CALGARY- It turns out Harvie Passage is more than a playground for outdoor enthusiasts.
High-tech monitoring is now underway along the Bow River to ensure sport fish are making it through the passage. Aquatics specialists have been out on the waterway fishing for species like Rainbow Trout, using electrolodes designed to temporarily stun the fish.
“There’s no permanent damage to the fish, as long as it’s done properly,” explains Dave Evans from Tera Environmental Consultants. “They’re stunned for a few seconds, and from there there’s no problem.”
The trout are then sedated in water treated with clove oil, then their dorsal fins are tagged with tiny radio transmitters, which allow them to be tracked as they move through the Bow River.
Once the trout set out to spawn, specialists can verify that the fish are able to navigate the channels at the weir.
“They did a bunch of modeling to make sure that trout can go through, and there’s no reason to believe they can’t,” Evans says.
His crew will be back in the fall to monitor Brown Trout and Mountain Whitefish during their spawning season.
Construction on the Harvie Passage was authorized by the federal government, with the requirement that sport fish monitoring take place. Alberta Transportation is overseeing the study.