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Sentinelles Petitcodiac Riverkeeper Reveals Historically and Culturally Significant Name It Would Like for New Bridge on Petitcodiac River

Public Can Show their Support at Petitcodiac.Org

NEWS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION

MONCTON – APRIL 22, 2021 – On this beautiful Earth Day, communities along the Petitcodiac River can rejoice in the momentous occasion that will soon be upon us. With construction work taking place on a new bridge between Moncton and Riverview and removing the causeway, the Petitcodiac River will finally be able to flow freely once again. There is a unique opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the Petitcodiac River’s history and cultural legacy through the naming of this new bridge. Sentinelles Petitcodiac Riverkeeper (SPR) is pleased to announce that it has submitted a name for consideration to the New Brunswick Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure – for which it is now seeking public support.

“Place names are an important part of our culture and geographic environment,” says SPR Executive Director Krysta Cowling. “They play a vital role in people’s sense of well-being and connection to home and community. Through many conversations between SPR, Fort Folly First Nation, and key stakeholders from communities along the river, the name Pont Petigotiag Bridge has been developed and put forth by our organization.”

As stated by Michelle Knockwood, Indigenous Land Conservation Project Coordinator, Fort Folly First Nation, Petigotiag (pronounced Peti-ko-tiak, similar to Petitcodiac) means “river that bends like a bow” in the Mi’kmaq language. “In this spelling, used by Mi’kmaq communities in New Brunswick, the g’s are pronounced as k’s. The Petitcodiac River lies at the heart of Fort Folly First Nation’s traditional territory. Our community has been here for over 7,000 years, with a summer settlement now known as Beaumont, near Folly Point, located at the tip of the narrow ridge of land separating the Memramcook River and Petitcodiac River, where the two meet in Shepody Bay.”

“We believe the name Pont Petigotiag Bridge recognizes the contributions of Mi’kmaq, Acadian, and Anglophone communities in reversing what was once the most endangered river in Canada to what is now the largest, and most successful, river restoration in the country,” adds SPR President Ronald Babin. “Reconciliation and preservation of the ecological integrity of this shared land, and unceded Mi’kmaq territory, is a process that is increasingly and justifiably acknowledged in the public domain. We must truly act accordingly.”

SPR was created in 1999 by Acadian, Mi’kmaq and Anglophone communities to provide a unified voice and to work together towards the restoration of the Petitcodiac River – whose natural flow was choked by the construction of a causeway in 1967. This had dramatically altered the natural ecosystem functions in the river’s ecosystem.

SPR’s long-fought environmental battle led to the permanent opening of the causeway gates in April 2010, which started the river’s revitalization process with the return of freer tidal flow. Fish species that had almost disappeared from the river began to repopulate. The tidal bore, which has been reduced to a mere trickle, slowly regained some of its strength. Many efforts were made to restore aquatic habitat and aid the recovery of fish species, primarily through the Fort Folly Habitat Recovery Program.

The upcoming removal of the causeway and new bridge opening and upgrades and modernization of Greater Moncton’s advanced secondary and biological wastewater treatment, which are nearly complete, means that we are witnessing the largest river restoration project in Canada at the beginning of the 21st century. It is quite an accomplishment considering that Earthwild International and Wildcanada.net once identified the Petitcodiac River as the most endangered river in Canada.

Naming the new bridge Pont Petigotiag Bridge would be a meaningful and symbolic gesture in recognition of the history and contributions of our tricultural communities. SPR encourages the public to share their support for this name by submitting emails or letters to the New Brunswick Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure / signing a declaration of support towards this name available on the organization’s website – petitcodiac.org.

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Sentinelles Petitcodiac Riverkeeper is a not-for-profit organization. Our main objective is to restore the ecological health of the Petitcodiac and Memramcook River watersheds, including the Shepody Bay Estuary, located in southeastern New Brunswick. Learn more at petitcodiac.org.

Media contacts:

Sentinelles Petitcodiac Riverkeeper
Ronald Babin, President (506-870-0816) ronald.babin@umoncton.ca
Krysta Cowling, Executive Director (506-233-6607) krystacowling@gmail.com

Fort Folly First Nation
Michelle Knockwood, Indigenous Land Conservation Project Coordinator, (506-871-8923) michelleknockwood@ffhr.ca

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MEDIA INVITATION – Sentinelles Petitcodiac Riverkeeper Reveals Historically and Culturally Significant Name It Would Like for New Bridge on Petitcodiac River

News Conference to Take Place on Earth Day (April 22)

MEDIA INVITATION

MONCTON – APRIL 20, 2021 – This Earth Day (April 22), Sentinelles Petitcodiac Riverkeeper (SPR) will be revealing a name for consideration for the new bridge being built between Moncton and Riverview – a name it believes appropriately recognizes the contributions of the Acadian, Mi’kmaq and Anglophone communities towards the restoration of the Petitcodiac River.

SPR believes there is a unique opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the success of the Petitcodiac River’s restoration and its history and cultural legacy through the naming of the new bridge. Through many conversations between SPR, Fort Folly First Nation, and key stakeholders from communities along the river, a name was developed and officially submitted for consideration to the New Brunswick Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.

As we get nearer the complete removal of the causeway and the grand opening of the new bridge, SPR believes it is time to solicit as much public support as possible towards this name in the hopes that the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure will grant the organization’s request. 

The name reveal will take place during a short news conference on Thursday, April 22, 2021, at 10 a.m. at the Moncton Press Club. Media are invited to attend. Note that physical distancing and mask-wearing guidelines under the current COVID-19 yellow alert level will be followed.  

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Sentinelles Petitcodiac Riverkeeper is a not-for-profit organization. Our main objective is to restore the ecological health of the Petitcodiac and Memramcook River watersheds, including the Shepody Bay Estuary, located in southeastern New Brunswick. Learn more at petitcodiac.org.

Media contacts:

Sentinelles Petitcodiac Riverkeeper
Ronald Babin, President (506-870-0816) ronald.babin@umoncton.ca
Krysta Cowling, Executive Director (506-233-6607) krystacowling@gmail.com

Fort Folly First Nation
Michelle Knockwood, Indigenous Land Conservation Project Coordinator, (506-871-8923) michelleknockwood@ffhr.ca

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#ILOVETHEPETICODIAC CONTEST!

Click on the image to enlarge.

2021 will indeed be a historic year for our region! The closure of the Petitcodiac River’s causeway this week marks the countdown towards the grand opening of the new bridge over the river planned for this summer. Once the causeway structure is entirely removed, our beloved Petitcodiac River will finally flow freely again and be on the path to complete restoration. 

It’s time to start celebrating this monumental environmental victory!

Let’s all share our love and appreciation of the Petitcodiac River! 

To share the contest or participate via our social media accounts: 

https://www.facebook.com/SentinellesPetitcodiacRiverkeepers

https://www.instagram.com/sentinelles_p_riverkeeper/

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Ronald Babin interviewed on Town Talk Podcast

Interview with our chair – Ronald Babin – about the construction of the new bridge over the Petitcodiac River and the complete removal of the causeway. So exciting to see the progress that has been made and we are looking forward to this summer for the grand opening of the new bridge! There are so many great things ahead for the Petitcodiac River and its surrounding communities! #PetitcodiacRiver #restoration

https://www.facebook.com/towntalkriverview/videos/491190678954458

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2020 AGM

We had our AGM on October 21, 2020.

Thank you to everyone who participated and congrats to all our returning and new Board of Directors members who were voted in.

The new year looks promising!

Officers:

  • Chair : Ronald Babin
  • Vice-Chair : Wendy Keats
  • Treasurer: Alfred Ehrenclou
  • Secretary: Pierre Landry

Directors:

Returning

  • Marco Morency
  • Edmund Redfield
  • Monique Arsenault

New

  • Alex Arseneau
  • Malaïka Bacon-Dussault
  • Natalie Goguen
  • Tosh Taylor
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Petitcodiac River Prize 2020

We recently awarded our 2020 Petitcodiac River Award to artist-photographer Serge Martin.For the past several years, Serge Martin has photographed the multifaceted Petitcodiac River on a daily basis and has taken countless pictures of exceptional quality and beauty. With diligence and great care and through various social media sites, he has shared his photos with the communities surrounding the Petitcodiac River, which has brought him an ever-increasing number of followers on the Internet.

This has greatly contributed to reawakening the sense of wonder and pride our fellow citizens feel for their rediscovered river, which can be seen by the growing influx of walkers, cyclists, wildlife enthusiasts, tidal bore watchers and occasional surfers – all highlighting the river’s increasing recreation and ecotourism potential.

There is no doubt that Serge Martin shares the same goals and values as Sentinelles Petitcodiac Riverkeeper in promoting, protecting, restoring, and safeguarding the Petitcodiac River. It is therefore with great pleasure and recognition that we present him with the Petitcodiac River Award 2020.

Congratulations, Serge!

View Serge’s amazing photos:

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/martinjjs

Website: https://phototerroso.wixsite.com/moncton

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Public Dialogues on Future of Memramcook River Causeway

Petitcodiac Riverkeeper recently held public dialogues/community meetings to talk about the current state of the Memramcook River Causeway as well as a preliminary assessment of options to repair, modify or remove the infrastructure.

The organization has been calling attention to the deterioration of the Memramcook causeway and the causeway’s impact on the Memramcook River for many years and is committed to working with government, community members and other key stakeholders to prevent further damage. 

“The Memramcook River causeway and associated gates and supporting structures were built in 1973 and have been deteriorating from weather conditions and saltwater ever since,” Riverkeeper stated in its report, Preliminary Assessment of Options for the Long-Term Viability of the Memramcook River Causeway.  “Over the years, this has altered the natural ecosystem in the 400 km2 watershed and contributed to the elimination of several kilometres of upstream estuary, affecting the tidal range fish migrations and nutrient exchange in the river system.” 

The organization has worked with community partners to bring historic wins for the Petitcodiac River —  its natural flow is returning, as are fish and habitat. The Memramcook River now faces a similar opportunity to be brought back to life, which will also have a significant impact on the quality of life and economy of its urban and rural communities. 

Approximately 40 people attended the Feb 25th, 2020 event in Dorchester and 50 the March 5th, 2020 event in Memramcook which were intended to bring people from the community together and to hear their feedback regarding three possible options for the Memramcook River Causeway:

  • Option 1: Status Quo – The Memramcook Causeway is repaired to maintain its function and role on the river. It will require major renovations and continual maintenance through the opening and closing of the gates to allow for control of tide and fish passage. With the status quo option, the impacts to the river and surrounding community remain. The causeway has altered the flow of water, which has had significant negative effects on the surrounding ecosystem.
  • Option 2: Partial reconstruction – The Memramcook Causeway is kept and the gates on the Causeway are opened permanently. In this option, the causeway remains but the gates are no longer used to control the flow of water. The free passage of water reduces the large fluctuations in sediment creating a more stable environment for species. With the gates no longer closed, fish are no longer blocked and have free access along the river. The river narrows at the point of the causeway which will continue to affect the flow of water.
  • Option 3: Removal – The Memramcook Causeway is removed entirely and a bridge is built in its place to maintain access to communities on both sides of the river.  The river is allowed to return to its most natural state and with that, habitat recovery begins. This option is most likely to result in the largest benefits to the river and its surrounding ecosystem.

All community members were strongly in favour of advocating for the third option – replacing the causeway with a bridge. Community members also stressed the importance of repairing and reinforcing dykes, levees and aboiteaux along the river to prevent further flooding. Both communities say they are ready to work with Petitcodiac Riverkeeper. government and all stakeholders to push forward on this request and to establish plans to maximize the environmental, cultural and economic benefits the restoration of the Memramcook River can bring to the region.

INFORMATION

  • Interested citizens who would like to offer feedback or be kept in the loop for future community discussions and follow-up on this project should contact Krysta Cowling at info@petitcodiac.org.
  • They can also join a Facebook Group on this topic: Memramcook River Restoration.

DOWNLOAD THE REPORT (February 2020)

MEDIA COVERAGE:

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Public Dialogue: the Future of the Memramcook River and Causeway

English Session
Veteran’s Community Hall
4955 Main Street Dorchester, NB
Feb 25, 2020
6:30—8:30p.m.

French Session – PLEASE NOTE NEW DATE DUE TO FEB 27TH WINTER STORM CANCELLATIONS
Le Club d’âge d’or (Berceau)
409, rte La Vallée, Memramcook NB
NEW DATE: MARCH 5TH 2020
6:30-8:30p.m.

We want to hear from you!
The Memramcook causeway is deteriorating and facing major repairs in the near future. The time has come to discuss options surrounding the future of the causeway and the Memramcook River. Petitcodiac Riverkeeper would like to share data collected on the current state of the causeway and present options for moving forward. Join us for a Public Dialogue on this topic—an opportunity to share feedback, ask questions, raise concerns, and brainstorm opportunities and ideas around the potential of the Memramcook River for its surrounding communities. Your voice will help Petitcodiac Riverkeeper act in the best interest of the community.

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Petitcodiac Riverkeeper Hosts Community Engagement Symposium to Discuss new Ecotourism, Recreation and Economic Development Opportunities

Still Work to Do for Petitcodiac River Post-Restoration

Petitcodiac Riverkeeper Hosts Community Engagement Symposium to Discuss New Ecotourism, Recreation and Economic Development Opportunities

On Monday, October 28, 2019, Petitcodiac Riverkeeper hosted a historic symposium bringing together businesses, municipalities, towns and villages, wildlife protection and restoration organizations, universities, artists, economic development organizations, people who live and work along the Petitcodiac River, and others who see potential in the river to build the local economy in an ecologically responsible way.

The symposium’s goal was to help Petitcodiac Riverkeeper develop an environmentally responsible strategy to take advantage of new opportunities offered by the restoration of the Petitcodiac River, such as ecotourism, recreation, environmental and public health, economic development and community resilience.

For the past 20 years, Petitcodiac Riverkeeper and its community partners have worked together to bring attention to the plight of the Petitcodiac River. The results have been historic. The natural flow of the Petitcodiac River is returning, as are fish and habitat. The tidal bore is once again a major tourist attraction. Never in Canadian history has a tidal river been brought back to life and offered such a unique opportunity to make significant contributions to the quality of life and economies of urban and rural communities.

However, these tremendous accomplishments do not mean the Petitcodiac River is safe from the harmful effects of climate change, erosion, flooding, or from human-made issues. Growing ecotourism and recreational use of the river, while a welcome opportunity for economic development, also create potential issues, and must be done in a way that ensures the safety and well-being of both the river and the public.

“Petitcodiac Riverkeeper is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year,” says the organization’s Chair, Ronald Babin. “We are extremely grateful for the incredible gains we have made in restoring our beloved river. Now that the bridge replacing the causeway is under construction, the river will soon see its natural flow restored. It is time to look forward to a very bright future. The October 28th Petitcodiac River Symposium is our gift to the community: an invitation to our many stakeholders, partners, and friends to come together to develop a shared vision for this future.”

MEDIA COVERAGE FOR THE EVENT: 

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