Moose Country Minute – April 21 2018

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The walleye population in the Trent-Severn system has been going downhill steadily, and there is one main culprit behind the decimation of this fishery.

And that has been the elimination of log dams and replacing them with hydraulic gates.

Kawartha Lakes-area MPP Laurie Scott know this needs to be addressed, but she has become so increasingly frustrated with inaction by the Ontario Natural Resources ministry, and others, that she has lent her name to a movement to embarrass them into action.

The problem with hydraulic gates replacing log dams is that water is released with such ferocity that it lays waste to the spawning beds used by walleye, and impedes their attempts to even get to these beds.

Log dams provided a much gentler and more environmentally-sensitive release of water, and just enough oxygen-rich water to give thousands of spawning walleye a good chance of reproducing.

For a couple of years now, sportfishing groups have been urging Natural Resources, and overseers of the federally-controlled Trent-Severn Waterway to go back to using stop-log dams to help mitigate the damage already done.

All pleas have fallen on deaf ears.

And then there is the problem of our federal and provincial governments’ love affair with red tape.

In order to get a water work permit, for example, involves filling out a 15-page document and investing upwards of $150,000 for the environmental assessment, a fish-egg drift survey, a specie-at-risk survey, et cetera et cetera.

Meanwhile, walleye numbers continue to dwindle.