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Recovery Strategy for Cultus Pygmy Sculpin (Proposed)

11. Recovery Feasibility

Cultus pygmy sculpin are found only in Cultus Lake and there is no plan to purposely transplant them elsewhere in BC. Extreme endemism is a primary reason for current status as a threatened species, and Cultus pygmy sculpin is likely to remain at an elevated risk due to its small geographic range. Recovery actions will be aimed at maintaining or improving current habitat conditions, monitoring the population, and undertaking specific research tasks. With the support of local governments, local industry and the public, recovery is deemed to be technically and biologically feasible.

As part of the SARA process, the competent minister must determine the feasibility of recovery for each species at risk. To help standardize these determinations current draft policy (Government of Canada 2005) poses four questions, which are to be addressed in each recovery strategy. These questions are posed and answered here.

  1. Are individuals capable of reproduction currently available to improve the population growth rate or population abundance?

    Yes. Cultus pygmy sculpin naturally have a very restricted distribution. The population is believed to be self-supporting at present, although population status is unknown. Regardless of population abundance and trends the species will continue to be at risk due to limited geographic range.

  2. Is sufficient suitable habitat available to support the species or could it be made available through habitat management or restoration?

    Yes. Sufficient suitable habitat exists in Cultus Lake.

  3. Can significant threats to the species or its habitat be avoided or mitigated through recovery actions?

    Yes. Controlling threats to Cultus pygmy sculpin is feasible, but rests more on social than technical considerations. For example, the primary threats are urban expansion, water management and general land use. Most threats, such as those from excessive water use and land development, can be managed with existing regulations, but may require consultation with stakeholders.

  4. Do the necessary recovery techniques exist and are they demonstrated to be effective?

    Yes. Special recovery techniques are not required for recovery of Cultus pygmy sculpin. What is required is effective management of current and future threats, which is believed to be entirely feasible. It should be stressed, however, that Cultus pygmy sculpin will likely always be very restricted in their distribution. As a result, they are likely to remain at risk. Recovery efforts are best concentrated on controlling threats. There are no significant technical challenges in this regard.