Freshwater Biology Services

Protecting & Developing the Exploits River

Since 1984

From its early days of developing the Exploits River, Environment Resources Management Association (ERMA), has assembled an experienced group of professionals that have acquired expertise in all areas of planning, completing, operating and monitoring all aspects of freshwater biology programs.

Today this work continues for clients in the Central Newfoundland area. A team of biologists, project planner and experienced technicians complete contracts for both the public and private sectors.

These contracts include:

  • -Stream surveys
  • -Stream restoration
  • -Habitat improvements
  • -Stocking program
  • -Fish passage systems operations
  • -Live capture and transfers
  • -Incubation and Rearing
  • -Various other related services

Our client list includes:

  • -AbitibiBowater
  • -Star Lake Hydro Partnership
  • -Aur Resources
  • -Dept of Fisheries & Oceans – Freshwater Section
  • -Dept of Fisheries & Oceans – Habitat Section
salmonid-sept-2017_2
img_1869
salmonid-sept-2017_extra1

About Us

Welcome to the Salmonid Interpretation Centre, located on the Exploits River and one of the largest Atlantic Salmon enhancement projects in North America.

Exhibits on the main floor highlight this development as well as the history, biology, ecology and habitat of Atlantic Salmon.

Visit the observation level and view the “King of Fish” as it migrates upstream to it’s spawing habitat, along with other species including Brook Trout, Sticklebacks and Live Eels.

Enjoy a meal from our restaurant on the patio or shop for that unique souvenir in our well-stocked gift shop.

Stay at our fully-services RV park within walking distance from downtown Grand Falls-Windsor and major sports complex.

Located on the Exploits River at the Grand Falls Fishway, two kilometers from downtown Grand Falls-Windsor, the centre is open from mid-June to mid-September.

Hours of operation are from 8am to 8pm daily, with interpretive guides available to assist in your visit.

The centre, concessions building and site are 100 per cent accessible to the physically disabled.

A nominal fee is charged for a daily or full seasons pass. Group rates available on request. All proceeds used for the furtherance of conservation and public awareness of our resources.

Fresh Water Biology Services

From its early days of developing the Exploits River, Environment Resources Management Association (ERMA), has assembled an experienced group of professionals that have acquired expertise in all areas of planning, completing, operating and monitoring all aspects of freshwater biology programs.

Today this work continues for clients in the Central Newfoundland area. A team of biologists, project planner and experienced technicians complete contracts for both the public and private sectors.
These contracts include:

  • -Stream surveys
  • -Stream restoration
  • -Habitat improvements
  • -Stocking program
  • -Fish passage systems operations
  • -Live capture and transfers
  • -Incubation and Rearing
  • -Various other related services

Our client list includes:

  • -AbitibiBowater
  • -Star Lake Hydro Partnership
  • -Aur Resources
  • -Dept of Fisheries & Oceans – Freshwater Section
  • -Dept of Fisheries & Oceans – Habitat Section

Environment Resources Management Association

Environment Resources Management Association had it’s beginning in 1984 when the Chamber of Commerce in Grand Falls felt that development of the Exploits River as a major Atlantic Salmon producing river could provide much needed employment throughout the entire Region

Spearheaded by local interested citizens, this Association embarked on one of the biggest economic developments that would occur in the Exploits Valley. From an annual adult population of approximately 1,000 initially, the River has seen as high as nearly 50,000 Atlantic Salmon return for the annual spawning ritual. The River is a world class producer and is the second  largest producing river of Atlantic Salmon in North America.

During the course of development many other related activities were undertaken apart from the building of Fishways and the major stocking program to introduce fish to the upper watershed. This included major cleanup of the river shoreline from Grand Falls – Windsor to Bishop’s Falls, Public Education and Awareness programs, establishment of a major Tourism attraction at the Grand Falls and the beginning of the Exploits Valley Salmon Festival.

During the development years, direct benefits to the entire region were achieved by employing approximately 75 people from carpenters to biologists in the project. Over $20 million was spent locally in wages, services and goods during the construction and development phase.

Today the Association is still very active in areas of Freshwater Biology and Tourism related activities including:

– Salmonid Interpretation Centre
– Restaurant and Gift Shop
– Sanger RV Park
– Operation of Fishways on the Exploits System
– Operation of Brook Trout Incubation and Rearing Facility
– Biology field work for Government and Private Industry

In addition to these past and present activities, the Association has also lobbied on items that would protect and further enhance all of our natural resources.

Volunteer Contribution:

The main ingredient for success of the Association is the expertise and contribution from the many volunteer Board members. Interested people from all walks of life and related professions, and from all parts of the region have served on the Board.

The Association has a Board of Directors that offers direction and oversees the operations and policies of the senior staff.

Under the leadership from the Board, the Association has been recognized with many National and Provincial awards including:

– National Recreational Fishery Award (Dept of Fisheries and Oceans, Ottawa)
– Affiliate of the Year ( Atlantic Salmon Federation)
– Sustainable Development Award ( Parks Canada)
– Environmental Award ( Dept of Environment)
– Business Excellence Award (ACOA)

Operations Staff:

ERMA employs approximately 50 people on a seasonal basis. A team of five managers under the direction of the General Manager conduct the various operations of the Association. All of the management team are long term employees of the Association and have many years experience in their related field. From administration staff, freshwater biologist, aquaculturist, senior technicians, and public service personnel, the Association has the ability to acquire and complete many and varied contracts.

History

The Exploits River is the largest river in insular Newfoundland spanning from Notre Dame Bay in the North East to deep into the Long Range Mountains on the West Coast. It has a drainage area of over 12,000 square kilometres.

Historically the river was first used by the Beothucks Indians to travel from the interior to the seacoast. For the past 100 years its been used as an industrial river in the paper making industry. The site of the paper mill in Grand Falls–Windsor was chosen because of the vast forest resource upstream and the ability to transport harvested logs by water to the mill yard. The Grand Falls offered a 100 feet drop in elevation that would be harnessed for the production of hydro to drive the machinery and provide electric to the community.

While the log drives have been captured in song and stories, the mill no longer operates. The hydro production has increased over the years utilizing new and modern technology.

Originally the Exploits had few Atlantic Salmon because of the large waterfalls in Bishop’s Falls and at the Grand Falls. Less than 10% of the entire watershed was accessible to anadromous (Sea Run) salmon due to the presence of these natural and the added industrial obstructions to upstream migration.

Salmon enhancement on the Exploits had it’s real beginning when a hydro dam was constructed on Rattling Brook in Norris Arm resulting in blockage to returning salmon runs. To overcome this obstacle, adult fish were transferred from Rattling Brook to Great Rattling Brook, a tributary of the Exploits. This necessitated the construction of fishways at Bishop’s Falls and at Great Rattling Brook.

In view of the success of this transfer and the increased salmon population, a program was developed to enhance the mid-Exploits – from the Grand Falls to Red Indian Lake.

In 1983, some members with the local Chamber of Commerce felt there was potential for the Exploits River to become a World Class Atlantic Salmon River. From the initial thought came the formation of a not-for-profit Association – Environment Resources Management Association (ERMA), that would undertake the responsibility of working with government through the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to reach this goal.

A community-based group, it has a volunteer Board of Directors that are elected at a public meeting annually that sets the goals and objectives and oversees the many different divisions of their operations.

An egg incubation facility in use by DFO at Noel Paul Brook at the time was expanded to handle 8 million eggs annually and used the stock from the lower section of the River as the broodstock. From 1986 to 1992, in excess of over 50 million young salmon fry were transported by helicopter to streams all over the Exploits River.

This enhancement program also required construction of fish passages systems at Red Indian Lake Dam and at the Grand Falls. All work was completed in house with employment levels reaching an average of 60 people annually.

In addition to the two fishways required at the Grand Falls Site, an Interpretation Centre was incorporated into the design. The ground level has displays on the biology, ecology, and life cycles of the freshwater fish and the lower level has underwater viewing windows and aquariums holding juvenile fish.

While the Centre is one of the largest tourism visitor sites in Central Newfoundland, it is also the prime location for public education and awareness of our natural resources including the freshwater species found in our waters.

In 1985 ERMA initiated the Exploits Valley Salmon Festival to highlight and bring attention to the Salmon that were returning to our rivers. This Festival continues annually around the peak of the run of Atlantic Salmon.

While this stock enhancement program was undertaken the association conducted numerous river cleanup projects removing debris from along the River shoreline. With the success of the project came increased interest in the river and the opportunities that it presented.

The Town of Grand Falls–Windsor initialized the construction of a sewage treatment plant to treat all effluent and the major industry stakeholder at the time, Abitibi Bowater, invested millions on treating all of their discharge.

As well, the Hydro plants on the river have installed the latest in fish diversion technology and are constantly working to further increase production both in adult fish returning and smolts as they migrate to the sea.

From a returning run of 1500 in the late 1970’s to a river production of close to 50,000 adult fish, the Salmon Enhancement Program has demonstrated what can be achieved when three levels of government – Federal, Provincial and Municipal – combine with industry and public involvement groups to reach a common goal – the management and development of our natural resources.

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt