An innovative program of the NSSA that improves the quality of aquatic habitat for fish and other wildlife.

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Acid Rain Mitigation Project

Acid Rain Mitigation Project - West River Sheet Harbour





Nova Scotia has suffered more than any other region of North America as a percent of fish habitat lost from the effects of acid rain. Acid rain has negatively impacted the salmon populations in at least 50 of the 65 salmon rivers draining the coastal plain that extends the full length of the Atlantic coast of mainland Nova Scotia, the Southern Upland.  The combined effects of acid rain and low marine survival are hastening the extirpation of all but a small number the Southern Upland salmon stocks.   

The Nova Scotia Salmon Association has initiated an ambitious project to restore one of the rivers damaged by acid rain. The West River was selected as the site for the demonstration Project through an extensive review exercise carried out by the NSSA's Acid Rain Mitigation Committee (ARMC), comprised of representatives from NSSA, ASF, Trout Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia Power (EMERA), and both federal and provincial governments.  The ARMC's exercise was guided by a report that detailed plans for liming 4 of the Southern Upland rivers.  The report was contracted by the NSSA and prepared by Dr. Atle Hindar, a leading Norwegian researcher on liming strategies to combat acid rain effects.

                                 ASF's Lewis Hinks stands in front of the Lime Doser at West River Sheet Harbour

                                                                                                                    Credit: Atlantic Salmon Federation

The focus of the Project is the main stem of the West River system.  The liming is conducted using a single doser, operated year-around.  The Project mitigates the high acidity affects on about ¼ of the West River system's habitat that was once utilized by salmon.  The treated habitat offers the potential to produce about 10,000 wild smolts and is sufficiently large to provide a natural refugee for a wild salmon population.  Brook trout production is also significantly enhanced. 
The  dosing plant we utilized is the Norwegian-manufactured Kemira Kemwater lime system.   This system is widely utilized in Norway.  The Project has a minimum life span of 10 years (i.e., 2 salmon life cycles).   This term may be extended if water quality fails to improve sufficiently to sustain salmon reproduction and if no alternative action is warranted as a result of technology change. 
The Project will be supported by an extensive monitoring program to track changes in water chemistry, fish species composition and abundance, and invertebrate community structure.  The Project  also receives support from and provide assistance to other efforts to determine the effectiveness of different mitigation methods. In addition to monitoring, regular reporting and communications activities occur during the life of this project.
                                    A smolt wheel is used to count smolt as the head out to the ocean.
                                            Carl Purcell releases an Adult Salmon back into the river
Detailed Information  :

In the media :

Maritime Outdoorsman talks to our own Eddie Halfyard about acid rain and the West River liming project :

Play the pocast here:

or visit directly here :