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Recovery strategy for the Pugnose Shiner (Notropis anogenus) in Canada

Pugnose Shiner

Table of contents

List of figures

  • Figure 1. Pugnose Shiner (Notropis anogenus)
  • Figure 2. North American distribution of the Pugnose Shiner
  • Figure 3a. Distribution of Pugnose Shiner in southwestern Ontario
  • Figure 3b. Distribution of Pugnose Shiner in southeastern Ontario
  • Figure 4. Area within which critical habitat is found in the Teeswater River
  • Figure 5. Area within which critical habitat is found in the Old Ausable Channel
  • Figure 6. Area within which critical habitat is found in Mouth Lake
  • Figure 7. Area within which critical habitat is found in the St. Clair National Wildlife Area
  • Figure 8. Area within which critical habitat is found in Little Bear Creek
  • Figure 9a. Area within which critical habitat is found in Long Point Bay
  • Figure 9b. Area within which critical habitat is found in Big Creek
  • Figure 10. Area within which critical habitat is found in Wellers Bay
  • Figure 11. Area within which critical habitat is found in West Lake and East Lake
  • Figure 12. Area within which critical habitat is found in Waupoos Bay
  • Figure 13a. Area within which critical habitat is found in the St. Lawrence River
  • Figure 13b. Area within which critical habitat is found in the St. Lawrence River

List of tables

  • Table 1. Canadian and U.S. national and sub-national status ranks
  • Table 2. Population status of individual Pugnose Shiner populations in Canada
  • Table 3. Summary of threats to Pugnose Shiner populations in Canada
  • Table 4. Summary of recent (since 2000) fish assemblage surveys in areas of known Pugnose Shiner occurrence
  • Table 5. Recovery planning table – research and monitoring
  • Table 6. Recovery planning table – management and coordination
  • Table 7. Recovery planning table – stewardship, outreach and awareness
  • Table 8. Recovery objectives and relevant performance measures
  • Table 9. Essential functions, features and attributes of critical habitat for each life stage of the Pugnose Shiner
  • Table 10. Comparison of area within which critical habitat is found for each Pugnose Shiner population, relative to the estimated minimum area for population viability (MAPV)
  • Table 11. Schedule of studies to identify critical habitat
  • Table 12. Human activities likely to result in the destruction of critical habitat for Pugnose Shiner

Pugnose Shiner

Recovery strategy for the Pugnose Shiner (Notropis anogenus) in Canada (Proposed)
2012

About the Species at Risk Act Recovery Strategy Series

What is the Species at Risk Act (SARA)?

SARA is the Act developed by the federal government as a key contribution to the common national effort to protect and conserve species at risk in Canada. SARA came into force in 2003 and one of its purposes is “to provide for the recovery of wildlife species that are extirpated, endangered or threatened as a result of human activity.”

What is recovery?

In the context of species at risk conservation, recovery is the process by which the decline of an endangered, threatened, or extirpated species is arrested or reversed and threats are removed or reduced to improve the likelihood of the species’ persistence in the wild. A species will be considered recovered when its long-term persistence in the wild has been secured.

What is a recovery strategy?

A recovery strategy is a planning document that identifies what needs to be done to arrest or reverse the decline of a species. It sets goals and objectives and identifies the main areas of activities to be undertaken. Detailed planning is done at the action plan stage.

Recovery strategy development is a commitment of all provinces and territories and of three federal agencies -- Environment Canada, Parks Canada Agency, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada -- under the Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk. Sections 37–46 of SARAoutline both the required content and the process for developing recovery strategies published in this series.

Depending on the status of the species and when it was assessed, a recovery strategy has to be developed within one to two years after the species is added to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk. Three to four years is allowed for those species that were automatically listed when SARA came into force.

What’s next?

In most cases, one or more action plans will be developed to define and guide implementation of the recovery strategy. Nevertheless, directions set in the recovery strategy are sufficient to begin involving communities, land users, and conservationists in recovery implementation. Cost-effective measures to prevent the reduction or loss of the species should not be postponed for lack of full scientific certainty.

The series

This series presents the recovery strategies prepared or adopted by the federal government under SARA. New documents will be added regularly as species get listed and as strategies are updated.

To learn more about the Species at Risk Act and recovery initiatives, please consult the SARA Public Registry.

Recommended citation

Edwards, A.L., Matchett, S.P., Doherty, A. and Staton, S.K. 2012. Recovery strategy for the Pugnose Shiner (Notropis anogenus) in Canada (Proposed). Species at Risk Act Recovery Strategy Series. Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ottawa ON. x+72 p.

Additional copies

Additional copies can be downloaded from the SARA Public Registry.

Cover, title page illustration

© Konrad Schmidt

Également disponible en français sous le titre
« Programme de rétablissement du méné camus
(Notropis anogenus) au Canada [proposition] »

©Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, 2012. All rights reserved.
ISBN En3-4/129-2012E-PDF
Catalogue no. 978-1-100-19999-3

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

Preface

The Pugnose Shiner is a freshwater fish and is under the responsibility of the federal government. The Species at Risk Act (SARA, Section 37) requires the competent minister to prepare recovery strategies for listed Extirpated, Endangered and Threatened species. The Pugnose Shiner was listed as Endangered under SARA in June 2003. The development of this recovery strategy was led by Fisheries and Oceans Canada – Central and Arctic region, in cooperation and consultation with many individuals, organizations and government agencies, as indicated below. The strategy meets SARA requirements in terms of content and process (Sections 39-41).

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 Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Environment Canada (Canadian Wildlife Service – Ontario) and Parks Canada Agency or any other party alone. This strategy provides advice to jurisdictions and organizations that may be involved or wish to become involved in the recovery of the species. In the spirit of the National Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Minister of the Environment invites all responsible jurisdictions and Canadians to join Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Environment Canada (Canadian Wildlife Service – Ontario) and Parks Canada Agency in supporting and implementing this strategy for the benefit of the Pugnose Shiner and Canadian society as a whole. Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Environment Canada (Canadian Wildlife Service – Ontario) and Parks Canada Agency will support implementation of this strategy to the extent possible, given available resources and its overall responsibility for species at risk conservation.

The goals, objectives and recovery approaches identified in the strategy are based on the best existing knowledge and are subject to modifications resulting from new information. The competent ministers will report on progress within five years.

This strategy will be complemented by one or more action plans that will provide details on specific recovery measures to be taken to support conservation of the species. The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans will take steps to ensure that, to the extent possible, Canadians interested in or affected by these measures will be consulted.

Responsible jurisdictions

  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO)
  • Environment Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service - Ontario
  • Parks Canada Agency (PCA)

Authors

This document was prepared by Andrea Doherty (Fisheries and Oceans Canada), Amy L. Boyko (Fisheries and Oceans Canada), Sarah P. Matchett (contractor) and Shawn K. Staton (Fisheries and Oceans Canada) on behalf of Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Acknowledgements

Fisheries and Oceans Canada would like to thank the following organizations for their support in the development of the Pugnose Shiner recovery strategy: Ontario Freshwater Fish Recovery Team, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Ontario Parks, Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority, Essex Region Conservation Authority, Trent University, Environment Canada (Canadian Wildlife Service), University of Western Ontario, Parks Canada Agency, St. Clair Region Conservation Authority, Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority, Quinte Region Conservation Authority and the Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority.

Strategic environmental assessment

In accordance with the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals, the purpose of a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is to incorporate environmental considerations into the development of public policies, plans, and program proposals to support environmentally-sound decision making.

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 on non-target species or habitats.

This recovery strategy will clearly benefit the environment by promoting the recovery of the Pugnose Shiner. The potential for the strategy to inadvertently lead to adverse effects on other species was considered. The SEA concluded that this strategy will clearly benefit the environment and will not entail any significant adverse effects. Refer to the following sections of the document in particular: Description of the Species’ Habitat and Biological Needs, Ecological Role, and Limiting Factors; Effects on Other Species; and, the Recommended Approaches to Meet Recovery Objectives.

Residence

SARA defines residence as: “a dwelling-place, such as a den, nest or other similar area or place, that is occupied or habitually occupied by one or more individuals during all or part of their life cycles, including breeding, rearing, staging, wintering, feeding or hibernating(SARA S2(1)).

The residence concept is interpreted by DFO as being constructed by the organism. In this context, Pugnose Shiner do not construct residences during their life cycle and therefore the concept does not apply (Bouvier and Mandrak, 2010).

Executive summary

The Pugnose Shiner is a small minnow that is distinguished from similar species by its tiny, upturned, mouth and black stomach cavity lining. Colouration is mostly silver with yellow and olive tints above the lateral black band where scales are heavily outlined. Male Pugnose Shiner can reach total lengths (TL) of 50 mm, while females can reach up to 60 mm TL. This species is found in highly-vegetated, clear, slow-moving water, and its distribution and recovery potential is believed to be limited by the distribution and abundance of these habitat types. The Pugnose Shiner is considered globally rare to uncommon (G3), and was designated as Endangered in Canada in November 2002 by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. Status at state levels varies from extirpated (SX – Ohio) to vulnerable (S3 in Michigan and Minnesota).

In Canada, Pugnose Shiner distribution is limited to four main regions of Ontario: the southern drainage of Lake Huron, Lake St. Clair, Lake Erie, Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. The species was known historically from Lake Erie (Point Pelee National Park, Rondeau Bay and Long Point Bay) and the St. Lawrence River (Gananoque). Recent captures have confirmed that the species is extant in the following areas:

  • Teeswater River,
  • Old Ausable Channel,
  • Mouth Lake,
  • Canard River,
  • Lake St. Clair (including Walpole Island) and two of its tributaries (Whitebread Drain/Grape Run Drain and Little Bear Creek)
  • St. Clair National Wildlife Area (NWA),
  • Long Point Bay/Big Creek (including Long Point NWA (both Thoroughfare Point Unit and Long Point Unit) and Big Creek NWA (Big Creek Unit only),
  • Wellers Bay (including all occasionally exposed lands of Wellers Bay National Wildlife Area lying between the high water mark and the water’s edge of Wellers Bay, which forms the boundary of Wellers Bay National Wildlife Area which varies with water level fluctuations of Lake Ontario),
  • West Lake,
  • East Lake,
  • Waupoos Bay and,
  • St. Lawrence River (from Eastview to Mallorytown Landing, including the St. Lawrence Islands National Park).

Extant populations in Ontario occur in areas that are vulnerable to declining habitat quality. Habitat loss and degradation is the principal threat to Pugnose Shiner and may be the result of various factors, such as increased agricultural land use leading to siltation and turbidity, increases in lakeshore development and the removal of aquatic vegetation, as well as human-induced changes in water quality/quantity. The fragmented nature of preferred habitat prevents connectivity of existing populations and may prevent gene flow and/or inhibit colonization of other suitable habitats. Changes in fish communities where Pugnose Shiner are found may have negative effects on the species due to increased predation and/or interspecific competition for resources. Increases in some exotic species, such as Common Carp and Eurasian watermilfoil, may also affect Pugnose Shiner, due to the negative impacts these species can have on native aquatic vegetation.

The long-term recovery goal (over the next 20 years) for Pugnose Shiner is to maintain self-sustaining populations at existing locations and restore self-sustaining populations to historic locations, where feasible.

The following short-term objectives have been established to assist with meeting the long-term recovery goal over the next five to ten years:

  • Refine population and distribution objectives;
  • Refine and protect critical habitat;
  • Determine long-term population and habitat trends;
  • Evaluate and minimize threats to the species and its habitat;
  • Investigate the feasibility of population supplementation or repatriation for populations that may be extirpated or reduced;
  • Enhance efficiency of recovery efforts through coordination with aquatic and terrestrial ecosystem recovery teams and other relevant or complementary groups/initiatives; and,
  • Improve overall awareness of Pugnose Shiner and the role of healthy aquatic ecosystems, and their importance to humans.

The recovery team has identified several approaches necessary to ensure that recovery objectives for Pugnose Shiner are met. These approaches have been organized into three categories: Research and Monitoring; Management and Coordination; and, Stewardship, Outreach and Awareness. Research and Monitoring strategies are crucial to the recovery of Pugnose Shiner because many aspects of its life history and biology are not well known, including its capacity to rebound demographically. Initial surveys will verify extant and uncorroborated accounts of Pugnose Shiner across its range, while a detailed, permanent monitoring program will observe the health of the species and its habitat, as well as potential predators, competitors and exotic species. Research projects will help resolve some uncertainty related to specific habitat requirements, feasibility of population repatriations and threat mitigation. Management and Coordination strategies include working with other relevant groups, recovery teams and aquatic ecosystem-level recovery strategies that are currently being implemented within a number of the watersheds where Pugnose Shiner is known to occur, namely the Old Ausable Channel, Lake St. Clair (Walpole Island) and the Essex-Erie region. This will allow relevant groups and teams to share information and implement recovery actions. Lastly, through the broad approaches of Stewardship, Outreach and Awareness, the importance of the recovery of Pugnose Shiner will be conveyed to the community at large and stakeholder groups in particular, to obtain support for recovery implementation.

Critical habitat has been identified to the extent possible based upon the best available information for extant Pugnose Shiner locations in the following areas:

  • Teeswater River,
  • Old Ausable Channel,
  • Mouth Lake,
  • St. Clair National Wildlife Area,
  • Little Bear Creek (Lake St. Clair tributary),
  • Long Point Bay/Big Creek (including Long Point NWA (both Thoroughfare Point Unit and Long Point Unit) and Big Creek NWA (Big Creek Unit only),
  • Wellers Bay (including all occasionally exposed lands of Wellers Bay National Wildlife Area lying between the high water mark and the water’s edge of Wellers Bay, which forms the boundary of Wellers Bay NWA which varies with water level fluctuations of Lake Ontario),
  • West Lake,
  • East Lake,
  • Waupoos Bay and,
  • St. Lawrence River (from Eastview to Mallorytown Landing, including the St. Lawrence Islands National Park).

A schedule of studies has been developed that outlines necessary steps to obtain the information to further refine these critical habitat descriptions.

A dual approach to recovery implementation will be taken combining an ecosystem-based approach with a single-species focus. This will be accomplished through coordinated efforts with relevant ecosystem-based recovery teams (Ausable River, Essex-Erie region, Walpole Island) and their associated Recovery Implementation Groups. The recovery strategy will be supported by one or more action plans that will be developed within five years of the final strategy being posted on the public registry. The success of recovery actions in meeting recovery objectives will be evaluated through the performance measures provided. The entire recovery strategy will be reported on every five years to evaluate progress and to incorporate new information.

Introduction