Superior Streams 2015-2016

Superior Streams is a collaborative effort undertaken by concerned individuals, government ministries, university researchers and non-government organizations to monitor, maintain, and restore streams along the North shore of Lake Superior. The goal is to better understand ecosystem health and conditions along the North Shore of Lake Superior and to inform potential restoration activities in order to preserve and reclaim wildlife and fish habitat impacted by human activity.

Field work for the initial stage of the Superior Streams project was performed during the summer and early fall, 2015. The results were used to develop a more robust assessment protocol to apply to an additional 113 sites along 49 streams during the summer of 2016.

Superior Streams Assessment Sites

Building upon preceding studies and rehabilitation work along the North Shore in the vicinity of Thunder Bay, the Superior Streams project partners are investigating stream and watershed characteristics, including: riverbed substrate, bank stability, water chemistry, riparian vegetation, local land use and land cover, in-stream vegetation, fish habitat and cover, and barriers to fish movement.

Investigating North Shore Streams

The Trans-Canada Highway, and the CP rail line both follow the north shore of Lake Superior from Thunder Bay to Marathon except where they cut across the top of Sibley Peninsula and Black Bay Peninsula. These crossings and those of local roads, plus other development, have impacted the lower reaches of North Shore streams in some places. The impacts depend in part on the age and design of the crossings, culverts and bridges, in addition to erosion and other processes since the crossings were installed.

Health of North Shore Streams

In addition to providing a good baseline for assessing the health of the North Shore streams in the future, the Superior Streams assessment data also provides a means for determining where the best opportunities exist for improving fish habitat. A working assumption is that healthy fish populations, especially where they historically existed, are an important indicator of ecosystem health.

Web Mapping Tool

All of the data collected in 2015 and 2016 has been compiled in the Superior Streams Web Map. Access the map and click on each of the assessment sites for more information about stream characteristics at that location including a link to photographs, and stream profiles where available.