Skip to main content

longnose return to cootes

some good signs from the fish barrier...

Kaz Novak, the Hamilton Spectator
No crocs at Cootes
But American eel and longnose gar mark two firsts


The Hamilton Spectator

(May 7, 2010)

An American eel and longnose gar mark two firsts at the Cootes Paradise Fishway this spring, but Royal Botanical Gardens staff report no sightings of either crocodiles or alligators.

Tys Theysmeyer, head of conservation at the RBG, said the eel, an endangered species once abundant in Lake Ontario, is the first caught since 1997, when the fishway began operating to keep destructive carp out of the Cootes marsh at the far west end of Lake Ontario.

He said it might be one of 144,000 released into the St. Lawrence River in a 2006 restocking effort. Eels are small enough to swim through the fish barrier, so it was just chance it was caught in one of the steel baskets used to sort carp from desirable species allowed into Cootes to spawn.

Longnose gar is a large, primitive predator species with an elongated snout and many large teeth. Young males have turned up at the barrier before, but the recent catch was the first female and the first big gar, 1.2 metres long. Theysmeyer said they can grow to 2 metres.

"They are a normal, big, wetland predator fish historically wiped out in Cootes Paradise, but they have hung out in warm water near the steel mills in the harbour, where the Hamilton Naturalists' Club once counted more than 200."

A heavy rain in March submerged the fishway, giving carp a brief free pass into Cootes, but Theysmeyer said few appear to have taken advantage, so the marsh remains largely free of the invasive fish that uproot plants and stir up mud, making the water murky.

He reports the water level in Cootes is down half a metre from last spring's near-record high.

"It's no fun if you're a fish," but it could give a big boost to Project Paradise's efforts to restore vegetation to the wetland.

Instead of planting seedlings as it's done for years, this summer the RBG is fencing off mud flats near the mouth of Spencer Creek, hoping seeds will germinate and grow in much larger numbers than could be planted. The fences are to keep Canada geese from munching on the sprouts.

Theysmeyer said: "The water hasn't been this low in the spring since 1961 and has approached this level only twice since, most recently in 1999, so we've changed our approach to plant regeneration.

"We're focusing on protecting seedlings. There are about 10 hectares of bare mud at the creek mouth now and if we get plants growing on even seven, it would make a dramatic change in the appearance of the marsh. It would also help rebuild as much as half a kilometre of the creek channel. It would make the marsh much more interesting for fish and people."

emcguinness@thespec.com

905-526-4650



http://www.thespec.com/News/Local/article/764918

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Where did the water go? Art action in Lot M Parking

West Campus Eco-Art Project  A walking activity and site activation on McMaster’s West Campus.  West Campus Eco-Art Project is a project that incorporates creative walking activities and an artistic site activation connected with the West Campus Redesign Initiative at McMaster University. The initiative provides opportunities for connecting with nature through an on-line informational video, walking excursions and creative activities that deepen knowledge and experience with place in all its complexities (social history, citizen science, ecology and diversity).  Focusing on the Coldwater creek valley on McMaster’s West Campus, participants will learn about the history and unique features of the area and will be invited to then engage with the site through observation, sketching and stencil-making. Stencils will be used to paint text and image on the parking lot asphalt to delineate a blue line that marks an historic water route.  The project is supported by the McMaster Museum of Art (

McMaster's Parking Problem: Next Level

I'm sharing a recent article published in the Dundas Star News about McMaster's plan to build a - get this - $17-million dollar parking structure. Seventeen million. Yes, $17,000,000.00 That's a lot of money to provide temporary shelter for vehicles of people who choose to drive to campus. We will be following this closely. Here's the article.  Cootes Drive six-storey McMaster University parking garage under review Variances or amendment to zoning bylaw expected to permit parking structure Craig Campbell, Dundas Star News, Friday, March 5, 2021 Zoning bylaw variances, or amendments, could be required for a planned six-storey, 567-space McMaster University parking garage west of Cootes Drive, and north of Thorndale Crescent. University spokesperson Michelle Donavon said the $17-million structure on parking lot K at Westaway Road will help ongoing efforts to re-naturalize parts of the west campus, by moving some surface parking into the structure. “These plans will increa

a vision for nature in Cootes

View the Eco-Park Document here Make Cootes national park, group urges TheSpec.com - Local - Make Cootes national park, group urges Create eco-park in urbanized area Eric McGuinness , The Hamilton Spectator (Jan 28, 2009) The idea of a Cootes Paradise National Park is being revived by local conservationists. But they say it is jeopardized by plans for a self-storage warehouse beside the Desjardins Canal at the east entrance to Dundas. They point to a new vision of an urban eco-park -- maybe a national park -- incorporating the Cootes marsh, drafted by Urban Strategies Inc., the firm responsible for McMaster University's campus master plan among other Hamilton projects. Joe Berridge, a partner who has helped reshape waterfronts in Toronto, New York and London, produced the concept document at the invitation of Ben Vanderbrug, retired general manager of the Hamilton Conservati