Speckled dace endangered

Trout Unlimited is is supporting projects in the Kettle River with the goal of sediment reduction and riparian habitat restoration.

The Speckled Dace is a small minnow found in the Kettle River watershed and western United States.

Unless you are really into fish, you have probably not heard of the speckled dace.

The speckled dace (Rhinichthys osculus) is a small minnow (5-9 cm) that is relatively abundant in the Kettle River watershed and in many waterways in the western United States.

But the Kettle River system is the only place in Canada that the speckled dace occurs, and if its Canadian population were to be severely harmed, the presence of Cascade Falls would prevent it from naturally returning to the watershed. This fact has led to the listing of the speckled dace as Endangered in Schedule 1 of Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA).

Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Province of British Columbia are currently working on a recovery strategy for the speckled dace. The draft strategy, released for public consultation this fall, identified critical habitat areas in the West Kettle near Beaverdell, the main Kettle in the Christian Valley, and the Granby River near Burrell Creek.

The main strategies are to improve key knowledge on the life cycle and habitat use of speckled dace and maintain current distribution and abundance within natural ranges.

Several studies have confirmed that speckled dace are widely distributed in the watershed, with a population of over 900,000 mature fish. It makes use of riffles, runs and pools, eating aquatic insects and algae with its sucker-like mouth. Little is known about their spawning behaviour, but it is thought to occur in mid- July, with fry appearing in early August.

Some of the main threats to speckled dace are low river flows and siltation from road building, forestry, and livestock access.

According to Lesley Peterson, a biologist with Trout Unlimited Canada in Calgary, “These issues are also detrimental to rainbow trout which not only require cold, clean water but also healthy and functioning riparian areas.”

The geographic isolation has also made the population upstream of Cascade Falls genetically unique. But apart from that, most anglers would find their greatest value in their place in the food chain for larger fish-eating predators like adult rainbow trout.

Because of their interest in supporting healthy aquatic ecosystems and rainbow trout in the Kettle River, Trout Unlimited Canada is supporting projects in the Kettle River, in partnership with the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, Golder Associates, Granby Wilderness Society, and other partners.

“Trout Unlimited Canada has received funding through the RBC Blue Water Project to conduct enhancement and restoration projects along the Kettle River system,” said Peterson. “Through education, stewardship, and on-theground projects, our goal is to improve the outlook for not only speckled dace, but rainbow trout and the Kettle River itself.”

The team is currently identifying potential project sites and preparing background information on sediment reduction and riparian habitat restoration. They are applying for further funding to support the project but would like to initiate work in at least one site by the spring of 2015.

— Graham Watt is coordinator of the Kettle River Watershed Management Plan for the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, working with a Stakeholder Advisory Group of people from across the region. Contact Graham at plan@kettleriver.ca or 250-442-4111.

 

Just Posted

Presenting the Graduates of 2018

BCSS celebrated the 2018 grads last weekend.

Unregulated private land logging continues near Nelson at Cottonwood Lake

Sunshine Logging of Kaslo is cutting on private land in the area of Giveout Creek Road

30 degrees and warmer forecasted with heat wave in B.C.

The weather could stay well into next week, according to Environment Canada

Rock Creek Community Medical celebrates 40 years

The society started with a donation of land.

‘Daddy bonus’ common in B.C. workplaces, study finds

UBC researchers say dads don’t have to be number one in the office to get a raise

Homeless people living on ‘Surrey Strip’ move into modular housing

BC Housing says 160 homeless people are being moved into temporary Whalley suites from June 19 to 21

Fake attempted abduction not funny to B.C. neighbourhood residents

Two teenage boys won’t face criminal charges after scaring girl

Mosquitoes out in full force already? Blame the weather

But a B.C. mosquito expert says the heat wave will help keep the pests at bay

Man pleads not guilty in 1987 slayings of B.C. couple

William Talbott of SeaTac was arraigned Tuesday in Snohomish County Superior Court

New GOP plan: Hold kids longer at border – but with parents

Move would ease rules that limit how much time minors can be held with their parents

Without a big data strategy, Canadians at risk of being ‘data cows’

Presentation said artificial intelligence could give Facebook and Amazon even more power

Five B.C. families stuck in Japan as Canada refuses visas for adopted babies

Lawyer points to change in American policy around adoptions from Japan

It may be ‘lights, camera, action!’ for talented B.C. doctor

Rob Forde is waiting to hear if he’ll become The Basement Doctor in his own reality show

Police find capsized boat near Tofino, 3 men still missing

Five men were aboard the boat when it sank off Vancouver Island early Monday morning

Most Read