Species Profile

Bull Trout Saskatchewan - Nelson Rivers populations

Scientific Name: Salvelinus confluentus
Other/Previous Names: Bull Trout (Saskatchewan - Nelson River populations)
Taxonomy Group: Fishes
COSEWIC Range: Alberta
COSEWIC Assessment Date and Status Change: November 2012
COSEWIC Status: Threatened
COSEWIC Status Criteria: A4de
COSEWIC Reason for Designation: This freshwater fish is broadly distributed east of the Rocky Mountains. It is a slow-growing and late maturing species that thrives in cold, pristine waters and often requires long unimpeded migratory routes joining spawning to adult habitat. Historical range contractions now limit the populations to the foothills and east slopes of the Rocky Mountains, likely in response to habitat deterioration and reduced habitat connectivity through damming of the larger rivers. No populations are abundant and more than half show evidence of decline. The primary and persistent threats to these populations include competition and hybridization with introduced Eastern Brook Trout and climate induced increases in water temperature. Although legal harvest has been eliminated, this species is highly catchable and is therefore likely susceptible to catch and release mortality in many areas that are accessible to recreational anglers. Consequently, an aggregate decline in abundance of > 30% over the next three generations is projected.
COSEWIC History of Status Designation: Designated Threatened in November 2012.
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Threatened
Date of Listing (yyyy-mm-dd): 2019-08-08

Please note that this information is provided for general information purposes only. For the most up to date and accurate list of species listed under the Species at Risk Act, please see the Justice Laws Website.

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Bull Trout Photo 1

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Description

The Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus) belongs to the salmon and trout family (Salmonidae) and is part of the char subgroup that also includes Dolly Varden (S. malma), Lake Trout (S. namaycush), Brook Trout (S. fontinalis) and Arctic Char (S. alpinus). Bull Trout has the following characteristics: A long and slender body; a large broad head and prominent upper jaw; tail fin is slightly forked; its back is olive-green to blue-grey; its sides are silvery with small pink, lilac, yellow-orange or red spots; its belly is pale in colour, and may become yellow, orange or red in males during spawning; the pelvic and anal fins have white leading edges with no black line; and size at maturity is dependent upon life history. Resident populations average length are 250 millimeters (maximum 410 millimeters); fluvial populations are greater than 400 millimeters (maximum 730 millimeters); and adfluvial populations are also greater than 400 mm (maximum 900 millimeters). Anadromous populations may be larger still.

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Distribution and Population

Bull Trout are found in western North America from northern Nevada through Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Washington. The Canadian distribution extends throughout British Columbia and western Alberta, with a northern limit into the southern Yukon and the central portion of the Northwest Territories. Based on genetic analysis, range disjunction and distribution, Bull Trout have been divided into five designated units (DUs): Southcoast BC populations (DU1); Western Arctic (DU2); Yukon (DU3); Saskatchewan-Nelson (DU4); and Pacific populations (DU5). The Saskatchewan-Nelson Rivers populations (DU4) are restricted to Alberta and are found primarily in the drainages of the North and South Saskatchewan rivers.

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Habitat

The Bull Trout is a coldwater species found in lakes, streams and rivers from sea level to mountainous areas. Its habitat has been described by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as “cold, clean, complex and connected.”

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Biology

There are four types of life history strategies used by Bull Trout, including: 1) resident; 2) fluvial; 3) adfluvial; and 4) anadromous. A resident form spends its life in small rivers or streams, isolated by physical, chemical or other forms of barriers. The fluvial form completes its life cycle in small rivers and streams, migrating between natal streams and larger streams. The adfluvial form is similar, but matures in lakes rather than streams and rivers. The anadromous form, which is found only in southwestern British Columbia and northwestern Washington, migrates from natal freshwater streams to feeding habitat at sea. Sexual maturity occurs between five and seven years of age. Spawning occurs in the fall, when water temperatures fall below 10 degrees Celsius. Preferred spawning areas are cold, unpolluted moving streams with cobble or loose gravel substrates and are associated with groundwater sources. The female digs a “red” in the center of the channel, and is accompanied by a dominant male, who defends her from other males competing for fertilization. Some males, termed “sneakers” are able to mimic females, allowing them to approach close enough to fertilize some of the eggs.

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Threats

The greatest threats to Bull Trout include degraded and fragmented habitat resulting from development and the introduction of non-native species. Bull Trout are vulnerable to hybridization with introduced Brook Trout in areas where both species now occur. Impacts from oil and gas development, forestry, mining, transportation infrastructure and hydroelectric projects affect habitat by increasing siltation and water temperatures or decreasing stream flow volumes. In turn, these changes reduce reproductive success. As well, barriers to fish movement, such as dams, weirs, and elevated stream temperatures, fragment migratory corridors required for spawning. Overfishing may also remain a threat. As Bull Trout are difficult to distinguish from other char and trout being recreationally fished, the misidentification by fishers also poses a risk.

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Protection

Federal Protection

The Bull Trout, Saskatchewan - Nelson Rivers populations, is protected under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). More information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available in the Species at Risk Act: A Guide.

In Canada, this species is afforded protection under the Fisheries Act, and is currently under consideration for listing as Threatened under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). More information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available online at AquaticSpeciesAtRisk.ca or on the SARA Registry at SaraRegistry.gc.ca.

Provincial and Territorial Protection

To know if this species is protected by provincial or territorial laws, consult the provinces' and territories' websites.

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Other Protection or Status

At a provincial/territorial level, the Bull Trout is considered a Species of Special Concern by Alberta, and is considered as May be at Risk by the Northwest Territories.

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Documents

PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.

57 record(s) found.

COSEWIC Status Reports

  • COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Bull Trout Salvelinus confluentus in Canada (2013-11-04)

    Bull Trout is a large char. This salmonid derives its name from its large head and jaws. Bull Trout are olive-green to blue-grey in colour and pale round spots on their flanks and back distinguish them from most other similar-looking salmonids. It is difficult to visually distinguish them from Dolly Varden char, however, and detailed measurements or genetic analyses are required for accurate identification where their ranges overlap. Because of its very specific habitat requirements, this sportfish is highly sensitive to habitat changes. Bull Trout are, therefore, viewed as an indicator species of general ecosystem health. Based on genetic analysis, range disjunction and distribution across National Freshwater Biogeographic Zones, five designatable units are recognized; Genetic Lineage 1 (Southcoast BC populations) and Genetic Lineage 2 (Western Arctic, Yukon, Saskatchewan-Nelson and Pacific populations).

Response Statements

  • Response Statement - Bull Trout, Saskatchewan - Nelson Rivers populations (2013-12-18)

    This freshwater fish is broadly distributed east of the Rocky Mountains. It is a slow-growing and late maturing species that thrives in cold, pristine waters and often requires long unimpeded migratory routes joining spawning to adult habitat. Historical range contractions now limit the populations to the foothills and east slopes of the Rocky Mountains, likely in response to habitat deterioration and reduced habitat connectivity through damming of the larger rivers. No populations are abundant and more than half show evidence of decline. The primary and persistent threats to these populations include competition and hybridization with introduced Eastern Brook Trout and climate induced increases in water temperature. Although legal harvest has been eliminated, this species is highly catchable and is therefore likely susceptible to catch and release mortality in many areas that are accessible to recreational anglers. Consequently, an aggregate decline in abundance of > 30% over the next three generations is projected.

Recovery Strategies

  • Recovery Strategy for the Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus), Saskatchewan-Nelson Rivers populations, in Canada (2020-09-10)

    Part of the salmonid family of fishes, the Bull Trout derives its name from its large head and jaws. Body size at maturity depends on life history strategy. The Saskatchewan-Nelson Rivers populations of Bull Trout exhibit stream resident, migratory or fluvial (riverine), and adfluvial (riverine-lake migrant) forms. Bull Trout are olive-green to blue-grey in colour and pale round spots on their flanks and back distinguish them from most other similar-looking salmonids. Because of its very specific habitat requirements, particularly cold, clean, well oxygenated water and connected watersheds, this fish is highly sensitive to habitat changes. Bull Trout are, therefore, viewed as an indicator species of general ecosystem health.

Action Plans

  • Multi-species Action Plan for Waterton Lakes National Park of Canada and Bar U Ranch National Historic Site of Canada (2017-12-12)

    The Multi-species Action Plan for Waterton Lakes National Park of Canada and the Bar U Ranch National Historic Site of Canada applies to lands and waters occurring within the boundaries of the two sites: Waterton Lakes National Park of Canada (WLNP) and the Bar U Ranch National Historic Site of Canada (BURNHS). The plan meets the requirements for action plans set out in the Species At Risk Act (SARA (s.47)) for species requiring an action plan and that regularly occur in these sites. Measures described in this plan will also provide benefits for other species of conservation concern that regularly occur at WLNP and at BURNHS.

Orders

  • Exemption Order for Certain Licences, Authorizations and Documents (Bull Trout (Saskatchewan-Nelson Rivers Populations)) (2019-08-21)

    Her Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Minister of the Environment, pursuant to section 76 of the Species at Risk Act, makes the annexed Exemption Order for Certain Licences, Authorizations and Documents (Bull Trout (Saskatchewan-Nelson Rivers Populations)).
  • Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act (Volume 153, Number 17, 2019) (2019-08-21)

    Biodiversity is rapidly declining at all scales, from local to global, as a result of a variety of human activities that increase the rates of species extinction. Current extinction rates are estimated to be between 1 000 and 10 000 times higher than the natural background rate. Higher species diversity positively supports healthy and productive ecosystems that are more resilient to disturbances, and, given the interdependency of species, a loss of biodiversity can lead to a declining resilience of ecosystem functions and services (e.g. natural processes such as pest control, pollination, coastal wave attenuation, pharmaceutical products, temperature regulation and carbon fixing). These services are vital to the health of all Canadians and are important for Canada’s economic well-being. Biodiversity loss can therefore result in adverse, irreversible and broad-ranging effects on Canadians.

COSEWIC Annual Reports

  • COSEWIC Annual Report – 2012-2013 (2013-09-24)

    Under Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA), the foremost function of COSEWIC is to “assess the status of each wildlife species considered by COSEWIC to be at risk and, as part of the assessment, identify existing and potential threats to the species”. COSEWIC held two Wildlife Species Assessment Meetings in this reporting year (October, 2012 to September 2013) from November 25 to November 30, 2012 and from April 28 to May 3, 2013. During the current reporting period, COSEWIC assessed the status or reviewed the classification of 73 wildlife species. The wildlife species assessment results for the 2012-2013 reporting period include the following: Extinct: 0 Extirpated: 2 Endangered: 28 Threatened: 19 Special Concern: 19 Data Deficient: 4 Not at Risk: 1 Total: 73 Of the 73 wildlife species examined, COSEWIC reviewed the classification of 50 species that had been previously assessed. The review of classification for 26 of those species resulted in a confirmation of the same status as the previous assessment.

Permits and Related Agreements

  • Explanation for issuing other simliar documents(#19-HCAA-00815 ), persuant to the provisions of section 74 of SARA (2020-03-27)

    Using rip rap, the Town of Cardston proposes to stabilize the banks of Lee Creek, Alberta, at the three remaining locations of the six that were previously authorized by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) on August 16, 2016 (DFO Authorization No. 15-HCAA-00940). This will require the infill of 522 m2 of habitat for the stabilization of banks, and fish rescues associated with site isolations required for the stabilization of the banks. The rip rap will be installed from the top of the bank to minimize impacts on Lee Creek and the banks. Root wads will be installed throughout the rip rap treatment to direct flow away from the bank and provide additional fish habitat. Moreover, willow stakes will be planted systematically throughout the entirety of the rip rap treatment for additional habitat and establishment of riparian vegetation. As the aforementioned activities that involve in-water work are located in Rocky Mountain Sculpin (Cottus sp.) (Eastslope populations) critical habitat, and within the distribution of Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus) (Saskatchewan - Nelson Rivers populations), they have the potential to cause prohibited effects on listed aquatic species at risk, a part of their critical habitat, or to the residences of their individuals.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#19-HCAA-00616 ), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2019-08-22)

    Five kilometres of Apetowun Creek and its upper watershed are being rehabilitated after it was destroyed by a coal tailings release that originated at the Obed Mountain Mine near Hinton, Alberta, in October of 2013. There are several components to the overall project. Specific to species at risk, and as an offset for rehabilitation works authorized under file 18-HCAA-00236, a population of Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) (Athabasca River populations) will be established above a fish barrier in the rehabilitated sections of Apetowun Creek. Rainbow Trout (RNTR) of unconfirmed genetic makeup will be tagged with Passive Integrated Transponders (PIT), and a caudal fin clip will be collected for genetic testing. RNTR will then be released into natural holding areas while genetics are assessed. Once rehabilitation efforts have been completed in 2019/20, RNTR that are confirmed pure-strain Athabasca River population RNTR will be re-located to upper-Apetowun Creek, upstream of a constructed fish passage barrier. The barrier will be constructed at the downstream end of APC-7 to prevent upstream movement of fishes. All other fish species will be released below the fish passage barrier. Migrant, or, resident Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus) (Saskatchewan - Nelson Rivers populations) from the Athabasca River may be captured during fish rescues. These fish will be released downstream of the barrier. Fish inventory programs conducted in Apetowun Creek from 2014 to 2018 indicate Bull Trout presence is limited to a few individuals near the confluence of Plante and Apetowun creeks, approximately 15 km downstream of the upper-Apetowun rehabilitation site, and are unlikely to occur in or near the rehabilitation site. Any that are captured will be enumerated, weighed, and measured for length before being released downstream of the barrier. The rehabilitation project consists of construction activities that require de-watering of approximately 5 km of Apetowun Creek and its upper-watershed, including reaches one to seven and its tributaries. This work will require multiple fish rescues and relocations to remove fishes from the proposed instream restoration areas in upper-Apetowun Creek.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#19-HCAA-00876 ), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2020-05-22)

    At two watercourse crossings on unnamed tributaries to the Nordegg River, in Alberta, downstream energy dissipation pools will be enlarged and made deeper to remove the perched outlets of the culverts, restoring fish passage to upstream habitat. A rock ramp mimicking downstream gradients and containing fish staging locations will be created at crossing KM1 to elevate water levels, and an existing downstream riffle will be enlarged at the crossing KM5 to raise water levels above the hanging culvert's invert. Both of these repairs will require fish rescues and are within the distribution range of Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus) (Saskatchewan - Nelson Rivers populations) (Bull Trout from this point forward).
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#19-HCAA-01166 ), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2019-09-13)

    The proposed works involve the Mountain River Estates Community Association offsetting plan as per Authorization No. ED-14-00352 for the installation of instream fish habitat enhancement along the north bank of the Elbow River. The offsetting plan works involves enhancing the instream and riparian habitat features with the use of boulders, large woody debris, boulder clusters and vegetation. The construction of the offsetting requires instream isolation, fish rescue, and dewatering on a portion of the Elbow River. The segment of the river will be isolated and temporarily diverted from the north channel to the south channel. Once flow from the north channel has been diverted and isolated, a fish rescue will be completed to remove stranded fishes. The effects that the activity may cause to the listed wildlife species, its critical habitat, or the residences of its individuals and the effects of those changes authorized by this permit are: the incidental harm, harassment or death of Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus) (Saskatchewan - Nelson Rivers populations), a listed aquatic species at risk, resulting from capture and release during fish rescue.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#19-HCAA-01206 ), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2019-10-04)

    TC Energy has proposed to expand the existing NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd. natural gas transport system. The proposed project will involve the installation of around 350 km of nominal pipe size 48 piping. In order to support regulatory applications for the project, the applicant is proposing to collect baseline fish and fish habitat information at the proposed watercourse crossings. Habitat assessments from 2018 identified 20 potential first-order streams, and baseline surveys identified nine watercourses within the home range of Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) (Athabasca River populations) and Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus) (Saskatchewan - Nelson Rivers populations). Proposed activities include habitat surveys, and, if necessary, spawning surveys to observe staging/spawning fishes. If the habitat looks conducive to staging/spawning, but no fishes are observed, sampling surveys will be conducted using the single pass method of backpack electrofishing. If electrofishing cannot be undertaken safely and effectively, minnow traps will be used; however, this is unlikely to occur, due to inadequate depth. All captured fishes will be identified and measured before being released, alive and unharmed, in the same location as capture. This activity may result in the incidental harm, harassment, or death of the previously described populations of Rainbow Trout and/or Bull Trout, listed aquatic species at risk, resulting from capture and release during sampling.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#19-HCAA-01264 ), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2020-08-13)

    Nutrien Carseland Nitrogen Operations (CNO) has a pump station that intakes water at a rate of 207 L/s, typically an oversupply resulting in an output of 5L/s back into the Bow River near Dalemead, Alberta. The intake system has a traveling screen that results in fishes entering the intake either being held or being able to exit. In 2018, CNO observed 8-10 deceased fishes (Related to 18-HCAA-01548). CNO is proposing to modify the existing infrastructure to prevent future injury or death of fishes by extending the refuse line outfall structure by 5 m and lowering discharge elevation below the 1:100 year low water level to ensure any fishes exiting the system can return to the river unharmed. Works include excavating the bank, and removing and replacing the same rip rap. The proponent will isolate the area using a turbidity/sediment curtain, which will allow works in a temporary footprint of 20 m2. A fish rescue will be carried out within the isolated area, which may result in incidental harm to Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus) (Saskatchewan - Nelson Rivers populations) (Bull Trout from this point forward) during capture for relocation.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#19-HCAA-01330 ), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2019-11-21)

    The goal of this work is to remove a crossing that is acting as a barrier to fish passage, and undertake remedial action to prevent the continued sedimentation of Plante Creek, for which this crossing is acting as a point source. By conducting this work, the connections between isolated habitats for Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) (Athabasca River populations) and Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus) (Saskachewan - Nelson Rivers populations), species listed under the Species at Risk Act (SARA), will be restored, and the habitat in which they can reside will no longer continue to deteriorate. The works will entail the removal of two 1100 m diameter, 25 m long corrugated steel pipe hanging culverts from an oil and gas resource road, followed by the installation of a single span 30 m bridge, the restoration of the creek bed, and river banks. Prior to works commencing, the worksite will undergo a fishery isolation (75 m2), involving the installation of fish fences, the removal and upstream transport of fishes from the isolated reach, de-watering of the worksite, and installation of a pump-around system to maintain 100% of downstream flow. Corralling and dip netting of fishes will be used preferentially over trapping and electrofishing, wherever possible, to minimize harm to fishes. The work on this crossing is being conducted as part of a maintenance and upgrade project for Eccles Road, to improve the safety and integrity of the road. Tourmaline Oil Corp. hired Woodlands North to conduct an inventory on its roadway watercourse crossings and to make recommendations for which watercourse crossings were necessary to remediate to meet the requirements set out by the Roadway Watercourse Crossings Directive set by Alberta Environment and Parks. Woodlands North recommended the remediation of this crossing to permit fish passage throughout Plante Creek.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#19-HCAA-01332), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2020-05-12)

    The goal of this work is to remove a dam on an unnamed creek (outlet to Klein Lake in Alberta) that is acting as a barrier to fish passage, and restore connectivity to the upstream extent of the of Klein Lake outlet channel. Following removal of the main dam structure and the Klein Lake cofferdam, fish passage will be restored to Klein Lake and its associated tributaries. Components of the project including the culvert replacement and high-flow diversion channel will be constructed to accommodate any increase in seasonal flow as a result of the dam removal. Salmonid species, including Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) and the at-risk species Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus) (Saskatchewan - Nelson Rivers populations) (Bull Trout from this point forward) are likely to benefit from this work. Components of the work include improvements to an access trail to the worksite for mobilization of heavy equipment; removal of the Klein Lake cofferdam; removal of the Klein Lake main dam; capture and relocation of fishes during construction and during operation of the high-flow diversion channel; re-establishment of the creek channel in the footprint of the existing dams; replacement of the existing culvert(s) at the Panther Road crossing of the Klein Lake outlet channel; and, construction of a 200 m high-flow diversion channel parallel to the Klein Lake outlet channel.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#19-HCAA-01391 ), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2020-07-01)

    The activity is being undertaken to re-establish fish passage to upstream habitat by replacing the perched culvert at the Highway 734 crossing of McCue Creek. The bridge structure that will replace the culvert will be a 14.0 m single-span bridge, including tie-ins upstream and downstream of the existing channel with the re-established channel to re-establish fish passage. The activities authorized by this permit consist of the capture and relocation of Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus) (Saskatchewan - Nelson Rivers populations) prior to dewatering for the replacement of the perched culvert with a bridge at the crossing location.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#19-HCAA-01768 ), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2020-07-16)

    The proposed works, as per the Mountain River Estates Community Association's offsetting plan (Authorization No. 14-HCAA-00352), involve the installation of instream fish habitat enhancement along the north bank of the Elbow River. The offsetting plan works involve enhancing the instream and riparian habitat features with the use of boulders, large woody debris, boulder clusters, and vegetation. Construction of the offsetting requires instream isolation, fish rescue, and dewatering on a portion of the Elbow River. The segment of the river will be isolated and temporarily diverted from the north channel to the south channel. Once flow from the north channel has been diverted and isolated a fish rescue will be completed to remove stranded fishes. The effects that the activity may cause to the listed aquatic species, its critical habitat or the residences of its individuals and the effects of those changes authorized by this permit are the incidental harm, harassment, or death of Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus) (Saskatchewan - Nelson Rivers population) resulting from capture and release.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#19-HCAA-01917 ), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2020-07-16)

    The activity is being undertaken to conduct a baseline fish community assessment to support the determination of potential avoidance, mitigation, restoration, or offset effects on fish and fish habitat related to a proposed pipeline project. To achieve the objectives, the proposed activities consist of capturing and measuring of fishes at watercourses to determine mitigation practices to avoid, minimize, restore, or offset effects on fish and fish habitat related to a proposed pipeline project. The activities authorized by this permit consist of conducting a fish community assessment, which may include the use of backpack electrofishers, minnow traps, and dip nets. This sampling could involve the handling of Westslope Cutthroat Trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii lewisi) (Saskatchewan - Nelson Rivers populations) and Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus) (Saskatchewan - Nelson Rivers populations) (Westslope Cutthroat Trout and Bull Trout from this point forward) during sampling efforts.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#19-HCAA-02026), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2020-02-03)

    As part of field pole repair work at TransAlta Corporation's Pocaterra Power Plant, Alberta, an aqua dam needs to be installed in the tailrace to isolate the plant from the backwater effect of the spillway discharge. The aqua dam will be 15 m long, 3 m wide, and 2 m high. It will be placed approximately 10-15 m downstream of the plant and will span the width of the tailrace (approximately 15 m). A fish rescue will be conducted in the isolated area of the Kananaskis River. Work is planned to be complete in October 2020. The activities authorized by this permit may result in the incidental harm, harassment, or death of Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus) (Saskatchewan - Nelson Rivers population) (Bull Trout from this point forward) as a result of fish relocation activities or stranding in isolated areas.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#19-PCAA-00029 ), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2019-08-23)

    The objectives of the activities covered by the permit are: 1. To collect Westslope Cutthroat Trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii lewisi) (Saskatchewan - Nelson Rivers populations) abundance, distribution, population structure, and genetic information in the Upper Oldman River watershed. Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus) (Saskatchewan - Nelson Rivers populations) may be captured incidentally during this work; and, 2. To monitor long-term population changes as a result of riparian management changes along a 2 km reach of Todd Creek (Crowsnest River watershed). Bull Trout may be captured incidentally during this work. The activities authorized by the permit consist of: 1. The incidental capture of Bull Trout from waterbodies in the Upper Oldman River watershed and Todd Creek. Index sites will be surveyed using backpack and tote electrofishing equipment. 2. The handling of Bull Trout for the purposes of identification and processing (count, measure, photograph, and fin clipping). All Bull Trout will be returned to the water alive after sampling procedures are completed; and, 3. The possession and transport of any Bull Trout killed incidentally.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#19-PCAA-00050 ), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2019-08-23)

    The objectives of the activities covered by the permit are to: 1. To collect genetic material from Westslope Cutthroat Trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii lewisi) (Saskatchewan - Nelson Rivers populations), and assess its population status, including determination of its population abundance and structure, in watersheds listed on the permit. Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus) (Saskatchewan - Nelson Rivers populations) may be captured incidentally during the course of this work; and, 2. Conduct restoration stocking actions via Remote Site Incubation in Slacker and Savanna creeks. Bull Trout may be captured incidentally during the course of this work. The activities authorized by the permit consist of: 1. The incidental capture of Bull Trout by standard electrofishing (one-pass approach) and angling methods from the watersheds listed on the permit; 2. The handling of Bull Trout for the purposes of identification and processing (count, measure, fin clip, tagging, collection of gametes, and photograph). All fishes captured will be identified to species and measured. Any Bull Trout captured will be released alive at the location of capture; and, 3. The possession and transport of any Bull Trout killed incidentally.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#19-PCAA-00059 ), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2019-09-11)

    The objective of the activity covered by the permit is to evaluate the fish species assemblages as they relate to land use along the North Saskatchewan River, and understand the relationship between anthropogenic stressors and responses within the aquatic ecosystem. Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus) (Saskatchewan - Nelson Rivers populations) may be captured during this work. The activities authorized by the permit consist of: 1. The capture of Bull Trout via electrofishing and seine netting from the watersheds listed on the permit. At each site, sampling will be conducted in a systematic pattern of two 300 m stretches that are each divided into six 50 m sub-stretches. Where the reach is too wide or deep to safely wade across, the sweeping systematic pattern will be conducted on both outside margins of the stream. 50 m stretches will be sampled starting with the downstream stretch to avoid sampling redundancies; 2. The handling of Bull Trout for the purposes of identification and processing (count, measure, fin clip/tissue plug, photograph). All fishes captured will be identified to species and measured. Any Bull Trout captured will be released alive at the location of capture; and, 3. The possession and transport of Bull Trout killed incidentally.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#19-PCAA-00060 ), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2019-09-11)

    The objective of the activities covered by the permit is to assess the Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus) (Saskatchewan - Nelson Rivers populations) population in Pinto Lake via mark-recapture and to conduct spawning and redd surveys in Pinto Lake tributaries. The activities authorized by the permit consist of: 1. The capture of Bull Trout via fish trap (in tributaries) and short-set gill net sets and angling (in Pinto Lake proper) from Pinto Lake and its tributaries. The fish trap will be checked every day, and all fish captured will be measured, weighed, fin-clipped, and passive integrated transponder (PIT) tagged. Gill nets will be set for less than 15 minutes, and will only be used if too few fishes are captured during trapping and angling to mark sufficient fish for population estimates; 2. The handling of Bull Trout for the purposes of identification and processing (count, measure, fin clip, tagging, and photograph). Any Bull Trout captured will be released alive at the location of capture after processing; and, 3. The possession and transport of Bull Trout killed incidentally.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#19-PCAA-00063 ), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2019-12-03)

    The activities authorized by the permit consist of: 1. The handling of approximately 10 to 30 Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus) (Saskatchewan - Nelson Rivers populations), which will be hatched and raised in Fisheries and Oceans Canada's (DFO) Freshwater Institute's Animal Holding Facility. Fish will undergo respirometry trials at various temperatures in a vortex tank until the point of exhaustion; and, shuttlebox trials. Each trial runs for 24 hours. Upon the completion of the trials, fish will continue to grow to adult size to be maintained as a laboratory population for potential future experiments; to spawn a new generation of fish, or potentially be moved to another institution. These fish will never be returned to the wild; 2. The possession of Bull Trout at the Freshwater Institute to be housed in aerated tanks in the Animal Holding Facility for the purpose of conducting the above noted trials, and; 3. The potential killing of Bull Trout at the conclusion of the experimental trials (trials to conclude on or before December 31, 2024).
  • >> See more Permits and Related Agreements documents

Consultation Documents

  • Bull Trout Consultations on listing under the Species at Risk Act (Saskatchewan - Nelson Rivers populations) (2015-04-16)

    The purposes of the Species at Risk Act are to prevent the disappearance of wildlife species, to provide for their recovery and to encourage the management of special concern species. All Canadians have a role to play in the conservation of wildlife species. Before deciding whether the Bull Trout (Saskatchewan-Nelson rivers populations) will be added to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk, we would like your opinions, comments and suggestions regarding the possible ecological, cultural and economic impacts of listing this population under the Species at Risk Act.

Critical Habitat Descriptions in the Canada Gazette

Critical Habitat Orders

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