Videographic Surveys of Fish Passage in the Saugeen River Watershed
Biotactic has been performing videographic surveys of fish passage at the Maple Hill Dam fishway as well as within Otter Creek since 2018. Seasonal surveys are conducted using BRAVO M2 systems (info here) and the species, direction of movement, time, and condition of each unique fish is transcribed from recorded video. Since 2021 this information has been obtained using the Biotactic Research Artificial Intelligence Network (BRAIN) for videos collected at Maple Hill. Surveys are part of a long-term multi-component BACI study designed to measure the benefits conferred by removing the Truax Dam in Walkerton, Ontario for increasing fish passage, biomass and production throughout the watershed.
Baseline phases of this study were conducted in Spring and Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 and the Truax Dam was removed in August 2019 as part of a fisheries offset and compensation project. The first post-dam-removal phase of this study was initiated in Fall 2019 and videographic surveys are scheduled to continue until 2026. To-date the number of fish observed passing upstream through the Maple Hill Dam fishway has increased by an average of 1.8 times in the spring and by 9.8 times in the fall since the Truax Dam was removed. A greater number of fish are also now able to utilize Otter Creek, the first coldwater tributary upstream of the Truax Dam footprint. The number of fish observed in Otter Creek surveys has increased by 2.0 times in the spring and by 1.5 times in the fall.
Find additional details regarding the fisheries offset and compensation project here, the radiotelemetry component of this project here, the biomass electrofishing survey component here, and the redd count survey component here.