A project to drop lime on the forest along the West River Sheet Harbour on the Eastern Shore will mitigate the effects of acid rain and support restoration of trout and wild Atlantic salmon habitat.
Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Keith Colwell and Natural Resources Minister Lloyd Hines joined federal representatives, the Nova Scotia Salmon Association and the Eastern Shore Wildlife Association to mark the beginning of the three-year project today, Oct. 3.
“This is the first time we’ve done this in Nova Scotia and it is part of a long-term commitment by government and the angling community to restore river habitats,” said Mr. Colwell. “Sport fishing is one of the most popular outdoor activities in Nova Scotia and restoring habitat for trout and wild Atlantic salmon not only contributes to the health of the fish, it also supports the sustainability of sport fishing and the jobs and economic activity it generates.”
The lime, a natural product that has been added to the river by the Nova Scotia Salmon Association since 2005, will be dropped from a helicopter over a 60 hectare area and will gradually seep into the river. This will make the water less acidic and more suitable for trout and wild Atlantic salmon. About 10 tonnes of lime per hectare will be applied over the span of the project.
The Government of Canada, through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s Innovative Communities Fund, is providing a $380,000 contribution to the work and creating a transferable model for other communities interested in re-establishing recreational salmon and trout fisheries throughout Nova Scotia.
“The Government of Canada is pleased to support the Nova Scotia Salmon Association’s important work to restore local salmon habitats and revive the recreational fishery,” said Navdeep Bains, Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. “This project makes use of innovative processes to improve both industry and the environment.”
The project is being jointly funded by the provincial and federal governments, the Nova Scotia Salmon Association and the Nova Scotia Sportfish Habitat Fund. About $1.1 million has been committed to the helicopter liming project as part of a larger project that includes other habitat restoration work on the river, targeted research and the use of lime dosers.
“We’re pleased to partner with the province and the federal government on this initiative to provide helicopter liming on the West River Sheet Harbour,” said Heather Casavechia of the Nova Scotia Salmon Association. “This is an important part of the continued efforts of the West River Acid Mitigation Project to improve habitat and water quality and restore trout and Atlantic salmon populations.”
If monitoring shows the project is successful, it may be duplicated in other parts of the province. More information is available at www.nssalmon.ca .