Recovery Strategy for the Mormon Metalmark (Apodemia mormo), Southern Mountain Population, in Canada [Proposed] - 2017
Part 1 – Federal addition to the Recovery Strategy for the Mormon Metalmark (Apodemia mormo) Southern Mountain Population in British Columbia, prepared by Environment and Climate Change Canada
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 is the competent minister under SARA for the Mormon Metalmark Southern Mountain population 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, 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 strategy for the Mormon Metalmark Southern Mountain population (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.
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, or any other jurisdiction alone. All Canadians are invited to join in supporting and implementing this strategy for the benefit of the Mormon Metalmark Southern Mountain population and Canadian society as a whole.
This recovery strategy will be followed by one or more action plans that will provide information on recovery measures to be taken by Environment and Climate Change Canada and other jurisdictions and/or organizations involved in the conservation of the species. Implementation of this strategy is subject to appropriations, priorities, and budgetary constraints of the participating jurisdictions and organizations.
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, SARA requires that critical habitat then be protected.
In the case of critical habitat identified for terrestrial species including migratory birds SARA requires that critical habitat identified in a federally protected areaFootnote i be described in the Canada Gazette within 90 days after the recovery strategy or action plan that identified the critical habitat is included in the public registry. A prohibition against destruction of critical habitat under ss. 58(1) will apply 90 days after the description of the critical habitat is published in the Canada Gazette.
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.
If the critical habitat for a migratory bird is not within a federal protected area and is not on federal land, within the exclusive economic zone or on the continental shelf of Canada, the prohibition against destruction can only apply to those portions of the critical habitat that are habitat to which the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 applies as per SARA ss. 58(5.1) and ss. 58(5.2).
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.
Development of this recovery strategy was coordinated by Kella Sadler and Matt Huntley (Environment and Climate Change Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service – Pacific Region (ECCC CWS-PAC). Paul Johanson (ECCC CWS-National Capital Region), Jennifer Heron (British Columbia (B.C.) Ministry of Environment (MoE)), Dave Trotter (B.C. Ministry of Agriculture), Peter Fielder (B.C. MoE) provided helpful editorial advice and comment. Nick Page and Claudia Schaefer (Raincoast Applied Ecology) compiled information for the first draft of this recovery strategy. Jennifer Heron (B.C. MoE), and Katrina Stipec with the B.C. Conservation Data Centre provided supporting data and background documents. Danielle Yu (ECCC CWS-PAC) 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 Strategy for the Mormon Metalmark (Apodemia mormo), Southern Mountain Population in British Columbia (Part 2 of this document, referred to henceforth as "the provincial recovery strategy"). In some cases, these sections may also include updated information or modifications to the provincial recovery strategy for adoption by Environment and Climate Change Canada.
Under SARA, there are specific requirements and processes set out regarding the protection of critical habitat. The section "Existing and Recommended Approaches to Habitat Protection", and other statements in the provincial recovery strategy 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 final federal recovery strategy.
The provincial recovery strategy contains a short statement on socio-economic considerations. As a socio-economic analysis is not required under Section 41(1) of SARA, the Socio-economic Considerations section of the provincial recovery strategy is not considered part of the federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change's recovery strategy for this species.
This section replaces the "Executive Summary" section in the provincial recovery strategy.
Mormon Metalmark (Apodemia mormo) is a medium-sized butterfly, with a 25- to 35-mm wingspan. In Canada, the species has two separate populations: the Southern Mountain population in British Columbia and the Prairie population in Saskatchewan. This recovery strategy is for the Southern Mountain population only. The Southern Mountain population was designated by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) as Endangered in 2003, re-examined and confirmed in May 2014 and listed on Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act in January 2005.
The Southern Mountain population of the Mormon Metalmark occurs in the lower Similkameen valley near the town of Keremeos and in the south Okanagan Valley near Osoyoos in south-central British Columbia. Habitat for the species includes hillsides, slopes, and embankments with sandy or gravelly soils and moderate to high densities of Stinking Rabbitbrush (Ericameria nauseosus) and Snow Buckwheat (Eriogonum niveum) plants. Mormon Metalmark larvae require Snow Buckwheat for feeding and may require the stems or leaf litter for hibernating. Adults require mature Snow Buckwheat for egg laying, and flowering Snow Buckwheat and Stinking Rabbitbrush for nectaring. The Southern Mountain population is > 2000 individuals, confined to approximately 50 ha of habitat, and appears to be isolated from the closest known populations, in the United States.
The main threats to the Southern Mountain population of Mormon Metalmark are mining and quarrying, and roads and railroads (construction and/or maintenance activities, and road mortalities). Livestock and ranching, and fire and fire suppression are secondary threats.
The Population and Distribution Objective is to ensure the persistence of Mormon Metalmark Southern Mountain population at all known extant locations (and any new locations) within the species' range in Canada.
One or more action plans will be completed by 2022.
Recovery feasibility summary
This section replaces the "Recovery Feasibility" section in the provincial recovery strategy.
Based on the following four criteria that Environment and Climate Change Canada uses to establish recovery feasibility, recovery of the Mormon Metalmark Southern Mountain population has been deemed technically and biologically feasible:
- Individuals of the wildlife species that are capable of reproduction are available now or in the foreseeable future to sustain the population or improve its abundance.
Yes, there are individuals capable of reproduction available now to sustain the population and/or improve its abundance, present at multiple sites in the Similkameen and South Okanagan valleys. There are, however, knowledge gaps concerning population structure, and reproductive capability of this species.
- Sufficient suitable habitat is available to support the species or could be made available through habitat management or restoration.
Yes, there is sufficient suitable habitat available to support the species. The species' potential range is restricted to that of its larval host plant, Snow Buckwheat. Snow Buckwheat is restricted to the lower Similkameen and Okanagan valleys as far north as Vernon (Klinkenberg 2015). Mormon Metalmarks occupy a small portion of the range of Snow Buckwheat and there appears to be suitable but unoccupied habitat near or adjacent to several occupied sites.
- The primary threats to the species or its habitat (including threats outside Canada) can be avoided or mitigated.
Yes, the primary threats (mining and quarrying, and construction and maintenance activities along transportation and utility corridors) can be avoided or mitigated in cooperation with landowners and land-managers, through the actions identified in the provincial recovery strategy.
- Recovery techniques exist to achieve the population and distribution objectives or can be expected to be developed within a reasonable timeframe.
Yes, general recovery methods and techniques to achieve the population and distribution objectives are known. Over the short term, recovery techniques will focus on mitigation and avoidance of primary threats. Conducting further research to address knowledge gaps regarding the life history and habitat requirements of Mormon Metalmark will facilitate implementation of future recovery efforts.
1 COSEWIC species assessment information
This section replaces the "Species Assessment Information from COSEWIC" section in the provincial recovery strategy.
- Date of Assessment:
- May 2014
- Common Name (population):
- Mormon Metalmark - Southern Mountain population
- Scientific Name:
- Apodemia mormo
- COSEWIC Status:
- Reason for Designation:
- This butterfly is found in very small numbers within small habitat patches in the narrow valley bottoms of the Similkameen and Okanagan valleys of southern British Columbia. The valley bottoms are also an important transportation and utility corridor, and the butterfly is threatened by road maintenance and other land development activities, as well as the growth of invasive plants that shade out their host plants.
- Canadian Occurrence:
- British Columbia
- COSEWIC Status History:
- Designated Endangered in May 2003. Status re-examined and confirmed in May 2014.
The Canadian range of Mormon Metalmark is represented by two disjunct populations. The Southern Mountain population is restricted to south-central British Columbia (B.C.), and the Prairie population is restricted to southwestern Saskatchewan. All references to "Mormon Metalmark" in this document imply the "Mormon Metalmark Southern Mountain population", i.e., wherever population name is not specifically stated.
2 Species status information
Legal Designation: SARA Schedule 1 (Endangered) (2003).
|Global (G) |
|B.C. Conservation Framework|
British Columbia (S1)
Arizona (SNR), California (SNR), Colorado (S5), Idaho (SNR), Montana (S3S5), Nevada (SNR), New Mexico (SNR), North Dakota (SNR), Oregon (SNR), South Dakota (SNR), Texas (SNR), Utah (SNR), Washington (S4), Wyoming (SNR)
|Endangered (2014)||Red List||Highest priority: 1, under Goal 3b|
a Rank 1– critically imperiled; 2– imperiled; 3- vulnerable to extirpation or extinction; 4- apparently secure; 5– secure; H– possibly extirpated; NR – status not ranked
b The three goals of the B.C. Conservation Framework are: 1. Contribute to global efforts for species and ecosystem conservation; 2. Prevent species and ecosystems from becoming at risk; 3. Maintain the diversity of native species and ecosystems
c indicates the status of infraspecific taxa (i.e. Southern Mountain population).
It is estimated that the percent of the global range and population of this species in Canada is less than 1% (COSEWIC 2014).
3 Species information
3.1 Species population and distribution
The information summary below (Table 2) provides additional information to the "Populations and Distribution" section in the provincial recovery strategy.
Since the publication of the provincial recovery strategy, known and potential localities in the Similkameen River Valley and adjacent areas have been surveyed as part of a COSEWIC status report update (2014). In total, there are 16 reported locationsFootnote 1 for Mormon Metalmark in B.C. Of these, 12 locations are confirmed or presumed extantFootnote 2. Mormon Metalmark has not been observed at one location (#4, West of Richter Mountain) since 1995 despite surveys in 2003, 2005, and 2012, and its current status is unknown. Details pertaining to the geographic information for two locations (#8 and #11) near Keremeos remain unknown at this time. There is a historic record (1929) from the Okanagan valley near Oliver and Okanagan Falls; specific geographic information at this location (#17) was not reported.
|Location #||Site name||Last obs.||Statusd|
|3||Richter Mountain, SW of||2006||Extant|
|4||Richter Mountain, W of (Chopaka N)||1995||Unknown (failed to find)|
|5||Similkameen River - Goat View||2012||Extant|
|6||Keremeos - Suncatchers||2008||Extant|
|8||unknown; near Keremeos||Unknown||Unknown|
|9||Bullock Creek, N of||2012||Extant|
|10||Keremeos - Gravel Pit||2012||Extant|
|11||unknown; near Keremeos||Unknown||Unknown|
|12||Paul Creek, N of||2012||Extant|
|13||Cawston, W of||2008||Extant|
|14||Frank Lake, N of||2012||Extant|
|16e||Keremeos, southwest of - Riverside Estates||2012||Extant|
dAs per NatureServe (2015) the status of Mormon Metalmark Southern Mountain population locations is as follows: Extant – Population has been recently verified (<20 years); Historical – Recent information verifying the continued existence of the population is lacking (i.e. records are >20 years); Unknown (failed to find) – The population has not been found despite a search by an experienced observer but appropriate habitat still remains at the site
e Location #1 was referenced as location #16 in the COSEWIC status report (2014); the number is retained here for simplicity, and therefore there is no location #1 included in the above summary table.
This section replaces the “Threats” section in the provincial recovery strategy. It now includes updated information on threats (COSEWIC 2014) using the IUCN-CMP (World Conservation Union–Conservation Measures Partnership) unified threats classification system.
Threats are defined as the proximate activities or processes that have caused, are causing, or may cause in the future the destruction, degradation, and/or impairment of the entity being assessed (population, species, community, or ecosystem) in the area of interest (global, national, or subnational) (Salafsky et al. 2008). Threats presented here do not include biological features of the species or population which are considered limiting factors.
4.1 Threat assessment
The threat classification used in this document was completed for the COSEWIC status report (2014) and is based on the IUCN-CMP unified threats classification system. It is consistent with methods used by the B.C. Conservation Data Centre and the B.C. Conservation Framework. For a detailed description of the threat classification system, see the Conservation Measures Partnership website (CMP 2010). For purposes of threat assessment, only present and future threats are considered. Threats may be observed, inferred, or projected to occur in the near term. Threats are characterized in terms of scope, severity, and timing. Threat "impact" is calculated from scope and severity. For information on how the values are assigned, see Master et al. (2012).
|1 - Residential & commercial development||Negligible||Negligible||Moderate||Low|
|1.1 - Housing & urban areas||Negligible||Negligible||Moderate||Low|
|1.2 - Commercial & industrial areas||Negligible||Negligible||Moderate||Low|
|1.3 - Tourism & recreation areas||Negligible||Negligible||Moderate||Low|
|2 - Agriculture & aquaculture||Low||Small||Slight||Moderate|
|2.3 - Livestock farming & ranching||Low||Small||Slight||Moderate|
|3 - Energy production & mining||Medium||Large||Moderate||High|
|3.2 - Mining & quarrying||Medium||Large||Moderate||High|
|4 - Transportation & service corridors||Medium||Large||Moderate||Moderate|
|4.1 - Roads & railroads||Medium||Large||Moderate||Moderate|
|7 - Natural system modifications||Low||Pervasive||Slight||Unknown|
|7.1 - Fire & fire suppression||Low||Pervasive||Slight||Moderate|
|8 - Invasive & other problematic species & genes||Unknown||Pervasive||Unknown||High|
|8.1 - Invasive non-native/alien species||Unknown||Pervasive||Unknown||High|
|8.2 - Problematic native species||Unknown||Pervasive||Unknown||High|
|9 - Pollution||Unknown||Small||Unknown||Moderate|
|9.3 - Agricultural & forestry effluents||Unknown||Small||Unknown||Moderate|
f Impact – The degree to which a species is observed, inferred, or suspected to be directly or indirectly threatened in the area of interest. The impact of each threat is based on Severity and Scope rating and considers only present and future threats. Threat impact reflects a reduction of a species population or decline/degradation of the area of an ecosystem. The median rate of population reduction or area decline for each combination of scope and severity corresponds to the following classes of threat impact: Very High (75% declines), High (40%), Medium (15%), and Low (3%). Unknown: used when the impact cannot be determined (e.g., if values for either scope or severity are unknown); Not Calculated: impact not calculated as threat is outside the assessment timeframe (e.g., timing is insignificant/negligible or low as threat is only considered to be in the past); Negligible: when scope or severity is negligible; Not a Threat: when severity is scored as neutral or potential benefit.
g Scope – Proportion of the species that can reasonably be expected to be affected by the threat within 10 years. Usually measured as a proportion of the species' population in the area of interest. (Pervasive = 71–100%; Large = 31–70%; Restricted = 11–30%; Small = 1–10%; Negligible < 1%)
h Severity – Within the scope, the level of damage to the species from the threat that can reasonably be expected to be affected by the threat within a 10-year or three-generation timeframe. Usually measured as the degree of reduction of the species' population. (Extreme = 71–100%; Serious = 31–70%; Moderate = 11–30%; Slight = 1–10%; Negligible < 1%; Neutral or Potential Benefit ≥ 0%)
i Timing – High = continuing; Moderate = only in the future (could happen in the short term [< 10 years or 3 generations]) or now suspended (could come back in the short term); Low = only in the future (could happen in the long term) or now suspended (could come back in the long term); Insignificant/Negligible = only in the past and unlikely to return, or no direct effect but limiting.
4.2 Description of threats
The calculated overall threat impactFootnote 3 to Mormon Metalmark Southern Mountain population is High. The threat descriptions provided below are adapted from the COSEWIC (2014) status report and correspond to the threats assessment above (Table 3). Currently the primary threats are mining and quarrying (#3.2), and roads and railroads (#4.1; construction and/or maintenance activities, and road mortalities). Livestock and ranching (#2.3), and fire and fire suppression (#7.1) are secondary threats. All other threats are of currently negligible or unknown impact.
IUCN-CMP Threat #1: Residential & commercial development
1.1 Housing & urban areas; 1.2 Commercial & industrial areas and 1.3 Tourism & recreation areas
Residential and commercial development is mainly a historical threat. Most remaining sites are on steep, eroding slopes and not desirable sites for development; however this activity may still occur in the future. Recent landscaping and planting of ornamental trees and shrubs in the town of Keremeos (location #2) for aesthetic purposes resulted in the loss of approximately 80-100 m2 of habitat before these activities were stopped (COSEWIC 2003; Dyer pers. comm. in COSEWIC 2014).
IUCN-CMP Threat #2: Agriculture & aquaculture
2.3 Livestock farming & ranching
Grazing and ranching is prevalent in the Okanagan and Similkameen valleys, and is known or suspected to be ongoing at many of the known locations for Mormon Metalmark. Under drought conditions when alternate forage is limited, cattle grazing on Snow Buckwheat (USDA-NRCS 2016) could result in increased mortality or reduced fitness of Mormon Metalmarks (COSEWIC 2014). These activities may permanently or temporarily destroy habitat, including plants that provide food or egg-laying sites, and may destroy adults, eggs, or larvae (Southern Interior Invertebrates Recovery Team 2008).
IUCN-CMP Threat #3: Energy production & mining
3.2 Mining & quarrying
Gravel extraction is a primary threat to Mormon Metalmark. Gravel extraction operations can destroy natural habitat and/or host plants required by the species. However, depending on the scope and severity of the development, this threat may be mitigated in part; some types of gravel extraction operations can produce a disturbed habitat that promotes the growth of Snow Buckwheat (which is a larval and nectar host plant for the species). For example, an active gravel pit in Keremeos (location #2) has remained active since first observation of the species in 2003, and some of the highest abundance counts have been recorded there (222 in 2006). Less extensive gravel extraction also occurs, or has occurred, at four additional Mormon Metalmark locations in B.C. (#6,9,10,16).
IUCN-CMP Threat #4: Transportation & service corridors
4.1 Roads & railroads
Construction and maintenance activities along transportation and utility corridors are primary threats to the species and apply to most occupied habitat patches, including locations with the highest population densities. Activities such as natural gas line installment or repair, ditch maintenance to remove eroded debris and re-contour ditch slopes, vegetation mowing or herbicide spraying for noxious weed control (related to threat 8.1), and vegetation removal around power poles to reduce wildfire concerns (related to threat 7.1) may destroy eggs or larvae, or permanently or temporarily remove plants that provide food or egg-laying sites.
At least nine Mormon Metalmark locations along the Highway 3 road allowances of the Similkameen Valley corridor may experience the threat of mortality from road traffic. Statistics for Highway 3 west of Keremeos (between locations #2 and #9) show a summer (July-August) average daily traffic volume of 6166 vehicles in 2013 (B.C. MoTI 2015). Summer average traffic volumes along Highway 3 have remained relatively constant from 2006-2013 (~5000-6000 vehicles per day) and may represent a low-level but relatively constant source of mortality for adult Mormon Metalmarks. Vehicle traffic was found to kill significant numbers of butterflies in an Illinois study (McKenna et al. 2001), and although roads were not a serious barrier to butterfly movement, vehicles killed up to 7% of adult butterflies from some populations in the United Kingdom (Munguira and Thomas 1992).
IUCN-CMP Threat #7: Natural system modifications
7.1 Fire and fire suppression
Wildfire is considered a threat, potentially reducing host and/or nectar plants (Snow Buckwheat and Stinking Rabbitbrush), but it is unlikely to have widespread effects as most occupied areas are sparsely vegetated. Fires are actively suppressed in the heavily developed Similkameen Valley and some disturbance by wildfire may actually benefit metalmarks by reducing competing woody vegetation. Vegetation removal along roadsides to reduce wildfire concerns may destroy eggs or larvae, or permanently or temporarily remove plants that provide food or egg-laying sites (related to threat 4.1).
IUCN-CMP Threat # 8: Invasive & other problematic species & genes
8.1 Invasive non-native/alien species
Eurasian weeds such as Diffuse Knapweed (Centaurea diffusa), Dalmation Toadflax (Linaria dalmatica) and Downy Brome (Bromus tectorum) occur in many locations. The establishment and proliferation of these species may reduce the size and density of native larval and nectar host plants required by Mormon Metalmark (COSEWIC 2003). Herbicide spraying for noxious weed control (at roadsides or elsewhere – related to threat 4.1, 9.3) may destroy eggs or larvae, or permanently or temporarily remove plants that provide food or egg-laying sites.
8.2 Problematic native species
In the absence of disturbance, native woody vegetation (trees and shrubs) may encroach upon habitats with larval host and/or nectar plants, owing to succession (Turner and Krannitz 2001). The impact level is unknown, but succession is expected to be a lower threat in areas with ongoing natural disturbance (e.g., slopes with natural erosion), and a greater threat in areas which lack types of natural disturbance. This threat is related to Threat 7.1 (fire suppression).
IUCN-CMP Threat #9: Pollution
9.3 Agricultural & forestry effluents
Nearly half of the locations (#2,3,9,10,12,13) are directly adjacent to agricultural fields (orchards and/or vineyards) where pesticides are annually applied (Kuo et al. 2012). Pesticide drift is a potential risk that may result in mortality or reduced fitness in adults, larvae or food plants (Longley and Sotherton 1997; Longley et al. 1997) as has been noted by Pruss et al. (2008), and references therein, for the Prairie population.
5 Population and distribution objective
This section replaces the "Recovery Goal" and "Rationale for Recovery Goal and Objectives" sections in the provincial recovery strategy.
Environment and Climate Change Canada has determined the Population and Distribution Objective for Mormon Metalmark Southern Mountain population to be:
To ensure the persistence of Mormon Metalmark Southern Mountain population at all known extant locations (and any new locations) within the species' range in Canada.
Occurrence information for Mormon Metalmark Southern Mountain population shows it is extant at 12 known locations in southern B.C. Information at two locations on Indian Reserve lands is not currently available to Environment and Climate Change Canada. An additional unknown location has not been re-observed since 1995 though potential habitat remains at the site. There is also a historical record from 1929 at Vaseux Lake in the South Okanagan Valley, B.C. (specific location, and current status unknown; it is possible this is represented by one of the current known locations). Population numbers, including abundance trends, are unknown. Currently there is insufficient information about numbers needed to support a viable population long-term , and re-colonization capabilities are unknown. Likewise there is no information to indicate that the species was previously more widespread, therefore an objective to actively increase the number of populations, which may allow for down-listing of the species, is not appropriate at this time. However, if additional naturally occurring populations are discovered, their persistence should also be ensured. Future population and distribution data may indicate that deliberate attempts to increase abundance would be warranted at one or more locations (for example, where either or both of abundance and/or species' range shows a documented decline).
6 Broad strategies and general approaches to meet objectives
6.1 Actions already completed or currently underway
This section replaces the "Actions Already Completed or Underway" section in the provincial recovery strategy.
The provincial recovery strategy lists a number of actions that had been completed at that time. The table below (Table 5) amends and updates this list to include additional details on actions completed for the purpose of meeting recovery objectives identified in this recovery strategy.
|Purpose||Project proponent||Recovery-related action(s)|
|Inventory & monitoring||St. John (1996)||Surveyed for rare butterflies, including Mormon Metalmarks, in the south Okanagan and Lower Similkameen Valleys|
|Inventory & Monitoring||B.C. & WA (USA) biologists (2001-2007)||Joint survey for Mormon Metalmarks within the known B.C. range|
|Habitat Conservation||South Okanagan–Similkameen Conservation Program (SOSCP) (2000)||SOSCP established, taking a partnership approach to habitat conservation in the area|
|Inventory, Threat Mitigation||Inland Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline Project (2002)||Environmental impact assessment, included surveys and mitigation recommendations for Mormon Metalmark|
|Habitat Conservation, Outreach||The Land Conservancy (2005)||Landowner contact initiated on key private land habitats|
|Habitat Conservation, Outreach||Lower Similkameen Indian Band and The Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Alliance (2005)||Community festival highlighting Mormon Metalmarks was held|
|Threat Mitigation||B.C. Ministry of Environment (2005)||Preliminary discussions were initiated with the B.C. Ministry of Transportation|
|Inventory & Monitoring, Address Knowledge Gaps||UBC Okanagan (2005-2007)||Mark-recapture and genetic studies have been conducted (S. Desjardins. unpubl. data, 2007 in Southern Interior Invertebrates Recovery Team 2008)|
|Address Knowledge Gaps||Okanagan College (2007)||A preliminary population viability analysis was conducted (H. Richardson. unpubl. data, 2007 in Southern Interior Invertebrates Recovery Team 2008)|
|Habitat Conservation||Village of Keremeos (2013)||Designated a portion of the grassland slope where Mormon Metalmarks are found (location #2) as an Environmentally Sensitive Area (Sagebrush Steppe Grassland) where new development may be limited or prohibited (MMM Group 2013)|
|Inventory & Monitoring||Foster (COSEWIC 2014)||Foster surveyed known and potential localities in 2012 in the Similkameen River valley and adjacent areas as part of the COSEWIC status report update|
6.2 Strategic direction for recovery
This section replaces (recombines, and updates) portions of the "Knowledge Gaps", "Approaches to Meet Recovery Objectives", and "Recommended Approach for Recovery Implementation" sections in the provincial recovery strategy.
The strategic direction for Mormon Metalmark recovery is summarized in Table 5.
|Threat or limitation||Priorityj||Broad strategy to recovery||General description of research and management approaches|
|1 Residential & commercial development; 2.3 Livestock farming & ranching; 3.2 Mining & quarrying; 4.1 Roads & railroads; 8.1 Invasive non-native/alien species; 9.3 Agricultural and forestry effluents; 7.1 Fire & fire suppression||Essential||Threat Mitigation, Habitat Conservation|
|Knowledge Gap – Population & distribution||Necessary||Inventory & Monitoring|
|Knowledge Gap – Habitat requirements||Beneficial||Habitat Conservation|
j Priority” reflects the degree to which the broad strategy contributes directly to the recovery of the species or is an essential precursor to an approach that contributes to the recovery of the species.
6.3 Narrative to support the recovery planning table
The recovery planning table (Table 5) addresses the main threats from mining and quarrying, and construction and maintenance activities along transportation and utility corridors. It also addresses the knowledge gaps and/or limitations relating to lack of detailed information about population size and abundance trends, distribution at known and potential sites, dispersal ability, and specificity of habitat requirements, as well as additional (known or potential) threats that may cause cumulative effects and/or localized impacts contributing to Mormon Metalmark mortality.
7 Critical habitat
This section replaces the "Critical Habitat" section in the provincial recovery strategy.
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 2008 provincial recovery strategy for the Mormon Metalmark does not include an identification of critical habitat, nor is it required in the provincial process. Environment and Climate Change Canada has reviewed the available information and concluded that sufficient information is available to partially identify critical habitat for Mormon Metalmark Southern Mountain population at this time.
Critical habitat can only be partially identified at this time. A schedule of studies (section 7.2) has been included to provide the information necessary to complete the identification of critical habitat for Mormon Metalmark. The identification of critical habitat will be updated when the information becomes available, either in a revised recovery strategy or action plan(s).
Critical habitat for Mormon Metalmark is identified in this document to the extent possible; as responsible jurisdictions and/or other interested parties conduct research to address knowledge gaps, the existing critical habitat methodology and identification may be modified and/or refined to reflect new knowledge.
7.1 Identification of the species' critical habitat
Geospatial location of areas containing critical habitat
Critical habitat for Mormon Metalmark Southern Mountain population is identified at 12 locations in the Similkameen River valley and adjacent areas within the south Okanagan region of British Columbia, Canada (Figures 1-8):
- Location 2: Keremeos (Figure 1)
- Location 3: Richter Mountain, SW of (Figure 2)
- Location 5: Similkameen River – Goat view (Figure 3)
- Location 6: Keremeos – Suncatchers (Figure 4)
- Location 7: Olalla (Figure 5)
- Location 9: Bullock Creek, N of (Figure 1)
- Location 10: Keremeos – Gravel Pit (Figure 6)
- Location 12: Paul Creek, N of (Figure 7)
- Location 13: Cawston, W of (Figure 6)
- Location 14: Frank Lake, N of (Figure 2)
- Location 15: Spotted Lake (Figure 8)
- Location 16: Keremeos, SW of – Riverside Estates (Figure 1)
The areas containing critical habitat for Mormon Metalmark Southern Mountain population are identified based on a combination of (1) recent (<20 years old) documented occurrencesFootnote 4 (2) an estimate of the seasonal dispersal capabilities of adult Mormon Metalmark Southern Mountain population, applied as a 620 m distance around each documented occurrence, and (3) refinement to select only the distinct ecological featuresFootnote 5 (i.e., habitat types) that are known to support Mormon Metalmark Southern Mountain population, occurring within the dispersal distance area.
The dispersal ability of Mormon Metalmark Southern Mountain population is not known. However, based on studies of biologically similar species, best available information indicates a dispersal estimate of approximately 620 m. Mormon Metalmarks do not migrate and appear to have limited colonization potential primarily due to high site fidelity, short adult lifespan and single annual flight period (COSEWIC 2014). Genetic studies appear to support this in B.C. (Crawford et al 2011; Crawford 2013) having found that there is restricted gene flow, indicating limited dispersal. In a mark-recapture study of the Mormon Metalmark Prairie population, 99.5% of recaptured individuals travelled less than 1 km from the point of initial capture (Wick unpubl. data in COSEWIC 2014; Wick pers. comm. 2015). In California, a mark-recapture study of the Mormon Metalmark langei subspecies recorded the maximum lifetime (adults live approximately 10 days) dispersal distance observed at 617 m (Arnold and Powell 1983). NatureServe (2015) suggests an approximate spatial requirement buffer of 500 m for Riodinid butterfliesFootnote 6 when the actual extent is unknown. Given the limited dispersal capability and localized nature of the habitats occupied by Mormon Metalmark Southern Mountain population, a 620 m dispersal distance was considered to be an appropriate distance to use in delineating area containing critical habitat.
Mormon Metalmark Southern Mountain population is found in non-forested, grassland or shrub-steppe habitats within the Ponderosa Pine very hot (PPxh1), Bunchgrass very hot (BGxh1) and Interior Douglas-fir very hot (IDFxh1) biogeoclimatic subzones (Lloyd et al. 1990) at elevations below 800 m. The dispersal distance areas potentially containing critical habitat for Mormon Metalmark Southern Mountain population were geospatially refined using Terrestrial Ecosystems Mapping information (Iverson and Haney 2012) to select only ecosystem units known to support the species and/or its larval host plants (see Biophysical attributes of critical habitat below). 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 any of the following habitat types occur:
- Sagebrush – Needle-and-thread grass habitat, Bluebunch Wheatgrass – Sandburg's Bluegrass habitat, Antelope-brush – Needle-and-thread grass habitat
- Areas with minimal understory (no developed tree or shrub layer), and/or with minimal ground cover (high concentrations of bare soil or gravel) that are natural or anthropogenic in origin; e.g., barren habitats, hillsides, eroding slopes, and embankments with sandy or gravelly soils, dry pastures, gravel pits
Within the habitat types mentioned above, Mormon Metalmark uses Snow Buckwheat plants and surrounding soils/litter (within 2 m of plants) for overwintering and larval feeding/development. Oviposition behaviour for Mormon Metalmark - Southern Mountain populations has not been observed, but they either lay eggs on Snow Buckwheat leaves, as has been reported for adjacent Washington populations (Pyle 2002), or directly into cracks in the soil or under small rocks near (<2 m) the host plant, as observed in the Prairie population in Saskatchewan (Wick et al. 2012). Eggs or larvae overwinter on Snow Buckwheat stems, in leaf litter or in the substrate beneath Snow Buckwheat plants within the surrounding leaf fall zone (Arnold and Powell 1983; Wick et al. 2012). During the flight period (typically mid-July to late September) adults primarily nectar on Snow Buckwheat and Stinking Rabbitbrush. Snow Buckwheat begins flowering mid-August so Mormon Metalmarks that emerge earlier must depend upon other nectar sources, particularly Stinking Rabbitbrush. Mormon Metalmarks have occasionally been observed nectaring on White Clematis (Clematis ligusticifolia), knapweed (Centaurea spp.), Big Sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata), and Common Yarrow (Achillea millefolium; COSEWIC 2014). Mormon Metalkmark may use additional structural elements of its habitat for resting and hiding from predators.
Detailed information about the composition and spatial relationship of individual biophysical attributes required by Mormon Metalmark at particular locations, and the relative required amount, condition, and density of individual biophysical attributes within areas identified as containing critical habitat are currently unknown, although larval host plants must be present.
The areas containing critical habitat for Mormon Metalmark Southern Mountain population (totaling 1349.5 ha) are presented in Figures 1-8. Critical habitat for Mormon Metalmark Southern Mountain population is identified within the shaded yellow polygons shown on each map where the habitats described in this section occur. The identified habitat types 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 that do not support the species and/or its larval host plants, such as: (i) forested and dense-shrub communities (ii) rivers, ponds, lakes and/or wetland communities; (iii) steep landscapes (maximum grade of 105% [46.4°]; Klinkenberg 2015), and (iv) existing permanent infrastructure (e.g., running surface of paved roads, buildings) and/or existing modified habitats lacking suitable attributes (e.g., cultivated fields, orchards, vineyards) are not identified as critical habitat. Detailed methods and decision-making processes relating to critical habitat identification are archived in a supporting document.
7.2 Schedule of studies to identify critical habitat
This section replaces the "Recommended schedule of studies to identify critical habitat" section in the provincial recovery plan.
The following schedule of studies (Table 6) outlines the activities required to complete the identification of critical habitat for Mormon Metalmark Southern Mountain population in Canada.
|Description of activity||Outcome/rationale||Timeline|
|Targeted survey at location #4 to determine if suitable habitat is still present for the species, and whether the species is still extant at this location.||Ensure critical habitat is identified to support all extant locations of Mormon Metalmark Southern Mountain population in Canada.||2017–2022|
|Work with applicable organizations to complete the identification of critical habitat for Mormon Metalmark.||Critical habitat has not been identified at two sites near Keremeos, B.C. This activity is required such that sufficient critical habitat is identified to meet the population and distribution objectives.||2017–2022|
7.3 Activities likely to result in the 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 Mormon Metalmark. 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 7 include those likely to cause destruction of critical habitat for Mormon Metalmark; 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.
|Description of activity||Description of effect|
(biophysical attribute or other) in relation to habitat function loss
|Details and relationship to identified threats|
|Conversion of the natural landscape for transportation (i.e., roads & railroads), industry (i.e., mining & quarrying), and/or residential & commercial development||Results in the direct loss of critical habitat through larval host or nectar plant disturbance, removal, or replacement; substrate burial, disturbance, or compaction; and/or related indirect effects which cause damage to, or destruction of, the biophysical attributes required by Mormon Metalmark|
Related IUCN-CMP threat #1.1, #1.2, #3.2, #4.1
Habitat loss due to construction of transportation corridors, and mining/quarrying are primary threats to the species. Further cumulative loss may be caused by local residential or commercial developments.
|Construction and maintenance activities along transportation and utility corridors (e.g., natural gas line installment or repair, ditch maintenance to remove eroded debris and re-contour ditch slopes, vegetation mowing or herbicide spraying for noxious weed control, and/or vegetation removal to reduce wildfire concerns)||Results in the temporary or permanent loss of larval host plants, nectar plants, and/or substrates that are required for Mormon Metalmark.|
Related IUCN-CMP threat #4.1, #8.1, #7.1
Construction and maintenance activities occur along Highway 3 and potentially affect at least nine sites, including those with the highest population densities. These threats potentially occur all along this transportation and utility corridor.
At any time and in all seasons:
During the adult flight phase (July-September inclusive):
|Inappropriate livestock management can result in disturbance, removal, and/or compaction of vegetation and ground layer (via grazing or trampling), causing the loss of larval host plants, nectar plants and/or substrate habitat required by Mormon Metalmark.|
Related IUCN-CMP threat #2.3
Grazing and ranching is prevalent in the Similkameen River Valley and Okanagan Valley, and is known at some of the known locations for Mormon Metalmark. Thresholds for impacting biophysical attributes are unknown, but destruction is more likely in conditions where there are high numbers of cattle, and/or in drought conditions when alternate forage is limited.
|Fire suppression and/or human-caused fire resulting in destruction to existing biophysical attributes of critical habitat||Continued active fire suppression results in loss of grassland and shrub steppe habitat due to tree encroachment (succession), and alteration of plant community composition such that it no longer contains the biophysical attributes required by Mormon Metalmark. Conversely, where these biophysical attributes do exist, human-caused fire resulting in the loss of larval host plants at any time and/or the loss of nectar plants during the flight period can result in the destruction of critical habitat.|
Related IUCN-CMP threat #7.1
Fire suppression by wildfire protection programs is an ecosystem-level threat to the persistence grassland and shrub steppe habitats in 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, and/or 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 larval host plants, nectar plants, and/or substrates required for survival (as a consequence of weed-pulling), or microhabitat toxicity resulting from the application of pesticides (Longley and Sotherton 1997).|
Related IUCN-CMP threat #9.3, #8.1, #4.1
Nearly half of the locations are directly adjacent to agricultural fields and pesticide drift is a potential risk in those areas. Also related to threat #4.1, (application of herbicides for roadside weed control).
8 Measuring progress
This section replaces the "Performance Measures" section in the provincial recovery strategy.
The performance indicator presented below provides a way to define and measure progress toward achieving the population and distribution objectives. Every five years, success of recovery strategy implementation will be measured against the following performance indicator:
- The persistence and distribution of Mormon Metalmark Southern Mountain population at all known extant locations (including any newly identified locations) have been maintained, i.e., population size and extent of occurrence or area of occupancy at each site is stable and/or naturally increasing.
9 Statement on action plans
This section replaces the "Statement on Action Plans" section in the provincial recovery strategy.
One or more action plans will be posted on the Species at Risk Public Registry by 2022.
10 Effects on the environment and other species
This section replaces the "Effects on Other Species" section in the provincial recovery strategy.
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 ranges of several other species at risk overlap the range and habitat of Mormon Metalmark Southern Mountain population. Federally-listed species at risk that may overlap with Mormon Metalmark Southern Mountain population habitat in B.C. include (but are not limited to): Behr's Hairstreak (Satyrium behrii; Threatened), Spotted Bat (Euderma maculatum; Special Concern), Pallid Bat (Antrozous pallidus; Threatened), American Badger (Taxidea taxus jeffersonii; Endangered), Lewis's Woodpecker (Melanerpes lewis; Threatened) and Great Basin Spadefoot (Spea intermontana; Threatened).
Recovery efforts for Mormon Metalmark Southern Mountain population may indirectly benefit other species at risk in the area. Increased public education and awareness may reduce habitat loss at these locations, and conservation actions to restore and protect grasslands may be beneficial to all co-occurring species that rely on these threatened ecosystems. Likewise, conservation actions underway or proposed to protect the other co-occurring species at risk may be beneficial to Mormon Metalmark Southern Mountain population – a multi-species approach to conservation planning is recommended.
In acknowledgement of the high potential for shared habitat among local species at risk, large-scale management actions, such as invasive species removal, fire management, or the use of herbicides or pesticides, should be planned and implemented carefully. All on-site activities (surveys, research, and management), to aid recovery may pose a threat to co-occurring species (e.g., via trampling, increased herbivory via incidental creation of trails, or inadvertent dispersal of alien species during disposal), unless care is taken to avoid damage. Recovery planning activities for the Mormon Metalmark Southern Mountain population will be implemented with consideration of all co-occurring species at risk, to avoid or minimize negative impacts to these species or their habitats.
Arnold, R.A. and J.A. Powell 1983. Apodemia mormo langei. Ch. 6 in Ecological studies of six endangered butterflies (Lepidoptera, Lycaenidae): Island biogeography, patch dynamics and design of habitat preserves. Univ. Cal. Publ. Entomol. 99:1-161.
B.C. Conservation Framework. 2015. Conservation Framework Summary: Apodemia mormo. B.C. Ministry of the Environment. [Accessed May, 2015]
B.C. MoTI (British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure). 2015. Traffic Data Program. [Accessed November 2015]
CMP (Conservation Measures Partnership). 2010. Threats Taxonomy.
COSEWIC. 2003. COSEWIC assessment and update status report on the Mormon Metalmark Apodemia mormo in Canada. Ottawa, ON. vii + 22 pp.
COSEWIC. 2014. COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Mormon Metalmark Apodemia mormo in Canada. Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. Ottawa. xiv + 61 pp.
Crawford, L.A. 2013. Genetic and morphological variation of butterflies in relict habitats. University of Western Ontario. PhD Thesis. 266 pp.
Crawford L.A., S. Desjardins and N. Keyghobadi. 2011. Fine-scale genetic structure of an endangered population of the Mormon metalmark butterfly (Apodemia mormo) revealed using AFLPs. Conservation Genetics 12: 991-1001.
Iverson, K. and A. Haney. 2012. Refined and Updated Ecosystem Mapping for the South Okanagan and lower Similkameen Valley. Report prepared for Regional District of the Okanagan-Similkameen, District of Summerland, South Okanagan-Similkameen Conservation Program, Parks Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service, and BC Conservation Data Centre.
Klinkenberg, B. [ed.]. 2015. Eriogonum niveum - Snow Buckwheat. E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Plants of British Columbia. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed May 2015].
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Longley, M., T. Cilgi, P. C. Jepson, and N. W. Sotherton. 1997. Measurements of pesticide spray drift deposition into field boundaries and hedgerows: 1. Summer applications. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 16(2): 165-172.
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- Footnote i
These federally protected areas are: a national park of Canada named and described in Schedule 1 to the Canada National Parks Act, The Rouge National Park established by the Rouge National Urban Park Act, a marine protected area under the Oceans Act, a migratory bird sanctuary under the Migratory Bird Convention Act, 1994 or a national wildlife area under the Canada Wildlife Act see ss. 58(2) of SARA.
- Footnote 1
Locations are based on the biological parameters of the butterfly (e.g. dispersal distance and habitat connectivity between known occurrences, and whether the individuals mix between locations) and are in alignment with COSEWIC (2014) sites. The definition of location for recovery of the species is defined as a stand-alone population occupying a contiguous patch of suitable habitat. Locations are defined to match provincial recovery strategy descriptions as closely as possible.
- Footnote 2
The British Columbia Conservation Data Centre and NatureServe databases define "extant" as all observations made within the last 20 years, provided the habitat has not been substantially altered or degraded.
- Footnote 3
The overall threat impact was calculated following Master et al. (2012) using the number of Level 1 Threats assigned to this species where timing = High or Moderate, which included 0 Very High, 0 High, 2 Medium, and 2 Low (Table 3). The overall threat impact considers the cumulative impacts of multiple threats.
- Footnote 4
An occurrence is defined as the occupied habitat patch at which an individual(s) was observed. Many of the occurrences consist of multiple individuals over multiple years from a spatially distinct site that were obtained during surveys or research projects.
- Footnote 5
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). Mormon Metalmark Southern Mountain population has been identified at a "site" level scale (1:15,000 scale of reference).
- Footnote 6
Mormon Metalmark belongs to the Lepidoptera family Riodinidae.
- Date Modified: