Habitat Creation and Monitoring
In 1999, Biotactic was retained by the City of Kitchener, to help develop spawning and nursery areas for warmwater fishes in ponds at the Stanley Park Optimists Natural Area. The ponds that form the Fishery Park (main pond and SWM pond) were once a flooded gravel pit complex that is being transformed and naturalized into a wetland and rectreational fishing area. The ponds vary in depth and are designed to serve multiple ecological and recreational purposes during various times of the year. The main pond (maximum depth 2 m), was physically connected to the Grand River in April 1999 with a 30 m culvert. The pond quickly filled with young cyprinids and centrarchids, that swam into flows issuing from the river end of the culvert. Growth rates and survival during 1999 were high and large populations of overwintering fish were monitored with underwater videography through winter ice cover. The suitability of the ponds as spawning habitat for adult fish and nursery areas for juveniles is dependent on the types of habitat and conditions that are available. During the summer of 2000 green sunfish (Lepomis cyanellus) and pumpkinseed (L. gibbosus) spawned in the pond and largemouth bass were observed for the first time. With the provision of proper structure and habitat, the newly created shallow ponds and wetlands will serve as effective nursery areas for fish that will eventually re-enter and populate the Grand River.