Stephany Hildebrand

Dammed, 2021

Once one of the most abundant fish in the Upper St. Lawrence River – Lake Ontario basin, theAmerican eel population has plummeted to 1% of its former size. This predominantly femalesubpopulation of the American eel represents the largest and most fecund individuals, whichcontribute substantially to the spawning output of the entire species. Their dwindling populationin the region has been linked to hydro-electric dams that impede upstream migration to maturinggrounds and cause mortality from turbine blades when mature eels swim back downstream toreproduce. Two major St. Lawrence River hydroelectric facilities, the Moses-Saunders dam(Cornwall, ON) and the Beauharnois Generating Station (Valleyfield, QC), cumulatively kill 41%of mature eels each year as they pass through dam turbines. Many youth today have neverencountered an eel and this lack of awareness creates a disconnect which threatens thetransfer of knowledge and the impetus for action of the next generation. As emphasized in thespecies recovery plans, it is critically important to reconnect the public with this species andincrease awareness of their cultural and ecological significance and uniqueness.

16 juin - 

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