What We Do

Aquatic Habitat Connectivity

Fish passage can be limited by dams, road crossings and culverts. Photo courtesy of Great Lakes Commission.

Fish passage can be restricted by dams, road crossings and culverts. Photo courtesy of Great Lakes Commission.

Dams and other man-made barriers like roads and bridges in the Great Lakes basin are generally detrimental to aquatic ecosystems. These barriers block seasonal and daily movements of fish and other aquatic organisms from reaching areas upon which they rely for various components of their life history.

Conversely, some barriers provide ecological benefits by assisting with the control of aquatic invasive species, protecting threatened and endangered species from predators and competitors, preventing contaminant spread, among others.

Coordinated through the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes LCC, the Aquatic Habitat Connectivity Work Group, working with others, will identify shared conservation goals and objectives for restoring connections in the Great Lakes waterways and invest in data and knowledge to fill gaps, tools that enable decisions, strategies that incentivize action and leadership towards attainment of those objectives.

The work group is supporting actions that:

  • Identify key partners – engage and work with stakeholders (e.g., aquatic resource managers, municipalities, departments of transportation)
  • Identify priorities and performance measures – species objectives and other metrics of restoring connectivity
  • Inform decisions – support research and development of decision support tools
  • Communicate results and leadership – disseminate information to decision-makers and lead a coordinated response to restoring connectivity through management and policies