Working Together for the Recovery of Species at Risk
The Channel Darter and the Eastern Sand Darter are two freshwater fish that are designated as threatened by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) and are on the list of species protected under the Species at Risk Act.
The Act was created in order to prevent wildlife species in Canada from becoming extinct and to provide for their recovery. The short-term recovery objective for these two small fish is to ensure that existing populations are maintained throughout their range in Quebec and to prevent their further decline. They are currently found in a few rivers in southern Quebec, including the Richelieu and L'Assomption. The long-term objective is to promote the growth of existing populations to ensure their viability and, wherever possible, restore historical populations that have disappeared.
In 2012, to assist in the recovery of the Eastern Sand Darter and the Channel Darter, Fisheries and Oceans Canada took inventories and assessed the area of suitable habitat for these two species in various Quebec watersheds. These inventories were taken in collaboration with four organizations: Ambioterra, the Corporation de l’aménagement de la rivière L’Assomption (CARA), the Comité de la zone d’intervention prioritaire du lac Saint-Pierre and the Organisme des bassins versants de la Côte-du-Sud.
This sampling confirmed the presence of the Channel Darter in 17 new stations in the Des Anglais, L'Assomption, Du Loup (Mauricie), Yamachiche and Du Sud (Bras Saint-Nicolas) rivers. For the eastern sand darter, three new stations were listed in the L'Assomption and Saint-François (Nicolet–Yamaska) rivers. The work done by these organizations also broadens our knowledge of the habitats preferred by these species and the impact of human activity on these environments.
For many years, environmental organizations have been at the forefront in carrying out knowledge acquisition, awareness and protection activities on species at risk such as the Channel Darter and the Eastern Sand Darter. Other species such as the Lake Sturgeon, Wood Turtle, Copper Redhorse, Western Chorus Frog and Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamander also benefit from the activities of these organizations, which, by and large, improve the health of sensitive ecosystems.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada and its four partners are proud to be working together on the recovery of these species at risk.