Abegweit Conservation Society
Abegweit Conservation Society Habitat Monitoring and Reclamation in the Midgell & Savage Harbour Watersheds
This project was essential to finally establishing connectivity within a 7 km reach of the Midgell River flowing from Elm Road (Rte. 333) to the Cardigan Road (Rte. 315). The two most critical and influential activities that finally established the free flowing channel after at least 20 years is the drawdown of Pius MacDonald’s Pond, and the hiring of a professional local trapper that concentrated on trapping out all active beaver colonies within the reach. First, spawning was observed and recorded in sections where none had been observed for many years. In many sections the receding water levels revealed substrates conducive to salmon spawning. Anecdotally, salmon spawning had been observed in the past. The third result is increased discharge from springs that have been back flooded by dams, beaver and man-made, and in-filled with fine sediments and organic deposits. The long-term benefits of this project will be to establish a healthy lentic to lotic habitat ratio throughout the entire watershed that will benefit many freshwater species. Rebalancing of the ecosystem will improve water quality and habitat.
- 1. Surveys & Monitoring of Habitat.
- 13 data loggers installed on Midgell and 15 in the Savage Harbour watershed; 4 separate canoe trips for the purpose of monitoring beaver activity and other environmental impacts were made through the reach between Elm Road and Pius MacDonald’s Pond; habitat assessments were done in the Savage Harbour Watershed
- 2. Surveys & Monitoring of Populations.
- Electrofishing for fin clips was completed in September with over 50 salmon clipped from various age classes. Salmon redd counts were completed in November (120 salmon redds). CABIN surveys were carried out at two locations in the headwaters
- 3. Stream Habitat Restoration.
- 2 brushmats installed (Midgell), 4 in-active beaver dams removed on main stream feeding into McCarrick’s Pond, additional 15 beaver dams located in the Elm road to Pius MacDonald Pond reach (7km) were opened/notched in October/November after trapping was completed, 1 km of newly worked habitat on main stream feeding into McCarrick’s Pond
- 4. Beaver Management.
- 6 active beaver colonies were trapped and 15 beaver dams (active & inactive) were notched the last week of October. The trapping effort looks to be very successful; however, this is just the beginning and a sustained and consistent trapping effort needs to be maintained for at least the next three years to allow the system to balance and for habitat rehabilitation work to be carried out. Surveys to record spawning in the newly opened reach were conducted and a fair amount of trout spawning was recorded
- 5. Pius MacDonald’s Pond Management.
- Drawdown of Pius MacDonald’s Pond started July 25th according to the permit stipulation and the pond was fully emptied within 2 weeks. Old baffles in fish ladder were replaced by Ducks Unlimited and a 4th one added to decrease the lift at each cell. A drone flight over the dewatered pond is supposed to be conducted by the province over the winter to assess the location and state of feeder springs and beaver dams