Background: Habitat is the foundation for healthy and productive fisheries. For substrate spawning fish, lack of appropriate spawning substrate is inherently limiting and a lack of access to suitable spawning habitat will lead to population collapse. When specific properties of a habitat (e.g., temperature, depth, vegetation composition) are matched to the species’ ecological niche, a spawning habitat can be created or enhanced as a means of mitigating or offsetting the harmful effects of human development. Given the acceleration of habitat degradation in aquatic systems as a result of human activity and resultant loss of biodiversity, it is becoming ever more important to consider the effectiveness of the techniques being used to enhance or create habitat, to ensure management resources are being allocated wisely. The primary aim of this systematic review will be to assess the effectiveness of techniques currently being used to create or enhance spawning habitat for substrate spawning fish in temperate climate regions. Methods: This review will examine studies on the effectiveness of habitat creation or enhancement for substrate spawning fish. We will consider studies in either the North or South temperate climate regions, and include freshwater, estuarine, coastal, or marine environments. Relevant outcomes will include a range of measures used by authors to define effectiveness, including but not limited to the presence of eggs, successful emergence, or improved recruitment. This review will obtain relevant studies from online publication databases, specialist websites, and grey literature using a range of search engines and networking tools. Additional searches will be conducted using the bibliographies of relevant review publications. Study data will be extracted and appraised for quality, including study design, confounding factors, and statistical analysis. A narrative synthesis will be compiled and a meta-analysis will be completed should the data availability and quality allow for it.

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Keywords Aquatic, Compensate, Evidence-based policy, In-stream structures, Lithophil, Mitigation, Offset, Phytophil, Reproduction, Restoration
Persistent URL
Journal Environmental Evidence
Taylor, J.J. (Jessica J.), Rytwinski, T. (Trina), Bennett, J.R, Smokorowski, K.E. (Karen E.), & Cooke, S.J. (2017). The effectiveness of spawning habitat creation or enhancement for substrate spawning temperate fish: a systematic review protocol. Environmental Evidence, 6(1). doi:10.1186/s13750-017-0083-1