Credit River Fisheries Management Plan

Credit River Fisheries Management Plan

The Credit River Fisheries Management Plan (CRFMP) was published in 2002 and is a cooperative product of the MNR and CVC with assistance from DFO, the Ministry of the Environment (MOE), regional/local municipalities, and other local nongovernment organizations (NGOs). It includes a comprehensive list of 90 issues, 140 strategies, and 350 specific, measurable and accountable tactics for the agencies and the public to consider. Guidelines for land use planners prescribe in-water construction seasons, buffer widths, and other fish community sensitivities and requirements. The plan also provides guidance for NGO’s and the public on responsibilities and how to get involved in advocacy and rehabilitation projects.

Priorities, issues, strategies, and specific tactics the Credit River Fisheries Management Plan (CRFMP) focuses on:

Water Quantity – Fish need water. A water budget and water allocation plan will be pursued to ensure water is available to sustain healthy fish populations. There is a need to protect and rehabilitate groundwater recharge areas and surface water storage areas, such as wetlands.

Water Quality – The CRFMP recommends that sediment controls, especially on construction sites, be monitored and enforced. There is a need to establish and respect the assimilative capacity of the river with respect to waste water treatment. The plan also identifies a need to maintain and retrofit urban stormwater management practices including “at source” (e.g. disconnect rain gutters) and “end of pipe” controls (e.g. stormwater ponds and artificial wetlands).

Physical Habitat – The CRFMP supports the need for increased monitoring and enforcement of fish habitat violations. There is a need to prioritize some 500 dams and on-line ponds for repair, mitigation, or removal.

Angling Opportunities – Programs to create new angling opportunities including the introduction of smallmouth bass above the Streetsville Dam, and the establishment of a self-sustaining rainbow trout population are underway. The plan supports the ongoing reintroduction of Atlantic salmon to Lake Ontario using the Credit River as one of the best opportunities for success. There is also a desire to stock isolated ponds with a variety of species for increased fishing opportunities in urban and rural areas of the watershed.

Enforcement – There is a need for additional resources and partnerships to enforce MNR’s fishing regulations and DFO’s habitat protection policies. MOE, CVC, and others can provide more cooperation and support.

Rehabilitation -There is a need to further develop and implement a fisheries rehabilitation strategy directed at factors limiting fish production, with consideration being given to the different physiographic stream types and species associations. Funding is available for landowners from CVC and for volunteer groups through MNR’s Community Fisheries and Wildlife Involvement Program. Partnerships with DFO, Trout Unlimited Canada, Izaak Walton Fly Fishing Club, Credit River Anglers Association, Mississauga Bassmasters, and Ontario Streams have proven to be very effective.

Education – There is a need to increase fish watching and appreciation with interpretive materials and programs. Another suggestion is to publish a citizen’s guide to the CRFMP for advocates, volunteers, and the public to help appreciate and make a difference in water and fisheries management. Watershed on Wheels, Children’s Water Festival, Stream of Dreams and the Atlantic Salmon Classroom Hatchery Programs are excellent examples of available educational programs.

Monitoring – A report card style assessment was developed to measure progress on the above strategies and hold all accountable for the implementation of this plan (e.g. number of trees planted, stream rehabilitation projects, percentage of construction sites with proper sediment controls, baseflow index, number of publications). In addition, CVC publishes an annual Integrated Monitoring Program report that details trends in many biological, physical and chemical indicators.

An update to the CRFMP is scheduled to begin in 2012.  Underway now is a CVC study relating to Lake Ontario and its nearshore water quality, fisheries and aquatic habitat.