Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and New Brunswick Power Generation Corporation (NB Power) recently signed an agreement to improve fish habitat on the St. John River. The agreement focuses on identifying, prioritizing, and developing approaches to mitigate impacts to fish and fish habitat from NB Power hydroelectric facilities. The first meeting of both parties to discuss implementation of the agreement is occurring today in NB.
“This agreement is a positive step forward in ensuring the conservation of fish habitat in the St. John River” said Faith Scattolon, Regional Director General of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Maritimes Region. “It recognizes both the economic importance of hydroelectric generation and fish habitat to the community.” She added that the agreement provides an avenue for both agencies to work together, to identify and mitigate current habitat issues, and to collaborate on emerging issues as they arise.
”Signing this agreement is an important step in NB Power’s vision of Sustainable Electricity,” stated Gaëtan Thomas, President and CEO, NB Power. “To ensure that we have sustainable electricity we need to meet the needs of today while ensuring the future. We will achieve this through activities that balance our economic, environmental and social objectives – the three pillars of sustainability. To be successful, we know that we must seek new and innovative solutions as we work together in a collaborative effort. This protocol agreement demonstrates how we are moving forward in the right direction.”
Hydro power production facilities on the St. John River were developed decades ago, before some of the current measures to conserve fish habitat were in place, and continue to have residual impacts on fish and fish habitat in the river. The agreement will assist both parties to focus on mitigating these residual effects.
The first phase of the agreement will focus on identifying and prioritizing opportunities to mitigate fish and fish habitat impacts from NB Power hydroelectric generation facilities. Once this is complete, the focus will be on developing and implementing an action plan to address the priority issues identified.
Through this agreement, DFO and NB Power will address fish and fish habitat concerns, some of which have been identified by stakeholders. Stakeholders will continue to be engaged in St. John River habitat and fisheries management consultation processes.
One of the largest river basins on the East Coast, the St. John drains over 21,000 square miles of land. Its upper portions are some of the most remote stretches of river in New England. The river passes thru Maine USA as well as Quebec and New Brunswick Canada, eventually emptying into the Bay of Fundy.
sources: Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), mainerivers.org