Research & Studies

2016/2017 Strategic Management Plan

Following the tremendous success of the Oromocto Watershed Association, the need to develop a strategic plan to guide further projects was identified.  With the support of the Environmental Trust Fund, a management plan was developed using a local consulting company in order to examine future priorities of stakeholders and establish a management structure to guide future activities for the next 5 years.

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2016 Electrofishing Project Report

For 2016, we focused on tributaries that contain Atlantic salmon and attempted to establish sites to be consistantly sampled into the future.  Having electrofished many tribuataries of the Oromocto River we are now attempting to use electrofishing and the fish communities as a proxy for water quality to further guide restoration efforts.

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2015 Electrofishing Project Report

2015 marked the fifth electrofishing survey of the Oromocto Watershed, once again supported by the Wildlife Trust Fund.

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2015 Geomorphic Assessments of Atlantic Salmon Tributaries

This report outlines geomorphic data collected on tributaries known to support Atlantic salmon.  Information was gathered through desktop review, then geomorphic conditions were examined in the field.  The information gathered will help stakeholders preserve and protect the aquatic habitats that support Atlantic salmon and help develop a watershed management plan.  This project was supported by the Environmental Trust Fund.

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2014 Electrofishing Project Report

In 2014, electrofishing was conducted twice with extra emphasis on the invertebrates which inhabit the Atlantic salmon tributaries.  One sampling period occurred in June with a follow up sampling in September.  This project was supported by the Wildlife Trust Fund.

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2014 Geomorphic Assessments

The purpose of this project was to categorize and assess the geomorphic condition of stream reaches in the watershed. Disruptions in the natural geomorphic processes of channel development reflect changes in the watershed and can cause degradation of the aquatic habitat in the immediate area.  Therefore, problematic or unstable reaches were identified to guide restoration efforts in the future.  Restoration will not only improve the aquatic habitat but will also allow a continuum of the geomorphic evolution of the channel.  Supported by the Environmental Trust Fund.

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Pete Brook Restoration Project

Through funding contributions by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) Canada, the New Brunswick Wildlife Trust Fund (WTF) and the Oromocto River Watershed Association (ORWAI), a restoration project was completed on a section of Pete Brook in Hoyt, New Brunswick to help restore Atlantic salmon habitat.  The restoration site is located near the mouth of the brook, approximately 60 metres downstream of the crossing at Duplisea Road in Hoyt, NB.

The purpose of this project was to address a road sedimentation issue and restore a section of floodplain that had been decimated as a result of road materials depositing on the floodplain. Heavy rains in December 2010, July 2014, and ongoing washouts have washed gravels from Duplisea Road creating large deposits in the floodplain of the brook. This section of the brook has been aggraded with road material from washouts due to an undersized culvert and improper road drainage ditches where the channel crosses Duplisea Road.

There is concern about the quality of Atlantic salmon habitat downstream of the road. Young of the year Atlantic salmon continue to be found (in declining numbers over the years 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013) in the brook where it meets the South Branch Oromocto River during electro-fishing surveys. Furthermore, water temperature data-loggers in Pete Brook demonstrate that it is a cold water source that provides thermal refuge for salmonid species.

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2013 Culvert Assessment Study

In 2013, the Oromocto River Watershed under took a major Culvert Assessment Study planned and directed by Ron Jenkins of Parish Geomorphic. Many brooks and streams in our Oromocto River Watershed are blocked and or sized to be too small. This study identifies all the culvert problems in our watershed. We hope to have these corrected sometime in the future. Ron and his team did a great job. 

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2013 Electrofishing Project Report

The purpose of this report is to present findings of the third year of electrofish data collected in tributaries of the Oromocto River watershed. Similar projects, completed in 2010 and 2012, identified and reported on total numbers as well as sizes of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) located in parts of the Oromocto River Watershed. This year’s program aimed to re-assess known locations for Atlantic salmon presence and expand on the number of project sites. This expansion of the number of project sites reflects the goal of determining locations of indicative fish species within the watershed such as Atlantic salmon and to gain information on fish distribution.  Supported by the Wildlife Trust Fund.

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Illegal Dumping and Large Appliance Cleanup

With all the new adventure trails being constructed it was important to us that people encountered mostly wildlife and not illegally dumped garbage.  With the support of the Wildlife Trust Fund, volunteers from the local communities spent an entire summer cleaning up garbage, building waste, and large appliances from around the watershed.

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Oromocto River Watershed Gaspereau Study

This project was funded by the New Brunswick Wildlife Trust Fund and was prepared by Parish Geomorphic Ltd. and the Oromocto River Watershed Association Inc.

For decades the gaspereau has been over fished all along the Eastern Atlantic seaboard. The species has gone from great numbers of 95 million pounds harvested to just over 1 million pounds . The last bastion of the commercial fishery is in State of Maine ,PEI,NS and NB. Even here it is greatly overfished. Dr. Ted Ames from the State of Maine has for many years been the head researcher and leader of three universities to extensively study the habitat, the species, the predator and prey relationships. Mr. Ames was awarded the McArthur Award “The Genius Award” for his effort in defining the importance of the gaspereau to the inshore and offshore commercial fishery. Basically stated that if the gaspereau are allowed to swim free and multiply, their nutrient value to the rest of species on land in streams and in the ocean is unequalled. The gaspereau is the great nutrient supplier that will feed the ground fishery along our coast and help re-establish the Ground fishery come back.

The State of Maine and its universities are the recognized leaders in gaspereau study and research. They have spent millions and millions of dollars in science research.

Our habitat is very similar to Maine. Our watershed did not want to re-invent the wheel all over again-so our Study takes advantage of hundreds of peered reviewed science.

One of the most important facets of our study was to define our habit capacity. The capacity for gaspereau has been established to be 10.5 million. Now we have something to work with ,now we can discuss management plans that may best suit all the user groups and the other species that inhabit the gaspereau’s full range.

This study looks at different management styles – 1- complete closure of the inland gaspereau fishery. 2- Management style similar to the State of Maine where all the user groups are on the management team. They set the rules based on science and monitoring. They are intent on bringing back the species to near habitat capacity so the greatest benefit will be achieved for all. 3-Management style that is existing now. 4-Management style that needs to be explored and discussed that bests serves the user groups in the Oromocto river watershed.

One of the interesting findings that indirectly came out of this study was the Mactaquac Head Pond as a habitat for Gaspereau. With a gaspereau habitat capacity of 40 million gaspereau, the nutrient supplier to the costal ground fishery would be outstanding. Currently only about 1 million are allowed over the dam to spawn. We think that this should be an important subject to be discussed in planning a new dam or the refurbishing the old. Free swim could be the biggest boost to building the off shore ground fishery to what it once was, this fishery was worth billions.

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Natural Resources Inventory and Basis for Developing a Watershed Management Plan for the Oromocto River

Initially this project began as an evaluation of the available water quality data that described the overall health of the Oromocto River watershed, with the end goal of developing a management plan for the Oromocto Watershed Association Inc (OWAI). To compliment the existing data provided by the New Brunswick Department of Environment and Local Government (NBDELG), Environment Canada and Canadian Forces Base Gagetown (CFB), data were collected in the summer of 2012 in the areas of water temperature, water quality, geomorphic processes, and riparian zone conditions.  Supported by the Environmental Trust Fund.

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2012 Electrofishing Project Report

The purpose of this report is to present findings of the second year of fish population data collected in tributaries of the Oromocto River watershed. A similar project, completed in 2010, identified and reported on total numbers as well as sizes of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) populations located in parts of the Oromocto River Watershed (ORWA). This year’s program aimed to expand on the number of project sites and marks a departure from the majority of the original 2010 electrofishing locations. This divergence from the original set of project sites reflects the goal of determining locations of indicative fish populations within the watershed such as Atlantic salmon. Thus, the project was developed to specifically target tributaries where Atlantic salmon were thought to exist or where Atlantic salmon were once known to inhabit.  Supported by the Wildlife Trust Fund.

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2010 Electrofishing Project Report

The intent of this project was to gather an understanding, or at least a greater knowledge of the Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) existence in parts of the Oromocto River Watershed (ORWA). Many who have fished this watershed have indicated to members of the ORWA, that in many of the tributaries salmon parr are the most hooked species of fish. Although this has been encouraging news for the ORWA to hear that the Atlantic salmon is still present within the watershed, members felt that some concrete data on the existence of the salmon would better serve any future watershed management plans. Thus the electrofishing project was conceived.  Supported by the Wildlife Trust Fund.

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