Conservation Council proud to collaborate with Peskotomuhkati Nation on coastal restoration

Alewifes migrating up a river in Northern Maine, USA. June 2016. Nick Hawkins Photography

Canada’s Coastal Restoration Fund is making waves along the coast of New Brunswick – and here at the Conservation Council, we couldn’t be happier.

On July 10, the federal government announced that the Coastal Restoration Fund will provide the Peskotomuhkati (Passamaquoddy) Nation at Skutik with $1,656,000 over the next five years. The money will fund a restoration project to revitalize and protect habitats throughout Peskotomuhkati territory ranging from the the Lepreau to the Skutik (St. Croix) River. The Conservation Council’s Fundy Baykeeper, and Eastern Charlotte Waterways (an environmental resource and research centre based in Blacks Harbour, N.B.) have worked with the Peskotomuhkati Nation at Skutik since the conception of this project.

It should be emphasized that the Peskotomuhkati Nation, along with many partners, has been doing the work to protect and restore their territory for the benefit of the natural ecosystem, their communities and culture, and those in Canada and the U.S.A. lucky enough to call Peskotomuhkati territory home. For instance, the Schoodic Riverkeepers and others in the Peskotomuhkati Nation led the charge to see the Skutic River reopened to alewife (gaspereau) in 2013.

This year, more than 270,000 alewife have swam up river to their native spawning grounds, up from a modern low in 2002 of 900 fish. Support from the Coastal Restoration Fund will add valuable resources to these ongoing efforts.

The Conservation Council is proud that our Fundy Baykeeper, Matt Abbott, will be involved in this collaborative project which aims to restore fish passage in the St. Croix, Magaguadavic, L’Étang, and Lepreau rivers. As well, the project will undertake other instream fish habitat restoration, which will benefit several species including Atlantic Salmon, Striped Bass, Alewife and Blueback Herring.

“The Government of Canada is committed to protecting our coasts – that’s why we announced the Oceans Protection Plan, which will help restore and protect marine ecosystems and habitats,” said the Minister of Oceans, Fisheries, and the Canadian Coast Guard, Hon. Dominic LeBlanc, following Tuesday’s announcement. “The $75 million Coastal restoration Fund provides an opportunity to address threats to our ocean and coastal areas. I am pleased that our collaboration with the Passamaquoddy Recognition Group will ensure healthy, thriving coastal habitats in South-West New Brunswick for future generations.”

We are excited for this project to move forward, and cannot wait to start seeing the ecological, educational and economic benefits of the Bay of Fundy restoration!