Species Profile

Channel Darter Lake Erie populations

Scientific Name: Percina copelandi
Taxonomy Group: Fishes
COSEWIC Range: Ontario
COSEWIC Assessment Date and Status Change: November 2016
COSEWIC Status: Endangered
COSEWIC Status Criteria: B1ab(iii,iv,v)+2ab(iii,iv,v)
COSEWIC Reason for Designation: This small-bodied species occupies nearshore lake and river habitats that are undergoing major shoreline modifications and the negative impact of the invasive Round Goby, having resulted in likely extirpation from large areas of Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair.
COSEWIC History of Status Designation: The species was considered a single unit and designated Threatened in April 1993. Status re-examined and confirmed in May 2002. When the species was split into separate units in November 2016, the "Lake Erie populations" unit was designated Endangered.
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Endangered
Date of Listing (yyyy-mm-dd): 2006-04-06

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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Protection

Federal Protection

The Channel Darter, Lake Erie 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.

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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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.

40 record(s) found.

COSEWIC Status Reports

  • COSEWIC assessment and update status on report on the Channel Darter Percina copelandi in Canada (2017-10-24)

    The channel darter, Percina copelandi (Jordan, 1877), is a small benthic percid (subfamily Etheostomatinae). The official French common name is the fouille-roche gris, although dard gris was used in older literature. This fish is light sand or olive-coloured with brown speckles on its back. X-shaped markings are scattered over its dorsal surface. A dark spot or bar may be present beneath the eye and extend onto the snout. There are 8-18 brown oblong blotches along the lateral line linked by a thin brown line. Adults are commonly 40 mm in total length. This species has been described by Goodchild (1994) in the original status report, Scott and Crossman (1973) and Coad et al. (1995).

Response Statements

  • Response Statement - Channel Darter, Lake Erie populations (2018-01-18)

    This small-bodied species occupies nearshore lake and river habitats that are undergoing major shoreline modifications and the negative impact of the invasive Round Goby, having resulted in likely extirpation from large areas of Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair.

Orders

  • 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 2016 to 2017 (2017-10-24)

    Over the past year COSEWIC re-examined the status of 40 wildlife species; of these, the majority (78 %) were reassessed at the same or lower level of risk. Of a total of 73 species assessed 11 were assigned the status of Not at Risk (8 re-assessments and 3 new assessments). To date and with the submission of this report, COSEWIC’s assessments now include 735 wildlife species in various risk categories including 321 Endangered, 172 Threatened, 219 Special Concern and 23 Extirpated (i.e. - no longer found in the wild in Canada). In addition 16 species have been assessed as Extinct, 58 have been designated as Data Deficient and 186 were assessed and assigned Not at Risk status.

Permits and Related Agreements

  • Explanation for issuing other simliar documents(#20-HCAA-01466 ), persuant to the provisions of section 74 of SARA (2021-02-22)

    This activity concerns the construction of a new ferry terminal within the Detroit River parallel to shore, nearest to Amherstburg, Ontario. The new ferry terminal will consist of a pier and loading dock supported by metal piles. The works will require the removal of existing dock structures on the Detroit River, dredging of (390 m2) of substrate within the footprint of the new dock and along the southern shore wall, the installation of an offshore steel sheet pile pier and subsequent infill (772 m2). The works will also include the installation of a separate steel sheet wall along the proponents entire property (145 meter), and the infilling (1,420 m2) of the embayment containing the former ferry dock. A fish rescue will be required for the pier construction and the infilling of the embayment. Captured fishes will be kept in temporary holding containers, monitored and released alive in suitable habitat upstream of the work area as soon as possible. The construction of the new pier and subsequent works is required because the existing ferry dock is at risk of catastrophic failure before the replacement facility can be completed and commissioned. Such a failure and disruption of ferry service will result in no access to or from the island for residents or for emergency vehicles. The activities associated with the proposed project described above that are likely to result in prohibited impacts to aquatic species at risk, critical habitat, and/or the residences of individuals, are incidental harm, harassment, or potential death of Channel Darter (Percina copelandi) (Lake Erie populations), Pugnose Minnow (Opsopoeodus emiliae), and Northern Madtom (Noturus stigmosus) resulting from the fish rescue and relocation program for the pier construction and embayment infill.
  • Explanation for issuing other simliar documents(#DFO-18-HCAA-00117 ), persuant to the provisions of section 74 of SARA (2018-03-19)

    This project is to complete the remainder of an infill that was previously authorized (16-HCAA-01204, issued Oct. 25, 2016). Specifically, the permanent infilling of approximately 691 m2 of fish habitat in the Detroit River to an elevation of approximately 1.5 metres above Low Water Datum (LWD) or 175.58 metres (International Great Lakes Datum 1985), to create a mooring structure that will facilitate offloading of lake freighters. The proposed infill will occur from a water depth of zero to a maximum depth of 1.5 metres at LWD. An excavator and a bulldozer will be used to pick up and push the fill material, composed of clean, uncontaminated concrete or rock material, into the water. Offsetting measures will be undertaken at the location of the project site on the Detroit River as follows: a rocky revetment will be constructed, minimum of 1610 m2 in size; a spawning shoal will be constructed, a minimum of 3624 m2 in size; and shallow water habitat is to be created, a minimum of 1872 m2 in size. An offsite, offshore gravel spawning shoal, a minimum of 3000 m2 in size will be constructed, and a new riparian zone will be planted, a minimum of 210 m2 in size, to a total area of 10316 m2 of offsetting. The above listed activities may result in the incidental death of Channel Darter and Northern Madtom, listed aquatic species at risk.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#17-PCAA-00001), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2017-03-10)

    The St. Clair Region Conservation Authority (SCRCA) is sampling fish and mussels in several locations for presence/absence data. Currently, fish and mussel data is lacking in these areas. Baseline data will be collected to assist in future project proposals and inquiries. Benthic sampling will be undertaken for watershed characterization to allow the SCRCA to assess water quality throughout the watershed. Data obtained will assist the SCRCA in the identification of potential rehabilitation sites and impact monitoring.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#17-PCAA-00003), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2017-03-10)

    Objectives are to determine the distribution and habitat preferences of both native and non-native benthic fish species from southern Lake Huron through western Lake Erie (including St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair, and Detroit River). Focus will be on the fish response to habitat enhancement projects constructed in the Detroit River (Fighting Island Reef and Grassy Island Reef) and St. Clair Rivers (Hart's Light Reef and Algonac Reef) and two naturally occurring reefs, (one located near Peche Island in the headwaters of the Detroit River and one at the Blue Water Bridge in the headwaters of the St. Clair River). Also, fish communities will be monitored with multiple gear types for the purpose of detecting non-native fish species that have not yet become established within the Great Lakes. These surveys will occur in the St. Clair-Detroit River system along with the St. Marys River and northern Lake Huron.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#17-PCAA-00004), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2017-03-29)

    The objective of the project is to apply selective lampricide to assess and control Sea Lamprey populations in the Great Lakes. Assessment surveys are routinely conducted in tributaries and lentic areas to determine the presence, distribution, and abundance of Sea Lamprey larvae. In deep water (>0.8 m) areas, surveys are conducted with the application of granular Bayluscide, a bottom-release formulation of lampricide, within the demarcated boundaries of the plots with a standard area of 500 m2. Tributaries harbouring larval Sea Lamprey are treated periodically with lampricides to eliminate or reduce larval populations before they recruit to the lake as feeding juveniles. The treatment units administer and analyze TFM, or TFM/Niclosamide mixtures (TFM augmented with Bayluscide 70% wettable powder or 20% emulsifiable concentrate) during stream treatments, and apply 3.2% granular Bayluscide (gB) to control populations inhabiting lentic areas.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#17-PCAA-00005), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2017-04-06)

    The purpose of the activity is early detection surveillance sampling for Asian carps. Sampling is planned for near shore and tributaries throughout the Canadian waters of the Great Lakes basin. A total of 36 early detection sites have been selected in the Great Lakes basin. Combinations of sampling gears are deployed at each site in order in target all life-stages of Asian carps. A community assessment of the fishes present in the areas is collected. Field sampling techniques include a combination of passive and active fish sampling gears. A combination of gear types has proven to be the most effective method for detecting the majority of fishes in a specific habitat type.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#17-PCAA-00006), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2017-04-07)

    This is an annual young-of-year (YOY) index survey of Lake St. Clair that has been carried out intermittently since 1979. This program is used to assess YOY abundance and diversity of key economically and ecologically important species in addition to the nearshore fish community composition and abundance. Fixed sites on the lake allow changes in the community structure relative abundances and presences of aquatic invasive species and species at risk to be tracked through time. Collection is carried out using a 30' long 1/8" mesh beach scene in 2m of water or less during daylight hours. Seine hauls are carried out perpendicular to the shore and are approximately 30m in length. Captured fishes are identified, enumerated and released on site.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#19-PCAA-00002 ), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2019-02-08)

    The objective of the activities covered by this permit are to determine the presence, distribution, and abundance of Sea Lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) larvae in the St. Clair River, Moira River, and Salmon River, and to treat tributaries with lampricide to eliminate or reduce larval Sea Lamprey populations in Bronte Creek and Trent River (Mayhew Creek). These activities may require the handling of species at risk (SAR) for the purposes of identification and processing (count, photograph, etc.). Any distressed fishes collected will be identified, counted, and released alive, with the exception of some smaller fishes that may be retained to confirm identification. The SAR listed on the permit may be incidentally captured or harmed during Sea Lamprey assessment and treatment activities.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#19-PCAA-00004 ), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2019-03-01)

    The objective of the activities covered by this permit are to determine the distribution and habitat preferences of native and non-native benthic fishes from southern Lake Huron through western Lake Erie (including the St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair, and Detroit River). Northern Madtom (Noturus stigmosus), Channel Darter (Percina copelandi), and Eastern Sand Darter (Ammocrypta pellucida) may be captured during these surveys. The activities will involve the capture of fishes using minnow traps, trawls, larval drift nets, fyke nets, boat electrofishing, and gill nets. The handling of fishes for the purposes of identification and processing (count, measures, photograph, etc.) will occur. Fishes collected will be identified, counted, and released alive, with the exception of some smaller fishes that may be retained to confirm identification. These activities may result in the incidental harm, harassment, or death of species at risk (SAR) resulting from capture, processing, and release.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#19-PCAA-00011), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2019-04-29)

    The objectives of the activities covered by this permit are to conduct fish and mussel surveys in the St. Clair River watershed and the Lake St. Clair watershed. Collected baseline data will be used to assist in future project proposals and inquiries. The activities authorized by this permit consist of the capture of any of the species listed on this permit from the St. Clair River watershed and the Lake St. Clair watershed, which will require the handling of any of the species listed on this permit for the purposes of identification and processing (count, photograph, etc.). Fishes will be released alive with the exception of some smaller fishes that may be retained to confirm identification. All mussels will be returned alive to the locations they were found. Sampling will be completed through the use of a backpack electrofishing unit, seine net, or minnow traps where necessary, using the Ontario Stream Assessment Protocol (OSAP). Mussel surveys will adhere to Mackie et al. (2008).
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#19-PCAA-00018), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2019-05-13)

    The objectives of the activities covered by the permit are to conduct a survey for Pugnose Minnow (Opsopoeodus emiliae) in southwestern Ontario waterbodies. This survey would consist of seining wadeable habitats with bag seines and non-wadeable habitats with boat seines. Sampling may result in the incidental capture of the species listed on the permit. The activities authorized by the permit consist of the incidental capture of Channel Darter (Percina copelandi) (Lake Erie populations), Eastern Sand Darter (Ammocrypta pellucida) (Ontario populations), Lake Chubsucker (Erimyzon sucetta), Northern Madtom (Noturus stigmosus) and/or Pugnose Shiner (Notropis anogenus) from the locations listed on the permit using bag and/or boat seine nets. Identification and processing (count, measure, photograph, etc.) will require the handling of the species listed on the permit. With the exception of vouchers that may be retained to confirm identification, all fishes will be released alive after processing. Vouchers will be collected using digital cameras but some vouchers of smaller fishes may be retained, in 10% formalin, to confirm identification (if digital vouchers cannot be collected).
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#19-PCAA-00049 ), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2019-07-05)

    The objective of the activities covered by the permit are to conduct a fish community assessment in the Detroit, Niagara, and St. Clair rivers. Surveys will take place from August to September, 2019. The species listed may be captured during the course of the work. The activities authorized by the permit consist of: 1. The capture of the species listed on the permit, from the Detroit, Niagara, and St. Clair rivers. Sampling will be conducted using a boat electrofishing unit (for waters 3 m deep), and large-mesh gill nets (1.8 m tall x 50 m long; 38-127 mm mesh). Twenty randomly selected sites will be sampled in each river; 2. The handling of the species listed on the permit for the purposes of identification and processing (count, measure, photograph, etc.). With the exception of vouchers that may be retained to confirm identification, all fishes will be released alive after processing. Vouchers will be collected using digital cameras, but some vouchers of smaller fishes may be retained, in 10% formalin, to confirm identification, if digital vouchers cannot be collected; and, 3. The possession and transport of species listed on the permit killed incidentally or for vouchering purposes.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#19-PCAA-00058 ), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2019-08-23)

    The objective of the activities covered by the permit is to assess the fish community and habitat conditions within the St. Clair River Area of Concern. The species listed on this permit may be captured incidentally. The activities authorized by the permit consist of: 1. The incidental capture of species listed on this permit using fyke nets from the locations listed on this permit. Fyke nets will be set for 24 hours before being fished; 2. The handling of the species listed on this permit for the purposes of identification (count, measure, and photograph). With the exception of vouchers that may be retained to confirm identification, all fishes will be released alive after processing; and, 3. The possession and transport of any of the species listed on this permit killed incidentally or for vouchering purposes.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#20-HCAA-02260 ), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2021-08-15)

    Repairs are needed to an existing small pedestrian bridge, located on Peche Island in Lake St. Clair, nearest to Windsor, Ontario. The bridge is over a narrow man-made channel that carries flows through a narrow section of the island from one side of the island to the other. The proposed project consists of isolating and dewatering a 20 m long section of channel to excavate behind the existing retaining wall and abutments to stabilize and backfill behind them. The existing concrete wing walls at each corner of the bridge will be removed. The permit will be issued for the incidental capture of Northern Madtom (Noturus stigmosus), Channel Darter (Percina copelandi) (Lake Erie populations), and Pugnose Shiner (Notropis anogenus) during site isolation, dewatering, and fish relocation activities.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#20-PCAA-00001 ), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2020-02-03)

    The objectives of the activities covered by this permit are to determine the distribution and habitat preferences of native and non-native benthic fishes from southern Lake Huron through western Lake Erie (including the St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair, and Detroit River). Channel Darter (Percina copelandi) (Lake Erie populations), Eastern Sand Darter (Ammocrypta pellucida) (Ontario populations), Northern Madtom (Noturus stigmosus), and Silver Chub (Macrhybopsis storeriana) (Great Lakes - Upper St. Lawrence populations) may be captured during these surveys. The activities authorized by this permit consist of: 1. The capture of the species listed on the permit from the watersheds listed on the permit using minnow traps, trawls, larval drift nets, fyke nets, boat electrofishing, and gill nets; 2. The handling of the species listed on the permit for the purposes of identification and processing (count, measure, photograph, etc.). Fishes collected will be identified, counted and released alive, with the exception of some smaller fishes that may be retained to confirm identification; and, 3. The possession and transport of any species listed on the permit killed incidentally or for vouchering purposes.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#20-PCAA-00007 ), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2020-03-16)

    Under the guidance of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), the activity involves: 1) establishing a network of permanent monitoring stations throughout historical and present ranges of the Sydenham River, to permit tracking of fish populations, analysis of trends and patterns, and permit the evaluation of recovery actions; 2) establishing and implementing a habitat monitoring program that includes water quality and substrate components. The monitoring program will provide insight into the significance of threat factors. Targeted species at risk fish sampling will be conducted in historically occupied habitat (river reaches in the vicinity of Florence and Alvinston), as well as other potentially suitable habitats, using sampling techniques proven to detect species at risk fishes; and, 3) starting in 2020 and following the guidance of DFO, conduct a spatial pattern study of mussel distribution by completing a systematic survey in a specific reach (or reaches) in order to better understand population abundance/density and species-to-habitat relationships in the Sydenham The St. Clair Region Conservation Authority (SCRCA) will collect fishes using a backpack electrofishing unit, seine net, or minnow traps where necessary, using the Ontario Stream Assessment Protocol. Mussel surveys will adhere to protocol found in Mackie et al. (2008). Fifteen sites will be monitored according to the Ontario Benthos Biomonitoring Network Protocol. At each site, this protocol involves using the travelling kick and sweep method for three minutes, covering an area of about 10 m2 at three transects (optimally riffle-pool-riffle) within a stream meander wavelength. The sites are selected to represent the main watercourse. Each of the small watercourses has at least one sampling site.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#20-PCAA-00021 ), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2020-06-16)

    The objectives of the activities covered by the permit are to conduct surveys for Pugnose Minnow (Opsopoeodus emiliae) in the lower North Sydenham River, lower East Sydenham River, Maxwell Creek, Little Bear Creek, Lake St. Clair, and St. Clair River tributaries, Ontario. The species listed on the permit may be captured during this work. The activities authorized by the permit consist of: 1. The capture of the species listed on the permit from the locations listed above using seine nets and trawling gear; 2. The handling of the species listed on the permit for the purposes of identification (count, measure, and photograph). With the exception of vouchers that may be retained to confirm identification, all fishes will be released alive after processing. Vouchers will be collected using digital cameras, but some vouchers of smaller fishes may be retained to confirm identification if digital vouchers cannot be collected; and, 3. The possession and transport of the species listed on the permit killed incidentally or for vouchering purposes.
  • >> See more Permits and Related Agreements documents

Consultation Documents

  • Channel Darter - Consultations on listing under the Species at Risk Act (2017-03-29)

    Information summary and surveys for the consultations on potentially reclassifying the listing of the Channel Darter from “Threatened” to “Special Concern”(St. Lawrence populations) and from “Threatened” to “Endangered” (Lake Erie and Lake Ontario populations) on the List of Wildlife Species at Risk – Please provide input by May 1, 2017.
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