A fishy invention: Souris wildlife group designs new fish ladder

A P.E.I. wildlife group is experimenting with a new way to help small fish make their way upstream — a made-on-P.E.I. fish ladder.

The three metre (10-foot) long aluminum structure was installed in June on a culvert on the Selkirk Road, in the waters of the Cow River.

“It’s a whole series of baffles and design work on the inside to make the water flow so that fish can go up it and there are places to rest,” explained Fred Cheverie, watershed coordinator for the Souris and Area branch of the P.E.I. Wildlife Federation.

Before the fish ladder was built, only larger fish such as Atlantic salmon and bigger brook trout could make the leap to head upstream.

“But smaller brookies definitely wouldn’t make it and definitely smelts and gaspereau had no chance of jumping it,” said Cheverie.

That meant the smaller fish were missing out on some important habitat upstream.

“If they couldn’t jump it, they didn’t get upstream and Cow River I should point out is probably one of the most pristine rivers in the eastern area,” he said.

“It’s got miles and miles and miles of habitat below this bridge and above this bridge.”