Fisheries and Oceans Minister Bernadette Jordan has announced $805,999 over three years in funding for three freshwater habitat research projects.

“Canada has one of the largest supplies of freshwater in the world, and protecting these ecosystems is vital to ensuring the health of the species that live within them,” said Minister Jordan. “Our government will continue investing in smart science and research that strengthens partnerships and allows for a better understanding of how to support our freshwater resources, now and into the future.”

The new funding will support research focused on studying the relationships between environmental impacts and freshwater fish and fish habitat. These include cumulative stressors, freshwater connectivity, and fish passage as part of a broader freshwater habitat science program across Canada.

The Canadian Wildlife Federation received $303,038 in funding to support a project to develop and build a national aquatic barriers database that identifies and maps barriers to fish, such as weirs and dams.

“Countless dams, culverts, levees, and other structures block fish movements in Canada and fragment freshwater systems,” said Dr. Nicolas Lapointe, senior conservation biologist at the Canadian Wildlife Federation. “We are mapping these features to provide tools for scientists and managers to better understand their effects on freshwaters and support efforts to reconnect our waters.”

The Salmon Watersheds Lab at Simon Fraser University received $299,961 to study the impact of cumulative stressors on salmon in British Columbia.

“Salmon watersheds are rapidly changing due to the cumulative impacts of climate change and human activities,” said Dr. Jonathan Moore, project lead at the Watershed Futures Initiative and professor at Simon Fraser University. “We aim to tackle key scientific uncertainties in understanding these changing systems and then work with diverse partners to translate this understanding to action.”

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The Canadian Rivers Institute at the University of New Brunswick received $203,000 to evaluate fish behaviour in relation to passage and to develop a practical geographic information system tool that maps fish access to streams across landscapes.

“This project will use an innovative multidisciplinary approach to identifying barriers and improving connectivity for fish passage,” said Dr. Kurt Samways, Parks Canada Research Chair in aquatic restoration at the University of New Brunswick and Research Fellow at the Canadian Rivers Institute. “It’s an exciting opportunity to create a new, cost-effective assessment tool that managers and land-use practitioners can use to identify areas of concern and targets for remediation.”

Research on our countless freshwater habitats and its inhabitants is essential to ensuring the sustainable management of our aquatic resources. The data and information collected from the research announced today will help inform us on how to keep Canada’s lakes, rivers and streams and waterways healthy for generations to come.

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