Project Information

There are four ecologically significant watersheds within Antigonish Town & County: West River, South River, Pomquet River, and Rights River. Each watershed spans many square kilometers and encompasses the entire town as well as a majority of the County of Antigonish.

Long before the association was formed, in 1992, restoration began in the Brierly Brook River (West River Watershed) as a demonstration project for the Government of Canada and the Nova Scotia Recreational Fisheries Planning Agreement. From 1994-95, further restoration sites were completed in Brierly Brook through the cooperation between the Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans and St. Francis Xavier University. Monitoring data was collected from the Brierly Brook sites from 1992-2000 to measure the impacts the restoration techniques had on the river. Monitoring data included water temperature, acidity levels, fish species surveys, and redd surveys (counting the number of salmon nests in the streambed). Based on the monitoring results, installation of a variety of restoration structures showed to have a significant improvement of fish movement up and down Brierly Brook with a major increase of Atlantic Salmon spawning throughout the whole Brierly Brook system.

Habitat Unlimited, a local stewardship group that is not longer active, completed extensive restoration work on the James River and Brierly Brook between 1994 and 2004 which paved the way for stream restoration in Nova Scotia, demonstrating through scientific studies that digger logs could restore habitat and increase salmon populations. The Antigonish Rivers Association still maintains habitat restoration structures that Habitat Unlimited installed almost 30 years ago. 

Since 2013 the Antigonish Rivers Association has been an active stewardship group and has completed restoration projects in the 4 major watersheds, addressing issues such as bank erosion and channel widening. Guided by technical support from the Nova Scotia Salmon Association’s Adopt a Stream program, ARA has completed dozens of restoration projects using well established habitat restoration techniques.

Common threats to aquatic habitats in Antigonish include riparian zone loss, land-clearing, and barriers to fish passage such as improperly installed culverts. Over the past several years many of ARA’s projects have become showcase sites for other watershed stewardship groups in Nova Scotia.


West River Watershed

West River Watershed The West River Antigonish is world renowned for its fall salmon fishing. If the weather conditions cooperate there can be no better place in Nova Scotia to angle Atlantic salmon than the West River. The West River watershed contains a number of important and highly productive tributaries such as Beaver River, Ohio River, James River and Brierly Brook to name a few. ARA has completed instream restoration projects throughout the West River using rock deflectors and bank stabilization techniques. On the tributaries the most common [...]


South River Watershed

South River Watershed The South River watershed is highly impacted from agricultural activities which result in the loss of riparian zone vegetation. Without healthy vegetation along both sides of a stream issues such as bank erosion, siltation and warm summer-time water temperatures are the result. To address these issues, ARA has worked with local farmers, the Adopt a Stream program and the NS Federation of Agriculture to develop streambank stabilization procedures and to promote the establishment of riparian zones through tree planting. Major projects were completed in South [...]


Rights River Watershed

Rights River Watershed Rights River is known for its sea-run brook trout run and late fall salmon fishing opportunities. The Rights River watershed is divided into two branches, the South Rights, and the North Rights. The South Rights River is very productive and contains some of the highest quality water in Nova Scotia. However, fish passage issues near the bottom of the South Rights River caused by abandoned municipal drinking water lines was blocking the upstream migration of sea trout and salmon. ARA in partnership with the NS [...]


Pomquet River Watershed

Pomquet River Watershed The Pomquet River is a productive trout and salmon river that has been highly impacted by agriculture, forestry and historical land clearing. As a result of these impacts much of the spawning habitat throughout the watershed has been marginalized. ARA has successfully partnered with several landowners within the Pomquet watershed, establishing buffer zones in agricultural areas and installing digger logs. The Pomquet River watershed has four important tributaries: Black Avon River, Campbell’s Brook, East Branch Pomquet and West Branch Pomquet. Beginning with Black Avon River [...]

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View Our Restoration Projects On A Map

The full scope of our project work can be seen across the county of Antigonish.
NOTE: This map was produced by the Nova Scotia Salmon Association
View Restoration Map

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“Our success is the result of our membership and the community that supports them.”

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