The ability for aquatic organisms to move both upstream and downstream is vital to the natural population dynamics of many species of fish, mollusks, insects and other wildlife. Many Great Lakes fish, such as lake sturgeon, Atlantic salmon and brook trout, require passage between lakes, large rivers and their spawning habitat in upstream tributaries to complete their life cycles. Connectivity among aquatic habitats is critical for the health of our waterways as well as the condition of our commercial and recreational fisheries.
Today, however, barriers, such as dams and poorly performing culverts and road crossings block passage of aquatic organisms in almost all large rivers of the Great Lakes basin. Many Great Lakes fish species are unable to access a majority of their historic spawning habitats, severely curtailing reproduction and recruitment rates. In addition, barriers create impoundments and alter flows in ways that often result in increased water temperatures, sediment loads and damaging floods. These effects not only degrade habitat and water quality for wildlife; they also have important detrimental impacts on the human residents of the basin. To address these issues, Sustain Our Great Lakes is helping to remove passage barriers and install passage structures across the basin.
On January 25, 2012, Sustain Our Great Lakes hosted a webinar to explore critical issues associated with restoration of aquatic connectivity in the Great Lakes basin. Drawing from case studies selected to highlight each of these issues, experts will share their experiences and lessons learned. In addition, the webinar provide information on relevant funding opportunities offered through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Sustain Our Great Lakes. Please click here to find a recording of the webinar.
Resources & References
Please click here to find additional information on critical issues and opportunities associated with aquatic connectivity restoration in the Great Lakes Basin.