Development of a protocol to validate fish habitat models and test their transferability


Male Arctic grayling. Photo: Courtesy of Paul Vecsei.

Fish habitat models support an ecosystem-based approach to management and are used to:

  1. determine habitat loss and the amount of off-setting required,
  2. monitor fish habitat at contaminated sites,
  3. evaluate habitat restoration projects or
  4. establish Instream Flow Needs (IFN) requirements.

Fish habitat models are based on habitat suitability index (HSI) curves, but Canada-specific HSI curves and Biological Significant Periods (BSP) for key fish species are lacking. The project goal is to develop a standardized protocol for validating fish habitat models that use HSI curves. This tool will advance the decision-making process for the impacts of future projects and will guide remediation and monitoring projects for contaminated sites. Research will focus on the Arctic grayling (Thymallus arcticus) a species of interest for recreational fisheries, which is sensitive to contaminants, turbidity, temperature, and flow changes and requires non-fragmented habitat to move between various habitat types.

Program Name

Strategic Program for Ecosystem-based Research and Advice (SPERA)


Central Canada: Great Lakes, St. Lawrence Freshwater Drainage Basin

Principal Investigator(s)

Eva Enders

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