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


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 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 –


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

Media contacts:

Sentinelles Petitcodiac Riverkeeper
Ronald Babin, President (506-870-0816)
Krysta Cowling, Executive Director (506-233-6607)

Fort Folly First Nation
Michelle Knockwood, Indigenous Land Conservation Project Coordinator, (506-871-8923)


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)


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.  


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

Media contacts:

Sentinelles Petitcodiac Riverkeeper
Ronald Babin, President (506-870-0816)
Krysta Cowling, Executive Director (506-233-6607)

Fort Folly First Nation
Michelle Knockwood, Indigenous Land Conservation Project Coordinator, (506-871-8923)



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:


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


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!


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



  • Marco Morency
  • Edmund Redfield
  • Monique Arsenault


  • Alex Arseneau
  • Malaïka Bacon-Dussault
  • Natalie Goguen
  • Tosh Taylor

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:



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.


  • 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
  • They can also join a Facebook Group on this topic: Memramcook River Restoration.





News Release
For Immediate Distribution

Petitcodiac Riverkeeper AGM: Opportunity for Citizens to Get Involved in Future Restoration Efforts for the Peticodiac River

MONCTON, NB – Monday, April 4, 2016 – Petitcodiac Riverkeeper will be holding a community Meet and Greet as well as an Annual General Meeting in the Port Royal Salon of the Château Moncton (100 Main Street, Moncton, NB) on Wednesday, April 6, 2016, starting at 6:30pm. The event is a great opportunity for current members of the organization as well as members of the general public to meet the new Riverkeeper and Executive Director of the organization, Daniel Bard, and learn more about priorities for the river’s restoration efforts. Members of the media are welcome to attend.

“Much remains to be done for the Petitcodiac River to return to its natural state,” says Bard as the official spokesperson for Petitcodiac Riverkeeper. “The water quality does not meet the safety threshold necessary to practise recreational activities and fish spawning grounds are far from being completely restored. The causeway must be replaced with a partial bridge. Petitcodiac Riverkeeper represents the community’s interest in continued action and lobbying to ensure the full restoration of the Petitcodiac River. We invite everyone in the community who is concerned and wants to have their voice heard in ensuring the future of our river to join us for our Meet and Greet and AGM in order to give us feedback, share their ideas and find out how they can become more involved.”

Since taking over the reigns as the new Riverkeeper and Executive Director, Daniel Bard and the members of the Petitcodiac Riverkeeper Board of Directors’ main goal has been to rejuvenate public interest in the organization and recruit new partners and investors to capitalize on the current federal and provincial governments’ interest in removing the causeway and replacing it with a partial bridge. The group is also planning a major collaborative effort in the monitoring of the Petitcodiac River as a response to the much-publicized case of leaching contaminants produced by the old riverside landfill in Moncton.  Monitoring will be done in two sites, at the riverside landfill site and near the mouth of the Petitcodiac River Watershed, to evaluate if contaminants are being transported into the Bay of Fundy. The project will not only create new jobs within the leading partner organizations, but also develop a database which will be made available to all decision makers and the public, with data pertaining to the water, soil, plant and shellfish samples collected.

Petitcodiac Riverkeeper is a non-profit organization. Its 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.  Petitcodiac Riverkeeper is part investigator, scientist, educator, and advocate.  Petitcodiac Riverkeeper acts as a public voice for our waterways, protecting our right to clean water and a healthy watershed.

-30 –

Media Contacts:
Daniel Bard
Riverkeeper and Executive Director – Petitcodiac Riverkeeper
Email: or
Phone: 506-388-5337

Paul N. Belliveau
President – Petitcodiac Riverkeeper Email: Phone: 506-855-2637Cell: 506-866-2637



Text: Nathalie Landry
Editing: Monique Arsenault
Photos and videos: Georges Brun and Charles LeGresley, with contributions from Melvin Perez.
Music: Les Païens

Melvin Perez with Petitcodiac Riverkeeper President Pierre Landry.

Costa Rica native and new Moncton resident Melvin Perez has a special relationship with the Petitcodiac River. He has seen its power and beauty firsthand, from a place not many citizens have ever been.

From the inside.

“You get a whole new perspective of the city. It kind of feels like you are in this canyon looking up at the river banks and the mud. You feel the power of the waves. The river is truly alive.”

Perez was one of the pioneers to surf the Petitcodiac’s tidal bore. An avid surfer in his home country, he arrived in Moncton in 2012 and was quickly intrigued by our tidal bore.

“My wife is from New Brunswick and we had lived together in Costa Rica in a small beach town called Tamarindo for almost 11 years. After a while, she was missing her home, so we decided to give Moncton a try. I missed surfing a lot, it was a big part of my life. I knew about the river, that it had a high tide and low tide, but it wasn’t until one day when I was riding my bike by the path next to it that I saw this wave come in, going about the same speed as my bike. I immediately thought to myself “Oh my God, what is this?”. That’s when I learned about the tidal bore. I was very excited and started telling everybody that there was a potential to surf this wave. Why wasn’t anybody surfing?”

Of course, people told Perez his idea was crazy. He would get stuck in the mud, they said, or the water was polluted.

Discouraged, Perez, who is a bartender at the Chateau Moncton, had to be content just to watch the tidal bore roll in everyday. He would watch, mesmerized, finding in the phenomenon a bit of familiarity and comfort.

“It’s kind of funny. Here I was in my new town, working right next to the wave coming in everyday, just like when I was in Costa Rica, working right next to the ocean.”

As fate would have it, it was thanks to his job “next to the wave” that Perez would meet Californian surfers JJ Wessels and Colin Whitbread in July 2013.

“One night, I saw these guys come in with surfboards at the hotel, checking in. I immediately went to greet them and asked them if they were headed down to Halifax to surf at Lawrencetown. They told me no, that they were actually in Moncton to surf the wave here.”

Intrigued, Perez decided to jump on the occasion.

“I knew I couldn’t ride the entire 29 km with them. I hadn’t surfed in so long and I was not ready for that. So I decided I would start near the Chateau Moncton and wait for the bore to come in there.”

Perez says the first experience was incredible. Word had gotten out and he was surprised to see an audience when he headed out to the river the next day.

“I was full of adrenaline. There were so many people watching. When that first wave came in, I was so nervous that I fell. Looking to my left, I could see the big wave right next to me with the Californian surfers and the sea-doos. It was just unreal.”

Perez was hooked. He kept going down to the river time and time again over the course of the week, determined to catch the tidal bore’s wave and surf it for as long as he could. He kept going, even when all the other surfers left town.

“Some months, I would be out on the river many times, some months less, depending on how strong the bore was. At times, I would have the entire river to myself. Sometimes, I would see people riding their bikes or walking along the path and they would stop and wave at me, clap and cheer me on. Some people wanted to take pictures with me. It’s a nice feeling to see the citizens realizing that their river is very much alive.”

Perez has now surfed the tidal bore 43 times. He tries to surf it longer each time.

Surfing the tidal bore is also very different than surfing ocean waves, which is part of the big draw Perez now sees in our river for the surfing community.

“This wave is different. First of all, you know at what time it is coming, so you can plan ahead. But you never know how strong it is going to be. And the adrenaline is incredible, because there is only one wave and you do not want to miss it.”

He warns that surfing the bore is not for the inexperienced.

“Sometimes, the wave is not that big. You have to be careful. I have seen rocks, wood, garbage and metal things. I have had my foot stuck among some rocks when trying to get down to the river or come out of it. The current can be very strong and it never stops. You have to know where you can safely exit the river. This is not a place to learn how to surf.”

He sees the renewed interest in the Petitcodiac river through surfing as a good thing and hopes that the City will be prompted to continue work on the restoration of the river, so that it can flow like before and have better water quality. He also hopes that the river will not end up being too crowded.

“The river is now part of my life here in Moncton. It’s a beautiful wonder that we have right here.”