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Recovery Strategy for the Macoun’s Meadowfoam (Limnanthes macounii) in Canada

Table of Contents

Macoun’s Meadowfoam in flower.
© Matt Fairbairns

Recommended citation:

Parks Canada Agency. 2013. Recovery Strategy for Macoun’s Meadowfoam (Limnanthes macounii) in Canada. Species at Risk Act Recovery Strategy Series. Parks Canada Agency. Ottawa. vi + 42 pp. + Part 2 (25 pp.)

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

Cover photo: Matt Fairbarns

Également disponible en français sous le titre
« Programme de rétablissement la Limnanthe de Macoun (Limnanthes macounii) au Canada »

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of the Environment, 2013. All rights reserved.

ISBN 978-1-100-22449-7

Catalogue no. En3-4/166-2013E-PDF

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

Recommendation and Approval Statement

The Parks Canada Agency led the development of this federal recovery strategy, working together with the other competent minister(s) for this species under the Species at Risk Act. The Chief Executive Officer, upon recommendation of the relevant Park Superintendent(s) and Field Unit Superintendent(s), hereby approves this document indicating that Species at Risk Act requirements related to recovery strategy development have been fulfilled in accordance with the Act.

Recommended by:

Helen Davies
Field Unit Superintendent, Coastal BC, Parks Canada Agency


Approved by:

Alan Latourelle
Chief Executive Officer, Parks Canada Agency


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Part 1: Recovery Strategy for the Macoun's Meadowfoam (Limnanthes macounii) in Canada

The federal Minister of the Environment’s recovery strategy for the Macoun’s Meadowfoam consists of two parts:

  1. The federal text which completes the existing recovery strategy in terms of meeting the requirements of SARA section 41. This text includes additions, exceptions, and modifications to the document being adopted or incorporated, in whole or in part (Part 1).
  2. The “Recovery Strategy for the Macoun’s meadow-foam (Limnanthes macounii) in British Columbia” being adopted, developed by the Garry Oak Ecosystems recovery team Plants at Risk Recovery Implementation Group for the Province of British Columbia (Part 2).

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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.

The Minister of the Environment and the Minister responsible for the Parks Canada Agency is the competent minister for the recovery of the Macoun’s Meadowfoam and has prepared this strategy, as per section 37 of SARA. It has been prepared in cooperation with the Province of British Columbia, Environment Canada, Department of National Defence, Scia'new Nation, Songhees Nation, and Stz’uminus First Nation.

SARA section 44 allows the competent ministers 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 Macoun’s Meadowfoam (Part 2) as science advice to the jurisdictions responsible for managing the species in British Columbia. It was prepared in cooperation with Parks Canada Agency and Environment 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 the Parks Canada Agency and/or Environment Canada, or any other jurisdiction, alone. All Canadians are invited to join in supporting and implementing this strategy for the benefit of the Macoun’s Meadowfoam 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 Canada and/or the Parks Canada Agency 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 of the Macoun’s Meadowfoam will be coordinated with the recovery of other species inhabiting vernal pools and other ephemeral wet areas associated with Garry Oak ecosystems (Parks Canada Agency 2006).

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The Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team is the recovery team for the Macoun’s Meadowfoam and is thanked for their involvement in the development of this recovery strategy. Additional revision to this document has been made based on comments and edits provided by a number of organizations: the Province of British Columbia, Department of National Defence, Natural Resources Canada, Environment Canada, The Corporation of the District of Oak Bay, the District of Saanich, Scia'new Nation, Songhees Nation, and Stz’uminus First Nation. Thank you to all the landowners who support recovery of this species on their land and provided access for surveys. Further acknowledgements relating to the development of the B.C. recovery strategy are provided in Part 2.

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Executive Summary

The federal Recovery Strategy for the Macoun’s Meadowfoam (Limnanthes macounii) in Canada has been produced based upon the Province of British Columbia’s recovery strategy for Macoun’s Meadowfoam in British Columbia (Part 2). The federal portion of this document (Part 1) includes information to bring the Province of British Columbia’s recovery strategy into compliance with policies surrounding the Species at Risk Act. These changes are clarification and modifications of the population and distribution objectives and the recovery planning table, and the inclusion of performance indicators, action plan timelines, and critical habitat identification.

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Additions, Modifications and Exclusions to the Adopted or Incorporated Document

1. Population and Distribution Objectives

This section replaces information in sections 5.1 “Population and Distribution Goal” and 5.2 “Recovery Objectives” in the Province of British Columbia’s recovery strategy for Macoun’s Meadowfoam in British Columbia (Part 2) with population and distribution objectives as required under the SARA.

In Canada, Macoun’s Meadowfoam is found in seasonally wet microhabitats associated with Garry Oak ecosystems and as such had a naturally, highly restricted range. Within this range, significant habitat loss since European settlement (Lea 2006) has likely resulted in population reductions. Encroachment of vegetation, development, and effects resulting from recreational activities continue to exacerbate the situation (COSEWIC 2004). Given the permanent loss of most of the original habitat, it is not possible to recover the species to its natural area of occupancy or to its original probability of persistence.

In general, it is believed that multiple populations and thousands of individuals are likely required to attain a high probability of long-term persistence for a species (Reed 2005; Brook et al. 2006; Traill et al. 2009). In an analysis of several published estimates of minimum viable population (MVP) sizes, Traill et al. (2007) found that the median population size required for plants to achieve a 99% probability of persistence over 40 generations was approximately 4,800 individuals (but see Flather et al. 2011, Garnett and Zander 2011, and Jamieson and Allendorf 2012 for critical evaluations of the analyses and the applicability of the results). Such information provides a useful guide, but developing specific quantitative and feasible objectives must consider more than just generalized population viability estimates, including the historic number of populations and individuals, the carrying capacity of extant (and potential) sites, the needs of other species at risk that share the same habitat, and whether it is possible to establish and augment populations of the species (Parks Canada Agency 2006; Flather et al. 2011; Jamieson and Allendorf 2012). Because not enough of this information is available for Macoun’s Meadowfoam, it is currently not possible to determine to what extent recovery is feasible and, therefore, it is not possible to establish quantitative long-term objectives. Recovery planning approaches (see Section 6) are designed to respond to knowledge gaps so that long-term, feasible, and quantitative recovery objectives regarding size and number of populations can be set in the future. At this time it is possible to set short-term objectives that focus on maintaining all extant Canadian populations and preventing a decline in distribution:

Objective 1: Maintain the 31 extant populations at a stable or increasing size.

Objective 2: Prevent a decline in the known distribution[1] of Macoun’s Meadowfoam in Canada.

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2. Strategic Direction for Recovery

This section modifies information in section 6.2 “Recovery Planning Table” of the Province of British Columbia’s recovery strategy for Macoun’s Meadowfoam in British Columbia (Part 2). The revised recovery planning table, including adopted portions of the provincial table and federal additions is included below for reference (Table 1, Part 1). The recovery planning table is accepted and modified as follows:

From Table 3, Part 2, the approaches listed under the “Conservation Framework action group” column are accepted as a list of broad strategies to address threats to the species and included in the “Broad Strategy to Recovery” column. In addition, the empty cell in the provincial “Conservation Framework action group” column is assigned a conservation action group of “Ecosystem and Habitat Restoration” and adopted as per the rest of the column as a broad strategy in the Federal table (row 4, Table 1, Part 1).

One additional broad strategy and eight additional approaches are added to the table to further support habitat restoration and stewardship and to explicitly address the limitation of small fragmented populations. The new broad strategy is “Species and Population Management” as per the Province of British Columbia’s Conservation Framework. The eight new approaches are found in the first two rows of Table 1, Part 1.

The “Actions to meet objectives” column is accepted as a “General Description of Research and Management Approaches” column and included in Table 1, Part 1. So as not to unduly restrict flexibility in protecting habitat, in the “Actions to meet objectives” column (Table 3, Part 2, section 6.2), “Develop stewardship agreements, conservation covenants with private landowners on all properties” is deleted and replaced with “Identify protection[2] mechanisms / instruments for the species and its critical habitat” in the corresponding “General Description of Research and Management Approaches” column (Table 1, Part 1).

Table 1. Recovery Planning Table
Threat or LimitationPriorityBroad Strategy to RecoveryGeneral Description of Research and Management Approaches
1.1; 1.3; 6.1; 6.2; 7.1; 8.1UrgentHabitat restoration; Private land Stewardship
  • Prepare Best (Beneficial) Management Practices to support landowners in habitat stewardship activities such as control of invasive alien plant species, management of recreation activities, and mitigation of fire suppression effects.
  • Engage landowners and land managers in habitat stewardship.

Limitation: small fragmented populations

Knowledge Gap: propagation techniques

Knowledge gaps regarding population demography

UrgentSpecies and Population Management
  • Determine long-term species-specific population thresholds and targets.
  • Implement a population restoration plan for existing populations (including a monitoring component).
  • Develop population augmentation techniques and priorities to maintain known populations.
  • Determine total number of populations required to maintain a suitable chance of survival in Canada.
  • Identify the demographic criteria that would trigger immediate re-evaluation of recovery priorities and activities, and incorporate them into the management plans.
  • Conduct demographic research in order to identify critical life stages (e.g., recruitment, growth, survival, and seed bank dynamics) necessary for population growth.

1.1; 1.3; 6.1; 6.2

1.1; 1.3; 6.1; 6.2

1.1; 1.3; 6.1; 6.2

1.1; 1.3; 6.1; 6.2; 7.1; 8.1

1.1; 1.3; 6.1; 6.2; 7.1; 8.1

7.1; 8.1


Habitat Protection; Habitat Restoration;

Private Land Stewardship

  • Determine appropriate measures to protect habitat.
  • Identify protection[3] mechanisms / instruments for the species and its critical habitat.
  • Develop and implement communication strategy among partner organizations.
  • Develop and implement strategy for communicating with land users/stakeholders with respect to recovery activities as required.
  • Develop or refine site-specific management plans for protected areas, municipal, and federal lands to reduce or remove threats to populations and habitat.
  • Conduct experiments to determine appropriate methods for controlling or removing invasive alien species and methods to mimic fire regimes.

8.1; Knowledge gap

6.1; 6.2; 8.1

All threats

All threats





Ecosystem and Habitat Restoration
  • Assess impacts of invasive alien species at all sites.
  • Identify impact of disturbance (e.g., soil compaction, trampling, recreational activities, forest and shrub encroachment, and removal of invasive alien species) to the viability of Meadowfoam populations.
  • Develop and implement monitoring protocol to detect human and natural threats at each known site.
  • Monitor sites to assess the effects of any management actions.
Knowledge gapNecessaryMonitor Trends
  • Develop and implement monitoring protocol for Macoun’s Meadowfoam distribution and abundance at each site.
  • Monitor status of populations to determine population trends.
Knowledge gapNecessaryHabitat Protection
  • Identify and map suitable habitat for the species.
  • Prioritize areas for inventory.
  • Conduct inventories.
Knowledge gapBeneficialCompile/Update Status Report
  • Describe recruitment of new populations or subpopulations.
  • Determine mechanisms of dispersal.
  • Characterize seed bank dynamics.

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[1] Distribution is measured by the extent of occurrence (currently about 40km2) and area of occupancy (currently estimated at 0.01-0.02 km2) (COSEWIC 2008). If new populations are discovered, these baseline figures should be updated as required.

[2] Protection is used in a different sense here in the federal text than in the BC recovery strategy. It is the Government of Canada’s responsibility to determine what constitutes effective/legal protection of critical habitat under SARA.

[3] Protection is used in a different sense here in the federal text than in the BC recovery strategy. It is the Government of Canada’s responsibility to determine what constitutes effective/legal protection of critical habitat under SARA.