Niagara River Area of Concern Fish Barrier Project (2001 to 2010)
One of the main concerns about the environment around the world is the decline in fish populations since fish provide us with a source of food, revenue and enjoyment. Many privately owned physical barriers to fish migration and sediment transport exist within the Niagara River Watershed. These barriers prevent fish from reaching their spawning habitat, resulting in low species diversity.
Sediment transport is also impeded, resulting in the further destruction of fish habitat. Man-made barriers include structures such as agricultural crossings, collapsed/perched culverts, and dam/weir structures. Natural barriers such as logjams have also been identified as being detrimental to aquatic habitat.
In 2001, an initial inventory of 133 barriers within the Niagara River Area of Concern was completed. Ultimately, 210 barriers were identified, of which, 148 have been removed, unlocking over 850 km of potential fish habitat. Barrier remediation has consisted of the removal of log/debris jams, replacement of perched/collapsed culverts, removal/modification of dams/weirs, and the installation of concrete clear span bridges.
Of the 62 inventoried barriers that remain, 13 can not be feasibly removed, 25 have no landowners support, and 24 have been ‘de-listed’ based on further research. This project completes one of the targets outlined in the Niagara River Remedial Action Plan – Stage 2 Implementation Annex 2000. This project officially ended in the spring 2010.
This project, not unlike the other NRC projects, is heavily dependant upon partnership with other organizations, including the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority and funding groups such as the Great Lakes Sustainability Fund, and the Ontario Trillium Foundation.
Click here if you'd like to download a copy of the Fish Population Data Analysis Report, a pdf document highlighting follow-up analysis of several key barrier removals.