Dimensions of structure: 55 metres long by 6 metres high• Area impounded: Approximately 12 acres• Area affected: Approximately 60 km2• Length of stream: Approximately 25 kilometres.
Built around 1950, the dam on Mill Creek in Riverview was intended to be used as a reservoir in case of fire at the Naval Base on Ruddymeade Road, a facility which was closed down in 1970. In the following years, the Town of Riverview acquired title to the dam and the adjacent land from the Department of National Defence.
Plans were to develop the area as a nature/recreation park. Today, siltation prevents the pond from being used for aquatic activities and the dam no longer serves its intended purpose, aside from being designated as an emergency water supply should a significant forest fire occur in the near vicinity. Cracks have also been detected in the dam, showing signs that the structure is weakening.
Negative impacts of the abandoned Navy Base dam on Mill Creek:
- Creates total obstruction to fish passage
- Prevents nutrients from flowing downstream
- Shows an accumulation of sediments in the upper pond
- Has a direct impact on the stream’s biodiversity
- Poses a potential threat to public safety, and should this abandoned dam fail, poses a potential threat to the ecology of the Petitcodiac River system
The Mill Creek Watershed Group, a local environmental committee located in Riverview, is actively involved in the restoration of Mill Creek and its members are advocating for the removal of this abandoned dam, as well as the creation of a nature/ecological park in the drained headpond’s basin once the stream is restored.
The objective of this project is to carry out a preliminary assessment to determine future options for the abandoned Navy Dam located on Mill Creek, a 60 km2 tributary of the Petitcodiac River watershed situated in East Riverview. Built in the early forties by the Canadian Navy, the dam was built in order to create an artificial reservoir to be used in case of forest fires. The Canadian Navy has long since abandoned the dam, now owned by the Town of Riverview, and neither the dam nor the reservoir has been used for some time now. Having outlived its intended use and beginning to show signs of structural weakness, the question of what to do with the dam remains to be decided. The Petitcodiac Riverkeeper and the Mill Creek Watershed Group in partnership with the Petitcodiac Watershed Monitoring Group (PWMG) and the Town of Riverview have undertaken a project aimed at examining options for the dam’s future in order to assist the various stakeholders in the community to better understand the choices available in order to improve the stream’s water quality and habitat.