Endangered river ecosystem

This was the Petitcodiac River in southern New Brunswick, Canada in August 2021. Despite false popular belief that the name derives from the French language, Maliseet [local Indigenous] Elder and linguist Dr. Peter Paul of Woodstock Reserve, notes the name refers to a wall of water rushing in: “petakuyak…means ‘sound of thunder,’ well, the rush of water coming in like a thunderstorm.” This refers to the strong tidal bore, connected to the Bay of Fundy. The term may also derive from Mi’kmaq, from the word Petkootkweăk, meaning “the river that bends like a bow”, referring to the right angle bend near the city of Moncton. Acadian [French] settlers transformed this to Petcoudiac or Petitcoudiac, which was later changed to Petitcodiac by British settlers.

I love the seagull footprints!

Sadly, the river has been degraded by industrial practices. The Petitcodiac River Causeway in Moncton, built in 1968, has had one of the most drastic impacts on the ecosystems. The causeway blocked much of the water flow and caused heavy sedimentation, severely impacting the diversity of life. This led to the nickname “Chocolate River” (or as some of my students say, “Chocolate Milk River”). However, thanks to much environmental activism over the years, improvements have been made and just last month, in mid-September 2021, an improved version of the causeway was completed, allowing much more water flow and less accumulation of sediments. Time will tell how this change will bring more life back to the river ecosystem…

One of the small tributaries
Here the beginning of the strong tidal bore was rushing in during the late afternoon.

One thought on “Endangered river ecosystem

  1. Pingback: Petitcodiac River and surroundings | “Music is what feelings sound like.”

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