Southeast Environmental Association
Stream Enhancement in the Montague – Valleyfield Watershed
The main goal of this project was to complete habitat restoration and stream improvement activities for the Montague-Valleyfield watershed and to create healthy habitat for non-targeted wildlife species. Atlantic salmon, once abundant in the Valleyfield system, has been in rapid decline in recent years and is now listed as a species of Special Concern. Brook trout sightings indicate several age classes so the rivers are continuing to support populations; however, there is much work yet to complete to rehabilitate these neglected rivers.
Approximately 11 kilometres of stream were cleared of major blockages and sediment holding alders. This clearing has allowed sediment to be flushed out of the system, exposing the favorable gravel that the Valleyfield River is known for and creating new spawning grounds for fish.
The project goals revisited:
- 1. Remove minor, medium and major in-stream blockages
- 2. Installation of brush mats
- Five brushmats were installed along the Valleyfield River. They were used to redefine the stream channel, increase water flow and trap silt
- 3. Plant trees and shrubs
- A total of 120 native trees and shrubs were planted in the riparian area where more cover was needed, where biodiversity was poor and where bank stability was weak. An additional 130 trees and shrubs were planted throughout the watershed area to enhance forest biodiversity and increase wildlife habitat. Planting a manageable number of trees/shrubs facilitates a repeat visit(s) to those sites to ensure they are surviving
- 4. Invasive species removal/control
- Glossy buckthorn was reported in one small area; however, removal of the shrub would have increased its spread as it had matured to the berry stage. The location was documented and removal will be carried out in the spring/early summer.
- 5. Fish Monitoring Surveys
- Fish observations were done by staff during the stream enhancement work to determine if fish were present and whether there was a noticeable increase in numbers after the enhancement work was completed. Redd surveys were carried out on a section of the Montague River where stream work is being planned for 2017
- 6. Water quality monitoring and macroinvertebrate sampling (CABIN)
- Water quality monitoring was conducted on nine existing sites on both the Montague and Valleyfield River from June to September. The water quality at the sites continues to be favourable throughout the summer with no alarming trends that indicate a decrease in water quality or an increase in water temperature. Macro-invertebrate sampling was conducted at four sites on the Montague and Valleyfield Rivers