Natural Resources

Partnerships announced for maintenance of Crown reserve infrastructure (09/12/10)

NB 1966

Dec. 10, 2009

FREDERICTON (CNB) - Government will partner with two non-profit organizations to maintain Crown reserve stretches on the Restigouche, Miramichi and Nepisiguit river systems, Natural Resources Minister Wally Stiles announced today.

Restigouche River Watershed Management Council Inc. and Miramichi Watershed Management Committee Inc. are umbrella organizations for various stakeholders involved in the conservation and enhancement of the Atlantic salmon and its habitat on those river systems.

"I'm very pleased that we have reached preliminary agreements with these well-respected organizations, which will see the Department of Natural Resources fund maintenance of the Crown reserve stretches while the actual work will be contracted to the watershed management groups," said Stiles. "These agreements are in keeping with our government's commitment to maintain a high-quality angling experience on these prime fishing waters for residents of New Brunswick, for a reasonable cost."

About 40 stretches of limited entry waters make up the Crown reserve system. About half of those have camps, while anglers provide their own accommodations on the remaining stretches.

Access is open only to New Brunswick residents, and is determined by a random, computerized draw.

"This new arrangement builds on the existing relationship between the Restigouche River Watershed Management Council and the Department of Natural Resources, including an agreement signed with the department in 2008 to manage the Restigouche River Recreation Program," said David LeBlanc, the council's executive director. "It will help build capacity within our organization while meeting the objective of all of the different groups within the council to maintain and improve services for anglers on the rivers of northern New Brunswick."

"The Miramichi Watershed Management Committee enthusiastically looks forward to working with the Department of Natural Resources to provide a quality experience for residents of New Brunswick who use the Crown reserve waters,'' said committee president Debbie Norton.

During the past year, the department has been looking for opportunities to partner with one or more non-profit organizations to carry out maintenance of the Crown reserves. This work includes clearing walking trails, maintaining camps or campsites, and installing signage.

"Natural Resources staff should be protecting the wildlife and forests of our province, and not performing or supervising maintenance work on Crown reserve stretches," said Stiles. "Maintenance work is important and must be done, but it is a better use of resources to have it carried out by a third party under contract to Natural Resources."

The new partnership will be in place in time for the 2010 fishing season. Stiles said that anglers can expect a level of maintenance similar to 2008 and previous years, and they should not notice any difference as a result of the new partnership.

"The Department of Natural Resources will continue to own these prime fishing waters, and carry out enforcement on these stretches," said Stiles. "The department will also continue to carry out the computerized draw that we have used in the past for residents."

Final agreements are being negotiated with the two organizations, and Stiles said that further details should be available when his departmental estimates are tabled in the legislature during the current session.

09/12/10

MEDIA CONTACTS: Matt Jones, communications, Department of Natural Resources, 506-453-2614, e-mail, matt.jones@gnb.ca; Anne Bull Monteith, communications, Department of Natural Resources, 506-453-2614, e-mail, anne.bullmonteith@gnb.ca.

09/12/10