Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat (CSAS) Research Document 2013/097 Newfoundland and Labrador Region

Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat (CSAS) Research Document 2013/097 Newfoundland and Labrador Region
Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat (CSAS)
Research Document 2013/097
Newfoundland and Labrador Region
A Review of Methods Used to Offset Residual Impacts of Development Projects
on Fisheries Productivity
Kristin G. Loughlin, Keith D. Clarke
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
80 East White Hills Road
St. John’s, NL, A1C 5X1
February 2014
This series documents the scientific basis for the evaluation of aquatic resources and
ecosystems in Canada. As such, it addresses the issues of the day in the time frames required
and the documents it contains are not intended as definitive statements on the subjects
addressed but rather as progress reports on ongoing investigations.
Research documents are produced in the official language in which they are provided to the
Published by:
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat
200 Kent Street
Ottawa ON K1A 0E6
[email protected]
© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, 2014
ISSN 1919-5044
Correct citation for this publication:
Loughlin, K.G., Clarke, K.D. 2014. A Review of Methods Used to Offset Residual Impacts of
Development Projects on Fisheries Productivity. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Res. Doc.
2013/097. vi + 72 p.
ABSTRACT ................................................................................................................................ V
INTRODUCTION TO OFFSETS ................................................................................................ 1
Business and Biodiversity Offsets Programme ....................................................................... 3
Marine Fish Habitat Offset Policy (State of Queensland, Australia) ........................................ 4
METHODS TO OFFSET IMPACTS TO PRODUCTIVITY .......................................................... 4
PHYSICAL HABITAT MANIPULATIONS ................................................................................... 5
Habitat Restoration and Rehabilitation ................................................................................... 5
Streambank Stabilization and Riparian Planting ................................................................. 6
In-stream Structures ........................................................................................................... 7
Removal of Barriers and Reconnection of habitats ............................................................. 8
Restoration of Flows........................................................................................................... 9
Channel modifications .......................................................................................................10
Marine and Shoreline Structures .......................................................................................11
Habitat Creation or Construction ...........................................................................................12
Stream Habitat Creation ....................................................................................................12
Wetland Habitat Creation ..................................................................................................13
BIOLOGICAL MANIPULATIONS ..............................................................................................14
Stocking ................................................................................................................................14
Translocations .......................................................................................................................17
CHEMICAL MANIPULATIONS .................................................................................................18
BASELINE DATA REQUIREMENTS ........................................................................................27
CLIMATE CHANGE ..................................................................................................................27
United States ........................................................................................................................29
Mitigation Banking .............................................................................................................29
Conservation Banking .......................................................................................................30
Australia ................................................................................................................................30
Biobanking (New South Wales) .........................................................................................30
BushBroker (Victoria) ........................................................................................................31
FISHERIES-RELATED POLICIES IN OTHER COUNTRIES.....................................................31
European Union Water Framework Directive (WFD) .............................................................31
United States National Fish Habitat Action Plan ....................................................................31
Australian Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act ...................................32
CONCLUSION ..........................................................................................................................34
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS .........................................................................................................34
REFERENCES .........................................................................................................................35
Pacific Region .......................................................................................................................48
Case Study 1 – Nechako River..........................................................................................48
Case Study 2 – Columbia River Revelstoke Flow Management Plan Water Use Plan
(WUP) ...............................................................................................................................50
Central and Arctic Region .....................................................................................................50
Case Study 1 – Ekati Diamond Mine .................................................................................50
Case Study 2 – Jackpine Mine ..........................................................................................51
Case Study 3 – Bridge Construction ..................................................................................52
Case Study 4 – Lac Seul Causeway Construction .............................................................53
General Information - Manitoba – Fish Passage................................................................54
Quebec Region .....................................................................................................................54
Background .......................................................................................................................54
Evaluation of success........................................................................................................54
Indicators used to evaluate success ..................................................................................55
Productivity or abundance indicators .................................................................................55
Number and frequency of monitoring periods ....................................................................55
Documents and data .........................................................................................................55
Possibility of improving results through design or other changes .......................................55
Compensation projects considered a success ...................................................................56
Compensation projects not considered a success .............................................................60
Gulf Region ...........................................................................................................................64
Freshwater Projects ..........................................................................................................64
Marine Projects .................................................................................................................65
Maritimes Region ..................................................................................................................66
Case Study 1.....................................................................................................................66
Case Study 2: Cheverie Creek Salt Marsh ........................................................................67
Case Study 3: Walton River Salt Marsh.............................................................................69
Newfoundland and Labrador Region .....................................................................................70
Case Study 1: Rose Blanche Hydroelectric Development ................................................70
Case Study 2: Nugget Pond Gold Mine and Mill ...............................................................72
Recent amendments to Canada’s Fisheries Act (Bill C38, June 2012 and Bill C45, December
2012) will alter the way Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) assesses and manages the
impacts of development projects on aquatic ecosystems. Efforts will continue to be made to
avoid and mitigate negative impacts to aquatic ecosystems, and offset or compensate for
residual impacts, as per current practice within DFO (DFO 2010). In the future, a flexible
approach will be taken to compensating residual impacts of project development in order to
achieve better outcomes for fish and fish habitat while using measures that are efficient,
effective, predictable and measurable. The department will shift to a focus on managing
impacts to fisheries, specifically commercial, recreational, and Aboriginal (CRA) fisheries, to
ensure their sustainability and ongoing productivity (DFO 2012). When residual impacts are
unavoidable and cannot be mitigated, offset techniques such as those described in this report
can be used to achieve no net loss or a net gain of fisheries productivity.
The top priority for maintaining or improving fishery productivity will be avoiding impacts to fish
and fish habitat via project relocation and reducing impacts via mitigation measures and only
after those efforts have been exhausted will other options to offset impacts be considered. The
amount of offsetting needed to ensure there are no adverse impacts to fisheries productivity
needs to be carefully considered and monitoring should be conducted to ensure that productivity
is maintained or increased.
This report includes information on several potential measures to offset impacts to fisheries
productivity including fish habitat creation, habitat restoration, stocking, and chemical
manipulations (including nutrient addition) and includes a description of habitat banking as a
possible approach to implement offset measures. Information and experiences of DFO
Fisheries Protection practitioners across Canada are also incorporated into the report and
information on fisheries-related policies from other countries including the United States,
Australia, and the European Union are briefly summarized. Although not exhaustive, this review
also includes information on baseline data needs and monitoring that will be important in
developing an offsetting policy for Canadian fisheries.
Examen des méthodes utilisées pour compenser les impacts résiduels des
projets de développement sur la productivité des pêches
Les récentes modifications apportées à la Loi sur les pêches (projet de loi C38 en juin 2012 et
projet de loi C45 en décembre 2012) vont changer la façon dont Pêches et Océans Canada
(MPO) évalue et gère les impacts des projets de développement sur les écosystèmes
aquatiques. Les efforts se poursuivront, conformément aux pratiques qui ont cours au MPO,
pour éviter et pour atténuer les impacts négatifs sur les écosystèmes aquatiques et pour
compenser les impacts résiduels (DFO 2010). À l'avenir, une approche flexible sera adoptée
pour compenser les impacts résiduels des projets de développement afin d'obtenir de meilleurs
résultats pour le poisson et l'habitat du poisson par la voie de mesures efficientes, efficaces,
prévisibles et mesurables. Le MPO se concentrera dorénavant sur la gestion des impacts sur
les pêches, particulièrement sur les pêches commerciales, récréatives et autochtones, pour
faire en sorte qu'elles soient durables et que leur productivité soit continue (DFO 2012).
Lorsque les impacts résiduels sont inévitables et ne peuvent être atténués, il sera possible
d'utiliser des techniques de compensation, comme celles décrites dans ce rapport, pour
parvenir à éviter les pertes nettes ou pour parvenir à obtenir des gains nets de productivité des
La priorité absolue relativement au maintien ou à l'amélioration de la productivité consistera à
éviter les impacts sur le poisson et l'habitat du poisson en déplaçant un projet, et à réduire les
impacts au moyen de mesures d'atténuation. Après, et seulement après, avoir épuisé ces
recours, d'autres options pour compenser les impacts pourront être envisagées. La portée de
la compensation nécessaire pour faire en sorte qu'il n'y ait pas d'impacts nuisibles sur la
productivité des pêches doit être minutieusement évaluée, et une surveillance devrait être
effectuée pour veiller à ce que cette productivité soit maintenue ou améliorée.
Ce rapport contient des renseignements sur plusieurs mesures envisageables, notamment
l'établissement d'un habitat, la restauration d'un habitat, l'empoissonnement et les
manipulations chimiques (y compris l'ajout de nutriments) pour compenser les impacts sur la
productivité des pêches. Il contient également une description de l'établissement d'habitats de
réserve comme approche envisageable pour mettre en œuvre les mesures de compensation.
Le rapport contient également des renseignements de la part de praticiens de la protection des
pêches du MPO et au sujet de situations qu'ils ont vécues, ainsi qu'un sommaire des
renseignements sur les politiques portant sur les pêches d'autres pays, dont les États-Unis et
l'Australie, ainsi que l'Union européenne. Enfin, cet examen, quoique non exhaustif, contient
aussi des renseignements sur les besoins en matière de données de base et sur la surveillance
qui sera nécessaire afin d'élaborer une politique de compensation pour les besoins des pêches
Fish productivity is defined by Minns (1997) as the sum of production rates (mass per unit time
per unit area) for all co-occurring fish stocks within a defined area or ecosystem. Fisheries
productivity is defined by Randall et al. (2013) as the sustained yield of all component
populations and species, and their habitat, which support and contribute to a fishery in a
specified area. Productivity can be measured directly via measurement of production rates of
fish species of interest or indirectly via measurements such as biomass, catch per unit effort, or
fishing yield (Minns 1997). Three recent papers have been prepared within DFO focusing on
different aspects of fish productivity. Randall et al. (2013) examined interpretations of the
ongoing productivity of fisheries while Bradford et al. (2014) proposed a framework to assess
changes to fisheries productivity in Canada as a result of development projects. A third paper
by De Kerckhove et al. (In Prep) focuses on promising indicators of fisheries productivity. This
report is a supplement to these three existing reports and focuses on summarizing practical
techniques that have been shown or have the potential to increase or sustain fish productivity.
Offsetting is one of the major concepts that have been explored worldwide in recent years as a
means to reduce or mitigate impacts to fish productivity, habitat loss, or other ecosystem
functions. Many papers have been published in the last decade describing the concept of
biodiversity offsets or simply offsets (Burgin 2008, McKenney and Kiesecker 2010). There are
multiple definitions to describe the concept of biodiversity offsets. Burgin (2008) defines
biodiversity offsets as: “conservation activities that are designed to offset residual, unavoidable
damage to biodiversity caused by development activities”. Similarly, McKenney and Kiesecker
(2010) state that “offsets seek to compensate for residual environmental impacts of project
development, after appropriate steps have been taken to avoid and minimize impacts on site”.
Previous fish habitat compensation activities under the Fisheries Act in Canada, as well as all
the methods to increase or sustain fisheries productivity that will be described in this report,
could be considered activities that fall within these broad definitions.
Offsets are used or are being considered for use in many countries to help preserve or maintain
wetlands, terrestrial biodiversity, endangered species, and species assemblages (McKenney
and Kiesecker 2010). In most definitions of offsets, however, increasing the productivity of a
species or group of species is not the specific goal although increased productivity can
potentially result from the activities. In some countries, offsets can include protecting existing
land or contributing funds to research programs. However, some argue that protecting land
does not increase productivity for any species and can lead to continued loss of productivity as
ecosystems are still being destroyed or damaged by development (Bekessy et al. 2010).
There are positive and negative aspects to offsets and offsetting policies outlined in the
literature. Some positive aspects of an offset approach can include:
a national offsetting policy that is aligned with regional/local fisheries management,
watershed and land-use planning objectives can result in the creation of larger,
connected, and more effective restoration or habitat creation projects;
in some cases, offset techniques can result in the creation and enhancement of more
high-quality habitat or higher productivity areas than the area damaged or destroyed
(Gillespie 2012);
time lags and other sources of uncertainties can be reduced or eliminated by offsetting
impacts of a project before the project is constructed;
economic benefits can occur through the creation of spin-off industries to support some
offsetting approaches, in particular, development of banks and support services
(monitoring, insurance, legal, technical support) (Gillespie 2012);
offsets or offset policies often fit well or support existing legal frameworks such as
environmental assessment processes (Gillespie 2012).
There are also some potential negative aspects of offsets including:
most definitions of offsets do not account for the value of ecosystem services or factors
that can significantly affect populations such as meta-population dynamics and
connectivity (Burgin 2008);
there is uncertainty in species or ecosystem responses when substituting one area that
will be destroyed or damaged by development for another area (the area created,
enhanced, or restored through offsetting techniques);
there can be time lags between the damage caused by development and the functioning
of the offset area (Minns 2006, Bekessy et al. 2010, McKenney and Kiesecker 2010);
it is often difficult to quantify the amount of offsets needed to ensure habitat (or in this
case productivity) is maintained or increased;
there can be uncertainty surrounding determining a biologically or environmentally suitable
location for offsetting (McKenney and Kiesecker 2010, Gordon et al. 2011), as well as
issues regarding public benefits of offset locations (if the offset is located in a different
area from the habitat destroyed there can be public opposition);
there are often problems with sufficient monitoring to determine offset success or failure
and compliance with offset policies (Burgin 2008);
often impacts of development or results of offsetting practices are not adequately
documented (Harper and Quigley 2005, Quigley and Harper 2006, Burgin 2008) or
projects do not function as intended;
some impacts cannot be offset such as destroying unique, vulnerable or irreplaceable
habitats or the habitat of an endangered species that could result in the extinction of the
species (McKenney and Kiesecker 2010);
offsets are usually considered for one or a few species only but the offset is more likely
multidimensional and non-linear thus making it difficult to set the appropriate offset type
and amount.
These problems are experienced for all activities that seek to reduce or eliminate the impacts of
development on ecosystems but some can be minimized by adding stringent rules and
restrictions to an offsetting policy.
Before attempting to offset impacts to an ecosystem, currencies or metrics have to be
established to determine how much habitat or productivity or resource of interest will be lost and
how much will need to be offset. Some surrogates that have been used to calculate aquatic
and terrestrial biodiversity offsets have included area, habitat quality, species density, species
occupancy, or some combination of these. A review of metrics suitable for fisheries productivity
measurements has been conducted which should guide mangers in this respect (de Kerckhove
In Prep). There also must be sufficient information available on the species/ecosystem that will
be affected to appropriately determine the level of impact and what processes will be affected
by a proposed development before the impacts can be offset. Many offset policies require that
offsets be larger than the anticipated impacts (required the use of multipliers) in order to ensure
no net loss and to account for time lags between ecological destruction as a result of the project
and offset functioning (McKenney and Kiesecker 2010, Overton et al. 2013).
One program that was designed to develop best practices for offsetting impacts of development
on ecosystems is the Business and Biodiversity Offsets Programme. This program is
summarized below to illustrate some of the work that has been completed to date on developing
offset policies. As well, information is provided on the State of Queensland, Australia’s, Marine
Fish Habitat Offset Policy. Further information on the potential for an offset policy for Canada
can be found in LeBlanc et al. (2013), A Discussion Paper on a Policy Framework for the Use of
Offsets under Canada’s Amended Fisheries Act (2012).
The Business and Biodiversity Offsets Programme (BBOP) is a large group of individuals,
companies, financial institutions, conservation experts, and governments of various levels and
from various countries whose goal is to work together to develop and test best practices for
biodiversity offsets and conservation banking throughout the world (BBOP). The BBOP seeks to
provide better and more cost-effective conservation outcomes resulting from development than
those that currently exist, and also provide more certainty for companies undertaking
The BBOP has developed many research documents and completed pilot studies to examine
virtually every aspect of offsetting and conservation banking. The group has developed an
updated Biodiversity Offset Design Handbook (BBOP 2012a) to describe how to design an
offset, engage stakeholders, undertake surveys, quantify residual impacts of development
projects, determine potential sites for offsetting, calculate gains from offsetting, and determine
final details and locations for offsetting. They have also published a Cost-Benefit Handbook
and an Offset Implementation Handbook, as well as resource papers entitled: No Net Loss and
Loss/Gain Calculations in Biodiversity Offsets, Limits to What Can be Offset, Biodiversity
Offsets and Stakeholder Participation, and Biodiversity Offsets and Impact Assessment.
The BBOP stress the importance, as do most publications regarding offsets, of avoiding and
minimizing impacts of development, then undertaking restoration on-site where possible, and
then finally considering offsets as a last resort. They define offsets as “measures taken to
compensate for any residual significant, adverse impacts that cannot be avoided, minimised
and/or rehabilitated or restored, in order to achieve no net loss or a net gain of biodiversity.
Offsets can take the form of positive management interventions such as restoration of degraded
habitat, arrested degradation or averted risk, protecting areas where there is imminent or
projected loss of biodiversity” (BBOP 2012b).
The following guidance on offsets is provided in the Biodiversity Offset Design Handbook.
Offsets should be considered as early in the project review process as possible. Offsets should
also demonstrate no net loss or a net gain of biodiversity (or productivity) and gains should be
additional and linked directly to the offset activity (BBOP 2012c). The BBOP state that this
requirement is what distinguishes offsets from other types of conservation activities. Suitable
metrics for determining how to measure losses and gains must be determined in consultation
with stakeholders. Activities that can be considered offsets fall into three broad categories:
1) Positive management interventions: includes topics that will be discussed in later
sections of this report such as habitat restoration and habitat creation, as well as
removing existing pressures or threats to an area.
2) Averting Risk: protecting important ecological areas where there is an imminent threat
to the area or the population. Can include developing contracts with
companies/individuals whereby they protect habitat in return for payment or other
negotiated benefits.
3) Providing compensation: providing payment to stakeholders affected by the proposed
offset and development project so that they will support the offset and the project.
It should be noted that categories two and three do not offset impacts to productivity and can
ultimately result in a net loss of productivity. Only category one, positive management
interventions, will be further discussed in this report.
In Queensland, Australia under the Fisheries Act (1994) and the Sustainable Planning Act
(2009), the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF), Government of
Queensland, developed the Marine Fish Habitat Offset Policy. Any developer that will remove
damage or destroy marine plants, or undertake works in a declared Fish Habitat Area (FHA)
must offset these impacts. Developers must try to avoid, minimize, and mitigate fish habitat loss
and only then are offsets considered to reduce or eliminate any remaining adverse impacts.
The amount of offsets needed for a particular development project are calculated using a fish
habitat offset package calculator which considers factors such as habitat area lost, costs of
rehabilitation in another area, time of rehabilitation, costs of monitoring and management, area
proposed for protection (if applicable), and others (Fisheries Queensland 2012).
Suitable offsets can include enhancing, restoring, rehabilitating or creating fish habitat, or
protecting fish habitat. Protecting fish habitat must result in additional or new protection for an
area, a tenure conversion (i.e. private to public land), or the creation of public reserves. If
protection is used as the only offset type then the protected area must be a minimum of five
times the size of the impact area. A fourth type of offset is an indirect offset whereby payments
or in-kind contributions offset losses to fish habitat. For example, payments can be provided for
fisheries research or fish habitat mapping projects or other research that is linked to priorities of
the government’s Fish Habitat Research and Management Program. Payments can also be
provided for fisheries education and training, including scholarships, natural resources
management programs, as well as to cover costs of managing and delivering restoration,
rehabilitation or creation projects. Direct offsets are preferred over indirect offsets in the offset
hierarchy (Fisheries Queensland 2012).
Further information on the Fish Habitat Offset Policy can be found at: Department of Agriculture,
Fisheries and Forestry.
The following sections focus on methods that have been proven or have the potential to
increase fish productivity. Methods include physical habitat manipulations including habitat
restoration, rehabilitation, enhancement and creation; biological manipulations such as stocking;
and chemical manipulations including nutrient additions. The emphasis for all sections is
freshwater ecosystems, particularly streams, although marine and estuarine work is briefly
Habitat restoration is defined by Roni et al. (2008) as returning an ecosystem to its original, predisturbance state whereas rehabilitation includes all other human activities that improve an
ecosystem but do not completely restore it, including habitat enhancement, habitat creation, and
even habitat manipulation. Habitat restoration is defined in DFO’s 1986 Policy for the
Management of Fish Habitat as the treatment or clean-up of fish habitat that has been altered,
disrupted or degraded for the purpose of increasing its capability to sustain a productive
fisheries resource. Both restoration and rehabilitation can include a suite of techniques whereby
habitat that is degraded, damaged or of low value to the species or species assemblage of
interest is improved through active human intervention (Roni et al. 2008). This section will focus
on the physical rehabilitation or restoration of existing freshwater habitat, with some information
provided on marine habitat enhancement through the use of artificial structures.
Habitat restoration and enhancement techniques can be an effective means of maintaining or
increasing fish productivity. However, in the past there has been limited information on the
effectiveness of different techniques (Roni et al. 2002) and some studies have shown that a
considerable amount of restoration is required in order to significantly increase fish production
for some species (Roni et al. 2010). Still other studies have shown that in heavily degraded
areas such as urban streams, restoration actions at the reach scale do not improve ecological
biodiversity (Stranko et al. 2012).
Instream habitat restoration has to be considered in the context of the status of the surrounding
watershed and the role that watershed conditions have on instream habitat function. Recently,
Null and Lund (2012) used a model to determine which restoration options best increased fish
species productivity and recommended this technique be used to determine how to increase
fish populations when operating under monetary constraints. They recommend that restoration
techniques focus on restoring landscape processes that form and sustain habitats rather than
traditional approaches focused on repairing and improving specific habitat conditions. Hughes
et al. (2001) and Minns (1997) also recommend using models to better assess impacts on fish
ecology in the United Kingdom and Canada. Honea et al. (2009) used a modelling technique to
determine how habitat variables influenced Chinook salmon productivity, abundance, spatial
structure and diversity. The model indicated how to potentially improve the salmon population
by reducing fine sediments in the stream, thereby potentially increasing egg survival. Models
can provide valuable information on which habitat or watershed variables should be focused on
to improve restoration efforts however, sensitivity analyses should be incorporated into model
testing (Steel et al. 2009, McElhany et al. 2010).
Roni et al. (2002) conducted a review of the effectiveness of stream habitat rehabilitation
techniques for salmonids and, like Null and Lund (2012) stressed the importance of
understanding watershed processes prior to undertaking rehabilitation. They present a
hierarchical strategy for undertaking river restoration which involves first protecting areas of
intact high-quality habitat, then improving connectivity of high-quality habitats (by removing
barriers), thirdly restoring hydrologic, geologic, and riparian processes, and finally conducting
habitat enhancement such as adding coarse woody debris, nutrients, etc. Frissell and Nawa
(1992) also advocate a hierarchical approach, especially in areas impacted by forestry, involving
first preventing channelization, slope erosion and inappropriate floodplain development,
secondly rehabilitating failing roads, landslides, and other areas of instability, and finally
reforesting floodplains and slopes. They state that unless large-scale negative impacts to a
watershed are dealt with first, instream modifications will not be effective. Likewise, in order to
ensure that restoration is effective, Kauffman et al. (1997) stress the importance of eliminating
the causes of degradation before undertaking restoration. Otherwise, expensive restoration
options and modifications will not function as desired. They advise that intact aquatic and
riparian ecosystems should be protected first as protecting ecosystems is more cost-effective
than restoring them (Kauffman et al. 1997, Hartman 2004, Stranko et al. 2012).
Restoration or rehabilitation of streams and other waterbodies for fish production can include a
variety of techniques alone or in combination with others including:
cessation of anthropogenic disturbance (i.e. stopping livestock grazing of riparian areas,
stopping pollution or sediments from entering stream, etc.) and allowing the ecosystem to
naturally restore itself (Kauffman et al. 1997);
removal of debris;
streambank stabilization and planting of riparian vegetation (Opperman and Merenlender
establishing in-stream structure and cover by addition of gravels, cobbles or other
substrates (Keeley et al. 1996, McManamay et al. 2010);
addition of wood or coarse woody debris to increase habitat complexity (Coe et al. 2009);
removal of barriers such as culverts or dams or diversion structures;
reconnection of isolated or off-channel habitats such as oxbow lakes and floodplains
(Keeley et al. 1996, Bellmore et al. 2012);
regulation and/or restoration of flows (Clarke et al. 2008);
installation of habitat structures to modify flow and prevent erosion (i.e. flow deflectors)
(Frissell and Nawa 1992);
changes to channel morphology including widening or deepening channels or adding
The effectiveness of these types of techniques varies widely by site, habitat, and species.
Restoration methods may have to be modified for use in different areas and not all techniques
will work in all watersheds.
Streambank Stabilization and Riparian Planting
The benefits of intact riparian plant communities are plentiful. Riparian plants shade streams
and help control water temperatures, control sedimentation, contribute organic matter to the
stream, provide food for invertebrates, contribute to large woody debris in streams and help
increase or maintain habitat complexity (Lewis and Ganshorn 2007). Summer water
temperatures are typically lower in stream reaches with riparian vegetation, such as large trees,
than in cleared areas (Curry et al. 2002). Riparian vegetation can even improve channel form
over time, often leading to narrower and deeper streams. In a stream in California with frequent
flooding and high sediment loads, stream reaches with riparian areas that were restored 20
years prior (by erecting exclosures to limit browsing) were narrower with more elevation
heterogeneity, more large woody debris and debris jams, and lower temperatures than control
reaches. The authors argue that riparian vegetation restoration can be more useful and costeffective for improving salmonid habitat than instream structures (Opperman and Merenlender
Often riparian communities require natural disturbances such as flooding as they are often
composed of species that evolved under a natural disturbance regime. Natural riparian
communities can be degraded by water diversion and flood control practices that modify the
natural disturbance regime (Kauffman et al. 1997). In a Swedish study, researchers examined if
boulder placement and barrier removal in streams following restoration was effective at
increasing the ability of plant propagules to reach the riparian zone to enable colonization. They
found that boulders did trap plant propagules at low flow but did not enable them to reach the
riparian zone. This only occurred at high flows. They recommended that if riparian plant
restoration is a key goal of restoration efforts, then designs should consider appropriate boulder
placement for high flows (Engstrom et al. 2009). Restoration attempts to mimic natural flow
regimes on regulated rivers have been shown to be successful at allowing recruitment of
riparian vegetation, subsequently improving the instream and riparian environment (Rood et al.
A comparison of stream bank stabilization techniques (riprap, riprap with large woody debris
(LWD), rock deflectors, rock deflectors with LWD, and LWD) and subsequent impacts on fish
density found that riprap sites had the lowest fish densities compared to control sites and LWD
sites had the highest densities compared to control sites. The authors found that in-stream
LWD cover and overhead riparian cover, were the variables that most often impacted fish
densities (Peters et al. 1998). Large woody debris bundles were also found to increase summer
rearing densities of Coho Salmon in river reaches in Washington compared to control reaches
and densities of salmon were positively related to the number of wood pieces per kilometre
(Peters et al. 1996).
Fish have been shown to prefer natural riparian vegetation (wood/grass/reed combination) to
artificial embankments such as concrete embankments as well as man-made riparian habitats
consisting of reeds and grasses or reeds with a small proportion of woody vegetation in a
navigable lowland river in Belgium. Fish species richness, abundance, and functional
organization was highest in the natural riparian areas compared to the man-made riparian and
concrete embankment areas (Mouton et al. 2012).
In-stream Structures
The addition of spawning gravels has been used to increase salmonid productivity in streams
where spawning habitat is thought to be limiting. Based on five studies reviewed by Keeley et al.
(1996), on average, spawning gravels increased 8.5-fold following rehabilitation compared to
pre-rehabilitation levels. In general, restoration activities increased densities of both juvenile
anadromous and resident salmonids (Keeley et al. 1996). Added gravels were utilized for
spawning by river chub following restoration of a tailwater stream in North Carolina, although the
study found that not enough gravel was added to improve spawning conditions for other species
(eg. catostomids) (McManamay et al. 2010). Gravel additions or removal of fine sediments
have also been shown to enhance salmonid spawning habitat in several other studies (Merz
and Setka 2004, Merz et al. 2004, Suttle et al. 2004).
Coarse woody debris is often added to streams to enhance habitat diversity and cover.
However, the positive impacts of coarse woody debris are species, age, and scale-specific.
Langford et al. (2012) found that densities of older trout, lampreys, and large eels were
positively associated with coarse woody debris at the reach-scale while densities of bullhead
and age 0+ trout were negatively associated with coarse woody debris at the reach and habitatscale. Percentage of pools, percentage of undercut banks, and percentage of coarse woody
debris had the most influence on sockeye salmon densities in British Columbia (Braun and
Reynolds 2011). Rehabilitation efforts should consider impacts to different species and age
cohorts before adding CWD as a means to increase salmonid densities or production.
Additions of wood in the form of engineered log jams increased periphyton biomass and
invertebrate density compared to those on cobbles in streams in Washington (Coe et al. 2009).
This can increase nutrients, food availability, and habitat complexity for salmonids and
potentially lead to productivity increases. Engineered log jams also increased juvenile salmon
and trout densities in a stream in Washington state, although impacts differed by species type
and fish length (Pess et al. 2012). In a stream in Newfoundland, the addition of boulders, v
dams, and half logs to reaches with different characteristics increased the density of Atlantic
salmon and brook trout by increasing habitat heterogeneity and complexity. These in-stream
structures impacted water depth, velocity, cover, redistributed bed material and contributed to
pool creation (De Jong et al. 1997). In Japan, fish diversity and abundance of the four most
dominant fish species was higher in stream reaches with simple wood structures and log jams
than in control sites. Effects differed by species and by season (autumn vs. winter) (Nagayama
et al. 2012).
The use of instream structures, however, does not always increase fish production and these
artificial structures can have a high failure rate after floods or high flow periods or if they are
placed without appropriate consideration of stream hydraulics and channel stability. After a
flooding event in Oregon and Washington (flood of 2-10 year magnitude), Frissell and Nawa
(1992) found that the median damage rate of instream structures in multiple streams was 60%.
In their study there were a wide range of failure causes usually due to changes in channel
morphology that were not taken into consideration during design. Elaborate structures (such as
log weirs) that were put in place to change channel morphology and hydraulics failed most often
while structures that failed less were those that minimally changed the channel (such as cables
to stabilize woody debris). Unstable streams in watersheds heavily damaged by roads, logging
and landslides with streambanks susceptible to erosion were those that were most unsuited to
the placement of instream structures. A thorough examination of the watershed characteristics,
considering flood occurrence and frequency, should be undertaken before implementing
rehabilitation through the use of instream structures or these structures should be considered a
complementary technique for habitat enhancement (Nagayama and Nakamura 2010). Other
techniques may be more cost-effective and appropriate in some cases.
In some cases, instream structures can have unintended results, depending on site features
and hydrological regimes. Eighteen rock weirs installed in a river in Oregon to improve stream
habitat for native redband trout actually caused further loss of riffles and an increase in flat
water in an already degraded stream. Gravel and sand substrates further declined and silt and
clay increased. These negative impacts were likely a result of local erosion downstream of the
weirs and backwater effects upstream of weirs. Before attempting restoration, the authors
caution that geomorphic and hydrologic processes must be understood for the specific
waterway to ensure structures have the impact they were intended to have (Salant et al. 2012).
Removal of Barriers and Reconnection of habitats
Removing physical barriers to fish or installing fish ladders is an obvious method of increasing
fish access and potentially productivity, to previously unavailable habitats although this can also
lead to negative impacts on some species or assist the spread of aquatic invasive species.
Engineered fishways can improve or provide fish passage to otherwise inaccessible areas
(Scruton et al. 2008, Hatry et al. 2011) although recent reviews have pointed to the need to
improve fishway designs to improve the ability of fish to pass upstream of barriers (Noonan et
al. 2012). Removal of natural barriers in five rivers in Newfoundland resulted in colonization by
Atlantic salmon into previously unavailable habitats. Enhancement activities combined with
natural straying resulted in increases in the salmon stocks of all five rivers even though overall
populations of Atlantic salmon in insular Newfoundland either remained constant or declined
(Mullins et al. 2003). Removal of two dams in a Maine stream resulted in the immediate
upstream migration of many fish species, including anadramous Atlantic salmon, as well as the
homogenization of stream reaches. Further monitoring will indicate the longer term impacts of
dam removal (Gardner et al. 2013).
Connecting side channels that may have been cut off from the main stem of a waterway can
also be important for increasing fish productivity. Side channels have been shown to be
important production areas for Pacific salmonids including chum and Coho salmon (Keeley et al.
1996). In a study in British Columbia, salmonid biomass and density was higher in stream-type
side channels compared to pond-type side channels but parr weight was 47% lower in streamtype side channels. There was no difference in smolt production between the two side-channels
although this may have been due to a lack of data or data variability. The authors concluded
that side-channels need to provide a variety of habitat types including flowing (spawning and
rearing) and standing water (rearing and overwintering) to maximize value for salmonids
(Rosenfeld et al. 2008).
Cutting off rivers from their floodplains has historically occurred as a result of human activities
including agriculture and urban development and can result in negative impacts to fish. In a
comparison of 24 stream reaches in Vermont, it was found that fish assemblage diversity was
highest at reaches with high floodplain connectivity. Species turnover (measured as β diversity,
a measure of the difference in species composition between local assemblages from the main
channel to the floodplain) was negatively associated with floodplain connectivity (Sullivan and
Watzin 2009). In a study of wetlands in the Great Lakes, overall species richness and piscivore
richness increased with aquatic connectivity. Connectivity was found to influence both the local
species present and the abundance of these species in a wetland (Bouvier et al. 2009).
Barriers to fish are not always physical and attempts should be made to determine what factors
limit species movements prior to restoration. For example, a study in California showed that
Coho salmon are likely limited to the downstream 20 km of a 90 km stream due to a water
temperature barrier midstream. This barrier developed over 30 years as a result of human
activities including stream widening and removal of riparian trees (Madej et al. 2006).
Restoration of Flows
Impacts to flows within rivers and streams can have multiple impacts on fish and other species.
Water flows impact fish food supplies, physical habitat, water quality measurements including
temperature and turbidity, nutrient dynamics, gas pressure, access to habitats (Clarke et al.
2008), sediment transport, and erosion (Kondolf 1997). Impacts to the natural flow regime of
waterways can result from many human modifications such as the construction of dams,
hydroelectric facilities, water withdrawal for agricultural or other purposes, and flood control
measures (Enders et al. 2009). Low flows resulting from dam construction have been shown to
encourage the growth of aquatic plants and thereby decrease the spawning habitat available for
Chinook salmon (Merz et al. 2008). Extreme low flows (less than 142 m3/s) have been found to
impact spawning habitat and likely recruitment of Gulf sturgeon (Flowers et al. 2009).
Controlling or restoring flow to waterways has been shown to impact fish productivity. For
example, in insular Newfoundland, the placement of hydraulic control structures on a flood
bypass channel of the Rose Blanche River provided constant regulated flow to an area that was
previously only wetted during snow melt events. Other habitat enhancement measures included
creating pools, stabilizing banks, adding spawning gravels, and constructing protection dykes to
prevent flooding. Monitoring of the impacts of this controlled flow over three years showed a
steady increase in fish biomass (an indicator of productivity) in the channel each year (Scruton
et al. 2005). After restoring flow to a dry streambed in British Columbia, adult salmon colonized
the area and began spawning within 1-8 months. Juveniles however, did not move into the area
in the first year if they were born farther downstream (Decker et al. 2008). Similarly, after a 5fold increase in flow velocity on a reach of the Rhone river in France, there was a significant
change in fish community structure and a significant increase (two to four-fold) in abundance of
species favoring fast-flowing and/or deep habitats within only 4 years (Lamouroux et al. 2006).
Conversely, restoring 50% of the flow in the Trinity River of California, along with other
rehabilitation methods including gravel placement and mechanical rehabilitation, did not result in
a higher abundance or a higher condition of threatened Coho salmon in restored reaches
compared to reference reaches (Chase et al. 2013). As well, although pacific salmonid
abundance increased following experimental flow release in a regulated river in British
Columbia, increases were due to the re-watering of a previously dry channel below the dam.
Reaches that had continual water had higher salmonid abundances after the flow release than
the re-wetted channel (Bradford et al. 2011). The study findings conflicted with habitat models
for the stream, as well as with holistic in-stream flow approaches.
Flow releases have variable impacts on biota and the physical environment and further
information is needed to determine the long-term impacts of ecological flow releases (Konrad et
al. 2012). In a review of 165 papers on the impacts of flow alteration on ecological responses, it
was found that ecological responses of macroinvertebrates, riparian vegetation, and fish were
highly variable and 92% of papers reported decreased values for measured ecological metrics
in response to flow alteration. Fish abundance, demographic rates, and diversity were found to
consistently decline in response to both elevated and reduced flows (change in flow in all
studies was more than 50%). Fish were the only species group to show consistent negative
impacts to both increased and decreased flows (Poff and Zimmerman 2010). A study on the
impacts of flow increases at 17 sites in five streams in France over 4 to 12 years on brown trout
populations revealed variable results by monitoring year as well as by site. Numbers of adult
trout increased 22.8% overall, but effects varied considerably with year and site. For young
trout, almost all sites showed growth in numbers, with an average increase of 1014% for the 0+
class and 99% for the 1+ class. For adults, mean biomass was higher at control sites compared
to experimental sites and the mean at experimental sites was slightly higher pre-treatment
compared to post-treatment, but again results were highly variable (Sabaton et al. 2008).
Many studies of effects of flow restoration use reference reaches to compare impacts on biota
from changes in flow. However, Downs et al. (2011) point out that many regulated rivers do not
have an appropriate reference reach as there is no historical data available for the river or the
river is so impacted by dams and other structures that no reference reach exists upstream or
downstream. They recommend that a true reference for restoration in regulated rivers should
be created by collecting baseline data on the river in its current condition, and using models to
develop realistic reference conditions. They argue that this method helps managers to more
accurately determine how management actions will impact the river.
Channel modifications
Channel modifications following rehabilitation or restoration typically decrease stream gradient,
shear stresses, erosion and water velocity and increase pool: riffle ratios, habitat heterogeneity
and instream cover (Baldigo and Warren 2008). Natural Channel Design (NCD) is sometimes
a goal of restoration projects that modify stream channels. The concept of NCD is that data
from stable stream reaches in the area are used to restore unstable reaches with the ultimate
goal of balancing processes in the stream and allowing the stream to reach a state of dynamic
equilibrium (Baldigo and Warren 2008). Baldigo and Warren (2008) used NCD techniques on
four reaches in three streams in New York State to decrease erosion and sediment loads and
found that following restoration, community biomass and richness increased by almost one
third. On average across the four reaches, salmonid density (dominated by brown trout)
increased substantially following restoration to 0.16 fish/m2 (a 253% increase) and density
increased to 3.65 g/m2 (a 239% increase) whereas the density and biomass of species such as
dace and slimy sculpin did not change significantly.
A major channel modification project is currently ongoing in the State of Florida. The
Kissimmee River, once a 103 mile long meandering river was channelized in the 1960s into a
56 mile long canal to provide flood control. Due to the environmental impacts of the
channelization, a multi-year restoration project began in the 1990s to increase water storage in
the upper Kissimmee Basin, backfill 22 miles of the canal, recreate nine miles of river channel,
remove two water control structures, and remove floodplain levees (Dahm et al. 1995, Florida
Department of Environment Protection 2013). The first phase of reconstruction was completed
in 2012 and an assessment of the restoration impacts is planned for 2017. Although a complete
assessment of the impacts of restoration are not yet known, some studies that have taken place
to examine impacts of partial restoration on fish, such as largemouth bass, have been varied,
with no conclusive results (Allen et al. 2003).
Much information can be found in existing literature on restoring flood plains and recreating
stream meanders to improve biological and hydrological function (Brookes and Shields 1996),
but little information seems to be readily available on follow-up studies to quantify impacts to fish
productivity or overall ecosystem productivity.
Marine and Shoreline Structures
Numerous studies in the marine environment have shown that the addition of hard substrates to
otherwise sandy substrate areas can impact many forms of aquatic life. Offshore wind power
foundations in the North Sea have been shown to increase macrozoobenthos biomass,
dominated by blue mussel (Mytilus edulis), up to 35 times more than biomass at comparablysized sandy substrates (present before the wind power foundations were installed) (Krone et al.
2013). Reubens et al. (2013) compared the spatio-temporal variability of Atlantic cod and
pouting at artificial wind power reefs (foundations), shipwrecks, and sandy-bottom sites, also in
the North Sea, and found that the highest population densities (catch per unit effort) were at the
artificial wind power reefs, showing that these types of artificial structures can have significant
impacts on fish species. Another study in Santa Maria Bay, Cape Verde, showed that artificial
reefs can have comparable species richness to natural reefs (after 1-3 years) and promote fish
biodiversity in areas where natural reefs may be under threat (Santos et al. 2013).
The type and arrangement of hard substrate is important, however, in determining impacts to
aquatic species. A study in Thailand found that a wave-breaking wall composed of ten rows of
adjoining concrete poles along a sandy coastline did not significantly influence the abundance of
fish, shrimp, or zooplankton in the area although it did increase the abundance of
macroepifauna (also referred to as fouling organisms) such as Balunus spp (Hajisamae et al.
2013). As well, shoreline hardening, where structures such as riprap or retaining walls are
used to harden shorelines and prevent erosion, can have significant impacts on species.
Atlantic silverside, who spawn in the intertidal zone, were found to preferentially choose to
spawn along natural shorelines with Spartina alterniflora in association with green algae rather
than shorelines hardened with artificial structures such as riprap and bulkhead or those
inhabited by Phragmites australis (Balouskus and Targett 2012). In wetland shorelines of the
Upper Winnebago Pool Lakes of Wisconsin, fish were twice as abundant at natural shoreline
sites as compared to shorelines armoured with riprap (Gabriel and Bodensteiner 2012).
In some cases, restoration or rehabilitation of habitat is not an option and in order to provide
habitat or increase the productivity of fish, new habitat must be constructed. In this report,
habitat construction refers to the creation or expansion of aquatic habitat such as ponds,
streams, or wetlands into a previously dry area.
Stream Habitat Creation
There are several examples of freshwater stream habitat construction projects in the published
literature. In the Northwest Territories, a 3.4 km artificial stream was constructed to provide
habitat connectivity and provide spawning and rearing habitat for Arctic Grayling, to compensate
for the habitat lost following the destruction of two ponds and their tributaries to develop a
diamond mine. Several studies were conducted following construction of the artificial stream
and showed that the constructed stream was of lower quality than existing reference streams
and had a lower biomass of grayling than reference streams (Jones et al. 2003). During at least
the first four years following construction, the new stream had less: riparian vegetation, coarse
particulate organic matter, large woody debris, aquatic vegetation, and macroinvertebrate
diversity and richness (Jones et al. 2008). In the Pacific Northwest, eleven groundwater–fed
constructed side channels were compared with reference sites and were also found to have
lower canopy cover, woody debris, and physical habitat diversity but they had higher densities
of Coho salmon than the reference sites. Constructed channels were also deeper than
reference sites. Both the reference and constructed channels supported high densities of fish
including trout and Coho salmon (Morley et al. 2005).
Another stream creation project, necessitated by fish habitat destruction due to the development
of a mine in Labrador, was the creation of the Tinto Brook channel, measuring 5680 m2. The
brook was created to provide spawning and rearing habitat for brook trout. Monitoring has
shown that the created habitat is stable with adequate flows for brook trout but brook trout
abundance in the stream has been low. However, monitoring in 2009 and 2010 indicated that
brook trout may be using the brook for spawning although further monitoring is needed to
confirm and to determine abundance in the stream (Roberge and Warren In press-a).
Another stream creation project that has been shown to be very successful as spawning habitat
for landlocked salmon is Compensation Creek. This creek was engineered in Newfoundland to
create habitat for Atlantic salmon (ouananiche) and brook trout as a result of the destruction of
habitat following construction of a hydroelectric development. The creek consisted of a main
channel measuring 15 m wide by 1600 m long designed to provide spawning habitat for
ouananiche and two side channels (4.5 m wide and 400 m long and 4.5 m wide and 570 m
long), designed to provide spawning habitat for brook trout. Various studies have been
undertaken within the creek including a study on fish habitat use (Enders et al. 2007), the
benthic macroinvertebrate community (Gabriel et al. 2010), and use of the creek by spawning
ouananiche from the adjacent Meelpaeg Reservoir (Clarke In press). These studies have
shown that the creek is functioning as designed and that ouananiche from all sampled areas of
the reservoir are using the creek for spawning (unpublished data; Clarke In press).
Another study in Newfoundland showed that fish biomass could be increased in a relatively
small stream creation project. In the Seal Cove River of Newfoundland a 195 meter long portion
of river was created to compensate for the destruction of 162 meters of river for a highway
project. The newly created portion of the river was designed for brook trout with a high
pool:riffle ratio and overhead cover areas (Scruton 1996). The density and biomass of brook
trout was calculated before destruction, for several years after construction of the new habitat
(1991-1994), and then again five years later (1999), and finally again, 8 years later (2007). By
2007, 25% of the brook trout in the new habitat were longer than 150 mm while the size
distributions of trout in control streams did not change. This increased the trout biomass of the
stream considerably (Clarke In press).
Another study in British Columbia found that artificial side channels provided rearing habitat for
young Coho salmon although benefits to salmon were increased in side channels with upwelling
groundwater and the authors stressed the importance of routine maintenance (i.e. removal of
beaver dams, removal of excessive vegetation growth) in order to ensure continued
effectiveness. Eight of ten constructed side channels functioned as designed with four
functioning very well and supporting large numbers of fish (Cooperman et al. 2006). An earlier
study also indicated the abundance of Coho salmon in these types of constructed streams was
strongly dependent on the availability of instream cover (Sheng et al. 1990).
Many projects involving aquatic habitat creation lack follow-up study and often data is not
published or published documents are difficult to find. There are very few comprehensive
reviews or meta-analyses available on the effectiveness of creating fish habitat. Wilders and
Lirette (1994) state that several artificial streams were created in British Columbia to provide
spawning habitat for salmonids but do not provide references, only referring to personal
communication. They report on inconclusive results of the use of an artificial spawning channel
at Sheridan Lake, B.C. to provide habitat for spawning rainbow trout (Wilders and Lirette 1994).
Bradford et al. (In press) point to the importance of long-term monitoring in restoration and
creation projects, due to deterioration of man-made structures over time and changes to artificial
habitats such as infilling due to sedimentation. Hartman and Miles (2001) surveyed regional
DFO staff in British Columbia to determine the success of spawning channel creation and
enhancement to existing inlets and outlets for spawning by rainbow trout and found that 63% of
the projects had limited or no success and 37% had moderate or outstanding success. For 10%
of the projects there was insufficient information to determine success or failure.
Wetland Habitat Creation
Wetland habitat creation projects have been undertaken many times, particularly in the United
States, although most reported studies of wetland creation focus on wetland function or habitat
creation for birds or other species, rather than directly examining the impacts of wetland
creation on fish or fish productivity. Smokorowski et al. (1998) reviewed projects involving the
creation of new wetlands and found that most studies involved pond excavation and planting of
macrophytes and quantitative fish surveys were usually not undertaken. Frisk et al. (2011),
however, published results of one study in Delaware Bay estuary where wetland habitat creation
involved increasing total marsh area by 3% and this created habitat was calculated via
modelling to have increased the total biomass of the ecosystem by 47t/km2/year. Gains were
species specific but most species did show biomass gains with several fish species showing
large gains including menhaden, striped bass, and bay anchovy.
In some cases, wetland restoration can be combined with fish habitat creation. One example is
the restoration of a salt marsh in California that included the creation of artificial pools to
enhance food supply for fishes. These pools quickly developed an invertebrate food supply for
fishes that exceeded the abundance of invertebrates in natural pools. The authors conclude
that these types of created pools can help support fish populations in restored marshes (Larkin
et al. 2009). Similarly, in Delaware Bay, a marsh (once a salt-hay farm bordering the bay)
restored in 1996 had greater numbers of striped bass that a reference marsh by 1998, although
food habits and utilization of connecting creeks was similar (Tupper and Able 2000). Williams
and Zedler (1999) compared fish assemblages in estuarine channels in four constructed and
four natural marshes San Diego Bay, California and found indicators that physical channel
characteristics were more important in determining fish use than restoration status (channel
age). Fish were found to rapidly colonize newly created channels and no effect of channel age
was found on fish density.
In contrast, another study of salt marsh creation in North Carolina found that, after three years
of monitoring, the created marsh had a much lower abundance of mummichog (Fundulus
heteroclitus) than natural marshes in the area, possibly due to less protective cover or lack of
spawning areas in the new marsh. The authors provide some methods to improve the created
salt marsh for fish but point out that natural salt marshes cannot be replaced by new marsh
creation, at least not without considerable time lags (Moy and Levin 1991). An estuarine
restoration study in the Campbell River estuary on Vancouver Island, designed to create a
networks of channels for juvenile salmonids, also found a considerable time lag for created sites
to reach the level of vegetation in reference sites, consisting of seven to thirteen years (Bradford
et al. In press).
There are several terms used in the literature with respect to stocking including re-stocking and
stock enhancement. Stock enhancement or supportive breeding is defined as the augmentation
of a natural supply of juveniles to increase the productivity of a wild population to overcome a
recruitment limitation. Re-stocking is the release of artificially-reared juveniles into a wild
population to help restore depleted spawning biomass to a level where it can provide regular,
sustainable yields (Bartley and Bell 2008). In some cases, stocking is used to create a put-andtake fishery. Since the early 20th century, stocking has been used as a method to increase
fishery yields and boost declining fish stocks worldwide (Buhle et al. 2009). In recent years,
however, stocking has been shown to have negative impacts and its use is becoming
Stocked fish can have negative impacts on wild populations by reducing the reproductive fitness
of wild populations through breeding. The genetic diversity of wild populations can be
homogenized by breeding with artificially reared individuals and this can impact the resiliency of
the wild population to environmental changes (Hess et al. 2012). In Australia, endangered
eastern freshwater cod (Maccullochella ikei) showed a 21% loss in heterozygosity and 24%
decline in allelic richness compared to historic levels, mainly as a result of a hatchery breeding
program used to help re-establish and supplement remnant populations (Nock et al. 2011).
These genetic impacts are of particular concern for rare and endangered species.
Hatchery-reared juveniles often have lower survival, lower reproductive fitness, or lower
reproductive success than their wild counterparts or they may reduce the survival of wild fish
through competition or increased predator abundances. Fleming and Gross (1992) found that
wild and hatchery-raised Coho salmon behaved differently and showed physiological
differences during spawning, with hatchery males being less active and less aggressive than
wild males, and hatchery females having lower fecundity but larger egg size than wild females.
These differences can result in lower reproductive potential in hatchery fish. In another study,
four Atlantic salmon populations showed moderate to high levels of genetic admixture (12 to 60
%) with hatchery fish following stocking. This admixture can result in a loss in fitness and in
local adaptations in wild fish. Simulation models show that stocked fish had a 10-25 times lower
survival than wild fish (Perrier et al. 2013). Negative impacts of stocking have been shown in
many other studies on various fish species including Atlantic salmon, brook trout, brown trout,
steelhead trout, rainbow trout, Coho salmon and other Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.)
(Buhle et al. 2009, Pine et al. 2009, Araki and Schmid 2010, Anderson et al. 2013).
Some stocking and enhancement programs have shown mixed results. An enhancement
program for Atlantic salmon in Northern Ireland conducted from 1996-2005 significantly
enhanced smolt recruitment but the biological quality of individuals resulting from the stocking
activities were inferior to wild fish. Stocked 1+ year smolts were lighter than their wild
counterparts and smolts derived from hatchery-fry tended to run earlier than wild smolts.
Smaller smolts have lower marine survival rates and earlier running smolts may undergo
transition to saltwater outside the optimal time period again adding to decreased survival.
Overall, for this program, marine survival of stocked smolts has continued to decrease and thus,
adult returns have not increased (Kennedy et al. 2012).
Widespread hatchery programs have been used in the 1980s and 1990s in an attempt to
restore stocks of Pacific salmon in western North America. Impacts of recent reductions
(1990s) in Coho salmon stocking on the Oregon coast were examined by Buhle et al. (2009)
and they found that salmon productivity (in the absence of harvest), improved when the density
of hatchery-origin fish declined (including hatchery fish spawning as adults and hatchery smolts
released into rivers). Poor ocean conditions combined with high rates of stocking had the most
negative impacts on wild salmon productivity. Rather than stocking, the authors suggest that
reducing other threats to salmon such as reducing harvest rates and restoring habitats may be
more effective at increasing salmon populations.
The authors do point out, however, that supplementation hatcheries, which they state are
designed to integrate both wild and captive-reared animals, may help minimize some of the
negative impacts of stocking found in their study. This is in keeping with the findings of Hess et
al. (2012) who used molecular markers to track two generations of Chinook salmon (wild and
hatchery-reared) breeding in the Columbia River in Idaho and found that for salmon that
reproduced, there was no significant difference in the reproductive success of hatchery or wild
salmon. Hatchery fish produced more adult offspring and adult grand-offspring than wild fish.
The authors concluded that the supportive breeding program, which used local, wild-origin
broodstock, did successfully boost population size without significant impact to the fitness of
wild salmon.
Araki et al. (2007a) also found that steelhead from a supplementation hatchery (reared in
hatchery but allowed to spawn in wild) had the same reproductive success of wild fish.
However, fish from a traditional hatchery (nonlocal broodstock, raised for multiple generations in
captivity) spawning in the same river had significantly lower fitness than wild fish. As well,
crosses between traditional and supplementation hatchery fish also had lower fitness than
expected. Araki et al. (2007b) also found that the reproductive fitness of hatchery-reared
steelhead trout allowed to spawn in the wild declined approximately 40% per captive –reared
generation in the Hood River in Oregon.
Araki and Schmid (2010) reviewed 266 scientific studies on hatchery stocking to determine if
stocking is helpful or harmful. They divided the studies into categories including ecological
studies on fitness and genetic studies on fitness. Of 18 ecological studies that compared
hatchery and wild stocks and addressed fitness effects, 11 showed negative impacts of
hatchery rearing on fitness, 9 out of those 11 suggested that stocked fish had lower survival or
higher susceptibility to predation, and three studies implied that hatchery fish had lower
breeding success, lower growth rates or behaved differently than wild fish. Three studies
indicated positive impacts of stocking and included species such as Atlantic cod (positive
impacts in 6 of 16 population samples), steelhead trout, and European lobster. There were 21
genetic studies that compared hatchery and wild stocks and addressed effects on fitness. Of
these studies, 12 showed negative impacts of hatchery rearing on the fitness of hatchery fish
with 8 studies suggesting hatchery fish have lower reproductive success and 4 studies
suggesting that hatchery fish have lower survival than their wild counterparts. Six studies did
not find any negative fitness impacts of stocking however there were very few studies that
indicated hatchery stocking enhanced wild stocks.
On the other hand, there are some studies that have shown stocking to be beneficial or found
no negative impacts of stocking. For example, in a series of interconnected lakes in Australia,
regulated for irrigation purposes, stocking significantly increased the abundance of adult golden
perch to support recreational fishing (Hunt et al. 2010). Another study in Washington found no
significant difference in breeding success between wild and hatchery Chinook salmon males
after one generation in the hatchery, at least in an experimental artificial stream setting,
although wild males were found to be more aggressive (Schroder et al. 2010).
Should managers choose to consider stocking as a means to boost fish populations, Araki and
Schmid (2010) recommend that genetic sampling be undertaken before, during and after
stocking to ensure that the reproductive contribution of stocked fish can be determined.
Managers need to know what factors are limiting a population prior to undertaking a stocking
program and should be able to reasonably predict the ecosystem impacts of a stocking program
on other aquatic species (Bartley and Bell 2008). Stocking programs should consider:
management objectives (increase harvest, increase productivity, maintain populations,
etc.) (Aprahamian et al. 2003);
cost:benefit analyses – cost of stocking activities versus benefit to wild fish stocks or
availability or surplus of wild spawning adults to obtain broodstock or knowledge of the
genetic origin of other broodstock material (Kennedy et al. 2012);
possible fitness and genetic impacts on wild fish (Araki and Schmid 2010);
density-dependent impacts on juveniles (Vincenzi et al. 2012);
predation of juveniles;
predator population dynamics and activity periods;
timing of release of stocked fry or smolts;
stocking fed versus unfed fry (Kennedy et al. 2012)
methods and locations of release of stocked fish (Thorstad et al. 2012);
quantities of released fish (Aprahamian et al. 2003);
availability of habitats for increased fish numbers, especially juvenile and spawning
food availability;
impacts on other species (in one study, stocked fish resulted in lower mercury levels of
sport fish (walleye) in reservoirs (Lepak et al. 2012)).
If hatchery fish are released into habitats where the existing/wild population is at or near its
carrying capacity (food or habitats may be limiting a population) the benefits of the release will
be greatly diminished. As well, if released fish are immediately destroyed by predators or
compete with wild stocks for limited resources then stocking is not effective (Bartley and Bell
2008). Due to the negative and mixed impacts of stocking, it should not be undertaken without
thorough study of the fish population, the ecosystem impacts, and careful consideration of the
stocking and rearing techniques to be used.
DFO reports in Canada’s Policy for Conservation of Wild Atlantic Salmon that governmentowned hatcheries were once used in Newfoundland, the Maritimes and Québec to augment
production of salmon for enhanced economic returns in the commercial and recreational
fisheries. These practices were ended by DFO in the 1990s and any remaining facilities now
focus on maintaining genetic diversity in populations listed as ‘endangered’ under the Species
At Risk Act or those that are at risk of extirpation in the near future (DFO 2009). In the Pacific
region, the Salmonid Enhancement Program which began in 1977 has been used to enhance
Pacific salmon populations through natural and artificial enhancement techniques. Due to the
known risks of using hatcheries to enhance salmon stocks, SEP has developed guidelines and
annual planning processes to manage spawning and hatchery practices to maintain genetic
diversity and minimize impacts to wild fish. In addition, all fish movements are reviewed and
licenced under Section 55/56 of the Fishery (General) Regulations (DFO 2005).
In some cases, fish species are introduced to new waters, in an attempt to create a new fishery,
enhance existing fisheries, or increase the population size of a species by placing them in
previously fishless waters. Studies of these types of translocations have shown that populations
are able to establish in new waters but there has been little study of the impacts of these
species on the rest of the ecosystem (Vincenzi et al. 2012). Some researchers suggest that
introductions or translocations should not ever occur due to uncertainty of the impacts,
especially under changing climatic conditions (Ricciardi and Simberloff 2009). In a review by
Kerr and Grant (2000) on the impacts of fish introductions in Ontario, several potential negative
impacts of introductions or translocations on wild fish were listed. These included:
increased predation;
introduction of diseases and parasites;
change in the genetics of wild population;
changes to fish community composition and dynamics;
impacts to other aquatic flora and fauna;
habitat alteration;
behavioural and physiological changes in other species.
Despite these potential impacts, numerous translocations of various fish species have occurred
and have been deemed successful (from a fishery perspective) by managers. Hartman and
Miles (2001) report that rainbow trout were translocated into hundreds of barren lakes in British
Columbia, although few records were kept in the past. Translocations have occurred all over
North America including Labrador. Due to two different development projects in Labrador,
several lakes were destroyed, and to compensate for the loss of fish habitat, fish were
translocated into previously fishless lakes. Extensive surveys were conducted prior to fish
transfer to ensure the receiving lake was suitable for fish and provided all necessary habitats for
all life stages (Roberge and Warren In press-b). In one example, brook trout and lake chub were
translocated from Hakim Lake (destroyed) into fishless White Lake. Additional spawning and
rearing habitat was created at a pond outflow for brook trout. Fish were translocated in 2003
and monitoring using a variety of metrics was undertaken until 2010. Population estimates of
lake chub in 2008 showed that the population was sustaining in White Lake, while the brook
trout populations had increased in size. In the second example from Labrador, brook trout and
Arctic charr were translocated from Headwater Pond into Pond 61 (part of the same watershed).
The transfer took place in 2004 with monitoring to occur until 2014. As of 2010, Arctic charr
showed considerable increase in population size while the brook trout population decreased
dramatically following transfer with a subsequent increase by 2010. Further monitoring will
indicate the status of the brook trout population (Roberge and Warren In press-b).
Another translocation study was conducted in an effort to boost Marble trout populations; a
species of conservation concern in Slovenia. Trout were translocated into previously fishless
streams within the native habitat range of the species. Monitoring of the translocated
populations over 15 years has shown that trout successfully reproduce within the streams. The
populations are also thought to be fairly resilient to extinction although they are impacted by
severe flood events (Vincenzi et al. 2012).
Other translocations have involved American eels, which have been translocated into the upper
St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario from sites in the Maritimes, as there have been significant
declines in American eel recruitment in these areas. Although rates of dispersal and survival of
these elvers is unknown, they have been shown to disperse around Lake Ontario, move
downstream and were shown to have rapid growth rates. Further monitoring is needed to
ensure these translocated eels do not negatively impact naturally migrating eels (particularly
large, fecund females) that migrate into Lake Ontario. As well, monitoring is needed to
determine if these eels will successfully initiate spawning migration with naturally migrating eels
(Pratt and Threader 2011). Earlier research, by Verreault et al.(2010) indicated that
translocated American eels began silvering and out-migrating to the St. Lawrence River from
the Richelieu River (500 km upstream) within four years of stocking, indicating that this may be
possible in other locations as well.
Chemical additions to aquatic habitat in the form of nutrients (e.g. fertilizers, carcasses) can be
used as a method to boost primary productivity and ultimately, boost fish productivity. Adding
nutrients may be a viable method of increasing productivity, particularly in oligotrophic lakes and
rivers or in regulated rivers where man-made structures block nutrients from flowing
downstream (Stockner and Macisaac 1996) or hydraulic alterations affect nutrient dynamics
(Matzinger et al. 2007).
Pacific salmon spawn in streams, rivers and lakes and juveniles rear in lakes and streams for
0-2 years before heading to sea. Pacific salmon die after spawning and their carcasses provide
marine-derived nutrients (MDN) to generally nutrient-poor freshwater lakes and rivers. These
nutrients are taken up by riparian and aquatic vegetation, contribute to phytoplankton growth,
and contribute to the growth and survival of subsequent salmon generations (Helfield and
Naiman 2001). Salmon carcasses in rivers have been shown to increase the fork lengths of the
following generation of juvenile salmon and up to 40% of the carbon in a juvenile smolt has
been shown to be derived from MDN (Gresh et al. 2000). A positive-feedback mechanism
exists between salmon adults, riparian vegetation, and salmon egg and fry survival. Nutrients
from adult salmon spawning contribute to riparian forest growth which further improves
spawning habitat by stabilizing habitat, filtering sediment, providing allocthonous organic matter,
and contributing to the deposit of large woody debris (Helfield and Naiman 2001). Due to
significant declines in returns of Pacific salmon in Canada and the US, there have been
substantial declines in the amount of nutrients transported to freshwater lakes and rivers,
resulting in lower quality conditions for juvenile salmon and potentially smaller sized juveniles
with lower survival rates.
As a result of this situation, fishery managers have added nutrients to freshwater lakes and
rivers to enhance salmon populations. In British Columbia, from 1976 to the late 80s, Fisheries
and Oceans Canada added nutrients once per week throughout the growing season (5 months)
to 20 sockeye salmon nursery lakes. A study published in 1996 showed that there was
increased bacteria activity and abundance in the lakes, picoplankton and phytoplankton
abundances increased significantly, and primary production and zooplankton biomass doubled
in some lakes. Smolt weights of juveniles increased more than 60% and juveniles showed
increased survival (Stockner and Macisaac 1996). Fertilization of the Keogh River in British
Columbia with nitrogen and phosphorus from 1983 to 1986 resulted in 1.4 to 2.0-fold increases
in the weight of steelhead trout and coho salmon fry and increases in the size of fry (Johnston et
al. 1990). A review of fertilization impacts on sockeye salmon nursery lakes published in 2004
revealed that all reviewed studies involving whole-lake fertilization showed increased chlorophyll
a concentrations, zooplankton biomass, and average smolt weights. Four of four studies
showed increased egg-to-smolt survival, three of three showed increased smolt-to-adult
survival, and eleven of thirteen showed increased smolt biomass (Hyatt et al. 2004).
Several studies have explored the use of salmon carcass analogs to enrich oligotrophic waters.
Carcass analogs are generally pellet-shaped dried, ground and pasteurized salmon carcasses
that may be combined with other ingredients such as marine fish bone meal (Pearsons et al.
2007, Kohler et al. 2012). They can be added to waterways where they sink to the bottom and
are eaten or dissolve. One study in the Columbia River basin, in Washington, Oregon and
Idaho, used salmon carcass analogs to enrich 15 streams from August to October, resulting in
significant increases in periphyton crop, macroinvertebrate density, salmonid growth rates and
stomach fullness measures. The amount of carcass analogs added to the streams was based
on target carcass levels from earlier studies. The authors found no increase in dissolved
nutrient levels during the study period which differs from studies that have added full carcasses
to waterways. It may have been that the biological demand for nutrients was so high it
exceeded the supply. The authors also point out that both entire salmon carcass additions to
waterways, as well as carcass analogs, do not provide all the benefits that come from natural
salmon spawning and decomposing in streams. They stress that further research is needed on
the impacts of carcass and carcass analog additions to streams and that restoring natural
spawning cycles should be the ultimate goal of any restoration (Kohler et al. 2012).
Despite successes with nutrient additions, there can be negative impacts. Fertilization can
increase the growth of blue green algae or ungrazeable diatoms (such as Rhizosolenia eriensis)
which absorb much of the nutrients resulting in decreased volume of grazeable diatoms. There
can be an increase in competition causing an increase in non-targeted species (for example,
mysids and sticklebacks have been shown to compete with salmon for resources). There can
be variability in the impact of fertilization depending on lake size, depth, and turnover time (Hyatt
et al. 2004). Only a tiny proportion of the fertilizer added to a lake makes its way to the target
fish in the food chain, resulting in potentially high expense for minimal gain. For example, as
reported in Hyatt et al. (2004), during fertilizer additions to Woss Lake, BC in 2000-2003, it was
estimated that it cost approximately $200 for each kilogram of enhanced sockeye smolt
production. Most nutrient addition-related problems can be minimized with appropriate use and
timing of limiting nutrients (controlling nitrogen vs. phosphorous), monitoring, predator control of
non-target species, and determining the factors limiting the target fish population prior to taking
action. It should be noted however, that nutrient enrichment through addition of fertilizers is not
self-sustaining and in most cases the benefits of nutrient enrichment cease immediately or
within a few years after fertilization is stopped (Findlay and Kasian 1987, Mills and Chalanchuk
1987, Shearer et al. 1987).
In contrast to nutrient additions to oligotrophic waters, many restoration projects seek to reduce
impacts of human-induced eutrophication of waters. Countless studies illustrate the negative
impacts of eutrophication on aquatic ecosystems including algal blooms, reductions in fitness of
aquatic organisms including fish, corals (Vermeij et al. 2010), and other species (Kraufvelin et
al. 2006), hypoxia (Diaz and Rosenberg 2011), extinction of submerged aquatic plants, loss of
sea grass beds (Cardoso et al. 2004), loss of biodiversity, loss of water clarity and quality,
ecosystem instability and loss of complexity (Qin et al. 2013). Reducing or eliminating nutrient
inputs can help halt the process of eutrophication. Several studies have found, however, that
ecosystems are very slow to respond after nutrient additions from pollution sources have been
removed and some may never return to historical conditions even with further intensive
restoration action (Bachmann et al. 1999, Lappalainen and Pesonen 2000, Hilt et al. 2010,
Jarvie et al. 2013). Other studies, however, have shown that significant improvements can be
made to water quality and progress can be made toward reducing eutrophication. For example,
nutrient loads in Tampa Bay, Florida resulted in the loss of half the seagrass habitat in the bay
since 1950. A restoration program was implemented in the mid-1990s focused on reducing
nutrient inputs to the bay and restoring seagrass beds. Industrial and agricultural partners were
heavily involved in developing a multi-partner strategy for reducing nutrient loads throughout the
bay and targets were set for nitrogen loading and chlorophyll a concentrations. Progress has
been shown in reducing nutrients and targets are met in most years. As of 2006, the amount of
seagrass in the bay has increased by 25% (Greening and Janicki 2006).
Phosphorous reduction programs in Lake Erie have shown that fish communities have
responded to improved water quality. Phosphorous abatement programs started in 1969 and by
the 1990s, several fish species tolerant of a eutrophic environment (such as brown bullhead,
common carp, channel catfish) had declined and intolerant species (such as rock bass,
smallmouth bass) had increased in abundance (Ludsin et al. 2001).
Other methods to reduce the impacts of eutrophication can supplement nutrient reductions. In
Chesapeake Bay researchers have examined using oysters to help reduce the impacts of
eutrophication by reducing phytoplankton although improvements have been variable and
models indicate that very high oyster biomass is required to achieve appreciable improvement
in water quality (Fulford et al. 2007, Fulford et al. 2010). Coastal wetland restoration has been
used to increase denitrification and retain phosphorous in an effort to minimize nutrient additions
to coastal waters. However, nitrogen and phosphorous cycling is complex and some
researchers indicate that there needs to be a better understanding of these processes before
using wetland restoration to try to reverse eutrophication (Ardon et al. 2010). Wave barriers
designed parallel to the shore to protect areas of calm water and support macrophyte growth
have been suggested to improve water quality conditions in a large, shallow lake subject to high
levels of re-suspended sediments in Florida (Bachmann et al. 1999).
Hypolimnetic withdrawal treatments have been shown to be successful in reducing nutrient
levels in thermally stratified lakes. In this method, nutrient rich bottom water from the
hypolimnion is removed via a pump. In many cases withdrawn water is treated like wastewater
to prevent contaminating downstream waters. This generally cost-effective method of lake
restoration is common in Europe and used occasionally in North America. A summary of the
impacts of hypolimnetic withdrawal impacts across Europe and North America showed that this
method effectively improves water quality by reducing epilimnetic and hypolimnetic
phosphorous and chlorophyll concentrations, reducing anoxia, and improving Secchi disk
transparency. Impacts vary by lake characteristics, hydrology, and timing of treatment
(Nurnberg 2007).
Increasing the pH of acidic lakes and streams is another restoration method that can be
effective at reducing the impacts of acid deposition and thereby improving fish productivity.
Many fish species are sensitive to low pH levels, including species such as lake trout which
suffer reproductive failure if lake pH drops below 5.4-5.6 (Gunn and Mills 1998). When SO2
levels from local smelters were reduced in an acidified lake in Canada, Whitepine Lake, lake pH
increased naturally above 5.5 and the lake trout population increased in abundance. However,
examples of natural recovery of populations are not common and two other acid-sensitive
species (burbot and white sucker) in the lake have not recovered to the same extent. Acid
neutralization can increase overall water pH levels in lakes or streams via the addition of lime in
various forms. Gunn and Mills (1998) provide several examples of lakes in Canada which have
shown considerable improvement in lake trout or zooplankton abundance through liming. The
extent of impacts varies depending on a variety of limnological and biological factors including
characteristics of the target fish species, community composition, flushing rate, and dissolved
organic carbon in the waterbody.
Angeler and Goedkoop (2010) state that almost all studies of the effects of liming show that
communities resulting from liming are not stable and there is often a return to an acidified state
when liming is discontinued. They found less food web complexity and fewer associations
between functional feeding groups in lakes subject to liming compared to other lakes.
Therefore, liming applications may require long-term maintenance and this may make it a less
attractive restoration option than other methods.
Fisheries Protection Practitioners across Canada have a wealth of knowledge and experience in
developing and studying fish habitat compensation projects under the Fisheries Act. As stated
in the introduction, many of these projects can be considered to offset impacts to fish and fish
habitat and provide important precedents for operational implementation of the altered Fisheries
Act. In an effort to collect information on the experiences of FPP staff, and determine their
experience with both projects deemed to be successful and unsuccessful from a fisheries
perspective, FPP staff in all regions were sent a brief questionnaire to provide information on
projects that impacted fish productivity.
The following questions were asked to staff:
1) In your experience with fish habitat compensation under the 1986 Policy for the
Management of Fish Habitat and the Fisheries Act, what compensation projects do you
think have been most successful and least successful in your region? Describe the
project(s), why it was needed (what were the impacts to fish habitat?), and why it was
considered successful or unsuccessful
a) What were the indicators of success or failure for the project (i.e. what was
measured – habitat stability, fish abundance, etc.)?
b) Was the productivity of fish or fish habitat or a surrogate for fish productivity such as
biomass, abundance, or reproductive success measured as part of the project(s)? If
not, why?
c) What was the time period for monitoring the project? Why was this period of time
deemed appropriate?
d) Were any publicly-available documents or data published as a result of the
project(s)? Please provide references.
e) Could the project outcome have been improved through modification in design,
timing, etc.?
Responses to the questionnaire, along with findings of related publications, were summarized in
Table 1 below. Complete questionnaire responses are included in Appendix I. Table 2
includes examples of each of the major categories of offset techniques described in this report.
These examples are from Canadian locations although not all studies in Table 2 were fish
habitat compensation projects.
Table 1. Examples of fish habitat compensation (FHC) projects across Canada. Further information can be found in Appendix I.
Project and Location
Type of loss
(species and
FHC Works
Key Metrics
Time before
effect shown
intertidal marsh
Atagi Wharf
estuary, Pacific
Road stabilization,
Lardeau River, BC
stability, square area,
survival and growth of
created intertidal
3 years of
indicators of
success after 1
Riverine, rainbow
trout feeding,
rearing, spawning,
kokanee rearing
Side channel
access, shear log
intake structure
Juvenile rearing and
adult enumeration plus
wetted usable area
5 years
One year
Yes to date.
monitoring of
to continue
White sturgeon,
rainbow trout,
whitefish feeding and
riverine, Arctic
grayling spawning
Flow management
Habitat wetted area,
PHABSIM, Habitat
Suitability Indices
5 years before,
10 years more
Immediate –
dry to wet
Central and
BC Hydro, Columbia
Water Use Plan,
Revelstoke Minimum
Flow Management
Ekati Diamond Mine,
Northwest Territories
compared to
growth rates of
grayling, temperature
and flow, fish
abundance, stability of
10 years (full
followed by
several years
indicators of
success within
3 years
Central and
Oil Sands, Jackpine
Mine, Alberta
riverine and
lacustrine, multiple
lake creation
35 years
Central and
Bridge Construction,
Winnipeg River
riverine, lake
sturgeon and other
rocky shoal
stratified fish sampling,
habitat evaluation, fish
species biomass per
unit area,
measurement of
physical variables
fish abundance
2 years
No effect
stream creation
Main reason for
considering this
a success or
created intertidal
marsh functioning
as intended (key
metrics have been
Stream functioning
as designed,
allows fish
migration, and
provides spawning
and nursery
habitat for species
of interest
Currently 32%
increase in wetted
Case Study
Brian Naito Assessor
Tola Coopper
indicators of
success but
time lags
evident; lower
than reference
streams, less
and organic
inputs to
stream, less
TBD Monitoring
stream functioning
as designed,
allows fish
migration, and
provides spawning
and nursery
habitat for grayling
Jones et al. 2008
NA - Ongoing
Marek Janowicz
Unknown assessment
not sufficient
No increase in fish
abundance; may
be due to failure of
project or
Todd Schartz FPP
Tola Coopper
Project and Location
Type of loss
(species and
FHC Works
Pike and
Key Metrics
Time before
effect shown
Central and
Causeway Construction,
Lac Seul, northwestern
lacustrine, pike and
other cyprinids
Baie de Plaisance,
Magdalen Islands
Destruction and
deterioration of
marine coastal
creation of fish
nursery channels
in a peat bog
linked to Lac Seul
Creation of habitat
bank- construction
of 8 artificial reefs
Nicolet River
Yellow perch,
northern pike, brown
bullhead and
cyprinids feeding and
growing habitat
Ile du Milieu, Berthierville
presence of cyprinids
in channel
presence of lobster of
different developmental
3 years
weir and culvert
construction to
provide access
and maintain water
stability of structures,
permanent water
maintenance, fish use
of channel
3 monitoring
periods over 5
Destruction and
deterioration of
feeding and
migration habitat,
multiple species
marsh habitat,
installation of
control structure to
maintain specific
flood level
fish use of marsh,
ability of fish to clear
structures during
flooding and low water
3 years
St. Maurice River
smallmouth bass
breeding habitat,
white sucker
spawning shoal,
white sucker
spawning habitat
Creation of
spawning habitat
size, integrity and
characteristics of
spawning habitat;
number of spawner
3 monitoring
periods over 5
and settlement
were seen
after first year
of monitoring
After the first
year, fishes
used the
channel for
nursery and
After the first
year of
monitoring, it
that all
were achieved
Some eggs
were observed
after the first
year of
Bonaventure Barachois,
creation of
eelgrass bed
survival rate of
transplanted eelgrass
two monitoring
periods over
three years
Manouane River
Destruction and
deterioration of
marine coastal
Loss of spawning
habitat, Ouananiche
creation of rearing
habitat by weir
presence of target
species, no stranding,
size, stability and
characteristics of
created habitat
5 years with
additional 3
years due to
problems with
Petit Pabos River,
Destruction of
feeding area –
frequented areas for
forage species
improved brook
trout passage and
spawning and
rearing habitat
brook trout
physical characteristics
of habitat, free
passage of brook trout,
fish use of habitat
3 monitoring
periods over 4
Main reason for
considering this
a success or
use of channels by
young cyprinids
Case Study
Neville Ward FPP
all stages of
lobster were found
after three years of
Gendron et al.
(in prep)
structures are
stable, maintaining
water, 20 fish
species captured
in channel
Reports from
consultants firms
fish use of marsh
Reports from
consultants firms
Spawning habitat
is stable and
meets size
increased number
of spawner nests
compared to
baseline data
less than 25%
eelgrass survival
Reports from
Reports from
consultants firms
Issues with silting
causing aquatic
plants not to
establish and
limiting fry access
to the
beavers created
barriers to fish
corrective actions
were unsuccessful
Reports from
Reports from
consultants firms
Project and Location
Type of loss
(species and
FHC Works
Southern Gulf of St.
artificial reefs
Rock reef study,
compensation for
multiple projects in
eastern NS - Inner
Sambro Island and Cook
Typical nearshore
marine habitat, rocky
intertidal, subtidal
mud, multiple
artificial rock pile
Cheverie Creek, Hants
County, Nova Scotia
Creation of habitat
bank – typical
nearshore marine
habitat, multiple
replacement of
undersized culvert,
marsh restoration
(increased from
5.4 to 43.08 ha),
Walton River
Creation of habitat
bank – typical
wetland habitat loss
water control
structure removal
and dyke breach to
restore tidal flow to
salt marsh
& Labrador
Rose Blanche
Development, southwest
coast of Newfoundland
riverine, salmonid
spawning and
rearing habitat
creation and
enhancement of
salmonid spawning
and rearing
habitat; provision
of salmonid
& Labrador
Nugget Pond Gold Mine
and Mill, Baie Verte
Peninsula, NL
riverine and
lacustrine salmonid
Providing access
to previously
habitat by
constructing a
Key Metrics
% sunken structures,
% of lobster or lobster
structures, average
lobster density, 0-age
lobster density,
presence of other
benthic species
invertebrate biomass,
vertebrate biomass,
macroalgae biomass
9 years
2 years
Within first
year, almost
fish abundance,
benthic and
abundance, geospatial
attributes, hydrology,
vegetation, soil and
fish abundance, fish
density, benthic and
abundance, geospatial
attributes, hydrology,
vegetation, soil and
strucutural integrity of
works, fish biomass,
flows through fishway,
presence of fish above
7 years
2 years
5 to 7 years
1 year
5 years
fishway effectiveness
and hydrological
evaluations (adequate
flow maintained in
2 years
Time before
effect shown
Main reason for
considering this
a success or
increased lobster
density compared
to natural reefs
Productivity of the
rock reef
structures was
relative to three
types of adjacent
Increased relative
abundance of fish
None, though
linked to a
number of
Small Craft
Harbour files
in Eastern
Nova Scotia
Humphrey -FPP
Increase in relative
abundance of fish
higher fish density
at post-restoration
site for most years
van Proosdij et
al. 2010
3 years
Scruton et al.
2005, M.M.
salmonid biomass
channel compared
to area destroyed
and mainstem
Fishway is
structurally stable
with adequate
flows but no fish
have been
demonstrated to
use it
M.M. Roberge
Case Study
Paulette Hall,
Guy Robichaud
Bowron et al.
Table 2. Published studies of examples of each major category of offset methods described in report. Please see references for further
information and study results.
Type of
Physical Habitat
Effect of stream habitat characteristics on density of spawning
sockeye salmon in 32 lakes, British Columbia
(Braun and Reynolds 2011)
Effect of instream structures on Atlantic salmon, Newfoundland and
(De Jong et al. 1997)
Removal of natural habitat barriers in streams to provide access to
Atlantic salmon, Newfoundland and Labrador
(Mullins et al. 2003)
Impact of environmental flow release in a regulated river on
salmonid productivity, British Columbia
(Bradford et al. 2011)
Artificial stream construction, Northwest Territories
(Jones et al. 2003, Jones and
Tonn 2004a, b, Jones et al. 2008)
Stream construction, Seal Cove, Newfoundland and Labrador
(Scruton 1996)
Creation and enhancement of groundwater-fed side channels,
British Columbia
(Sheng et al. 1990, Cooperman et
al. 2006)
Evaluation of sockeye salmon hatchery fry stocking in 2 lakes,
British Columbia (and Alaska)
(Hyatt et al. 2005)
Transfer of fish into fishless lakes, Newfoundland and Labrador
(Roberge and Warren In press-b)
Transfer of American eels from Maritime locations into Lake
Ontario, Ontario
(Pratt and Threader 2011)
Nutrient Additions
Lake Enrichment Program, British Columbia
(Stockner and Macisaac 1996)
Nutrient Additions
Fertilization of sockeye salmon nursery lakes, British Columbia
(Alaska and Idaho included in review as well)
(Hyatt et al. 2004)
Restoration of
acidified lakes
Review of studies on attempts to restore lake trout in acid damaged
lakes, Ontario
(Gunn and Mills 1998)
Baseline studies that assess the factors limiting fisheries productivity in a given watershed are
critical before undertaking any program to offset or increase fishery productivity. Many
restoration projects assume food availability or spawning habitats are limited but this can be
proven not to be the case (Kauffman et al. 1997, Gutreuter 2004, Bellmore et al. 2012). In a
review of the impacts of grazing on riparian zones and fish habitat, Larsen et al. (1998) found
that the majority of studies did not provide pre-treatment data to compare to findings; did not
provide adequate information on grazing practices, and/or had weak experimental designs. In
an examination of fish habitat compensation projects in British Columbia, Bradford et al. (In
press) also found that baseline information was missing for many projects and therefore
sampling sites had to be compared to control or reference areas.
Before undertaking offsetting efforts it is important to understand:
problems facing the watershed system including the landscape practices preventing
natural recovery (Kauffman et al. 1997);
processes currently ongoing within the watershed (for example, sediment transport, issues
impacting juvenile fish survival, etc.);
processes occurring in the watershed prior to human disturbance (Kauffman et al. 1997,
Roni et al. 2008) or historic land use practices in the watershed which may still be
impacting current processes (for example, logging of a riparian zone can impact streams
for years) (Maloney et al. 2008);
natural disturbance patterns in the area such as climate patterns, flood frequency;
potential impacts to species other than the target species or target guild and;
costs and benefits of various offsetting techniques and options (Hartman 2004).
Managers must have clear goals or targets for their offsetting activities. Researchers caution
against a species-only or single-process approach to restoration as these types of restoration
actions typically fail. Instead, a watershed approach focused on restoring natural processes in a
dynamic ecosystem is more likely to be successful (Kauffman et al. 1997). Although it is often
impossible to know all the factors impacting a watershed prior to undertaking offsetting
activities, strong efforts should be made to determine as much about the watershed as possible
to better predict potential outcomes of any restoration activities.
Almost all aquatic ecosystems worldwide are impacted to some extent by human activities
(Palmer et al. 2009). All restoration actions designed to improve aquatic systems, or increase
or restore fish productivity, must consider environmental and social aspects of restoration
including continuing threats to populations, changing ocean conditions, changing weather
patterns and flood/storm frequencies, changing species range distributions, fishing and lifestyle
practices, pollution, and public interest. All of these issues have the potential to impact
restoration or offsetting activities.
Climate change in particular, can have major impacts on aquatic ecosystems and restoration
activities (Minns 2009, Palmer et al. 2009). A predicted increase in global temperature of 1.8 to
4.0 degrees Celsius will result in river and lake warming. Unique flow regimes of rivers will be
impacted by changes in discharge resulting from earlier snow melts and potentially higher
quantities of precipitation in some areas and lower quantities in others (Palmer et al. 2009).
Storms may become more severe and frequent and impacts of runoff, washouts, floods and
other disturbances may become more pronounced. Water quality may be reduced in areas with
increased turbidity and temperature. Growth and reproductive rates of fish are likely to increase
as the water warms unless thermal tolerances are exceeded. Species with good dispersal
abilities may be able to shift their ranges into more northerly areas but some may become
isolated and become extinct or be seriously impacted by changes to flows and discharge (Chu
et al. 2005, Palmer et al. 2009).
Impacts of climate change will be highly regional and even watershed-specific and this should
be considered in any offsetting plans. Battin et al. (2007) modelled the expected impacts of
climate change on Chinook salmon in a Pacific Northwest basin and found a potential strong
negative impact of climate warming on salmon populations. These impacts could be partly
ameliorated through river restoration and protection but impacts would vary from high to low
elevations. High-elevation streams are likely to be more impacted by climate change but
restoration options in these areas are limited. Therefore, the authors found that restoration
activities in lower-elevation streams would be more likely to be successful at enhancing salmon
populations over the long-term.
Invasive or non-native species can be a problem in any restoration project, and impacts may be
exacerbated by a changing climate, subsequent changes to species ranges, and increased
pressures from human development. Some studies suggest that walleye and smallmouth bass
will expand their range northward as a result of climate warming. The range expansion of these
predators may dramatically impact fish communities in new areas, and increased predation
combined with possible habitat loss due to climate change and development may drive some
fish populations to local extinction (Chu et al. 2005, Sharma et al. 2009).
Restoration activities may become more necessary in the future due to the disturbances and
changes to flows outlined above. As well, structures already in place to enhance fish habitat will
need monitoring to ensure their stability and continued functioning. Palmer et al. (2009)
recommend six major actions that should take place to minimize and ameliorate impacts of
climate change including: enhancing local monitoring, providing technical assistance at local
levels, enhancing river protection, providing further groundwater/surface water management,
initiating restoration projects prior to damage, and diversifying and replicating habitat and
populations. Mulholland et al. (1997) recommend that further research should be undertaken to
develop and test restoration strategies to counteract the impacts of climate change.
The idea of banking within the concept of offsets seeks to add a credit/debit marketing scheme
to the conservation of habitats or species whereby individuals or companies that enhance and
protect biodiversity/wetlands/habitat generate credits which can then be sold to companies to
offset impacts to biodiversity/wetlands/habitat caused by development. In some cases, banking
is considered a form of third party compensation, as the bank owner is ultimately responsible for
the continued functioning and monitoring of the bank site, rather than a developer (US
Environmental Protection Agency 2012).
There are several benefits to habitat banking such as: restoration/creation projects are
undertaken by professional ecologists and biologists rather than developers, developers do not
have to provide on-site compensation (which may be of lower quality than off-site options), costs
of habitat compensation are pre-defined and known before any habitat is damaged by
development, banking can provide for large-scale restoration projects which function better
ecologically than smaller, piecemeal projects and larger projects often have more public support
(Briggs et al. 2009). The major benefit of banking, however, is that areas are restored/created
or enhanced before habitat destruction can occur, eliminating time lags and reducing the
uncertainty that habitats will function as designed.
Several groups are involved with habitat banking including regulators, project proponents
(developers), and bank owners and each has their own role to play. Bank owners can be
private companies, consultants, or individuals that are responsible for restoring, enhancing,
creating, and preserving the bank site, as well as monitoring and maintaining the site for the
long-term. They work with regulators to determine how much credit can be offered from the
bank site (i.e. how much credit can be sold from the site), and manage the site as specified in a
formal banking agreement (SENES Consultants Limited 2013). Regulators oversee the
establishment of a bank, establish the rules for the bank, and determine how many credits can
be earned from a site and how many a bank owner can sell. They can also function as auditors
of the bank. Developers whose projects will negatively impact habitat or productivity can then
buy credits from the bank owner to offset the impacts of their project on the environment
(SENES Consultants Limited 2013).
In habitat banking, the amount of compensation credits needed to offset impacts of
development must be determined. Various metrics are used in different countries including
habitat based, population based or ecosystem based. In the United States, where wetland
mitigation is well-established, the value of credits is determined by quantifying the wetland
functions or determining the acres of wetland restored or created (US Environmental Protection
Agency 2012). Briggs et al. (2009) outline factors to be taken into account when calculating the
cost of credits including: costs of suitable land for restoration, costs of creating different habitat
types, costs of managing habitat, costs of project management and monitoring, costs of
compensation procedures, and costs of a return on investment.
There are a number of other aspects of habitat banking that will not be discussed in detail in this
report. They include developing realistic performance standards for establishing and monitoring
bank sites and ensuring bank owners and regulators have proper training in assessing
candidate sites for banking, applying appropriate field techniques, and calculating how many
credits can be sold for a given site (SENES Consultants Limited 2013). Further information can
be found in the references below.
Several detailed reports on habitat banking have been produced by DFO or prepared for DFO
by consultants. One such report called Fish Habitat Banking in Canada: Opportunities and
Challenges was completed by SENES Consultants Limited in 2011 (Hunt et al. 2011). This
document provides an overview of habitat banking in Canada and other countries and includes
case studies from Canada and the United States. A report of a summary of a workshop on the
application of habitat conservation banking in Ontario for offsets under the Fisheries Act is also
available for further information (SENES Consultants Limited 2013), as is a report on a habitat
conservation banking workshop in Ottawa (SENES Consultants Limited 2012).
Several countries have habitat banking or similar-type policies and legislation in place and some
of these are summarized below.
Mitigation Banking
Under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, as well as under the 1989 No Net Loss Policy for
Wetlands, any development that infills or destroys wetlands must compensate for these impacts
by creating, enhancing, restoring, or in some cases preserving, another wetland. One of the
methods to ensure no net loss of wetlands is through mitigation banking. Mitigation banks are
well established in the United States and involve multiple federal organizations including the
Environmental Protection Agency, the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Fish and Wildlife
Service, National Resources Conservation Service, and the National Marine Fisheries Service.
Credit values are based on the rarity of the banked resource (i.e. wetland or stream) and
therefore, a higher market price is required for wetlands in areas with high development
pressures and few options for compensation (Hunt et al. 2011). The value of a bank is defined
at the number of credits they have available for sale. As of 2005, USACE estimated that there
were a total of 450 approved mitigation banks in the US, with a further 198 in the proposal stage
(US Environmental Protection Agency 2012).
Mitigation banks are found to be the most reliable form of compensation for wetlands in the US
and thus the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2007 identified mitigation banking
as the “preferred mechanism for offsetting unavoidable wetland impacts associated with Corps
Civil Works projects”. The Act states that "in carrying out a water resources project that
involves wetlands mitigation and that has impacts that occur within the service area of a
mitigation bank, the Secretary [of the Army], where appropriate, shall first consider the use of
the mitigation bank if the bank contains sufficient available credits to offset the impact" (US
Environmental Protection Agency 2012).
Conservation Banking
Conservation banks are based on the idea of mitigation banks but were created to preserve
existing habitats for species under the United States Endangered Species Act. The US Fish
and Wildlife Service (USFWS) define conservation banks as “permanently protected lands that
contain natural resource values. These lands are conserved and permanently managed for
species that are endangered, threatened, candidates for listing, or are otherwise species-atrisk”. In 2003, the USFWS released federal guidelines to promote conservation banks as a tool
for mitigating negative impacts to species. The guidelines are designed to standardize the
establishment and operation of conservation banks nationally (US Fish and Wildlife Service
In a 2005 review of conservation banking in the US, it was reported that conservation credits
ranged in price from $3000 to $125,000/per acre (Fox and Nino-Murcia 2005). Hunt et al.
(2011) reported that in 2009, there were 77 active, 20 pending and 19 sold out conservation
banks in the United States. Due to the fact that conservation banks are designed to protect
existing habitat, they can be heavily criticized as habitat losses still occur as a result of
development (Hunt et al. 2011).
Biobanking (New South Wales)
In an effort to help address the loss of biodiversity and threatened species, the Biodiversity
Banking and Offsets Scheme (BioBanking) was created by the New South Wales Department of
Environment and Climate Change (DECC) under the Threatened Species Conservation Act
1995 (DECC 2007). In biobanking, landowners can establish biobank sites by carrying out
management actions, specified in a formal banking agreement, which are expected to improve
biodiversity over time. Credits are issued for approved biobank sites and these credits can be
sold to offsets impacts to biodiversity. The value of credits is determined by the DECC using a
Biobanking Assessment Methodology and Credit Calculator that takes into account site and
landscape factors. Some payments to owners of biobank sites are managed by a Biobanking
Trust Fund, which invests funds deposited through the sale of biobanking credits, and then
these funds, along with investment earnings, are used to make payments to the biobank owner
to manage the site over time. In biobanking, there is a need to demonstrate that biodiversity
can be “improved or maintained” despite the development. The DECC reports that a
compliance program will ensure that biobank sites are managed appropriately (DECC 2007).
BushBroker (Victoria)
Bushbroker is a form of banking to offset impacts to vegetation in the state of Victoria.
Landowners can improve the quality or quantity of native vegetation and generate credits which
can be sold to companies who wish to clear vegetation for development. The Department of
Sustainability and Environment (DSE) maintains a Native Vegetation Register of approved
credits that can be searched for purchase opportunities. Activities to improve native vegetation
can include weed control, stock exclusion, rabbit control, protecting large old trees, planting new
recruits into previously cleared areas, and others. In the BushBroker program, sites must
undergo assessments by qualified accredited individuals to determine how many credits can be
generated, banking agreements must be developed, and management plans must be put in
place for each site (DSE 2012). Banking schemes in Australia have been criticized for allowing
clearance of vegetation to be offset by protection of existing vegetation, which reduces the total
amount of habitat in the landscape and thus does not result in no net loss of vegetation
(Bekessy et al. 2010).
This section briefly outlines policies and legislation directly or indirectly related to fisheries and
fish habitat in other countries, other than those related to habitat banking which were outlined in
an earlier section. A report prepared by G.A. Packman and Associates Inc. in 2006 for the
former Fish Habitat Management Program (now Fisheries Protection Program) of Fisheries and
Oceans Canada provides more detailed information on many of these policies. Further
information can also be found on the websites for the departments in each country that oversee
the various policies or pieces of legislation.
The goal of the European Union Water Framework Directive (WFD) is to set goals to achieve
good ecological status or potential for all surface waters in the European Community by set
dates (Matthews et al. 2010). The WFD was adopted in 2000 by the European Commission. All
countries in the EU must complete river basin management plans (to be updated every 6 years)
which outline actions to be taken to achieve good ecological and chemical status and to meet
protected area objectives, all within the timescale required. Plans must include characteristics
of the river basin, overviews of the impacts of human activity in the basin, estimation of the
impacts of existing legislation and how to improve or change it to meet objectives, and
economic analysis of water use within the basin (European Commission 2012). The focus on
improving water quality will ultimately benefit fish species in the future.
The goal of the US National Fish Habitat Action Plan (NFHP) is to protect, restore and enhance
the nation's fish and aquatic communities through partnerships that foster fish habitat
conservation and improve the quality of life for the American people. The plan began in 2001
when a group of individuals decided to explore the development of partnerships among fishing
groups, NGOs, and federal and state governments and organizations in order to protect fish
habitat and populations on a nationwide scale. The plan was based on the North American
Waterfowl Management Plan and the success that initiative had on protecting and enhancing
waterfowl habitat and populations. By 2006 the NFHP was operating by bringing together the
public and private sectors with the goal of protecting fish habitat.
The NFHP states that it will achieve its goals by: “supporting existing fish habitat partnerships
and fostering new efforts; mobilizing and focusing national and local support for achieving fish
habitat conservation goals; setting national and regional fish habitat conservation goals;
measuring and communicating the status and needs of fish habitats; and providing national
leadership and coordination to conserve fish habitats”. The NFHP is a partnership-driven, nonregulatory, science-based landscape-scale fish habitat conservation effort (G.A. Packman and
Associates Inc. 2006).
In March 2013, the 2nd edition of the NFHP was released. The updated plan reports that as a
result of efforts since 2006, there are now 18 regional Fish Habitat Partnerships operating
nationwide to conserve, enhance and protect fish habitat and 346 conservation projects have
been completed in 46 states. A national assessment of fish habitat has been completed and the
projected long-term value of the future benefits of habitat restored by the NFHP is estimated to
be $805.7 million and 19,300 jobs. There is significant government and state support provided
to the NFHP that is vital to its success. The US Departments of the Interior (includes US Fish
and Wildlife Services, US Geological Survey, National Park Service), Agriculture (include Forest
Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service) and Commerce (includes the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Fisheries Service, National Ocean Service) have
signed a five year agreement to support the NFHP and committed to supporting the
implementation of the plan by, among other things, incorporating the goals of the plan into
federal plans, providing technical assistance, services, support, matching funds to projects that
support the goals of the plan, and considering the goals of the plan when issuing any permits.
Federal and state officials are members of the National Fish Habitat Board and committees and
federal agencies provide additional support through: leadership, funding, data sharing and
database development, education, recruiting partners, monitoring and evaluation, strategic
planning, and technical expertise. Other federal agencies involved in the NFCP include the
Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Defense, Department of Transportation, and
Department of Homeland Security (National Fish Habitat Partnership 2012).
The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC) is the main piece of
legislation, federally in Australia, that relates to the protection, conservation, and management
of fish habitat. It provides a legal framework to protect and manage nationally and internationally
important flora, fauna, ecological communities and heritage places which are defined in the Act
as matters of national environmental significance. The Act is administered by the Department of
Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. There are eight ‘matters of
national environmental significance’ to which the EPBC Act applies. These include:
world heritage sites
national heritage places
wetlands of international importance ('Ramsar' wetlands)
nationally threatened species and ecological communities
migratory species
Commonwealth marine areas
the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
nuclear actions.
The Act also seeks to ensure that environmental protection is considered for all projects that
take place on Commonwealth land or are carried out by a Commonwealth agency (Australian
Government: Department of Sustainability Environment Water Population and Communities
Many states in Australia also have legislation which directly or indirectly protects fish and fish
habitat. For example, the state of Queensland administers the Fisheries Act, which provides for
the protection and management of freshwater and marine fish resources and habitats, within the
state, and the Nature Conservation Act, which provides for the listing and protection of
threatened species and protection and management of national parks (G.A. Packman and
Associates Inc. 2006). Many other states have similar types of protection which are not
discussed here.
The primary goals of all the offsetting techniques described in this report are to improve or
maintain fish habitat or fish productivity. Monitoring the impacts of these techniques is crucial in
order to determine if techniques are biologically and cost-effective, stable in the long-term, and
whether or not further human intervention is required (Koning et al. 1998). There can be
unexpected results of restoration activities, as demonstrated by Pine et al. (2009) in a review of
responses of fish populations to management actions. As well, restoration structures have been
known to fail in many cases (Frissell and Nawa 1992, Hartman 2004). In many restoration
reviews it has been found that most monitoring programs to assess the effectiveness of habitat
restoration are too short; for example ten years or more of monitoring are often required to
detect salmonid responses to restoration (Lawson 1993, Roni et al. 2002). Long-term
multiscale monitoring is especially necessary when restoration activities involve treating a
variety of disturbances with the goal of improving fish productivity (Tomlinson et al. 2011).
Matthews et al. (2010) found that ecological restoration following improvements to a watershed
may take decades to achieve but advise that indicators of progress toward the restoration goals
be determined and measured in the first five years to indicate if improvements are occurring. In
their review they found that the indicator groups that showed the highest proportion of positive
change toward restoration goals in the first five years of monitoring were hydrological, terrestrial
flora and fauna, morphological, and habitat structure indicators. Fish showed a positive
response approximately 50 percent of the time and they indicate that longer monitoring periods
(more than 5 years) may be needed to determine responses of fish to restoration. They also
point out that improvements in indicator groups were seen more quickly in larger rivers than in
smaller streams, likely as a result of colonization from other parts of the watershed.
Souchon et al. (2008) propose a monitoring framework that studies should follow to ensure
monitoring is effective. Their framework consists of nine steps:
Establish monitoring goals and project objectives; determine the questions of interest;
Create specific hypotheses to test linkages between variables;
Determine response variables, methods, metrics and keystone species;
Determine appropriate time scales for responses (i.e. appropriate monitoring timescale
to detect a response in fish);
5) Consider regulatory requirements and incorporate these into study;
6) Design the study;
7) Implement the study;
8) Analyse data and report results;
9) Allow for adaptive management.
Bradford et al. (In press) also stress the importance of monitoring and describe several types of
monitoring, one of which is similar to that described by Souchon et al., which they refer to as a
fully-designed scientific monitoring study. A 2011 draft report prepared by the former Habitat
Management Program of DFO discusses the importance of developing methods to determine
the effectiveness of habitat compensation projects. Previous studies have found that
effectiveness could be improved (Harper and Quigley 2005, Quigley and Harper 2006) and DFO
recognizes the importance and need for effective monitoring. Pearson et al. (2005) outline a
strategy for monitoring fish habitat compensation projects that could be applied to offsetting
projects in the future.
All offset techniques, whether they include restoration, habitat creation, banking, stocking, or
others have positive and negative aspects. Habitat restoration projects can improve fish
productivity but may experience structural failure due to changing environmental conditions.
Habitat creation may improve fish productivity but there can be long time-lags before created
habitat functions as effectively as natural habitat. Habitat banking using restoration/creation
techniques can have many advantages for developers and sellers but again, relies on the
effectiveness of restoration/creation techniques. Fish stocking may increase productivity but can
result in negative impacts to the reproductive success or fitness of natural populations. Due to
these types of issues, all impacts to the ecosystem must be carefully considered before
undertaking management actions as a recent review of many studies has shown that there are
often unintended, unexpected and undesired consequences of aquatic ecosystem management
(Pine et al. 2009).
This report provides a brief summary of some methods that have been used, on their own or in
combination with other techniques, to boost fish productivity. Although project outcomes are
location and species-specific, and results can be highly variable, some combination of these
methods combined with careful collection of baseline data and a good understanding of the
watershed, can be used to maintain or improve fish populations. Regional DFO staff can
provide valuable expertise to help determine effective methods to offset impacts to productivity,
and existing policies relating to fisheries management in other countries can help guide the
creation of an offsetting policy for Canadian fisheries.
The authors would like to thank all reviewers who provided valuable comments on drafts of this
manuscript as well as the FPP staff and managers who responded to the staff questionnaire.
NOTE: In addition to the references below, a larger database of references relevant to this
report has been created in EndNote Web. To obtain access to this database, a user can create
an EndNote Web account (no cost for employees of DFO) and then contact
[email protected] to request access to the existing database.
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Steel, E. A., P. McElhany, N. J. Yoder, M. D. Purser, K. Malone, B. E. Thompson, K. A. Avery,
D. Jensen, G. Blair, C. Busack, M. D. Bowen, J. Hubble, and T. Kantz. 2009. Making the
Best Use of Modeled Data: Multiple Approaches to Sensitivity Analysis of a Fish-Habitat
Model. Fisheries 34:330-339.
Stockner, J. G., and E. A. Macisaac. 1996. British Columbia lake enrichment programme: Two
decades of habitat enhancement for sockeye salmon. Regulated Rivers-Research &
Management 12:547-561.
Stranko, S. A., R. H. Hilderbrand, and M. A. Palmer. 2012. Comparing the Fish and Benthic
Macroinvertebrate Diversity of Restored Urban Streams to Reference Streams.
Restoration Ecology 20:747-755.
Sullivan, S. M. P., and M. C. Watzin. 2009. Stream-floodplain connectivity and fish assemblage
diversity in the Champlain Valley, Vermont, USA. Journal of Fish Biology 74:1394-1418.
Suttle, K. B., M. E. Power, J. M. Levine, and C. McNeely. 2004. How Fine Sediment in
Riverbeds Impairs Growth and Survival of Juvenile Salmonids. Ecological Applications
Thorstad, E. B., I. Uglem, B. Finstad, C. M. Chittenden, R. Nilsen, F. Okland, and P. A. Bjorn.
2012. Stocking location and predation by marine fishes affect survival of hatchery-reared
Atlantic salmon smolts. Fisheries Management and Ecology 19:400-409.
Tomlinson, M. J., S. E. Gergel, T. J. Beechie, and M. M. McClure. 2011. Long-term changes in
river-floodplain dynamics: implications for salmonid habitat in the Interior Columbia Basin,
USA. Ecological Applications 21:1643-1658.
Tupper, M., and K. W. Able. 2000. Movements and food habits of striped bass (Morone
saxatilis) in Delaware Bay (USA) salt marshes: comparison of a restored and a reference
marsh. Marine Biology 137:1049-1058.
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Arlington, VA. US Fish and Wildlife Service.
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2010. The Effects of Nutrient Enrichment and Herbivore Abundance on the Ability of Turf
Algae to Overgrow Coral in the Caribbean. Plos One 5:8.
Verreault, G., P. Dumont, J. Dussureault, and R. Tardif. 2010. First record of migrating silver
American eels (Anguilla rostrata) in the St. Lawrence Estuary originating from a stocking
program. Journal of Great Lakes Research 36:794-797.
Vincenzi, S., A. J. Crivelli, D. Jesensek, and G. A. De Leo. 2012. Translocation of streamdwelling salmonids in headwaters: insights from a 15-year reintroduction experience.
Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries 22:437-455.
Wilders, D., and M. G. Lirette. 1994. Assessment of an artificial spawning channel at Sheridan
Lake. Williams Lake, BC.
Williams, G. D., and J. B. Zedler. 1999. Fish assemblage composition in constructed and natural
tidal marshes of San Diego Bay: Relative influence of channel morphology and restoration
history. Estuaries 22:702-716.
Below are responses from Fisheries Protection Program staff and/or Science staff on their
experiences with fish habitat compensation under DFO’s 1986 Policy for the Management of
Fish Habitat. Some responses are in the form of case studies while others provide general
information on projects or situations in the regions. All information was provided and written by
individuals from each region, with minor editing to fit the format of this document.
Case Study 1 – Nechako River
The Nechako River was dammed in the 1950s and a significant portion of the water was
diverted out of the watershed through a tunnel to a hydroelectric generating facility on a coastal
river. In the 1980s, the proponent (Alcan) had plans to divert additional water out of the
watershed and further reduce flows in the Nechako. There were significant concerns, court
injunctions, and protests and this was resolved by an agreement signed by the federal
government, provincial government and Alcan. The agreement said that monitoring would be
required prior to the planned flow reduction, and would be required after the planned flow
reduction along with a series of remedial measures to make sure that key fisheries targets were
The remedial measures included the installation of structures, mostly resembling log jams,
intended to offset the expected reduction of those types of habitat features following the
proposed reduction in flows. As a pilot project, dozens of these were constructed using various
designs, and monitored to determine the level of success from biological (fish use) and physical
(durability) perspectives.
The studies were initiated in 1987 when the project was approved, but the proposed flow
change did not occur and was eventually cancelled in 1997. Monitoring of the remedial
structures was phased out at that time, but the annual program of studies to monitor the
Chinook population continued until 2005. Since 2006, basic monitoring has occurred every
year, with more significant studies scheduled for every 5 years.
Data collected
There was a fairly significant monitoring program developed. The focus was on maintaining
populations of Chinook salmon and sockeye salmon. They key parameter assessed for
sockeye was water temperature and there is a degree of ability to control water temperature by
manipulating flows from the storage dam. For Chinook, maintaining the freshwater conditions to
support a target population was desired, and this involved looking at a number of parameters
The number of spawning adults
Egg to fry to survival
Juvenile outmigration
A number of secondary factors were also monitored including:
Substrate conditions
Ice conditions
The Chinook in the system return predominantly as 5 year olds, so we have data covering 25
years or 5 cycles. There have been some significant variations in the returns over the years,
and there have been variations in the flow conditions the fish experience in the Nechako. In
most years, the water flows are controlled and are generally managed to targets that were
thought to provide for the needs of Chinook. In some years, when there is a high snowpack,
flows will be greater than normal, in some cases much greater at certain times of year. We
have not done a great deal of analysis on the data because the program has a fairly narrow and
specific mandate, and as such, the monitoring and data analysis look to see if the objectives of
the agreement signed in 1987 are being met. However, over the course of the monitoring
program, we have learned that:
Egg to fry survival and fry to smolt estimates seem to be fairly stable indicating that the
spawning, incubating and rearing environment seems to be stable and able to support
productivity throughout this lifestage consistent with target objectives.
There are some anomalies that we have not developed explanations for:
o Adult returns seem to be higher coming off years when flows during the rearing
period are significantly higher than normal. We are not clear if there is a linkage
here or not, and if it is indicating a possible limiting factor. If it is, we don’t know
what the factor is. It could be related to the flow itself (reducing predation?) or it
could be that the flow provides access to habitat where the juvenile Chinook are
more successful.
o There are results for some years that do not seem to fit within the “normal” range
for these studies. We have not really figured out what this might be attributed to
and have not figured out if there is useful knowledge to be gained from this or
Some key points?
Targets at the start need to be clear. The targets for this work were negotiated under
fairly onerous circumstances and left some significant points open to interpretation.
Monitoring/studies need to be carefully planned so that they measure parameters that
are meaningful and answer the target questions.
It can take a long time to get meaningful results. In this case, 20 years only provided
feedback on 4 generations of Chinook and it took this long for most involved to be
confident in even the most basic statements about what the data was showing us.
It can take a lot of effort, resources and time to generate data that informs key
questions. Even with all of this monitoring effort and having data that would not be
available for an average project, we still are not able to say a lot about productivity for
Chinook in this system.
It probably requires more expertise in experimental design and data analysis than the
average biologist is capable of to design an appropriate program and to evaluate and
assess the results.
Reports from this program can be found at the Nechako Fisheries Conservation Program
Case Study 2 – Columbia River Revelstoke Flow Management Plan Water Use
Plan (WUP)
There was an exercise started about 10 years ago to bring a series of socio-economic values
into consideration for major hydro-electric facilities operated by BC Hydro. The traditional
operation of these facilities was focused on electricity generation and flood control, and the idea
was to bring other considerations into the operating decisions. This included bringing the
annual operations into line with the Fisheries Act. The WUP (Water Use Plan) was essentially a
multi-interest trade-off evaluation with the outcome being a series of operational rules to
accommodate interests (including fisheries), an ongoing adaptive management exercise, and
monitoring and studies to support all of that. It is ongoing and is expected to continue for the
foreseeable future. Further information can be found on BC Hydro’s website.
Four questionnaire responses were received from Central and Arctic and are described as
individual case studies below. As well, general information on fish passage projects in Manitoba
was also provided and briefly described.
Case Study 1 – Ekati Diamond Mine
The Panda Diversion Channel was created to divert water from North Panda Lake to Kodiak
Lake to compensate for stream habitat destroyed due to mining activities at BHP Billiton’s Ekati
Diamond Mine. The main objective of the monitoring program was to determine suitability as
fish habitat, comparing it against reference streams in the area. Arctic grayling are the
predominant fish species utilizing the channel for spawning and rearing but other species also
use it as a migration corridor. The channel overall has been a success although it took a
number of years to have vegetation start to establish since the channel was blasted into
bedrock. Lessons learned from the Panda Diversion Channel continue to inform recent
diversion channel projects including the Pigeon Stream Diversion, also at the Ekati mine site.
The indicators of success or failure were:
Comparison of growth rates of Arctic grayling in the Panda Diversion Channel to
reference streams.
Temperature and flow compared to reference streams
Numbers of fish/ biological data compared to reference streams
Assessment of created habitat features stability
Ten years was deemed appropriate for monitoring as it would take time for the channel to begin
to mimic the productivity of natural streams (establishment of vegetation, benthic community,
etc.). After Year 10, a reduced monitoring program continued specifically to monitor the return
of Arctic Grayling that had been hatched in the channel and marked with a clipped adipose fin.
In addition, the original team involved with a University of Alberta study (1998-2001) to assess
the effectiveness of the channel as habitat compensation conducted a follow up assessment in
2011 in partnership with Rescan, the company’s consultant. Early monitoring in 1999-2000
showed that the new stream had less riparian vegetation, coarse particulate organic matter,
large woody debris, aquatic vegetation, macroinvertebrate diversity and richness, and Arctic
grayling growth compared to reference streams (Jones et al. 2008). Follow-up monitoring in
2011 again showed that Arctic Grayling growth remained lower in the created stream compared
to reference streams, as did accumulation and retention of organic matter. Other features such
as macroinvertebrate community composition and abundance were similar in the created and
reference streams.
A straight channel constructed in bedrock was a challenge to convert into a productive stream
habitat. However, early on it was uncertain whether the channel would be a permanent feature
after closure of the mine or not. Lessons learned through this process however have been very
valuable for the design of new and proposed diversion channels in the north.
A number of peer reviewed papers were published on the project, as well as annual monitoring
reports, and another peer reviewed paper should be published in 2013 documenting the
assessment in 2011. References include:
Jones, N.E., G.J. Scrimgeour, W.M. Tonn. 2008. Assesing the effectiveness of a constructed
arctic stream using multiple biological attributes. Environmental Management 42: 10641076.
Jones, N.E. and W.M. Tonn. 2004. Enhancing productive capacity in the Canadian Arctic:
assessing the effectiveness of instream habitat structures in habitat compensation.
Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 133: 1356-1365.
Jones, N.E. and W.M. Tonn. 2004. Resource selection functions for age-0 Arctic grayling
(Thymallus arcticus) and their application to stream habitat compensation. Can. J. Fish.
Aquatic. Sci. 61: 1736-1746.
Jones, N.E., W.M. Tonn, G.J. Scrimgeour, C. Katopodis. 2003. Productive capacity of an
artificial stream in the Canadian Arctic: assessing the effectiveness of fish habitat
compensation. Can. J. Fish. Aquatic. Sci. 60: 849-863.
Case Study 2 – Jackpine Mine
The longest existing compensation project in the oil sands is only 6 years old and success to
date cannot yet be determined. One of the compensation projects constructed for the Jackpine
Mine has the potential to be really very successful as the preliminary monitoring indicates an
increase in productivity and extension of sport fish distribution.
Total estimated habitat losses for all watercourses affected by alterations as a result of the mine
were 6,431,178 HUs, and that included includes 277,150 for northern pike, 42,413 for Arctic
grayling, 201,344 for walleye, 730,254 for longnose sucker, 647,242 for white sucker, 1,123,322
for lake chub, 761,983 for brook stickleback, 474,187 for fathead minnow, 1,234,346 for pearl
dace, 446,422 for slimy sculpin, 153,926 for spoonhead sculpin and 338,589 for spottail shiner.
The compensation plan for the project involved the development of a new lake in the lower
reach of the existing Muskeg Creek, near its confluence with the Muskeg River, as well as the
reconstruction of small part of Muskeg Creek. As the lake was filled only in 2009, the first year
of monitoring was conducted in 2010 but the first 2 years of monitoring did not generate any
significant results in terms of increased fish productivity. In year 3 monitoring, it was found that
the populations of sport fish and particularly northern pike increased significantly. In year 2 of
monitoring only 2 northern pike were caught during sampling, in year 3 of monitoring, very
limited sampling involving hoop nets and seine nets (monitoring for fish will increase in time)
yielded over 50 northern pike of all age classes. Further monitoring will include evaluations to
determine the effectiveness of the compensation lake to support a sustainable fishery
(including, but not limited to: measurements of fish abundance, community structure, and
The components of Plan Monitoring are intended to evaluate the effectiveness of habitat
compensation measures in meeting the quantitative objectives of the Compensation Plan, and
also to verify predictions of the Plan, including the Habitat Suitability Index (HSI) models that
were used for habitat quantification. Plan Monitoring includes the data collection requirements
described below.
Evaluation of representative areas of the constructed and natural fish habitat. This
information will be used to verify or improve the HSI models, as well as to verify that
compensation is adequate. Representative diversion channel, natural channel and lake
habitat will be selected that provides a high diversity of mesohabitat types and fish
species present.
Stratified sampling of the fish habitat in the lakes with intensive study areas selected in the
diversion streams that function as fish habitat and in the natural channels that are not
altered by the project.
Determination of biomass per unit area for each species in each mesohabitat type within
the intensive study areas and extrapolation to determine the total biomass by species and
to evaluate whether compensation has been achieved.
Measurement of the habitat variables used in the HSI models in the intensive study areas.
This will entail installation of temperature data loggers, measurement of pH and dissolved
oxygen, mesohabitat mapping, substrate particle size sampling, macrophyte sampling,
and measurement of the other habitat characteristics used in the models.
The Authorization is issued for a period of 35 years (until 2039) but some conditions may extend
beyond the valid Authorization period. The success of compensation is not tied to any particular
time limit, and it is dependent on the functionality of fish habitat compensation. Excerpts from
the Authorization include:
a) Monitoring of the compensation habitat and habitat improvements shall continue until
compensation has been achieved to the satisfaction of DFO.
b) At the end of the project the Proponent will fund an independent third party (the Auditor)
mutually agreed to by the Proponent and DFO, to determine whether and to what extent
the compensation lake is functioning as expected and to the satisfaction of DFO, and
would include the audit of the results of previous monitoring and a final audit for
compensation habitat. The audit will verify the Proponent predictions that compensation
for the fish and fish habitat losses meets the quantitative objective of the Compensation
Ratio and the compensation lake is functioning physically and ecologically as intended
and specified in this Authorization. Subject to approval by DFO, the Auditor's report will
be released to the public. The Auditor shall be someone with appropriate expertise but
not employed by the Proponent. The Auditor shall be funded by the Proponent and the
deliverables provided directly to DFO.
Two monitoring reports were presented to the regulators and to aboriginal groups in the area,
but no documents have been published to date.
Several conditions of Authorization impose adaptive management on the Proponent, and
modification of design, timing, etc. can be changed based on results of monitoring and to the
satisfaction of DFO.
Case Study 3 – Bridge Construction
Recently DFO required the construction of an 80 m2 rocky shoal as fish habitat compensation
for a 900 m2 infill caused by construction of bridge abutment on the Winnipeg River. Destroyed
habitat was a mixture of bedrock, rubble and gravel and some shallow muddy bottom with
aquatic vegetation. The habitat supported Lake Sturgeon along with pike, walleye, sauger,
yellow perch, rock bass, smallmouth bass, white sucker, longnose sucker, quillback sucker, and
a variety of forage fish species. The primary function of the habitat was food production.
Construction occurred in 2010.
The proponent monitored the rocky shoal area before and for two years after placement and
found that there was no statistical difference in fish abundance between on and off reef areas
before and after construction. After reviewing their assessment DFO came to the conclusion
that their assessment methodologies were not sufficient to detect a difference because: 1) most
fish species sampled were schooling fish and so gill net captures were highly variable, 2) the
fish species were unlikely to set up a home range on a rocky shoal that was so small and 3) it is
likely that the fish species behaviour favours a migratory feeding strategy which will more
randomly distribute fish around the reach of river so that they will only spend a limited time at
this or any other reef in search of food. DFO did not require further monitoring on this project
although the methods could not discriminate if the small reef compensation project had
enhanced fish use or productivity in the area.
A better measure of success in this case would have been to assess lower trophic levels,
macro-invertebrates and forage fish at the reef site before and after construction. If the base of
the food chain was significantly improved after construction of the reef you could expect some
benefit to be spread to the entire population. In this case however, 80 m2 of habitat
enhancement would likely translate to an undetectably small increase in overall food production
for the river reach.
Case Study 4 – Lac Seul Causeway Construction
Three causeway bridge crossings were offset with the creation of fish nursery/feeding channels
in a peat bog in Lac Seul (northwestern Ontario). These crossings provided access to timber
harvesting areas (Loon Rapids: 525-4739) and linked Lac Seul First Nation (FN) islands with the
mainland (Whitefish Channel: KE-04-2460 and Kejick Island to Archie’s Landing: KE-08-0443).
The impact to fish habitat was the infill of Lac Seul for the creation of causeways with a bridge
installed to allow for water flow, fish movements and boat traffic.
A channel constructed in 1999, created in the winter months with a backhoe, was lengthened to
offset the causeways built to link the Lac Seul FN communities by road. New channels were
also constructed. Other peat bogs in Lac Seul were considered, but their connection to Lac
Seul was shallower and thus access of cyprinids and predators to and from the channels was
unlikely. The creation of nursery channels was considered successful as seining in late summer
resulted in the capture of thousands of small fish (primarily cyprinids). Seining was first done
about 10 years ago and captured numerous small fish utilizing the two year old dredged
channel. Seining was done in 2008 in both the 10 year old and new channels and again an
abundance of cyprinids were found, including one or two young pike.
Biomass (weight) or abundance (numbers) of fish was not recorded during seining due to the
time and effort required and potential risks of fish mortality. Photographic evidence of fish in the
seine was enough to prove the channels were heavily utilized by fish as a nursery/feeding area
and probably spawning area for cyprinids. No night-time netting was done to see if walleye
moved in to feed. Large fish would have been able to swim away from a slowly moving seine
haul, thus a gill net, 4 foot trap net or boat electrofishing would have to be used.
The assessment of fish utilization for the Whitefish channel and Kejick Island causeways was
summarized in an internal report. This included some underwater camera photos of small fish
utilizing the interstitial spaces in the rock fill, and walleye being caught by angling and short set
gillnets near the causeway - probably attracted to the causeways as a new feeding area.
There was limited time available for monitoring since the priority for fish habitat management
staff was to process referrals that came into the office on a daily basis which required talking to
people, processing paper, entering information into PATH and in some cases visiting the site.
This didn’t leave much time to monitor habitat compensation projects, and any monitoring was
usually quick and linked with site visits for new referrals in the same area.
General Information - Manitoba – Fish Passage
In many of the waters of the prairies, given inter-annual variability of flows on prairie streams,
monitoring years have been too wet or too dry to see if compensation works have been fully
successful or not even in a qualitative fashion. On prairie streams the most obvious
improvement to fisheries has been improving fish passage at man-made barriers. In many
streams access to seasonal spawning habitats are limited by stream crossings, low head weirs
and other man-made barriers. There are dozens of streams where the worst barrier is the
furthest downstream structure, as often this is where the highest gradient is and so is the best
place for a dam, or the most likely place for a culvert to become perched. This can effectively
isolate the entire stream from seasonal fish use. Occasionally large year classes of various
sport fish occur in Prairie streams however, they are generally linked to large floods that usually
blow out the bad stream crossings and allow fish passage. For example on Lake Winnipeg
strong year classes of walleye were seen in 1995, 1997 and 2001 which correspond to very
large flood events in the south and west tributaries to the South Basin of the lake.
In some streams with perennial flow there are permanent forage fish populations that can feed
downstream fisheries. Fall out-migrations from forage fish streams have been documented
around the south basin of Lake Winnipeg, and it is believed to be the driver for the traditional fall
migration of walleye from the lake into the larger tributary streams where these forage fish
collect in abundance.
Several fish passage projects have been done in Manitoba, and several have been monitored
that have demonstrated that fish are passing installed structures, however, no estimated
improvements to fish populations following barrier remediation have been provided. Given the
oscillation between high flow and low flow years within the province, it would take a prolonged
monitoring program (10 years) before a good estimate of the success of barrier remediation on
a population can be achieved. That kind of extended monitoring has not normally been a
requirement in our Authorizations as it would not be affordable for most proponents in Manitoba.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), Quebec Region, has monitored over 340 compensation
projects and 28 habitat banks since 1998. Questions are answered in a general manner in the
examples below, though these are not necessarily representative of all the projects.
Evaluation of success
The success of a compensation project is determined based on the objectives requested and
stipulated in the Authorization. These objectives are directly related to the identified and
documented problem. For example, if the identified problem is fish habitat fragmentation due to
obstruction of fish passage (e.g., misplaced culvert or water level regulation work), the project
will be considered a success if fish passage is restored.
Indicators used to evaluate success
The indicators that are most commonly requested include:
a) demonstration that developments and their characteristics are in line with plans and
specifications submitted to DFO;
b) stability of developments;
c) demonstration or confirmation that fish are using the habitat development.
Productivity or abundance indicators
Indicators such as biomass, abundance or reproductive success are not usually requested
because these indicators are not evaluated for Harmful Alteration, Disruption or Destruction
(HADD) of fish habitat. It is therefore not deemed necessary to obtain these indicators in cases
where they cannot be compared with the loss.
Number and frequency of monitoring periods
On average, two to three monitoring periods over a period of three to five years are requested,
among other things, to monitor the stability of developments over a period long enough for them
to be subject to various hydraulic conditions.
Documents and data
DFO receives a work report (in writing or electronically) and a monitoring report for each
compensation project. All reports are kept for a minimum of 10 years. These reports are not
published in scientific, technical or extension journals. However, it is possible to request a copy
from the proponent or to obtain documents through an Access to Information request.
Possibility of improving results through design or other changes
The purpose of monitoring is, among other things, to allow for the correction of compensation
projects when developments do not yield the expected results. Corrections are often requested.
Furthermore, to improve compensation project results, we try to share lessons learned with
proponents and their consultants by publishing recommendation documents to help plan and
design various types of projects. The following is an example:
Fleury, M. and Boula, D. 2012. Recommandations pour la planification et la conception
d’aménagements d’habitats pour l’omble de fontaine (Salvelinus fontinalis). 3008 : vi+33 p. [In French only]
The following are internal documents (not yet available to the public) to help analysts direct
project design:
a) Guidance document to assess whether stream redevelopment should be monitored and,
if necessary, to define the monitoring program
b) Recommendations for habitat development planning and design for species spawning in
whitewater areas (working document)
c) Recommendations for developing flood plains (in preparation)
d) Designing concrete artificial reefs. Preliminary knowledge and recommendations
Compensation projects considered a success
Marine environment
Project title: Construction of multigenerational artificial reefs for the American lobster in
Placentia Bay, Magdalen Island
Project: Multigenerational artificial reefs for lobster were created in Placentia Bay (Magdalen
Islands) to compensate for habitat loss. The project was carried out in three steps: 1)
characterizing a portion of Placentia Bay's sea floor to target an environment suitable for
artificial reefs for lobster; 2) constructing eight 200 m2 reefs equally divided between two sites;
and 3) monitoring the general state and colonization of the reefs for two years and the lobster's
benthic deposition for three years to document the effectiveness of these artificial reefs.
Project status: The project was considered a success because benthic deposition (lobster postlarvae) was observed from the very first year as well as in subsequent years, and the reefs are
stable and provide shelter to commercial-size and pre-commercial-size lobster.
Indicators used:
Regarding the integrity of the development:
The surface area of the habitat development: Each reef must measure 20 m by 10 m and
be divided into five sections. The central section must measure 5 m wide and be made
from small stones (10–20 cm in diameter). Each adjacent section must measure 4 m
wide and be composed of medium-sized stones (20-40 cm in diameter). Each section at
the end of the reef must measure 3.5 m wide and be composed of large stones (40–75
cm in diameter).
The condition of the reefs (deterioration, stability, silting).
Regarding biology:
Evaluation of reef colonization (species, stages of development, abundance, etc.)
focusing on the various stages of lobster development.
Productivity criteria: The Authorization includes no abundance targets. However, through
monitoring, the abundance of lobster post-larvae observed on the reefs was compared with the
abundance observed in a natural nursery about 1.5 km away.
Monitoring period: Three monitoring periods over three years.
Documents accessible to the public: Monitoring reports must be requested from the proponent
or obtained through an Access to Information request. A technical report is being prepared:
Gendron, L., F. Hazel, N. Paille, P. Tremblay, S. Pereira, M. Desrosiers, L. Roberge and R.
Vaudry. 2013. Aménagement de récifs artificiels multigénérationnels pour le homard
d’Amérique (Homarus americanus) dans la baie de Plaisance aux Îles-de-la-Madeleine,
Québec. Rapp. tech. can. sci. halieut. aquat. ####. xii+76p. [In French Only]
Improving results
Suggestions were provided for possible changes to the reef stability monitoring methodology,
but in view of the project's success, it is not considered that it could have achieved better
Monitoring reports
CJB Environment inc. 2009. Projet de compensation d’habitat du poisson. Aménagement de
récifs pour le homard dans la baie de Plaisance, Îles-de-la-Madeleine. Étude de
caractérisation du milieu. Report presented to Public Works and Government Services
Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Transport Canada. CJB Environment inc.,
Québec, Quebec. ii+83 p. [In French Only]
CJB Environment inc. 2010. Projet de compensation d’habitat du poisson. Aménagement de
récifs pour le homard dans la baie de Plaisance, Îles-de-la-Madeleine. Suivi de conformité
des habitats aménagés. Report presented to Public Works and Government Services
Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Transport Canada. CJB Environment inc.,
Québec, Quebec. ii+57 p. [In French Only]
CJB Environment inc. 2011. Suivi après un an sur les récifs artificiels TC et MPO-PPB.
Placentia Bay, Magdalen Islands. Report presented to Public Works and Government
Services Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Transport Canada. CJB
Environment inc., Québec, Quebec. ii+19 p. + appendices. [In French Only]
CJB Environment inc. 2012. Suivi (2e année) sur les récifs artificiels à homards. Placentia Bay,
Magdalen Islands. Report presented to Public Works and Government Services Canada,
Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Transport Canada. CJB Environment inc., Québec,
Quebec. i+19 p. + appendices. [In French Only]
Freshwater environment
Project title: Construction of eight weirs and a culvert, Nicolet River
Project: Construction of a culvert and eight weirs to permanently maintain water in the channel
west of Île à Toinette (Nicolet River). These developments provide access to potential feeding,
nursery and rearing grounds for species such as the walleye, brown bullhead, channel catfish,
perch, smallmouth bass, red eye fish, sunfish, northern pike, silver redhorse, shorthead
redhorse, banded killifish, golden shiner and mimic shiner.
Project status: The project is considered a success because the culvert and eight weirs were
constructed to maintain water permanently in the channel west of Île à Toinette in accordance
with the Authorization, and the aquatic developments are stable. No signs of erosion were
observed, and the natural vegetation provides adequate cover. Through various fish inventory
surveys, over 20 fish species were captured in the channel during flood and low-water periods.
Indicators used:
Regarding the integrity of the development:
The developments (weirs and pits), culvert, riprap and vegetation must be stable and
withstand ice and floods without being torn out;
The surface area of the embankment's stabilized plants at the entrance of the west
channel (close to the culvert) must be at least 144 m2 under the high water mark (HWM);
The gain in fish habitat surface area must be 2160 m2 during flood periods and 5400 m2
during low-water periods;
The increased water level must not cause erosion in the channel west of Île à Toinette.
Regarding biology:
The shrub (sandbar willow) survival rate must be greater than 80%;
Herbaceous plant cover must be over 80% of the vegetated surface area;
Fish must be present and use the developed environment.
Productivity criteria: Stocktaking and identification of harvested fish species were requested.
Monitoring period: Three monitoring periods over five years. However, monitoring periods were
staggered over time because of work delays and the fact that there was no low-water period in
2008. DFO also cancelled spring monitoring for subsequent years.
Documents accessible to the public: Monitoring reports must be requested from the proponent
or obtained through an Access to Information request.
Monitoring reports
G.V.L. Environnement Inc. September 2003. Programme de suivi des populations de poissons
(chenal ouest de l’île à Toinette) automne 2003 pour la Ville de Nicolet. 19 pages. [In
French Only]
G.V.L. Environnement Inc. November 2003. Programme de suivi des populations de poissons
(chenal ouest de l’île à Toinette) pour la Ville de Nicolet. 7 pages. [In French Only]
G.V.L. Environnement Inc. September 2003. Caractéristiques du chenal ouest de l’île à
Toinette. pour la Ville de Nicolet. 19 pages. [In French Only]
G.V.L. Environnement Inc. February 2004. Programme de suivi des populations de poissons
(chenal ouest de l’île à Toinette) hiver 2004 pour la Ville de Nicolet. 7 pages. [In French
G.V.L. Environnement Inc. June 2004. Programme de suivi des populations de poissons
(chenal ouest de l’île à Toinette) printemps 2004 pour la Ville de Nicolet. 10 pages. [In
French Only]
G.V.L. Environnement Inc. August 2006. Programme de suivi des populations de poissons
(chenal ouest de l’île à Toinette) été 2006 pour la Ville de Nicolet. 15 pages. [In French
G.V.L. Environnement Inc. June 2006. Programme de suivi des populations de poissons
(chenal ouest de l’île à Toinette) printemps 2006 pour la Ville de Nicolet. 13 pages. [In
French Only]
G.V.L. Environnement Inc. June 2008. Programme de suivi des populations de poissons
(chenal ouest de l’île à Toinette) printemps 2008 pour la Ville de Nicolet. 13 pages. [In
French Only]
G.V.L. Environnement Inc. August 2009. Programme de suivi des populations de poissons
(chenal ouest de l’île à Toinette) été 2009 pour la Ville de Nicolet. 24 pages. [In French
Project title: Development of flood plain, Île du Milieu, Berthierville
Project: Installation of a control structure that guarantees a specific flood level (5.0 m rating) at
all times in the western part of the Île du Milieu marsh to ensure some availability of breeding
and rearing habitat in the spring and increase the availability of feeding habitat in the summer.
This project will produce an estimated potential gain of 1.29 ha during the spring (April to June)
and a gain of 2.15 ha during the summer (July to October). During the spring, the western
portion of the Île du Milieu marsh is used by several species found in Lake St. Pierre, including
perch, northern pike and brown bullhead, notably for breeding and rearing. During the summer,
it is used by the same species mainly for shelter and feeding.
Project status: The project is considered a success. Results show that fish are able to reach the
migratory route during both the flooding and low-water periods. Individuals of all sizes can clear
the structures. The overall upstream migration rate for all species combined is estimated at
80%. Fish are able to clear structures while migrating both upstream and downstream. Fish of
varying lengths cleared the structures, which indicates that they are not selective for a particular
individual size range. At least 31 species of fish use the marsh for breeding, rearing the youngof-the-year and feeding. Through fisheries, it has been confirmed that the marsh is used for
breeding and nursing by eight species: perch, northern pike, brown bullhead, sunfish, black
crappie, silver minnow, and central mudminnow.
Indicators used:
The control structure should, to the satisfaction of DFO, grant access to the western
portion of the Île de Milieu marsh for adults of several fish species that are present,
including perch, northern pike, sunfish and brown bullhead during their respective
upstream migration periods.
The control structure should, to the satisfaction of DFO, allow fish to leave the western
portion of the Île du Milieu marsh after the water level drops.
The development of the control structure should, to the satisfaction of DFO, help
improve the breeding, rearing, feeding and shelter habitat, notably for perch, northern
pike, sunfish and brown bullhead in the western portion of the Île du Milieu marsh.
Productivity criteria: It was requested that the harvested fish species be counted, measured (in
length) and identified.
Monitoring period: Three monitoring periods over three years.
Documents accessible to the public: Monitoring reports must be requested from the proponent
or obtained through an Access to Information request.
Monitoring reports
Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune, Direction de l’expertise Énergie-FauneForêt-Mines-Territoire de la Mauricie et du Centre-du-Québec, Directions des affaires
régionales, Laval-Lanaudière-Laurentides – Estrie-Montréal-Montérégie. In collaboration
with Terminal Maritime Sorel Tracy. March 2010. Aménagement d’une voie migratoire à
l’Île du Milieu. 36 pages + appendices. [In French Only]
Simard, A., P. Brodeur and M. Théberge. 2011. Efficacité de la voie migratoire du marais de l’Île
du Milieu, année 1. Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune, Direction de
l’expertise Faune-Forêt-Mines-territoire-Énergie de la Mauricie et du Centre-du-Québec
and Unité de gestion des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune de Laval-LanaudièreLaurentides. 53 pages + appendices. [In French Only]
Project title: Development of multi-species spawning ground, St. Maurice River
Project: Development of a 9000 m2 (120 m x 75 m) spawning ground that meets the needs of
several species, specifically the smallmouth bass, white sucker and walleye. The purpose of the
development was to compensate for the loss of a 150 m2 smallmouth bass spawning ground,
the loss of a shoal also used for spawning by the white sucker (1450 m2), and the silting of
another one of this species' spawning grounds (3000 m2).
Project status: The project is considered a success. The number of smallmouth bass nests is
higher than the number for baseline conditions.
Indicators used:
Regarding the integrity of the development:
the surface area of the development must be a minimum of 4650 m2;
the characteristics of the spawning ground (e.g., depth, substrate and speed of current);
the stability of the development.
Regarding biology:
checks of the presence of spawners (bathyscope, angling), and counts of nests and the
presence of smallmouth bass, walleye and sucker eggs (driftnet).
Productivity criteria: The Authorization indicates that the new spawning ground must be used at
least as much as those destroyed to compensate for lost productivity. The number of bass
(target species) nests increased from 4 to 16 after the development was carried out.
Monitoring period: The monitoring program was executed three times over five years. Seeing as
the old generating station still in operation is scheduled to close in 2014, a second monitoring
cycle will be carried out between 2015 and 2019 to determine whether the development is still
effective under these new conditions of distribution of currents.
Documents accessible to the public: Monitoring reports must be requested from the proponent
or obtained through an Access to Information request.
Improving results: Although the development is still functional, degradation has been observed
in the bass spawning sites, which will eventually need to be reconfigured to ensure the durability
of these structures.
Compensation projects not considered a success
Marine environment
Project title: Creation of an eelgrass bed
Project: The compensation project consisted of creating a marine eelgrass bed with a surface
area of at least 1500 m2 in the northwestern basin of the Bonaventure barachois. The work
involved removing about 1900 eelgrass root balls from a natural bed in the bay of Saint-SiméonEst (latitude 48º03’00’’N, longitude 65º31’00’’W) and transplanting the eelgrass sod in staggered
rows one meter apart over a 1500 m2 surface area in the northwestern basin of the Bonaventure
Project status: The project is not considered a success because the survival rate of the
transplanted plants was less than 25% instead of the expected 80%, and the actual surface
area of the created eelgrass bed is about 14 m2 instead of 1500 m2. However, given that
naturally occurring eelgrass in the environment began to colonize the developed area, no
additional corrective action was requested.
Indicators used:
Regarding the integrity of the development:
the surface area of the habitat development must be at least 1500 m2;
the donor bank must has been left in its initial condition, i.e., the same state as prior to
Regarding biology:
the survival rate of the transplanted eelgrass root balls must be at least 80%;
the plants must be evenly distributed over the entire developed surface.
Productivity criteria:
Number and diameter of eelgrass root balls per m2.
Monitoring period: Two monitoring periods over three years, i.e., one and three years after the
work is completed.
Documents accessible to the public: Monitoring reports must be requested from the proponent
or obtained through an Access to Information request.
Improving results:
Inadequate characterization along with picking from a donor bed with characteristics (salinity
and temperature) that were too different probably sent the eelgrass plants into osmotic and
temperature shock. Most of the plants died. Those that survived do not seem to have recovered
from the shock and grew little in three years. This could have been avoided by taking plants
from a donor bed with characteristics that were more similar to the receiving environment.
Monitoring reports
GENIVAR. 2005. Construction d’un mur de protection à l’ancien quai de Fauvel et extension du
brise-lame à Sainte-Thérèse-de-Gaspé, Compensation d’habitat du poisson,
Transplantation de zostère marine dans le barachois de Bonaventure, Rapport de suivi
2005. Report presented to Public Works and Government Services Canada by GENIVAR.
15 pages and appendices. [In French Only]
GENIVAR. 2007. Construction d’un mur de protection à l’ancien quai de Fauvel et extension du
brise-lame à Sainte-Thérèse-de-Gaspé, Compensation d’habitat du poisson,
Transplantation de zostère marine dans le barachois de Bonaventure, Rapport de suivi
2007. Report presented to Public Works and Government Services Canada. 16 pages and
appendices. [In French Only]
Project title: Development of rearing habitat for northern pike, lake whitefish, walleye and
fallfish at the mouth of the Manouane River.
Project: In 2004, a shallow bay was created, measuring 3.6 ha in surface area and containing
islets, on the right bank of the Manouane River where it meets the Péribonka River, to act as a
rearing ground for several species of fish in the area. This habitat, which should promote
aquatic plant growth, is protected from potential variations in water levels caused by the nearby
generating station's daily management of water flows, because of submerged weirs at the two
access points at the ends of the bay. The project compensated for the loss of a 2.1 ha rearing
ground destroyed by tailrace dredging.
Project status: The project's failure was related the design of the development itself: although
the habitat was used well by fish at first, subsequent monitoring periods indicated that the new
habitat was gradually being silted, which may have limited fry's access to the development
(4500 fry to 310 fry) and prevented aquatic plants from establishing themselves. As a result, the
portion of the development that could be used gradually decreased over time, and the entire
structure will be filled within a few years.
Indicators used:
Regarding the integrity of the development:
the surface area of the development must be a minimum 2.1 ha;
the characteristics of the rearing habitat (e.g., slope, depth, substrate, vegetation, ice
cover, temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, conductivity, nitrogen and phosphorus);
the stability of the development.
Regarding biology:
checks to determine whether northern pike, lake whitefish, walleye and fallfish young are
present (absolute and relative abundance based on purse seining and experimental net
demonstration that fish are not trapped in the bay after water levels decrease in the
Productivity criteria: The Authorization does not include abundance targets, as success is
determined based on professional judgement of the number of fish observed in relation to those
in nearby control stations, established vegetation, and the durability of the development.
Monitoring period: The monitoring period was initially a minimum of five years with data
collected one, three and five years after the development work was completed. Such a
monitoring period is deemed satisfactory because the stability of the development and whether
aquatic plants establish themselves can be observed under various hydrological conditions.
However, because of the development's silting problem, the monitoring period was extended to
year seven and year eight, and a complementary study was conducted in 2013 to determine
and take appropriate corrective action. This work should be carried out in 2014, and the
development will be monitored twice: one and three years after this work is done.
Documents accessible to the public: Monitoring reports must be requested from the proponent
or obtained through an Access to Information request.
Improving results: Better placement of the development based on hydrological sedimentological
Monitoring reports
Burton, F., Gendron M and R. Lapalme., 2005. Aménagement hydroélectrique de ka Péribonka
– Rapport technique sur les aménagements fauniques de 2004 – faune ichthyenne.
Report prepared by Environnement Illimité inc. and presented to Hydro-Québec
Équipement. Direction Environnement et service technique. 52 pages, 2 appendices and
1 map. [In French Only]
Environnement Illimité inc., 2008. Aménagement hydroélectrique de ka Péribonka – Suivis des
mesures d’atténuation et de compensation pour la faune ichthyennes – Travaux 2007.
Report prepared by Burton F., G. Tremblay and M. Gendron. Presented to Hydro-Québec
Équipement. Unité Environnement. 62 pages, 11 appendices and 4 maps. [In French
Environnement Illimité inc., 2009. Aménagement hydroélectrique de ka Péribonka – Suivis des
mesures d’atténuation et de compensation pour la faune ichthyenne – Travaux 2008.
Report prepared by Burton F. and G. Tremblay. Presented to Hydro-Québec Équipement.
Unité Environnement. 69 pages, 8 appendices and 7 maps. [In French Only]
Environnement Illimité inc., 2010. Aménagement hydroélectrique de ka Péribonka – Suivis des
mesures d’atténuation et de compensation pour la faune ichthyenne – Travaux 2009.
Report prepared by Burton F. and G. Tremblay. Presented to Hydro-Québec Production,
Direction Production des Cascades. 75 pages, 12 appendices and 4 maps. [In French
GENIVAR. 2013. Aménagement hydroélectrique de la Péribonka – étude du patron
d’écoulement et du transport sédimentaire dans le secteur du bassin d’alevinage localisé
au PK 0,5 de la rivière Manouane. Report prepared by François Hardy and Martin
Bouchard Valentine. Presented to Hydro-Québec Production, Direction Production des
Cascades. 62 pages, 6 appendices and 4 maps. [In French Only]
Project title: Moulin Creek, a tributary of the Petit Pabos River
Project: The purpose of the project was to improve free passage conditions for brook trout in
that area by installing fish ladders or weirs at inactive beaver dams and creating brook trout
spawning and rearing areas in the Moulin Creek.
Project status: During the first monitoring period, beavers were observed resuming their
activities. They plugged all the openings made during the development work. They also built
dams over the developed weirs. This created obstacles that the fish could not bypass.
Corrective actions (trapping) and measures (wire fencing, openings) did not solve the problem.
Under these circumstances and given the results, DFO closed the file.
Indicators used:
Regarding the integrity of the development:
Check the stability of beaver dam E1 at the mouth of the pass;
Check whether the physical characteristics (e.g., depth, substrate and flow) of the
developed sites are still adequate and stable for brook trout reproduction and rearing.
The general condition of developed habitats also needs to be documented.
Assess whether brook trout passage conditions are adequate using physical variables
(water level, weir height, depth of pit downstream of weir, presence of debris, runoff,
Assess physical passage conditions for juvenile and adult brook trout at beaver dams
during the active spring migration period and in the fall during the species' breeding
season (upstream and downstream water level, water level in the structure, flows, area
to attract fish, presence of debris, etc.).
Regarding biology:
Determine, by capturing individuals, whether juvenile and adult brook trout can bypass
the beaver dam through the passage structure from downstream towards upstream
during the species' active migration period in the spring.
Document fish distribution and the use of developed environments.
Monitoring period: Three monitoring periods over four years.
Documents accessible to the public: Monitoring reports must be requested from the proponent
or obtained through an Access to Information request.
Monitoring reports
Ministère des Transports du Québec. 2005. Réalisation d’un projet de compensation pour
l’habitat du poisson au ruisseau du moulin. Tributaire de la rivière du Petit Pabos. City of
Chandler (Saint-François-de-Pabos). Réaménagement de la route 132 à Grande-Rivière
(est de la baie du Petit Pabos). Work carried out in 2005. 6 pages and appendices. [In
French Only]
Ministère des Transports du Québec. June 2006. Plan de travail déposé au ministère des
Transports du Québec. Document prepared by PESCA Environnement. 46 pages and
appendices. [In French Only]
Ministère des Transports du Québec. February 2007. Rapport de suivi d’aménagements
aquatiques. Suivi annuel 2006. Projet de compensation de l’habitat du poisson au
ruisseau du Moulin Chandler (Saint-François-de-Pabos).14 pages and appendices. [In
French Only]
PESCA Environnement. February 2008. Rapport de suivi d’aménagements aquatiques. Suivi
annuel 2007. Projet de compensation de l’habitat du poisson au ruisseau du Moulin
presented to the MTQ. 17 pages and appendices. [In French Only]
PESCA Environnement. March 23, 2010. Rapport de suivi d’aménagements aquatiques. Suivi
annuel 2009. Projet de compensation de l’habitat du poisson au ruisseau du Moulin
(Chandler-Saint-François-de-Pabos) presented to Transports Québec. 21 pages and
appendix. [In French Only]
Regroupement pour la restauration des trois rivières Pabos. June 2005. Identification des
problématiques reliées à l’omble de fontaine sur trois tributaires de la rivière Petit-Pabos.
3 pages and appendices. [In French Only]
Several compensation projects have been undertaken in the Gulf region over the years. In the
marine environment, artificial reefs have been used, both for oysters and lobsters. Those
projects are considered “successful” in 80% of the locations. Those projects were needed for
authorizations issued to SCH mainly for infills in the marine environment. The compensation
projects in freshwater habitat are mostly related to either erosion control (sedimentation) or fish
passage (flow regime alteration, impediment to migration).
Freshwater Projects
Removal of a log jam – Follow-up will be done by monitoring the abundance upstream of
the former log jam (1 yrs after)
ALUS – An initiative where farm land along streams/rivers is acquired and will act as a
“buffer” to prevent the entrance of sediments in waterways. By doing so, it also reduces
the nutriment load added in streams thus enhancing the water quality. This project was
compensating habitat destruction by SCH (infill).
Construction of a fishway in a “perched” culvert as compensation for destroying a portion
of a stream; follow-up measured the presence of salmonids (DFO Science)
Construction of a fishway in a natural waterfall to permit fish passage as a compensation
project for SCH projects. Monitoring of success is being done by University (Dal.)
In-Stream compensation for road construction to install vegetated “lunkers” and
enhancing habitat features by installing boulders, root wads. Success was measured
(abundance) for 3 yrs.
For projects related to fish passage, usually presence/abundance/observed migration of certain
species (not only salmonids). Monitoring of the projects was between 1-3 years. No scientific
papers were published but monitoring reports are available. The design of the various projects
was essentially good but it appeared timing could have improved the performance in some
Marine Projects
Nearshore Artificial Reefs in the Gulf Region
Since 2003, approximately 65,000 concrete structures were deployed in six sites to create
nearshore artificial reefs to compensate for declared HADD in the southern Gulf of St.
Lawrence. The general location and size in terms of area covered and number of structure for
the artificial reefs were established by Habitat Management and the in situ site selection
process and monitoring were coordinated or carried out by DFO Lobster Section, Moncton. The
purpose of the artificial reefs was to enhance the complexity of rocky coastal habitat by
increasing shelter availability for benthic species. Lobster was selected as the target species for
investigating habitat productivity because of its commercial importance and availability of
material in the scientific literature (i.e., the large number of studies on lobster).
The efficiency of an artificial reef will first depend on a proper site selection process and
secondly on the type of structure deployed. We used a two step approach: exclusion mapping
and visual transect surveys. The exclusion mapping consists of a multibeam mapping survey of
a general location using the OLEX™ system. Areas with the incorrect depth, slope, and surficial
benthic substrate were eliminated. The second step was to carry out a visual transect survey on
a flat bottom in water < 10 m deep with gravel and small cobble substrate. During the visual
transect survey, information was gathered on the abiotic (i.e., to corroborate the information
from the remote multibeam technology) and biotic (i.e., density or presence of lobster and other
benthic species) habitat characteristics for the final selection of the most appropriate site. The
type of structures selected to create the artificial reef were standard 40 X 40 X 15 cm highdensity concrete structures.
Between 2003 and 2011 twenty-four SCUBA surveys were done at 6 sites to determine the
effectiveness of artificial nearshore reefs. The percentage of structure that sank into a soft
substrate (sandy/muddy) was used as the site selection metric since lobster and other shelter
digging species do not colonize these structures. The percentages of sunken structure were low
ranging from 0% to 7%, indicating a suitable selection process had been followed for the
deployment and creation of artificial reefs. The highest percentages of sunken structures were
observed at sites with ledges forming small canyons with mud/sand substrate at the bottom.
The presence of lobster, and other benthic species, associated with the structures was used as
the colonization metric. For lobsters, two indicators could be used; the percentage of structures
with lobsters or lobster shelters. Lobsters colonized between 41% and 81% of artificial reefs.
Following a marked increase in lobster abundance that occurred in most of the sGSL during the
late 2000’s, the percentage is now around 65%. Lobster shelters could be a better indicator
because lobsters are mobile and could excavate and occupy multiple shelters. The percentage
of lobster shelter within an artificial reef ranged between 78% and 100%. Once again, with the
recent increase in lobster numbers, the percentage of structures with lobster shelters is now in
the 90% range. Benthic fishes were observed on or within 90% of the artificial reefs that we
examined. However, the situation was different for the Fox Harbour artificial reef located in
central Northumberland Strait. Unlike the rest of the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence, the
abundance of lobster in this part of the Strait is currently the lowest on record. Thus, between
2006 and 2010, the percentage of lobster and lobster shelter dropped by half from 4% to 2%
and from 87% to 41%, respectively. This supports the hypothesis that the rate of artificial reef
use is a function of lobster abundance.
Lobster densities associated with artificial reefs compared to natural lobster reefs was used as
the productivity metric. The average lobster density estimated for artificial reefs (4.32 lobster/m2)
was 25-fold higher than the density estimated for natural lobster reefs (0.17 lobster/m2) based
on the 100-m transects. Another indicator for productivity metric was the density of 0-age lobster
(<18 mm of carapace length) because of their cryptic behavior and they are found near where
they settle to the bottom (recruitment index). The average 0-age lobster density estimated for
artificial reefs (0.67 lobster/m2) was also 25-fold higher than the density estimated for natural
lobster reefs (0.03 lobster/m2) indicating that lobster recruits would take advantage of the
artificial reef, i.e., increasing lobster recruitment and presumably population productivity.
However, the density estimate from transects likely biased the outcome because of scaling
factors (i.e., the effectiveness of an artificial reef will be positively biased). Instead of comparing
densities estimated from artificial reef structures (0.16 m2) with transects (400 m2), we proposed
to use density estimated from quadrats (0.25 m2). Quadrats were only done in Caraquet and
Fox Harbour. In Caraquet, the average lobster density estimated for artificial reefs (4.02
lobster/m2) was 6-fold higher than the density estimated for natural lobster reefs (0.69
lobster/m2). Similarly, the average 0-age lobster density estimated for artificial reefs (0.51
lobster/m2) was 7.5-fold higher than the density estimated for natural lobster reefs (0.07
lobster/m2). The situation was slightly different for the Fox Harbour reef as 0-age and overall
lobster densities were very low (recruitment failure).
The site selection, colonization and productivity metrics all show that nearshore artificial reefs
created in the proper habitat could enhance lobster, and coastal species, productivity.
Case Study 1
DFO Small Craft Harbours funded a DFO Science project involving the creation of artificial rock
pile reefs. Infilling for breakwaters, dredging and other infrastructure-based work at several
facilities in the Eastern Nova Scotia Area of the Maritimes Region had resulted in a deficit of
habitat compensation. The proposed artificial reef study was accepted as compensation for
these habitat losses and impacts. The scientific knowledge to be gained in this area was
considered to be of great interest and value to the Habitat Management Program. The project
was considered to be successful, though direct measurement of habitat compensation to habitat
loss from the various Small Craft Harbour projects was not carried out to quantify the net loss or
gain. The success lie in the knowledge gained from the research.
In August 2006 three rock pile reefs were constructed at Inner Sambro Island and also at Cook
Head. Each reef module consisted of 20 rock piles set in a matrix of 4 by 5 each separated by 4
m. A rock pile consists of 200 kg to 250 kg of 15 cm (maximum dimension) beach stone
(archaic) with a mean height of 27.8 cm above surrounding substrate and an average diameter
of 1.3 m. Each rock pile is separated from the adjacent one by a minimum of 3 m.
The census of life on these rock piles in 2007 and 2008 described the development of a marine
plant community that significantly changed the complexity of the habitat architecture.
In June 2008 we began a destructive sampling program at the reef modules at Cook Head and
Inner Sambro Island and we completed it by September, 2008. A total of six rock piles were
sampled on each artificial reef module. Three rock piles from the center of the matrix and three
from the perimeter were haphazardly sampled. The entire rock pile was first encircled with a
1.5 cm mesh hoop net 1.5 m in diameter and 1 meter high to prevent the escape of mobile
All overstory macrophytes were removed and placed in a net bag. An air lift suction with 3mm
mesh collecting bag was used to capture mobile organisms, understory algae and mesoinvertebrates. While suctioning the rock pile, we turned over the rocks to allow capture of the
more cryptic fauna. Macrophytes were separated to genus and wet weighed to 0.1 g. All
invertebrates were separated into taxonomic units and their wet weight was measured to 0.1 g.
Three to four rocks were removed from each rock pile to identify sessile fauna and the
undersides examined to find cryptic ones.
Adjacent to each artificial rock reef we sampled the epibenthos using the same net and suction
technique. Six samples were chosen haphazardly but within 2m of the outer edge of the reef
and all surface organisms (no digging) were suctioned to the net bag. At the Inner Sambro site
the adjacent substrate was eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) and sand habitat while at Cook Head
the substrate was sand/mud with some drift algal cover. Eelgrass was suctioned first to remove
any attached or mobile organisms prior to removal of the shoots. Drift algae was suctioned from
mud/sand with the main sample.
To examine the productivity of natural rock reefs in comparison to our artificial reefs we sampled
three sites; two that were within 50 m of our reef modules and one that was within Sambro
Harbour, Isle of Mann. The natural rock reef sites were sampled at the same 10 m depth zone
(+ 1 m) as the location of the artificial reefs. Six samples were taken from parts of the reef with
rocks that could be moved by the diver, equivalent to <30 cm maximum dimension. The
overstory of macrophytes was removed and then the rocks were suction sampled within the
hoop net.
Indicators for success were based upon the biomass of invertebrates, vertebrates and marco
algae, though, as stated earlier, the science and practical knowledge for application by the
Program, was the ultimate indicator.
Four major questions were addressed:
1) What is the level of annual productivity in rock pile reefs in comparison to adjacent
habitat types and to natural rock reefs?
2) What are the principal subtidal habitats in Sambro Harbour and environs?
3) What is the spatial distribution and area of the principal habitats?
4) If we increased the area of rock pile reefs in Sambro Harbour and environs what would
be the contribution to production from this area?
Production to biomass ratios were applied to each taxon based on P/B ratios derived from
reviewed literature (references). The annual production per m2 was calculated as an average of
the sum and the standard error of the identified taxons and grouped into invertebrates,
vertebrates and flora. These were compared for each habitat type.
Based upon the area of each habitat type from habitat mapping data, the contribution of local
production was calculated with the habitat productivity. The area of each habitat was multiplied
by the unit area production per year for each group of organisms.
Two years was the funding envelop and limited the duration of this particular study. It was
acknowledged that more study was required and further questions identified for investigation.
No significant funding source was obtained to continue, and the information gathered to date
was useful for the Program. Nothing was published to date, though results and a draft was
made available. It is believed that some publications may result from this work. It was
determined that size of rock was crucial, as it related to stability and persistence of the structure.
Case Study 2: Cheverie Creek Salt Marsh
Back in 2005 the removal of an undersized box culvert that was replaced with a larger aluminum
elliptical culvert (measuring 9.2 m by 5.5 m) in the tidal environment to restore tidal flow and fish
passage to the upper watershed in Cheverie Creek, Hants County, Nova Scotia. This was a
joint cost shared project between Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Infrastructure
Renewal (NSTIR) and DFO-SCH. Partnerships were also formed for this project with the
Ecology Action Centre and Ducks Unlimited Canada. Before the replacement of the culvert the
total marsh area was 5.4 hectares and post-restoration the total amount restored was 43.08
hectares. The project was needed to compensate for some past highway projects and SCH
projects that resulted in HADD’s in that ecological unit of the province. It was considered
successful based on the 5 years of monitoring data to show re-established salt marsh, which is
known to be extremely productive habitat that would contribute to certain life stages of fish in the
watershed. It was not only successful in terms of the biological community, but it was also a
huge success for the community and residents in the area who worked hard to see the project
happen. The community (from schools, residents and business owners) rallied around the
project from its inception and now there is an interpretive hiking trail and community center
adjacent to the re-established marsh. The land was provided by a local landowner for the
establishment of the community center. This project was a win win for all involved.
Data was collected for geospatial attributes, hydrology (depth to water table; water quality), soils
and sediments (pore water salinity; sediment accretion & elevation; soil characteristics),
vegetation, nekton (fish) and benthic and aquatic invertebrates (reference condition approach;
invertebrate activity traps) at both the salt marsh restoration site (Cheverie Creek) and a nearby
reference site (Bass Creek).
Fish abundance was measured as a component of the monitoring, which showed a marked
increase in the relative abundance of fish post-construction, mostly due to the increased Panne
size, re-activated creek network and improved hydrological conditions. The pannes were
formed as part of the flooding post-restoration. In 2010 did see a greater number of predatory
species captured.
The abundance of benthic and aquatic invertebrates was also measured as a component of the
monitoring program.
Initially as part of the Memorandum of Understanding the monitoring post-construction was
going to take place for 5 years; however, following the third year (2008) of post-retoration
monitoring it was decided that the schedule for the remainder of the monitoring program be
adjusted from a consecutive 5 year post-restoration program to a year 5 (2010) and 7 (2012).
The reduction of the 4th year of monitoring and the addition of monitoring activities 7 years post
would enable the documentation of longer-term changes in the physical and biological
components of the system as a result of the culvert replacement.
In my opinion I don’t believe that the project could have improved through modification in design
or timing. This was one of the first large scale salt marsh restorations related to fish habitat
compensation (establishment of a habitat bank) that was completed in N.S. However, there
have been other large scale salt marshes established after this project that have also been
successful and it is likely that the monitoring program could be adapted as a result for future
projects as we know now how quickly the salt marsh re-establishes back to or close to the
original state. In saying that it should be noted that these are very dynamic environments and
site maturation could be a factor in the success of Cheverie Creek and other salt marsh
restoration projects.
Bowron, T., Neatt, N., van Proosdij, D., Lundholm, J., and Graham, J. 2009. Macro-Tidal Salt
Marsh Ecosystem Response to Culvert Expansion. Restoration Ecology - The Journal of
the Society for Ecological Restoration International.
Also as a result of a partnership with Saint Mary’s University 6 student research projects from
an Undergraduate Honours and Masters of Applied Science program have resulted from this
Case Study 3: Walton River Salt Marsh
In 2005 NSTIR in partnership with Ducks Unlimited Canada completed construction activities
(water control structure removal and dyke breach) at a site along the Walton River, Hants
County, Nova Scotia, to restore tidal flow to a 12 hectare former salt marsh. The project was
required for fish habitat compensation related to prior HADDs from highway construction in the
ecological unit of the restoration site. After 5 years of monitoring the project has been
considered a success for the biological community as the restoration site continues to change
from the pre- and post-construction conditions, becoming more like the reference site in certain
Data was collected for geospatial attributes, hydrology (hydroperiod & tidal signal; depth to
water table; water quality), soils and sediments (pore water salinity; sediment accretion &
elevation; soil characteristics), vegetation, nekton (fish) and benthic and other aquatic
invertebrates (reference condition approach; invertebrate activity traps) at both the salt marsh
restoration site (Walton River) and the nearby adjacent reference site.
Fish abundance was measured as a component of the monitoring, which showed a marked
increase in the relative abundance of fish post-construction. Fish density was higher at the
post-restoration site for all years with the exception of year 2 and year 5. Also the presence of
higher order predators are accessing the site during high tide.
The abundance of benthic and aquatic invertebrates were also measured as a component of the
monitoring program.
Initially as part of the Memorandum of Understanding the monitoring post-construction was
going to take place for 5 years; however, following the 5th year as there is still potential for
conditions to change it is advised that this site continue with annual monitoring through year 7.
In my opinion I don’t believe that the project could have improved through modification in design
or timing. This was the second large scale salt marsh restorations related to fish habitat
compensation (establishment of a habitat bank) that was completed in N.S. However, there
have been a few more large scale salt marshes established after this project that are still
undergoing monitoring, but are proving to be successful. It is likely that the monitoring program
could be adapted as a result for other future projects as we are finding that the salt marshes
seem to re-establish back to or close to the original state. In saying that it should be noted that
these re-established salt marshes are very dynamic environments and even after the 5th year of
post-construction monitoring at Walton River changes are still occurring at the restoration site.
van Proosdij et al. 2010. Ecological Re-engineering of a Freshwater impoundment for Salt
Marsh Restoration in a Hypertidal System. Ecological Engineering.
A book chapter titled “Chapter 14 – Salt Marsh Tidal Restoration in Canada’s Maritimes
Provinces” has been submitted for peer-reviewed publication in the book Restoring Tidal
Flow in Salt Marshes: A Synthesis of Science and Management. (Roman and Burdick In
Also in partnership with Saint Mary’s University 6 student research projects from an
Undergraduate Honours and Masters of Applied Science program have resulted from this
project. Plans are also underway to produce additional peer-reviewed publications during the
coming year in order to continue to share lessons from these two restoration projects.
Note: We did advocate for two dams to be removed in the province of N.B. with the New
Brunswick Department of Transportation and Infrastructure at Barker Dam on the Nashwaak
River and Moores Mills Lake Dam for fish habitat compensation; however, the monitoring data is
expected to be collected this season with submission in the fall/ winter.
I would expect that the results of the upstream fish passage monitoring that will be undertaken
this season will show evidence of success in these two large scale projects as well. I think there
is much value in eliminating barriers to fish passage for fish habitat compensation projects as
we know fragmentation of fish habitat is an important issue in our region and if we are strategic
about where these projects occur, it could have a real positive impact on the productivity of the
fisheries in our Region.
Many fish habitat compensation projects in both marine and freshwater environments have
been undertaken in the Newfoundland and Labrador region. Two case studies are described
Case Study 1: Rose Blanche Hydroelectric Development
In 1998 the Newfoundland Power Company Limited was issued a Section 35(2) Fisheries Act
Authorization for the harmful alteration, disruption or destruction of fish habitat resulting from the
construction and operation of a small hydroelectric development (6.1 MW) on Rose Blanche
Brook on the southwest coast of Newfoundland. The project involved the construction of a
forebay dam that caused the flooding of approximately 57000 m2 of salmonid spawning and
rearing habitat.
To compensate for the loss of fish habitat associated with the undertaking, a fish habitat
compensation program was undertaken. The proponent created and enhanced
spawning/rearing habitat in a channel located at the lower main stem of the brook
(compensation channel) through:
The placement of spawning gravels/boulders/logs at appropriate locations;
Bank stabilization/revegetation;
Maintaining consistent flows at an optimal level for salmonid spawning/rearing
o excavating the northwest inflow and installing a concrete culvert to regulate
o constructing a control weir in the main stem to direct flows to the channel; and
o constructing three dykes to prevent channel flooding and to ensure suitable.
The proponent also provided improved access to anadromous salmonids through:
The reconstruction of an existing rustic fishway;
The construction of two vertical slot fishways;
Consistently maintaining flows below the tailrace at an optimal level for the enhanced
spawning/rearing habitat and fishways operation.
A monitoring program was established in order to assess the effectiveness of the compensation
measures by undertaking the following:
Conducting visual inspections of the channel to ensure structural integrity, including
substrate stability and bank stability;
Conducting quantitative electrofishing surveys within the channel at representative sites
and at sites in the lower main stem;
Conducting visual inspections of each fishway to ensure structural integrity is maintained
and evaluate the performance of each fishway;
Assessing the effectiveness of each fishway during periods of peak migration at high,
medium and low flows and monitor presence of anadromous salmonids above the
Results/Conclusions: Assessment of Habitat Utilization and Structural Integrity: Results
indicate that the compensation channel appears to be operating as intended with suitable flows
and velocities and is providing good quality fluvial spawning and rearing habitat. Redd surveys
conducted in 2003 confirmed utilization of the spawning substrates within the channel; it was
estimated that 168 redds existed in the compensation channel and some of these were likely to
represent multiple brook trout or ouananiche redds (AMEC 2004).
Quantitative electrofishing indicated an increase in numbers of fish caught in both the main stem
and compensation channel from 1999 to 2003. These increased numbers allowed for
calculation of estimated biomass. In the compensation channel, total biomass was estimated to
range between 535 and 670.6 grams per habitat unit and biomass in the main stem of Rose
Blanche brook was estimated to range from 60.4 to 785.4 grams per habitat unit (AMEC 2004).
To date no anadromous salmon have been recorded returning to Rose Blanche Brook.
Assessment of Fish Passage: Based on the final Rose Blanche Monitoring Report (AMEC
2004), all three fishways appeared to be operating effectively. Although the monitoring program
is completed, the proponent is responsible to keep all fishways open, unobstructed, and
supplied with sufficient water.
In addition to the monitoring program required under the Fisheries Act, DFO conducted a study
on this project to determine the stability of the constructed habitat in the compensation channel
and if fish production in the channel (measured as biomass) replaced that lost due to the habitat
destruction caused by the project (Scruton et al. 2005). The amount of total biomass lost due to
the project was determined from the area lost (57000 m2) and the average fish biomass (brook
trout only) in pre-development surveys. Compensation fish biomass was estimated based on
the available habitat in the compensation channel (9960 m2) and the average total fish biomass
(Atlantic salmon and brook trout) in each year of sampling (2000-2002). The study found that
the total fish biomass in the compensation channel increased throughout the three years of the
study and biomass decreased in the mainstem habitat over the same time period but the
changes were only significant (p < 0.05) in 2002. A net gain in fish production (i.e. no net loss)
was achieved three years following the development, in 2002. This no net loss of fish
production was achieved although the compensatory channel contained only 9960 m2 of habitat
versus 57000 m2 that was destroyed.
AMEC Earth and Environmental Limited. 2004. Rose Blanche Hydroelectric Development Fish
Habitat Compensation Works Monitoring Program, 2003 (Year 5). Newfoundland Power.
St. John’s, NL.
Scruton, D.A., K.D. Clarke, M.M. Roberge, J.F. Kelly, M.B. Dawe. 2005. A case study of habitat
compensation to ameliorate the impacts of hydroelectric development: effectiveness of rewatering and habitat enhancement of an intermittent flood overflow channel. Journal of
Fish Biology 67 (Supplement B): 244-260.
Case Study 2: Nugget Pond Gold Mine and Mill
On May 5, 1997 DFO issued an Authorization to Richmont Mines Inc. for the harmful alteration,
disruption or destruction of fish habitat resulting from the construction and operation of a tailings
management system associated with the development of a gold mine/mill in the Nugget Pond
area located 17 km southwest of the town of La Scie on the Baie Verte Peninsula. Richmont
Mines used Fly Pond, Nugget Pond, Jay Pond and Rocky Pond for a tailings management
system utilizing Fly Pond as the tailings settling pond with Jay Pond, Nugget Pond and Rocky
Pond comprising the polishing pond system. A dam and saddle dyke was constructed at the
tailings pond and a dam constructed at the polishing pond to ensure settling and containment of
tailings. Approximately 267,000 m3 of tailings were deposited in Fly Pond during the 5 year life
of the mine.
To compensate for the loss of productive fish habitat associated with the undertaking, Richmont
Mines Inc. committed to replace the fish habitat productive capacity lost at the project site, by
creating new habitat at a previously inaccessible site in Middle Arm Brook. More particularly,
Richmont Mines provided fish passage above Camp 11 Falls through the construction of a rustic
fish ladder on Middle Arm Brook during the period of fish migration thereby creating accessibility
to fish rearing and spawning habitat in the Middle Arm Brook watershed above the Camp 11
Falls. Heavy rainfalls hampered progress in both the 1997 and 1998 construction seasons. All
compensation works were completed by November 2001.
Monitoring: Richmont Mines established a monitoring program in order to assess the
effectiveness of the compensation measures by undertaking the following:
Conducting visual inspections in 2002 and 2004 to assess the effectiveness of the
fishway, including safe fish migration past the falls and no congregating at either the
base or immediately above the falls.
Conducting hydrological evaluations to determine there is sufficient water flow in the
fishway for safe fish passage.
Providing DFO with a comprehensive report on the effectiveness of the compensation
works for both monitoring years.
Monitoring began in 2002 and was completed in 2004.
Results/Conclusions: The monitoring results indicate that the fishway is operating effectively
from a hydrological perspective (i.e. sufficient flows over the fishway are being maintained under
low flow conditions). Salmon have been monitored in a pool approximately 100m below the falls
however no salmon have been observed above the falls (Richmont Mines 2004). Since the
original man-made obstruction was in place for a significant period of time (approximately thirty
years), it is likely that fish would need to be transported above the falls before they begin using
the fish ladder on their own.
Lessons learned from this project: As of the date of the final monitoring report, 2004, there was
no evidence that fish were using the fish ladder. However, the Fisheries Act Authorization
required only that fish passage be provided and did not require the proponent to ensure that fish
utilized the ladder. For future offsetting of this type, DFO will likely require fish transfer of
Atlantic salmon for at least 3 years to facilitate a timely re-establishment rather than just relying
on salmon to find their way.
Richmont Mines Inc. 2004. Fish Habitat Compensation Program Report. Richmont Mines Ltd.
Baie Verte, NL.
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