Enhancement and monitoring of arctic grayling spawning habitat at Providence Creek, NWT

Regions: Dehcho Region

Tags: biology, fish, habitat enhancement, spawning areas

Principal Investigator: Low, George (12)
Licence Number: 15438
Organization: Deh Cho First Nations
Licenced Year(s): 2016 2015 2014
Issued: Mar 18, 2014
Project Team: Mike Low (Technician, Deh Cho First Nations), Bruce Townsend (Biologist, Deh Cho First Nations), Community members (Field Technicians, Deh Gah Gotie Band)

Objective(s): To enhance Providence Creek's arctic grayling spawning habitat.

Project Description: The primary objective of this project is to enhance Providence Creek to increase arctic grayling (Thymallus arcticus) spawning habitat. This will be done by removing beaver dams which have been shown to decrease usable spawning habitat, and to create new spawning habitat with gravel and boulders.

Another objective of the project is to monitor the arctic grayling population to determine if the enhancement has increased usable spawning habitat; this will be done by putting a fish box in to count and sample fish going upstream. Visual observations of where the fish are spawning will also be done.

Once the fish box has been put in place properly, there will always be a crew of 3 monitoring the study area and the fish box will be checked continuously throughout the day to ensure there isn’t a large amount of fish in the box at one time. During the upstream movement the graylings will be directed into the fish box and the crew will sample them as they come in; each fish will be netted into a specialized trough and sampled for length, weight and sex (visually). While in the trough the first 100 fish measured will also be given a serialized floy tag and then released upstream of the box once they have recuperated. Once all of the fish have completed their upstream spawning migration, the fence will be removed and the grayling will be allowed to migrate back downstream.

Once the fish are measured, tagged and released, crew members will walk upstream of the fish fence to look for and note any grayling spawning activity. If the grayling are caught by anglers or harvesters after they disperse into the Mackenzie River, they can be returned along with the catch location for a reward.

This project is coordinated around community involvement right from the start. Two community members will be hired to set up camp, the fish box and fish fence, as well they will be involved in collecting and recording data.

Results will be summarized and presented to the First Nation. A report will also be made and given to the band and all data will be archived and freely available.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from May 1, 2014 to May 31, 2014.