Lake Sturgeon in Georgian Bay are designated as threatened by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). Shawanaga First Nation and the Georgian Bay Biosphere are working together on a 3-year project to enhance Lake Sturgeon protection, conservation, and recovery efforts in eastern Georgian Bay (EGB). The objectives of this project are described below.
1. Address knowledge gaps on spawning populations by bringing together Indigenous Knowledge (IK) and contemporary science.
The first part of the project involves gathering IK on Lake Sturgeon spawning populations in EGB, as well as reviewing the contemporary science. Staff at Shawanaga First Nation will be reaching out to, and conducting interviews with, Elders and knowledge keepers in EGB First Nation communities. Individuals from First Nation communities will have the opportunity to share IK related to Lake Sturgeon spawning populations in order to help fill important knowledge gaps.
2. Determine presence/absence of select spawning populations and identify habitat limitations and/or stressors.
The second part of the project brings together the gathered IK and contemporary science to develop a framework for prioritizing rivers for field work. Field work will be conducted at the selected rivers during the Lake Sturgeon spawning season (May-June) and will focus on determining whether Lake Sturgeon are actively spawning in the river. The purpose of the field work is also to identify if there are any noticeable issues with the spawning habitat or other stressors up or downstream of it.
3. Develop a conservation plan for eastern Georgian Bay.
A Lake Sturgeon conservation plan for EGB will be developed based on all of the information gathered through interviews, documents, and field work. The conservation plan will outline stewardship activities to be carried out by Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities along the coast of EGB in the following two years (2020-2022), as well as longer term stewardship goals and activities. Through these activities, capacity within Indigenous communities to lead in the stewardship of species at risk will be strengthened, and collaboration, information sharing, and partnerships between Indigenous communities and other interested parties will be enhanced.
How can my community get involved?
If you and/or your community are interested in contributing to this project or simply learning more about it, we would love to hear from you! Please get in touch by emailing Nigel at [email protected] or by calling 705-366-2526.