July 6, 2010
EEL RIVER BAR (CNB) - The gates of the Eel River dam opened permanently today as Stage 2 of the dam removal project moved forward.
"This government is pleased to be proceeding with Stage 2 of this important project to help protect our local ecosystem," said Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Donald Arseneault. "By working in partnership with the Eel River Bar First Nation, we have shown a commitment to being a responsible steward of the environment.
Arseneault, who is also the minister responsible for the Northern New Brunswick Initiative, attended the event at the Eel River Bar First Nation on behalf of Supply and Services Minister Ed Doherty.
While Stage 1 consisted of design, planning and communication, Stage 2 includes shoreline protection; the installation of a temporary vehicle deck; and the excavation of a 150-m-wide opening on the northern portion of the dam.
The goal of the project is to improve fish passage; restore habitat for soft-shelled clams and other shellfish upstream and downstream of the dam; and develop conditions that will allow for the re-establishment of salt marsh wetlands upstream of the dam.
"Our community looks forward to the removal of the Eel River Dam and the restoration of the river as Mother Earth intended," said Chief Everett Martin of the Eel River Bar First Nation. "As the people of Eel River Bar and its surrounding communities watch this beautiful river flow freely once again, we look forward to our young people being able to harvest the natural resources in the river where their ancestors once did."
The dam is set to be removed completely in 2011 as part of Stage 3. An extended environmental monitoring program will be put in place once the dam is removed. The total cost of the project is estimated at $5 million.
MEDIA CONTACT: Sheri Strickland, communications, Department of Supply and Services; 506-457-7903.