Evaluating riverine, estuarine, and coastal habitat use, migration and survival of outmigrating Atlantic salmon smolts
To identify the issues facing salmon as they leave their natal river and enter the marine environment, we propose a two phase project. The project will describe survival and habitat use of salmon smolts from four Nova Scotia Southern Upland (SU) rivers as they move through lower river, estuary and coastal near-shore environments. The Southern Upland of Nova Scotia supports a vulnerable group of salmon, heavily affected by acid rain and low marine survival. The estuarine and early marine ecology of salmon in this area is poorly understood. It is anticipated that the SU grouping will be reviewed by COSEWIC within 5 years. The four rivers selected for the project include; The LaHave River, The Gold River (Chester), The West River (Sheet Harbour) and the St. Mary’s River. These rivers were selected based on strong community groups & interest, their abundance of salmon relative to other nearby Southern Upland Rivers, long-term data sets of other salmon parameters (i.e. electrofishing data, smolt estimates) and finally, their representative geographic spread.