FREDERICTON (GNB) – After 10 weeks in operation, the River Watch Program for the 2020 freshet season ends today.

Water levels in all areas along the Saint John River basin continue to decrease and are returning to normal levels.

“The freshet this year looked nothing like 2018 and 2019,” said Public Safety Minister Carl Urquhart. “While we are grateful for this, the New Brunswick Emergency Management Organization (NBEMO) and its River Watch partners were ready to respond.”

The program started March 9 and provided information on the status of rivers and the potential for ice jams and other flood issues throughout the duration of the ice-out and spring freshet season.

The program is a joint effort between the Department of Environment and Local Government, NB Power and NBEMO of the Department of Public Safety. Other partners include Environment and Climate Change Canada, watershed groups, and federal, provincial and state agencies involved in monitoring and forecasting the water flows in the province's rivers and streams.

“The Department of Environment and Local Government’s Hydrology Centre is a key partner in the annual provincial River Watch Program,” said Environment and Local Government Minister Jeff Carr. “For the past several weeks, the centre has been collecting data from various sources to establish river modeling and five-day forecasting projections. Our efforts have helped residents stay informed of any risks that were identified.”

Over the past 10 weeks, the River Watch 2020 team published public advisories, conducted interviews with provincial media, and kept people informed through Facebook and Twitter.

“While the spring freshet is over, New Brunswickers need to stay vigilant about preventing the spread of COVID-19. Physical distancing is the best way to prevent the spread and we are counting on everyone to continue to do their part and follow the orders in the state of emergency declaration,” said Greg MacCallum, NBEMO director.