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Recovery Strategy for the False Hop Sedge (Carex lupuliformis) in Canada [Proposed]

7. Critical Habitat

7.1 Identification of the Species’ Critical Habitat

The False Hop Sedge colonizes natural shorelines of various types of wetlands. In Canada, biophysical attributes of suitable habitat for this species include:

For all populations:

  • Sufficient light to ensure the germination of seeds as well as the vigour and survival of the plants;
  • Reduced competition from other species (herbaceous or shrubs) that impede the growth of individual plants
  • Adequate water table so as not to encourage competition from other species or impede growth.

For populations in Ontario:

  • Wooded swamps and wooded swamp edges, including the vernal pools and isolated marshes within them.
  • Associated species such as Bog Hemp, Rice Cutgrass, Hop Sedge, Clearweed, Beggarticks, Knotweed, Common Burdock as well as Red Ash, Red Maple or Silver Maple.
  • A soil composed of a clay loam.

For populations in Quebec :

  • Silver Maple swamps or shrub swamp in small isolated bays that are sheltered from currents but near a natural shoreline subjected to periodic flooding of short duration.
  • Associated species such as Reed Canary Grass, Bog Hemp, Rice Cutgrass, Water Parsnip, Prairie Cordgrass, Hop Sedge.
  • A soil composed of a gleysol with recent alluvia ranging from sandy loam to clay loam.

The critical habitat of False Hop Sedge in Canada is partially identified in this recovery strategy. It corresponds to the suitable habitat at 13 of the 20 locations where populations of the species are found and described, including all of the populations that have benefitted from reintroduction or transplantation efforts or within which the existence of suitable habitat has been recently confirmed. Of the seven remaining locations, four need further investigations to determine if the species or suitable habitat is still present or to establish their area of occupancy (quality ranking codes E and H) and a schedule of studies is proposed to that effect in section 7.2. Three locations no longer provide suitable habitat (code X) and will not be designated as critical habitat unless restoration efforts are undertaken. In Quebec, critical habitat is identified at seven locations (six with extant populations, three of which have benefitted from transplantations efforts and two that have benefitted from reintroductions; and one in which the population is extirpated but suitable habitat is still available). Six of these populations are identified as conservation targets in the Government of Quebec’s conservation plan for the False Hop Sedge plus the Sainte-Anne-de-Sabrevois population which is included in the federal recovery strategy because successful reintroduction efforts started after the publication of the provincial conservation plan in 2006. In Ontario, critical habitat is identified at six of the seven locations hosting extant False Hop Sedge populations. More precision for the boundaries of the Lambeth location are necessary to identify it as critical habitat.

The boundaries of locations containing critical habitat correspond to the extent of the woodlot and associated wetlands containing suitable False Hop Sedge habitat. Any element contained within the boundaries that does not correspond to the biophysical attributes of suitable habitat (ex. agricultural field, road) is not considered critical habitat. Appendix D lists the 13 critical habitat parcels identified for Quebec and Ontario, their status (extant, have benefited from reintroduction or transplantation efforts or not) as well as general localisation coordinates (1 x 1 km resolution). No maps or specific coordinates are provided for this species’ critical habitat as the data is considered to be sensitive in Ontario.    

7.2 Schedule of Studies to Identify Critical Habitat

Table 3. Schedule of Studies.

Description of ActivityOutcome/RationaleTimeline
Determine if individuals and/or suitable habitat are still present at the Galt and Amherstburg (Ontario) populations; establish the boundaries of the Lambeth (Ontario) population and characterize the Oka (Quebec) populationIdentification of additional critical habitat2013-2018

7.3 Examples of Activities Likely to Result in Destruction of Critical Habitat

Destruction is determined on a case by case basis. Destruction would result if part of the critical habitat was degraded, either permanently or temporarily, such that it would not serve its function when needed by the species. Destruction may result from a single activity or multiple activities at one point in time or from the cumulative effects of one or more activities over time (Government of Canada, 2009).

The critical habitat of False Hop Sedge may be destroyed through two main mechanisms associated with human activities:

Changes in the water regime

  • Changes in water levels due to drainage, dam construction/regulation or similar activities can cause shoreline erosion, excessive saturation or drying of the substrate as well as indirectly affect the level of canopy closure. This can make a site unfavourable for the germination of seeds or the growth of individuals that require a suitable level of soil water saturation. In addition, plants may experience a reduction in vigour due to increased competition from other plant species. Drier sites are also more easily colonized by competing plants, especially invasive species, which can lead to closure of the vegetation and increased shading.  

Habitat loss or degradation

  • Infrastucture (e.g. roads, trails, houses, wharves, bank stabilisation structures) and land use changes (e.g. wood harvesting, mowing, haying) can cause the direct destruction and/or fragmentation of habitat leading to a reduction in the availability of suitable habitat and of the connectivity between populations.
  • Tree harvesting and recreational activities can alter the soil structure through compaction caused by the passage of machinery or by trampling which can negatively affect the growth of individuals or lead to difficulties with seed germination.
  • Garbage or waste deposition can prevent the production of seeds or affect the vigour of the plants.

These examples do not represent an exhaustive list of the activities likely to destroy the critical habitat of False Hop Sedge.

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8. Measuring Progress

The performance indicators presented below propose an approach for defining and measuring progress towards the achievement of the population and distribution objectives. The success of the recovery strategy will be evaluated every five years on the basis of the following performance indicators:

  • the population size of False Hop Sedge and the area of occupancy are maintained or, where feasible, increased in Canada.

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9. Statement on Action Plans

One or more action plans for False Hop Sedge will be posted on the Species at Risk Public Registry within five years after the final recovery strategy is published.

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