Featured Projects

Antigonish Rivers Association / Nova Scotia / 2022

Pinevale Brook aquatic restoration and monitoring

Pinevale Brook is the largest tributary to the South River in Antigonish County, Nova Scotia. This stream historically contained important spawning and rearing habitat for juvenile Atlantic salmon, however the historical impacts of land clearing and channelization led to a significant decrease in habitat quality over the past century. In 2021, the Antigonish Rivers Association received funding from the Nova Scotia Salmon Association’s Gulf Priority Rivers program to complete habitat suitability index (HSI) surveys and a subsequent restoration plan for the South River.

The results of the HSI surveys indicated that the spawning habitat was embedded with siltation and pool habitat lacked depth and cover – all critical components of a healthy Atlantic salmon stream. In order to address these issues NSSA staff recommended the installation of log deflectors and digger logs in order to promote the recovery instream habitats. These structures are designed to mimic the natural benefits created by large woody-debris that is found within the channel.

The work on Pinevale Brook set out not only to install structures but also to collect some solid baseline data,” said Nick McInnis, chairman of the NSSA’s Habitat Restoration Committee. “We quantified what the habitat looked pre-restoration in 2021 and 2022 using the NS Habitat Suitability Index survey and we’ve been monitoring water temperatures there for three consecutive years now. We really set out at the beginning of this project to complete any restoration work within a strong scientific context, so we’ve collected data on water temperatures, habitat assessments and in 2022 we extended our surveying to include electrofishing, redd surveys and invertebrate studies”.

Furthermore, MacInnis added that “this project has really been a collaborative effort” noting that ongoing support from NSSA’s Adopt a Stream Program helped develop the scientific context behind the project and partnering with the Mi’Kmaq Conservation Group helped bring additional resources into the project.

In total 25 structures were installed in the Pinevale Brook. As with many projects of this type, it will take time before the results of their efforts can truly be seen and quantified. ASCF provided $20,000 in funding for this project.