Pictou County Rivers Association


Fish Habitat Restoration

Each summer, the association conducts fish habitat restoration and enhancement projects in the rivers, brooks and streams of Pictou County.  The field crew’s work includes:

  • Clearing debris from stream channels and culverts that could impair fish migration
  • Installing digger logs across streams to create the pool and riffle habitat preferred by many fish species
  • Installing bank deflectors to improve stream flow
  • Stabilizing stream banks with logs or rocks to reduce erosion
  • Planting trees and vegetation along stream edges to help stabilize banks

Fish Friends
Fish Friends is a highly acclaimed school program with an inspiring and adaptable curriculum geared to Grade 4, 5, and 6 students. The Atlantic Salmon Federation developed it for use in both Canada and the United States, but after two decades handed supervision to supporting local and regional organizations. 
The program gives both children and adults the opportunity to explore the world of the wild Atlantic salmon; a species that needs clean rivers and streams to survive, and that migrates hundreds of miles or more to sea.

The association regularly obtains a permit from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to retain several angled wild Atlantic Salmon to use as brood stock. The offspring of these salmon are then raised by children in school aquariums and released in the spring.

The strengths of the Fish Friends program:

  • Works with students of all abilities
  • A naturally integrated program, combining mathematics, science, social studies and writing
  • Raises the consciousness of students and adults about the need to care for the natural environment
  • Geographically broad in scope as the Atlantic Ocean - indeed, from Russia to the Hudson River
  • Students can experience raising wild animals, and see them returned to the wild; this creates a very personal bond between the student and the natural world
  • A contact person in each region where the program is offered
  • A Curriculum Guide that has been thoroughly tested in the classroom environment in both the United States and Canada

River Watch

One of the PCRA’s important conservation programs is River Watch.  Some PCRA members have completed a one-day training course on the River Watch program.  These members act as extra eyes and ears for the enforcement officers of the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources and the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans.  Their role is to observe activities along our waterways and to report possible violations of sport fishing regulations or environmental problems to the proper authorities.

Community Aquatic Monitoring Program - (CAMP)

Since 2003, in conjunction with other environmental community groups, the PCRA has been an active contributor to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) CAMP program of yearly monitoring of the health of the bays and estuaries in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence. With the information collected, DFO scientists working with government agencies and universities conduct analyses to determine the suitability of indicators to assess the health of bays and estuaries.


Examples of Past Stream Restoration Projects


Bear Brook, Westville NS - Riverbank Stabilization

Bear Brook was identified as an area where the stream bank was being eroded by high water flows. A failure of the bank in this area could have resulted in the potential loss of 100 metres of fish habitat. The completed project involved the placement of 35 meters of armour stone, 10 trees (pine & maple), and grass seed on the disturbed areas.

West River, Durham NS - Riverbank Stabilization

The PCRA, in cooperation with DFO Habitat staff, identified a section of the West River bank in Durham - approximately 70 metres in length - that was eroding and collapsing into the river channel, threatening Atlantic Salmon migration. By the fall of 2012, the completed project protected a total of 85 metres of river bank with armour stone and newly planted vegetation, ensuring safe passage of fish upstream.


Trenton Park Fishing Pier Restoration
With the financial support of the Nova Scotia Sport Fish Habitat Fund, the PCRA undertook to refurbish the popular Trenton Park fishing pier after it fell into disrepair.

The association restored safe access to the pier, especially for people with physical and mobility limitations. Fish habitat in the area was also upgraded in order to improve the fishing experience for users of the pier.