This little-known minnow has a lot of power and not just because it leaps out of streams to gulp unsuspecting flies and other annoying bugs.
The Redside Dace, an endangered species notable for its red stripe, has stopped the Town of Halton Hills from finishing a pathway and bridge over Silver Creek in the Hungry Hollow ravine near Georgetown since 2013.
With a little help, of course.
“They really fly out of the water to grab insects,” says Mark Heaton, a biologist with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, which is working with the town as it develops a plan to complete the path while protecting the habitat for the tiny fish.
“It’s like the canary in a coal mine,” adds Heaton.
In the last few decades, Redside Dace in this region have retreated from their traditional homes in rivers and streams feeding into Lake Ontario from Bronte in the west to Pickering in the east, chased north by development and pollution from urban areas and agricultural runoff.
“It’s not as common or as well distributed as it used to be,” says Jon Clayton, an aquatic biologist with the Credit Valley Conservation Authority who has used a GoPro camera – and a lot of patience – to capture the fish in action.