Fish Habitat Assessment and Prioritization of Restoration Sites

In 2015, the Eastern Georgian Bay Stewardship Council received funding from Environment and Climate Change Canada to carry out a 32-month project to assess spawning, nursery, rearing, and foraging habitat in eight tributaries to eastern Georgian Bay, within the Parry Sound District. The eight tributaries assessed were:

  • Seguin River
  • Shebeshekong River
  • Shawanaga River
  • Naiscoot River
  • Magnetawan River
  • Key River
  • Pickerel River
  • Sucker Creek

Lake Sturgeon, Walleye, and Sucker species have been experiencing varying levels of decline in parts of eastern Georgian Bay. Accordingly, fish habitat assessments were focused on these species with the goals of: (1) determining whether there is sufficient habitat available; and (2) identifying and prioritizing opportunities for restoration. Assessments were carried out between the river mouths and the first major spawning area or barrier to fish passage. As part of the broad habitat assessments, the following information was collected on each river:

  • Basic water quality parameters (pH, conductivity, dissolved oxygen)
  • Water temperature
  • Water velocity
  • Water level fluctuations
  • Aerial photographs
  • Underwater photographs and videos
  • Substrate type
  • General size of habitat
  • Accessibility of spawning areas during different flow regimes
  • Potential limitations or indicators of stress
  • Opportunity for restoration

The results of the assessments, as well as recommendations for management and future research, are presented in tributary reports for each river. In addition, as an outcome of the fish habitat assessments, the Shebeshekong River was recommended for restoration, and work on the river was completed in the fall of 2017.

Underwater videos taken during spring 2016 field work

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