Last year a number of us made donations to help the salmon and brooktrout runs on the Cains River by providing the Miramichi Salmon Association with funds to diminish beaver dam obstructions, and to stock salmon fry into areas of the Cains River having low parr density. That project was a great success, and in case you haven’t seen it I have attached for your review a copy of the summary written by Jenny Reid, biologist for the Miramichi Salmon Association concerning the work that was done in the fall of 2011.
According to Mark Hambrook of the MSA, alleviating beaver dam obstruction is critical, because first, it allows passage up to important spawning areas in the fall, and second it helps make the streams more free flowing and accessible so that they provide refuge from both predators and warm water during the summer season. With a relatively low stream gradient it is Mark’s view that these tributary streams are critical to successful spawning and parr rearing in the lower Cains River. Workers last fall opened beaver dams and later witnessed salmon upstream of the obstructions that could not have gotten there had it not been for their work.
While the upper portions of the Cains are not as dependent on incoming streams for their spawning and nursery habitat, there are considerable benefits to having the entire river in good, productive condition. These include greater protection for out-migrating smolts from increased numbers, and the fact that a sizable percentage of adult salmon move from year to year to different spawning grounds throughout the river. Additionally, every camp owner and fishermen on the Main Southwest Miramichi, downstream of the Cains, benefits substantially from the Cains run. This becomes clear when you look at some official New Brunswick DNR statistics from 1967. In that year the Main SW Miramichi produced a rod catch of 34,280 bright salmon, and the Cains produced 6,480 during its relatively short season. The Little Southwest and the NW Miramichi combined to produce 6,000 – about the same as the Cains! The Cains is indeed a small river with huge potential!
The MSA has refined its thinking on the best way to approach this work, and has come up with some enhancements to last year’s plan. In addition to breaching and/or removing beaver dams on the streams large enough to facilitate in stream spawning, MSA workers will drop down the Cains River on a couple of occasions during the summer months in 2012 to remove beaver dams that have been built within the first few hundred feet upstream of their entrance to the Cains. This will allow parr and early run adult fish to seek the sanctuary of the cool stream and tree canopy during the heat of summer. By doing this twice it will help keep the mouths of the streams open, and, as I have learned, the beaver will give up and move along if their dams are repeatedly breached. Also we have learned that due to increased prices for beaver pelts trappers are more interested in targeting beaver. There is an active trapping community along the Cains, and we have agreed to provide them with the GPS locations of active beaver dams. The MSA hopes that its workers will be able to do some trapping, but opening the dams in the short time available is the larger priority. Also, again during 2012 the MSA will be netting some salmon broodstock from the Cains – these fish are released alive back into the system after spawning – spawning these adult fish in their hatchery, and stocking the parr next summer into various locations in tributary streams of the Cains. In a short while the first of the salmon fry from last year’s work will be released into the wild.
I’m asking that each of you who get this e-mail to help keep up the work on the Cains by making a donation in 2012 that is equal to or greater than the one you generously made in 2011. If you were unable to help in 2011, please make a donation of any amount that fits your budget for this season. I ask you to please let me know if you send a donation to the MSA so that I can keep track of the supporters of this project. Last year, Nola did her best to build a list of donors, but it was quite a bit of work, and in some cases it ended up being guess work.
Donations should be sent to the following addresses:
Miramichi Salmon Association Inc.
c/o Seaward Management
265 Franklin St. 20th Floor
Boston, MA 02110
Miramichi Salmon Association
485, Route 420
South Esk, New Brunswick E1V 4L9
As a last piece of business I have compiled a list below of the people who we know or think were donors to the Cains River work. I want to be sure to recognize all contributors, and to have their e-mail addresses available to send an occasional update on the work. If you see any errors or omissions in the list below please let me know. Also, I have indicated in red the names of people that I have no e-mail address for. If you know any of these people please send them this e-mail, and ask them to contact me with their e-mail address. It would be great to increase the number of people donating to this program. Everything is a lot easier if a few more chip in, so please forward this e-mail to anyone you know who might be interested in helping with a contribution of any size to this project.
Thank you. Brad Burns Falmouth, Maine
2011 Cains River Enhancement Project Donors
I have no e-mail address for the names in red, nor do I know if they are connected with a particular camp. If I have missed someone, again I apologize, please contact me if you know anyone who donated to this project and is not listed below.
Doctor’s Island Club
Black Brook Salmon Club
Byron Coughlan owner of Country Haven
Last, let me say that the MSA has used the best expertise that it can find to design this plan to work with available funds, and with the reality that beavers do have a place in the Miramichi watershed, and that they cannot simply be extirpated. No one wants to do that. If you have any suggestions for improving any aspect of this program I certainly hope to hear from you, or if you prefer, send your thoughts directly to Mark Hambrook at the Miramichi Salmon Association.
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