Tag Archives: Great Lakes

Aggressive Aquatic Species Invading Great Lakes

Agressive Aquatic Species Invading Great Lakes

Monday August 11th 2010

Lake Ontario in postglacial geology was called Lake Iroquois.  The probably geological age of Lake Ontario is ca. 5,300.  The principal dimensions of the lake are at surface elevation, 246 feet above sea level; maximum depth is  778 feet; the maximum width is 53 miles; and, its length is 193 miles.  But, the total surface area of Lake Ontario is 7,520 square miles.  These facts remind us the “water is one of our most plentiful resources.”  Hamilton Harbour, often referred to as “the Bay” because it is also called Burlington Bay, at the tip of Lake Ontario.  The bedrock in this lake are limestone and dolomites.

Hamilton Harbour
A Great Lakes “fish invader” the Round Goby ( Neogobius melanostomus) in 1990 arrived in the Great Lakes from the Black and Caspian Seas.  The round goby prefer rocky habitat rather than a sandy habitat.  So, Lake Ontario is a perfect breeding ground for these “invasive round gobies.”  These gobies tend to be more active during the day than at night.  But, these gobies aggregate together and have been calculated at high densities in the lake.
A 1997 study performed a mark and recapture study of 200 round gobies.  They were marked, released and re-captured, by using “hook-and-line” fishing method to indicate “high site fidelity.”  The researchers re-captured 58% of these round gobies.  Their conclusion was “given the availability of optimal (rocky) habitat and high site frequency, it is possible that this exotic fish will become widespread throughout the region.  And, in 2,010 this is the case in both Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, they are widespread !

Goby fish
In Another 1997 study, researchers studied the “Life History Aspects of the Round Goby.”  Four sites in rocky areas were selected to study “nesting habits.” The round goby reproductive season extends from May until the end of July.  Round Gobies occupy inshore rocky areas from May to September then migrate offshore following lake turnover in October.  In the nesting areas, researchers found the average number of eggs per female goby was 198.  But a large number of females spawned each nest, therefore, egg counts ranged from 644 to 9,462.  Their conclusion emphasized the reproductive success of round gobies will ensure their continued expansion throughout the Great Lakes.  Another study indicated “Round gobies are multiple spawners than can adapt to a variety of habitats making them a significant threat to establish throughout the Great Lakes region.”  And, in 2,010 that is the case, they are a threat to both Lake Erie and Lake Ontario within the Great Lakes.
Dr. Sigal Balshine, Assocaite Professor, Dept. of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behavour at MaMaster University in Hamilton has been studying the round goby with her team of researchers. Some of her work  has been dated  in  2,005 . It should be noted that McMaster in 2,005 was named the Research University of the Year.
In their 2,009 research, McMaster University points to anthropogenic pollutants are a serious concern in aquatic systems, that negatively impact many species of fish, amphibians, birds and mammals, including humans.  Hamilton Harbour, a region that has a long industrial history, McMaster researchers began to explore changes in anatomy, histology and behaviour of fish.  Their work focuses on the “invasive round goby“, a benthic fish found  on both contaminated and relatively clean sediments throughout Hamilton Harbour.  Due to a diet of dreissenid mussels, round gobies have the potential to mobilize bioaccumulation toxins through the Great Lakes foodwebs. Round gobies do eat eggs and young fish of various native species.   These round gobies also have the ability to wrestle territory from native fish that plays a key role in their dominace of  the Great Lakes. Furthermore, McMaster has been working on ground-breaking research by identifying two types of male gobies = more sperm availability to produce more round gobies.  McMaster researchers clearly point out a serious conservation issue:  So changes in “Contaminated Round Gobies” may serve as a RED FLAG for possible impacts in sport-fish and waterfowl .”

Dr. Balshines studies
Invasive insects
This area had interesting findings
school of baby catfish

Conservation vs Control in Coote’s Paradise Hamilton

Conservation vs Control in Coote’s Paradise Hamilton


In 1974, a request came form RGB for control  of Coote’s Paradise.  But, the Hamilton Harbor Commission held tightly to the control  it claims it had under the 1912 Act Of Parliament by which it was created.  In fact, the 1912 Act of Parliament …supercedes the 28 year-old RGB legislation.
Now, the conservation issue in 1974, was the preservation of Coote’s Paradise being in doubt because of a recommendation that would double the release of sewage into Coote’s Paradise.  It was suggested to construct a sewage line along the base of Coote’s Paradise and Burlington Bay to the east-end Woodward plant.  Then RGB director, Leslie Laking, had great concerns about the decision.  he said “The RGB would have no effluent in Coote’s Paradise from here on in.”  And, chairman of the Harbor Board, Ed Tharen, ” pointed an accusing finger at the Dundas sewage treatment plant as the major polluter responsible for that gunk being poured into Coote’s Paradise.”
Stewart Morison, Ducks Unlimited Canada which is an offshoot of the U.S. group, in 1987, expects to spend $43 million in 1988 to build and restore wetland habitat for waterfowl.  Morison looked at prospects for involvement in a Coote’s Paradise project proposed by RGB biologist Len Simer.  From the high level bridge, Simer described the marshland’s problems and potential underlining three issues that hamper growth of plants needed for good wildlife habitat.  Perceptual opportunities for current difficulties hampering wildlife habitat in Coote’s are a justaposition of elements  and how they relate to each other, such as :: (1) wind-stirred mud; (2) bottom-feeding carp, and, (3) changing water levels. Carp and other invasive species continue to be an issue, even in 2,010 ,  Reduction of Carp is due to the Fishway operation.  This allows other fish and plants to return to the marshland.

In 1988, Ducks unlimited Canada said “Half of Coote’s Paradise can be restored to the wetland wildlife preserve it was earlier this century.  DUC, provincial  manager John Blain told RGB board of directors.  The now flooded swamp and surrounding wetlands at the far west end of Hamilton Harbor are part of RGB property.  Blain said “Coote’s Paradise restoration – We believe it’s feasible in terms of both biology and engineering and asked the conservation group to investigate.

In 1988, DUC would build more than 3 km (2 miles of earthen dikes to wall off 3 km (250 acres) of open water below the McMaster University CampusThis exciting initiative included: (1) Water depth would be lowered to foster the growth of natural marsh plants needed for good wildlife habitate; (2) There would be NO CARP to uproot young plants; and, (3) There would be less wind-stirred MUD to block sunlight.
Coote’s Paradise had another concern in 1988 because the region set sites on a Perimeter Road (now hwy. 403).  The north-side alternative was cheapest to build at $48 million.  Planners backed the north-south site because it would offer drivers an attractive view of the waterfront.  The Hamilton Harbor Commission would have to approve the scheme.  Now the negative side is beastly ugly because it includes three issues:
(1) Noise would affect the western harbour and
proposed waterfront park.  ( Now in 2,010 we
have a beautiful waterfont part with little
(2) The harbor’s surface area, volume and fish
habitat would be reduced.
(3) Fill would be needed in Coote’s Paradise.  And, thank goodness for former Alderman Mary Kiss, who recommened “to build 403 hwy WITHOUT PUTTING FILL IN COOTE’S PARADISE – one of the most ecologically important areas
Memory is like Jazz.  Life jazz, memory has more to do with now than then.  Then is just fiction now.
in Two Sides of a Centre
Robert Clark Yates

Would like to thank Robert Yates for his inspirational books and watchful eye on Cootes paradise.

Enjoy the pictures and information today and  have a great weekend.
Doug Worrall Photographer