The watersheds of the inner Bay of Fundy are important both ecologically and culturally. They are critical habitat for the endangered inner Bay of Fundy (iBoF) Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar) and were significant cultural and harvesting sites for our land’s first inhabitants, the Mi’kmaq People. Unfortunately, the watersheds have become degraded over time due to anthropogenic activities, leaving watercourses inaccessible or unsuitable for fish and consequently impacting the food, social, and ceremonial fishing activities of the Mi'kmaq.
Our five year study will investigate and address areas of fish habitat concern in the Chiganois, Debert, Folly, Great Village, and Portapique Watersheds. Through reconnaissance and surveys, planning, engineering, physical labour, and community support, we will help to restore fish habitat by enhancing coastal entry points and removing obstructions from migration routes for iBoF Atlantic Salmon and other migratory fish. Additionally, our study will collect local community knowledge and Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge about watercourses in each watershed to determine changes in the anthropogenic and fish use of the watercourses over time. This information will be used to set restoration goals and inform the restoration planning process. We will also assess and propose innovative solutions for modification or replacement of the aboiteau on the Chiganois River to improve fish passage in collaboration with engineers, project partners and community members.
The outcomes from this project will be: 1) increased knowledge of the five watersheds and their use by both fish and humans presently and in the past; 2) a scientifically supported management plan for each watershed that prioritizes fish habitat restoration actions; 3) increased capacity of local communities to protect, monitor, and restore fish habitat.