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Identification and prioritization of barriers inhibiting fish passage within the Saint John Watershed

Recipient: Wolastoqey Nation
Approved Amount: $17,000 for 2021 (1st year of a 2 year project, total: $29,000)   Year Approved: 2021

Fragmentation of stream networks by anthropogenic structures such as road culverts can affect the health of a catchment by negatively affecting the ecosystem’s biota, their movements, abundances, and species richness. The challenge for resource managers is the prohibitive costs of locating, evaluating, and remediating problem structures at landscape-scales. There is a need for a framework to perform a desktop, landscape-scale evaluation and prioritization process using existing data that allows managers to make cost and ecologically effective decisions. This project will present a framework using publicly available LiDAR and orthophotography to locate and identify road crossings and evaluate fragmentation and passability for various fish species at the landscape-scale. The approach provides a valuable and cost-effective means of identifying potential stream crossing issues for multiple management objectives, e.g., fish passage, and thus the approach is an important step in the development of prioritization tools for restoration decisions by resource managers.

Contact:  Michael Arsenault, michael.arsenault@wolastoqey.ca