A group of fishermen from the Kennebecasis Valley want to restore a popular fishing hole that has been filled with sediment from erosion.
Aquatic species in Crowley’s Pool are at risk, as is a Quispamsis road, said Sarah Blenis, project coordinator with the Hammond River Angling Association.
It is a group of about 325 members that has existed since the late 1970s.
The idea for the group actually originated at Crowley’s Pool in 1975, according to its website.
“Despite our community’s love for this fishing basin, there has been a clear decline in the abundance of fish and the quality of the environment here,” reads a description of the project. “Erosion has become quite severe in this area, the banks are arid and up to 7m high in some areas.”
Local fishermen have been concerned about the area for some time now, Blenis said.
âIt is a very important basin for Atlantic salmon. We have American eels. There are striped bass, smallmouth bass and brook trout.
“It’s a nice, deep pool. Unfortunately, the bank is starting to deteriorate, putting considerably a lot of sand, silt and clay in the pool.”
The more sediment deposited in the water, she says, the more the aquatic habitat of native species is altered.
Crowley’s is one of the lower basins of the Hammond River watershed. The Hammond is a tributary of the Kennebecasis, which is a tributary of the Saint John, or Wolastoq.
The angling association wants to find out how aquatic life reacts to erosion and “how this sand, silt and clay enter the water and then descend into the river”.
“Does it stay there or does it continue into the lower Hammond River watershed?” Blenis asked. “And what kind of impact does that have on the habitat below Crowley’s pool as well?”
The monitoring plan includes checking for turbidity, placing sediment collection tubes in the river, and examining the “bed load” or dirt that settles to the bottom.
Drivers are also concerned about erosion, Blenis said.
Any resident can see the steep descent near the road, she said. When people walk by, they wonder, “Is this the day he falls into the river?”
Gary Losier, the city’s engineering director, said there was no immediate concern about the stability of Stock Farm Road, but the erosion of nearby riverbanks was “gradually gradual. “over the past 25 years.
Quispamsis’ board gave unanimous support for the project, Blenis noted.
It âpairs wellâ with the city’s long-term plans, Losier said.
Quispamsis has yet to commit funding, but it could be considered next year, Blenis said.
In 2016, the Hammond River Angling Association received funding to conduct a hydrological assessment of the site. This “provided a better understanding of the mechanisms behind erosion and infill,” according to the group’s website.
One of the “key factors” causing erosion, said Blenis, is probably climate change.
âAn increase in severe flooding and heavy rains is really damaging the stability of the riverbank. “
Design work for the riverbank restoration was carried out as part of the 2016 project, but funding was not secured to complete the work.
The group is now proposing a four-year project to both set up the monitoring program and restore the swimming pool.
It’s still in the planning stages, Blenis said. So far, the estimated cost of the restoration component alone is $ 450,000.
âWe are looking more at a nature-based solution. We want to use geotextiles and do a lot of planting. This can incorporate rip-rap, which is basically rock, and realign the channel. Many different techniques will be discussed. “
The proposal was submitted Thursday to Canada’s Nature Fund for Aquatic Species at Risk.
Blenis hopes to know if it was approved in January or February.
If that request for funding fails, she said, the group will modify the proposal and keep trying to do something before the road is seriously threatened.
âI would say in the next five to ten years that should really be a priority,â she said.