Bridges Over Troubled Waters

Alberta Environment and Parks is part of a team currently working on several culvert operations in an effort to recover populations of native trout and whitefish in the central and northern watersheds of the Eastern Slopes Fish Management Zone.

Crossing_Photo_1

A fish rescue downstream of a hanging culvert on a tributary to the Red Deer River

Of Alberta’s 11 species of trout, char, grayling and whitefish, six of them are at risk in large part because of the impact of destructive stream crossings.

Along with the Alberta Energy Regulator and Trout Unlimited Canada, work has been done to identify the crossings that are causing problems for native fish populations, surveying fish populations near those crossings and repairing the waterways.

Crossing_Photo_2

Electrofishing being done at a tributary of Burnt Timber Creek downstream of a hanging culvert

Many fish face fragmented habitats as a result of poorly installed and maintained road crossings prevents threatened species such as bull trout from accessing headwater habitats.

Reconnecting fish habitat is part of the Government of Alberta’s comprehensive North Central Native Trout Recovery Program to recover native trout populations.

The program is part of an integrated provincial fisheries management approach, which means it is linked to:

  • Bull trout and Athabasca rainbow trout recovery planning processes
  • Roadway Watercourse Crossings Remediation Program
  • Whirling disease and invasive species management.

Although the province has seen some success over the past few years in recovering some native trout populations, most populations continue to be threatened by excessive harvest, reduced water quality and stream fragmentation.

Crossing_Photo_3

Electrofishing work at a tributary to the Red Deer River downstream of a hanging culvert

To learn more about the North Central Native Trout Recovery Program initiatives that support our native fish, please visit the Environment and Parks website.

2 thoughts on “Bridges Over Troubled Waters

  1. I appreciate the honest appraisal of the reasons for the decline of most salmonids in East Slope streams – HABITAT DESTRUCTION!
    “Many fish face fragmented habitats as a result of poorly installed and maintained road crossings”
    Sport Fish also face the cumulative impacts of thousands of sediment sources from roads, trails (OHVs) pipelines and stream bank disturbance.
    “Of Alberta’s 11 species of trout, char, grayling and whitefish, six of them are at risk in large part because of the impact of destructive stream crossings.”
    Perhaps your next article could describe the number and distribution of hanging culverts and point sources of sediment caused by road/stream crossings in the E/S.
    Our “Troubled Waters” are long overdue for new bridges or at least culvert repairs.

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