Thursday, October 1, 2020
Wednesday, September 30, 2020
The St. Croix River and its estuary has a long history of heavy commercial use, the impacts of which can still be observed in the waters and sediments of the watershed, including western Passamaquoddy Bay. Additionally, the marine and freshwater flora and fauna has been diminished significantly and for many decades anadromous fish species, in particular, have had restricted access to their up-river spawning areas.
In the 1960s, the Woodland mill dumped black liquor directly into the river for nearly 10 years causing the virtual death of the river. Since this practice was brought to an end, the river has gradually improved, but current industrial and domestic pollution continue to impact this valuable ecosystem and up-river dams continue to restrict fish passage.
ARE THERE REAL OPTIONS FOR RETAINING THE DAM?
While NB Power’s proposed removal of the dam at Milltown may have a therapeutic effect that will appeal to some interested parties, there are legitimate arguments for examining the environmental and economical potential of upgrading and retaining the dam versus removal.
In what appears to be a rush to remove the Milltown dam, NB Power has publicly indicated that the costs for upgrading the dam outweigh the economic returns from such a facility. Is that really true? In the absence of any opportunity to analyse real options for this facility, there really is no answer and this is why the process needs to be slowed down so as to assess the available options.
Release of Pollutants: As alluded to above, the sediments of the river and estuary are well known to contain highly toxic elements that negatively impact aquatic organisms, as well as humans. The head pond will be a concern in this regard if the water there is rapidly drawn down without any remedial plans. Toxic elements will be released with downstream impacts; the extent of which is hard to estimate, but should not be ignored.
If the dam is removed, it is clear that water release should be over an extended period so as to reduce down-stream impacts. Since stream flow is regulated upstream, downstream scouring out of other toxic elements may also occur over an extended period.
It is clear that the contents of the sediments of the watershed will not magically disappear and as a wise ecologist suggested: “If you have toxic elements in your sediments, don’t stir the pot!”
Action: In addition to existing studies, a current study is required to determine the composition of sediments in the headpond and up river to Woodland. Based on these results, actions for treatment, removal or release should be considered by the appropriate authorities.
Dam Removal and Anadromous Species: Generally speaking, dam removal is considered to have beneficial impacts on fish migration and indeed there are many instances of this being true. However, original waterfalls are not necessarily better than fishways and this may be the case at Salmon Falls. It is possible that fish passage may be reduced to highwater spring tides and this needs to be considered. Even some proponents of dam removal have suggested that a new fishway may be required.
Action: A study is required to determine the physical structure of Salmon Falls after the dam is removed. Fishway requirements should be determined by the results of this study.
Community Impacts: Pollution of the St. Croix River is known to have had impacts on property, property values, property upkeep, tourism, aquatic industries, and human health. Based on the toxicity of the sediment elements, will the removal of the dam have similar impacts?
Salmon Falls has an important history. Originally an important and sacred site of the Passamaquoddy Tribe and as the oldest power operation in Canada, it is seen by many as a historical asset that should be preserved and promoted for the benefit of the community at large..
Action: Analyse whether or not the historical significance of Salmon could be promoted to the economic benefit of the community.
Once an economic powerhouse, St. Stephen, Calais and the two Milltowns continue to see their industries disappear and business costs rise. Among the most serious liabilities is the cost of electric power. If the dam, fishway, and power generation system can be upgraded with modern technology and redesign, could the increased power output, be used to make these towns attractive to business once more?
At the moment, no answer has been provided. But this possibility speaks to the absolute necessity of slowing down this process and immediately initiating a public consideration of alternatives that could benefit both the river ecosystem and the residents.
Art MacKay 9/30/2020
Sunday, April 26, 2020
Saturday, April 25, 2020
Atlantic salmon swim to forefront of science
By JOHN McPHEE Environment Reporter, Halifax Chronicle-Herald
Thu. Dec 10, 2010
A genetically modified Atlantic salmon escapes from a fish farm into a river.
But it doesn’t live long enough to enjoy its freedom. Because the salmon isn’t eating a particular feed, a "kill gene" kicks in and it dies.
It may sound like science fiction but researchers are well on their way to this kind of genetic tweaking, said Fred Whoriskey, of the Atlantic Salmon Federation, in an interview Wednesday.
Genome mapping and research will eventually open up a wide array of biological tools. Most of them
Friday, April 24, 2020
Monday, April 20, 2020
Sunday, April 19, 2020
This article was written 20 years ago. During that time right whales have moved northward and the presence of Phalaropes has been "up and down" according to the few reports we have received. Is anyone aware of recent studies?
Tuesday, April 14, 2020
With a little imagination, the image of the stone stack below Campobello’s Friar’s Head reveals an “Old Friar.” A Passamaquoddy legend speaks of the stack as a young Indian maiden, turned to stone while awaiting the return of her lover. The cracks in the “Old Friar” indicate he is likely to loose his head in the not too distant future.
Saturday, April 4, 2020
DISTANCE LEARNING - Why now is a good time to become a backyard biologist! FREE DOWNLOAD AND LINK.
DISTANCE LEARNING - Why now is a good time to become a backyard biologist!
Saturday, December 14, 2019