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Residents can help walleye conservation in Lake Scugog

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A joint project by the Scugog Lake Stewards, University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) and Kawartha Conservation will begin looking at the optimal Walleye habitat conditions in Lake Scugog tributaries beginning this spring and are asking the public for their help in making the project a success.

“There are a significant number of tributaries that enter Lake Scugog that could provide spawning habitat for Lake Scugog Walleye,” explained Brett Tregunno, an aquatic biologist with Kawartha Conservation. “This project will for the first time focus on the tributaries entering the lake rather than the lake itself.”

Efforts have been underway to help re-establish Walleye populations in Lake Scugog in recent years, and this project hopes to continue those efforts.

“What we are doing is identifying optimal Walleye habitat conditions along sections of tributaries focussing on a number of key factors including substrate conditions, flow velocity, and water chemistry, as well as identifying any significant constraints (e.g., physical barriers) along these potential migratory pathways,” he said.

In order for the project to be successful, project participants are looking for the public’s help in providing access to areas of the tributaries.

“We are asking property owners to let us access specific sections of the tributaries to take the various water samples and readings,” said Tregunno. “Not all tributaries are accessible by boat, so we will be going to residents who live along specific sections and asking for their assistance and support in this project.

“Helping to re-establish Walleye populations in Lake Scugog is a priority for the local community, ” Tregunno continued. “And this project will help provide key information to support those efforts.”

Project coordinators will be sending a letter to homeowners in the coming weeks as well as following up with door-to-door visits in the hopes of getting permission to access the property.

“We need the community’s assistance to make this project a success,” said Tregunno. “Monitoring and research has traditionally been focused on the Lake Scugog shoreline while the tributaries flowing into the lake remain understudied, in terms of their potential to support Walleye habitat. The more samples and areas of the tributaries we can access, the better and more comprehensive the information and data.”

The project will launch in mid-March, and continue through late spring. For more information about the project contact Brett Tregunno at 705-328-2271 Ext. 222 or btregunno@kawarthaconservation.com.

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