New Interactive Map and Data Tool for Canadian Streams
Posted on: February 15, 2017


Stream mapping and database tool.
Infosuperior now includes a new tool providing data and spatial information about streams flowing to Lake Superior between the U.S. border at Pigeon River and Marathon, Ontario.


Based on data collection carried out by Lakehead University Geography and the Environment student Nathan Wilson, assisted by Natural Resources Management students Brent Straughan and Sara Cockhill, the online tool includes information about 50 streams, including the following parameters:

  • mapped stream location
  • graphic definition of the stream’s sub-watershed
  • water temperature
  • dissolved oxygen
  • conductivity
  • pH
  • turbidity
  • substrate, whether sand, fine silt, gravel, cobble, etc.
  • vegetative cover
  • photos of specific sites

Student data collection was directed by Lakehead University Geography and Environmental Science Department Chair Dr. Rob Stewart, department technician Jason Freeburn, as well as Reg Nelson, Geospatial Data Centre Technician.

Data is being used to identify and prioritize streams which might benefit from rehabilitation work. Identifying barriers to fish passage, which in turn negatively impact fish populations, is a key project objective. Barriers to fish passage include culverts placed up to several feet above the stream bed, precluding passage of fish to productive fish habitat and spawning areas, scars from construction projects long since completed, and man made structures which may have the unintended consequence of blocking fish passage.

Culverts placed under the railway are a primary example of structures known to have blocked fish passage. These culverts are often just several hundred meters upstream from Lake Superior, some having blocked passage to vast areas of productive fish habitat since the late eighteen hundreds.

A workshop to present the new mapping tool was held at Lakehead University on February 13th and was attended by Lakehead University students and staff, representatives of the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, the Lakehead Region Conservation Authority, the Public Advisory Committee to the Thunder Bay Remedial Action Plan, or harbour cleanup plan, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, the North Shore Steelhead Association, the Nature Conservancy of Canada and the Thunder Bay District Stewardship Council.

This Lakehead University data collection project comes about through cooperation with people who care deeply about the environmental health of Lake Superior streams and the fishery. This passion was first turned into action by Thunder Bay Stewardship Council members Tom Kleinboeck and Frank Edgson, whose efforts were fundamental to completing the project. A growing record of solid action, projects and volunteer participation aimed at improving the environmental health of area streams has been built upon Tom and Frank’s original vision. Cooperation with Lakehead University has been beneficial to students and streams alike.

Superior Streams is supported by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry through funds of the Canada-Ontario Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem (COA), also by Lakehead University.






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