Little River Project History

The Little River watershed once supported a healthy population of Atlantic salmon prior to the opening of Brunswick Mine No. 12, in 1964. The mine operation exposed the river to continuous contamination from the mine prior to the installation of a water treatment plant in 1992. As a result, the population of Atlantic salmon drastically decreased to bordering extirpation levels. In addition, the prolonged exposure of the river to contaminates resulted in poor water quality with concentrations of contaminates reaching lethal levels for salmon and other species of Fish.

Brunswick Mines closed in 2013, and only water leaving the mine originating from surface runoff after it has passed through the water treatment plant; therefore, the water quality is set to improve. Also, in 2013, Pabineau First Nation and Glencore Mines began a Little River restocking program aimed to restore the Atlantic salmon population to historic levels, and from 2013 to 2016, approximately 150,000 salmon Fry were released in the Little River watershed. At the end of the 2016 fiscal year, funding ceased by Glencore, and the restocking program ceased as well.

2021 Little River Update

In 2021, DFO funding was approved to continue our salmon enhancement activities in the Little River, and this year 5,000 salmon Fry was released into the North branch, electrofishing activities and water quality measurements commenced, and obstruction to fish passage were identified throughout the river.

Electrofishing results were great, because we caught salmon parr and American eel in 3 different electrofishing sites in Little River. Other species identified were: trout, dace, shiners and chubs. Final report on electrofishing activity will be completed on or before March 31, 2021.

Water quality measurements were taken and it shows that the health of the river is suitable for a life cycle of a salmon and other fish; such as, American eel and Trout.

Final report on water quality activity will be completed on or before March 31, 2022.

Little River Indigenous Knowledge Study 2021

Start date: July 5, 2021
End date: October 29, 2021

As Indigenous people, we have relied on the natural world for all elements of our daily life, ranging from hunting and fishing for food, cultural practices, medicines, shelter, and spirituality to name a few. Through these practices, we have gained knowledge of the natural world and its resources; including, species patterns, plant and wildlife habitats and their locations, plant and wildlife significance and cultural and spiritual areas of importance. These practices we undertake and the knowledge we have about the earth and Her resources is referred to as Indigenous Knowledge. It’s also referred to as Mi’gmag ecological knowledge or traditional ecological knowledge. It arises from the unique relationship that we, as Indigenous people have with our natural environment.

An Indigenous knowledge study (IKS) is a written report that identifies the various practices we as Indigenous People undertake in the natural world, such as hunting, fishing and gathering etc… The IKS will often contain information about species and wildlife habitat patterns including their abundance and availability; also, maps that will identify areas where people are undertaking their activities.
It is important to note that IKS mapping will never identify specific locations of sites and should always identify broad areas to ensure locations are protected.

An IKS is important because it help others understand how lands, waters and natural resource species are important to the Indigenous Peoples and where on the land/water Indigenous Peoples are exercising Aboriginal and Treaty Rights. For the Pabineau First Nation leadership and its membership, this is important information that can be used for the protecting Aboriginal and Treaty Rights in Pabineau First Nation Mi’gmag territory.

Phyllis Ignacz (Elder), Twila Smith (Adult) and Katie Williams (Youth) started employment in the position of “Indigenous Knowledge Researcher (IKR)” for the Little River Indigenous Knowledge Study.

Their job was to interview Mi’gmags, up to 7 generations, about their knowledge towards the Little River watershed. Throughout the project, our IKS Researchers interviewed 30 elders, 58 adults and 25 youths.

Final report on this project will be completed on or before March 31, 2022.

Little River Watershed Beaver Removal Initiative 2021

The beaver and beaver dam removal is to take place in the Little River watershed. Beaver training course offered by Tom Curry (nuisance control)

Actual Field Work: 
• trapping beavers Little River in North branch, South branch and Mainstem 
• dismantle beaver dam(s) in the Little River North branch, South branch and Mainstream

GPS Coordinates Of Beaver Dams To Remove;
But First, We Must Remove The Beavers

  1. 47* 33.89 N / 65* 82.38 W

  2. 47* 32.53 N / 65* 45.045 W

  3. 47* 32.39 N / 65* 45.88 W

  4. 47* 32.17 N / 65* 47.36 W (Multiple beaver dams in this area)

  5. 47* 32.02 N / 65* 47.36 W (Multiple beaver dams in this area)

  6. 47* 31.58 N / 65* 47.73 W

  7. 47* 31.51 N / 65* 47.92 W

  8. 47* 31.50 N / 65* 48.11 W

  9. 47* 31.56 N / 65* 48.22 W (Very big beaver dam in this area)

  10. 47* 31.58 N / 65* 49.15 W

  11. 47* 31.49 N / 65* 49.73 W

  12. 47* 31.34 N / 65* 50.35 W (Multiple beaver dams in this area)

  13. 47* 30.97 N / 65* 51.32 W

  14. 47* 30.96 N / 65* 51.63 W

  15. 47* 31.63 N / 65* 54.54 W

  16. 47* 31.79 N / 65* 55.83 W

  17. 47* 31.57 N / 65* 55.96 W

  18. 47* 31.43 N / 65* 56.23 W

Tom Curry from Nuisance Control commence trapping beavers on November 5 and ended on November 8, 2021. In all, 27 beaver were trapped and now we can begin to dismantle the beaver dams for Fish passage; beaver dam removal will commence in June 2022.

Chief Terry Richardson Preparing To Set Beaver Trap

Tom Curry Standing On beaver Hut To Check Out Beaver Activity To Set Trap

Setting Beaver Traps In Little River

Final report on the beaver initiative will be completed
on or before March 31, 2022.