Rubber-ducky race comes home to roost for Nova Scotia Power after fish kill

A large fish kill last year has torpedoed the annual Apple Blossom Festival charity rubber-duck race at a Nova Scotia Power hydro dam in the Annapolis Valley.

Company has agreed to pay $50K for its role in a large fish kill last year associated with the race

The dead fish were found floating along the Gaspereau River and on its banks. (Darren Porter)

A large fish kill last year has torpedoed the annual Apple Blossom Festival charity rubber-duck race at a Nova Scotia Power hydro dam in the Annapolis Valley.

Ending the 22-year fundraiser was one of several measures announced Wednesday by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans following its investigation into a May 2017 fish kill on the Gaspereau River in Kings County.

On May 28, the utility opened the gate at its White Rock generating station to allow for a faster flow of water to accommodate a rubber ducky race fundraising event on a canal that feeds into the dam.

It's believed the increased flow sucked adult gaspereau into the turbine, causing the fish kill.

What NSP is going to do

The utility has also agreed to voluntarily pay $50,000 to a federal environmental damages fund to atone for its role in the fish kill.

The payment was announced by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

DFO said Nova Scotia Power will also repair louvres and a "bubble curtain" associated with a canal that feeds into the White Rock turbine.

An independent third-party consultant will be hired to investigate alternative technologies to exclude migrating fish from the canal by September 2018.

The utility has also agreed to help DFO carry out real-time fish counts during the 2018 commercial, recreational or Indigenous fishing season.

An 'unfortunate incident'

Nova Scotia Power issued a statement saying it co-operated with DFO during its investigation into last year's "unfortunate incident."

"We take our environmental responsibilities very seriously and we will do everything we can to minimize the risk of something like this happening again in future," said Mark Sidebottom, Nova Scotia Power's chief operating officer.