Species Profile

Channel Darter Lake Ontario 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,v)+2ab(iii,v)
COSEWIC Reason for Designation: This small-bodied species is limited to three small watersheds. The primary threat is the invasive Round Goby, which is now found throughout the Trent River and has resulted in declines in the abundance of this population. For the time being, populations along the Moira and Salmon rivers are largely unaffected by Round Goby. However, introductions upstream of dams via bait bucket transfers are considered likely.
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 Ontario 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 Ontario 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.

13 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 Ontario populations (2018-01-18)

    This small-bodied species is limited to three small watersheds. The primary threat is the invasive Round Goby, which is now found throughout the Trent River and has resulted in declines in the abundance of this population. For the time being, populations along the Moira and Salmon rivers are largely unaffected by Round Goby. However, introductions upstream of dams via bait bucket transfers are considered likely.

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 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(#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-00037 ), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2019-06-10)

    The objective of the activities covered by the permit is to conduct surveys and habitat assessments for Channel Darter (Percina copelandi) (Lake Ontario populations) in the Salmon River and Marysville Creek. Sampling may result in the capture of Channel Darter and the incidental capture of Rainbow (Villosa iris). The activities authorized by the permit include: 1. The capture of Channel Darter from the Salmon River and Marysville Creek using a seine net and mini-pelagic trawl; 2. The incidental capture of Rainbow while sampling for Channel Darter in the Salmon River and Marysville Creek; 3. The handling of Channel Darter and Rainbow for the purposes of identification and processing (count, measure, photograph, tag, 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). Any mussels captured will be identified to species, photographed, and returned alive to location of capture; and, 4. The possession and transport of Channel Darter and/or Rainbow killed incidentally or for vouchering purposes, preserved in 10% formalin.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#19-PCAA-00052 ), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2019-08-13)

    The objectives of the activities covered by the permit include: 1. To determine the distribution of Channel Darter (Percina copelandi) (Lake Ontario populations) and the invasive Round Goby (Neogobius melanostomus) in the Moira River. The activities authorized by the permit consist of: 1. The capture of Channel Darter using a backpack electrofisher from the Moira River. At 25 wadeable sites along the Moira River, sampling will be carried out with a backpack electrofishing unit and one or two netters (Pulsed DC settings: 200-300 V, 50-60 Hz, 4-6 ms). Forty 10 x 1 m transects will be systematically distributed at each site. Transect sets will be placed parallel to banks at 10 m intervals, with transects within each set separated by 2 m across the channel. Electrofishing effort along each transect will be 60 s, resulting in a total of 2400 s at each site; 2. The handling of Channel Darter 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 to confirm identification (if digital vouchers cannot be collected); and, 3. The possession and transport of Channel Darter killed incidentally or for vouchering purposes.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#20-PCAA-00013 ), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2020-04-03)

    The objectives of the activities covered by the permit include determining the distribution of Channel Darter (Percina copelandi) (Lake Ontario populations) in the Trent, Moira, and Salmon rivers, in relation to the distribution of Round Goby (Neogobius melanostomus), an invasive species. The activities authorized by the permit consist of: 1. The capture of Channel Darter using a backpack electrofisher from the Trent, Moira, and Salmon rivers. At five wadeable sites along the Moira River, and 20 sites each in the Trent and Salmon rivers, sampling will be carried out with a backpack electrofishing unit and one or two netters. Forty 10 x 1 m transects will be systematically distributed at each site. Transect sets will be placed parallel to banks at 10 m intervals, with transects within each set separated by 2 m across the channel. Electrofishing effort along each transect will be 60 s, resulting in a total of 2400 s at each site; 2. The handling of Channel Darter for the purposes of identification and processing (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 Channel Darter killed incidentally, or for vouchering purposes.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#21-PCAA-00002 ), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2021-03-04)

    The objectives of the activities covered by the permit are to determine the distribution of Channel Darter (Percina copelandi) (Lake Ontario populations) (Channel Darter from this point forward) in the Moira and Salmon rivers, in relation to the distribution of Round Goby (Neogobius melanostomus), an invasive species. The activities authorized by the permit consist of: 1. The capture of Channel Darter using a backpack electrofisher at two wadeable sites along the Moira River and 15 sites in the Salmon River. Sampling will be carried out with a backpack electrofishing unit and one or two netters . Forty 10 x 1 m transects will be systematically distributed at each site. Transect sets will be placed parallel to banks at 10 m intervals, with transects within each set separated by 2 m across the channel. Electrofishing effort along each transect will be 60 seconds, resulting in a total of 2400 seconds at each site; 2. The handling of Channel Darter for the purposes of identification and processing (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 Channel Darter killed incidentally or for vouchering purposes.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#DFO-17-PCAA-00026), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2017-07-06)

    Activity 1: Fish Community Assemblages. Near-shore fish assemblages will be sampled in Great Lakes Areas of Concern (AOC) and other locations. The data that are collected will be used to assess fish populations and ecosystem health. This study will sample locations in order to assess the variance within the IBI scores, and add to the fish community information for local partners, such as AOC's and Conservation Authorities. Activity 2: Lake Sturgeon Sampling. Gill netting for sturgeon in Lake Ontario following the sampling and reporting protocols for the Lake Sturgeon Index Survey for Lake Superior. By-catch will be limited due to the mesh sizes being used. The same protocol as the Lake Sturgeon Index Netting for Lake Superior will be followed, targeting locations in the western end of Lake Ontario, to collect some basic information on the existing population. Activity 3: Huron-Erie Corridor (HEC) Wetland/River sampling. Wetland sampling in the St. Clair River, Detroit River and Lake St. Clair within the designated boundaries of the AOC's to assess fish community and habitat conditions, which will inform on possible and completed restoration activities, as well as to further inform on the status of Fish and Habitat Beneficial Use Impairments (BUI). A study is also being conducted in partnership with Walpole Island First Nation to assess fish use of Phragmites australis in the St. Clair delta. Experimental techniques employing fyke nets, small hoop nets and short-set gillnets to determine the best way to sample within the dense vegetation. Species at Risk (SAR) catches would be expected as part of community composition. Activity 4: Annual summer fyke netting in the Windermere Basin to monitor changes in the fish community as the newly created wetland matures.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#TSW-2021-39058), persuant to the provisions of section 74 of SARA (2021-06-15)

    A survey of Channel Darters, Round Goby and American Eels will be conducted using a backpack electro-fisher in the Trent River. Sampling will be carried out with a backpack electrofishing unit and one or two people using nets. Transect sets will be placed parallel to banks at 10 m intervals, with transects within each set separated by 2 m across the channel. Each fish will be identified and processed (count, measure, photograph, etc.) and released back into the river. 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).

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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