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Recovery Strategy for the Morrison Creek Lamprey (Lampetra richardsoni var. marifuga) in Canada (Final)


7. Recovery Goal

The recovery goal for Morrison Creek lamprey is to secure its long-term viability within its natural range. It is likely that this population will always remain at some risk due to its extremely limited distribution.

8. Recovery Objectives

Recovery objectives are stated as follows:

  1. Resolve taxonomic uncertainties related to Morrison Creek lamprey for the purposes of its effective protection and recovery.
  2. Maintain a self-sustaining population of Morrison Creek lamprey within Morrison Creek.
  3. Maintain, and where possible enhance, the ecological integrity of habitat for Morrison Creek lamprey.
  4. Increase scientific understanding of Morrison Creek lamprey through additional investigation of its natural history, critical habitat and threats to its persistence.
  5. Foster awareness of Morrison Creek lamprey and its conservation status, and encourage active local involvement in stewardship and habitat protection.

9. Approaches to Meeting Recovery Objectives

The general approach recommended in this recovery strategy includes:

  • establish and support stewardship initiatives,
  • undertake specific research activities to fill knowledge gaps and clarify threats,
  • delineate and protect key habitats,
  • minimize impacts from land and water use within the context of a broader watershed development plan, and
  • design and implement sound monitoring programs.

A description of the recommended approaches and actions is presented in Table 1. These actions will be further detailed in one or more Action Plans, to be created with the participation of a Recovery Implementation Group (RIG). Further plans and decisions may require involvement of stakeholders and participants including government agencies, First Nations, private land owners, industry and local stewardship groups.

Table 1. Prioritized strategies and recommended actions for the recovery of Morrison Creek lamprey.
Priority1StrategyActionsPerformance Measure2
NecessaryEstablish and support a Recovery Implementation Group (RIG) or alternative working group for Morrison Creek lamprey.
  1. Invite stakeholders and interested parties to participate in a RIG.
  2. Encourage local governments to have membership or representation on RIGs to facilitate Action Plan communication and implementation.
  3. Establish the RIG leadership (chair, facilitator, etc.), develop terms of reference, and obtain necessary funding to support RIG activities.
  4. Develop and implement of one or more Action Plans, which are to be guided by the Recovery Strategy.
Has a RIG or working group been established?;
Is the RIG adequately supported with funding and technical expertise? Has an Action Plan been developed?;
Is the RIG achieving the goals outlined in the Recovery Strategy?
NecessaryAddress information gaps that inhibit conservation of Morrison Creek lamprey.

Address key information gaps including:

  1. synthesis and reporting of information from previous studies,
  2. phylogenetic studies to clarify taxonomic status,
  3. adult diets,
  4. habitat use and requirements,
  5. life history information and identification procedures for different life stages,
  6. causes of mortality (e.g., temperature, pollutants, predation, siltation of incubation habitat, etc.)
  7. limiting factors to population growth.
Are there key information gaps that inhibit conservation of Morrison Creek lamprey?
PrimaryClarify and address threats to Morrison Creek lamprey.

Undertake appropriate research to clarify threats, including:

  1. Assess effects of land and water use on the productivity of lamprey habitats.
  2. Develop guidelines to mitigate potential threats related to development or water use.
Have threats been clarified and assessed? Are threats being mitigated?
PrimaryConduct studies to help define critical habitat for Morrison Creek lamprey.Undertake necessary research to define critical habitat and to delineate it in the wild. See Section 6.2 for a list of necessary research activities.Has critical habitat been defined for Morrison Creek lamprey?
PrimaryDevelop a watershed-scale sustainability plan that includes:
1) identification of key habitat, flow, and water quality values for lamprey, and 2) guidelines to avoid localized and watershed-scale impacts, which can be incorporated into effective decision making.
RIG will work with stakeholders to ensure that watershed development plans for the drainage address key habitat concerns.Have key areas in the watershed (i.e., those that are disproportionately important for maintaining habitat and the natural flow regime) been identified?
Has a watershed plan that recognizes these habitats as important been developed?
Have key habitats been effectively protected?
PrimaryDevelop and implement a long-term monitoring program.

Recovery Team and RIG to develop a monitoring program to assess population response to management activities or threats. Monitoring may include:

  • trends in abundance of Morrison Creek lamprey and its prey species,
  • trends in habitat quantity and quality,
  • water quality,
  • land use, and
  • water use.

Note: there is some concern that census methods could impact the population.

Have monitoring programs been implemented?
How long has a monitoring program been in place?
Is it effective?
Is it a benign activity for the population?
Is funding secure for the long term?
PrimaryEstablish water quality and water use objectives for Morrison Creek.
  1. Assess the need for species-specific water quality or quantity objectives.
  2. Work with relevant agencies as required to achieve objectives.
  3. Assess the need for a comprehensive water management plan for Morrison Creek.
Have water quality and water use objectives been established and communicated to relevant regulators and stakeholders?
SecondaryInform and educate stakeholders and the general public about the species and general biodiversity values.

RIG to work with government agencies and educators to develop

  1. educational material (e.g., an educational brochure, web-based material) to explain the general biology of the variety, its biodiversity values and threats to its persistence. Consider developing material for project WILD (
  2. educational material for use in public schools, particularly schools in the vicinity of Morrison Creek.
  3. educational signage for placement at specific locations (e.g., road crossings, habitat enhancement projects, etc.). Obtain funding for sign construction and maintenance.
Have educational materials been produced?
Has public perception and awareness been affected?
How many classes have received educational presentations?
SecondaryWork with local government, land developers, and others to improve and encourage watershed stewardship.Develop criteria for assessing effects of land developments (including forest harvest and urban development) on lamprey habitats, develop guidelines for good stewardship, establish Wildlife Habitat Areas (WHAs) where appropriate, and establish Special Development Areas where appropriate. For private lands, work with land owners to encourage good stewardship. Develop and implement Best Management Practices (BMPs), as needed. Develop and use conservation covenants where useful.Have forest harvest and land management criteria been developed?
Is forest harvest and land development meeting the criteria?
Have BMPs been developed and communicated?
Is there compliance with BMPs?
SecondaryDevelop sound protocols for scientific investigations (e.g., limit number of fish collected each year, etc.)Recovery Team to work with government agencies to set boundaries for experimental work and collection activities.
Note: SARA permits are required to legally collect and undertake research on a listed wildlife species.
Have scientific investigation protocols been set and communicated?
Have they been implemented?

1 Priority has been assigned based on professional judgement into one of three groups, from highest to lowest: necessary, primary, secondary.

2 Performance measures plot the progress toward meeting the stated objectives. The performance measures are presented here as questions, the answers to which can be plotted in time to monitor progress.