September 18, 2006

Eel River dam project EIA released for public comment

The New Brunswick Department of Environment is accepting public comments until November 7, 2006 on the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report for a proposal by the provincial Department of Supply and Services (DSS) to remove the Eel River dam.

The dam was built in 1963 south of the town of Dalhousie to provide an industrial water source for the area. Over time, the structure limited the passage of fish upstream and has contributed to deterioration of natural resources within the Eel River watershed.

The EIA report was prepared for DSS by consultants from Jacques Whitford and represents two years of research, consultation, modelling and analyses by the firm. It presents an adaptive management approach to removal of the dam, comparing the environmental impacts (including cumulative impacts) with the effects of the status quo, i.e. leaving the dam in place.

Overall, the report concludes that the project will fulfill its objective, namely correcting the fish passage problem, and will have significant positive impacts on a wide range of environmental components, including water and sediment quality, fish and shellfish habitat, wetlands, vegetation and migratory birds. Socio-economic components will be favourably affected as well, such as vessel navigation, tourism and recreation, and traditional land and resource uses by aboriginal people.

Written comments may be submitted in English or French and should be sent to the project assessment branch, Eel River dam project, New Brunswick Department of Environment, PO Box 6000, 20 McGloin St, Fredericton E3B 5H1, FAX 506/453-2627, E-mail EIA-EIE@gnb.ca. A summary of the EIA report's main points may be requested from the department at 506/453-3700. A public meeting will be held on October 23 to hear any comments or questions concerning the report. Individuals or organizations needing more information or wishing to make a presentation should contact the department at the same number (call collect).

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