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Lake Erie North Shore Watershed Plan - Niagara Peninsula ...

Lake Erie North Shore Watershed Plan - Niagara Peninsula ...

LAKE ERIE NORTH SHORE

LAKE ERIE NORTH SHORE WATERSHED PLAN Fish Habitat Fish habitat falls into 1 of 3 categories in Niagara: Type 1, Type 2 or Type 3 (OMNR 2000). Habitat type is based on the sensitivity and significance of current or potential habitats in a water body. Type 1 habitat is the most sensitive habitat of the 3 types. As a result, it requires the highest level of protection. Examples of Type 1 habitat include critical spawning and rearing areas, migration routes, over-wintering areas, productive feeding areas and habitats occupied by sensitive species. Type 2 habitat is less sensitive and requires a moderate level of protection. These areas are considered “ideal for enhancement or restoration projects” and include feeding areas for adult fish and unspecialized spawning habitat. The third habitat type is considered marginal or highly degraded and does not contribute directly to fish productivity. Examples of Type 3 habitat include channelized streams and artificially created watercourses (OMNR 2000). Fish habitat type in the Lake Erie North Shore watershed has been delineated according to the Ministry of Natural Resources stream classification data. These areas are depicted on Figures 14a and 14b as critical habitat (Type 1), important habitat (Type 2) and marginal habitat (Type 3). As illustrated and previously described, numerous areas along Lake Erie have been identified as critical spawning areas, therefore these areas have been designated as critical (Type 1) habitat. Casey Drain, Eagle Marsh Drain, Wignell Drain, Bearss Drain and Point Abino Drain have been classified as important (Type 2) fish habitat and the Welland Canal has been classified as marginal (Type 3) fish habitat. The remaining watercourses in the Lake Erie North Shore watershed have not been evaluated to date in terms of importance for fish habitat. Municipal Drains Under the Ontario Drainage Act (R.S.O. 1990, Chapter D.17) drainage works “include a drain constructed by any means, including the improving of a natural watercourse, and includes works necessary to regulate the water table or water level within or on any lands or to regulate the level of the waters of a drain, reservoir, lake or pond, and includes a dam, embankment, wall, protective works or any combination thereof.” A large quantity of municipal drains are present in the Lake Erie North Shore watershed (Figures 15a and 15b). Even though their purpose is to remove excess water from the land, municipal and agricultural drains do contain fish habitat. To better manage these drains, Fisheries and Oceans Canada has developed a classification system that identifies municipal drains as Types A through F using variables such as flow conditions, temperature, fish species present, and the length of time since the last clean out (Fisheries and Oceans Canada No Date). For example, a Class A drain has permanent flow with cold or cool water temperature and no presence of trout or salmon present. A Type E drain also has a permanent flow with warm water temperatures and top predators (e.g., largemouth bass, northern pike, muskellunge and crappie) present in the drain. Type F drains are characterized by intermittent flow (Fisheries and Oceans Canada No Date). This classification system has been created for use by municipal drainage superintendents for the purpose of drain maintenance. 84

LAKE ERIE NORTH SHORE WATERSHED PLAN Figure 15a: Municipal Drains-West 85

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