Examination of distribution and density of juvenile Dolly Varden char in Fish Creek (Rat River)
Principal Investigator: Maier, Kris (6)
Licence Number: 15505
Organization: Gwich'in Renewable Resources Board
Licenced Year(s): 2016 2015 2014
Issued: Jul 17, 2014
Project Team: Kris Maier (Project lead/field supervisor, GRRB), Neil Mochnacz (Project coordinator/data analysis, DFO), Mike Suitor (Field crew leader, Yukon Environment), Technicians from Ft McPherson and/or Aklavik (Crew members)

Objective(s): To increase understanding of habitat requirements for juvenile Dolly Varden in Fish Creek (Rat River stock) and develop a community-based monitoring program to enhance recovery and improve decision making at the local level.

Project Description: The project seeks to increase understanding of habitat requirements for juvenile Dolly Varden in Fish Creek (Rat River stock) and develop a community-based monitoring program to enhance recovery and improve decision making at the local level. Specific objectives include: 1) implement a community-based monitoring program to monitor essential habitat based on ecological thresholds, 2) determine the spatial distribution of juvenile char in the Fish Creek watershed, 3) identify essential habitat used by juveniles at different life stages, and 4) determine if distributional monitoring approaches can be used to understand and effectively monitor juvenile recruitment.

Juveniles will be captured using an electrofisher and dip nets in predetermined and randomly chosen sections of Fish Creek. All electrofished juveniles will be enumerated and measured for length and will be released back into the water alive. A subsample of 40 juvenile Dolly Varden will be chosen and dead-sampled in order to collect more comprehensive biological information (e.g., age, diet, genetics).
Several Canadian Aquatics Biomonitoring Network (CABIN) sites will also be established to gain insight into preferred diet items of juvenile Rat River char.

The goal is to establish the capacity for a community based habitat monitoring program which the research team have been working toward over the past few seasons. Community members will be trained in electrofishing, benthic invertebrate, water and fish sampling protocols.

Results will be communicated to the communities at regular monthly Renewable Resource Committee (RRC) meetings immediately after the field season, at the Gwich’in Renewable Resource Board fall board meeting in September 2014, at the Regional RRC meeting in January 2015, at the next Rat River Working Group meeting in March 2015, and any other local opportunities which arise. Results may also be presented at conferences and symposiums held outside the region and internationally. Published materials will be available in the future.




The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from August 1, 2014 to September 30, 2014.