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An eel-y good time at the Rideau Locks

The Ottawa River eel population has plummeted 90 per cent in the last 30 years. Environmentalists hosted a public education day on the importance of the eel to the river ecosystem Saturday.

Environmental groups host eel awareness day in hopes of boosting eel population

Environmental groups are working to increase the eel population in the Ottawa River.

The Canadian Wildlife Federation and Ottawa Riverkeeper teamed up Saturday to host an American eel awareness event to help people better understand the species which is listed as "at risk" in Ontario.

It was also a chance for the organizations to show off a new project that uses acoustic tags and receivers in the water to track the movement of eels in the Ottawa River.

The goal is to increase the population which organizers say has plummeted by about 90 per cent in the last 30 years. 

The dramatic decline can be attributed to several factors, including the creation of hydroelectric dams, manmade barriers that prevent upstream migration, general habitat destruction and commercial harvesting, according to the Canadian Wildlife Federation.

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