Fort Malden Shoreline - Site #17

Amherstburg, Ontario


Project Goals and Objectives: Stabilize shoreline and enhance fish habitat by constructing offshore lake sturgeon spawning habitats

Project Description: Fort Malden National Historic Site is located on the Detroit River in the town of Amherstburg. The site is owned by Parks Canada, and encompasses the buildings and grounds associated with the historic Fort Malden. The site has a shoreline frontage of approximately 280 meters (919 feet).

Until recently, the shoreline of the site consisted of failing gabion basket sections (south and north ends) with a stable sheet steel wall section in the middle. Overall, the park shoreline provided limited habitat value due to its shoreline substrates and, most importantly, the high energy environment from river currents and the wake of passing commercial freighters.

In February, 2004, construction commenced that resulted in stabilizing the shoreline and enhancing habitat, including shore connected groynes, cobble and sand beach areas, a diversity of substrate sizes, and two large submerged offshore shoals to provide spawning habitats for the threatened lake sturgeon.

In addition to providing aquatic habitat, the features reduced the energy environment along the shoreline areas, thereby further improving habitat conditions.

Cost: $290,000

Timeframe: 2004

Partners: Environment Canada, Essex Region Conservation Authority and Parks Canada

Ecological Effectiveness: In spring 2007, eight gill nets were set immediately adjacent to the sturgeon spawning habitat at Fort Malden by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. All the gill nets were 53 meters long and were set for 24 hours. Three adult lake sturgeons were collected in this 24 hour period. In addition, during the spring 2007 1,414 walleye eggs/m² were collected systematically using egg mats. In fall 2007, using the same methodology, 39 lake whitefish eggs/m² were collected, and in spring 2008 1,482 walleye eggs/m² were collected at this site. Although not quantified, numerous white perch or white bass eggs were also found. This confirmed that at least three species of fish are using Fort Malden site as spawning habitat.

Restoration Contact: Essex Region Conservation Authority

Monitoring Contact: Jim Boase of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service