Evidence of effect of riparian attributes on listed freshwater fishes and mussels and their aquatic critical habitat: a systematic map protocol


Habitat that is necessary for the survival and recovery of a species listed as threatened, endangered or extirpated (i.e., Critical Habitat) is protected in Canada. For freshwater aquatic species, Critical Habitat may include the riparian zone, however, it is unclear how much of this riparian habitat needs to be protected to support the survival and recovery of a listed species. The riparian zone mainly affects aquatic species through its indirect effect on aquatic habitat according to five main processes: erosion, filtration, infiltration, shading, and subsidization. To provide quantitative evidence to support the delineation of riparian Critical Habitat, a systematic map will be used to create a searchable database containing the current state of knowledge regarding the relationships between the riparian zone attributes (e.g., size, vegetation) and fishes and mussels, aquatic features, and riparian processes.


We will search for primary research articles in bibliographic databases and relevant organizational websites for primary literature, theses, preprints, and grey literature including reports, along with models using a search string specific to riparian habitat. The results will be screened at title and abstract, and full text levels against predefined inclusion criteria and consistency checking will be performed to ensure the inclusion criteria are consistent across multiple reviewers. Quantitative and qualitative data including study details and methods, the riparian habitat, and the waterbody and upland habitat use will be extracted. The findings of the systematic map will be provided in a manuscript and a searchable database accompanied by a decision tree to support biologists in providing scientifically defensible delineation of riparian Critical Habitat for aquatic species at risk in Canada.


Erosion, Filtration, Infiltration, Shading, Subsidization, Decision tree, Riparian

In progress.