Nova Scotia Salmon Association / Nova Scotia / 2020
Developing a model for acid-stress restoration of regional waterways on the West River.
Nova Scotia is singularly impacted by acid rain. Because of a unique geology many of the province’s salmon streams remain seriously damaged while the problem has been resolved in most other vulnerable locations in North American and Europe. The issue is mainly naturally occurring aluminum which is released into rivers by the acidity. Aluminum can accumulate on the surface of a fish’s gill, leading to respiratory dysfunction and even death.
Since 2005, funds were initially mostly privately raised to emulate the successful liming projects applied in Norway. The West River Acid Mitigation Project headlined by the Nova Scotia Salmon Association and partially funded by ASCF in the amount of $20,460 in 2020, has been easing the impacts of acid rain and, resultantly, increasing the annual production of wild Atlantic Salmon smolts by more than 300 per cent. The West River was developed as a model for the restoration of acid-stressed rivers in the region.
Both lime dosers operated well during the season and low water conditions reduced the liming budget. Helicopter watershed liming (successfully pioneered in Norway) has been added to the project and expended to the nearby St Mary’s River for the first time.
Success is being measured by long-term monitoring of juvenile densities with electrofishing at six reference sites in the watershed.
Recently, NSSA has secured funding and has begun planning for similar projects on seven other priority watersheds. NSSA requires defensible and scientifically-sound monitoring data to assess the impact of restoration activities. This project will support a widespread summer electrofishing program, the design and trial of a new fall salmon redd count, and widespread water chemistry surveys.