From the Blog

Cains River Enhancement 2011

Cains River EnhancementFriends of the Cains River – on 2/7 of this year I sent an e-mail to the addresses that I had for people directly associated with the Cains River. Based on Mark Hambrook’s opinion that one of the very best things that we can do for the Cains River salmon run is to remove beaver dams and beavers from the streams feeding the river, we set out to raise some extra money for the MSA to do some of this work. According to Mark removing beaver dams provides fall spawning habitat – the salmon ascend the larger Cains feeder streams for some distance to spawn – and these same streams provide thermal buffering and canopy protection for parr in the summer.

Thanks to some generous donations from camp owners, club members, individuals, and outfitters we raised $10,400, and that made this project possible. Jenny Reid, a biologist working for the MSA, has prepared the attached report reviewing the work that was undertaken this year. In all some 60 miles of streams were surveyed for beaver dams, and 88 active and abandoned dams were either completely removed or notched to provide salmon passage. Salmon were observed moving up through these newly created passages to reach spawning areas. To me this is both exciting and rewarding. The last day of the salmon season this year was preceded by an all night rain, and we witnessed an excellent push of salmon moving up the Cains. It was a wonderful sight to see these great fish rolling and jumping on their way up this incredibly beautiful river, and it made me happy to think that we are doing something concrete to help it all continue.

Cains River Salmon EnhancementIf you have any questions about the work that was done I’m sure that Jenny or Mark will be happy to help you. I have copied them both on this so their e-mail addresses are there if you need them. Some time after the MSA Boston dinner I’ll send around a financial update on the project. We received some donations from people that I don’t know and for whom I don’t have e-mail addresses. Perhaps some of you can help me get in touch with these folks so that I can thank them. I’ve asked Mark and Jenny for an update on expenses versus revenue, as well as a list of what we should aim to accomplish next year. I’m sure that, at the least, more of the same efforts to free these streams of dams and to thin out the population of beavers should be undertaken, probably annually.

There is one other aspect to this project, and that is that the MSA netted 10 wild broodstock fish from Black Brook’s Admiral Pool – thank you Black Brook – spawned them out successfully in late October, and will introduce their fry back to the lower Cains early next summer. The scale of that project too could potentially be accelerated as the parr density on the lower Cains has been determined to be less than ideal. This effort was paid for out of the MSA’s general budget.

Thanks to everyone who donated to this project. Enjoy the holidays, and please consider continuing or beginning your financial support for this Cains River enhancement project in 2012.

Brad Burns

P.S. I’ve had a number of folks offer to make a contribution and ask if I would keep them updated on the work. Someone commented to an e-mail last year that more than just the camp owners should contribute. That would be great. Please help spread the word and forward this e-mail to anyone you know who loves the Cains and would have a genuine interest in helping with this project. If they would send me their e-mail address I’ll add them to future distributions.

Download the Cains River Project Report in .pdf


  1. Keith – thanks for the exposure on what I hope will become an annual Cains River enhancement project. I want to make it clear that no one is trying to drive all the beaver out of the Cains watershed. Trapping is at a low ebb with poor prices and few people now interested in doing it. At the same time beaver have very few natural predators, so the population is very large. With the warm summers that we are having and likely to continue to have, plus the salmon’s need for this important part of the river’s historical spawning habitat, free flowing streams into the Cains are important. As your readers can see from the MSA report many of the large streams into the Cains were virtually unusable due to beaver dam infestation.
    Brad Burns

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