Notice of permit

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Regional or Local Number: 19-PCAA-00020

Notice is hereby given that pursuant to the provisions of section 73 of the Species at Risk Act permit no. 19-PCAA-00020 is issued.

Scientific research for the conservation of the species

The objectives of the activities covered by the permit are: 1) to study post-excystment juvenile unionid mussel dispersion; 2) to study the effects of multiple stressors on unionid mussel suspension feeding; 3) to study the effect of shear stress on juvenile unionid settlement; 4) to study the association between flow velocity and shell orientations and morphometrics; and, 5) to study the physical conditions present in mussel beds. The species listed on the permit may be captured incidentally during this work. The activities authorized by the permit consist of the incidental capture of species listed on the permit from the Ausable, Grand, Sydenham, and Thames rivers. For the juvenile studies, excavations along a transect across the river will be undertaken using an airlift system that will vacuum up the fine sediments and any juvenile mussels in a 12 x 12 cm quadrat. The excavated material will be carefully processed through a series of sieves to define size classes of sediment. For feeding studies, species will be collected via three possible methods: “raccooning” and excavation; manual sieving through the sediment; and, visual searching (depending on water clarity). These activities will involve the handling of the species listed on the permit for the purposes of identification and processing (count, measure, marking, photograph etc.). Any juveniles found will be measured, photographed, and, along with the sediment, returned to their original place along the transect. All mussel species at risk, once identified, will be measured, marked and returned to the spot where they were collected. The marking is completed with a metal probe that is used to etch the periostracum of the shell (with a unique number), which does not harm the mussel.

Start Date: 2019-05-13   End Date: 2019-11-30

Issuing Authority: Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Authority Used:

  • Species at Risk Act

Location of Activity (province, territory or ocean):

  • Ontario

Affected Species:

a) Alternatives: Alternatives for the juvenile mussel dispersion study are to survey rivers without endangered mussel species and to only conduct experiments in laboratory flow chambers and rivers without mussels, but these approaches would make it difficult to accurately represent the environmental conditions experienced by wild mussels. The applicant considered the effects of moving through the sites during sampling. Turbidity levels will increase locally due to the disturbance of sediments as surveyors move through the sites. The effects on the species’ habitat are temporary and not significant. b) Measures to minimize impact: A number of different mitigation measures will be used that decrease the handling and number of endangered mussels used in experiments throughout Ontario via collaboration with other researchers working on similar species/locations. When possible, species at risk will be sorted from non-species at risk and processed before all other species. Handling of species at risk mussels will follow the methods identified in the Protocol for the Detection and Relocation of Freshwater Mussel Species at Risk in the Ontario Great Lakes Area (Mackie et al. 2008). Disturbance to aquatic habitat shall be minimized through careful and deliberate movement throughout the sampling locations. All mussel identifications are to be made using only external shell characteristics; no destructive sampling methods are to be employed. Mussels handled in the field will be returned to same orientation, depth and position and are inspected visually to ensure this has been undertaken. c) Effects on survival and recovery: As the mussels will be handled with care and placed back in the water after sampling procedures, impacts to individuals will be minimal in nature. No mortalities are expected. Provided the mitigation contained in the description of activities and the permit issued under section 73 of the Species at Risk Act, the project will pose a low risk to the survival and recovery of the species. The activities will not jeopardize survival or recovery of these species. Ultimately, the goal is to lead to the recovery of these species. In the future, artificially raised juveniles may be transplanted into habitats that have been rehabilitated, or into new habitats. These activities will increase the number of localities by aiding in recovering historical sites and adding new sites, thus increasing the area of occupancy for each species.

Contact Person(s)
Ms. Becky Cudmore
A/Regional Manager, Species at Risk Program
Canada Centre for Inland Waters
867 Lakeshore Road
Burlington, ON
L7S 1A1

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