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Recovery Strategy for the Edwards’ Beach Moth (Anarta edwardsii) in Canada [Proposed]

Part 1 – Federal Addition to the Recovery Plan for Edwards’ Beach Moth (Anarta edwardsii) in British Columbia, prepared by Environment and Climate Change Canada.

Document Information

Recovery Strategy for the Edwards’ Beach Moth (Anarta edwardsii) in Canada [Proposed].

Cover photo

Recommended citation:

Environment and Climate Change Canada. 2016. Recovery Strategy for the Edwards’ Beach Moth (Anarta edwardsii) in Canada [Proposed]. Species at Risk Act Recovery Strategy Series. Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ottawa. 2 parts, 15 pp. + 23 pp.

For copies of the recovery strategy, or for additional information on species at risk, including the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) Status Reports, residence descriptions, action plans, and other related recovery documents, please visit the Species at Risk Public Registry.

Cover illustration: © Nicole Kroeker

Également disponible en français sous le titre
« Programme de rétablissement de la noctuelle d’Edwards (
Anarta edwardsii) au Canada [Proposition] »

Content (excluding the illustrations) may be used without permission, with appropriate credit to the source.

Recovery Strategy for the Edwards’ Beach Moth (Anarta edwardsii) in Canada 2016

Under the Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk (1996), the federal, provincial, and territorial governments agreed to work together on legislation, programs, and policies to protect wildlife species at risk throughout Canada.

In the spirit of cooperation of the Accord, the Government of British Columbia has given permission to the Government of Canada to adopt the Recovery Plan for Edwards’ Beach Moth (Anarta edwardsii) in British Columbia (Part 2) under Section 44 of the Species at Risk Act (SARA). Environment and Climate Change Canada has included a federal addition (Part 1) which completes the SARA requirements for this recovery strategy.

The federal recovery strategy for the Edwards’ Beach Moth in Canada consists of two parts:

Part 1 – Federal Addition to the Recovery Plan for Edwards’ Beach Moth (Anarta edwardsii) in British Columbia, prepared by Environment and Climate Change Canada.

Part 2 – Recovery Plan for Edwards’ Beach Moth (Anarta edwardsii) in British Columbia, prepared by the British Columbia Ministry of Environment.


Preface

The federal, provincial, and territorial government signatories under the Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk (1996) agreed to establish complementary legislation and programs that provide for effective protection of species at risk throughout Canada. Under the Species at Risk Act (S.C. 2002, c. 29) (SARA), the federal competent ministers are responsible for the preparation of recovery strategies for listed Extirpated, Endangered, and Threatened species and are required to report on progress within five years after the publication of the final document on the SAR Public Registry.

The Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for the Parks Canada Agency is the competent minister under SARA for the Edwards’ Beach Moth and has prepared the federal component of this recovery strategy (Part 1), as per section 37 of SARA. To the extent possible, it has been prepared in cooperation with the province of British Columbia (B.C.) as per section 39(1) of SARA. SARA section 44 allows the Minister to adopt all or part of an existing plan for the species if it meets the requirements under SARA for content (sub-sections 41(1) or (2)). The Province of British Columbia provided the attached recovery plan for the Edwards’ Beach Moth (Part 2) as science advice to the jurisdictions responsible for managing the species in British Columbia. It was prepared in cooperation with Environment and Climate Change Canada, and the Parks Canada Agency.

Success in the recovery of this species depends on the commitment and cooperation of many different constituencies that will be involved in implementing the directions set out in this strategy and will not be achieved by Environment and Climate Change Canada and/or the Parks Canada Agency, or any other jurisdiction alone. All Canadians are invited to join in supporting and implementing this strategy for the benefit of the Edwards’ Beach Moth and Canadian society as a whole.

The recovery strategy sets the strategic direction to arrest or reverse the decline of the species, including identification of critical habitat to the extent possible. It provides all Canadians with information to help take action on species conservation. When critical habitat is identified, either in a recovery strategy or an action plan, there may be future regulatory implications, depending on where the critical habitat is identified. SARA requires that critical habitat identified within a national park named and described in Schedule 1 to the Canada National Parks Act, the Rouge National Urban Park established by the Rouge National Urban Park Act, a marine protected area under the Oceans Act, a migratory bird sanctuary under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 or a national wildlife area under the Canada Wildlife Act be described in the Canada Gazette, after which prohibitions against its destruction will apply. For critical habitat located on other federal lands, the competent minister must either make a statement on existing legal protection or make an order so that the prohibition against destruction of critical habitat applies. For any part of critical habitat located on non-federal lands, if the competent minister forms the opinion that any portion of critical habitat is not protected by provisions in or measures under SARA or other Acts of Parliament, or the laws of the province or territory, SARA requires that the Minister recommend that the Governor in Council make an order to prohibit destruction of critical habitat. The discretion to protect critical habitat on non-federal lands that is not otherwise protected rests with the Governor in Council.

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Acknowledgements

Many people are to be acknowledged for their involvement in the preparation of this federal recovery strategy addition. The development of this recovery strategy was coordinated by Kella Sadler (Environment and Climate Change Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service - Pacific and Yukon Region (ECCC CWS-PYR). Nick Page (Raincoast Applied Ecology) developed the initial draft of this document under contract with Environment and Climate Change Canada. Substantial input and/or collaborative support was provided by Conan Webb and Nicole Kroeker (Parks Canada Agency), Matt Huntley, Holly Middleton, Lucy Reiss, and Dan Shervill (ECCC CWS-PYR), Véronique Lalande (ECCC CWS – National Capital Region), and Connie Miller Retzer (B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations). Danielle Yu (ECCC CWS-PYR) provided additional assistance with mapping and figure preparation.

Additions and Modifications to the Adopted Document

The following sections have been included to address specific requirements of the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA) that are not addressed in the Recovery Plan for the Edwards’Beach Moth (Anarta edwardsii) in British Columbia (Part 2 of this document, referred to henceforth as "the provincial recovery plan") and to provide updated or additional information.

Under SARA, there are specific requirements and processes set out regarding the protection of critical habitat. Therefore, statements in the provincial recovery plan referring to protection of survival/recovery habitat may not directly correspond to federal requirements. Recovery measures dealing with the protection of habitat are adopted; however, whether these measures will result in protection of critical habitat under SARA will be assessed following publication of the federal recovery strategy.

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1. Species Status Information

The provincial recovery plan does not include a statement on proportion (%) of the species’ range inside and outside Canada.

Although detailed population and distribution information is not available to determine a reliable estimate proportion of the species’ global range in Canada, COSEWIC (2009) indicates that the estimated extent of occurrence for Edwards’ Beach Moth in Canada is <1% (i.e., 2 050 km² in Canada, versus 350 000 km² globally).

2. Critical Habitat

This section replaces the "Information on Habitat Needed to Meet Recovery Goal” (Section 7) in the provincial recovery plan.

Section 41 (1)(c) of SARA requires that recovery strategies include an identification of the species' critical habitat, to the extent possible, as well as examples of activities that are likely to result in its destruction. The provincial recovery plan for Edwards’ Beach Moth includes a description of the biophysical attributes of survival/recovery habitat, and activities likely to result in the damage of survival/recovery habitat. This science advice was used to inform the following critical habitat sections in this federal recovery strategy.

2.1 Identification of Critical Habitat

Geospatial location of areas containing critical habitat

Critical habitat for Edwards’ Beach Moth is identified at six sites on the southeast coast of Vancouver Island, and at one site near Tofino (west coast Vancouver Island), British Columbia (Figures 1 - 3):

Southeast coast Vancouver Island
  1. Sidney Island (2 sites): Sidney Spit, Hook Spit (Figure 1)
  2. James Island (3 sites): Powder Jetty, North Spit, Melanie Spit (Figure 2)
  3. Vancouver Island (1 site): Cordova Spit and Island View Beach (Figure 2)
Tofino (west coast Vancouver Island)
  1. Wickanninish Beach (Figure 3)

The areas containing critical habitat for Edwards’ Beach Moth are identified based on a combination of (1) documented occurrencesFootnote 1 that met all of the following criteria: (i) must be relatively recent (<20 years old); (ii) identification of the specimen must have been undertaken or verified by a professional taxonomist; and (iii) specimens must be available in collections for verification, (2) an estimate of the seasonal dispersal capabilities of adult Edwards’ Beach Moth, applied as a 750 m distance around each documented occurrence, and (3) refinement to select only the distinct ecological featuresFootnote 2 (i.e., habitat types) that are known to support Edwards’ Beach Moth, occurring within the dispersal distance area.

The dispersal ability of Edwards’ Beach Moth is not known; however, the 750 m dispersal estimate comprises the best available information based on biologically similar species. Noctuid mothsFootnote 3 are generally strong fliers and good dispersers. A mark-recapture study of moths in Finland found dispersal distances as high as 30 km, although the average was around 100 m (Nieminen, 1996). Dispersal studies of two diurnal moths in Sweden found mean transfer distance was 1.1 km (Franzen and Nilsson, 2007). NatureServe (2002) cites a default upper limit of 1 km inferred extent buffer for Noctuid moths, suggesting the upper limit would be associated with species that typically occupy large habitats, e.g., forest and woodland species. Considering the smaller and more localized nature of the habitats occupied by Edwards’ Beach Moth, a 750 m dispersal distance was considered to be a realistic estimate on which to base critical habitat identification.

The 750 m dispersal distances around each documented occurrence of Edwards’ Beach Moth were refined to include only habitat types that are known to support the species (as described in the section below). This geospatial refinement was completed using recent air photograph and/or moderate resolution orthoimagery (30 m), sensitive ecosystems inventory mapping information (Ward et al. 1998), topographic data (1:20,000 TRIM), and expert site knowledge. Detailed methods and decision-making processes relating to critical habitat identification are archived in a supporting document.

Biophysical attributes of Critical Habitat

Within the areas identified as containing critical habitat, critical habitat is identified wherever the following habitat types occur:

  • coastal sand habitat such as sand spits, dunes, and beaches
  • coastal salt marsh habitat
  • sparsely-vegetated upper beach communities, beachgrass meadow communities, and patchy shrub communities

Edwards’ Beach Moth likely uses sand substrates for overwintering, and may also use sand for resting or hiding during its flight period, when adult moths are susceptible to predation. Within the habitat types mentioned, Edwards’ Beach Moth uses host plants for larval feeding, adult nectaring, and as structural elements for resting and hiding from predators. Information about the identity, composition and density of host plant species required by Edwards’ Beach Moth uses during different life history stages is unknown. Common plants in sandy beach habitats where Edwards’ Beach Moth has been captured are Dune Wildrye (Leymus mollis ssp. mollis), Silver Burweed (Ambrosia chamissonis), Large-headed Sedge (Carex macrocephala), Beach Pea (Lathyrus japonicus var. maritimus), and American Searocket (Cakile edentula). Common salt marsh plants where the species has been observed include Seashore Saltgrass (Distichlis spicata var. spicata), American Glasswort (Sarcocornia pacifica), and the exotic Common Orache (Atriplex patula). Edwards’ Beach Moth may use and/or require some of these plant species during its life cyle.

Biophysical attributes of critical habitat include the vegetation (composition and abundance of plant species) and substrates (sand, soil) that comprise the habitat types listed above. The areas containing critical habitat for Edwards’ Beach Moth (totaling 116.6 ha) are presented in Figures 1-3. Critical habitat for Edwards’ Beach Moth in Canada occurs within the shaded yellow polygons shown on each map where the biophysical attributes described in this section occur. The identified habitat types (as represented by vegetation and substrate) comprise the biophysical attributes of critical habitat for this species, and therefore the shaded yellow polygons (units) shown on the map represent a close approximation of actual critical habitat.

Within these polygons, clearly unsuitable habitats such as: (i) beach areas below the high water mark, and salt marsh areas below vegetated terrestrial habitat margins (e.g., semi-aquatic plants that occur in the intertidal zone), and (ii) forested and dense-shrub communities are not required by Edwards’ Beach Moth, and they are not identified as critical habitat. Similarly, anthropogenic features including: existing active trails and/or other existing highly-disturbed areas that are specifically designated for foot traffic, roads, and existing infrastructure such as anchored picnic tables and buildings do not possess biophysical attributes required by Edwards’ Beach Moth, and they are not identified as critical habitat. The 1 km x 1 km UTM grid overlay shown on these figures is a standardized national grid system that highlights the general geographic area containing critical habitat, for land use planning and/or environmental assessment purposes.

The critical habitat identified is sufficient to meet the population and distribution objectives and therefore a schedule of studies is not required. Critical habitat for Edwards’ Beach Moth is identified in this document to the extent possible; as responsible jurisdictions and/or other interested parties conduct research (including surveys to clarify species’ range, identify host plants, and substrate requirements), the critical habitat methodology and identification may be modified and/or refined to reflect new knowledge.

Figure 1. Critical habitat for Edwards’ Beach Moth on Sidney Island, B.C. is represented by the yellow shaded polygons where the criteria and methodology set out in Section 2.1 are met. The detailed polygonsshow a total of 35.4 ha containing critical habitat at Sidney Spit (3.7 ha) and Hook Spit (31.7 ha). The 1 km x 1 km UTM grid overlay shown on this figure is a standardized national grid system that indicatesthe general geographic area within which critical habitat is found in Canada. Areas outside of the shaded yellow polygons do not contain critical habitat.
map
Long description for Figure 1

Figure 1 shows a map of critical habitat for Edwards’ Beach Moth on Sidney Island, BC and is represented by standardized 1 km x 1 km UTM grid overlay. The critical habitat is located at Sidney Spit and Hook Spit and is symbolized by 8 standardized UTM grid squares.

 

Figure 2. Critical habitat for Edwards’ Beach Moth on James Island and on southeast Vancouver Island, B.C. is represented by the yellow shaded polygons where the criteria and methodology set out in Section 2.1 are met. The detailed polygons show a total of 21.2 ha containing critical habitat on James Island at Powder Jetty (7.0 ha), North Spit (8.7 ha), and Melanie Spit (5.5 ha), and 30.0 ha on southeast Vancouver Island, at Cordova Spit & Island View Beach. The 1 km x 1 km UTM grid overlay shown on this figure is a standardized national grid system that indicates the general geographic area within which critical habitatis found in Canada. Areas outside of the shaded yellow polygons do not contain critical habitat.
map
Long description for Figure 2

Figure 2 shows a map of critical habitat for Edwards’ Beach Moth on James Island and on southeast Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Seven national 1 km x 1 km standardized UTM grid squares represent the 4 disjointed, detailed critical habitat locations at Cordova Spit and Island View Beach, Melanie Spit, Powder Jetty and North Spit.

 

Figure 3. Critical habitat for Edwards’ Beach Moth at Wickanninish Beach near Tofino, B.C. is represented by the yellow shaded polygons where the criteria and methodology set out in Section 2.1 are met. The detailed polygon shows a total of 30.0 ha containing critical habitat at this site. The 1 km x 1 km UTM grid overlay shown on this figure is a standardized national grid system that indicates the general geographic area within which critical habitat is found in Canada. Areas outside of the shaded yellow polygons do not contain critical habitat.
map
Long description for Figure 3

Figure 3 shows a map of critical habitat for Edwards’ Beach Moth at Wickanninish Beach near Tofino, British Columbia. Five national 1 km x 1 km standardized UTM grid squares represent the 30.0 ha of detailed critical habitat at Wickanninish Beach.

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2.2 Activities Likely to Result in Destruction of Critical Habitat

Understanding what constitutes destruction of critical habitat is necessary for the protection and management of critical habitat. Destruction is determined on a case by case basis. Destruction would result if part of the critical habitat were degraded, either permanently or temporarily, such that it would not serve its function when needed by the species. Destruction may result from a single or multiple activities at one point in time or from the cumulative effects of one or more activities over time. Activities described in Table 1 include those likely to cause destruction of critical habitat for the species; however, destructive activities are not limited to those listed.

The provincial recovery plan contains a section describing specific human activities likely to damage survival/recovery habitat. This science advice was used to inform the description of activities likely to result in the destruction of critical habitat in this federal recovery strategy.

Table 1. Activities likely to result in the destruction of critical habitat for Edwards’ Beach Moth. IUCNFootnote 4 threat numbers are in accordance with the IUCN-CMP (World Conservation Union–Conservation Measures Partnership) unified threats classification system (CMP 2010).
Description of activityDescription of effect in relation to habitat function lossDetails and relationship threats
Conversion of natural landscape areas for residential and commercial development, or related infrastructure (e.g., roads, buildings, facilities).Results in the direct loss of critical habitat through vegetation removal and replacement, debris deposition, substrate disturbance and compaction, and/or related indirect effects which cause damage or destruction to biophysical attributes required by Edwards’ Beach Moth.

Related IUCN-CMP threat  #1.3

Most sites are unsuitable for residential development because of soil conditions or flood risk, however there is possibility that James Island could be developed for housing.

All sites in which Edwards’ Beach Moth are found have important values for public tourism and recreation. Development for recreational purposes has resulted in loss of habitat. This threat is ongoing.

Human use of landscape that results in significant adverse effects:

Use of motorized vehicles (e.g., ATVs, cars, trucks, or other)

  • During the dormant period (August – May inclusive): any amount or type occurring outside of existing roads or trails
  • During the non-dormant period (June – July inclusive): any amount or type occurring outside of existing roads or trails, except for where used specifically towards the improvement of Edwards’ Beach Moth survival and recovery (i.e., habitat restoration and/or monitoring), and where it does not reduce the ability of the habitat to support the species’ needs.7

Non-motorized traffic (e.g., foot traffic, mountain biking)

  • At all times of year, type and/or amount of use that results in the damage or destruction of natural vegetation (potential host and/or nectar plants), and/or substrates, to the extent that the habitat does not support the recovery of the speciesFootnote 5.
Results in disturbance of local biophysical conditions, including direct physical damage to or loss of biophysical attributes required by Edwards’ Beach Moth. Activities may cause vegetation removal (i.e., impacting the availability of potential egg, larval and nectar host plants) and/or cause compaction or removal of substrate and/or litter required by Edwards’ Beach Moth eggs and larvae.

Related IUCN-CMP threats:

#4.1. Motorized vehicle use has historically been a source of major habitat disturbance at several sites (Island View Beach and Cordova Spit). Direct loss of habitat through the incremental increase in areas used for parking, storage, and other uses adjacent to existing roads may occur in the future. Also linked to Threat #8.1 - heavy machinery (e.g., backhoes) sometimes used for invasive plant removal.

#6.1. Recreation is common in most of the sites where Edwards’ Beach Moth is found except for James Island where access is currently controlled (2015).

Anthropogenic modification of natural habitats such as slope stabilization or the construction of groynes or breakwaters, that result in vegetation succession.Loss of biophysical attributes of critical habitat through reduction or disruption of coastal sand movement, which contributes to stabilization and vegetation establishment in sparsely vegetated communities.Related IUCN-CMP threat # 7.3.
Deliberate introduction of alien invasive species, for example by not following provincial best management practices for clean equipment use.Footnote 6Alien invasive species may cause destruction of habitat available to Edwards’ Beach Moth by making required biophysical attributes of critical habitat (e.g., potential larval host plants and/or nectar host plants, or substrates) functionally unavailable, as a consequence of their physical occupation of space and resources, and by stabilizing and colonizing sparsely vegetated habitats, and potential changing soil chemistry.Related IUCN-CMP threat # 8.1. Scotch Broom, European Beachgrass, Common Gorse, and various non-native grasses have rapidly changed many coastal sand habitats in coastal B.C.
Activities related to the control of invertebrate pests and/or invasive plant species (mechanical or chemical) that are not in accordance with provincial best management practices (where available); this may include on-site activities, an pesticide or herbicide drift from adjacent areas.Efforts to control invertebrate pests or invasive plants through chemical means (pesticides or herbicides) or by physical means can result in destruction of critical habitat by degrading or removing plant and/or substrate biophysical attributes (as a consequence of weed-pulling), or microhabitat toxicity resulting from the application of pesticides and/or herbicides.

Related IUCN-CMP threat # 8.1, 9.3.

A provincial program to detect and eradicate introductions of European Gypsy Moth has been ongoing since 1979 and spray has been applied in numerous areas within the range of Edwards’ Beach Moth since this time. This activity may occur in the future, depending on the extent to which Gypsy Moths are trapped during annual surveys. Methods to mechanically remove invasive plants may also cause destruction; refer to “use of motorized vehicles” activity, described above.

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3. Measuring Progress

The performance indicator presented below provides a way to define and measure progress toward achieving the population and distribution objective. Every five years, success of recovery strategy implementation will be measured against the following performance indicator:

  • The persistence and distribution of Edwards' Beach Moth at all known extant sites (including any newly identified sites) have been maintained, i.e., population size and extent of occurrence or area of occupancy at each site is stable and/or naturally increasing.

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4. Statement on Action Plans

One or more action plans will be posted on the Species at Risk Public Registry by 2021.

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5. Effects on the Environment and Other Species

A strategic environmental assessment (SEA) is conducted on all SARA recovery planning documents, in accordance with the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals. The purpose of a SEA is to incorporate environmental considerations into the development of public policies, plans, and program proposals to support environmentally sound decision-making and to evaluate whether the outcomes of a recovery planning document could affect any component of the environment or any of the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy’s (FSDS) goals and targets.

Recovery planning is intended to benefit species at risk and biodiversity in general. However, it is recognized that strategies may also inadvertently lead to environmental effects beyond the intended benefits. The planning process based on national guidelines directly incorporates consideration of all environmental effects, with a particular focus on possible impacts upon non-target species or habitats. The results of the SEA are incorporated directly into the strategy itself, but are also summarized below in this statement.

The provincial recovery plan for Edwards’ Beach Moth contains a section describing the effects of recovery activities on other species (i.e., Section 9). Environment and Climate Change Canada adopts this section of the provincial recovery plan as the statement on effects of recovery activities on the environment and other species. The distribution of Edwards’ Beach Moth overlaps with that of several other species at risk including the federally endangered Sand-verbena Moth (Copablepharon fuscum), and the Contorted-pod Evening Primrose (Camissonia contorta). Recovery planning activities for the Edwards’ Beach Moth will be implemented with consideration of all co-occurring species at risk, such that there are no negative impacts to these species or their habitats.

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6. References

Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). 2009. COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Edwards’ Beach Moth Anarta edwardsii in Canada. Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. Ottawa. vi + 26 pp.

Franzén, M. and S.G. Nilsson. 2007. What is the required minimum landscape size for dispersal studies? Journal of Animal Ecology 76: 1224–1230.

NatureServe. 2002. Section 4 EO Specifications: Excerpt from the EO Data Standard [PDF, 346 KB]

Nieminen, M. 1996. Migration of moth species in a network of small islands. Oecologia 108: 643–651

Ward, P., G. Radcliffe, J. Kirkby, J. Illingworth and C. Cadrin. 1998. Sensitive Ecosystems Inventory: East Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands,1993 - 1997. Volume 1: Methodology, Ecological Descriptions and Results. Technical Report Series No. 320, Canadian Wildlife Service, Pacific and Yukon Region, British Columbia.

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Footnotes

Footnote 1

An occurrence is defined as the point location at which an individual was observed.

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Footnote 2

Distinct ecological features are those that are distinguishable at a scale relevant to the critical habitat identification (through use of detailed ecosystem mapping and/or aerial photos), which, at that scale, appear as ecologically contiguous features with relatively distinct boundaries (e.g., distinct vegetation assemblages and/or habitat types). Edwards’ Beach Moth habitat has been identified at a “site” level scale (1:15,000 scale of reference).

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Footnote 3

Edwards’ Beach Moth belongs to the Lepidoptera family Noctuidae.

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Footnote 4

International Union for Conservation of Nature

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Footnote 5

The success of the species’ survival and recovery will be assessed by the adopted population and distribution objective, and the associated performance measure set out in this document, that: the persistence and distribution of Edwards' Beach Moth at all known extant sites (including any

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Footnote 6

See: Best Management Practices for Invasive Plants in Parks and Protected Areas of British Columbia

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