Second Level Assessment- Current Impacts

Urban Development

The Anagance River watershed is sparsely populated with little agricultural development.  Approximately 98% of the Anagance is forested, with 57.35% of the basin being industrial freehold  belonging to J.D. Irving Ltd., and only about 2% is in agriculture or settlement. In comparison for the two adjacent watersheds the combined proportions for such other uses are as follows: North River 32%; and the Pollett River 6% (Department of Natural Resources in 2014).   

There has been limited population growth in the Anagance compared to other portions of the Petitcodiac.  Much of the watershed lies within Cardwell Parish, though the boundaries of the two are not an exact match. The 2016 census reported 1,353 people in Cardwell Parish (Statistics Canada 2017) spread across 311.9 km2, a density of about 4.3 people per km2.  By comparison, tallying up the population centres in 1871, there were approximately 650 people (Provincial Archives of New Brunswick 2017), a density of perhaps 2.1 people per km2, suggesting that the population of Cardwell Parish may have roughly doubled over the last 150 or so years.  Its immediate neighbor, Salisbury Parish (once the Villages of Petitcodiac, and Salisbury are included) is almost twice as densely populated today (7.8 people per km2). While this is less than the average population density in New Brunswick in 2016 of 10.5 persons per km2 (Statistics Canada 2017), both parishes have developed beyond the province’s average population density of 3.9 persons per km2 in 1871. 

This difference in population density between the Anagance and other Petitcodiac tributaries is significant because, addition to clearing for agriculture, large areas of privately owned land on the North, Pollett and Little River watersheds have been developed into homes, or cottages, leaving little or no buffer in the riparian zone to provide residents with clear views of the river (Petitcodiac Watershed Alliance 2010).  Such properties are also a potential source of sewage contamination as rural septic systems are not always

properly maintained. Several sites were noted where homeowners had pipes discharging directly into the river.  With few private dwellings scattered throughout the watershed these impacts are less common on the Anagance (Petitcodiac Watershed Alliance 2016).  That said however, the watershed is far from pristine, as infringements on riparian buffers caused by forestry (recent clear cuts), the rail corridor, and transmission lines are common (Pugh 1999).

The greatest degree of development is near the mouth of the river and along Hayward Brook within what was the Village of Petitcodiac.  The river’s headwaters meanwhile begin about 30 km west near Dunsinane.   Local Governance Reform by the Province (Government of New Brunswick 2023b) amalgamated governance to divide the Anagance River watershed between The Community of Three Rivers at its mouth and Kings Rural District  in its headwaters. The line between the two falls about hallway up its length, a short distance downstream of the Anagance Ridge Road Bridge over the main stem of the river.