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LaHave River Watershed Project to continue water quality assessments


Members of Coastal Action conduct research during last year’s LaHave River Watershed Project.
Members of Coastal Action conduct research during last year’s LaHave River Watershed Project. - Contributed

Funding allows Coastal Action to research Atlantic salmon trends

With two recent funding announcements, Coastal Action is set to begin another season of research along the South Shore.

The organization received $15,000 from the Atlantic Salmon Conservation Foundation to put toward its LaHave River Watershed Project Project Co-ordinator Sam Reeves said the funding would go toward research and habitat restoration.

And the funding couldn’t come at a better time considering the Atlantic salmon stock has plummeted along the LaHave River.

“We mainly focus on salmon since they really need that protection. They need access to adequate habitat for spawning and rearing their young,” said Reeves.

He added the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) is considering declaring the species endangered.

Reeves said the drop is alarming because the LaHave area was once teeming with Atlantic Salmon.

“(Their) numbers were quite high in the 90s,” he said.

“Recently, the numbers have been less than 200.”

In addition to Atlantic salmon, the area is also home to trout, perch and more.

Reeves said his team is planning to work on the North River watershed — one of six sub-watersheds in the region — to assess fish habitats.

This will include culvert assessments, which allow fish to pass unimpeded.

“A big issue we see with culverts is there’s usually a drop on the downstream side. It makes it that fish have to jump into the culvert,” he said.

The project will to continue to complete water quality assessments, as it has since the project was launched in 2007.

Reeves said the plan is to monitor 13 site throughout the LaHave monthly to test for metals, bacteria and more.

And despite a decade of work, Reeves said Coastal Action is still researching and learning about the area’s ecosystems.

“There’s still areas we haven’t completed assessments in,” he said.

“I think it will continue for another number of years as long as the salmon are still present in the river and other native species as well.”

"The organization also participated in the NSLC Adopt A Stream Program, which is in partnership with the NSLC and the Nova Scotia Salmon Association.

The NSLC announced it will again contribute $100,000 in support of the program. "

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