East Slopes Fisheries Inventory
Alberta Environment and Park’s Fish Sustainability Index is a standardized process of assessment that provides a landscape-level overview of fish sustainability within the province and enables broad-scale evaluation of management actions and land-use planning. Priority species for assessment in our sample area include bull trout and mountain whitefish. Bull trout is a native sport species classed as Threatened in Alberta and is particularly sensitive to habitat 2 change. In the summer of 2019, we used backpack and tote-barge electrofishing gear to sample 40 sites randomly distributed throughout the James River watershed, a tributary to the Red Deer River. In addition, we sampled 12 sites in the Yara Creek watershed and five sites in Wildhorse Creek. We captured a total of 996 fish in the study area, with brook trout being the most widely distributed and most abundant species captured. Bull trout were detected in Wildhorse Creek, the Yara Creek watershed, and the Upper James River watershed. Mountain whitefish were only captured in the Upper James River watershed. The highest catch rates of brook trout and bull trout occurred in Wildhorse Creek. Our study provides land-use managers with information on fish species distribution and abundance that is necessary to minimize land-use impacts to fish, evaluate bull trout status, and otherwise balance the diverse values of the Red Deer River drainages.
Alberta Environment and Parks, Sundre Forest Products – A Division of West Fraser Mills Ltd.
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