Native trout populations across the East Slopes of Alberta have experienced severe declines in population size and distribution. The Government of Alberta is focused on ensuring progress is made towards recovering these species by addressing key threats on the ground.
The Native Trout Recovery Program is designed to meet the following goals:
- Provide a comprehensive, consistent and progressive framework towards fish species recovery in the province
- Facilitate cross-ministry partnerships on fish recovery strategies
Coordinated initiatives related to native trout recovery include:
- Fish habitat improvements
- North Central Native Trout Recovery Program
- Roadway Watercourse Crossing Remediation Initiative
- Westslope Cutthroat Trout Recovery Program
- Whirling Disease detection, education and mitigation strategies
The guiding legislation for the Westslope Cutthroat Trout Recovery Program and the North Central Native Trout Recovery Program includes the provincial Fisheries (Alberta) Act and/or the federal Species at Risk Act.
Partnerships and collaboration
The Native Trout Recovery Program is being implemented with the help of partners who have expertise in watershed management, including habitat restoration, riparian area protection and fisheries improvements. Through collaboration with stakeholders, natural watershed functions are being improved and sustained in order to support recovery of native trout species. Current program partners include:
- Alberta Conservation Association
- Cows and Fish
- Trout Unlimited Canada
- Foothills Research Institute
- Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society
Trout recovery initiatives
Fish habitat improvements
Improving fish habitat is an important component of native trout recovery. In addition to habitat work being completed under the Westslope Cutthroat Trout and North Central Native Trout Recovery Programs, the Government of Alberta has a number of habitat restoration and enhancement initiatives that are resulting in tangible fish habitat improvements, including the following programs:
- Backcountry Trail Flood Rehabilitation Program
- Southern Alberta Fisheries Habitat Enhancement and Sustainability (FISHES) Program
Fish habitat improvement strategies are also included within the delivery of recreation programs on Public Land.
North Central Native Trout (NCNT) Recovery Program
Alberta’s NCNT Recovery Program is aimed at recovering and assessing populations of bull trout, Athabasca rainbow trout, Arctic grayling and mountain whitefish in the central and northern watersheds of the Eastern Slopes Fish Management Zone.
Roadway Watercourse Crossing Remediation Initiative
The Roadway Watercourse Crossing Remediation Initiative empowers crossing owners across various sectors, such as forestry and oil and gas, to self-inspect and remediate crossings in priority order where fish passage is impaired or impeded.
This initiative addresses fish habitat needs through the implementation of the Roadway Watercourse Crossing Remediation Directive. The purpose of the directive is to:
- protect or restore fish habitat through effective stream crossing practices; and
- promote and support a watershed-based approach to efficient, collaborative watercourse crossing inspection, monitoring, management, and remediation.
To review information specific to this program, see:
Westslope Cutthroat Trout (WCT) Recovery Program
The westslope cutthroat trout is federally and provincially listed as a threatened species in Alberta. The WCT Recovery Program is aimed at recovering and assessing populations of westslope cutthroat trout native to the mountain and foothill streams of southern Alberta within the Oldman and Bow watersheds.
Whirling disease detection, education and mitigation strategies
Whirling disease affects salmonid fish including trout, salmon and whitefish. It has recently been found in Alberta. This disease, caused by a parasite which can affect nerves and cause cartilage damage, can cause high levels of mortality in some fish, but it is not known how it will impact Alberta fish populations.
A 3-point action plan has been developed that includes:
- Detection and delineation
To review information specific to this program, visit: