View topic - Destroyed rivers in NB?

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 Post subject: Destroyed rivers in NB?
PostPosted: February 17th, 2010, 7:27 am 
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Does the St John qualify as destroyed, according to criteria like those being discussed in the Destroyed Rivers thread
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=35145 ?

How about other NB rivers?

Yours in paddling, Allan

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PostPosted: February 17th, 2010, 11:50 am 
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Well, the Saint John has been dammed which has destroyed the Atlantic Salmon fishery on the river. As for canoeing the river has become a big lake for much of it's length which makes for tedious paddling.

The Maliseet culture revolved around this river so perhaps we should ask them if they feel it is "destroyed".

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PostPosted: February 17th, 2010, 12:22 pm 
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Not destroyed but not the same as it used to be.

Allan this is a perfect illustration of the difficulty of determining what is a destroyed river.

http://new-brunswick.net/new-brunswick/ ... iver1.html

http://archives.gnb.ca/Exhibits/Canoein ... A&PG=Intro

(what it used to be)

Fredericton has several canoe liveries.

Altered? Destroyed?

I have a trip coming up above Grand Falls..that starts in Maine and runs along the NB border for a while. That section of the St John is more pristine than it used to be..there used to be a lot of people living in logging camps. No more.


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PostPosted: February 17th, 2010, 12:36 pm 
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Thanks for the input.

I'd like to know how the Maliseet people feel about it but I don't know how to reach them. I expect though that they would consider it destroyed.

St John:
Can some parts of it legitimately be considered to be destroyed and others not?

More generally, if a given reach, a long one, is little but lakes separated by dams, then I would consider that reach destroyed.
If that reach is the lower part of XZY River, then would it not be legitimate, if you accept my definition, to make the entry "Lower XYZ River" in the list of Destroyed Rivers?
That what I did for the Lower Churchill in NL.

I repeat that the presence of a few dams is insufficient to add the river to the list.
An example: As suggested by recped, I removed the Ottawa (ON & QC) from the list.

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PostPosted: February 17th, 2010, 12:43 pm 
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I just travelled it by Google Earth.. I really only know the part above Woodstock. Its a river. How do you judge if the riprap on the banks destroys the river?

Certainly its not good for the deposit of silt but its a flood control measure.

Down lower the "lakes" are tidal inflows and outflows. Its still a river.

Destroyed.. no...but altered..

We have to decide when altered becomes destroyed for paddling.


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PostPosted: February 17th, 2010, 1:47 pm 
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This is a paddling site and so I agree with LRC that whether the river can be paddled must be the dominant consideration.

I should say that I don't consider paddling lakes between dams to be paddling the river.

In another thread, Uncle Phil suggested that we factor in the importance of the river in our history; that would have to include the importance of the river to the native people.

Those like me who have never paddled NB rivers have to defer to local knowledge.

I have the feeling though that Ken Corbett would consider at least one reach of the St John to be destroyed.

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PostPosted: February 17th, 2010, 2:08 pm 
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I know many are river paddlers only but its possible to destroy a lake route too by obliterating portages and denying access..

I have a problem of quantity of river destroyed. At what point does it become an issue for an entire river? That said we could put it in segments which may make more sense than trying to quantify an entire river.

Grand Falls on the St John is not a seal launch.. :rofl:


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PostPosted: February 17th, 2010, 5:25 pm 
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LRC.

Quote:
Destroyed.. no...but altered..

We have to decide when altered becomes destroyed for paddling.


This is the thing, is it possible to define a point at which a river suddenly tips over into the "destroyed" category or is it a gradual piecemeal process where a river slowly degrades in bits and pieces, the slow death by a thousand cuts for paddlers?

Parks managers, eg. those with Parks Canada have been working on defining how much degradation exists in their natural areas but they often deal with pristine systems, or have a pristine, natural set of ideals that simplifies things (objectivity) when judging degree of degradation ranging from pristine to horrible.

Another complicating circumstance with paddlers (subjectivity) is that anyone from hardcore wilderness travelers to day trippers having Sunday afternoon picnics can comment on whether a river has been destroyed or not.

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PostPosted: May 16th, 2011, 10:56 am 
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Sorry to weigh in on this topic very late, but I came here looking for some info on the Nepisiguit and saw this thread.

Some thoughts on "destroyed rivers":

Unless all the water is taken away and sent some place else--and that does happen--I don't think the river is destroyed.

The St. John has been tragically abused, not just by dams, but also by introduction of muskellunge and smallmouth bass, which have essentially replaced the native fish community. Add flood control projects and a host of other insults, and it is clearly not the river it once was.

That said, parts of it are still a spectacular river, and if you want a semi-wilderness spring whitewater trip without a lot of lake paddling, the Upper St. John remains one of the best places to go.

And, if we call it "destroyed" we remove any reason to keep any protection in place to sustain what's left of it.

I think a fair argument could be made that the Androscoggin River in Maine and New Hampshire was destroyed. In the 1930's and early 40's, my grandfather and his classmates at Bates College in Lewiston used to set the river on fire for pep rallies. By the 1960's, it smelled so bad in places that folks talked of peeling paint on riverside buildings, and virtually no fish could live in it. I grew up early in the clean-up period after passage of the Clean Water Act, and there were still "no swimming" signs that warned of dangerous bacteria levels into the 1980's.

If you go to those same river sections today, it's a beautiful, clean river in a nice rural valley that's full of smallmouth bass. The river supports several canoe liveries and campgrounds, a bunch of folks who guide fishermen for smallmouth and stocked trout, and a new river-based state park to provide access to it.

It sure isn't pristine, and it may be the most regulated by dams river segment in the eastern US. I'd never send anyone there who wanted a remote trip. But when friends of mine want a nice mid-summer paddler for a day, there are multiple sections I might send them to.

Had we called a spade a spade in about 1965 and declared the river destroyed, would it be what it is today? I think not.

Rivers are amazingly resilient, and even when they are heavily impacted by humans, they retain the ability to recover if given a half chance.


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PostPosted: May 23rd, 2011, 10:13 am 
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Quote:
f you go to those same river sections today, it's a beautiful, clean river in a nice rural valley that's full of smallmouth bass. The river supports several canoe liveries and campgrounds, a bunch of folks who guide fishermen for smallmouth and stocked trout, and a new river-based state park to provide access to it.


Yup..a new state park almost in my back yard. However its not signed and is a well kept secret for the time being.

Did a paddle there yesterday..was quite beautiful and we shared the water only with ducks and geese and two eagles.

To regard a river as destroyed is to write off all hope.


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PostPosted: August 10th, 2011, 10:41 pm 
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The Saint John is a beautiful river that in many regardisas the nicest in Canada, which might be taking things a bit far. In this case, move around so you can see things with fresh eyes. Anyone coming here with fresh eyes would see it's beauty, others will only see the changes. I see both. William Buckley called it the greatest cruising river in the world. There are far too many whiners around.


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PostPosted: December 10th, 2011, 1:56 pm 
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I paddled the Saint John from Woodstock to Fredericton in 1969, maybe three years after the Mactaquac dam was built. There is no current, the banks are miles apart and unfit for tenting, and the wind whips up long stretches of the lake at gale force. Homes and barns lay upon to the elements in deserted hamlets on the riverbank.

My uncle remembers the river before the dam, and it was a famed salmon river, the current was lively and a treat to paddle, and steam-powered paddleboats chugged upstream and down from the ocean as far as Woodstock. Communities thrived all up and down the river, and the drive along its banks was varied and picturesque.

Now it is little more than a turgid sludge pond, the salmon are extinct, the local cultures are displaced, and only the rich can afford to build their mansions overlooking the water. The new four-lane highway leads traffic far from its shores, all local businesses have gone bankrupt.

Destroyed? Beyond a doubt.

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PostPosted: December 10th, 2011, 6:06 pm 
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Is it possible to "rehabilitate" a river?

I think that is a question that we need to start thinking about. If you remove a dam... can the river be restored?

I hope that this line of thinking becomes common in my lifetime...and look forward to the day when people talk about "first" descents of previously dammed rivers.....

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PostPosted: December 11th, 2011, 1:28 pm 
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Reactivation of this thread reminds me of a thought that occurred to me some time ago.
In many parks and elsewhere, dams built during logging operations are still there, permitting canoe travel on creeks that would otherwise be impassable (thanks also to beavers for this), easing access to portages and perhaps otherwise enhancing the experience for the vast majority of the paddling community; that is, most of us who paddle in these areas would consider that they benefit from the building of these dams.

And in the corresponding Manitoba thread, it was pointed out that the building of power dams actually made paddleable a river that was not before.

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PostPosted: December 11th, 2011, 8:29 pm 
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Allan, I could agree with dams that have just raised the water levels. But dams that manage the flow of water and levels of lakes over the seasons - I detest how they impoverish the nature there.

I used to have a cottage in the Haliburton area, and it took a few years of getting used to the area before I realized the somewhat barren shore lines of our lake - in contrast to a swamp that was off the lake and accessible by portage. There, there were herons nests, frogs, liliy pads, sundew, pitcher plants and all those things that make you feel that the nature beside you is intact. And it dawned on me that the annual pattern of filling the lake to its brim in spring, gradually releasing it during summer and then taking out the last boom made it difficult for some of the key species to thrive. And it was a lousy four feet of difference in water level....

I might feel different if I was a play-boater - they appreciate what a managed water flow can do for them. The Madawaska is probably the best example - a steady water flow when you need it.

As someone who thinks nature should come first and manipulation second, I'd rather that they leave the water courses in their natural state, even if it means that a certain section is difficult to get to.

Can't think of many water courses that I could not paddle without the help of human dams: are you thinking of Lake Meade, by chance? :wink:
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