By: Jordanna N. Bergman, PhD Student, Carleton University and Steven J. Cooke, Professor, Carleton University
The Rideau Canal Waterway, located in eastern Ontario, forms a continuous 202-km route between Lake Ontario and the Ottawa River and is connected by 23 working lockstations. Construction of this waterway connected previously disconnected aquatic habitats, allowing both invasive and native species to move through anthropogenic barriers, including locks and dams.
This research project will use telemetry data to track native and invasive fish as they travel through this system and the potential factors driving movements. The goal is to inform conservation decisions and invasive species management strategies, including how infrastructure and operations could be refined to reduce invasive species spread.
In summer 2019, we acoustically tagged 245 fish (LOTEK L-AMT series), including two recreationally important native species, largemouth bass and northern pike, and two invasive species, common carp and round goby. Acoustic receivers (LOTEK WHS 4250) were strategically placed throughout the system to create an array to (1) detect if fish passed through barriers, (2) investigate how fish interact with lock infrastructure, and (3) examine seasonal movement patterns of native and invasive fish species.
Researchers have described waterways with barriers as “invasion highways” for aquatic species. This project will determine if, when and how fish are moving through the system without compromising connectivity to native species and inform conservation decisions.