The Hillsborough River Association (HRA) and Pisquid River Enhancement Project (PREP) will soon commence electro fishing to assess the numbers of various age classes of trout and juvenile Atlantic salmon populations on the Pisquid River, Clark’s Creek, Head of Hillsborough, and Vernon River systems. In September, silt will be removed from an area in Jay’s Pond in Fort Augustus to create a salmon holding pool as well as a silt trap. Later in the fall, team members and volunteers will conduct redd surveys, the areas where salmon have spawned. These projects support the HRA’s Atlantic Salmon Conservation Foundation 2021 initiatives on these rivers.
This year, the HRA and PREP crews installed an all-natural digger log in the main branch of Clark’s Creek near Fort Augustus. A recent blowdown was limbed, set into a 30 degree-angle trench dug from bank to bank, and secured with sandstone. A brushmat, wattle wall, and flow deflector log were also added to protect and reinforce the banks near this digger log. The structure will force the water flow downward into the stream bed and scour out a pool while oxygenating the water and providing a holding area for larger fish. The gravel bed formed below the pool creates salmon and trout spawning habitat as well as an area rich in aquatic insects. Both the pool and digger log provide cover for fish.
Clark’s Creek is a spawning area for salmon and one of many systems that have been negatively affected by siltation. In addition to installing digger logs, this year crews have also created over 300 metres of brush mats which trap silt and protect bank erosion on Clark’s Creek, Pisquid River, Head of Hillsborough, and Vernon River, installed 18 floating cover logs, removed 111 log jams, and planted over 900 native trees and shrubs to help restore the riparian zone and improve the biological diversity.