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© Lora Denis
What’s black and white and red all over? OK, maybe just red on its sides?
The redside dace (Clinostomus elongatus)!
The redside dace is one of approximately 150 species of fish found in the Great Lakes region. Almost 90% of their population in Ontario lives within the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). This minnow has been considered endangered in Ontario since 2009 due to loss of critical habitat and decreased water quality associated with urban development and agricultural practices.
Redside dace are the only minnow species in Canada that jumps out of the water to catch their prey. They play an essential role in ecosystems; as insectivores they help manage the populations of insects such as mosquitos. If redside dace populations continue to decline, we may see an increase in mosquito populations – and no one likes mosquito bites!
Redside dace require clean, clear, and cold streams to survive. They used to be commonly found throughout the GTA’s watersheds, though now they are limited to the headwaters of our local rivers. The decline in their population can be linked to:
Ontario Streams is an environmental charity that has been heavily involved in the conservation of redside dace and their habitat for over 26 years. Our mission is to promote the protection and rehabilitation of Ontario’s streams, rivers, and wetlands through education and community action. Through the planting of streamside native shrubs, installation of in-stream habitat enhancement structures, and litter cleanups, Ontario Streams is strengthening the remaining redside dace populations. Our goal is to encourage them to return and spawn in these historic habitats, improving the overall health and resilience of this species in the GTA.
In addition, Ontario Streams leads outreach and educational programs to raise awareness about the redside dace. We recently contributed to a video series with the Toronto Zoo’s Great Lakes Program to share the importance of protecting redside dace and their habitat. To complement the videos, we also launched a collection of engaging infographics.
You can also take action to protect redside dace and their habitat by:
Kat, another great blog from Ont. Nature. I use these types of blogs to learn, tweet to MPPs, and most important respond to development proposals listed in the ERO. Thank you.