CARP undertakes a variety of complimentary projects that contribute to the conservation of native fish populations and the restoration of fish habitat. These projects typically include some combination of research, monitoring, restoration, and local ecological knowledge.
In order to make informed decisions we need information. In terms of fish and fish habitat conservation there is a wide variety of types of information that may be required, based on a project’s specific objectives. These types of information includes:
• Water quality: the chemical, physical and biological properties of water
• Fish community structure: what species of fish are found in a given area
• Barriers to fish migration (e.g. culverts)
• Habitat suitability: how well can a given area support a species vital life life functions
• Fish age & growth: this can be determined by examining scale samples
Monitoring is a critical component in long term projects because it allows us to identify changes over time. Without monitoring we would not be able to tell, with any certainty, whether our actions are having the desired effects. By evaluating the data obtained through monitoring programs we can also identify areas for improvement or other issues that need to be addressed.
Restoration work involves making physical changes to the landscape, in order to return it to a more natural state, or to bring back natural functions that have been altered by human activities. The installation of culverts or dams is a common action that leads to the alteration of fish habitat. Improper installation can cause a barrier to fish migration, cutting them off from upstream habitat. Clearing blocked culverts and installing fishways are two types of restoration work used to address this issue. De-vegetation of streamside habitat is another common issue on the Annapolis River. Trees and shrubs provide shade, which helps regulate water temperature, which fish such as brook trout are very sensitive to. By re-vegetating rivers and streams we can create suitable fish habitat. Plants will also help in preventing soil erosion, and aid in filtering water.
Local Ecological Knowledge
Local anglers and other recreational users hold a wealth of knowledge about the rivers and species they fish. Anglers are often the people who interact most with fish and the habitats that support them. We are currently seeking anglers who are interested in sharing their knowledge with us. This knowledge might include where species were caught in the past and at present, where certain species are no longer found, and how river conditions have changed over time.
Community members also have many great ideas about how to approach projects and the areas where work is needed is most. We want to establish a dialogue with community members so that we can exchange information, and work cooperatively to accomplish projects that are of mutual benefit.