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e-2322 (Environment)

Initiated by Sonja Wood from Hantsport, Nova Scotia

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the House of Commons

  • The Windsor Causeway, Nova Scotia, was constructed across the Avon River in 1968 without proper fish passage and to this day it impedes migrations of fishes, including the at risk Inner Bay of Fundy Wild Atlantic Salmon and American Eel;
  • The Province of Nova Scotia is twinning Highway 101 and construction plans for the causeway now call for a second aboiteau to be built with doors and gates on the remaining channel of the river;
  • As part of the requirements for the twinning approval, fish passage must be provided in accordance with federal DFO regulations, ie: the restoration solution on the Petitcodiac River, New Brunswick in 2010 - 'remove a portion' of the causeway, returning free tidal flow; and
  • The proposed Avon River aboiteau design calls for modifications which have the ability to restrict fish passage by allowing doors and gates to be closed at will. An aboiteau with doors and gates is not an adequate solution; native fish species prefer a natural method of passage 24/7, 365 days per year.
We, the undersigned, citizens of Canada, call upon the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard to require a portion of the existing Windsor Causeway be removed to return free tidal flow of the Avon River, like the restoration on the Petitcodiac River in 2010. This will allow recovery and protection of the iBoF Atlantic Salmon, COSEWIC listed American Eel and their critical habitats, and it will be in accordance with both 'Species at Risk' legislation and the Precautionary Approach as recommended by DFO Science.

Response by the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): The Honourable Bernadette Jordan

The Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal (NSTIR) is proposing to twin and upgrade the existing Highway 101 in Hants County, Nova Scotia. The project also includes the replacement of the tidal gate (aboiteau) structure located at the outlet to the Avon River.

On January 21, 2020, a Fisheries Act authorization was issued for Phase 1 of the project which involves the placement of fill material near the mouth of the Avon River to prepare for the highway twinning. One hundred seven thousand and three hundred squared metres (107,300m2) of fish habitat will be affected by infilling the Windsor saltmarsh. The project is scheduled to take place over the next three years.

In accordance with the Fisheries Act, NSTIR will offset the residual impact from the infilling by restoring comparable tidal wetland habitat, by breaching agricultural dykes and removing three aboiteaux along Salmon River, near the confluence with the North River, in Onslow in Colchester County.

Phase 2 of the project will include the replacement of the existing aboiteau, which is a complex flood control structure that forms part of the overall dykeland system for the communities of Falmouth and Windsor. Phase 2 will include fish passage structures and also require a Fisheries Act authorization for the construction and operation of the new aboiteau.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has not yet received any formal plans for the proposed replacement aboiteau, but these are expected to be submitted in the spring of 2020. Once an application is received, DFO will conduct a detailed review of the project under the Fisheries Act and the Species at Risk Act. DFO will evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed fish passage structures for any migratory species likely to use the Avon River, including Atlantic Salmon, Gaspereau and American Eel.

Open for signature
November 29, 2019, at 1:37 p.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
January 28, 2020, at 1:37 p.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Gord Johns (Courtenay—Alberni)
February 5, 2020 (Petition No. 431-00065)
Government response tabled
April 11, 2020
Photo - Gord Johns
New Democratic Party Caucus
British Columbia
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