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Health of the Rideau River


Smallmouth bass, Micropterus dolomieu.
Smallmouth bass, Micropterus dolomieu.
Biodiversity at a Glance:
Smiths Falls to Burritts Rapids

The results of research conducted during the Project have allowed the calculation of a biodiversity index, for aquatic plants and certain animals. The biodiversity index reflects both diversity and abundance.

Each species category measures its biodiversity index on its own scale. In order to facilitate interpretation and comparison with other species categories, we have attributed a level (high, moderate, low) to the value calculated.

image Summary of Results of Research Conducted in 1998 through 2000 image
Category Biodiversity Index* Biodiversity Rating Comments
Aquatic Plants
0.95 high 38 species were found, out of the 51 species found in the River.
Native plant diversity and abundance were high.
A biodiversity haven for aquatic plants.
Aquatic Birds
(spring 1999**)
1.66 high The Rideau Bird Sanctuary provides nesting and staging areas for migratory birds.
Surrounding wetland areas support a diverse bird community.
Fish 2.50 moderate Twenty-one species were found, out of the 30 species native to the River.
Fish abundance peaked in this section, where yellow perch and sunfishes (particularly smallmouth bass) dominate the fish community.
Native Freshwater Mussels 1.35 high Zebra mussel density was low.
At Andrewsville and Old Slys, all of the River's 8 native mussel species were found alive. They were very abundant at Old Slys.
This section is a biodiversity haven for native mussels.
Aquatic Invertebrates 5.21 high Preliminary results indicate that hundreds of species of invertebrates inhabit this section. Wetland habitat is ideal for these species.
Amphibians not available not available Aquatic frog populations were abundant along heavily vegetated shallows.
Reptiles not available not available A musk turtle, a rare species, was found in this section.


 Smiths Falls to Burritts Rapids
 Don't Overlook...  

Map of the Rideau River between Smiths Falls and Burritts Rapids.
See a detailed map of the Rideau River between Smiths Falls and Burritts Rapids.

Floating aquatic plants.
Leaves of fragrant white water lily (large leaves) and European frogbit (small leaves).

*Use of the Biodiversity Index value to compare the different sections of the River is appropriate within a single species category.

**Results from 1999 were selected because it is not appropriate to combine the results of the three years of research (1998 to 2000).
A Project of the Canadian Museum of Nature
 Images: Canadian Museum of Nature, Lynn Gillespie, Hemera