Redside Dace Research

In association with the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) and the University of Toronto (UofT), we assist in habitat research of this locally endangered minnow species.

The study (conducted by Mark Poos and Donald Jackson from University of Toronto, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and David Lawrie and Christine Tu from Toronto Region Conservation Authority, Ecology Division, Toronto, Ontario, Canada) looks at the endangered fish, the redside dace (Clinostomus elongatus), and its ongoing severe decline across its entire Canadian range. The predominant hypothesis linked to the decline of redside dace has been the vast urban expansion of the Greater Toronto Area, where most of its range resides.

Citizen Scientists will continue to support ongoing research and education that develops a better understanding of this species and its habitats and promotes a broader awareness of the issues that are causing its decline.

Redside Dace as an indicator species

Redside dace are a rare and unique minnow that exists only within Southern Ontario, Canada. Many of the species’ populations are in decline or have been extirpated from their local watersheds. Redside dace populations have not only declined in Ontario but also across most its range in the United States as well. Redside dace are generally considered to be an indicator species of the health of rivers and streams where it is found and their decline should signal much broader concerns about both the health of our local watercourses and environmental quality in general. Many of the issues that surround the species’ decline are known (e.g. changes to stream hydrogeology, increases in turbidity and temperature, removal of riparian vegetation) the challenge is to overcome them. 

COSEWIC and Species at Risk

The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) is an independent advisory organization that evaluates the country’s wild species. Private sector as well as provincial, territorial and federal government scientists and conservation representatives sit on the Committee. The status granted by COSEWIC has no legal authority however, with the adoption of the Species at Risk Act (SARA) in 2003, Canadian government decisions on whether or not to add species to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk are based on COSEWIC evaluations. The recent COSEWIC assessment of redside dace (2007) has recommended an uplisting in status of the species to Endangered from its 1987 designation as Special Concern.

Provincial ESA and Redside Dace

The current Provincial Endangered Species Act (2007) lists the species as Endangered as of February 20, 2009. In addition, the Province of Ontario has established a Species Recovery Team which has developed a Species Recovery Plan for redside dace.

For more information about redside dace click here.

A fish scale from a two year old redside dace.

End of May spawning activity with Redside Dace and Common Shiners.

Early June spawning activity with Redside Dace, Common Shiners and a juvenile Creek Chub. Pay attention to the right side of the screen for the juvenile Creek Chub who spends most of his time digging the nest used for spawning by Redside Dace and Common Shiners.

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