News & Events

Petite Rivière Watershed

Project Summary 

The total area of Petite Rivière Watershed is approximately 244 km². About 19% of the watershed area belongs to the water-bodies. The largest of these water-bodies are Fancy Lake, Hebb Lake, Millipsigate Lake, and Minamkeak Lake. The watershed also includes 22 smaller lakes, 8 tributaries, and many swamps and bogs.

Coastal Action is especially interested in the Petite Rivière as it includes the only known population of the endangered Atlantic whitefish. Coastal Action has its own project dedicated to the recovery of the Atlantic whitefish. More information about the Atlantic whitefish can found on our Atlantic Whitefish Recovery project page.

The Petite Rivière also serves as the drinking water reservoir for the town of Bridgewater. Bridgewater is a town of about 8300 and the drinking water for its resident is sourced above the Hebb Dam. It is extremely important to keep the health of the Petite Rivière watershed due to the fact that the people in the town of Bridgewater rely on it as their drinking water, not to mention the immense amount of terrestrial and aquatic wildlife that use it as well.

Water quality sampling and monitoring has been ongoing in Petite Rivière since 2011 at 18 sites throughout the watershed. Monthly testing of temperature, dissolved oxygen, conductivity, total dissolved solids, salinity and pH are taken at each site. More about our water quality efforts in Petite Rivière can be found on our Petite Rivière Water Quality page.

Some water quality issues within the Petite Rivière have been observed, with acidification being one of the top concerns. The upper part of the watershed sits on a type of geology that, when exposed to water and/or the atmosphere, creates sulfuric acid. This acidification of the waters affects fish habitat not only of the Atlantic whitefish but of other fish species as well.

To relive some of the stress placed on fish habitat due to this acidification, Coastal Action has partnered with East Coast Aquatics in a remediation project of an old pyritic shale pit affecting the Wildcat Brook sub-watershed of Petite Rivière. This project is aimed at reducing acidity of the water that is overflowing into the nearby Wildcat Brook by transforming the old mining site into a wetland area. Wetland soils and vegetation will cover the exposed bedrock that is causing the acidification while providing habitat to wildlife in the area. More information about this project can be found on our Shale Pit Remediation Project page.

Stream assessments started the summer of 2014 in the Petite Rivière where Coastal Action has partnered with NSLC Adopt-a-Stream and the Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnership Program to identify areas to restore fish habitat and improve the water quality. The fish habitat restoring could involve installing digger logs, deflectors or rock sills that encourage the natural meander of the stream to reoccur and allow for more oxygen to be dissolved into the water, providing better habitat for fish. Other restoration project may involve removing debris blockages and riparian planting to help stabilize stream banks from erosion. To date restoration has occurred in the sub-watershed of Wildcat Brook. More about the restoration that occurred in Wildcat Brook can be found on our Habitat Restoration page.

Stream assessments throughout the Petite Rivière will continue until the whole watershed has been looked at and assessed. For more detailed information on the work we've been conducting on Petite Rivière, check out our annual reports found on the left sidebar. If you have further interested in learning more about the Petite Rivière Watershed Project or have any questions about our current projects, please contact the Project Coordinator, Emma Kinley, at emma@coastalaction.org