Table of Contents
ISRN Ecology
Volume 2011, Article ID 820529, 11 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.5402/2011/820529
Research Article

Changes in Fish Communities of Lake Ontario Coastal Wetlands before and after Remedial Action Plans

Department of Biology, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada L8S 4K1

Received 23 January 2011; Accepted 7 March 2011

Academic Editors: D. Gerten and C. Rixen

Copyright © 2011 Titus Seilheimer et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

We conducted a change-detection analysis to determine if improvements in the habitat quality of coastal wetlands could be attributed to Remedial Action Plans (RAPs) of Lake Ontario. We used a 5-km buffer relative to each recent site to “resample” an existing database of spawning/nursery habitat from the early 1980s to derive a “historic” species list associated with thirteen representative wetlands sampled in 2001-2002. For each wetland, we calculated Wetland Fish Index (WFI) scores, which are relative measures of wetland quality having scores ranging from 1 to 5, indicating worst to best conditions, respectively. The mean WFI score of 3.16 for the recent era was significantly higher than that for the historic era of 2.79 (Wilcoxon sign-rank test; 𝑃=.04), and this is consistent with the conclusion that lakewide RAPs have been effective in recovering some of the ecological functions of degraded coastal wetlands of Lake Ontario.