St. Croix River (Nova Scotia)

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St. Croix River
StCroixRiver NewMinasHydro.jpg
St. Croix River (lower dam at St Croix)
Origin Lake Panuke
Mouth Confluence with the Avon River
Progression Avon RiverMinas BasinBay of Fundy
Basin countries Canada
Length 34 km
Mouth elevation sea level
Basin area 1368 km2[1]

The St. Croix River is a river in Nova Scotia entirely contained in Hants and Halifax Counties. Its headwaters are Panuke Lake. The river has been exploited for water power. There were water mills in the nineteenth century[2] and in the 1930s three hydroelectric dams were built; they still operate.

The lower reaches of the St. Croix are tidal. There is a wide flood plain where the river has cut through limestone bedrock now exposed as white cliffs. The calcareous soil harbours the rare Rams Head Lady Slipper.[3]

The Nova Scotia Government estimates that the number of people living within the St. Croix watershed numbered 19,233 in 2011.[4]

History[edit]

The river and Panuke Lake were used as an important portage route first by the Mi'kmaq and later by European explorers and settlers. There is an unpopulated Indian reserve (St Croix Indian Reserve) on the lake.

Meandering lower tidal reaches of the St. Croix

European settlement began with the Acadians (who named the river, calling the region Pisiguit).[5]

The Battle at St Croix (1750)[edit]

The Battle at St. Croix happened between New England Rangers and the Mi'kmaq. To capture the Acadians involved in the British defeat at the Fort Logis, Grand Pre the previous year, Cornwallis sent John Gorham (military officer) to Piziquid to construct Fort Edward (Nova Scotia) and imprison the Acadians. After two days of marching from Fort Sackville (present day Bedford), they come to the St Croix River. At the river a battle broke out with the Mi'kmaq. Gorham took over a saw mill and two local Acadian homes for protection. The Mi'kmaq numbers continued to grow, therefore Gorham sent a messenger to Fort Sackville for reinforcements, which ended the battle. After the Expulsion of the Acadians, New England Planters settled the area. Extensive land grants were let by the Nova Scotia colonial government beginning in 1761.[6]

Today, the St. Croix is a popular river for canoe and kayaking enthusiasts.[7] The lower floodplains are dyked and farmed. The river's tidal bore may be viewed at Tidal View Farm.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Natural History of Nova Scotia, Volume 1, p. 152
  2. ^ Nova Scotia Museum, "Mill On The St. Croix River From The Bridge", (1817)
  3. ^ Nova Scotia Nature Trust
  4. ^ "St. Croix Watershed - Community Profile". Community Counts. Province of Nova Scotia. Retrieved 5 October 2012. 
  5. ^ Acadian-Cajun Genealogy Pisiguit (with map)
  6. ^ James Harvie
  7. ^ Canoe Kayak Nova Scotia Description of Valley canoe routes

Coordinates: 45°0′2.3″N 64°6′20.4″W / 45.000639°N 64.105667°W / 45.000639; -64.105667