Conservation Potential of Fish Passage Barriers for Native Trout
To effectively safeguard against extirpation of native fish species in Alberta, it is essential to protect native fish populations from hybridization and competition with invasive species. In Alberta, several subpopulations of native fish remain protected from invasive species primarily because of waterfalls that impede upstream fish movement. Maintaining and isolating these populations from invasion is critical to the protection and persistence of native fish. Cataloguing waterfalls is a necessary first step in determining where invasion can be managed. To determine where native fish refuge might still exist in the Narraway River and Muskeg River watersheds, we used Google Earth, Bing Maps, and aerial reconnaissance to identify 110 and 14 potential fish barrier locations in 2019 and 2020, respectively. Fieldwork was postponed until 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions. We ground-truthed 99 potential barriers and completed full field assessments at 20 of the 99 potential barriers in the Narraway River watershed. We identified six barriers on four tributaries (Dinosaur, Stetson, Stinking, and Sulphur creeks) in the Narraway River watershed, with high conservation potential for native fish. We ground-truthed all 14 potential barriers and completed full assessments at two of the 14 potential barriers in the Muskeg River watershed. We identified one barrier with high conservation potential for native trout along the mainstem of the Muskeg River.
Alberta Environment and Parks, Fisheries and Oceans Canada – Canada Nature Fund, Fisheries and Oceans Canada – Habitat Stewardship Program Fund
|Conservation Potential of Fish Passage Barriers for Native Trout||2021-2022||1|