The redside dace is a 12-centimetre silver minnow with red sides and a purple sheen. This little fish has a large mouth that is perfectly shaped for catching insects above the water. Found in southern Ontario streams that flow into Lakes Ontario, Erie and Huron, redside dace require cool, clear streams with flowing pools and gravel bottoms. Siltation of streams, changes in water quality and quantity, and clearing of streamside vegetation is threatening the survival of this species. The redside dace is listed as an endangered species both federally and provincially.
Ontario Nature has been actively involved in the protection of the redside dace. The survival and recovery of the small minnow is linked to improving the water quality of streams throughout the Greater Toronto Area.
The Ministry of Natural Resources has demonstrated a commitment to the protection of the redside dace through precedent-setting habitat regulations. The recently drafted recovery strategy recommends including currently occupied streams, as well as habitat the species once occupied and indirect habitat. Indirect habitat includes headwaters and recharge areas. The inclusion of indirect habitat is consistent with the Endangered Species Act, which defines habitat as all areas on which the species depends directly or indirectly to carry out its life processes. This holistic, science-based approach will benefit not only the redside dace, but also people and other animals.
To learn more, please e-mail Anne Bell, director of conservation and education, at firstname.lastname@example.org.