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Environmental Monitoring

Protecting soil, water, and living things is the goal of the guiding Conservation Strategy document which was created by a diverse group of people, from all walks of life, from the watershed community.

Monitoring was one of the actions the community asked Ausable Bayfield Conservation to continue.
Visit our Conservation Strategy page.

For more on Environmental Monitoring visit these links:

For information on the Ausable River Action Plan (ARAP), which builds upon the former Ausable River Recovery Strategy, scroll down:

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

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 approved an Action Plan for the Ausable River in Canada: An Ecosystem Approach.

Find out more at this link:

The 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 Action Plan provides strategies for continued work to protect and improve habitat around the Ausable River.” 

The Ausable River Action Plan applies to the Ausable River Watershed, including its tributaries and wetland habitats. The 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 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 needed for aquatic species at risk. Three freshwater mussels (Kidneyshell; Northern Riffleshell; and Snuffbox) and three fish species (Eastern Sand Darter; Lake Chubsucker; and Pugnose Shiner) are the focus of the plan. The new action plan provides actions to protect these species.

The Ausable River Recovery Team (ARRT) 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 guides 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: 

For the Ausable River Recovery Strategy visit this link:

Issued: March 30, 2020:

Canada approves action plan for Ausable River
Ausable Bayfield Conservation staff to help local communities take plan actions that protect nationally important fish, mussel species

Canada has approved a new action plan to protect important species in the Ausable River watershed. The Ausable River Action Plan was posted to Canada’s species at risk public registry on March 3, 2020 following public consultation. 

The new plan identifies areas of critical habitat, which are areas with features that are needed for endangered or threatened species to survive and thrive. The plan recommends best land management practices for urban, rural and agricultural areas; monitoring of species and habitat; and education and outreach. The plan also highlights erosion control and protection and enhancement of natural areas. Staff members of Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) will be working with communities and landowners to put the plan into action, with federal funding support.

“We’re already doing some great things with our communities and this will sustain the momentum of positive actions that are taking place in the watershed,” said Kari Jean, ABCA Aquatic Biologist. To prevent the potential spread of COVID-19, ABCA staff are postponing site visits but they are available by phone and email to work with participating landowners on planning and implementing potential projects. 

The Ausable River supports one of Canada’s most diverse communities of aquatic animals, including 26 species of freshwater mussels and 85 species of fish. Many species are endangered or threatened.

To find out more about the approved Action plan for the Ausable River in Canada: an ecosystem approach, visit this web page: 

If you live in the Ausable River watershed, and you would like to find out about actions you can take to improve habitat for local aquatic species and funding grants that may be available as incentives to help you do stewardship projects, you may call Ausable Bayfield Conservation at 1-888-286-2610 or email

– This project was undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada. Ce projet a été realisé avec l'appui financier du gouvernement du Canada

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