Since 2001, the Nashwaak Watershed Association Inc.(NWAI) has been involved in a water classification project. This project classified the current state of the waters of the Nashwaak watershed and then selected a water class goal for each stretch of the river in cooperation with the public. These goals are based on current and future land and water uses, maintenance of environmental integrity and protection of wildlife. Once a consensus is reached on future water quality goals, the class for each stretch of the river will be set and water quality will be regulated by legislation.
The first stage of water classification was the assessment of information on current water quality conditions on the Nashwaak River. Once an overall water quality picture is obtained, identification of problem areas and areas which need to be improved can be carried out. The next step developed water quality goals which were presented to the public for suggestions, comments, and finally, approval.
Current Water Quality Conditions and Future Goals
|River Section||Existing Water Quality||Main Water Quality Issues||Suggested Classification|
|All of River Above Stanley||A||Forestry/roads, gravel mining, farming||A|
|Stanley||A except B mixing zone||Stanley sewage treatment, farming, forestry/roads, residential development||A except B mixing zone below Stanley|
|Stanley to Taymouth||A||Farming, gravel mining, forestry/roads, residential development, manure||A|
|Tay River||C||Fish hatchery at Tay Falls, farming/manure, forestry/roads||A except B mixing zone below hatchery|
|Taymouth to Penniac||B||Flood plain, residential development, top soil mining, farming/manure, forestry/roads||A|
|Penniac Stream||C||Farming/manure, flood plain, residential/sewage, forestry/roads, gravel mining||B|
|Penniac to Marysville||B||Flood plain, residential development/sewage, forestry/roads, gravel mining||B|
|Marysville to mouth of River||C||Urban development, runoff, farming/manure, commercial development, gravel mining||C|
In November and December of 2003 the NWAI hosted five open houses throughout the Nashwaak watershed. These highly publicized events enabled residents of the watershed to learn about the water classification program, examine suggested goals, and submit opinions and suggestions on what they believe water quality on various sections of the Nashwaak River should be. There are 3 possible water classes that can be assigned to the various stretches of the river.
Classes of Water Quality
|New Mixing Zones||No||Yes||Yes|
|Existing Mixing Zones||No||Yes||Yes|
|Primary Contact Recreation||Yes||Yes||No|
|Secondary Contact Recreation||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Voluntary Best Management Practices||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Once consensus was reached on water quality goals, these goals were presented to the Department of Environment and Local Government (DELG). DELG was supposed hold public meetings to assure that these goals meet the requirements of the residents of the Nashwaak watershed. Following these public meetings the goals were to be submitted to the Department of Justice for approval. Legislation was intended to set these goals as water quality standards that can be enforced by provincial law. This project has been stalled since 2003 because DELG has not held the public meetings to assure that these goals meet the requirements of the residents of the Nashwaak watershed.
IF the goals are goals eventually set, improvement and mitigation projects can be initiated to achieve water classification goals. Some stretches will require simple monitoring as the water quality on these stretches is acceptable. Other stretches of the river will require various actions to be taken to improve conditions and raise water quality. Some examples of projects to improve water quality include fencing operations to limit cattle access to the river, planting trees and shrubs in riparian zones and riverbank stabilization. The main way to achieve good water quality is for foresters, small businesses and residents to learn about Best Management Practices (BMPs) and incorporate them into daily life. The Nashwaak Watershed Association Inc. is currently developing action plans for various stretches of the river.
For more information on the finalization of water classification so that standards can be enforced by provincial law and watershed protection – please contact the New Brunswick Department of the Environment and Local Government.