In-Situ Egg Incubation Project

The Inner Bay of Fundy (iBoF) Atlantic Salmon ‘In-Situ’ Egg Incubation Projectis a multi-year initiative, funded through the Aboriginal Fund for Species at Risk (AFSAR) by the Canadian Federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), to provide additional information to DFO and the iBoF Atlantic Salmon Recovery Team about critical habitat of the Endangered iBoF Atlantic Salmon on the Chiganois, Debert, Folly, Great Village and Portapique Rivers of Cobequid Bay, of the Norther Minas Basin, Nova Scotia, and to continue research on incubating salmon eggs in natural, wild conditions (in-situ) as a barometer of stream health and potential reintroductions of iBoF Atlantic salmon.

The iBoF Atlantic Salmon ‘In-Situ’ Egg Incubation Project aligns with other Maritime Aboriginal Peoples Council (MAPC) and IKANAWTIKET projects to identify and measure barriers to fish migration, as well as a range of other issues pertaining to degraded aquatic habitat. TheProject Manager, Kathryn Townsend, will lead the project and focus on developing and executing a scientific study to design and testthe effectiveness of Egg Incubation Basket (EIB) with respect to egg survivability. The project’s lead Field Technician, Zachary Burrows, will focus on stream surveys, water quality, habitat and species assessments, and other parameters to locate ideal habitat for the project and to monitor those sites and others to determine any links between egg survivability and habitat conditions. Project partners for the ‘In-Situ’ Egg Incubation Project include DFO researchers who initiated studies on EIB several years ago, and the Live Gene Bank Biodiversity Facility in Coldbrook, Nova Scotia, who will provide the Atlantic salmon eggs for the EIBs.

The project requires delicate hands, diligent observations, and perseverance to care for the fragile Atlantic salmon eggs in often changing and unfavourable environmental conditions.Generally, salmon become physically stronger the longer they are exposed to natural, wild, ‘in-situ’ conditions, particularly during very young life stages.Based on current designs, MAPC will experiment with EIB’s, develop and test a conceptually new design using a more organic medium- wood.In addition to incubating eggs in-stream, MAPC will increase knowledge about iBoF Atlantic salmon through juvenile and spawning surveys, RAPID stream assessments, water quality and chemistry assessments, habitat assessments, aquatic invertebrate biomonitoring, electrofishing surveys and water sampling.With the ‘In-Situ’ Egg Incubation Project, MAPC aims to establish a database of habitat information and develop a greater knowledge about iBoF Atlantic salmon and their critical habitat rivers flowing into Cobequid Bay. The project hopes to add insight about why iBoF Atlantic salmon populations are not recovering, including investigating the gap in knowledge about food availability for Alevin and Fry development.

Kathryn Townsend: In-Situ Egg Incubation Project Manager

Kathryn Townsend

Born and raised in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Kathryn spent much of her childhood exploring the lakes, beaches, and Kejimkujik Seaside Adjunct in Port Joli, where her love for wildlife and conservation developed.

Kathryn attended the former Nova Scotia Agricultural College in Truro, Nova Scotia, where she obtained her Bachelor of Agriculture with a major in Animal Science and a minor in Aquaculture. Her interest in conservation and marine biology led her to pursue a Master’s in Biology from Dalhousie University. Her thesis focused on fatty acid profiles and carbon stable isotopes of Atlantic pollock liver and diet. After her Masters graduation, Kathryn was employed for 2 years as an at-sea observer on a variety of fishing vessels including haddock, redfish, silver hake, offshore scallops, and shrimp draggers. At-sea, Kathryn gained a further appreciation of the fishing industry and the importance of conservation.

Kathryn and her wife, Meagan, currently live in Upper Hammonds Plains, Nova Scotia with their five cats (Professor Madigan, Higgs Boson, Sir Stewart the Stray, River and Trouble) and Border Collie, Sadie. Being a born and raised Bluenoser, Kathryn has a deep rooted connection to the province and sense of community.


Zachary Burrows: In-Situ Egg Incubation Lead Field Technician

Zachary Burrows

A graduate of the Fish and Wildlife Technician program from the College of the North Atlantic in Corner Brook, Newfoundland, Zach began his career in conservation and environmental stewardship with the non-profit organization Intervale Associates Inc. Born and raised in Ottawa, Ontario, Zach moved to Newfoundland in search of adventure after completing an honours bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Ottawa. On the West Coast of Newfoundland, Zach participated in Atlantic salmon outreach and education, stream restoration, habitat assessment, and population monitoring. A highlight for Zach was participating in a snorkel survey, an avenue that allowed him to utilize his technical skills and observe hundreds of mature wild Atlantic salmon migrating to their spawning grounds. As an outdoor enthusiast, Zach is an avid hiker, camper, and kayaker, and has a penchant for identifying wild flora. Zach is also a Red-Seal Certified Landscape Horticulturalist, which helps him to understand the greater landscape environment and the relationship between living things.

Zach, his fiancée Sara, and his two dogs Neko and Gina recently relocated from Newfoundland to Dartmouth, NS. They are both excited for the new adventure and looking forward to experiencing all that the Maritimes have to offer.