American Eel Habitat Characterization in the Upper St. Lawrence River

Fish biologist Matt Windle combines GIS mapping with population surveys and radio-telemetry to characterize and map critical habitat of American Eels in the Upper St. Lawrence River. As an endangered species in Ontario with an incredible life history, American Eels have experienced a drastic decline in recent years. The research involves telemetry studies of eels in the St. Lawrence River in order to address knowledge gaps regarding habitat associations, seasonal movements, home range and site fidelity, and potential overwintering locations.  A large community outreach effort has helped raise awareness of the plight of American Eels, and provide opportunities for citizen science involvement by students, anglers, and scuba divers who help to document information on eel sightings and habitat associations.  Research outcomes from this work can be applied to other areas in the St. Lawrence River watershed to identify preferred habitat of eels, and determine population status to inform rehabilitation and restoration projects. American Eel Sighting Map