Protection and enhancement projects - Rivière-à-Mars

Protection and enhancement projects

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Sample taking of scales
Sample taking of scales

Transport of spawning salmon

Transport of salmon to aid the reproduction of Atlantic salmon

Did you know that we transport spawning salmon? In fact, we have special equipment dedicated to this activity to protect Atlantic salmon. The last level of the fishway is a transport cage where we make our observations to compile population statistics. When conditions are optimal, we select the largest specimens for transport.

Why? Because a former hydroelectric dam located higher up on the river (called des Murailles, which means the Wall), blocks the salmon trying to go upstream. We use a crane to move the transport cage in an oxygenated transport basin and then release the spawning pairs on the other side of the dam where the river is wilder, and the spawning grounds of better quality. The fish not selected for this transport continue up the river and find their ideal spawning ground between the fishway and the dam. Each year, 20% of the total run is thus relocated. Some fish are also moved to the fish farm in Tadoussac.

Pre-transport manipulations
Pre-transport manipulations

Are you interested in this project? Get more details from our guides by visiting the fishway in La Baie. You may be lucky enough to be there for the pre-transport preparations!

Fish stocking

Every year, thousands of fish fry are released into the Rivière-à-Mars. In 2018, more than 43,000 salmon fry were released into the river in June. This is a five-year restocking project in collaboration with the Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks. In addition, every spring, children from surrounding elementary schools release fish eggs in the river. We think this is a great way to educate young and future fishers about the fragility of our precious Atlantic salmon.

Project on the river

Contact Nature undertakes a major research project on Rivière-à-Mars. This $ 90,000 study will be carried out as part of a UQAC renewable resource master’s project. Every year, we work on the Rivière-à-Mars to try to foster the creation and maintenance of natural habitats. As the river is still suffering the effects of the 1996 flood, this work does not achieve the expected results and requires recurrent economic investments.

In order to guide our future rehabilitation work, it is essential to know more precisely the behavior of the river. The research project, led by Maxime Boivin, professor of geography and fluvial hydrogeomorphology at UQAC, aims to analyze the evolution of Rivière-à-Mars and characterize its sedimentary dynamics. The project will take place over three years and an annual follow-up will be carried out thereafter.

This information will be used to target areas where rockfill could be dismantled to support the natural restoration processes of the river and the renewal of wildlife habitat. As we have been working for more than 30 years to protect the natural and wildlife environment of Rivière-à-Mars, we are confident that this project will bring concrete and lasting results. The whole team is delighted with this partnership with Professor Maxime Boivin and the UQAC research team.

Financial helpafrom several partners

To achieve this innovative research project that will promote and sustain the natural habitat of Atlantic salmon and sea trout, Contact Nature has obtained financial help from several partners. The Atlantic Salmon Conservation Foundation is investing $ 31,500, Mitacs $ 30,000 and the Quebec Wildlife Foundation $ 14,000.


Hydrogeomorphologic Analysis

An important hydrogeomorphological analysis is underway on Rivière-à-Mars. Our river is the object of study of the company Aecom. This is an analysis that promotes and perpetuates the natural habitat of Atlantic salmon and sea trout in the Saguenay. According to Aecom, the Rivière-à-Mars is still undergoing strong sedimentary adjustments from the 1996 deluge. Although strategically-placed rip rap has stabilized the watercourse, it also has confined the stream and reduced the inflow of sediments from the banks.

In the case of Rivière-à-Mars, the confinement of the flow channel has the effect of reducing sediment inputs and deepening the stream in its bed. We obtained financial support for this innovative project from several partners. The Atlantic Salmon Conservation Foundation has invested $20,000 and the Quebec Wildlife Foundation $12,000 for the analysis of pit 9 and $3,000 for the analysis of the water supply to the ponds. Finally, the Quebec Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks has invested $17,500 in the project.

Thanks to Atlantic Salmon Conservation Foundation, Quebec Wildlife Foundation and Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs.