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Fundy National Park

Water For Life - Maintaining and Improving the Health of Fundy National Park's Aquatic Ecosystems.

In Fundy National Park we are working to improve the health of aquatic ecosystems through our Water for Life project. We are:

  • conducting ecological monitoring, habitat restoration and species at risk recovery actions.
  • engaging visitors with new innovative and hands-on activities
  • building and strengthening relationships with partners and stakeholders

Check out our work!

  • Monitoring
    • Ecological monitoring
  • Stream habitat restoration
    • Restoring aquatic connectivity
    • Dickson Brook restoration
  • Species at risk recovery
    • American eel research
    • Endangered inner Bay of Fundy Atlantic salmon research and recovery efforts
  • Visitor experience
    • Stewardship opportunities
    • Interpretive programs

Laverty Falls
Laverty Falls
© Parks Canada

Ecological Monitoring

What is ecological monitoring? It is like an annual medical check-up where a doctor listens to your pulse and your breathing. Ecological monitoring takes the pulse of the environment by regularly measuring a few vital signs – things that are the main indicators of how the patient (the environment) is doing. Park staff monitor several vital signs of each ecosystem found within the park (forest, coastal, wetlands and freshwater) to assess changes in their overall health. Monitoring of the condition of these ecosystems helps us to;

  • identify early warning signs of negative changes in the environment (like a physician detects early symptoms of a more serious problem before it is too late for treatment)

  • assess the effectiveness of our management actions (like a medical doctor monitors the patient to see whether the prescribed treatment is working),

  • and report the condition of Fundy National Park to our partners and the public at large.

The Water for Life project includes monitoring of aspects of Fundy's freshwater ecosystems: water quality, detailed measurements of fish (eg. brook trout), and aquatic insect populations.

Park staff electro-fishing
Park staff electro-fishing
© Parks Canada
Fort Folly First Nations technician measuring river depth
Fort Folly First Nations technician
measuring river depth

© Parks Canada

Restoring Aquatic Connectivity

It is important for brooks, streams and rivers to flow unimpeded so water, fish and other aquatic species can move freely throughout the system. Dams, culverts and roads can block or obstruct passage from one section to the next. In Fundy, projects are underway to improve connectivity throughout the park's lakes, rivers, and streams.

Parks Canada New culvert being installed at Caribou Plains
New culvert being installed at Caribou Plains
© Parks Canada

  • We will inspect all culverts to prioritize future restoration efforts.

  • We will provide improved fish passage from Bennett Brook to Bennett Lake by constructing a new fish way.

  • We will restore the estuary of Dickson Brook so migrating fish like salmon can move freely to and from the Bay of Fundy.

Dickson Brook Restoration

Restoring a section of Dickson Brook
Restoring a section of Dickson Brook
© Parks Canada / B.Townsend

Have you experienced the Dickson Falls trail? It is the most popular trail in the park. This picturesque waterfall along the trail is just one section of Dickson Brook. The brook continues through the park's golf course and empties into the Bay of Fundy.

The restoration project is naturalizing the section of the brook that passes through the golf course. Park staff are restoring this stream to provide healthier habitat for fish and other aquatic species, while continuing to ensure a challenging golfing experience. Work on this project is cutting-edge and award-winning. Play a round and see for yourself!

American Eel

Adult Silver eel ready to migrate to Sargasso Sea
Adult Silver eel ready to migrate to Sargasso Sea
© Parks Canada

Did you know all American eels start their lives in the mysterious Sargasso Sea -on the Tropic of Cancer between the West Indies and the Azores. Sharp declines in eel populations particularly in the Great Lakes have raised concern about eels. There is a lot to learn about these fish. Parks Canada is working with First Nations' communities to use Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge along with Western science to get a better sense of the status of this species in eastern Canada.

In 2009, eel monitoring was done in Kouchibouguac, Cape Breton Highlands and Fundy National Parks. Monitoring and research will continue in these parks. More national parks across the Atlantic region are expected to join these efforts to better understand the natural history and population status of this species.

Endangered Inner Bay of Fundy Atlantic salmon

The Inner Bay of Fundy Atlantic salmon is a distinct population of salmon that once lived in only 32 rivers near the eastern end of the Bay of Fundy. It was declared an endangered species in May 2001. This population has seen steep declines in the past 40 years due to human activities and environmental shifts. In our attempts to recover the population, we are trying to understand what is causing the decline in their species. Every year park researchers catch young salmon, known as "smolt," as they swim down park rivers to the sea. These smolt are taken to the breeding facilities at the Mactaquac Biodiversity Facility, near Fredericton, and their young, known as "fry" are used to once again repopulate the rivers. To ensure the released fish are healthy and diverse an extensive genetics programs is also run at this facility.

Working with our partners from Fort Folly First Nation , the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Atlantic Salmon Federation and the Inner Bay of Fundy Salmon recovery team (PDF - 1,177 Kb), we strive to help maintain and improve the population of these remarkable fish. Efforts to identify and protect critical habitat in the marine and freshwater environment are one of the key strategies. The Water for Life project will continue to support these efforts including releasing salmon into our rivers in hopes that one day these fish can sustain their own populations in the wild.

More on Fundy's salmon

Reintroducing adult iBoF salmon into park rivers
Reintroducing adult iBoF salmon into park rivers
© Parks Canada / B.Townsend


Youth group participating in the Adopt a River program
Youth group participating in the Adopt a River program
© Parks Canada

What can I do? How can I help? At Fundy National Park we are developing opportunities for groups and individuals to get involved with monitoring, learning and collecting scientific data that will enhance our understanding of the park's ecosystems.

For instance, during winter 2008, the Save Our Salmon (S.O.S.) program was delivered by park staff to local grade 4 students to raise awareness about our endangered inner Bay of Fundy salmon. A national program, Adopt a River, was piloted in several parks across Canada, including Fundy. Groups visited rivers to monitor water quality and insects in various ways. If you have any questions or ideas contact us using the subject line: Stewardship.

Save our Salmon program- students prepare to release their species at risk
Save our Salmon program
Students prepare to release their species at risk

© Parks Canada

Interpretation programs

Join interpreters for evening programs at the outdoor theatre, campfire programs, or guided walks. You can learn about Water for Life projects while having fun. Understand the importance of preserving the park's aquatic ecosystems and protecting the species that rely on these special places to survive.

Visitors are invited to check the bulletin boards located throughout the Park for a detailed description of interpretation activities or obtain a schedule at the Visitor Centre.

Save our Salmon program- students prepare to release their species at risk
Guided paddle at Bennett Lake
with interpreter

© Parks Canada / J.Pleau

Dipping for aquatic insects with interpreter.
Dipping for aquatic insects with

© Parks Canada / B.Townsend