- Cosmetic Pesticides campaign (May 2002)
- Gorge Road Contaminated Soil Project (October 2001)
- Halls Creek Rehabilitation project (March 2002)
- Land Conservation and River Access Project (September 2004)
- Mapleton Park stream investigation (July 2005)
- Memramcook causeway (August 2000)
- Memramcook rock quarry campaign (January 2006)
- Other tidal barriers (since 2000)
- Petitcodiac Renaissance Plan (June 2012)
- Snow dumps (since 2003)
Cosmetic Pesticides campaign (May 2002)
Riverkeeper obtained funding and conducted a public policy workshop on the links between health and the environment. The question of how to deal with the most important toxic pollution issues of our watershed (cosmetic pesticides, untreated sanitary sewer discharges, other toxic discharges) was discussed. The featured guest speaker was Edith Smeesters, one of Quebec’s leading experts on the issue of cosmetic pesticides. In the years that followed, continued to encourage the province and municipalities in the watershed to introduce regulations to phase out the use of cosmetic pesticides.
Gorge Road Contaminated Soil Project (October 2001)
Riverkeeper assisted a group of residents in the Gorge Road area to conduct an investigation into a proposal to set up a contaminated soil “cleaning” operation in their neighbourhood. Hired and expert to conduct an independent investigation. The proposal was in reality an incinerator project that would have resulted in the release of significant toxic emissions, impacting the nearby residents and the 120,000 plus Greater Moncton area situated a few kilometres away. After a vigorous campaign by the residents, the permit to undertake this project was subsequently turned down by the New Brunswick Department of the Environment.
Halls Creek Rehabilitation project (March 2002)
Riverkeeper obtained first phase funding and directed staff member Mathieu D’Astous in this three-year project, developed in collaboration with the Petitcodiac Watershed Monitoring Group, to rehabilitate the Halls Creek, home of the region’s most affected streams (Rabbit Brook, Seamans Brook, Halls Creek, Humphreys Brook). Staff worked with many local area residents and produced a detailed 100-page report that described the major environmental problems facing these urban streams. A detailed list of remedial actions that needed to be taken in order to protect and restore these streams was also presented. The project was seen by some in the provincial government and in the City of Moncton to be “too active” in resolving pollution issues. Several sewer cross connections discovered while on patrol, for instance, needed to be urgently fixed by the City of Moncton. Provincial funding was not renewed and staff was laid off.
Land Conservation and River Access Project (September 2004)
In September 2004, Riverkeeper obtained funding to carry out a research into a shoreline conservation project, with the goal of increasing the amount of waterfront land protected by conservation easements in our watershed. Partial funding was obtained through Environment Canada. Mapping of the watershed was completed in partnership with the Petitcodiac Watershed Monitoring Group. An educational pamphlet and a website section were produced. Meetings took place with prospective landowners and leading conservation organizations in the province. One of the aims of the project was to create more public accesses to the river, an objective that continues to be promoted today.
Mapleton Park stream investigation (July 2005)
In July 2005, Riverkeeper intervened to have Fisheries and Oceans successfully certify that fish were present in two Mapleton Park streams, earlier identified as “drainage ditches” by the Planning Commission and the City of Moncton. The move also sought to reverse a decision made by City Council to sell over 23 acres of public parkland to a private developer. The certification forced the City to construct a culvert crossing the stream but the move to transfer the 23 acres of parkland went ahead regardless of fierce public opposition.
Memramcook causeway (August 2000)
During the summer of 2000, Riverkeeper initiated with the assistance of environmental lawyer Mark Mattson an investigation into the Memramcook causeway, constructed in 1973 against the will of the local population and with no fish passage facility. The causeway caused the complete elimination of fish passage and the decimation of all fish species in the 400 km2 Memramcook River system. Much like the Petitcodiac causeway, massive silt deposits were created and extend 12 km downstream to the mouth of the river. Worked with a committee of local residents, the Village of Memramcook and the Fort Folly First Nation to get the project to move. At our urging, an initial gate management plan was eventually developed by the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and forced onto the province, to have the gates opened during peak fish migration periods. The fact that the causeway remains a 100 percent obstacle to fish passage remains illegal. Even though nearly every resident in the Memramcook River valley support its removal, a permanent solution to this project has still to be triggered.
Memramcook rock quarry campaign (January 2006)
During the winter of 2005, Riverkeeper assisted a group of residents fighting to oppose the development of a third rock quarry along the Memramcook River, proposed by the industrial family JD Irving. Researched and produced a memo to the Beaubassin Planning Commission, which normally decides on industrial zoning variances in this region, encouraging them to enforce their stringent watercourse protection buffers. Ultimately the Beaubassin Commission sided with the environment and the residents, recommending against the proposed quarry. The JD Irving group mounted an intense lobby campaign against the NB Minister of the Environment to overturn this ruling. The Conservative St-John Minister (JD Irving home town) eventually did what he was told, and against the Commission’s and residents’ wishes proceeded to grant the approval.
Other tidal barriers (since 2000)
Since 2000, Riverkeeper has documented dozens of tidal barriers impeding fish passage in its watershed. The Petitcodiac River system / Shepody Bay Estuary is an approximately 3000 km2 watershed situated at the headwaters of the Inner Bay of Fundy and is severely impacted by tidal barriers and dams of all types. Field assessments conducted by Environment Canada (Wells, 1999), the Conservation Council of New Brunswick and the Petitcodiac Riverkeeper suggest that over 90% of the watershed is affected by barriers causing partial or 100% obstructions to fish passage. Here is a summary of the barriers affecting virtually 100% fish passage in this watershed:
- Petitcodiac causeway: 1340 km2 affected (gates opened in April 2010)
- Mill Creek abandoned dam: 50 km2 affected
- Humphreys Brook abandoned dam: 38 km2 affected (dam removed in July 2013)
- Memramcook causeway: 400 km2 affected
- Shepody causeway: 550 km2 affected
- Jonathan Creek / Jones Lake dam: 60 km2 affected
- McLaughlin and Irishtown Reservoirs: 34 km2 affected
- Babineau Creek: 12 km2 affected
- Fox Creek: 34 km2 affected
- Palmers Creek: 40 km2 affected
- Breau Creek: 60 km2 affected
- Plus other smaller tributaries of the Petitcodiac affected.
In nearby Inner Bay of Fundy watersheds, the Aulac River (30 km2) and the Tantramar River (300 km2) are other 100% affected rivers contributing to the decline of the Inner Bay of Fundy Atlantic Salmon species.
Petitcodiac Renaissance Plan (June 2012)
Petitcodiac Renaissance was launched in June 2012 as a three-year plan proposing a vision to achieve, by 2015, an ambitious renaissance strategy for the Petitcodiac River. In summary, the Plan recommends achieving four major watershed protection priorities, namely the completion of the Petitcodiac River Restoration Project, the completion of the Secondary Treatment upgrade by the Greater Moncton Sewerage Commission, the removal of the abandoned Humphreys Brook dam and the implementation of a Native Fish Recovery strategy.
The Plan also recommends setting up a special Petitcodiac Renaissance Commission to launch or implement, by 2015, a number of initiatives to enable the region to obtain the maximum benefits from the Petitcodiac River Restoration Project, hailed as the largest river restoration project ever undertaken in Canada (or the world, according to several observers). The Plan recommends that this commission seek to achieve six priorities by 2015, by facilitating, overseeing or promoting the development of a Tidal Bore Interpretation strategy, a River Access & Navigation strategy, a River Trail Plan to link the communities along the estuary, and a few other bold ideas to help restore the maritime pride of the Mighty Petitcodiac.
Snow dumps (since 2003)
Since the winter of 2003, Riverkeeper has been monitoring the operation of several snow dumps in the watershed, more actively in the urban sectors and specifically in the vicinity of the City of Moncton. A long-standing snow dump issue was identified along Humphreys Brook by Riverkeeper and brought to the attention of the City of Moncton and the New Brunswick Department of the Environment in 2003. The problem was subsequently resolved in 2007, while other snow dumps continued to create adverse impacts on the adjacent environment. During the winter of 2014, the matter rose again to the surface when another public snow dump located next to the Petitcodiac causeway was found to be located too close to a wetland. The matter that was subsequently resolved by the City of Moncton and measures to improve the environmental protection of sensitive areas next to the city’s snow dumps are now being implemented.