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OUR WORK

The St. Croix International Waterway Commission strives to conduct programs and outreach based around initiatives guided by the original 1986 Memorandum of Understanding formed by the Province of New Brunswick and the State of Maine. Much of our work focuses on the management of recreational resources and monitoring the ecology of the St. Croix watershed.

International Management of a Shared Resource

The St. Croix International Waterway Commission facilitates the implementation of a cooperative international management plan that encompasses the shared international Waterway corridor in both Maine and New Brunswick from Monument Brook to the St. Croix estuary.

 

The original 1993 management plan can be viewed here

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Canadian Heritage River

The Canadian Heritage Rivers System is a nationwide river conservation movement that recognizes the important cultural, natural and historical roles rivers had, and continue to have, in shaping the country and the lives of Canadians.

The St. Croix River was designated as a Canadian Heritage River by the Canadian Heritage Rivers System in 1991. Designated for its outstanding natural, cultural, and recreational heritage values, the St. Croix International Waterway Commission works to maintain and upkeep the designation for the river as its river manager. The designation corridor extends the entire length of the boundary watershed, from the rivers source at Monument Brook, through the Chiputneticook chain of lakes, to the St. Croix River proper, and finally the estuary ending at the historic town of Saint Andrews, New Brunswick.

What makes the St. Croix so special? 

Every local will tell you a slightly different story about why this river system means so much. Whether it is a fisherman on the Chiputneticook Lakes, a paddler yelling with delight on their way through Little Falls, or an excited family exploring the National Historic Sites of St. Croix Island, each part of the designation corridor has its own beauty, history and community. the Passamaquoddy peoples, Acadian settlers, British Loyalists, logs floating to sawmills and shipyards, canoeists, fishermen – The St. Croix's waters have carried them all past unbroken forest, murmuring rapids, and shimmering lakes to the craggy shores of the estuary.

Recreation

The recreation program includes management of three Provincial Parks in New Brunswick, stewardship and maintenance of over 40 backcountry water access campsites, hiking trails, and maintenance of access points, portages, and picnic sites found along both sides of the border encompassing East Grand Lake, Spednic Lake, and the St. Croix River. Our work focuses on making sure the St, Croix boundary waters stay clean, remain accessible for the public, and working with government agencies, local land trusts, private landowners, and industry on ensuring the St. Croix remains wild and scenic.

 

We also produce a boundary waters Recreation Map available for purchase here which highlights access points, features of interest, rapids, portages, campsites, and more in both countries.

If you love canoeing, picnicking, fishing, swimming, boating, and recreating on the St. Croix boundary waters, consider donating to the St. Croix Backcountry Fund, where all proceeds go to continued improvement and stewardship of recreation facilities found along the St. Croix International Waterway.

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Milltown Dam Fish Counts

From 1991-2011 and 2015-2023 we have conducted an annual fish count at the Milltown dam (first dam on the river) to primarily enumerate the Spring river-herring upstream migration. In July of 2023 NB Power began decommissioning the Milltown Dam to restore Salmon Falls to its natural state. This dam removal will allow anadromous (sea-run) fish unimpeded access to over 15km/9 miles of the St. Croix River. To read the last ever Milltown Dam Fish Count report click here!

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Fish Tracking

Since 2019 we have been involved in several projects to tag and track river-herring and American shad throughout the St. Croix watershed to assess movement and fish passage facilities at several dams. Please click here to read our most recent report!

Water Quality

We have worked since our inception on monitoring the boundary waters and other sub-watersheds of the St. Croix region. All of our data since 1999 is available to view on Atlantic DataStream, a publicly accessible website with various groups, organizations, and researchers uploading water quality data here. We also work and collaborate with government agencies from both countries on water quality projects and issues found throughout the St. Croix basin.

Corridor Zoning/Land Conservation

The St. Croix International Waterway Commission worked alongside the governments of both Maine and New Brunswick to jointly establish similar land zoning guidelines for the St. Croix corridor on both sides of the border. This was done to preserve the integrity and natural values for which people have come to love the river and lakes for, and to prevent disputes between jurisdictions over differing policies.  Key components of these corridor zoning plans were to create minimum setbacks for development along the rivers and lakes to protect the natural integrity of shorelines and for visual aesthetic purposes.

We have also worked alongside many partners in historic land conservation initiatives and agreements including the Downeast Forestry Partnership, the New Brunswick Protected Natural Area surrounding Spednic Lake, the New Brunswick Nature Legacy Protected Areas Program, and more. The protection of land on both sides of the St. Croix corridor helps to ensure that these lakes and river remain forever wild. 

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