Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority

Proposed Ausable R Action Plan

Ausable River is home to many important fish, mussel species; Proposed Action Plan prepared to help protect these aquatic animals

Public is invited to review, comment until July 23, 2018 on Proposed Action Plan 

The Ausable River supports one of the most diverse communities of aquatic animals in Canada. At least 26 species of freshwater mussels and 85 species of fish have been found in this watershed. Seven of the eight turtle species in Ontario are in the Ausable River watershed. Many aquatic species in this watershed are assessed as Endangered, Threatened, or of Special Concern. 

There are several threats to the survival and recovery of aquatic species at risk in the Ausable River. Low oxygen concentrations, nutrient enrichment, sediment loads, and invasive species are some of the factors that can impact their populations.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada has prepared and posted a proposed Action Plan for the Ausable River in Canada: An Ecosystem Approach. The proposed Ausable River Action Plan is an update of the Ausable River Recovery Strategy developed by the Ausable River Recovery Team in 2002.

“Project partners have completed hundreds of stewardship and monitoring projects, since 2002, in this nationally important area,” said Kari Jean, Aquatic Biologist with Ausable Bayfield Conservation. “More work is needed and the proposed Action Plan provides strategies for continued work to protect and improve habitat around the Ausable River.” 

You are invited to review and provide comments on the proposed Action Plan. The document is posted on the Species at Risk Public Registry. You may provide written comments on this document from now until July 23, 2018. To review the document and to provide comments visit the Species at Risk Public Registry at this link:

To find out about the Ausable River Recovery Team visit the Ausable River Recovery web page:

The proposed Ausable River Action Plan applies to the Ausable River Watershed, including its tributaries and wetland habitats. The proposed Action Plan identifies critical habitat – crucial areas that are vital to the survival and recovery of these important species at risk and where work is needed. The updated proposed Action Plan includes timelines to complete recommended actions categorized as high, medium, and low. Recommended actions for species recovery include monitoring of species and habitat; increasing awareness of species at risk through education and outreach; and completing best management practices (BMPs). These best practices include riparian buffers; non-riparian erosion control; and protection and enhancement of natural areas including wetlands.

The Ausable River watershed supports critical habitat for aquatic species at risk. Five freshwater mussels (Kidneyshell, Northern Riffleshell, Snuffbox, Mapleleaf, and Rainbow) and three fishes (Eastern Sand Darter, Lake Chubsucker, and Pugnose Shiner) are the focus of the updated ecosystem-based plan.  

The Ausable River Recovery Team is made up of watershed landowners and staff from Ausable Bayfield Conservation, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, and local municipalities. Project partners began to take new conservation actions, starting in 2002, as part of the original Ausable River Recovery Strategy. The participants in this work completed voluntary stewardship activities to reduce sediment and nutrient inputs in the Ausable River watershed. Agencies also led management, monitoring, and education actions to reduce threats to species at risk. A new Action Plan will guide these partners in their future work to protect species at risk in the Ausable River.

To find out more, you are invited to download a free, new local fact sheet, produced by Ausable Bayfield Conservation, on the Ausable River Recovery web page at at this link: 






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