Habitat restoration and water quality protection are essential components of the overall species restoration program. This component identifies critical habitat areas within each of the streams targeted for restoration. Also, major limiting factors affecting the life history stages of Atlantic salmon are identified and addressed as needed.
One of the main challenges associated with this type of work in southern Ontario is 95% of the land is privately owned. To address this reality, the OFAH Atlantic Salmon team will work with landowners, MNRF, DFO, conservation authorities, and non-government organizations such as Ontario Streams, and Trout Unlimited Canada.
The following are the types of projects we work on:
- Tree planting in riparian areas to stabilize banks and decrease sedimentation and water temperature;
- Debris management to enhance and restore natural flows, clean substrate and enhance habitat for adult and juvenile fish;
- Bank stabilization projects to minimize erosion and sedimentation of spawning and nursery areas;
- Wetland protection to ensure high quality and quantity of water;
- Cattle fencing and alternate watering systems to prevent riparian grazing, erosion, and in-stream habitat destruction; and
- Modification, by-pass or removal of online dams and ponds to re-establish natural channels, decrease stream temperatures and allow fish passage.
By early 2016, the program has completed 200 habitat restoration projects in ten years across five watersheds, planting over 85,000 trees and shrubs. To learn more about the OFAH’s habitat projects, please see the links to reports below.