches and debris. Tuesday and Wednesday, we partnered with the Chiasson Brothers to prepare for the opening of the Gypsum Mine trail. With the help of small construction machinery, we dug out dirt to create areas for benches. We built frames, poured concrete in those areas and installed seven newly painted benches.  The opening of the trail will be Saturday July 11th!

Jeremy and Stephane with CRSA Executive Director, Rene Aucoin, after a great afternoon of fly fishing on the Cheticamp River.

Jeremy and Stephane with CRSA Executive Director, Rene Aucoin, after a great afternoon of fly fishing on the Cheticamp River.

For the rest of the week, the crew will commence maintenance on Aucoin brook. We must finish some rock piling and fix some structures from last summer that were damaged during the winter months. The weather has been beautiful so far and we hope it will continue so we can work in the sunshine!

Jeremy and Stephane help move trout at the Margaree Fish Hatchery.

Jeremy and Stephane help move trout at the Margaree Fish Hatchery.

Phase II of the Lower Chéticamp River Project Begins!

Last week the CRSA continued work with Parks Canada on Phase II of the lower Chéticamp River Project. The goal is to improve fish passage in areas that have become too shallow due to overwidening of the channel. Last week's work focused on improving access to the Fence Pool via Salmon Pool Trail in order to bring up large boulders to be used to build deflectors bars which will be put in later this summer. 

Looking down stream at the site where the new deflector bars will be placed.

Looking down stream at the site where the new deflector bars will be placed.

Removing a few trees to make room for the trucks.

Removing a few trees to make room for the trucks.

Laying down a new layer of dirt to even out the trail.

Laying down a new layer of dirt to even out the trail.

Boulders being stock piled at the work site.

Boulders being stock piled at the work site.

Moving boulders into the pile.

Moving boulders into the pile.

Stay tuned for more updates on Phase II of the project!

Annual Spring Fishing Derby in Grand Étang

Last Sunday the CRSA hosted the annual Fishing Derby at Pétit Lac in Grand Étang which coincided with the Nova Scotia Sportfishing weekend. The sportfishing weekend allows both resident as well as non-residents of Nova Scotia to fish without a license and is a great opportunity to get the entire family out for a fun day of fishing!

Abigail Haché smiles for the camera as she waits for a trout to take a bite!

Abigail Haché smiles for the camera as she waits for a trout to take a bite!

Anglers arrived as early as 6 a.m. to get the perfect spot to set up for the morning and kids participating in the anglers under 16 category started to arrive around 8 a.m. This year, thanks to funding from Destination Cape Breton, we were able to incorporate an over 16 category for the adult with the largest fish caught. The CRSA also hosted a free barbeque to fuel the many hungry anglers throughout the morning.

Second prize winner, Luke Aucoin, shows off his big catch!

Second prize winner, Luke Aucoin, shows off his big catch!

The first prize winner of $50 for the anglers under 16 was Christopher Poirier (14) with his 2 pound nine ounce speckled trout. The runners up were Luke Aucoin (6) with a two pound eight ouncer and Ellen Chiasson (12) who caught one weighing one pound four ounces. Prizes for youngest angler and best female angler were also awarded to Luke Aucoin and Ellen Chiasson, respectively. The winner of the adult angler category was Fernand Larade with his 2 pound twelve and a half ounce speckled trout.

A big thanks to everyone who came out and made this year's fishing derby a success and we look forward to seeing you again next year! A special thank you goes out to Wabo's Pizza, Mr. Chicken and the Chéticamp Co-Op for generously donating the prizes.