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NB Power protects Saint John River salmon with fish passage at Tobique

2016-09-19


Fredericton, N.B. –  NB Power is working to improve survival rates of wild Atlantic Salmon and other fish species on the Saint John River watershed with new facilities at Trouser Lake and the installation of downstream fish passage at the Tobique Generating Station during the fall of 2016 and spring of 2017.

The project is a joint effort between NB Power, the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), local conservation groups and First Nations. It is part of larger plan aimed at improving the protection of fish and fish habitat near NB Power hydro facilities on the Saint John River watershed.

“We are proud to invest in this important project to support the viability of salmon and other important species in the Saint John River,” said NB Power President and CEO Gaëtan Thomas. “We share our customers’ concerns for the environment and for the health of migratory fish that interact with our generating stations.”

The $9 million project will include the installation of a floating fish guidance boom in the Tobique headpond, a replacement gate in one of the spillways, a downstream fish collection screen, a trap and transport facility (an elevated platform supporting a plunge pool and two holding tanks) and a pipe to move fish between the collection screen and the trap. This work will begin in September 2016 and will coincide with construction on the Highway 105 bridge crossing to ensure minimal additional disruption for local area residents.

During winter 2015, NB Power installed a newly designed discharge gate at Trouser Lake to ensure that the temperature of water discharged from the lake more closely matches the natural temperature of the river below the dam, protecting salmon eggs downstream of the dam from the risk of premature hatching.

Construction on site will start during the second and third week of September. Crews will demobilize for the winter and return to work during the spring of 2017 to finish the construction. Work is still being coordinated with the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure.

This project is a direct result of a 2010 protocol agreement signed between NB Power and DFO to improve the protection of fish and fish habitat in hydro facilities on the Saint John River watershed.

The agreement allows for a transparent and structured approach for First Nations and stakeholder groups to identify, prioritize and address fish and fish habitat issues on the river, including the need for research and safe passage for spring and fall salmon runs through the Tobique Generating Station. 

Approximately 60 per cent of Atlantic salmon habitat in the New Brunswick portion of the Saint John River is in the Tobique River and its tributaries. 

“The initiatives at Trouser Lake and Tobique Narrows dam will make a significant improvement for salmon conservation as eggs over winter and smolt migrate from the Tobique River,” said Gary Spencer, President of the Saint John Basin Salmon Recovery Inc. “These improvements will also assist salmon stock recovery for downstream rivers and the entire Outer Bay of Fundy salmon populations. The Saint John Basin Salmon Recovery Inc. is very pleased and excited to see NB Power proceeding with two of our highest priority salmon conservation initiatives.”

Other projects resulting from the protocol agreement include ongoing research to better understand the impact of flow regulation downstream of both the Beechwood and Mactaquac Generating Stations.

 

MEDIA CONTACT: DEBORAH NOBES, Communications, 506-458-4838 or dnobes@nbpower.com.