The Catamaran Brook Habitat Research Project

Fish Research and Education

The Catamaran Brook Habitat Research Project was initiated in 1990 by the Department of Fisheries & Oceans (DFO) as a joint initiative with REPAP (presently UPM Kymmene), l’Université de Moncton (Ecole de Genie) and the NB Department of Natural Resources and Energy (DNRE). Post 1998, with the move of Project Director, Dr. Rick Cunjak to the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, the CRI is now the primary partner in the project. The long-term, multidisciplinary research project has several main objectives:

1)    to quantify the impacts of forestry activities on the hydrology and aquatic biota, especially the population of Atlantic salmon within the stream basin;

2)    to determine the important processes that characterize ecosystem function within the Catamaran Brook and Little Southwest Miramichi basins;

3)    to provide a base for collaborative scientific research with other researchers interested in building on our base of knowledge; and,

4)    to share our knowledge with interested parties by facilitating class trips, watershed group tours, and impromptu tours with anglers, hunters, hikers, etc.

To date, >100 scientific papers have been published dealing with research at Catamaran Brook, much of it the result of >30 graduate and undergraduate theses from various universities in Ontario, Quebec, Atlantic Canada, USA and Europe.  The research has been used to improve fish habitat modeling and salmon management, and to better understand fish population dynamics, salmon ecology and hydrologic processes. This project is unique in Canada, as it is a continuing, long-term (20+ years) ecosystem approach to the study of riverine biota and their habitats, and the relative influence of density-dependent (biological) and density-independent (environmental) factors.  Long-term data sets in a near-pristine setting are extremely rare, and provide an excellent opportunity to distinguish how natural and anthropogenic disturbances affect the population dynamics of wild populations.

The Catamaran Brook field station is located near the communities of Renous and McGraw Brook in central New Brunswick, in the heart of the Miramichi River basin.  From Route 8 at Renous, drive west for 20km on Route 108 heading for Plaster Rock, then turn right onto Route 420 (commonly called the Plains Road).  After approximately 2 km, turn left at the sign indicating the Catamaran Brook Project onto what is called the Otter Brook Road.  Bear right at the fork on your way to the end of the road, where you will find both Catamaran Brook and the field station.


For more information contact:

Aaron Fraser
Fisheries Biologist
Manager, Catamaran Brook Field Station