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Helping fish get back to nature

eastern Region at l a n t i c

The thought of a fish climbing a ladder seems like something you’d only see in a Dr. Seuss book. And yet fish all over Canada climb ladders every single year! A fish ladder, also known as a fish-way, is a structure on or around dams or other water control structures, which allows for natural migration. It allows fish to pass around the barriers by swimming and leaping up a series of relatively low steps (hence the term ladder) into the water on the other side. Over the past 45 years, Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) has invested over $10 million in the construction and operation

of 160 fish-ways in Atlantic Canada – more than any other agency, government or corporation in the Atlantic region. DUC started incorporating fish-ways into water control structures as part of their wetland conservation program. The majority of DUC fish-ways were built between 1975 and 1990. DUC is now working with government and university partners to put together a proactive strategy to improve the overall effectiveness of these existing structures, and also meet new Department of Fisheries and Oceans requirements. As in many things, it turns out that the perfect design may have been created by Mother Nature. DUC is looking into newer, more innovative designs that use “nature-like fish-ways” based on simulating natural stream characteristics and using natural materials. These designs appear to be more successful in allowing a greater variety of species to pass through them and have lower long term maintenance costs. Nature-like fish-ways are designed to simulate natural stream characteristics by using natural materials, rocks, large boulders and stepped pools. Many have been constructed in Europe, but it is a relatively new concept in North America. DUC looks forward to working with its partners to assess the science behind nature-like fish-ways and determine their suitability for Atlantic Canadian fish species and other aquatic organisms.

Atlantic Wetland Care Guide now available!

FREE! 42

Conservator | summer 2012

If you have a wetland on your property, you know it’s an amazing and complex system. Now thanks to Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC), you have a brand new tool to help you better understand and manage that wetland. DUC in Atlantic Canada is now offering The Wetland Care Guide, which is available free to Atlantic Canada landowners with DUCmanaged wetlands on their property. The Wetland Care Guide is an essential educational tool for any landowner restoring a wetland on their property or looking for best management practices to enhance an existing wetland. Topics discussed in the 52-page guide include the different types of wet-

lands, the value of wetlands, the process of wetland restoration, wetland management, ecology and more. DUC’s Atlantic Wetland Care program works in partnership with over 1,800 landowners across Atantic Canada to conserve wildlife habitat. This program provides landowners with resources to further understand the true value of wetlands and how to manage them successfully. DUC is committed to supporting and encouraging landowners in understanding their wetland so that they, and the waterfowl and wildlife who live in it, can enjoy it for many years. Call 1-866-903-8257 to get yours!


right: ©DUC

DUC sets the conservation bar high in Quebec 2012 is turning out to be quite eventful. The Montreal and Laval regional conservation plans are complete, rounding out the portrait of wetlands for each of the province’s 17 administrative regions. Ducks Unlimited Canada’s (DUC) detailed (more acurate and up-to-date) mapping project of the wetlands in the St. Lawrence Lowlands is in progress, with the Centre-du-Québec administrative region complete and Chaudière-Appalaches under way. Agreements were made with a number of partners to also update the wetland inventory for the Quebec Metropolitan Community (QMC) and Montérégie regions. With regard to protection, DUC is focusing on consolidating the priority area surrounding the Rivière du Sud, in Montérégie, through the acquisition of a 12-hectare parcel. Major projects in Outaouais are also in full swing. DUC is also currently working on the management of the Saint-Louis marsh, in Lavallière Bay, Montérégie, completing the second phase of the Ruisseau de Feu restoration project in Terrebonne, and restoring the dam at Poulin marsh in the Beauce region.

Right: DUC is focusing on consolidating the priority areas surrounding the Rivière du Sud through acquisition of a 12-hectare parcel.

The boreal forest team is busy with five research projects led by seven graduate students with research scholarships. These projects involve waterfowl habitat modeling in the boreal forest, assessing ecological services provided by wetlands in Minganie, riparian environments in the Chibougamau region, swamps and climate change in the Bécancour and Yamaska river watersheds, and the impacts of changing water levels on the wetlands surrounding dammed lakes in Mauricie. DUC is also staying active in different committees involved in elaborating the Plan Nord.

eastern Region quebec

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Flyways - Atlantic - 33-2