Fisheries Monitoring: Regional Rivers and Streams

The fisheries monitoring programs that
we have at the Toronto Region Conservation Authority, are some of the longest standing programs around. There’s the regional watershed monitoring program, that has been operating within our streams and rivers for the last 20 years, where we sample approximately 150 sites. We’re basically fishing for information. The aquatic community data that we
collect tells us a lot about the health of the ecosystem, and how sustainable our decisions are regarding land-use change and development. And what we find when we go from a natural pristine landscape to a more urban landscape, is that we get a
lot more tolerant fish species, so fish species that are better suited to living
in warmer water temperatures. If we move north in our jurisdiction, towards the Greenbelt and Oak Ridges Moraine, we have a lot more sensitive species.
Species that are indicators of good water quality habitat, good aquatic
habitat, cooler water temperatures. The type of monitoring that we do varies, but we follow standard protocols and procedures, specifically the Ontario
Stream Assessment Protocol. And when we get to a site or we get to a location we’re interested in gathering some information, we’ll go in collect fish
species, so we’ll ID them, we’ll check their length and weight, and count how
many of them there are per species. We’ll also gather some information
regarding the habitats that they’re living in, so what kind of vegetation to we see. What’s the sediment like, what are the flows like, what’s the water temperature like. All that information gets translated
back to a municipal partners, government non-government agencies, the public, basically whoever wants to know about it, we’re willing to share. We’re trying to get
messages out there, trying to get all the little intricate details of what the
data is telling us, and we all work together to make sure that what we’re
doing and the decisions that we’re making regarding land-use change, or
habitat enhancement, or restoration. They’re not decisions just for today but
they are decisions for the future.

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