Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter Percina copelandi Channel Darter

Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter Percina copelandi Channel Darter
Species at Risk Act
Recovery Strategy Series
Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
(Percina copelandi) in Canada
Channel Darter
2013
Recommended citation:
DFO. 2013. Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter (Percina copelandi) in Canada. Species
at Risk Act Recovery Strategy Series. Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ottawa. viii + 82 pp.
For copies of the recovery strategy, or for additional information on species at risk, including
COSEWIC Status Reports, residence descriptions, action plans, and other related documents,
see the Species at Risk Public Registry.
Cover illustration: Courtesy of George Coker
Également disponible en français sous le titre
« Programme de rétablissement du fouille-roche gris (Percina copelandi) au Canada »
© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of Fisheries and
Oceans Canada, 2013 All rights reserved.
ISBN En3-4/171-2013E-PDF
Catalogue no. 978-1-100-22718-4 Content (excluding the illustrations) may be used without permission, with appropriate credit to
the source.
Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
2013
PREFACE
The federal, provincial, and territorial government signatories under the Accord for the
Protection of Species at Risk (1996) agreed to establish complementary legislation and
programs that provide for effective protection of species at risk throughout Canada. Under the
Species at Risk Act (S.C. 2002, c.29) (SARA) the federal competent ministers are responsible
for the preparation of recovery strategies for listed Extirpated, Endangered, and Threatened
species and are required to report on progress within five years.
The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada is one of two competent ministers for the
recovery of the Channel Darter. Due to the presence of Channel Darter in the Trent Severn
Waterway, the Minister of the Environment, the minister responsible for Parks Canada Agency,
is also a competent minister under SARA. Fisheries and Oceans Canada has prepared this
strategy, as per section 37 of SARA, in cooperation with many individuals, organizations and
government agencies, including the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, Parks Canada Agency,
the Ontario Freshwater Fish Recovery Team, and the Quebec Recovery Team “Équipe de
rétablissement des cyprinidés et petits percidés du Québec” (see Appendix D for list of Channel
Darter Recovery Team members).
Success in the recovery of this species depends on the commitment and cooperation of many
different constituencies that will be involved in implementing the directions set out in this
strategy and will not be achieved by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, or any other jurisdiction
alone. All Canadians are invited to join in supporting and implementing this strategy for the
benefit of the Channel Darter and Canadian society as a whole.
Implementation of this strategy is subject to appropriations, priorities, and budgetary constraints
of the participating jurisdictions and organizations. This recovery strategy will be followed by
one or more action plans that will provide information on recovery measures to be taken by
Fisheries and Oceans Canada and other jurisdictions and/or organizations involved in the
conservation of the species.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Fisheries and Oceans Canada would like to acknowledge a number of individuals who have
helped directly or indirectly in the development of this strategy: Amy Boyko (DFO – Central and
Arctic Region), Jacinthe Beauchamp (DFO – Quebec Region), Daniel Hardy (DFO – Quebec
Region), the Ontario Freshwater Fish Recovery Team, and the Quebec Recovery Team “Équipe
de rétablissement des cyprinidés et petits percidés du Québec”. Carolyn Bakelaar (DFO)
helped in the preparation of the maps; Andréanne Demers (DFO) contributed to the
harmonization of the English and French versions of this document; Jean Dubé assisted with
some of the research details. Recognition also goes to Erling Holm of the Royal Ontario
Museum who has contributed his expertise to a number of studies that formed the basis of this
recovery strategy, and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources staff, D. Jacobs, S.M. Reid
and J. Brownlee, who contributed to earlier versions of the recovery strategy up to 2009.
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Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
The Channel Darter is a small, benthic fish with a widespread but extremely disjunct distribution
ranging west of the Appalachian Mountains from Louisiana north through 15 American states,
and into Ontario and Quebec. In Ontario, the Channel Darter can be found along the shores of
Lake Erie, and in the drainages of Lake St. Clair, the Ottawa River, and the Bay of Quinte. In
Quebec, the species is found in the St. Lawrence River and also in tributaries of four
hydrographic regions: Outaouais and Montreal, the southwest St. Lawrence, southeast St.
Lawrence, and the northwest St. Lawrence.
The Channel Darter has been designated as Threatened in Canada by the Committee on the
Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) and is listed on Schedule 1 of the federal
Species at Risk Act. In Canada, this species is threatened by habitat loss and degradation
(e.g., shoreline modifications, altered flow regimes, barriers to movement, turbidity and
sediment loading, contaminants and toxic substances), the introduction of invasive species and
diseases, and possibly baitfish harvesting. In recent years, new populations have been
discovered in Ontario and Quebec, but this is most likely attributable to increased sampling
effort, rather than a range expansion. One population in Ontario and many populations in
Quebec are presumed extirpated. Recent sampling suggests that populations in Lake Erie and
Lake St. Clair are in decline.
The long-term recovery objective (> 20 years) for the Channel Darter is to maintain existing
populations in Ontario and Quebec and restore self-sustaining populations to formerly occupied
habitats, where feasible. In some locations, permanent changes in the fish community, as a
result of the establishment of invasive species, may impact the feasibility of re-establishing
Channel Darter populations.
According to the recovery potential assessment, ten discrete viable populations are required to
reduce the risk of Channel Darter extinction in Canada. Based on data available when this
recovery strategy was developed (surveys conducted up to 20091), the population and
distribution objectives for the Channel Darter in Canada are to ensure the survival of selfsustaining population(s) at the following ten locations:

Ontario: Little Rideau Creek/Ottawa River, Trent River, Moira River/Black
River/Skootamatta rivers, Salmon River, and Lake Erie (Point Pelee area)

Quebec: Gatineau River, L’Assomption River/Ouareau River, Richelieu River,
Saint-François River, and des Anglais River/aux Outardes Est River/Trout
River/Châteauguay rivers.
The recovery team has identified a variety of approaches to ensure that these objectives are
met. These approaches have been broadly organized into five categories: 1) Research; 2)
Monitoring; 3) Management and Coordination; 4) Protection, Restoration and Stewardship; and,
5) Communication and Public Awareness. Some recovery activities that could be completed
under these approaches include: additional research into the habitat requirements and life
history of the species; the survey of historical Channel Darter locations or target surveys of
extant of suspected populations; a flow needs assessments to determine impacts of water
1
Several surveys resulting in new Channel Darter records have been completed since this recovery
strategy was developed. The data will be updated in the action plan.
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Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
2013
management on the species; the restoration of existing Channel Darter habitat; and,
improvement in communication with resource users to increase awareness of habitat use by
Channel Darter.
Using the best available information at the time this recovery strategy was developed (surveys
conducted up to 2009), critical habitat has been identified in Ontario and Quebec at the
following locations:

Ontario: Little Rideau Creek/Ottawa River, Trent River, Moira/Black/Skootamatta
rivers, and Salmon River, as well as Lake Erie (Point Pelee area).

Quebec: Gatineau River, L’Assomption River/Ouareau River, Richelieu River,
Saint-François River, and des Anglais River/aux Outardes Est River/Trout
River/Châteauguay rivers.
This recovery strategy addresses the needs of the Channel Darter throughout its Canadian
range and also serves to facilitate cooperation and coordination of recovery efforts among those
jurisdictions responsible for this species. A Quebec recovery plan for the Channel Darter was
developed in 2001 (currently under revision) and many recovery actions for this species are
already underway. Several ecosystem-based recovery planning documents already exist or are
in development that include parts of the range of Channel Darter populations in southwestern
Ontario and will likely promote the recovery of this species in those areas.
One or more action plans relating to this recovery strategy will be produced within five years of
the final recovery strategy being posted on the Species at Risk Public Registry.
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RECOVERY FEASIBILITY SUMMARY
The recovery of the Channel Darter is believed to be biologically and technically feasible. The
following feasibility criteria have been met for the species:
1. Are individuals capable of reproduction currently available to improve the population growth
rate or population abundance?
Yes. Phelps and Francis (2002) reported the presence of the Channel Darter at 55 sites in 23
waterbodies. Since this time, Channel Darter has been found in at least one additional
waterbody. While spawning does require specific habitat conditions, the species’ continued
presence at these sites indicates that reproduction has occurred in recent years. Male and
female Channel Darter in spawning condition, were observed in the Moira River in May 2001
(Reid et al. 2005) and Trent River in June 2003 (Reid 2004) and in the Gatineau River between
May and June 1999 (Comtois et al. 2004), in July 2003 (J. Boucher, Ministère des Ressources
naturelles et de la Faune du Québec, pers. comm. 2009), and July 2004 (Lemieux et al. 2005).
2. Is sufficient suitable habitat available to support the species or could it be made available
through habitat management or restoration?
Yes. Sufficient suitable habitat is available for the Channel Darter in multiple locations (e.g.,
Trent River). Additionally, there is apparently suitable, but uninhabited, habitat available in the
Quinte region (Reid et al. 2005). Improved water level management and water quality (e.g.,
through stewardship and Best Management Practices [BMPs] and Watershed Committees)
could improve and expand the extent of suitable habitat.
3. Can significant threats to the species or its habitat be avoided or mitigated through recovery
actions?
Yes. Many significant threats to Channel Darter habitat, such as dams and increased
sedimentation and turbidity, can be addressed through recovery actions. Stewardship,
implementation of BMPs and Watershed Committees, as well as improved water level
management would mitigate these threats.
4. Do the necessary recovery techniques exist and are they demonstrated to be effective?
Yes. There are numerous techniques available to improve water quality in lakes and rivers.
Watershed-based stewardship activities have been initiated in some areas of Ontario and
Quebec.
Repatriation may be feasible through captive rearing or adult transfers. Although there are no
published studies on the husbandry of Channel Darter, the species has been propagated
successfully in captivity (Shute et al. 2000). Additionally, captive rearing and translocations
have been used in the south-eastern United States in the recovery of other endangered darter
species (Shute et al. 2005). For example, populations of imperilled species such as the Snail
Darter (Percina tanasi) and Fringed Darter (Etheostoma crossopterum) have been established
through adult transfers (Etnier and Starnes 1993, Poly 2003).
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
PREFACE ........................................................................................................................ii ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ...................................................................................................ii EXECUTIVE SUMMARY................................................................................................. iii RECOVERY FEASIBILITY SUMMARY........................................................................... v TABLE OF CONTENTS ..................................................................................................vi List of Figures ................................................................................................................. vii List of Tables ................................................................................................................. viii 1. COSEWIC Species Assessment Information ................................................. 1 2. Species Status Information............................................................................. 1 3. Species information ........................................................................................ 2 3.1 Species description ........................................................................................ 2 3.2 Population and distribution ............................................................................. 3 3.3 Needs of the Channel Darter ........................................................................ 12 4. Threats ......................................................................................................... 13 4.1 Threat assessment ....................................................................................... 13 4.2 Description of threats ................................................................................... 16 5. Population and Distribution objectives .......................................................... 21 6. Broad Strategies and General Approaches to Meet Objectives ................... 22 6.1 Recommended scale for recovery ................................................................ 22 6.2 Actions already completed or currently underway ........................................ 22 6.3 Strategic direction for recovery ..................................................................... 24 6.4 Narrative to support the recovery planning table .......................................... 29 7. Critical Habitat .............................................................................................. 33 7.1 General identification of the Channel Darter’s critical habitat ....................... 33 7.1.1 Information and methods used to identify critical habitat ................. 33 7.1.2 Identification of critical habitat: biophysical functions, features, and
their attributes .................................................................................. 36 7.1.3 Identification of critical habitat: geospatial ....................................... 38 7.1.4 Population viability ........................................................................... 60 7.2 Schedule of studies to identify critical habitat ............................................... 61 7.3 Examples of activities likely to result in the destruction of critical habitat ..... 63 8. Measuring Progress ..................................................................................... 67 9. Activities Permitted by the Recovery Strategy .............................................. 67 10. Statement on Action Plans ........................................................................... 68 11. References ................................................................................................... 68 APPENDIX A: Effects on the Environment and Other Species ..................................... 76 APPENDIX B: Existing and Recommended Approaches to Habitat Protection............. 77 APPENDIX C: Record of Cooperation and Consultation ............................................... 78 APPENDIX D: Channel Darter Recovery Team Members ............................................ 79 APPENDIX E: Channel Darter Sites in Quebec ............................................................ 80 APPENDIX F: New Channel Darter Sites in Quebec Following the Publication of the
2002 COSEWIC Report ................................................................................................ 82 vi
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APPENDIX G: Recent Fish Surveys (Since 2000) in Areas of Channel Darter
Occurrence (Ontario)..................................................................................................... 83 LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 1. Channel Darter (Percina copelandi). ................................................................ 3 Figure 2. Global distribution of the Channel Darter. ........................................................ 4 Figure 3. Channel Darter distribution in Canada. ............................................................ 5 Figure 4. Channel Darter distribution in southwestern Ontario. ....................................... 6 Figure 5. Channel Darter distribution in eastern Ontario. ................................................ 7 Figure 6. Channel Darter distribution in Quebec ............................................................. 8 Figure 7. Area within which critical habitat for Channel Darter is found in Little Rideau
Creek/Ottawa River. ............................................................................................... 41 Figure 8. Area within which critical habitat for Channel Darter is found in the Trent River,
Moira/Black/Skootamatta rivers, and Salmon River. .............................................. 43 Figure 9. Area within which critical habitat for Channel Darter is found in the Trent River.
............................................................................................................................... 44 Figure 10. Area within which critical habitat for Channel Darter is found in the Moira
River and Black River. ............................................................................................ 45 Figure 11. Area within which critical habitat for Channel Darter is found in the
Skootamatta River.................................................................................................. 46 Figure 12. Area within which critical habitat for Channel Darter is found in the Salmon
River. ...................................................................................................................... 47 Figure 13. Area within which critical habitat for Channel Darter is found in Lake Erie at
Point Pelee. ............................................................................................................ 49 Figure 14. Area within which critical habitat for Channel Darter is found in the Gatineau
River. ...................................................................................................................... 51 Figure 15. Area within which critical habitat for Channel Darter is found in the
L’Assomption River and its tributary, the Ouareau River. ....................................... 53 Figure 16. Area within which critical habitat for Channel Darter is found in the Richelieu
River. ...................................................................................................................... 55 Figure 17. Area within which critical habitat for Channel Darter is found in the SaintFrançois River. ....................................................................................................... 57 Figure 18. Area within which critical habitat for Channel Darter is found in the
Trout/Châteauguay, aux Outardes Est, and des Anglais rivers. ............................. 59 vii
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LIST OF TABLES
Table 1. Global, national and sub-national status ranks for the Channel Darter
(NatureServe 2013).................................................................................................. 2 Table 2. Population status and associated certainty of individual Channel Darter
populations in Canada. .......................................................................................... 11 Table 3a. Threat status and certainty (), by population, for Channel Darter in Ontario by
drainage. ................................................................................................................ 14 Table 3b. Threat status and certainty (), by population, for Channel Darter in Quebec by
hydrographic region and drainage.......................................................................... 15 Table 4. Recovery planning table - research approaches. ............................................ 25 Table 5. Recovery planning table - monitoring approaches. ......................................... 26 Table 6. Recovery planning table - management and coordination approaches. .......... 27 Table 7. Recovery planning table - protection, restoration and stewardship approaches.
............................................................................................................................... 28 Table 8. Recovery planning table - communication and public awareness approaches.
............................................................................................................................... 29 Table 9a. Essential functions, features and attributes of critical habitat for each life stage
of Channel Darter for Ontario*................................................................................ 37 Table 9b Essential functions, features and attributes of critical habitat for all life stages
of Channel Darter for Quebec* ............................................................................... 37 Table 10a. Coordinates locating the boundaries within which critical habitat is found for
Channel Darter in Ontario. ..................................................................................... 39 Table 10b. Coordinates locating the boundaries within which critical habitat is found for
the Channel Darter in Quebec. .............................................................................. 39 Table 11a. Comparison of the area of river segments and lake areas in which critical
habitat can be found (km2) for each Channel Darter location in Ontario, relative to
the estimated minimum area for population viability (MAPV)*. ............................... 61 Table 11b. Comparison of the area of river segments in which critical habitat can be
found (km2) for each Channel Darter location in Quebec, relative to the estimated
minimum area for population viability (MAPV)*. ..................................................... 61 Table 12. Schedule of studies to identify critical habitat. ............................................... 62 Table 13. Human activities likely to result in the destruction of critical habitat for Channel
Darter. The affect pathway for each activity is provided as well as the potential
links to the biophysical functions, features, and attributes of critical habitat. .......... 64 Table 14. Performance measures for evaluating the achievement of recovery objectives.
............................................................................................................................... 67 viii
Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
1.
2013
COSEWIC2 SPECIES ASSESSMENT INFORMATION
Date of assessment: May 2002
Common name (population): Channel Darter
Scientific name: Percina copelandi
COSEWIC status: Threatened
COSEWIC reason for designation: This species exists in low numbers where found and its
habitat is impacted by siltation and fluctuations in water temperature.
Canadian occurrence: Ontario, Quebec
COSEWIC status history: Designated Threatened in April 1993. Status re-examined and
confirmed in May 2002.
Please note: The Status Summary above is as it appears on the COSEWIC website. The recovery team
believes there was a typographical error and that the Reason for Designation should refer to habitat
impacts from fluctuation in water levels. The COSEWIC Assessment and Update Status Report on
Channel Darter completed by Phelps and Francis in 2002 also refers to habitat impacts from changes in
both water temperature and flow.
2.
SPECIES STATUS INFORMATION
Global status - The Channel Darter (Percina copelandi Jordan, 1877) is globally secure (G4),
but is extremely localized and sparingly distributed (Kuehne and Barbour 1983). Declines have
been reported in the upper Ohio River system (Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania), the Ohio waters of
Lake Erie, and in the Tennessee River system in Kentucky (Goodchild 1994). Populations are
apparently stable in the Licking River in Kentucky, and the Arkansas River drainage in
Oklahoma and Arkansas (Kuehne and Barbour 1983, Goodchild 1994). The Channel Darter is
ranked at risk (S1, S2 or S3) in 11 of the 15 American states where it occurs, as well as in
Ontario and Quebec (Table 1) (NatureServe 2013).
Canadian status - In Canada, the Channel Darter has a national ranking of N2N3, and is
ranked S2 in Ontario and S2S3 in Quebec (NatureServe 2013). It was designated as
Threatened in 1993 by COSEWIC and this status was reconfirmed in 2002 (COSEWIC 2002).
Federally, the species is listed on Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act (SARA) and
provincially, it is designated as Threatened in Ontario and is listed under Ontario’s Endangered
Species Act, 2007 (Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources [OMNR] 2009). Since March 2005 in
Quebec, the Channel Darter has been designated as vulnerable under the Loi sur les espèces
menacées ou vulnérables.
Percent of global distribution and abundance in Canada – Phelps and Francis (2002)
estimated Channel Darter’s extent of occurrence in Canada at 80 000 km2, or 16% of the
species’ global extent of occurrence. Phelps and Francis estimated that area of occurrence of
2
Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada
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Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
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this species, or the area actually occupied by this species, in Canada is 300 km2. Although
there are no global or Canadian abundance estimates, Canada may represent about 5% of the
global Channel Darter population (A. Dextrase, OMNR, pers. comm. 2006).
Table 1. Global, national and sub-national status ranks3 for the Channel Darter
(NatureServe 2013).
Rank
Jurisdiction rank
G4 (19 June 2011)
Global (G)
National (N)
Canada
U.S.
Sub-national (S)
Canada
U.S.
N2N3
N4
Ontario (S2), Quebec (S2S3)
Arkansas (S4), Indiana (S2), Kansas (S3), Kentucky (S4),
Louisiana (S1S2), Michigan (S1S2), Missouri (S3), New York (S2),
Ohio (S2), Oklahoma (S4), Pennsylvania (S4), Tennessee (S3),
Vermont (S1), Virginia (S2), West Virginia (S2S3)
3.
SPECIES INFORMATION
3.1
Species description
The following description has been adapted from Trautman (1981), Starnes et al. (1977), and
Scott and Crossman (1998), unless otherwise noted. The Channel Darter (Figure 1) is a small,
slender fish with an elongated body. Goodchild (1994) gives a range of 34 to 61 mm total
length (TL) for Canadian specimens, although individuals up to 72 mm TL have been captured
(Reid 2004). It is light sand or olive coloured, with brown speckles on its back and crossshaped markings over its dorsal surface. A series of brown, oblong or round blotches often
joined by a thin line can be found on its side. A dusky bar or spot may be present beneath the
eye and extend forward on to the snout; fins are clear or only lightly speckled and the ventral
half of the body is whitish. Breeding males may be noticeably darker (Goodchild 1994).
3
G4/N4/S4 – Apparently Secure: Uncommon but not rare; some cause for long-term concern due to
declines or other factors; N3/S3 – Vulnerable: Vulnerable in the nation/state or province due to a
restricted range, relatively few populations (often 80 or fewer), recent and widespread declines, or other
factors making it vulnerable to extirpation; S2 – Imperilled: Imperilled in the state or province because of
rarity due to very restricted range, very few populations (often 20 or fewer), steep declines, or other
factors making it very vulnerable to extirpation from the state or province; S1 – Critically Imperilled:
Critically imperilled in the state or province because of extreme rarity (often 5 or fewer occurrences) or
because of some factor(s) such as very steep declines making it especially vulnerable to extirpation from
the state or province. For more information on ranking see NatureServe.
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The Channel Darter resembles the Johnny Darter (Etheostoma nigrum), Tessellated Darter (E.
olmstedi), and River Darter (P. shumardi) (Goodchild 1994), all of which have distributions that
overlap that of the Channel Darter. An identification key for distinguishing the Channel Darter
from other darters has been developed by Massé and Bilodeau (2003). However, juvenile
identification is still problematic. Refer to Phelps and Francis (2002) for detailed information on
how to distinguish the Channel Darter from other similar species.
© Ellen Edmonson (NYSDEC)
Figure 1. Channel Darter (Percina copelandi).
3.2
Population and distribution
Global range – The Channel Darter has a wide but disjunct distribution across central North
America (Figure 2); occurring west of the Appalachian Mountains, in the Mississippi drainage
(Tennessee, Ohio, and Arkansas rivers) and southern Great Lakes basin (Lake Huron, Lake St.
Clair, Lake Erie, and the Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River drainages) (Goodchild 1994). It
is found in 15 U.S. states: Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri,
New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia. At
the northern limit of its range, the Channel Darter is found in both Ontario and Quebec
(NatureServe 2013). It may have had a greater North American pre-glacial distribution, as fossil
records tentatively assigned to this species were found in South Dakota (Stauffer et al. 1982,
Cavender 1986; both cited in Goodchild 1994).
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Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
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Figure 2. Global distribution of the Channel Darter.
(adapted from Page and Burr 1991).
Canadian range – Disjunct populations are found in Ontario and Quebec (Figure 3). Goodchild
(1994) suggested that Channel Darter has always been rare in Canada, as it is at the northern
edge of its range.
Ontario: In Ontario (Figures 4 and 5), Channel Darter is found in the lower Great Lakes basin.
The species has been collected from the Detroit River, Lake St. Clair, the St. Clair River, Lake
Erie, and several tributaries to Lake Ontario, including the Trent River, Moira River and two of its
tributaries (Skootamatta River and Black River), and Salmon River. It has also been found in
Little Rideau Creek (a tributary of the Ottawa River) in eastern Ontario (Goodchild 1994, Phelps
and Francis 2002).
Quebec: In Quebec, the species is at the northernmost limit of its global distribution. Its
distribution is disjunct and populations are located in the tributaries of the upper St. Lawrence
(Lapointe 1997, Scott and Crossman 1998) (Figure 6). In the St. Lawrence River, the species
has been captured in Lake St. Louis and in Lake St. Pierre and its archipelago (N. La Violette,
unpubl. data). The species has also been recorded in tributaries in four hydrographic regions:
Outaouais and Montreal, the southwest St. Lawrence, southeast St. Lawrence and the
northwest St. Lawrence (Figure 6). Since the preparation of the 2002 COSEWIC update status
report (Phelps and Francis 2002) more recent surveys have yielded new Channel Darter
records. See Appendices E and F for further details.
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Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
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Figure 3. Channel Darter distribution in Canada.
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Figure 4. Channel Darter distribution in southwestern Ontario.
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Figure 5. Channel Darter distribution in eastern Ontario.
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Figure 6. Channel Darter distribution in Quebec.
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Canadian population size: Phelps and Francis (2002) reported that extant populations were
sampled at 55 locations in 23 waterbodies. Additionally, seven historic sites are believed
extirpated, one in Ontario, six in Quebec (Phelps and Francis 2002) (this number is now five as
the species has recently been re-confirmed at a site in Quebec that was previously believed to
be extirpated). New sites discovered are likely the result of increased sampling effort by OMNR,
the Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune (MRNF) and partners (refer to
Appendices E-G) rather than range expansion. Aside from the reported decline at a number of
historical locations in Ontario and Quebec (Phelps and Francis 2002), there is no population
abundance information, but it is likely that the loss of several Canadian populations is
associated with a concomitant decline in abundance.
Ontario4 – In Ontario, declines appear to be occurring in Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair. Channel
Darter was detected at just one (shoreline bordering Point Pelee National Park) of six historical
locations along the north shore of Lake Erie during intensive sampling conducted in the spring
and fall of 2005 and 2006 (Reid and Mandrak 2008). This indicates that a more substantial
range decline has occurred in Canada than reported in the 2002 COSEWIC assessment (Reid
and Mandrak 2008). However, one Channel Darter was captured in Lake Erie at a depth of
10.8 m by the OMNR while conducting a bottom trawl in 2010, suggesting that the species may
be present at greater depths (Bouvier and Mandrak 2010).
The most recent record of Channel Darter in the Lake Erie drainage comes from the Detroit
River in 2009, where a single individual was captured at the mouth of the river where it connects
to Lake St. Clair. This new record is located relatively far from previous Channel Darter records
in the Detroit River, which were captured in the vicinity of the outlet into Lake Erie (Bouvier and
Mandrak 2010).
The most recent records of Channel Darter in Lake St. Clair date back to 1996, when 65
individuals were captured near Walpole Island (Bouvier and Mandrak 2010). In 2005, surveys
were conducted at historical sites along the south shore of Lake St. Clair by the OMNR;
however, Channel Darter was not detected. Recent trawling (Thomas and Haas 2004) and
2005 OMNR seining surveys (M. Belore, OMNR, pers. comm. 2006) along the south shore of
Lake St. Clair failed to collect any Channel Darter.
Recent sampling (2001, 2003) of historical sites in the Moira River (including two of its
tributaries the Black and Skootamatta rivers) confirmed the persistence of these populations
(Reid 2004, Reid et al. 2005). Two Channel Darter records (1989, 2004) exist for Little Rideau
Creek near the confluence with the Ottawa River (Dextrase and Reid 2004). However, given
the proximity of the records to the Ottawa River, further sampling is required at this location to
determine if the records represent a resident population in Little Rideau Creek or a population in
the Ottawa River.
Targeted sampling conducted on the lower Trent River from 2003 to 2008, yielded 831 Channel
Darter (Reid 2005, Coker and Portt 2009), and sampling conducted in 2003 detected Channel
Darter for the first time in the Salmon River (Reid et al. 2005). The species is believed to be
extirpated from an un-named creek that flows into the Moira River (Phelps and Francis 2002).
In the South Nation River, sites with unconfirmed Channel Darter records from OMNR stream
inventories in the 1970’s were re-sampled in May of 2005 but yielded no specimens (A.
Dextrase, S. Reid, OMNR, pers. comm. 2009).
4
Several surveys in Ontario resulting in new Channel Darter records have been completed since this
recovery strategy was developed. The data will be updated in the action plan.
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Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
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Quebec5 – The status of Channel Darter in Quebec is not well known as there have been few
studies conducted. Nevertheless, the small amount of available abundance data could suggest
that the species’ numbers have decreased (Lapointe 1997, Équipe de rétablissement du fouilleroche gris 2001, Phelps and Francis 2002, Fisheries and Oceans Canada [DFO] 2010).
Channel Darter appears to have disappeared from the Chicot, Niger, aux Bleuets, and
Maskinongé rivers, as well as from the Port St. François area in the St. Lawrence River (Phelps
and Francis 2002) and from the Lake St. Louis and Becancour-Batiscan area in the St.
Lawrence River (data from the St. Lawrence Fish Monitoring Network [RSI]). The species was
also believed to be extirpated from the du Sud River (Phelps and Francis 2002) until two
specimens were detected in 2005 (P.Y. Collin, MRNF, pers. comm. 2005). Several areas with
historical Channel Darter records have not been sampled recently; therefore, it is impossible to
determine whether the species is extant at these locations.
Since the preparation of the 2002 COSEWIC status report (Phelps and Francis 2002), Channel
Darter specimens have been captured in several waterways and, in some cases, in large
numbers (e.g., 137 and 125 specimens in the Gatineau and Richelieu rivers, respectively, in
2003 [Boucher et al. 2009]; 58 specimens in the tributaries of the Outaouais River downstream
from Gatineau in 2006 [Pariseau et al. 2007]) (Refer to Appendix F for more information).
However, most of the targeted Channel Darter surveys were aimed at verifying the occurrence
of the species and not the density. When one or more individuals were observed, sampling was
halted to limit the impacts on the species and its habitat (S. Garceau, MRNF, pers. comm.
2009). These surveys revealed that several areas in Quebec appear to harbour significant
Channel Darter populations, such as the Chambly Rapids on the Richelieu River, the Farmer
Rapids on the Gatineau River, and Pointe-au-Chêne Creek and the Kinonge River, two
tributaries of the Outaouais River. Potential new Channel Darter locations include the wider
section of the Outaouais River between Fasset and Grenville (i.e., wide sand and gravel
beaches washed over by waves), and the Saint-François River.
Canadian population assessment: The status of Channel Darter populations in Canada was
assessed by Bouvier and Mandrak (2010) (Ontario) and Boucher and Garceau (2010) (Quebec)
(Table 2). Populations were ranked with respect to abundance and trajectory (DFO 2010)
(Table 2). Population abundance and trajectory were then combined to determine the
population status. A certainty level was also assigned to the population status, which reflected
the lowest level of certainty associated with either population abundance or trajectory. Refer to
Bouvier and Mandrak (2010) and Boucher and Garceau (2010) for further details on the
methodology.
5
Several surveys in Quebec resulting in new Channel Darter records have been completed since this
recovery strategy was developed. The data will be updated in the action plan.
10
Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
2013
Table 2. Population status and associated certainty of individual Channel Darter
populations in Canada.
Certainty: 1 = quantitative analysis; 2 = Catch Per Unit Effort (CPUE) or standardized sampling; 3 = best
guess. Table adapted from DFO (2010).
Population6
Population status
Certainty
ONTARIO
Bay of Quinte Drainage
Fair
2
Moira system: Moira, Skootamatta and Black rivers
Fair
2
Salmon River
Fair
2
Trent River
Lake Erie Drainage
Unknown
3
Detroit River
Poor
2
Western basin: Pelee Island, Point Pelee, Holiday Beach
Extirpated
2
Central/Eastern basin: Port Dover, Port Burwell, Rondeau Bay
Lake St. Clair Drainage
Poor
2
Lake St. Clair
Ottawa River Drainage
Unknown
2
Little Rideau Creek
QUÉBEC
Outaouais and Montreal
Good
2
Outaouais River
Southwest St. Lawrence River
Good
2
Richelieu River
Poor
2
Châteauguay River
Poor
3
Yamaska River
Good
2
Saint-François River
Unknown
3
Nicolet River
Northwest St. Lawrence River
Fair
2
L’Assomption River
Fair
2
Bayonne River
Unknown
3
Batiscan River
Unknown
3
Jacques-Cartier River
Unknown
3
Sainte-Anne River
Southeast St. Lawrence River
Unknown
3
Bécancour River
Poor
2
du Sud River
Unknown
3
du Chêne River
Unknown
3
aux Ormes River
Unknown
3
Henri River
Unknown
3
Gentilly River
Unknown
3
aux Orignaux River
6
Note that, for lack of supporting data, a location was assumed to have a single population when
population status was assessed by Bouvier and Mandrak (2010) and Boucher and Garceau (2010).
11
Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
3.3
2013
Needs of the Channel Darter
Habitat and biological needs
Spawn to Hatch: In the spring and early summer, Channel Darter migrate short distances to
riffle or shoal habitats with moderate flows and clean coarse bed material to spawn (Winn 1953,
Reid 2004, Lemieux et al. 2005, Garceau et al. 2007, Boucher et al. 2009). Winn (1958)
described spawning in an inland Michigan lake to occur on gravely shoals, after which Channel
Darter migrated to deeper waters. Moderate to fast flow rates may be essential to spawning
success. For example, in the Trent River, a mean mid-column water velocity of 0.46 m/s was
measured over a period when individuals in reproductive condition were collected (Reid 2004),
and in the Richelieu River water velocities ranged from 0.24-0.60 m/s (Lemieux et al. 2005).
Male Channel Darter establish and defend breeding territories around a rock located in the
current. Females move between territories, spawning with successive males and laying 4-10
eggs in each nest; 350-700 eggs are laid in total. Water temperatures measured during
spawning ranged from 14.5 to 25oC (Winn 1953, Comtois et al. 2004, Reid 2004, Lemieux et al.
2005). No parental care is provided to the eggs/larvae. There is little information on generation
time for this species, although eggs have been collected from 1-2 year old females (Page 1983).
Embryonic (yolk-sac) stage: Yolk-sac larvae have been collected in water 12 m deep in Lake
Erie near Point Abino (Fish 1932; cited in Simon and Wallus 2006). In Quebec, eggs and larvae
have been captured at depths of 0.3-0.4 m over substrates of cobble, gravel, and sand
(Lemieux et al. 2005). Nothing further is known regarding the habitat requirements of
embryonic Channel Darter.
Young of the year (YOY): YOY are believed to associate with areas containing gravel and sand
at depths of 0-5 m (Lane et al. 1996). Juveniles have been found in backwaters and pools with
low flow and some have been captured adjacent to large rivers (Winn 1953). Little else is
known regarding the specific habitat requirements of YOY Channel Darter.
Adult: The Channel Darter is a warm water benthic species that, in Canada, is found in three
general habitats: gravel and coarse sand beaches of Lake Erie (Reid and Mandrak 2008);
gravel/cobble shoals and riffles in large rivers (Reid 2005, Lemieux et al. 2005, Boucher et al.
2009); and, riffles and pools of small- to medium-sized rivers (e.g., CARA 2002, Reid et al.
2005, Garceau et al. 2007). In Quebec, the species occurs primarily in rivers or small streams
with undisturbed shorelines along forested or agricultural areas and with good water quality
(Lapointe 1997, Garceau et al. 2007). Currents are slow to moderate, depths are usually less
than 60 cm and substrates are composed of cobble along with other types of material
(Desrochers et al. 1996, CARA 2002, Lemieux et al. 2005, Boucher 2006, Garceau et al. 2007,
Boucher et al. 2009).
During the summer, Channel Darter continue to be associated with habitats containing riffles or
shoals (Stauffer et al. 1996, Reid 2004) and adjacent sand-bottomed pools (Reid 2005). By late
fall, few remain in riffle and shoal habitats and over-wintering occurs in pools with low current
(Branson 1967, Etnier and Starnes 1993). Habitat requirements of lake populations are not as
well documented as river populations. Along the north shore of Lake Erie, Channel Darter has
been collected from wave-washed coarse sand and gravel beaches (Scott 1955, Reid and
Mandrak 2008).
The Channel Darter is considered to be pollution intolerant. Good water quality, particularly low
levels of turbidity, is important for this species (Lapointe 1997). The Channel Darter is sensitive
12
Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
2013
to high sedimentation levels (Goodchild 1994) and is not often found in areas with
predominantly silt or clay substrates.
Limiting factors
The Channel Darter has specific habitat requirements relating to water temperature, flow, and
substrate that must be present for successful spawning. Water temperatures measured during
spawning ranged from 14.5 to 25oC (Winn 1953, Comtois et al. 2004, Reid 2004, Lemieux et al.
2005). Abrupt reductions in water flow during spawning can cause cessation of courtship
activities and temporary use of the breeding area (Winn 1953). Spawning requires clean coarse
bed material. Deposition of fine sediments over otherwise suitable spawning habitats has been
suggested to preclude use (Winn 1953). Goodchild (1994) hypothesized that the conditions
needed to create optimal spawning habitat may only occur at intervals, leading to a variation in
reproductive success and thus changes in abundance from year to year. The communal
spawning behaviour of the Channel Darter may limit the number of eggs deposited by females
(Goodchild 1994). This implies that each female must spawn repeatedly with many males to lay
all her eggs and this opportunity may not always exist (Goodchild 1994).
The Channel Darter is a small fish, with limited dispersal ability, that exists as a collection of
disjunct populations. Therefore, rescue effect (the ability of a neighbouring population to halt
the decline of another population through migration from one population to another) is low, as
extirpated populations have little opportunity to be re-colonized through natural movements.
The ability to disperse might increase if we consider dispersal over more than one generation.
Goodchild (1994) suggested that the Channel Darter may be limited by competition from Johnny
Darter or Logperch (P. caprodes) for spawning sites.
4.
4.1
THREATS
Threat assessment
Bouvier and Mandrak (2010) assessed threats to Channel Darter populations in Ontario while
Boucher and Garceau (2010) assessed threats to the species in Quebec. Known and
suspected threats were ranked with respect to threat likelihood and threat impact for each
population (Tables 3a and 3b) (DFO 2010). The threat likelihood and threat impact were then
combined to produce an overall threat status. A certainty level was also assigned to the overall
threat status, which reflected the lowest level of certainty associated with either threat likelihood
or threat impact. See Bouvier and Mandrak (2010) and Boucher and Garceau (2010) for further
details. Additional information is provided in the subsequent threat summaries.
13
Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
2013
Table 3a. Threat status and certainty (), by population, for Channel Darter in Ontario by
drainage.
Certainty: 1= causative studies; 2=correlative studies; and, 3=expert opinion. Clear cells do not
necessarily represent a lack of a relationship between a population and a threat; rather, they indicate that
either the threat likelihood or the threat impact is unknown. Gray cells indicate that the threat is not
applicable to the population due to the nature of the aquatic system where the population is located.
Table adapted from DFO (2010).
Lake Erie
drainage
Threats
Shoreline modifications
Altered flow regimes
Detroit
River
Western
basin
Medium (3)
High (2)
Lake St. Clair
drainage
Central/
Eastern
basin
High (2)
High (3)
Lake
St. Clair system
High (3)
Unknown (3)
Barriers to movement
Turbidity and sediment loading
Medium (3)
Medium (3)
Medium (3)
Medium (3)
Nutrient loading
Medium (3)
Medium (3)
Medium (3)
Low (3)
Contaminants and toxic substances
Medium (3)
Unknown (3)
Unknown (3)
Low (3)
Invasive species and disease
High (2)
High (2)
High (2)
High (2)
Incidental harvest
Low (3)
Low (3)
Low (3)
Low (3)
Bay of Quinte
drainage
Ottawa River
drainage
Moira
system
Salmon
River
Trent
River
Little
Rideau Creek
Low (3)
Low (3)
Medium (2)
Low (3)
Low (3)
Low (3)
Low (2)
Low (3)
Low (3)
Medium (3)
Medium (2)
Medium (3)
Unknown (3)
Unknown (3)
Unknown (3)
Low (3)
Nutrient loading
Low (3)
Low (3)
Low (3)
Unknown (3)
Contaminants and toxic substances
Low (3)
Low (3)
Low (3)
Unknown (3)
Invasive species and disease
High (2)
High (2)
High (2)
High (2)
Incidental harvest
Low (3)
Low (3)
Low (3)
Unknown (3)
Threats
Shoreline modifications
Altered flow regimes
Barriers to movement
Turbidity and sediment loading
14
Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
2013
Table 3b. Threat status and certainty (), by population, for Channel Darter in Quebec by
hydrographic region and drainage.
Certainty: 1= causative studies; 2=correlative studies; and, 3=expert opinion. Clear cells do not
necessarily represent a lack of a relationship between a population and a threat; rather, they indicate that
either the threat likelihood or the threat impact is unknown. Gray cells indicate that the threat is not
applicable to the population due to the nature of the aquatic system where the population is located.
Table adapted from DFO (2010).
Outaouais –
Southwest
Montreal
St. Lawrence River drainage
drainage
Outaouais
Richelieu
Châteauguay
Yamaska
Threats
River
River
River
River
Low (3)
Medium (2)
High (3)
Low (3)
Shoreline modifications
High (1)
Medium (1)
Low (2)
Low (3)
Low (1)
Medium (2)
Low (3)
Medium (1)
Medium (2)
Medium (3)
Low (1)
High (2)
Nutrient loading
Low (2)
Medium (1)
Medium (1)
High (1)
Contaminants and toxic substances
Low (2)
Medium (1)
Medium (1)
High (1)
Unknown (3)
Unknown (2)
Unknown (2)
Unknown (2)
Low (1)
Low (1)
Low (1)
Low (1)
Altered flow regimes
Barriers to movement
Turbidity and sediment loading
Invasive species and disease
Incidental harvest
Threats
Shoreline modifications
Altered flow regimes
Barriers to movement
Turbidity and sediment loading
Nutrient loading
Contaminants and toxic substances
Invasive species and disease
Incidental harvest
Threats
Shoreline modifications
Southwest
St. Lawrence River drainage
Saint-François
Nicolet
River
River
Low (2)
Medium (2)
Northwest
St. Lawrence River drainage
L’Assomption
Bayonne
River
River
Medium (2)
Medium (2)
High (2)
High (2)
Medium (2)
Unknown (2)
Low (2)
Medium (2)
Low (2)
Low (2)
Medium (2)
Low (2)
Low (2)
Medium (2)
Low (2)
Medium (2)
Medium (2)
Medium (2)
Medium (2)
Medium (2)
Medium (2)
Medium (2)
Unknown (3)
Unknown (3)
Unknown (3)
Unknown (3)
Low (1)
Low (1)
Low (1)
Low (1)
Northwest St. Lawrence River drainage
Batiscan
Jacques-Cartier
Sainte-Anne
River
River
River
Low (2)
Unknown (3)
Unknown (3)
Altered flow regimes
Unknown (2)
Unknown (3)
Unknown (3)
Barriers to movement
Turbidity and sediment loading
Unknown (2)
Low (2)
Unknown (2)
Low (2)
Unknown (2)
Low (2)
Nutrient loading
Low (2)
Low (2)
Low (2)
Contaminants and toxic substances
Low (2)
Low (2)
Low (2)
Unknown (3)
Low (1)
Unknown (3)
Low (1)
Unknown (3)
Low (1)
Invasive species and disease
Incidental harvest
15
Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
2013
Table 3b (cont’d). Threat status and certainty (), by population, for Channel Darter in
Quebec.
Shoreline modifications
Southeast St. Lawrence River drainage
Bécancour
du Sud
du Chêne
aux Ormes
River
River
River
River
Medium (2)
Medium (3)
Unknown (3)
Unknown (3)
Altered flow regimes
Unknown (2)
Medium (2)
Low (2)
Unknown (3)
Barriers to movement
Turbidity and sediment loading
Nutrient loading
Unknown (2)
Medium (2)
Medium (2)
Unknown (2)
Medium (3)
Medium (3)
Low (2)
Unknown (3)
Unknown (3)
Unknown (3)
Unknown (3)
Unknown (3)
Medium (2)
Medium (3)
Unknown (3)
Unknown (3)
Unknown (3)
Unknown (3)
Unknown (3)
Unknown (3)
Low (1)
Low (1)
Low (1)
Low (1)
Threats
Contaminants and toxic substances
Invasive species and disease
Incidental harvest
Shoreline modifications
Southeast St. Lawrence River drainage
Henri
Gentilly
aux Orignaux
River
River
River
Unknown (3)
Unknown (3)
Unknown (3)
Altered flow regimes
Unknown (3)
Unknown (2)
Unknown (2)
Barriers to movement
Turbidity and sediment loading
Unknown (3)
Unknown (3)
Unknown (2)
Unknown (3)
Unknown (2)
Unknown (3)
Nutrient loading
Unknown (3)
Unknown (3)
Unknown (3)
Contaminants and toxic substances
Unknown (3)
Unknown (3)
Unknown (3)
Invasive species and disease
Unknown (3)
Unknown (3)
Unknown (3)
Low (1)
Low (1)
Low (1)
Threats
Incidental harvest
4.2
Description of threats
Shoreline modifications
Natural coastal processes that occur near the shorelines along lakes and large rivers include
sediment erosion and deposition zones that provide and maintain fish habitat. Much of the
shoreline along Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River has been artificially hardened, filled,
dredged or modified for human use (Essex-Erie Recovery Team [EERT] 2008). In addition, the
Detroit and St. Lawrence rivers have been significantly altered through the creation of shipping
lanes, which resulted in the deepening of the channels, the creation of artificially hardened
shoreline walls, the creation of depositional zones where dredged materials are placed, and the
modification of flow patterns in both rivers (Environment Canada 1999, EERT 2008). As a
result, the natural processes of erosion and deposition along the St. Clair River-Detroit River
corridor, and the St. Lawrence River have been altered. Similarly, the nearshore of Lake Erie
has been extensively modified with groynes, jetties and breakwaters, thereby, reducing aquatic
habitat diversity and altering nearshore sediment transport (Koonce et al. 1996). At Port Burwell
and Port Dover, the construction of jetties has promoted sand deposition and changed the
character of the sand beaches that previously supported Channel Darter (Reid and Mandrak
2008). Reid and Mandrak (2008) also noted that the creation of a break-wall and armouring at
another historical Channel Darter location had reduced the beach habitat present.
16
Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
2013
The presence of healthy riparian areas also plays an important role in the protection of water
quality. These areas reduce soil erosion, filter runoff containing fertilizers, pesticides and
sediment, regulate the water temperature and thus maintain good water quality for aquatic
wildlife. The deforestation and loss of riparian strips to increase cropland and corn development
results in the increase of water temperature, but also increases the rate of runoff, sedimentation
and nutrient enrichment in streams and rivers, which are likely to affect Channel Darter habitat
(FAPAQ 2002, Vachon 2003). The regulations for protecting shorelines and littoral zones in
Quebec, which were transferred to municipalities who must take the measures imposed by
Quebec's policy on protection of banks, shorelines and floodplains (Politique de protection des
rives, du littoral et des plaines inondables [PPRLPI]), were only marginally applied, if at all, in
2004 (Sager 2004). This situation has changed little in recent years. Aside from initiatives by a
few municipalities or enhancement projects, in general, there was deterioration in the quality of
riparian strips both in urban and agricultural areas (Boucher and Garceau 2010).
Altered flow regimes
Many Quebec and Ontario rivers that support Channel Darter are affected by dams (e.g.,
Gatineau River, Moira River, Ottawa River, Trent River, Yamaska River). Lacustrine conditions
immediately upstream of dams are likely not suitable Channel Darter habitat. Flow regulation
may also have a negative effect on downstream populations, especially during the spawning
period. Abrupt decreases in flow during spawning can cause spawning to cease (Winn 1953).
Altered flow can also result in physiological stress and mortality in individual fish. Channel
Darter is found downstream of dams along the Trent River where flow is primarily managed for
navigation and flood control. Shoals used by Channel Darter have been observed to be
temporarily (1-2 hours) de-watered during the spawning period and consistently dry in fall (Reid
2005). In-stream flow needs assessments for species at risk are planned by Parks Canada
Agency (PCA) for the Trent Severn Waterway. This, in addition to future hydro-electric projects
proposed for the Trent River may provide the opportunity to confirm that the needs of Channel
Darter, and other species at risk, are taken into account during the design and operation of dam
recapitalization projects, as well as construction and operation of new or upgraded hydrogenerating facilities.
Barriers to movement
Barriers to movement (e.g., dams, natural waterfalls, poorly installed culverts) can restrict
access to important habitat areas as well as fragment fish populations and limit the potential for
rescue effect from neighbouring populations (EERT 2008, NatureServe 2013). Conversely,
barriers may afford protection for some species from competitors, predators or invasive species
(EERT 2008). According to Phelps and Francis (2002), barriers can compromise the spawning
success of Channel Darter by blocking access to spawning areas, although they did not
distinguish between man-made and natural barriers. Reid et al. (2005) found that natural
barriers in the Bay of Quinte tributaries corresponded with the upper distribution limit of Channel
Darter in those systems. The Moira, Black, Skootamatta, and Salmon rivers are all fragmented
by man-made structures and although Channel Darter was found both upstream and
downstream of the barriers, it is possible that the species had a wider historical distribution
(Reid et al. 2005).
Turbidity and sediment loading
Elevated turbidity can negatively affect the ability of Channel Darter to find food and locate
spawning sites. Most Canadian populations are found in relatively clear rivers or lakes.
Similarly, high siltation rates can reduce the quality of spawning substrate, smother eggs or
indirectly affect their benthic invertebrate food source (Goodchild 1994). When sediment loads
increase, the slow-to-moderate current habitat occupied by Channel Darter may not be swift
17
Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
2013
enough to prevent sediment deposition. In Quebec, the species populates areas where
intensive agricultural activities and urbanization have caused a gradual degradation of its habitat
as a result of sedimentation, which jeopardizes the species’ survival (Lapointe 1997, DFO
2010). Biologists failed to detect any Channel Darter in five rivers where the habitat had been
altered as a result of agricultural exploitation, urbanization, and bank erosion from navigation
(i.e., wave action from passing boats7) (Lapointe 1997, Phelps and Francis 2002).
Increased siltation and turbidity in Channel Darter habitats is most likely the result of agricultural
activities and urban development, including watercourse and shoreline hardening, and
channelization activities. The historical locations where Channel Darter has been extirpated
were all affected by such habitat changes (Phelps and Francis 2002).
Nutrient loading
Nutrients (nitrates and phosphorous) enter waterbodies through a variety of pathways including
manure and fertilizer applications to farmland, manure spills, sewage treatment plants, and
faulty domestic septic systems. Nutrient enrichment of waterways can negatively influence
aquatic health through algal blooms and associated reduced dissolved oxygen concentrations.
From 1955 to 1980, Lake Erie was affected by extensive oxygen depletion and associated
changes in the benthos that resulted from excessive nutrient loading (Koonce et al. 1996).
Phosphorous loading in Lake Erie reached a high of 29 000 tonnes in 1968, resulting in wholelake eutrophication (Mandrak and Holm 2001). From 1976 to 1999, phosphorous levels have
showed a significant overall downward trend (Nicholls et al. 2001); however, data from 20002004 suggest a continued increasing trend in phosphorous since 1994, at a rate of
approximately 1.4µg/L/year (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 2007). Eutrophication, in
addition to habitat degradation, overexploitation of the fisheries resource and introduction of
invasive species, has altered Lake Erie over the past 70 years. Over this time frame, it appears
that in addition to a decline in general species richness, the distribution of Channel Darter in
Lake Erie has been reduced (Reid and Mandrak 2008).
Intensive livestock operations and sewage treatment plants are potential point sources of acute
nutrient loading. Most Quebec and Ontario municipalities have sewage treatment systems that
provide a preliminary treatment of wastewater. However, in the event of heavy precipitation or
system breakdown, wastewater in some municipalities is evacuated into the natural
environment without any treatment. Climate change could lead to more extreme weather
conditions, which may increase the frequency of discharges from overflow structures. While it
has not been researched specifically, the threat of point source pollution from intensive
agriculture, specifically hog farms, appears to be more serious for Quebec populations relative
to those in Ontario (A. Dextrase, OMNR, pers. comm. 2006).
In the Châteauguay River watershed, Garceau et al. (2007) found that the downstream portion
of the watershed had only a few typical Channel Darter habitats due to the silting of the streams
and the development of algae, including periphyton, caused by excessive nutrient loading due
to agriculture and urbanization. Certain sections in the watershed where Channel Darter had
been reported historically (e.g., des Anglais River) no longer have any potential habitats as a
result (Garceau et al. 2007).
7
Wave action from passing boats that break on the shores of a river or stream can cause bank erosion.
This erosion causes sediment re-suspension, which increases turbidity and silting of riverbeds.
Therefore, high tonnage vessels that sail on the St. Lawrence River and pleasure boating in smaller rivers
can cause the loss and degradation of Channel Darter habitats.
18
Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
2013
Contaminants and toxic substances
Compared to other darter species, the Channel Darter is considered to be pollution intolerant
(Richard 1994; cited in Lapointe 1997). However, specific sensitivities to toxic chemicals and
nutrient loading are largely unknown. Contaminants and toxic substances from various sources
(e.g., wastewater treatment plant, agricultural and livestock production, industrial discharge)
may have several types of significant effects at the population level, including impaired
reproduction, disruption of behaviour, a decreased resistance to pathogens and disruption of
embryonic development.
In Ontario, in locations such as the St. Clair and Detroit rivers, the fish community, including
Channel Darter, is exposed to a variety of toxic compounds from point and non-point sources
(Environment Canada 2010) associated with urbanization and intensive industrial development
(including a large petrochemical complex). The specific impacts of toxic contaminants on the
Channel Darter may not be direct; however, the cumulative impacts are a cause for concern
(EERT 2008).
In Quebec, the water quality in some of the rivers occupied by Channel Darter (e.g., Richelieu,
Yamaska, Bayonne, L’Assomption, Châteauguay, and des Anglais) is also of concern for
aquatic species (Côté et al. 2006, Giroux 2007, DFO 2010) and could represent a threat for
Channel Darter with respect to contamination through various sources of contaminants and
toxic substances (DFO 2010). The use of pesticides for corn crops intended for hog production
is an example of very significant nonpoint source agricultural pollution that alters water quality in
the southern part of the province (FAPAQ 2002) where Channel Darter populations are found.
Another substance that may indirectly impact Channel Darter is the insecticide Bacillus
thuringiensis israelensis (BTI). To control Black Fly (Diptera; Simuliidae) populations, BTI
bacteria-based products are applied to rivers and streams where Black Fly larvae develop. BTI
is a “digestive system inhibitor” for organisms that have a highly alkaline digestive canal, and
acts on certain species while remaining safe for fishes (Boisvert and Lacoursière 2004). Some
studies have shown that BTI impacted non-targeted dipteral larvae, such as the Chironomid
family (i.e., midges) (reviewed by Boisvert and Lacoursière [2004]), an important prey item for
Channel Darter. BTI spraying has been occurring for several years in Quebec in some lotic
areas occupied by Channel Darter, for Black Fly control; however, the possible indirect impacts
on Channel Darter have not been studied. BTI has not been applied to rivers occupied by
Channel Darter in Ontario.
Invasive species and disease
The negative impacts of invasive fishes on native fishes in the Great Lakes basin have been
well documented (e.g., French and Jude 2001, Thomas and Haas 2004). Invasive species may
affect Channel Darter through direct competition for space and habitat, food, spawning sites,
through the restructuring of aquatic food webs, and by the potential introductions of new
parasites(e.g., Cestod Valipora campylocristota probably introduced by Tench [Tinca tinca] in
the Richelieu River [Marcogliese et al. 2009]).
It has been suggested that Round Goby may be a serious threat to Channel Darter, competing
for similar habitat and resources (Phelps and Francis 2002). The current ranges of Channel
Darter and Round Goby overlap in the St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair, the Detroit River, Lake
Erie, Lake Ontario in the Bay of Quinte area, as well as in the St. Lawrence River and at the
mouth of some of its tributaries (e.g., Richelieu River) (Reid 2005, A. Dextrase, OMNR, pers.
comm. 2006, A. Gendron, Environment Canada [EC], pers. comm. 2011). Since its
introduction, Round Goby has been implicated in the declines of the following native benthic fish
19
Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
2013
species in the lower Great Lakes: 1) Logperch and Mottled Sculpin (Cottus bairdii) populations
in the St. Clair River (French and Jude 2001); 2) Johnny Darter, Logperch, and Trout-Perch
(Percopsis omiscomaycus) in Lake St. Clair (Thomas and Haas 2004); and, 3) Channel Darter,
Fantail Darter (E. flabellare), Greenside Darter (E. blennioides), Johnny Darter, and Logperch in
the Bass Islands, western Lake Erie (Baker 2005). Round Goby are abundant and widespread
in Lake Erie habitats currently and formerly occupied by Channel Darter. Round Goby was
present at all sites sampled during a survey targeting Channel Darter; however, Channel Darter
catch-per-unit-effort was highest when Round Goby abundance was lowest (Reid and Mandrak
2008). In Quebec, ichthyologic surveys tend to show that Round Goby has become more
abundant since 2003 and that it disperses quickly. It is now present in most nearshore habitats
in the St. Lawrence River (A. Gendron, EC, pers. comm. 2011) and it seems less parasitized
than native species such as Logperch, which could exacerbate the impact of Round Goby on
competing species (Gendron et al. 2011).
Potential impacts of the invasive dreissenid mussels (Dreissena spp.) on Channel Darter are
unknown; however, it is possible that they may negatively impact Channel Darter by altering
food web dynamics and surrounding water quality.
Introduced pathogens can also represent a threat for different fish species. For example, Viral
Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS) is a contagious disease caused by a virus that affects more
than 65 species of fish. First identified in the Great Lakes in 2005 and 2006, this disease has
been linked to massive mortalities in several fish species from this region. There are currently
no known cases of VHS occurring in Channel Darter, and the impact of this disease on this
species has not been studied. The virus has been confirmed in Lake Erie and Lake Ontario,
and the freshwater portion of the St. Lawrence River, east of the Moses-Saunders Dam, is
currently considered a high-risk watershed for infection. To date, there have been no reported
VHS cases in Quebec (C. Brisson-Bonenfant, MRNF, pers. comm. 2009). The Canadian Food
Inspection Agency (CFIA) has introduced a two-year plan to monitor the occurrence of VHS in
wild fish species in Canada (CFIA 2009). Because of the Channel Darter’s status in Canada,
mortalities related to this disease could considerably impact the survival and recovery of this
species.
Incidental harvest (baitfishing)
Channel Darter is not a legal baitfish in Ontario (OMNR 2010) or Quebec (MDDEFP 2013).
Baitfish harvesting is not documented in the literature as a threat to Channel Darter; however,
there is an overlap in the habitats used by Channel Darter and those targeted by baitfish
harvesters. In rivers, Channel Darter is easily captured by seine net from run and pool habitats
downstream of riffles (Reid et al. 2005) and nearshore Lake Erie habitats (Scott 1955, Reid and
Mandrak 2008). While not a legal bait species, it is occasionally captured incidentally. In rivers,
the risk of by-catch would be greatest in areas where pools and runs occupied by Channel
Darter are located near bridges or other access points. Baitfish harvesting along the nearshore
of the Great Lakes is believed to pose the greater potential threat to Channel Darter populations
as the targeted habitat is consistent with that preferred by the species, especially the nearshore
areas of Lake Erie (Reid and Mandrak 2008). However, due to the rarity and limited distribution
of Channel Darter, the probability of incidental capture is believed to be low (A. Drake,
University of Toronto, pers. comm. 2009).
No Channel Darter were collected in samples taken from baitfish dealers across southern
Ontario in 2007 and 2008 during a study examining the impacts of baitfish harvesting on
species at risk and the distribution and spread of invasive species (Drake 2011). In Quebec, a
study was conducted in the fall of 2005 (Boucher et al. 2006) and summer of 2007 (Garceau et
20
Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
2013
al. in press) to assess the risk of catching fish species at risk (including Channel Darter) by
commercial bait harvesters. No Channel Darter specimens were reported in the samples from
the commercial catches or in baitfish tanks.
Climate change
Climate change is expected to have significant effects on aquatic communities of the Great
Lakes basin and the St. Lawrence River through several mechanisms, including increases in
water and air temperatures; changes in water levels (i.e., lowering); shortening of the duration of
ice cover; increases in the frequency of extreme weather events; emergence of diseases; and,
shifts in predator-prey dynamics (Lemmen and Warren 2004). It is anticipated that the effects of
climate change will be widespread and should be considered a contributing impact to species at
risk and all habitats. Not all of the effects of climate change will negatively affect species at risk
– those species that are limited in their range by cool water temperature may expand their
distribution provided that dispersal corridors of suitable habitat are available. However, a suite
of reactions related to changes in evaporation patterns, vegetation communities, lower lake
levels, increased intensity and frequency of storms, and decreases in summer stream water
levels may offset the direct benefits of increased temperatures. As the effects of climate change
on Channel Darter are highly speculative, it is difficult to determine the impact that this will have
on the populations and as such it was not included in the threats table.
5.
POPULATION AND DISTRIBUTION OBJECTIVES
The long-term recovery objective (>20 years) for Channel Darter is to maintain existing
populations in Ontario and Quebec and restore self-sustaining populations to formerly occupied
habitats, where feasible. In some locations, permanent changes in the fish community, as a
result of the establishment of invasive species, may impact the feasibility of re-establishing
Channel Darter populations.
According to a recovery potential assessment (RPA) conducted on Canadian Channel Darter
populations, at least ten discrete viable populations are required to reduce the species’ risk of
extinction in Canada to 1% over 250 years (DFO 2010). Modeling results from the RPA state
that the estimated minimum viable population size (MVP) for Channel Darter is 31 000 adults,
given a 10% chance of a catastrophic event occurring per generation (Venturelli et al. 2010).
The implementation of such a target is difficult without also having information on current
population(s), population sizes and trends (e.g., recruitment rates, mortality rates, fecundity,
longevity, sex ratio) and spatial distribution, as well as habitat quality; this information is mostly
lacking for the majority of Channel Darter locations in Canada. Further research is required to
obtain such information, validate the model results, and to verify if habitat deemed critical is
sufficient to support the MVP. Acquiring such information should also be considered a goal for
this species with an initial focus on populations named below but not excluding all locations
throughout the species’ Canadian distribution. As such, the MVP will be used as a guideline for
recovery but not as an absolute target for recovery. More quantifiable objectives relating to
MVP will be developed once abundance information can be obtained. This will also inform the
refinement of the recovery objectives.
Another important factor to consider when determining population and distribution objectives is
the number of populations that may be at a given location, as it is possible that a location may
contain more than one discrete population. In this context, location does not refer to the locality
21
Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
2013
of the discrete population, but rather a geographically or ecologically distinct area in which a
single threatening event can rapidly affect all individuals of this species present (COSEWIC
2010). The RPA states that ten discrete viable populations are required to reduce the risk of
Channel Darter extinction in Canada. However, the number of populations present in
waterbodies inhabited by Channel Darter is currently unknown. To be precautionary, where
present, multiple populations at a single location should be maintained.
Based on data available at the time this recovery strategy was developed (surveys conducted
up to 2009), the population and distribution objectives for the Channel Darter in Canada are to
ensure the survival of self-sustaining population(s) at the following locations:
Ontario: Little Rideau Creek/Ottawa River, Trent River, Moira River/Black River/Skootamatta
rivers, Salmon River, and Lake Erie (Point Pelee area)
Quebec: Gatineau River, L’Assomption River/Ouareau River, Richelieu River, Saint-François
River, and des Anglais River/aux Outardes Est River/Trout River/Châteauguay River.
6.
BROAD STRATEGIES AND GENERAL APPROACHES TO MEET
OBJECTIVES
6.1
Recommended scale for recovery
The Channel Darter is best suited for a single-species recovery strategy. While other species at
risk co-occur with Channel Darter (e.g., Eastern Sand Darter [Ammocrypta pellucida], River
Redhorse [Moxostoma carinatum], Hickorynut [Obovaria olivaria]), its distribution does not
closely coincide with other species at risk throughout the entirety of its Canadian range. Also, it
is not restricted to a particular habitat type (e.g., stream, river or lake) or ecosystem that would
make it a good candidate for an ecosystem-based strategy. Parts of the Channel Darter’s
Canadian range do overlap with other ecosystem-based recovery strategies (i.e., Walpole
Island and the Essex-Erie region) and these recovery initiatives will complement the singlespecies focus for Channel Darter.
6.2
Actions already completed or currently underway
Ontario:
 In 2002 and 2003, Channel Darter spawning timing and seasonal habitat use was
investigated in the Trent River.
 Investigation of the impact of Round Goby on the Trent River populations of Channel
Darter has been underway since 2009.
 Studies of the genetic structure of Ontario and Quebec populations are on-going since
2010.
 The Essex-Erie region ecosystem-based recovery strategy covers 14 fishes at risk,
including Channel Darter. The long-term goal of this strategy is “to maintain and restore
ecosystem quality and function in the Essex-Erie region to support viable populations of
fish species at risk, across their current and former range” (EERT 2008). This strategy
will benefit Channel Darter populations in Lake St. Clair, the Detroit River, and Lake Erie.
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Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
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2013
The draft Walpole Island ecosystem-based recovery strategy includes several fishes at
risk, including Channel Darter. The recovery goal of the draft Walpole Island ecosystem
recovery strategy is “to conserve and recover the ecosystems of the Walpole Island
Territory in a way that is compliant with the Walpole Island First Nation Environmental
Philosophy Statement, provides opportunities for cultural and economic development
and provides protection and recovery for Canada’s species at risk” (Bowles 2005).
Remedial Action Plans have been implemented in the St. Clair River and Detroit River to
address impairments to beneficial uses, such as “loss of fish and wildlife habitat”.
A baitfish primer (Cudmore and Mandrak 2011) has been developed that identifies the
baitfish species of Ontario. This Primer has been made available to commercial bait
harvesters, anglers, and the general public via OMNR offices and ServiceOntario offices
and the DFO website.
Changes to the Ontario Fishery Regulations (OFR 2007) were updated and became
effective in January 2008. The list of fishes that legally could be used as live bait was
refined from family taxon groupings to 48 species; fishes considered to be at risk
(including Channel Darter) or invasive were excluded from the list. Also, the OFR (2007)
prohibit the possession, or use as bait, of invasive fishes (including Round Goby) or live
fishes that are not a species of baitfish. Starting in 2007, some commercial bait
harvesters were required to participate in mandatory training and complete a HACCP
(Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) plan before being issued a licence (as of
2010, all must meet these requirements). Commercial bait dealers have been required
to complete HACCP plans since 2007. The implementation of HACCP plans minimizes
the risk of spreading invasive species and of selling non-target species.
A graduate student from the University of Toronto has conducted a study to examine the
impacts of baitfish harvesting on species at risk and the distribution and spread of
invasive species (Drake 2011). The study was conducted in cooperation with DFO.
See Appendix G for details on recent surveys that have been conducted by various
agencies within areas of Channel Darter occurrence.
Quebec:
 A provincial recovery strategy for Channel Darter was developed by the province of
Quebec in 2001 (Équipe de rétablissement du fouille-roche gris 2001) and is currently
being revised.
 A report was published in 2003 (Massé and Bilodeau 2003) on the verification of correct
identification of percid specimens in the Faune Québec biological collection (captured
between 1928 and 2002). This report presents the results of the new identifications and
an update of the list of captures since the publication of the Channel Darter provincial
recovery plan in 2001.
 A guide on proper techniques of sampling to lower instances of injuries or death of
Channel Darter, as well as to reduce habitat disturbance was produced (Letendre and
Leclerc, MRNF, unpublished). A monitoring protocol has also been developed (Couillard
et al. 2011).
 Numerous watershed committees have completed targeted Channel Darter sampling in
various watercourses within their territories. They have also conducted awareness
raising activities with riverside owners and farmers (e.g., guidance book for riverside
property owners, information booth, pamphlet). The Corporation de l’aménagement de
la rivière L’Assomption (CARA), the Société de conservation et d’aménagement du
bassin de la rivière Chateauguay (SCABRIC), the Comité de concertation et de
23
Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
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6.3
2013
valorisation de la rivière Richelieu (COVABAR) and Ambioterra have been notably
involved in these activities.
Many surveys were conducted by biologists of the MRNF in different watercourse where
Channel Darter is found (e.g., Saint-François, Richelieu, Outaouais and St. Lawrence
rivers), under the work of the Réseau de suivi Ichtyologique (RSI).
A master thesis study was done to characterize summer habitat use of Channel Darter in
the Gatineau and Richelieu rivers (Boucher 2006).
An awareness pamphlet was published by the MRNF on Channel Darter to provide
information to the public on its precarious status and to propose means of action to
insure its protection. In addition, an identification pamphlet was produced by DFO to
help the public to recognize Channel Darter and to inform them that there is a legal
obligation to release them alive if incidentally captured.
The Channel Darter’s vulnerability to baitfish fisheries was assessed (Boucher et al.
2006, Garceau et al. in press).
In 2009, the province of Quebec added Channel Darter to the list of species prohibited
for use as baitfish, and closed some areas to commercial baitfish harvesting where the
probability of catching the species was high.
See appendices E and F for details on recent surveys that have been conducted by
various agencies within areas of Channel Darter occurrence.
Strategic direction for recovery
The overall approaches recommended to meet the population and distribution objectives have
been organized into five categories: 1) Research; 2) Monitoring; 3) Management and
Coordination; 4) Protection, Restoration and Stewardship; and, 5) Communication and Public
Awareness. Each category is summarized in a table detailing strategies for recovery with a
priority ranking (high, medium, low), a description of the threat addressed and the associated
level of concern. A more detailed narrative is provided below in Section 6.4 (Narrative to
support the recovery planning table) when further explanation is required. Implementation of
the following approaches will be accomplished in coordination with relevant organizations in
Ontario and Quebec. Priority will be given to highly ranked Research and Monitoring Activities
(Tables 4 and 5), as the resulting data will be used to inform the approaches in Tables 6 to 8.
24
Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
2013
Threat
Broad strategy to
address threat
1-1a. Research – habitat
requirements
Determine the seasonal habitat requirements, including
species movement and migration, of all life stages of
Channel Darter.
All
1-1b. Research – habitat
requirements
Identify thresholds of tolerance to habitat modifications
(e.g., flow) to determine what constitutes destruction of
critical habitat for Channel Darter.
All
1-2. Research – life history
Determine the life history of Channel Darter (e.g.,
population dynamics, feeding) and interactions with
other species (e.g., predation, competition).
All
1-3. Research – water
quality parameters
All
1-4. Research -threat
evaluation
All
1-5. Research – reestablishment methods/
feasibility
Determine the physiological tolerance thresholds of
Channel Darter with respect to various water quality
parameters (e.g., dissolved oxygen, nutrients,
contaminants and toxic substances) and check against
existing standards.
Investigate potential threats such as invasive species,
baitfish harvesting and sources of contamination and
toxic substances (e.g., discharge from wastewater
treatment facilities). Consider the development of a
map highlighting general habitat areas and major
threats to allow analysis of cumulative effects.
Investigate the feasibility of various re-establishment
approaches for Channel Darter and identify appropriate
source populations.
All
1-6. Re-Establishment –
evaluation of potential sites
Determine if there are extirpated or new sites that are
suitable for threat mitigation or habitat restoration for
potential re-establishment.
All
1-7. Release and
evaluation
Undertake an experimental re-establishment, monitor
and evaluate its success.
All
1-8. Research - genetics
Assess genetic variation across the global range and
investigate population structure among/within Canadian
populations.
All
1-9. Habitat model
Develop a predictive habitat model to identify potential
Channel Darter sites and areas containing significant
habitat.
High
High
High
High
High
High
Low
General description of research and management
activities to meet objectives
All
High
High
High
Priority
Table 4. Recovery planning table - research approaches.
25
Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
2013
Priority
Table 5. Recovery planning table - monitoring approaches.
General description of research and management
activities to meet objectives
2-1a. Background surveys
– extant occurrences
Complete targeted surveys of extant populations using
gear types proven effective at detecting Channel
Darter.
All
2-1b. Background surveys
– Little Rideau
Creek/Ottawa River
All
2-2. Background surveys –
historical occurrences
Conduct extensive surveys on Little Rideau Creek and
the Ottawa River (and tributaries) to determine whether
a resident population exists in Little Rideau Creek.
Surveys in the Ottawa River (and tributaries) to be
informed through distribution of Channel Darter on
Quebec side of the river.
Conduct targeted surveys at historical Channel Darter
locations using gear types proven effective at detecting
the species.
All
2-3. Background surveys –
potential new occurrences
Conduct targeted surveys for undetected populations in
high probability areas with suitable habitat.
All
2-4. Monitoring –
populations and habitat
Develop and implement a standardized index
population and habitat monitoring program with a
specific sampling and training protocol.
All
2-5. Spawning habitat
Locate spawning locations and characterize habitat
present.
All
2-6. Monitoring – restored
sites
Monitor sites where threat mitigation and/or habitat
restoration activities occurred to determine success of
actions and to monitor Channel Darter populations.
High
High
High
High
High
All
High
Broad strategy to
address threat
Medium
Threat
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Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
2013
Priority
Table 6. Recovery planning table - management and coordination approaches.
Broad strategy to
address threat
General description of research and management
activities to meet objectives
All
3-1. Coordination with other
recovery teams and
relevant organizations
Altered flow
regimes
3-2. Resource
management - flow-needs
assessment
Barriers to
movement;
altered flow
regimes;
shoreline
modifications
All
3-3. Resource
management – planning,
permitting
Work with relevant organizations (e.g., conservation
authorities, OMNR, MRNF, First Nations) and
ecosystem/single species – based recovery teams to
share knowledge, combine resources, implement
recovery actions and ensure a coordinated approach
to recovery.
Conduct flow-needs assessments at hydroelectric
dams and navigable waterways (e.g., seaway) and
determine how water level management can be
improved to mitigate impacts on Channel Darter (e.g.,
adopt minimum low-flow level recommendations during
sensitive life history stages such as spawning).
Recommend consideration of the Channel Darter’s
needs when developing projects at the design stage
(i.e., proponents) and when issuing permits (i.e.,
resource managers).
All
3-5. Communication - data
and reporting
All
3-6. Communicationcooperation/coordination
with adjacent U.S. states
3-4. Survey
requirements
Low
Medium
High
High
High
High
Threat
For medium- or high-risk projects in locations without
Channel Darter records but with a high probability that
the species is there (i.e., within the geographic range
of Channel Darter, and containing suitable habitat),
ensure that proponents conduct appropriately timed,
targeted surveys using gear types proven effective at
detecting Channel Darter.
Develop a central provincial database for species’
records in Quebec and integrate recent and historical
Channel Darter observation data.
Establish a co-operative relationship with neighbouring
U.S. jurisdictions responsible for Channel Darter
management.
27
Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
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Priority
Table 7. Recovery planning table - protection, restoration and stewardship approaches.
General description of research and management
activities to meet objectives
4-1. Stewardshipwatershed efforts
Encourage stewardship efforts with waterpower
industry, agricultural, urban and industrial sectors in
watersheds with Channel Darter.
All
4-2. Best management
practices
All
4-3. Restoration and threat
mitigation – occupied
habitat
Encourage the implementation of Best Management
Practices (BMPs) or similar practices within the
agriculture and forestry industries (OMAFRA/MAPAQ
and OMNR/MRNF), private forest management
agencies, waterpower industry, other resource
managers public and private landowners and First
Nations.
Identify extant habitat that would benefit from specific
threat mitigation or other habitat improvement
activities; undertake to the extent possible and monitor
results.
All
4-4. Restoration and threat
mitigation – potential
habitat
Restore habitat and mitigate threats at potential
Channel Darter re-establishment sites that have been
evaluated and deemed suitable.
All
4-5. Wastewater treatment
All
4-6. Habitat protection
Ensure proper maintenance of wastewater treatment
facilities upstream of areas inhabited by Channel
Darter; establish a contingency plan in case of
breakdown or intentional shutdown (e.g., for
maintenance).
Investigate the potential for conservation easements or
acquisitions to protect and recover Channel Darter.
All
4-7. Public involvement
Medium
Medium
High
High
High
All
Medium
Broad strategy to
address threat
Medium
Threat
Involve local residents, partners, First Nations and
appropriate agencies and groups in action planning,
habitat improvement and threat mitigation activities.
28
Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
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Priority
Table 8. Recovery planning table - communication and public awareness approaches.
Broad strategy to
address threat
Threat
All
5-1. Communication –
communication plan
All
5-2. Municipal planning –
involvement
Invasive
species
5-3. Public awareness –
invasive species
Support invasive species awareness initiatives for the
public.
Baitfish
harvesting
5-4. Public awareness –
baitfish harvesting
Develop an information campaign for bait fishermen
(commercial harvesters, anglers and First Nations) in
areas supporting Channel Darter.
High
High
High
Medium
6.4
General description of research and management
activities to meet objectives
Develop and implement a communications plan that
identifies partners, approaches, information products,
educational and outreach opportunities, stewardship
resources and specific BMPs that will assist with the
recovery of this species. This may also include a
public education plan to inform the public regarding the
species, where it exists and how to identify it. This
plan should include a focus on awareness of critical
habitat and the SARA to help ensure compliance with
the Act.
Encourage municipalities to address the protection of
habitat that is important to Channel Darter in their
official plans.
Narrative to support the recovery planning table
Research approaches
1-1, 1-2, and 1-3: Further research on Channel Darter habitat requirements is required for
improved descriptions and protection of this species’ critical habitat. Such research is
particularly needed for lacustrine habitats, deep riverine habitats, YOY Channel Darter, and
physiological thresholds for water quality parameters (e.g., contaminants and toxic substances).
For all life stages, research should address the habitat’s physical and chemical characteristics,
seasonal patterns of use by the fish, migrations between habitats by this species, and
landscape factors (e.g., surficial geology) influencing habitat characteristics. Landscape factors
such as surficial geology and topography have been linked to habitat conditions and species
distributions.
1-4: A variety of potential threats to Channel Darter populations (e.g., invasive species and
baitfish harvesting) were identified in the COSEWIC report (Phelps and Francis 2002) and by
the recovery team. The status and certainty of many of these threats were assessed based on
a watershed approach in Section 4 (Threats) of this recovery strategy. This assessment and
the cumulative effects of these threats should be confirmed throughout the species’ distribution
to ensure that appropriate and defensible recovery actions are undertaken.
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Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
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1-58: The disjunct distribution of Canadian Channel Darter populations means that natural recolonization of extirpated sites will likely not occur. Therefore, re-establishment efforts would be
required at sites where Channel Darter has been extirpated if it is determined that source
populations are robust enough to act as donors. Re-establishment efforts require research to
determine appropriate source populations, identify the most effective method for reestablishment (e.g., translocation of individuals from other populations; or captive rearing and
subsequent stocking) and the number of individuals required to create self-sustaining
populations. Re-establishment should follow the American Fisheries Society Guidelines for
Introductions of Threatened and Endangered Fishes or the National Code on Introductions and
Transfers of Aquatic Organisms.
1-6: Before re-establishment or introductions, potential sites require an assessment of: 1)
availability of access throughout the project duration; 2) whether the site has been previously
inhabited (i.e., extirpated) and if habitat is suitable; and, 3) the extent to which the habitat could
be improved and/or threats mitigated. Extirpated sites that can be made suitable for reestablishment should take precedence over introductions into new sites.
1-7: Whether or not this experimental re-establishment will occur depends on the outcome and
recommendation of the feasibility analysis in 1-5 and identification of an appropriate pilot site in
1-6. If it is decided that the pilot re-establishment should proceed, then this action (release and
evaluation) is high priority. The pilot project should not proceed if the follow-up monitoring and
evaluation cannot be completed. If the feasibility analysis recommends against such a pilot
project or it cannot be reasonably assured that these subsequent actions can be included in the
pilot project, then this priority should drop to Low or Not Applicable and the pilot project should
not proceed.
1-8: Re-establishment efforts need to identify the location of potential source populations and
the number of individuals required to establish new, self-sustaining populations. Ideally, source
populations possess a high level of genetic diversity and genetic composition developed under
similar historical conditions as the re-establishment site. Therefore, an assessment of the
genetic variation and relatedness of populations across its range and in Canada is required.
Monitoring approaches
2-1 to 2-3: Focused efforts are required to determine the current distribution of Channel Darter
at extant and historical locations, as well as to detect new populations in high probability
locations. New Channel Darter sites have been recently discovered, suggesting that our
knowledge on its distribution is incomplete. The selection of new sites for monitoring may be
aided by reviewing historical studies of Channel Darter distribution as well as museum
specimens, particularly in Ontario (Quebec already completed). Canadian agencies should
work with U.S. partners to monitor known populations in U.S. waters of waterbodies shared with
Canada. Sampling methods should be standardized at all sampling sites and include a relevant
assessment of habitat features and should employ techniques proven effective at detecting
Channel Darter (see Portt et al. 2008 and Couillard et al. 2011 for effective species-specific
sampling methods). Water depths can prevent the use of sampling gear that is effective at
capturing Channel Darter in shallower habitats. Attempts to capture Channel Darter from deep
waters adjacent to Trent River shoals using small mesh gill-nets, and minnow traps were
unsuccessful (Reid 2005). Trawling is proving to be an effective method of capturing Channel
8
Members of Équipe de rétablissement des cyprinidés et petits percidés du Québec consider that the
recovery approaches 1-5 to 1-8 are not needed at this time in Quebec.
30
Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
2013
Darter from deeper riverine habitats that are not accessible to seines or electrofishers. Recent
sampling in the U.S. using an 8 ft mini-Missouri trawl was extremely effective at capturing
Channel Darter from such habitat, and from river systems where the species was previously
unreported (Herzog et al. 2009).
2-4: Monitoring populations and habitat will assist with identifying key habitat requirements
needed to refine the identification of critical habitat, as well as the implementation of strategies
to protect known currently occupied and historically occupied habitats. The monitoring program
should be designed to allow for quantitative tracking of changes in population abundance and
demographics, analyses of habitat use and availability, and changes in these parameters over
time (with regard to known threats). It should also have the ability to detect the presence and
abundance of invasive species in Channel Darter habitat. The fish monitoring protocol should
have regard for the methodologies used in background survey work and provide guidance on
the time of sampling and the types of biological samples that should be collected (e.g., scales,
length, and weight). For populations in Quebec, refer to Couillard et al. (2011).
Tracking temporal changes in habitat condition at monitoring sites would assist in identifying
incremental habitat changes and associated impacts to Channel Darter populations. When
combined with population monitoring, it can help determine threshold levels for certain
measurable habitat parameters (e.g., turbidity, nutrient content). As well, it would assist in
identifying the need for habitat restoration or mitigation of stressors. Collecting habitat
information would also assist in quantifying the amount of Channel Darter habitat available.
Management and coordination approaches
3-1: Many of the threats facing Channel Darter are a result of habitat degradation that affects
numerous aquatic species. Two ecosystem-based recovery strategies (i.e., recovery strategy
for the Essex-Erie region and the draft Walpole Island recovery strategy) have incorporated the
biological and ecological requirements of Channel Darter into relevant watershed-based
recovery approaches. A coordinated, cohesive approach between these teams and other
relevant management teams that maximizes opportunities to share resources and information is
recommended.
3-2: Abrupt reductions in water flow during spawning can cause cessation of courtship activities
and Channel Darter to move from spawning locations to deeper areas (Winn 1953). Flow
regulation can also result in the de-watering of shallow shoal habitats used by riverine Channel
Darter populations during spring and summer months (Reid 2005). By considering the flow
needs of Channel Darter, flow regulation and water extraction activities can be undertaken in a
manner that would minimize the disturbance; however, it is noted that water level management
is a complex issue. PCA is planning to conduct flow needs assessments for species at risk
fishes, including Channel Darter, at their dams on the Trent-Severn Waterway.
3-4: Environmental impact assessments of projects affecting Channel Darter waterways should
consider effects on Channel Darter and its habitat. Targeted Channel Darter inventories, within
the range of the species and in areas with suitable habitat but lacking Channel Darter records,
completed as required in support of impact assessments of proposed projects, would assist
recovery efforts by providing distribution and abundance information.
3-5: Distribution and abundance data from Quebec exist in several locations and formats. To
monitor population abundance, species’ distribution and the success of recovery actions, the
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Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
2013
data must be compiled and shared among agencies. Associated data standards should also be
identified.
3-6: Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and Vermont all support Channel Darter
populations, encompassing a range of conservation ranks. In cases where there are shared
Channel Darter-inhabited waterways, maintaining open communication and information sharing
about the species should benefit both recovery planning in Canada and in the U.S.
Protection, restoration, and stewardship approaches
4-1 and 4-2: Channel Darter is sensitive to siltation, turbidity, and nutrient loading; all
contributors to poor water quality. Supporting stewardship activities, such as planting
(agriculture) or leaving riparian buffer strips (forestry), restricting livestock access to streams,
preventing untreated or under-treated sewage or manure run-off into waterways and minimizing
chemical and fertilizer applications to lands adjacent to waterways, would maintain or improve
water quality in Channel Darter watercourses. BMPs are a good tool to provide clear direction
for improved methods of operation for industries such as agriculture or forestry. To be effective,
BMPs should be targeted to address primary threats affecting currently occupied/critical habitat.
4-3: Several populations have become extirpated in recent years. Threats and habitat
degradation present at extant sites should be evaluated to determine if they pose immediate or
long-term risks of extirpation. Where specific habitat restoration activities or threat mitigation
options are available, they should be pursued and then monitored for success.
4-6: Methods of habitat protection also include acquisition, conservation easements, and
inclusion in conservation plans developed by various levels of government. While these
methods are less utilized for aquatic species than for terrestrial species, they should be
considered and pursued as opportunities arise to protect habitat in perpetuity.
4-7: Improvements to watershed water quality requires the involvement of local residents,
businesses, and organizations. The earlier into the recovery process that the community is
involved, the greater the likelihood of sustained and growing support for recovery actions.
Therefore, it is important to involve the public in the action planning and implementation of
recovery.
Communication and public awareness approaches
5-1: The development and implementation of a communications plan will help to coordinate
communications and outreach activities, ensure that necessary audiences are targeted with the
most appropriate means, and that messages are consistent and accurate. This high priority
action should occur prior to, or concurrent with, all subsequent communications and public
outreach-type recovery activities, including any printed materials. Where appropriate, a multispecies communication approach will be applied to increase efficiency.
5-3 and 5-4: Various organizations have already undertaken public education efforts to prevent
the further spread of invasive species. In the case of Channel Darter, Round Goby is of
particular concern. Duplicating efforts or competing for funding benefits no one; instead the
Channel Darter recovery team will support and encourage the continuance of these education
efforts as they also support Channel Darter recovery. Developing communications for baitfish
harvesters on the presence and identification of Channel Darter and other fish species at risk
would be beneficial, as it may increase reporting of these species and decrease incidental
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Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
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capture/use as a baitfish. A baitfish primer has already been developed for Ontario (see
Cudmore and Mandrak 2011).
7.
CRITICAL HABITAT
7.1
General identification of the Channel Darter’s critical habitat
The identification of critical habitat for Threatened and Endangered species (on Schedule 1) is a
requirement of SARA. Once identified, SARA includes provisions to prevent the destruction of
critical habitat. Critical habitat is defined under section 2(1) of SARA as:
“…the habitat necessary for the survival or recovery of a listed wildlife species and that is
identified as the species’ critical habitat in the recovery strategy or in an action plan for the
species”. [s. 2(1)]
SARA defines habitat for aquatic species at risk as:
“… spawning grounds and nursery, rearing, food supply, migration and any other areas
on which aquatic species depend directly or indirectly in order to carry out their life
processes, or areas where aquatic species formerly occurred and have the potential to
be reintroduced.” [s. 2(1)]
For Channel Darter, critical habitat has been identified to the extent possible, using the best
information currently available. The critical habitat identified in this recovery strategy describes
the geospatial areas that contain the habitat necessary for the survival or recovery of the species.
The current areas identified may be insufficient to achieve the population and distribution
objectives for the species. As such, a schedule of studies has been included to further refine the
description of critical habitat (in terms of its biophysical functions/features/attributes as well as its
spatial extent) to support its protection.
7.1.1 Information and methods used to identify critical habitat
Using the best available information at the time this recovery strategy was developed (surveys
conducted up to 2009), critical habitat has been identified using a ‘bounding box’ approach for
the locations in Ontario and Quebec where the species presently occurs within the ten locations
referenced in the current distribution objective. This approach requires the use of essential
functions, features and attributes, where possible for each life stage of Channel Darter to
identify patches of critical habitat within the ‘bounding box’, which is defined by occupancy data
for the species. Life stage habitat information was summarized in chart form using available
data and studies referred to in Section 3.3 (Habitat and biological needs). The ‘bounding box’
approach was the most appropriate, given the limited information available for the species and
the lack of detailed habitat mapping for these areas. Where habitat information was available, it
was used to inform identification of critical habitat.
Site specific methods and data used to identify critical habitat are summarized below. The
critical habitat description includes the entire ‘bankfull’ channel, which plays an essential role in
maintaining channel flowing forms, for all cases in Ontario and Quebec except Lake Erie (Point
Pelee).
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Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
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Ontario
In Ontario, critical habitat was identified based on a ‘bounding box’ approach and further refined
for riverine populations with an ecological classification system, the Aquatic Landscape
Inventory System (ALIS). ALIS was developed by the OMNR to define stream segments based
on a number of unique characteristics found only within those valley segments. Each valley
segment is defined by a collection of landscape variables that are believed to have a controlling
effect on the biotic and physical processes within the catchment (e.g., ecological landscape
changes, barriers). Therefore, if a population has been found in one part of the ecological
classification, there is no reason to believe that it would not be found in other spatially
contiguous areas of the same valley segment. Critical habitat for Channel Darter within riverine
systems was therefore identified as the reach of river that includes all contiguous ALIS
segments from the uppermost stream segment with the species present to the lowermost
stream segment with the species present. Note that intermediate ALIS segments (between the
upper and lower most occupied segments) with insufficient sampling to detect the presence of
the species have been included within the critical habitat extent.
Critical habitat for Channel Darter has not been identified at this time in the Detroit River, St.
Clair River or Lake St. Clair. No specimens were captured during intensive sampling of
historical sites near the outlet of the Detroit River in 2005 and 2006. The most recent Channel
Darter specimen (a single specimen) was captured in the Detroit River at the inlet of the river
from Lake St. Clair in 2009 (Bouvier and Mandrak 2010). Additional areas of potential critical
habitat in Lake St. Clair and the St. Clair River will be considered in collaboration with Walpole
Island First Nation.
Specific methods and data used for locations within Ontario to identify critical habitat are
summarized below.
Little Rideau Creek/Ottawa River: Two Channel Darter records (1989, 2004) exist for Little
Rideau Creek near the confluence with the Ottawa River (Canadian Distribution Database 1989,
Dextrase and Reid 2004). As these records are found near the end of the ALIS segment
adjacent to the Ottawa River, the end of the segment was buffered using a minimum area for
population viability (described later in this section) of 0.04 km2. However, given the proximity of
the records to the Ottawa River, further sampling is required at this location to determine if the
records represent a resident population in Little Rideau Creek or a population in the Ottawa
River.
Trent, Moira (Black and Skootamatta rivers), and Salmon rivers: Critical habitat was identified in
the Trent River using data from the following datasets: Reid (2001, 2004, 2009), Portt and
Associates (2004, 2008), Canadian Distribution Database (1976, 1997), and the Royal Ontario
Museum database (1998, 1999). For the Salmon River, sampling data from Reid et al. (2005),
Eco Tec Consultants (2007, 2008), and Reid (2009) were used. Sampling data from Reid
(2004) and Reid et al. (2005) were used to identify critical habitat in the Moira River and two of
its tributaries, the Black and Skootamatta rivers. The species is believed to be extirpated from
an un-named creek that flows into the Moira River (Phelps and Francis 2002) and critical habitat
was not identified at this location.
Lake Erie – Point Pelee (Ontario): Channel Darter records from 1928 to 2009 exist for this
location; the data used to identify critical habitat came from the Canadian Distribution Database,
Essex Region Conservation Authority, the OMNR Lake Erie Management Unit, and Reid (2005).
As this is not a riverine population, critical habitat for Channel Darter in Lake Erie at Point Pelee
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Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
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was identified based on the ‘bounding box’ approach and refined using available habitat data
(National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [NOAA] bathymetry, high water mark [HWM]
and a shoreline classification system).
The HWM is the guideline elevation used by DFO to determine the minimum elevation that is
considered as the (upshore) boundary for fish habitat and corresponds to the 80th percentile
elevation for the month in which the highest annual water level occurs (i.e., 80% of the time the
water level is at or below this elevation) (DFO 2005) and as such, has been used to define the
upshore boundary of critical habitat in this area. The area below the HWM may or may not be
inundated depending upon current water levels (i.e., seasonal and cyclical water fluctuations).
The shoreline of Lake Erie has been segmented into reaches and classified based on the
geomorphic nature of the shoreline (categories included sandy beach/dunes, coarse beaches,
clay banks, etc.), littoral areas (clay, sand, bedrock etc.), and the extent of shoreline protection
(i.e., shoreline hardening) (Great Lakes Commission 2000). This system was used to refine the
length of shoreline defined as critical habitat for Channel Darter by eliminating types of habitat
not believed to be utilized by the species in lacustrine habitat. See Table 9a for a description of
the features of critical habitat for this species.
The 2 m NOAA bathymetry contour was used to further define the lower extent of critical habitat
for this species as targeted sampling for Channel Darter has occurred in waters 1.5 m or less
(wadeable depth). The extent to which this species utilizes waters deeper than 2 m is not well
documented. Future targeted sampling at depths greater than ~2 m may result in the
refinement of this critical habitat extent.
Quebec
In Quebec, a broad scale landscape inventory system (similar to ALIS) was not available.
Critical habitat identification in Quebec was also based on a ‘bounding box’ approach and has
been limited to locations where habitat surveys have been conducted and where Channel
Darter records have been verified within the last ten years, including sampling conducted in
2009. This approach was also justified by the fact that habitat characteristics may vary from
one watershed to another (e.g., Gatineau and Richelieu rivers [Boucher et al. 2009]). The
habitat characteristics related to specific locations within Quebec are presented in Section 7.1.3
(Identification of critical habitat: geospatial).
The most upstream and downstream of these stations where Channel Darter was captured
have been used to set the limits of the watercourse segment within which critical habitat is
found.
For the locations where Channel Darter has been confirmed but no habitat characterization has
been conducted, further studies (see schedule of studies) will be required to better describe and
understand the specific habitat characteristics associated with the presence of Channel Darter.
Outaouais and Montreal hydrographic region: Critical habitat in the Gatineau River was
identified using data from Lemieux et al. (2005), Boucher (2006), and Boucher et al. (2009).
St. Lawrence northeast hydrographic region: Channel Darter has been sampled in L’Assomption
River and its tributary, the Ouareau River, by the Corporation d’Aménagement de la Rivière
L’Assomption in 2002 and 2009 (CARA 2002, Bourgeois 2010). These data were used in the
identification of critical habitat.
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Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
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St. Lawrence southwest hydrographic region: Sampling data used in the identification of critical
habitat for Channel Darter in the Richelieu River were taken from studies completed by Boucher
et al. (2009) and Vachon (2007), and information received directly from MRNF (N. Vachon,
MRNF, pers. comm. 2010).
Channel Darter was captured in the Saint-François River between 1998 and 2003 during an
environmental study and in 2008 and 2009 by the MRNF during targeted sampling that also
collected habitat data (S. Garceau, MRNF, pers. comm. 2010). Data from these last surveys
were used in the identification of critical habitat in the Saint-François River.
Studies completed by Garceau et al. (2007) and Ambioterra (2010) were used to help define
critical habitat in the des Anglais, aux Outardes Est, Trout, and Châteauguay rivers.
7.1.2 Identification of critical habitat: biophysical functions, features, and their
attributes
There is limited information on the habitat needs for the various life stages of Channel Darter.
Tables 9a and 9b summarize available knowledge on the essential functions, features, and
attributes for each life stage within Ontario and Quebec, respectively (refer to Section 3.3
Habitat and biological needs for references). Areas identified as critical habitat must support
one or more of these habitat functions.
In Quebec, studies have demonstrated that habitat characteristics can vary from one watershed
to another. Most studies were also limited to sampling adult fish and their habitat. Considering
this variance and the fact that Channel Darter is a small fish with limited dispersal, the habitat
characteristics have been described for all life stages. It is important to note that a suitable
habitat does not need to contain all of these characteristics to be considered as critical habitat.
Furthermore, values are given as indicators and may vary in time and space (e.g., current
velocity and depth in spring flood vs. summer or fall drought).
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Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
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Table 9a. Essential functions, features and attributes of critical habitat for each life stage
of Channel Darter for Ontario*.
Life stage
Spawn to larvae
Habitat
requirement
(function)
Migration
Spawning
Nursery
(June and July)
Feature(s)
Riffles, runs, shoals,
backwater areas and
pools in streams and
rivers
Shoals in lakes
Attribute(s)
 Moderate to fast current (e.g., 0.46
m/s)
 Clean, coarse substrates (e.g.,
gravel and smooth rocks)
 Shallow depths (e.g., 2 m)
 Warm water temperatures (e.g.,
14.5 to 25oC)
 Males establish spawning territory
around a large rock in current
Juveniles**
(YOY)
Rearing
Riffles, runs, shoals,
backwater areas, and
pools in streams and
rivers
 Slow current (e.g., 0.39 to 0.48
m/s)
 Sand and gravel substrates
 Shallow depths (e.g., <5 m)
Adult
Feeding
Riffles, runs, shoals,
backwater areas, and
pools in streams and
rivers
 Slow to moderate current (e.g.,
0.39 to 0.48 m/s) or gentle wave
action
 Cobble, gravel, and sand
substrates
 Usually shallow depths (e.g.,
<0.60 m)
 Minimal to sparse aquatic
vegetation
 Good water quality (i.e., low
turbidity, sufficient dissolved
oxygen, low pollution levels)
 Availability of prey (benthic
macroinvertebrates)
Gravel and coarse sand
beaches (Lake Erie)
*Where known or supported by existing data
** There is little known about juvenile habitat requirements
Table 9b Essential functions, features and attributes of critical habitat for all life stages of
Channel Darter for Quebec*.
Life stage
All
Habitat
requirements
(function)
Spawning,
Nursery,
Rearing
(juveniles),
Feeding
(adults),
Migration
Features
Attributes
Riffles, shoals,
nearshore areas,
backwaters and pools in
streams and large rivers
 Lotic (running) waters with current
velocity (slow to moderate), varying
on a 12 month basis
 Depth up to 2 m
 Coarse substrate (sand [1-2.9
mm], gravel [3-64.9 mm], cobble
[65-255 mm])
 Minimal aquatic vegetation
 Generally low turbidity
 Availability of prey (benthic
macroinvertebrates)
*Where known or supported by existing data
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Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
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Studies to further refine knowledge on the essential functions, features, and attributes for
various life stages of Channel Darter are described in Section 7.2 (Schedule of studies to
identify critical habitat).
7.1.3 Identification of critical habitat: geospatial
Using the best available information at the time this recovery strategy was developed (surveys
conducted up to 2009), critical habitat has been identified in Ontario and Quebec for Channel
Darter in the following locations:

Ontario:
 Little Rideau Creek/Ottawa River
 Trent, Moira/Black/Skootamatta rivers, and Salmon River
 The western basin of Lake Erie (Point Pelee)

Quebec:
 Gatineau River
 L’Assomption River/Ouareau River
 Richelieu River
 Saint-François River
 des Anglais River/aux Outardes Est River/Trout River/Châteauguay River
Areas of critical habitat identified at these locations may overlap with habitat known to support
other species at risk; however, the specific habitat requirements within these areas may vary by
species.
The areas delineated on the following maps (Figures 7-18) represent the area within which
critical habitat is found at this time. Using the ‘bounding box’ approach, critical habitat is not
comprised of all areas within the identified boundaries, but only those areas where the specified
biophysical features/attributes occur (refer to Tables 9 a and 9b). Tables 10a and 10b below
provide the geographic coordinates that situate the boundaries within which critical habitat is
found for Channel Darter at the locations listed above; these points are indicated on Figures 7,
and 9-18. Note that existing marinas and navigation channels are anthropogenic structures,
which are specifically excluded from critical habitat if located within the delineated areas; it is
understood that maintenance or replacement of these features may be required at times. Brief
explanations for the areas identified as critical habitat are provided below.
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Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
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Table 10a. Coordinates locating the boundaries within which critical habitat is found for
Channel Darter in Ontario.
Waterbody
Little Rideau Creek
Moira River*
Black River*
Trent River*
Skootamatta River*
Salmon River*
Point Pelee
Coordinates locating areas of critical habitat
Point 1 (NW)
45°34’20.827”N
74°31’49.498”W
44°29’55.273”N
77°36’46.551”W
44°32’02.852”N
77°22’12.018”W
44°15’47.902’N
77°36’ 09.845”W
44°37’02.412”N
77°13’59.405”W
44°20’03.477”N
77°02’46.945”W
42°01’53.445”N
82°37’25.255”W
Point 2 (NE)
45°35’11.088”N
74°31’11.190”W
44°09’35.584”N
77°23’02.505”W
44°31’47.623”N
77°22’16.520”W
44°06’34.174”N
77°35’19.956”W
44°31’09.305”N
77°20’24.210”W
44°11’47.117”N
77°13’44.908”W
41°59’14.773”N
82°29’52.422”W
Point 3 (SE)
45°35’14.582”N
74°31’02.069”W
Point 4 (SW)
45°35’11.011”N
74°30’52.823”W
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
* Riverine habitats are delineated to the midpoint of channel of the uppermost stream segment and
lowermost stream segment (i.e., two points only)
† All coordinates obtained using map datum NAD 83
Table 10b. Coordinates locating the boundaries within which critical habitat is found for the
Channel Darter in Quebec.
Waterbody
Gatineau River*
L’Assomption River*
Ouareau River*
Richelieu River*
Saint-François River*
Trout/Châteauguay rivers*
Aux Outardes Est River*
Anglais River*
Coordinates locating areas of critical habitat
Point 1 (NW)
45°29’27.568”N
75°45’13.618”W
45°59’01.680”N
73°25’01.560”W
45°57’30.420”N
73°27’20.040”W
45°26’54.128”N
73°15’52.827”W
45°28’25.968”N
71°38’49.992”W
45°07’01.129”N
74°05’21.474”W
45°03’05.537”N
74°00’52.603”W
45°01’35.873”N
73°40’16.194”W
Point 2 (NE)
45°27’14.079”N
75°41’41.660”W
46°04’02.640”N
73°28’11.280”W
45°57’19.080”N
73°26’20.400”W
46°02’56.714”N
73°07’13.676”W
45°37’39.134”N
72°06’53.038”W
45°00’41.880”N
74°18’10.852”W
45°06’14.832”N
74°03’54.719”W
45°04’42.540”N
73°42’29.177”W
* Riverine habitats are delineated to the midpoint of channel of the uppermost stream segment and
lowermost stream segment (i.e., two points only)
† All coordinates obtained using map datum NAD 83
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Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
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Ontario
Little Rideau Creek/Ottawa River: Critical habitat in Little Rideau Creek is currently identified
for the Channel Darter within a 2.3 km long reach of the creek extending from just south of Hwy
17 to the mouth of the Ottawa River. An additional area of 0.04 km2 in the Ottawa River, at the
confluence of Little Rideau Creek, has also been identified as an area within which critical
habitat is found due to the proximity of the sampling data to the Ottawa River (Figure 7).
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Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
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Figure 7. Area within which critical habitat for Channel Darter is found in Little Rideau Creek/Ottawa River.
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Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
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Trent River, Moira/Black/Skootamatta rivers, and Salmon River: Critical habitat for Channel
Darter in the Trent River has been identified within a 22 km long stretch of river extending from
the dam at Glen Ross downstream to Trenton. In the Moira River and its two tributaries, the
Black and Skootamatta rivers, critical habitat is identified within a reach approximately 121 km
long. In the Moira River, the area within which critical habitat is found extends from Hwy 7 near
Deloro, downstream to Belleville. The stretch of river where critical habitat is found in the
Skootamatta River extends from south of Flinton Road, downstream to the confluence with the
Moira River. In the Black River, critical habitat is found in a reach that extends from just south
of West Black River Road downstream to the confluence with the Moira River. In the Salmon
River, critical habitat has been identified within a stretch of river 23 km long from Forest Hill
(approximate) downstream to Shannonville (approximate). See Figures 8 to 12 below.
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Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
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Figure 8. Area within which critical habitat for Channel Darter is found in the Trent River, Moira/Black/Skootamatta rivers, and
Salmon River.
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Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
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Figure 9. Area within which critical habitat for Channel Darter is found in the Trent River.
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Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
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Figure 10. Area within which critical habitat for Channel Darter is found in the Moira River and Black River.
45
Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
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Figure 11. Area within which critical habitat for Channel Darter is found in the Skootamatta River.
46
Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
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Figure 12. Area within which critical habitat for Channel Darter is found in the Salmon River.
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Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
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Lake Erie - Point Pelee: The area within which critical habitat is found for Channel Darter at
Point Pelee is currently identified as the shoreline beginning at the northern boundary of Point
Pelee National Park on the eastern side of the peninsula, extending south along the peninsula,
encompassing all of the shoreline along the park, and continuing westerly along the shoreline to
south of Fraser Road (Leamington) (approximate). Critical habitat boundaries extend down to
the 2 m NOAA bathymetry contour and extend up to the HWM elevation for Lake Erie at 174.62
m above sea level (International Great Lakes Datum 1985). Refer to Figure 13.
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Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
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Figure 13. Area within which critical habitat for Channel Darter is found in Lake Erie at Point Pelee.
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Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
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Quebec
Outaouais and Montreal hydrographic region:
Gatineau River  The area within which critical habitat is identified in the Gatineau River begins
at Farmer Rapids (midway between the Alonzo-Wright Bridge and the Centrale des RapidesFarmer) and continues to the mouth of the river where it empties into the Outaouais River
(Figure 14). This stretch of river is approximately 6.8 km long.
Boucher et al. (2009) found that Channel Darter was most often found in lotic habitats and that
its presence was linked to two variables: current velocity (average of 41 cm/s); and, a light cover
of periphyton on the substrate (less than 30% of total substrate area). All captures took place at
depths less than 60 cm and spawning individuals were observed in July (Boucher 2006).
Lemieux et al. (2005) have captured adults that seemed to be feeding in nearshore areas in
June and July and have identified two spawning sites (presence of eggs) in July, upstream of
the Alonzo-Wright bridge, at a water temperature of 21ºC, depth of 30 to 40 cm and current
velocity of 0.24 to 0.60 m/s. The bed of the spawning areas was mainly composed of cobble
with little amounts of sand and gravel. Comtois et al. (2004) have also captured spawning
individuals downstream of the Alonzo-Wright Bridge, between May 20 and June 21, while water
temperature was between 14 and 19 ºC.
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Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
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Figure 14. Area within which critical habitat for Channel Darter is found in the Gatineau River.
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Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
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St.-Lawrence northeast hydrographic region:
L’Assomption River and its tributary, the Ouareau River  Critical habitat identified in the
L’Assomption River is found within a segment of the river near Joliette, and a tributary, the
Ouareau River, near Crabtree (Figure 15). These river segments have respective lengths of
23.2 km and 1.8 km. Further studies will be required to determine whether or not these two
locations represent discrete populations.
In these two habitats, captures were made at depths of approximately 25 cm in clear water with
an average temperature of 20.5 ºC, low to moderate current velocity, and a heterogeneous
substrate mainly composed of rocks and sand but always with gravel as the next most abundant
substrate (CARA 2002, Bourgeois et al. 2010).
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Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
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Figure 15. Area within which critical habitat for Channel Darter is found in the L’Assomption River and its tributary, the Ouareau
River.
53
Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
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St. Lawrence southwest hydrographic region:
Richelieu River  The area within which critical habitat is identified in the Richelieu River (Figure
16) extends from downstream of Chambly Dam to the mouth of the river where it empties into
the St. Lawrence River. This river segment has a length of 72.7 km.
In the Richelieu River, Boucher et al. (2009) have conducted surveys in the Chambly Rapids
and in the St. Marc-sur-Richelieu region. As on the Gatineau River, this study has
demonstrated that Channel Darter is most often found in lotic waters. However, in the Richelieu
River, its presence is linked to four habitat parameters: depth (average of 25 cm); current
velocity (average of 44 cm/s); heterogeneous substrate (more than three classes); and,
presence of woody debris. All captures occurred at depths of less than 60 cm. Channel Darter
have also been captured between 1997 and 2009 in a follow-up study of the recruitment of the
Copper Redhorse (Moxostoma hubbsi) in the Chambly Rapids, the St. Marc-sur-Richelieu
region (Jeannotte and aux Cerfs islands), St. Ours region and at the mouth of the river (Vachon
2007, N. Vachon, MRNF, pers. comm. 2010). It is important to note that some captures were
made on substrate dominated by clay, silt, sand, gravel or rocks and at depths of up to 5 m (S.
Garceau, MRNF, pers. comm. 2010). Consequently the critical habitat in this river is
characterized by depths of 0 to 5 m with substrate varying between clay (<0.1 mm) to rocks (65
to 255 mm).
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Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
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Figure 16. Area within which critical habitat for Channel Darter is found in the Richelieu River.
55
Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
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Saint-François River  The area within which critical habitat is identified on the Saint-François
River extends from East-Angus to just south of Richmond and includes the regions of Brompton
and Windsor (Figure 17). This river segment has a length of 65.8 km.
In 1998 and 2003, Channel Darter were captured in the Saint-François River while conducting
an environmental study on pulp and paper mill effluent, near Brompton and Windsor. Targeted
inventories conducted by the MRNF have also reported captures of Channel Darter near EastAngus and downstream of Windsor and Brompton (downstream of Kruger’s Dam), in 2008 and
2009. The sites of capture are characterized by a rocky substrate with gravel and a low quantity
of sand. The captures were made in the nearshore area with low current velocity (S. Garceau,
MRNF, pers. comm. 2010).
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Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
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Figure 17. Area within which critical habitat for Channel Darter is found in the Saint-François River.
57
Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
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Des Anglais, aux Outardes Est, Trout, and Châteauguay rivers  The watershed of the
Châteauguay River has three critical habitat areas (Figure 18). A first area, 9.0 km long, is
located in the des Anglais River. A second, 7.5 km long, is in the Outardes Est River. A third
area, 25.7 km long, covers part of the Trout River and continues beyond its mouth into the
Châteauguay River. Additional studies are required to confirm if the three critical habitat areas
contain one or many discrete populations.
Garceau et al. (2007) found that critical habitat in these rivers is generally a segment of river
where the bed is mainly composed of sand or gravel interspersed by rocks or boulders. The
current velocity is generally low (around 30 cm/s) and Channel Darter were generally found in
counter-current or current shelter areas. There was normally no aquatic vegetation present.
The riparian band was of variable cover but generally with a minimum of 50% tree cover. At the
stations where Channel Darter were captured, dissolved oxygen saturation was over 95%, pH
was between 6.9 and 9.4 and conductivity was between 209 and 279 S/cm. Water turbidity
was low (below 2.5 UTN), which explains the low content of fines found on the substrate where
Channel Darter were captured.
Channel Darter have also been captured in the des Anglais River by Ambioterra. Specimens
were captured in locations of a minimum depth of 5 to 50 cm but not exceeding 150 cm, a
variable substrate composed of consolidated clay or bedrock, a weak covering of aquatic
vegetation and a riparian band composed of herbaceous plants, shrubs and trees, and an
average current velocity between 10 and 36 cm/s in August and between 4 and 21 cm/s in
October (Ambioterra 2010).
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Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
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Figure 18. Area within which critical habitat for Channel Darter is found in the Trout/Châteauguay, aux Outardes Est, and des
Anglais rivers.
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Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
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The identification of critical habitat within the described areas ensures that currently occupied
habitat supporting Channel Darter is protected, until such time as critical habitat for the species
is further refined according to the schedule of studies laid out in Table 12. The recovery team
recommends to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and to the Minister of the Environment
that these areas are necessary to achieve the identified survival and recovery objectives. The
schedule of studies outlines activities necessary to refine the current critical habitat descriptions
at confirmed extant locations, but will also apply to new locations should previously unknown
populations be confirmed. Critical habitat descriptions will be refined as additional information
becomes available to support the population and distribution objectives.
7.1.4 Population viability
The minimum area for population viability (MAPV) for each life stage of Channel Darter was
estimated for Canadian populations (Table 11a and 11b). The MAPV is defined as the amount
of exclusive and suitable habitat required for a demographically sustainable recovery target
based on the concept of a MVP (Vélez-Espino et al. 2009). The estimated MVP for YOY and
adult Channel Darter is 2 712 363 and 31 000, respectively, given a 10% chance of a
catastrophic event occurring per generation. The corresponding MAPV has been estimated to
be 0.04 km2 in rivers and 1.252 km2 in lakes. For more information on the MVP and MAPV and
associated methodology refer to Venturelli et al. (2010).
The MAPV is a quantitative metric of critical habitat that can assist with the recovery and
management of species at risk (Vélez-Espino et al. 2009). MAPV values are somewhat
precautionary in that they represent the sum of habitat needs calculated for all life history stages
of Channel Darter; these figures do not take into account the potential for overlap in the habitat
of the various life history stages and may overestimate the area required to support an MVP.
However, since many of these populations occur in areas of degraded habitat (MAPV assumes
habitat quality is optimal), areas larger than the MAPV may be required to support an MVP. In
addition, for many populations, it is likely that only a portion of the habitat within that identified
as the critical habitat extent would meet the functional requirements of the species’ various life
stages.
Comparisons were made with the extent of critical habitat identified for each location relative to
the estimated MAPV (refer to Table 11a and 11b). The critical habitat within the segments are
the areas that meet the functional habitat requirements outlined in Table 9a and 9b.
Consequently, the area data provided are only cartographic estimations of the total watercourse
segment and are not the actual area of available critical habitat. Further studies will be required
to assess the area of critical habitat available on an annual basis, for each identified river
segment. Future studies may also help quantify the amount and quality of available habitat
within critical habitat for all locations; such information, along with the verification of the MAPV
model, will allow greater certainty for the determination of population viability. As such, the
results in Table 11a and 11b are preliminary and should be interpreted with caution.
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Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
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Table 11a. Comparison of the area of river segments and lake areas in which critical
habitat can be found (km2) for each Channel Darter location in Ontario, relative to the
estimated minimum area for population viability (MAPV)*.
Location9
Trent River
Moira River, Black River,
Skootamatta River
Salmon River
Little Rideau Creek/Ottawa
River
Lake Erie – Point Pelee
Approximate area of critical
habitat identified (km2)
4.85
MAPV
(km2)
0.04
MAPV Achieved?
(Y/N)
Y
5.94
0.04
Y
0.61
0.04
Y
0.05
0.04
Y
7.01
1.25
Y
* The MAPV estimation is based on modeling approaches described above.
Table 11b. Comparison of the area of river segments in which critical habitat can be
found (km2) for each Channel Darter location in Quebec, relative to the estimated
minimum area for population viability (MAPV)*.
Location
Gatineau River
L’Assomption River/Ouareau
River
Richelieu River
Saint-François River
des Anglais/aux Outardes Est
/Trout/Châteauguay rivers
Approximate area of critical
habitat identified (km2)
1.40
MAPV
(km2)
0.04
MAPV Achieved?
(Y/N)
To be confirmed
0.97/0.14
0.04
To be confirmed
9.32
7.00
0.04
0.04
To be confirmed
To be confirmed
0.10/0.31/0.72
0.04
To be confirmed
* The MAPV estimation is based on modeling approaches described above.
7.2
Schedule of studies to identify critical habitat
This recovery strategy includes an identification of critical habitat to the extent possible, based
on the best available information. Further studies are required to refine critical habitat identified
for Channel Darter to support the population and distribution objectives for the species. The
activities listed in Table 12 are not exhaustive and it is likely that the process of investigating
these actions will lead to the discovery of further knowledge gaps that need to be addressed.
9
Note that some locations may contain more than one population. In such cases, the MAPV would be
applied to each discrete population.
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Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
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Table 12. Schedule of studies to identify critical habitat.
Approximate
Timeline
Description of activity
Rationale
Conduct studies to determine
the habitat requirements for
each life stage of Channel
Darter.
There is limited information available
regarding the habitat requirements for
juvenile Channel Darter. Determining
the habitat requirements for each life
stage will ensure that all necessary
features and attributes of critical habitat
for this species are identified.
2014 - 2018
Survey and map habitat
quality and quantity within
historical and current sites, as
well as sites adjacent to
currently occupied habitat.
Strengthen confidence in data used to
determine if sites meet the criteria for
critical habitat; assist in refining the
spatial boundaries of critical habitat.
2014 - 2018
Conduct additional species
surveys to fill in distribution
gaps, and to aid in
determining population
connectivity.
Additional populations and
corresponding critical habitat may be
required to meet the population and
distribution objectives.
2014 - 2018
Create a population-habitat
supply model for each life
stage.
Will aid in developing recovery targets
and determining the quantity of critical
habitat required by each life stage to
meet these targets.
2014 - 2018
Based on information
gathered, review population
and distribution goals.
Determine amount and
configuration of critical habitat
required to achieve goal if
adequate information exists.
Validate model.
Revision of recovery targets may be
required to ensure that they are
achievable and defensible; will allow
further refinement of critical habitat
description (spatial and biophysical
attributes).
2014 - 2018
Activities identified in this schedule of studies will be carried out through collaboration between
DFO, PCA, and other relevant groups and land managers. Note that many of the individual
recovery approaches will address some of the information requirements listed above.
The Trent-Severn Waterway is planning to conduct flow needs assessments for species at risk
fishes, including Channel Darter, at some of PCA’s dams on the Trent River. However, it should
be noted that water level management on the Waterway is a complex issue and is subject to
many other mandated considerations including public safety.
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Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
7.3
2013
Examples of activities likely to result in the destruction of critical habitat
Activities that negatively alter flow regimes beyond the tolerance threshold of the species, and
increase siltation, turbidity, and nutrient levels can negatively impact Channel Darter habitat.
However, in areas where it is known that such activities do not negatively impact the species
(determined by site-specific reviews and the determination of tolerance thresholds for individual
populations) such activities described in the table may continue to occur.
Without appropriate mitigation, direct destruction of habitat may result from work or activities
such as those identified in Table 13.
The activities described in this table are neither exhaustive nor exclusive and have been guided
by the threats described in Section 4.2 (Description of threats). The absence of a specific
human activity does not preclude, or fetter the department’s ability to regulate it pursuant to
SARA. Furthermore, the inclusion of an activity does not result in its automatic prohibition since
it is destruction of critical habitat that is prohibited. Since habitat use is often temporal in nature,
every activity is assessed on a case-by-case basis and site-specific mitigation is applied where
it is reliable and available. In every case, where information is available, habitat thresholds and
limits are associated with attributes to better inform management and regulatory decisionmaking. However, in many cases the knowledge of a species and its critical habitat may be
lacking and in particular, information associated with a species’ or habitat thresholds of
tolerance to disturbance from human activities, is lacking and must be acquired.
Certain habitat management activities are recognized as being beneficial to the long-term
survival and/or recovery of the species and may be allowed when required. Such activities may
include water level and flow management (including dike maintenance) and habitat restoration
activities. Stewardship, implementation of BMPs and Watershed Committees, as well as
improved flow management could mitigate negative impacts to the species.
The critical habitat for Channel Darter will be legally protected through the application of
subsection 58(1) of SARA, which prohibits the destruction of any part of the critical habitat of
aquatic species listed as Endangered or Threatened, and of any part of the critical habitat of
aquatic species listed as Extirpated if a recovery strategy has recommended their reintroduction
into the wild in Canada.
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Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
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Table 13. Human activities likely to result in the destruction of critical habitat for Channel Darter. The affect pathway for
each activity is provided as well as the potential links to the biophysical functions, features, and attributes of critical
habitat.
Activity
Habitat modifications:
Shoreline hardening
Placement of material or
structures in water (e.g.,
groynes, piers, infilling,
partial infills, jetties)
Dredging
Grading
Excavation
Habitat modifications:
Significant changes in
timing, duration and
frequency of water flow to
the extent that critical
habitat becomes
uninhabitable by any life
stage of Channel Darter
Installation of barriers to
movement (e.g., dams)
Affect- pathway
Changing shoreline morphology can result in
altered flow patterns, change sediment
depositional areas, cover preferred
substrates, cause erosion, and alter turbidity
levels. These changes can impact water
quality and cause changes to nutrient levels.
Hardening of shorelines can impact organic
inputs into the water and alter water
temperatures, potentially affecting the
availability of prey for this species.
Placing material or structures in water
reduces habitat availability (e.g., the footprint
of the infill or structure is lost). Placing of fill
can cover preferred substrates and change
flow patterns.
Changes in bathymetry and shoreline
morphology caused by dredging and
nearshore grading and excavation can
remove (or cover) preferred substrates,
change water depths, and/or change flow
patterns, potentially affecting nutrient levels
and water temperatures.
Rapid, repeated and prolonged changes in
water flow (increases or decreases) can have
a negative effect on Channel Darter habitat,
especially spawning habitat. Large changes
(rapid or prolonged) in water flow can cause
significant sediment deposition (e.g.,
changing preferred substrates) or changes in
prey abundance.
Barriers can restrict access to important
habitat areas and fragment fish populations
affecting distribution of Channel Darter.
Function
affected
Spawning
Nursery
Rearing
Feeding
Migration
Feature
affected
Riffles, runs,
shoals,
nearshore
areas,
backwater
areas and pools
in streams and
rivers
Gravel and
coarse sand
beaches
All
All
Attribute affected
 Current and wave action
 Clean, coarse substrates
(e.g., cobble, gravel and
sand)
 Large rocks in current
 Depth
 Warm water temperatures
 Good water quality
 Minimal to sparse aquatic
vegetation
 Availability of prey
 All of the above
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Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
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Table 13 (cont’d). Human activities likely to result in the destruction of critical habitat for Channel Darter. The affect
pathway for each activity is provided as well as the potential links to the biophysical functions, features, and attributes of
critical habitat.
Activity
Habitat modifications:
Unfettered livestock
access to waterbodies
Grazing of livestock and
ploughing to water’s edge
Introduction of invasive
species
Contaminants and toxic
substances:
Over application or misuse
of herbicides, insecticides
and pesticides
Release of urban and
industrial pollution into
habitat
Nutrient loadings:
Over-application of
fertilizer and improper
nutrient management (e.g.,
organic debris
management, wastewater
management, animal
waste, septic systems and
municipal sewage)
Affect- pathway
Resulting damage to shorelines, banks and
watercourse bottoms from unfettered access
by livestock can cause increased erosion and
sedimentation, affecting substrate, water
quality and water temperatures.
Such access can also increase organic
nutrient inputs into the water causing nutrient
loading and potentially promoting algal
blooms and decreasing prey abundance.
Invasive species, such as invasive plant
species, may affect Channel Darter critical
habitat by altering the nature of the habitat.
Introduction of toxic compounds into habitat
used by this species can change water quality
affecting habitat availability or use and prey
availability.
Improper nutrient management can cause
nutrient loading of nearby waterbodies.
Elevated nutrient levels can cause increased
aquatic plant growth changing water
temperatures and slowly changing preferred
flows and substrates. Dissolved oxygen
levels can also be negatively affected. The
availability of prey species can also be
affected if prey are sensitive to organic
pollution.
Function
affected
All
Feature
affected
All
 Clean, coarse substrates
(e.g., cobble, gravel and sand)
 Warm water temperatures
 Good water quality
 Minimal to sparse aquatic
vegetation
 Availability of prey
All
All
 Availability of prey
All
All
 Good water quality
 Minimal to sparse aquatic
vegetation
 Availability of prey
All
All
 Current and wave action
 Clean, coarse substrates
(e.g., cobble, gravel and sand)
 Warm water temperatures
 Good water quality
 Minimal to sparse aquatic
vegetation
 Availability of prey
Attribute affected
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Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
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Table 13 (cont’d). Human activities likely to result in the destruction of critical habitat for Channel Darter. The affect
pathway for each activity is provided as well as the potential links to the biophysical functions, features, and attributes of
critical habitat.
Activity
Siltation and turbidity:
Altered flow regimes
causing erosion and
changing sediment
transport (e.g., tiling of
agricultural drainage
systems, removal of
riparian zones)
Work in or around water
with improper sediment
and erosion control (e.g.,
overland runoff from
ploughed fields, use of
industrial equipment,
cleaning or maintenance of
bridges or other structures)
Affect- pathway
Improper sediment and erosion control or
mitigation can cause increased turbidity
levels, changing preferred substrates,
potentially reducing feeding success or prey
availability, impacting the growth of aquatic
vegetation and possibly excluding fish from
habitat due to physiological impacts of
sediment in the water (e.g., gill irritation).
Also see: Habitat Modifications: Change in
timing, duration and frequency of flow
Function
affected
All
Feature
affected
All
Attribute affected
 Current and wave action
 Clean, coarse substrates
(e.g., cobble, gravel and sand)
 Warm water temperatures
 Good water quality
 Minimal to sparse aquatic
vegetation
 Availability of prey
Certain habitat management activities in Channel Darter habitat, such as flow management and habitat alteration, are occurring and
will continue to occur. Since little is known about the species’ tolerance thresholds in relation to these specific activities, additional
study is required. In addition to the studies described in the schedule of studies (Table 12), efforts are planned for flow needs
assessments and the determination of BMPs in areas where habitat management is subject to other mandated consideration such as
public safety.
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Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
8.
2013
MEASURING PROGRESS
The overall success of implementing the recommended recovery approaches will be evaluated
primarily through routine population (distribution and abundance) and habitat (quality and
quantity) surveys and monitoring. During the next five years, focus will be placed on completing
recovery actions identified as “high priority” for Channel Darter. The recovery strategy will be
reported on in five years to evaluate the progress made toward population and distribution
objectives and will be reviewed within an adaptive management planning framework with input
from ecosystem recovery teams. Performance measures to evaluate the recovery process in
meeting recovery objectives over the next five years are outlined in Table 14.
Table 14. Performance measures for evaluating the achievement of recovery objectives.
Performance measures
Extant populations fully described by 2018
Completion of activities outlined in the schedule of studies for the complete identification of
critical habitat within the proposed timelines (by 2018).
Monitoring program established by 2018
Relative significance of threats evaluated by 2018
Initiate implementation of remedial actions to address priority threats by 2019
Feasibility of re-establishment and potential re-establishment methods determined by 2018
Potential re-establishment sites identified by 2018
Quantification of BMPs (e.g., number of Nutrient Management Plans and Environmental
Management Plans completed; hectares of riparian zone established) implemented through
ecosystem-based recovery teams and other relevant complementary groups/initiatives to
address threats by 2018 (on-going)
Document any changes in public perceptions and support for identified recovery actions
through guidance identified in the communications strategy (by 2018)
9.
ACTIVITIES PERMITTED BY THE RECOVERY STRATEGY
As set out in subsection 83(4) of SARA, a person can engage in an otherwise prohibited activity
if the activity is permitted by a recovery strategy and the person is authorized under an Act of
Parliament to engage in that activity. Section 83(4) can be used as an exemption to allow
activities, which have been determined to not jeopardize the survival or recovery of the species.
Continuation of Limited Commercial and Sport Baitfish Harvesting:
Commercial baitfish harvesting is regulated by the provinces of Ontario and Quebec and
Channel Darter is not a legal baitfish. It is regulated under the Fisheries Act through the Ontario
Fisheries Regulations and the Quebec Fishery Regulation. As outlined in Section 4.2
(Description of threats) under Incidental Harvest, commercial and sport baitfish harvesting
activities are unlikely to affect Channel Darter populations and have been determined to be
eligible for an exemption as per s.83(4). The management of Channel Darter recovery could
include limited fishing mortality as the threat to Channel Darter by baitfish harvest is low.
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Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
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Consequently, under SARA s. 83.(4), this recovery strategy allows baitfish harvesters to engage
in the activities of commercial and sport fishing for baitfish that incidentally kill, harm, harass,
capture or take Channel Darter, subject to the following two conditions:
1.
2.
The fishing activities are conducted under licenses issued under the Ontario Fishery
Regulations 2007, or the Quebec Fishery Regulations 1990;
All Channel Darter caught are to be released immediately and returned to the waters
from where taken in a manner that causes them the least harm.
10. STATEMENT ON ACTION PLANS
Action plans are documents that describe the implementation of recovery strategies. Under
SARA, an action plan provides the detailed recovery planning that supports the strategic
direction set out in the recovery strategy for the species. The plan outlines what needs to be
done to achieve the population and distribution objectives identified in the recovery strategy,
including the measures to be taken to address the threats and monitor the recovery of the
species, as well as the measures to protect critical habitat. Action plans offer an opportunity to
involve many interests in working together to find creative solutions to recovery challenges. As
such, they may also include recommendations on individuals and groups that should be
involved in carrying out the proposed activities.
One or more action plans relating to this recovery strategy will be produced within five years of
the final recovery strategy being posted on the Species at Risk Public Registry.
11. REFERENCES
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protéger, Inventaire de poisson de 2009. Groupe Ambioterra, présenté à la Direction de
la gestion des espèces en péril de Pêches et Océans Canada. 17 pp.
Baker, K. 2005. Nine year study of the invasion of western Lake Erie by the round goby
(Neogobius melanostomus): changes in goby and darter abundance. Ohio Journal of
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Boisvert, J. and J. Lacoursière. 2004. Le Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis et le contrôle des
insectes piqueurs au Québec. Document préparé par l’Université du Québec à TroisRivières pour le ministère de l'Environnement du Québec. Envirodoq no
ENV/2004/0278. 101 pp.
Boucher, J. 2006. Caractérisation de l’habitat estival du fouille-roche gris (Percina copelandi),
une espèce vulnérable, dans les rivières Gatineau et Richelieu. Université du Québec à
Rimouski, Mémoire présenté comme exigence partielle du programme de Maîtrise en
Gestion de la faune et de ses habitats. 69 pp. + appendices.
Boucher, J., M. Letendre, M. Bérubé, H. Fournier, Y. Mailhot, C. Côté, L. Nadon, and P.Y.
Collin. 2006. Évaluation de l’impact de la pêche commerciale automnale aux poissons
appâts sur cinq espèces de poissons à situation précaire en vertu de la Loi sur les
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Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
2013
espèces en péril (chevalier cuivré, brochet vermiculé, méné d’herbe, dard de sable,
fouille-roche gris). Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ministère des Ressources naturelles
et de la Faune, Société Provancher d’histoire naturelle du Canada.
Boucher, J., P. Bérubé, and R. Cloutier. 2009. Comparison of the Channel Darter (Percina
copelandi) summer habitat in two rivers from eastern Canada. Journal of Freshwater
Ecology 24(1): 19-28.
Boucher, J. and S. Garceau. 2010. Information in support of a recovery potential assessment of
Channel Darter (Percina copelandi) in Quebec. DFO Canadian Science Advisory
Secretariat Research Document 2010/097. iii + 33 pp.
Bourgeois, P.A. 2010. Rapport d'inventaire et de caractérisation des habitats du dard de sable
(Ammocrypta pellucida), du fouille-roche gris (Percina copelandi) et du méné d'herbe
(Notropis bifrenatus) dans le bassin versant de la rivière L'Assomption. Corporation de
l'Aménagement de la rivière L'Assomption, Joliette, Québec.
Bouvier, L.D. and N.E. Mandrak. 2010. Information in support of a recovery potential
assessment of Channel Darter (Percina copelandi) in Ontario. DFO Canadian Science
Advisory Secretariat Research Document 2010/029. iii + 39 pp.
Bowles, J.M. 2005. Walpole Island ecosystem recovery strategy – Draft 8. Prepared for Walpole
Island Heritage Centre, Environment Canada and the Walpole Island Recovery Team. vii
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Branson, B.A. 1967. Fishes of the Neosho river system in Oklahoma. American Midland
Naturalist 78: 212-154.
CARA (Corporation de l’Aménagement de la Rivière L’Assomption). 2002. Inventaire
ichtyologique d’espèces rares dans la partie sud du basin versant de la rivière
L’Assomption, été 2002. Joliette, Québec. 42 pp.
CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency). 2009. Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS).
Accessed: February 2010.
Coker, G.A. and C.B. Portt. 2009. Sonoco generating station expansion monitoring program
2003-2008. Prepared for Glen Miller Power LP by C. Portt & Associates. 29 pp.
Comtois, A., F. Chapleau, C.B. Renaud, H. Fournier, B. Campbell, and R. Pariseau. 2004.
Inventaire printanier d’une frayère multispécifique: l’ichtyofaune des rapides de la rivière
Gatineau, Québec. Canadian Field-Naturalist 118: 521-529.
COSEWIC (Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada). 2002. COSEWIC
assessment and update status report on the Channel Darter (Percina copelandi) in
Canada. Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. Ottawa. vii + 21
pp.
COSEWIC. 2010. COSEWIC’s assessment process and criteria, approved by COSEWIC in
April 2010. Accessed: July 2011.
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Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
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Mexico. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. 432 pp.
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2010. Modélisation du potentiel de rétablissement du fouille-roche gris (Percina
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Winn, H.E. 1958. Comparative reproductive behaviour and ecology of fourteen species of
darters (Pisces – Percidae). Ecological Monographs 28: 155-191.
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APPENDIX A: EFFECTS ON THE ENVIRONMENT AND OTHER
SPECIES
A strategic environmental assessment (SEA) is conducted on all SARA recovery planning
documents, in accordance with the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of
Policy, Plan and Program Proposals. The purpose of a SEA is to incorporate environmental
considerations into the development of public policies, plans, and program proposals to support
environmentally sound decision-making.
Recovery planning is intended to benefit species at risk and biodiversity in general. However, it
is recognized that strategies may also inadvertently lead to environmental effects beyond the
intended benefits. The planning process based on national guidelines directly incorporates
consideration of all environmental effects, with a particular focus on possible impacts upon nontarget species or habitats. The results of the SEA are incorporated directly into the strategy
itself, but are also summarized below in this statement.
The recovery strategy will clearly benefit the environment by promoting the recovery of the
Channel Darter. The potential for the strategy to inadvertently lead to adverse effects on other
species was considered. The SEA concluded that this strategy will clearly benefit the
environment and will not entail any significant environmental effects.
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APPENDIX B: EXISTING AND RECOMMENDED APPROACHES TO
HABITAT PROTECTION
Federal
When the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012) applies and a species
at risk has been identified as a valued ecosystem component within the scope of the review
pursuant to that Act, the environmental assessment will take into account, any change that
might be caused to aquatic species as defined in s.2(1) of SARA. Furthermore, under s.79 of
SARA, during an environmental assessment of a project under CEAA 2012, the competent
minister must be notified if the project will affect a listed wildlife species or its critical habitat.
Once identified, SARA includes provisions to prevent the destruction of critical habitat of
Channel Darter. Provincial
Ontario: Provincially, protection is also afforded under the Planning Act. Planning authorities
are required to be “consistent with” the provincial Policy Statement under Section 3 of Ontario’s
Planning Act, which prohibits development and site alteration in the habitat of Endangered or
Threatened species. Stream-side development in Ontario is managed through floodplain
regulations enforced by local conservation authorities. Under the Public Lands Act, a permit
may be required for work in the water and along the shore.
The Channel Darter is listed as a Threatened species under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act,
2007. Under the Act, the species and its habitat is currently protected under the general habitat
protection provisions of the Act as of June 30, 2013.
Quebec: Channel Darter is directly and indirectly protected by several pieces of provincial
legislation and regulations. Since 2005, the Channel Darter has had vulnerable species status
under the Loi sur les espèces menacées ou vulnérables (R.S.Q., chapter E-12.01), in force in
Quebec.
Chapter IV.1 (Wildlife Habitats) of An Act Respecting the Conservation and Development of
Wildlife (RSQ, c C-61.1) also ensures some habitat protection. Section 128.6 of this Act
stipulates that “No person may, in a wildlife habitat, carry on an activity that may alter any
biological, physical or chemical component peculiar to the habitat of the animal or fish
concerned.” This Act applies to lands in the domain of the State and includes certain
exceptions.
General protection of fish habitat is addressed in the Environment Quality Act (EQA), which
prohibits the release or emission of contaminants into the environment that may harm wildlife on
public and private lands. The EQA also regulates the development and implementation of the
Politique de protection des rives, du littoral et des plaines inondables (Protection policy for
lakeshores, riverbanks, littoral zones and floodplains) that aims to protect lakes and streams.
Under An Act Respecting Land Use Planning and Development, minimum standards for
development of municipal lands are set. The Agricultural Operations Regulation section of the
EQA may also indirectly protect Channel Darter habitat as it prohibits free access of livestock to
waterbodies and shorelines.
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APPENDIX C: RECORD OF COOPERATION AND CONSULTATION
The proposed recovery strategy for Channel Darter was prepared by Fisheries and Oceans
Canada (DFO) with input from representatives of the Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de
la Faune du Québec (MRNF), Société de conservation et d’aménagement du bassin de la
rivière Châteauguay, Hydro-Québec, Ambioterra, Comité de concertation et de valorisation du
bassin de la rivière Richelieu, Parks Canada Agency (PCA), Ontario Ministry of Natural
Resources (OMNR), Lower Trent Conservation Authority, Port and Associates and the Quinte
Conservation Authority. Members of the Bay of Quinte Remedial Action Plan, Royal Ontario
Museum and Essex Region Conservation Authority were included on Recovery Team
distribution lists
DFO has attempted to engage potentially affected Aboriginal communities in Ontario and
Quebec during the development of this proposed recovery strategy. Members of many
communities may have travelled or harvested fishes from the waters where the Channel Darter
was historically found.
In Ontario, in March 2011, DFO conducted community consultation sessions with Walpole
Island First Nation (in coordination with Environment Canada and PCA) on several recovery
documents, including the present recovery strategy. Feedback and written comments were
received for consideration.
Although many Aboriginal and Métis communities already received a letter from DFO (in
November 2007) regarding a recovery strategy for the Channel Darter, given the passage of
time and the addition of critical habitat to the recovery strategy, a new letter was sent to First
Nations to invite them to comment on the updated strategy. This letter was sent before the
posting of the proposed recovery on the Species at Risk Public Registry. Follow-up emails were
made to many community offices to ensure that packages were received and to ask if they
would like to schedule a meeting to learn more about species at risk in general and the
proposed recovery strategy in particular.
In Quebec, during the development of the recovery strategy, the Band Councils of the following
communities were consulted: Kahnawake, Kanesatake, Odonak, Wôlinak , Wendake and
Kitigan-Zibi. In addition, the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Sustainable Development
Institute was consulted. Follow-up telephone calls were made to many community offices to
ensure that packages were received and to ask if they would like to schedule a meeting to learn
more about species at risk in general and the proposed recovery strategy in particular.
The recovery strategy was posted on the Species at Risk Public Registry for a consultation
period of 60 days during the summer of 2013. In Quebec and Ontario, letters were sent to the
groups directly affected or likely to be affected by the Channel Darter recovery strategy,
including organizations from the following sectors: fisheries, environment, agriculture, industry,
and municipal. In addition, Ontario and Quebec Aboriginal communities consulted during the
development of the recovery strategy, and the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador
Sustainable Development Institute, had a second opportunity to comment.
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APPENDIX D: CHANNEL DARTER RECOVERY TEAM MEMBERS
Ontario’s Freshwater Fish Recovery Team
The following members of the Ontario Freshwater Fish Recovery Team were involved in the
development of the recovery strategy for the Channel Darter:
Tracy Allison
Jeff Borisko
Amy Boyko
Beth Cockburn
George Coker
Brian Craig
Dr. Alan Dextrase
Melissa Laplante
Erling Holm
Dr. Nicholas E. Mandrak
Vicki McKay
Brad McNevin
Mike Nelson
Sharlene Polman
Dr. Scott Reid
Karen Soper
Shawn Staton
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Bay of Quinte Remedial Action Plan (distribution list only)
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Parks Canada Agency (Trent-Severn Waterway)
Portt and Associates
Parks Canada Agency (distribution list only)
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources
Royal Ontario Museum (distribution list only)
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Parks Canada Agency (distribution list only)
Quinte Conservation Authority
Essex Region Conservation Authority (distribution list only)
Lower Trent Conservation Authority
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Quebec Recovery Team « Équipe de rétablissement des cyprinidés et petits
percidés du Québec »
The following members of Équipe de rétablissement des cyprinidés et petits percidés du
Québec were involved in the development of the recovery strategy for Channel Darter:
Jean-Philippe Détolle (President) Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune du
Québec
Geneviève Audet
Société de conservation et d’aménagement du bassin de la
rivière Châteauguay (SCABRIC)
Jacinthe Beauchamp
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Marthe Bérubé/Daniel Hardy
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Julie Boucher
Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune du
Québec
Jean Caumartin
Hydro-Québec – Division Environnement / Production
Chantal Côté
Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune du
Québec
Priscilla Gareau
Ambioterra
Henri Fournier
Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune du
Québec
Steve Garceau
Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune du
Québec
Réjean Malo
Parks Canada Agency
Marie-Pierre Maurice/
Comité de concertation et de valorisation
Marcel Comiré
du bassin de la rivière Richelieu (COVABAR)
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APPENDIX E: CHANNEL DARTER SITES IN QUEBEC
Channel Darter observation sites in Quebec in the St. Lawrence River and in four hydrographic
regions. X = occurrence; O = absent despite inventories directed on the species; (xxxx) = Year
of capture; FMN = data from the St. Lawrence Fish Monitoring Network.
Waterway
Years when Channel Darter presence was confirmed
1930-1949
1950-1969
St. Lawrence River
1970-1989
Lake St. FrançoisFNM
Pointe du Buisson
Lake St. Louis
O (1996FNM, 2004FNM)
X (2009FNM)
X (1942)
FNM
Lachine Rapids
1990-200910
O (1997FNM, 2005FNM)
X (1999)
X (1941)
X (1941)
Montréal-Sorel reachFNM
Lake St. PierreFNM
Lake St. Pierre
ArchipelagoFNM
Port St. François
X (1972)
Bécancour-Batiscan
reachFNM
Grondines-Donnacona
reachFNM
O (2001FNM)
X (1995FNM, 2002FNM,
2006, 2007FNM)
O (1995FNM)
X (2001, 2003FNM)
O (1995)
X (1996FNM)
O (2001FNM, 2008 FNM)
X (1997FNM)
X (2006FNM)
Outaouais and Montreal
Blanche River
X (1995, 2000)
Calumet Creek
X (2006)
Gatineau River
X (1999, 2002, 2003 2004)
la Petite Nation River
X (1964)
X (1995, 2000)
Outaouais River
X
X (2006)
de Pointe-au-Chêne Creek
X (2006, 2007)
Rouge River
Saumon River (or Kinonge
River)
X (1995, 2006)
X (1995, 2007)
Northwest St. Lawrence
Batiscan River
X (1973)
Bayonne River
X (1971)
X (1996)
X (1971)
O (1996)
X (1981, 1987)
X (1991, 2002, 2009)
Chicot River
L’Assomption River
X (1941)
10
Several surveys resulting in new Channel Darter records have been completed since this recovery
strategy was developed. The data will be updated in the action plan.
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Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
Waterway
2013
Years when Channel Darter presence was confirmed
1930-1949
1950-1969
1970-1989
1990-200910
X (2003)
X (1981)
X (1990, 2002, 2009)
Jacques-Cartier River
Ouareau River
Sainte-Anne River
X (2002)
Southwest St. Lawrence
Allen Creek
X (1976)
aux Bleuets River
aux Saumons River
(Richmond/Melbourne)
Rivière aux Saumons
(Weedon/Lingwick)
X (1977)
Châteauguay River
X (1932)
X (2009)
X (1977)
X (1941, 1942,
1944)
X (1976, 1987)
X (2006)
X (1976)
X (1996, 2006, 2009)
des Anglais River
Lake Elgin discharge (or
Maskinongé River)
Niger River
O (1992, 1996)
X (1934)
O (1996)
X (1931)
O (1996)
Noire River
X (1964)
aux Outardes Est River
X (1987)
X (1995)
X (1976)
X (1996, 2002, 2006)
X (1991, 1993, 1994,
1997, 1999, 2001, 2003,
2006, 2009)
X (1998, 2003, 2008,
2009)
Richelieu River
Saint-François River
X (1944)
Trout River
X (1941)
Yamaska River
X (1969)
X (1976)
X (1996, 2006)
X (1971)
X (1995)
Southeast St. Lawrence
Bécancour River
X (1964)
aux Orignaux River
aux Ormes River
X (1975)
X (1941)
Bras St. Nicolas River
X (1975, 1980)
du Chêne River
X (1971)
du Sud River
X (1941)
Gentilly River
X (1941)
Henri River
X (1971)
Miscou River
Nicolet River
X (1964)
X (1997)
O (2003, 2005, 2007)
X (2007)
O (1991, 1992, 1996,
1197, 2004)
X (2005)
X (2009)
X (1944)
81
Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
2013
APPENDIX F: NEW CHANNEL DARTER SITES IN QUEBEC
FOLLOWING THE PUBLICATION OF THE 2002 COSEWIC REPORT
Year
1999
2001
2002
2003
2004:
2005:
2006
2007
2008
2009
Site
Gatineau River (Comtois et al. 2004); Richelieu (N. Vachon, pers. comm.)
Richelieu River (Massé and Bilodeau 2003)
L’Assomption and Oureau rivers (CARA 2002); aux Outardes Est River (M.
Letendre, unpubl. data); Sainte-Anne River (M. Arvisais, pers. comm.);
Lake St. Pierre (FMN)
Saint-François River between Bromptonville and Windsor (M. Letendre,
pers. comm.); Gatineau and Richelieu rivers (Boucher et al. 2009);
Jacques-Cartier River (M. Arvisais, pers. comm.); Lake St. Pierre
Archipelago (FMN)
Gatineau River in the Rapides-Farmer area (Lemieux et al. 2005)
Du Sud River downstream of the Arthurville powerplant at Saint-Raphaël
(P.Y. Collin, pers. comm.)
Châteauguay, aux Outardes Est, des Anglais and Trout rivers (Garceau et
al. 2007); Outaouais and Rouge rivers, as well as de Pointe-au-Chêne and
Calumet creeks (Pariseau et al. 2007); Grondines-Donnaconna (FNM)
Saumon (Kinonge) rivers and de Pointe-au-Chêne Creek (H. Fournier, pers.
comm.); Lake St. Pierre (FMN)
Saint-François River near East-Angus, upstream and downstream of the
former Worby Dam (S. Garceau, pers. comm.)
L’Assomption and Ouareau rivers (Bourgeois et al. 2010); des Anglais River
(Ambioterra 2010); Saint-François River between Bromptonville and
Windsor (S. Garceau, pers. comm.); Lake St. François (FNM)
FMN = data from the St. Lawrence Fish Monitoring Network
82
Recovery Strategy for the Channel Darter
2013
APPENDIX G: RECENT FISH SURVEYS (SINCE 2000) IN AREAS OF
CHANNEL DARTER OCCURRENCE (ONTARIO)
Waterbody/general area
Moira (including the Black and
Skootamatta rivers), Salmon and
Napanee rivers
Survey description (years of survey effort)
 Targeted Channel Darter survey, Trent University, OMNR (2001,
2003)a,b
Little Rideau Creek
 Sampling for Cutlip Minnow, OMNR (2004)b
Trent River
 Targeted Channel Darter sampling, Trent University/C. Portt and
Associates (2002-2008)b
South Nation River
 Species at risk sampling, OMNR (2005)b
Lake Erie
 Targeted Channel Darter surveys, OMNR/DFO (2005, 2006)a
 Lake Erie Biodiversity Project, OMNR (2007)a,c
Lake St. Clair
 Lake Erie Management Unit seining project, OMNR (2005, 2007)a
Long Point Bay (Lake Erie)
 3 year assessment of Inner Long Point Bay, OMNR (2007-2009)a,c
a – seine net; b – backpack electrofishing; c – boat electrofishing
83
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