Species at Risk

Our technical staff spearhead on-the-ground monitoring programs for aquatic species at risk. The South Nation watershed supports an incredible variety of aquatic life. Many of these species have been nationally listed as endangered, threatened, or of special concern in the federal Species at Risk Act.

Why Are These Species Important?

Most species at risk are sensitive to environmental changes. Aquatic species at risk require clean water and a healthy river to survive. If their populations are declining, it is a warning sign for the state of the river’s health. 

We work with community partners and stakeholders to create and expedite leading scientific research in order to sustain a healthy aquatic ecosystem and encourage the long-term survival of aquatic species at risk. Stream surveys are conducted at minimally impacted sites across the watershed and include the monitoring of Rapids Clubtail (a species of dragonfly), Eastern Pond and Rainbow mussels, and Bridle and Pugnose Shiners (a species of minnow).

Additionally, we lead monitoring programs aimed at the presence, abundance and longevity of the American Eel, as well as six out of eight species of turtle found in Ontario. American eel, which was historically abundant in the region, is a highly valued fish species for Aboriginal peoples and early European settlers. Most species at risk in the watershed are declining due to habitat destruction, alteration, fragmentation, and disruption. Continued conservation efforts are invaluable to the health and longevity of species at risk, particularly those that protect habitat.

Turtles are known to be indicators of a healthy and ecologically stable watershed. SNC monitors the presence and location of six rare turtles in the watershed:

  • Spiny Softshell
  • Spotted 
  • Blanding’s
  • Eastern Musk (Stinkpot) 
  • Northern Map
  • Snapping
Learn more about these turtle species here!

Have you seen species at risk in the watershed?

Public knowledge is invaluable to the success of SNC’s monitoring and habitat enhancement efforts. You can help protect species at risk by contacting SNC with photos and location description if you come across one. Although tragic, observational reports of road killed species at risk are valuable to monitoring efforts. Learn more about species in your area here.

Report your turtle sightings in the reporting form here!