Investigating and indentifying thermal refugia for Atlantic salmon in the Cains River and the Little Southwest Miramichi River
Fish take advantage of local temperature variations to escape summer high temperatures and winter ice accumulations. The amount and location of special temperature habitats or refuges are critical to the survival of brook trout and Atlantic salmon populations. How temperature refuges in rivers are created and used by Atlantic salmon and brook trout are poorly understood. Tools have not been developed to quickly predict their occurrence or their importance to the fish. Therefore, managers who are charged with protecting river ecosystems don’t know where and how to efficiently find these critical habitats. This project will provide a practical management tool that will predict critical thermal habitat. In this project, summer river temperatures will be mapped using thermal infra-red (TIR) imagery in the Cains River, to identify where temperature refuges for fishes. Using the TIR images to locate thermal habitats, field work will determine the physical features of the river and landscape around the river that produce these critical fish habitats. From the studies, we are developing GIS models for planners, fisheries, and forest managers that will predict where these habitats most probably occur within a river and thus create a tool to protect habitats when planning forest operations or other land development activities within a watershed.
Parr in the Cains river with rock indentifier.
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