Over the years, we have built hundreds of thousands of dams, culverts, levees and road crossings.
These human-made barriers are riddled across our waterways. There are more than 40,000 dams in Canada and only about 400 have fishways (which help them to pass through)!
Unfortunately, these barriers impair the ability of many of our favourite fish species from migrating and have caused many populations to plummet.
B.C. salmon species, Atlantic salmon, Lake Sturgeon, American Shad, Alewife and Northern Pike have found themselves blocked time and time again as they try to make their way between different habitats in oceans, lakes and rivers.
But others have fared even worse. Once extremely abundant throughout tributaries to Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, the American Eel has seen a dramatic population decline. A whopping quarter million eels once made the epic migration from the Ottawa River through the St. Lawrence River and back to the Sargasso Sea each year. Now, they likely number in the mere thousands or less — a decline of 99 per cent!
Quite simply and sadly, young American Eel (called elvers) are blocked by dams from reaching most of their habitat. Those that do manage to find their way around dams and grow to become adults are often chopped up in hydro power turbines when they try to return to the ocean to spawn.
Will you help our waterways today?