Species at Risk

Lake Sturgeon

Right now there are about 543 plant and animal species at risk in Canada; some of these species, such as the whooping crane, the North Atlantic right whale, and the monarch, are more commonly known than others. Learn more about Species at Risk in Ontario here.

Fish Species at Risk in the Essex-Erie Region

In the Essex-Erie Region (the area in southwestern Ontario roughly between the Detroit River and Long Point) there are over 16 species of fish that are currently at risk.  This is due to our regional location at the northern extent of many of these species’ range and diversity of habitat types (terrestrial, wetland, lake). Many of these species have unique habitat requirements, and are sensitive to pollution and habitat alterations.

Why are they at Risk?

Most of these species are not targeted commercially or recreationally. Species at Risk are in jeopardy for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Siltation (a build-up of fine sand) in watercourses makes it difficult for these fish to feed, reproduce, protect themselves, and communicate
  • Runoff from septic systems, farms, roadways, hard surfaces in urban settings, and water treatment plants can contaminate their water.
  • Habitat loss & degradation
  • Zebra Mussels, Round Goby, & other foreign species affect the available habitat quality and quantity
  • Climate change & Pollutants in the water
  • Drought conditions in rivers and streams, and alterations to waterways that increase frequency of low flow conditions
  • Barriers to movement, such as dams, culverts, & hydro power generation facilities

Why Should I Care?

A cleaner greener environment enhances everyone’s quality of life. It is our responsibility to protect these species and take positive actions to help ensure their survival. Some of them are only found in a small part of Canada – they are not everywhere. Helping them is saving a part of our cultural heritage.

There are substantial benefits to initiating some of the modest property enhancements that improve the conditions for these fish species at risk, such as improved property values and aesthetics.

How Can I Help?

Would you like to assist these Fish Species at Risk but are not sure how to do it? Whether you can afford it? Learn more about Tree Planting and Stewardship and Landowner Grants available.

Assistance for this project was provided by the Ministry of Natural Resources.