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Recovery Strategy for the Engelmann's Quillwort (Isoetes engelmannii) in Canada (Proposed)
- Executive Summary
- Species Information
- 1.0 Background
- 2.0 Threats
- 3.0 Knowledge Gaps
- 4.0 Critical Habitat (Proposed)
- 5.0 Recovery
- 6.0 Action Plans Related to the Recovery Strategy
- 7.0 References Cited
- Appendix A: Members of the Engelmann's Quillwort Recovery Team and External Advisors
- Appendix B: Glossary
- Appendix C: Jurisdiction responses
- 5.1 Recovery Feasibility
- 5.2 Recovery Goal, Objectives, and Activities
- 5.3 Evaluation
- 5.4 Effects on Other Species
5.1 Recovery Feasibility
The recovery of Engelmann's Quillwort is considered feasible based on four criteria as outlined in Environment Canada's National Policy on Recovery Feasibility:
- There are individuals present that are capable of reproduction in order to maintain the current populations. It is felt that recovery efforts will not result in Engelmann's quillwort becoming a common species in central Ontario waterways. It seems most likely to have been a naturally rare disjunct species that has never been in large numbers in this region. Its status may represent a position near to or at the species' historic peak of abundance.
- Sufficient suitable habitat is available for the species as long as it is maintained through threat mitigation. In addition, more habitat could be made available through restoration and management efforts. Habitat-related environmental enhancement would likely involve a diversity of community and agency partners and stakeholders to maintain and sustain Engelmann's quillwort in Canada. It is anticipated that such coordinated enhancement programs would include shoreline naturalization, reduction in bank erosion, reduction in the volume and toxicity of polluted stormwater (run-off), and removal/ prevention of on-going and/ or anticipated mechanical impacts.
- Significant threats to the species can be mitigated through a variety of techniques outlined within this strategy.
- A variety of recovery techniques are available, many of which have proven to be successful with other aquatic plants.
Accordingly, maintaining existing populations and their habitat in sustainable conditions constitutes a relatively small-scale undertaking.
5.2 Recovery Goal, Objectives, and Activities
5.2.1 Recovery Goal
To ensure the sustainability of Engelmann's quillwort populations on the Severn and Gull Rivers and any other populations that may be discovered. Habitat sustainability implies persistence within the species' known Canadian range with ecological integrity levels sufficiently high to support viable Engelmann's quillwort populations.
5.2.2 Recovery Objectives
Objectives intended to deliver the goal of the Engelmann's quillwort Recovery Strategy are listed below (Table 2) and are based on a five year timeline for completion (i.e. 2011). Actions, which address these objectives, are outlined in the following section (Table 3).
Table 2. Engelmann's quillwort recovery objectives
- Population size and distribution, population viability, and genetic affinity to other populations are more fully understood.
- Ecological requirements sufficiently understood such that the identification of critical habitat could be refined.
- All known subpopulations are monitored at varying levels of effort every three years.
- Extent of each threat to Engelmann's quillwort is more fully understood and threat-specific mitigation techniques established.
- Threats to Engelmann's quillwort and its habitat are minimized through Federal, Provincial, and municipal legislation, policy and regulation with a focus on critical habitat in 2006/2007.
- Educational tools and programs for stewardship and conservation developed with landowners, land managers and stakeholders such that threats to Engelmann's quillwort and its habitat are minimized with a focus on critical habitat in 2006/2007.
- Restoration techniques and a protocol for implementation are developed and suitable, unoccupied habitats are identified for reintroduction should this measure be required.
5.2.3 Actions to be taken to address threats
Delivery of the Goals and Objectives of the Engelmann's quillwort Recovery Strategy require specific actions to be implemented directly or with partners (Table 3). These are summarized below. Given the uncertainty around some of the threats to this species and other knowledge gaps, many of the actions are based on gaining knowledge rather than specifically addressing threats. Wherever possible and appropriate, specific threats to Engelmann's quillwort have been addressed by these actions.
|Objective Statement||Priority||Actions||Effects||Threats addressed|
|Population size and distribution, population viability, and genetic affinity to other populations are more fully understood.||Low||Survey of potential habitats||Determination of population size to increase knowledge of distribution and abundance||Indirect. Threats better understood.|
|Low||Assessment of existing location records in North America||Understanding of continental population and relationship of Ontario's population to it||As above.|
|High||Identify important populations||Provides priority sites for protection and monitoring||As above.|
|High||Determine genetic markers and develop fingerprinting technique||Leads to development of fingerprinting methods; identifies appropriate origins for potential transplanting material; species identification||As above.|
|High||Determine genetic affinity of Ontario's population to others||Provide evidence for native origin of Ontario's population||As above.|
|Ecological requirements sufficiently understood such that the identification of critical habitat could be refined.||High||Ecological study of habitat of Ontario populations||Identify habitat requirements; typical habitat can be used to identify other potential sites||Indirect. Threats better understood.|
|All known subpopulations are monitored at varying levels of effort every three years.||Medium||Develop monitoring plan||Efficiently direct monitoring efforts||Indirect. Threats better understood.|
|High||Establish permanent monitoring transects for selected populations||Provides data to determine trends.|
Feeds into monitoring plan
|Medium||Conduct photographic surveys of selected populations||Mechanism for periodic review of large populations|
Feeds into monitoring plan.
|High||Prepare an annual report of all activities for the year and provide monitoring data to NHIC||Summarizes and tracks actions taken; provides background and direction for future work||As above.|
|Extent of each threat to Engelmann's quillwort is more fully understood and threat-specific mitigation techniques established.||High||Identify factors negatively impacting populations and implement mitigation measures where necessary.||Reduce negative impacts on populations||Mechanical damage, nutrient enrichment, herbicide application,|
water contaminants, erosion or sedimentation from land sources, collection.
|Medium||Research and investigate effective mitigation||Determine useful mitigation measures||As above.|
|Threats to Engelmann's quillwort and its habitat are minimized through Federal, Provincial, and municipal legislation, policy and regulation with a focus on critical habitat in 2006/2007.||High||Initiate process for listing under provincial Endangered Species Act||Provides protection for species on crown and private lands||Mechanical damage, nutrient enrichment, excessive water level fluctuations, herbicide application, water contaminants, erosion or sedimentation, plant collection|
|High||Develop and apply provincial habitat mapping guidelines for Engelmann's quillwort to facilitate application of the Provincial Policy Statement in municipal land use planning processes||Protects populations from impacts of development on adjacent lands.||As above.|
|Medium||Develop management guidelines for species where it exists on Trent Severn Waterway.||Provides protection for species on federal lands||As above.|
|High||Use federal, provincial and municipal policy and legislation to provide protection through normal plan input and review on federal, crown, and private lands||Provides protection on federal, crown and private lands||As above.|
|High||Raise awareness of Parks Canada Trent Severn Waterway staff, MNR district and area staff and municipal planning staff involved in land use planning and management||Assure consideration of protection of Engelmann's quillwort during planning and management activities||Mechanical damage, nutrient enrichment, herbicide application, erosion or sedimentation.|
|Educational tools and programs for stewardship and conservation developed with landowners, land managers and stakeholders such that threats to Engelmann's quillwort and its habitat are minimizedwith a focus on critical habitat in 2006/2007.||High||Develop communication strategy||Establishes communication priorities and products for public, municipalities, resource management agencies||Mechanical damage, nutrient enrichment,|
herbicide application, water contaminants, introduced invasive species, erosion or sedimentation, plant collection
|High||Initiate adjacent landowner contact program||Promotes good stewardship practices by adjacent property owners; Prelude to listing under Endangered Species Act||As above.|
|Restoration techniques and a protocol for implementation are developed and suitable, unoccupied habitats are identified for reintroduction should this measure be required.||Low||Determine if artificial propagation is possible||Necessary for future possible restoration efforts if this becomes necessary to sustain species in Canada.||Mitigation for loss due to threats.|
|Low||Identify sites suitable for restoration||Establishes restoration priorities||Erosion or sedimentation.|
|Low||Determine restoration techniques for Engelmann's quillwort habitat||Necessary for possible future restoration efforts||Mitigation for loss due to threats.|
5.2.4 Actions Already Completed or Underway
- Distribution and population surveys of both the Severn and Gull River populations were completed in 2000 and 2002 (Figure 4; Brunton 2001; Brunton 2003).
- After designation of the Gull River site as a candidate Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI) in the Site District 5E-9 report (Brunton 1991), the highway adjacent to the main Gull River site was re-routed (in 1992) to avoid destruction of that population.
- Process to regulate Engelmann's quillwort under Ontario's Endangered Species Act was initiated in 2004.
- A trial underwater video monitoring project was completed at Big Chute in 2003 (Stevens 2003) and again in 2004.
- The development of genetic markers was completed in 2004 (Coleman and Wilson pers. comm. 2004).
- The development of genetic fingerprinting is underway at Trent University with final results expected in 2006.
- The determination of genetic affinities with other North American populations was initiated at Trent University in 2004.
- Ecological research and baseline integrity monitoring of Engelmann's quillwortsites with the Severn River population were initiated in 2004 (Heydon and Pidgen 2005). Ecological studies are continuing during 2005/2006 and 2006/2007.
- Monitoring Plan for Engelmann's Quillwort (Isoetesengelmannii) in the Severn River Big Chute completed in early 2005 (Heydon, 2005).
- Habitat review and collection of molecular research material from Engelmann's quillwortsites in the northeastern United States was undertaken in 2004.
The effectiveness of efforts to ensure the sustainability of Engelmann's quillwort populations and habitats on the Severn and Gull Rivers and any other populations that may be discovered can be measured (Table 4). These measures will differ in scope depending on the objective, as some objectives are more focused on information needs while others are more focused on threat mitigation. Performance measurements for each of the suggested Recovery Strategy objectives are listed below.
|Objective Statement||Performance Measures|
|Population size and distribution, population viability, and genetic affinity to other populations are more fully understood.|
|Ecological requirements sufficiently understood such that the identification of critical habitat could be refined.|
|All known subpopulations are monitored at varying levels of effort every three years.|
|Extent of each threat to Engelmann's quillwort is more fully understood and threat-specific mitigation techniques established.|
|Threats to Engelmann's quillwort and its habitat are minimized through Federal, Provincial, and municipal legislation, policy and regulation with a focus on critical habitat in 2006/2007.|
|Educational tools and programs for stewardship and conservation developed with landowners, land managers and stakeholders such that threats to Engelmann's quillwort and its habitat are minimized with a focus on critical habitat in 2006/2007|
|Restoration techniques and a protocol for implementation are developed and suitable, unoccupied habitats are identified for reintroduction should this measure be required.|
5.4 Effects on Other Species
The recovery actions outlined in this strategy will likely benefit other plant species found within these two rivers. Reducing mechanical damage in general will serve to reduce impacts on other plant species such as Eaton's quillwort. In addition, managing nutrient enrichment will allow the systems to remain representative of an oligotrophic environment that supports native vegetation. It is not anticipated that these recovery actions will have any negative impacts on other taxa.
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