Mill Creek watershed is located in the Town of Riverview and has a watershed area of 51 km2. Many human activities take place within the Mill Creek watershed, including hiking along the Dobson Trail, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, and residential development. In the tidally influenced lower parts of Mill Creek, near the confluence with the Petitcodiac River, the bedrock is comprised of silt and surrounding vegetation is mostly grass, similar to vegetation found along the banks of the Petitcodiac River below the causeway. Approximately 1 – 2 km upstream from the confluence, the physical habitat changes dramatically to rocky substrate and forest cover. Land use in the middle reaches of Mill Creek are seeing increased development and urbanization and as a result stormwater runoff volumes entering the creek are increasing. Mill Creek sees frequent flooding during heavy rainfall and snowmelt events and has washed out roads due to undersized culverts preventing sufficient water passage.
A unique feature to Mill Creek is an old dam located 2 km upstream from its confluence with the Petitcodiac River. This structure was built in the early 1950’s by the Department of Defence to form an artificial reservoir to be used in case of forest fires. The dam is approximately 55 meters long by 6 meters high which results in an impounded area of approximately 12 acres. The dam creates total obstruction to fish passage, slows nutrient flow to downstream areas and causes upstream sedimentation. Plans to develop the area as a nature/recreation park have been created by the Mill Creek Watershed Group, however, today, siltation prevents the pond from being used for aquatic activities.
The dam no longer serves its intended purpose, aside from being designated as an emergency water supply should a significant forest fire occur in the near vicinity. Cracks have also been detected in the dam, showing signs that the structure is weakening. Although studies were conducted on the removal, and other, less expensive options were suggested, the Town of Riverview and the Department of National Defense, the abandoned dam continues to impede fish passage, in violation of the federal Fisheries Act.
Site name: Mill Creek below Navy Dam
Site code: MC
Coordinates: 46.0603, -64.75855