Our research team has been busy partnering with researchers from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and Maurice Lamontagne Institute to conduct sampling in the Five Fingers Watershed. Throughout the CNFASAR project, restoration work will be done to restore priority habitats for Atlantic salmon, American eel and Atlantic sturgeon. Silt traps will be constructed to limit the runoff from potato fields in this area. “We are going to see how the ecosystem responds with a reduction of silt input into the river. We hope to see how the invertebrates and food web responds to restoration” explained GMRC Director of Research, Dr. Carole-Anne Gillis. The team began the research process by conducting electrofishing, sampling mollusks, algae, moss, bugs and leaf litter.
The research will also look at how the stress in fish changes over time as the watershed is restored. The team is sampling gills and blood from fish to measure this.
Five fingers is one of the most altered watersheds in the whole Restigouche Watershed by farmlands, forestry, culverts and artificial ponds. “It is important to restore freshwater habitats because they are under various levels of stress,” said Dr. Gillis. “We want to protect salmon, eel and sturgeon and we can do that by protecting their habitat.”