Gespe’gewaq Mi’gmaq Resource Council / Québec / 2020
Characterization and protection of thermal refuge drainage areas of Matapédia River
Our new normal (assumed to be as a result of global warming) seems to be drought conditions every summer now. The impact on migrating Atlantic salmon has the potential to be catastrophic. A solution is needed. Work on the Matapedia River is a start.
The Gespe’gewaq Mi’gmaq Resource Council has continued building knowledge about thermal refuges on Matapédia with a second year of approved funding of $13,530 from the ASCF fund in 2020. With its thermal refuges database and various geomatic tools, the GMRC has been identifying thermal refuges of interest for Atlantic salmon. The mapping of drainage areas of thermal refuges that has been undertaken will enable the GMRC to identify the refuge water catchment area and identify its weaknesses.
By educating and engaging riverfront owners, the GMRC is working towards the conservation of these essential habitats and the increase of the resilience of in-stream Atlantic salmon habitat quality in response to climate change. The conservation of an optimal habitat for Atlantic salmon sustainable stocks in Matapédia River is closely linked to freshwater temperature regimes. In addition, this project will help initiate new approaches for soil inventory and uses, with private owners and the forest industry, to protect thermal refuges. The GMRC has worked with the regional biologist of the Department of Forests, Wildlife and Parks to ensure that the data building protocol is adequate and that it meets the department requirements.