Nature Moncton presents…
Petitcodiac River Appreciation Day


 Due to Covid-19 concerns, the Petitcodiac River Appreciation Day event is being postponed until possibly November, 2021. We will be deciding closer to that date whether a live session will be appropriate or if possibly another alternative will have to be considered.

The outstanding advances taking place regarding the care of our beautiful river will outlast Covid-19 and we still definitely plan to highlight and celebrate them.


(Ticket availability sites at end of Notice)

9:00:  Introduction by Moderator Nelson Poirier and Greetings from Nature                                                       Moncton President Gordon Rattray           

            Ginette Petitpas-Taylor – MP for Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe

            Mike Holland  – Minister of Natural Resources, GNB


9:20:           Indigenous Blessing Ceremony – Elder Gilbert Sewell

Elder Gilbert Sewell will smudge the site and give the Eagle Honour Song.

9:30 – 10:00:          Indigenous History of the Petitcodiac River and its Tributaries – Gilbert Sewell

 Elder Gilbert Sewall is a native storyteller, artist and musician, North American indigenous plant and folklore researcher, native scientist, craftsman, artist and oral historian and Mi’gmag linguist. He teaches craft making, plant medicines, art, science, music, history, and Mi’gmag language. Gilbert has been the recipient of several prestigious awards. He has enlightened many multicultural associations, daycares, schools, universities (is presently Elder in residence at Mount Allison University), communities, and tour groups from several countries. 

 Gilbert has worked with the excavation site of Yougall beach in Bathurst and on Skull Island excavation in Shediac Bay. From that Gilbert has gained experience in pre-European contact native burial sites and settlements within Mi’gmag’gi.

Today Gilbert will focus on the indigenous history of the Petitcodiac River.

10:00 - 10:30:   The Start of it All - The Bend - Peering Into the Fog – James Upham, Heritage Development Officer, Programming, Resurgo Moncton 

 James Upham is well regarded for his passionate, fascinating and enthusiastic recounting of local history, particularly on CBC radio. Today he will offer how, from this region's earliest European settlements, a ‘Bend’ in a river led to a town of thriving industries and world-wide commerce. The Petitcodiac River has shaped the course of our collective history in ways you may never have imagined. Get ready to be amazed!

10:30 – 10:45:   COFFEE BREAK   (coffee, tea, water are complimentary) 

   SILENT AUCTION opens (West room)             

10:45 – 12:00:   FIRST PANEL:  River over Troubled Waters (1950 to 2010) 

The Origin of the Petitcodiac River -- Jerry Gogan, Mayor of Petitcodiac

 Jerry Gogan has lived at the head of the Petitcodiac River all his life and has history to share that many may not be aware of.  As a youngster, Jerry worked with his grandfather at a lumber mill that had the Anagance River dammed to create a headpond for the mill. Jerry will share both the very interesting history of how and why the Village of Petitcodiac came to be, and the importance of the river’s headwaters to the life of the river. And were frog legs harvested there before they became a delicacy? A few secrets to be revealed!

Something is Going Wrong -- Gary Griffin, Citizen Scientist

 Gary Griffin was one of the first to sound the alarm, beginning in 1968 immediately after causeway construction. DFO (Department of Fisheries and Oceans) researcher Dr. Paul Elson had researched the river closely for 20+ years until 1966, so the preconstruction status of the River was well known. In 1968, Gary monitored the fishway designed to let fish pass upstream, and immediately found dead salmon in the mud pools below the new structure due to currents that prevented them from finding the fishway. Gary will review the state of the famed Atlantic Salmon and other species before causeway construction, and his findings after construction in 1968.

River Restoration Campaign -- Daniel LeBlanc

 As the founding Petitcodiac Riverkeeper, Daniel LeBlanc directed the epic campaign that triggered the project to restore the mighty Petitcodiac in 2008, putting an end to one of Canada’s longest environmental battles.  His presentation will include highlights of this campaign at the leading edge of environmental law enforcement and environmental communications. The river and the community owe Daniel LeBlanc significant gratitude for his skillful leadership efforts. Daniel has also had a long-lasting passion for resurrecting the tidal bore as a world-class attraction for sport and surfing and will briefly mention that aspect of the restoration.

First Panel Question Period/Comments

12:00 – 12:45:    LUNCH BREAK (coffee, tea, water are complimentary)

  SILENT AUCTION continues (West room)

12:45 – 1:15:      The Petitcodiac River’s significance to the Fundy Biosphere Reserve - Paul Gaudet - Manager, Interpretive Services, Hopewell Cape Rocks

 The UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) Fundy Biosphere Reserve will make a case that the Petitcodiac River is crucial to the FBR’s existence, second only to the Bay of Fundy in importance, and that the Fundy tide is the life-blood of the river.  A video or two will be shown to solidify these claims. Paul will also talk about what triggers the tidal bore and what causes the giant tides that result in the bore. If there is time Paul will then divulge to you the “meaning of life itself”… an abbreviated version, all this in 30 minutes.

1:15 – 2:30:      PANEL TWO: Restoring the Petitcodiac River (2010 – 2021)

Strategic Bridge Engineering Planning to let the River run Free - Mike Pauley,

Senior Engineer, NB Department of Transportation and Infrastructure

 Mike Pauley is responsible for managing the Petitcodiac River Restoration Project. Since 2008, Mr. Pauley has been directly and intimately involved in the planning and execution of the project that has come to be described as one of the world’s largest and most complex river restoration projects. Today, Mr. Pauley will provide an update on the project leading to its most critical phase in 2021, the redirection of the Petitcodiac River to its new channel under the new partial bridge and the completion of the river restoration project.

A Clean River – Kevin Rice, General Manager, TransAqua

 Kevin Rice is responsible for TransAqua (The Greater Moncton Wastewater Commission) and its multi-million dollar transformation from a Primary Chemically Enhanced wastewater treatment process to a Secondary Biological wastewater treatment process, enabling it to reduce the amount of Total Suspended Solids by 50% and Carbonaceous Biological Oxygen Demand by 75% to meet federal regulations by the end of 2020. The $90.4 Million Upgrade and Modernization Project will significantly reduce the amount of solids and increase the oxygen levels in TransAqua's effluent entering the Petitcodiac River, increasing the opportunity for aquatic life to flourish. TransAqua's new Ultraviolet Disinfection process will remove harmful pathogens to where the effluent is expected to meet the Canadian Recreational Water Quality Guidelines.

Second Panel Question Period/Comments

2:30 – 2:45:       COFFEE BREAK (coffee, tea, water are complimentary)

 SILENT AUCTION continues (West room)

2:45 – 4:00:      PANEL THREE – The River Restored (since 2010)

Fort Folly Habitat Recovery -- Tim Robinson, Manager FFHR -- Edmund Redfield, Field Technician, FFHR

 One of the main factors driving the decision to open the causeway gates and eventually replace part of the structure with a bridge was the desire to restore free passage to the Petitcodiac’s native community of co-evolved migratory fish. These included endangered Inner Bay of Fundy Atlantic Salmon, species at risk such as Striped Bass and American Eels, and other fish species less well known that are equally dependent upon the free movement between freshwater and the marine environment to successfully complete their lifecycle. Once this barrier was opened in 2010, habitat within the Petitcodiac watershed was eligible to become part of an expansion of wider management and recovery efforts for these species within the inner Bay of Fundy. Ten years later, Fort Folly Habitat Recovery is providing an overview of what has been done, what the results have been, and what is planned going forward to further promote recovery of the river and the species it is home to.

Trails, Trails, Trails - Marc Leger, Regional Trails Coordinator South-east Regional Service Commission   


  Recreation outdoors and connecting with nature are increasingly prescribed as ways to improve individual health and well-being but the question remains… how can we make it easier for people to be active outside? More and more, trails are becoming valued infrastructure that can facilitate these activities and improve the quality of life in our region. Here in Southeast NB, we have endless opportunities to create incredible trails and experiences that will enable people to connect with nature, be healthier, and better understand the rich history of our area. This approach has made the Petitcodiac River and its tributaries an ideal site for the creation of a trail system that will let us all better appreciate what we really have around us.

 Keeping it healthy – Taking the pulse of the Petitcodiac River – The Petitcodiac Watershed Alliance – Dr. Alyre Chiasson, Professor, Université de Moncton

 From an early focus on water quality in the early 1990s, the Petitcodiac Watershed Alliance currently pursues the broader mandate of watershed health and stewardship.  Science based, the group has undertaken actions not only of benefit to aquatic organisms within the river but also to inhabitants of the riparian zone, such as painted turtles. Active in schools and in community events the group strives to educate all on the vital importance of the river in our lives and for the generations to follow. A brief historical overview of the group will be presented as well as current and future directions.

Third Panel Question Period/Comments 

4:15 – 4:30  

Wind up and concluding remarks – Nature Moncton

Silent auction - closed: successful bids collected

         Grand Prize Draw awarded.

Tickets - $10 in advance, $15 at the door (if event not sold out)

Tickets available online at :

 St. Paul’s United Church Office, 404 Cleveland Ave, Riverview. 9:00 AM-4:00 PM Monday-Friday

 Moncton Press Club, 160 Assomption Blvd, Moncton. 2:00 PM-9:00 PM all days