The twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss requires Notably, as one of the largest projects of its kind in the Great Lakes region (~500 hectares), extensive aquatic enhancement and restoration has been completed to support terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems with the intent of improving overall ecosystem health and biodiversity. Using twenty years of fish community data, we examined ecosystem responses in a spatio-temporal context across wetland and embayment ecotypes. Fish communities were assessed through a multi-metric index based on species life-history traits and habitat association. Generally, fish communities along the waterfront have transitioned from cool and coldwater pelagic species. Further, there are higher proportions of generalists and a higher proportion of native warmwater species, many of them piscivores, associated with cover and vegetation, that tend to meet community targets. Notably, these changes are more pronounced at Tommy Thompson Park compared to the rest of the waterfront, where communities approach natural reference levels. This result indicates the benefits and effectiveness of the decade long restoration efforts and subsequent monitoring of responses. This study provides important implications for large scale restoration and enhancement activities globally.

Citation: Theis S., Cartwright L., Chreston A., Coey B., Graham B., Little D., Poesch M.S., Portiss R., Wallace A. and J. L. W. Ruppert (2024). A multi-metric index for assessing two decades of community responses to broad scale shoreline enhancement and restoration along the Toronto waterfront. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 34: e24141.

Also Read:

Theis S.*, Cartwright L., Chreston A., Wallace A., Graham B., Coey B., Little D., Poesch M.S., Portiss R., and J. Ruppert (In Press). Nearshore fish community changes along the Toronto Waterfront in accordance with management and restoration goals: Insights from two decades of monitoring. PLos One.

*Lab members: Sebastian Theis, Mark Poesch. Check out opportunities in the lab!

Posted in Climate Change, Conservation of Freshwater Fishes, Mark Poesch, Sustainable Resource Development and tagged , , , , , .