Brook trout are the ‘canary in the coal mine’. The West Credit River has one of the few remaining self-sustaining native brook trout populations in southern Ontario. They are a highly sensitive coldwater species requiring very cold, clean water.
2. The West Credit River has some of the most productive brook trout habitat in the Credit River watershed. The coldwater springs bubbling up in the West Credit are a primary reason why brook trout thrive here.
3. Urban development is a primary reason for the 80 percent decline in southern Ontario’s brook trout populations over the last 70 years. Major threats include discharge of treated, undertreated and untreated sewage effluent into streams and rivers as well as ineffective stormwater water management, dams and climate change.
4. The Town of Erin is upstream of some of the most productive brook trout spawning, nursery and rearing reaches in the Credit River Watershed. Brook trout habitat immediately downstream of the proposed sewage discharge location will be uninhabitable.
5. Stream temperature is crucial given its influence on oxygen depletion, ammonia toxicity, and Brook Trout survival. “A state-of-the-art design may not be required everywhere but we should not be destroying the last remaining healthy subwatershed for expediency”, says Jack Imhof, retired MNRF fisheries biologist and renowned fisheries advocate in southern Ontario.
6. Erin could improve the project design to protect brook trout habitat and still achieve its growth goals. Removing upstream dams would significantly lower downstream temperatures; and discharging effluent through inground infiltration, as successfully done at wastewater treatment facilities in both Markdale (Rocky Saugeen River) and Lucknow (Nine Mile River), will protect brook trout habitat.
7. The West Credit River brook trout fishery is considered the jewel of fly-fishing destinations in southern Ontario, and within a very short drive of the GTA.
To learn more about our efforts to protect West Credit brook trout you can visit our website at cwcr.ca. You can also sign our petition to help the Coalition reach its goal of 25,000 signatures.
The Coalition for the West Credit River is made up of the Belfountain Community Organization, Ontario Streams, Ontario Rivers Alliance, Trout Unlimited Canada – Gregg Clark Chapter, Izaak Walton Fly Fishing Club, and the West Credit River Watch. The Coalition is committed to the environmental protection, conservation and restoration of the West Credit River.