Fish ladder will ease journey to spawn

Staff ~ The Truro Daily News
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Designed to fit into Waughs River landscape

By Sherry Martell
Truro Daily News
Tatamagouche - Brown trout and salmon were jumping in the Waughs River this week seemingly oblivious to nearby heavy equipment construction.
For the past week a work crew with AIC Atlantic Industries in The Falls has been pounding its way deep into a shelf of bedrock to install a permanent fish ladder in the freshwater river allowing fish easy passage to prime spawning pools.
"There are fish coming in trying to jump but they are falling back and can't make it up over the falls," said Charlie MacInnis, spokesman for the fish ladder project with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
He said there is an unusually high water level for this time of year and salmon are attempting the high jump, going airborne more than five feet, but their attempts at this point are in vain.
"This ladder will be in operation for salmon season this fall," said the official.
"The water has been consistently coming for the past couple of weeks so it is starting to attract fish."
Once a ladder is established, at least three species of fish will be able to easily access about 11 kilometres of additional habitat, now nearly vacant.
MacInnis said the ladder was designed so the river and falls will not be altered. Instead fish will be diverted around rock barriers through a new passageway.
Since Aug. 5 construction workers have been gouging a trench in a large shelf of bedrock to place the concrete ladder foundation in. The first section of ladder will be about 26 inches deep, 22 inches wide and will stretch 40 feet in length.
It will flow into a holding pool at the top of the first set of falls then will extend another 30 feet into open water.
The ladder will be grated to prevent people from falling in or catching the fish and then will be sealed at the edges with a material the same colour as the bedrock.
"We didn't want to change the landscape so the only disturbance you will see is the ladder itself," said MacInnis.
The estimated cost to construct the ladder is about $300,000 and will take about eight weeks to complete.

Organizations: Daily News, AIC Atlantic Industries, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Geographic location: Waughs River, The Falls

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