Fish passage now open at Tobique Generating Station
Tobique (GNB) – Improved survival rates of wild Atlantic salmon and other fish species on the St. John River watershed is the goal of a downstream fish passage at the Tobique Generating Station. The passageway, which was unveiled today, was constructed by NB Power at a cost of $9 million.
The project was a joint effort among NB Power, the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans, local conservation groups and First Nations. It is part of a larger plan aimed at improving the protection of fish and fish habitat near hydro facilities on the St. John River watershed.
“We are very proud to have worked with our partners to make this a reality,” said NB Power president and CEO Gaëtan Thomas. “This is a great day for the St. John River system and for the future of migratory fish in the river.”
“This is tremendously important to our area and I want to thank everyone who has worked to make this happen,” said Agriculture, Mines and Rural Affairs Minister Andrew Harvey. “The work carried out here over the past few months will mean a great deal to future generations.”
Harvey spoke on behalf of Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Bill Fraser, whose department was involved in co-ordinating the project.
“The work carried out here over the past few months will mean a great deal to the future generations of the Wolastoq nation,” said Tobique First Nation Chief Ross Perley. “It is the first step in the right direction in revitalizing salmon and other species in our waters. My hope is passages at Beechwood and Mactaquac will follow. This project is extremely important, as are the Tobique and Wolastoq rivers and the links they have to our history and culture. Fish in the Wolastoq River and the Tobique River are the reason we exist here in Tobique First Nation. It was our main food source and provided economic opportunities for families. Our people never went hungry because the rivers provided. We have enjoyed working with the many partners involved, and understand that this will provide much greater habitat for migratory fish in the Tobique River.”
The passageway includes the installation of a floating fish guidance boom in the Tobique headpond, a replacement gate in one of the spillways, a downstream fish collection screen, a trap and transport facility (an elevated platform supporting a plunge pool and two holding tanks) and a pipe to move fish between the collection screen and the trap.
Work on the passageway was carried out last summer.
About 60 per cent of Atlantic salmon habitat in the New Brunswick portion of the St. John River is in the Tobique River and its tributaries.
“We are very pleased that the passageway has been constructed and is operational in the Tobique River,” said Gary Spencer, president of the Saint John Basin Salmon Recovery Inc. “This will go a long way towards helping salmon stock recovery for salmon destined for the Bay of Fundy.”
In 2010, a protocol agreement was signed by NB Power and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to improve the protection of fish and fish habitat around hydro facilities on the St. John River watershed. The agreement has resulted in NB Power working with First Nations and stakeholder groups to identify, prioritize and address issues related to fish and fish habitat on the river, including the need for research and safe passage for salmon runs through the Tobique Generating Station.
MEDIA CONTACT: Marc Belliveau, communications, NB Power, 506-458-4203, firstname.lastname@example.org.