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Recovery Strategy for the Northern Madtom (Noturus stigmosus) in Canada (Proposed)

January 2012

Table of contents

List of figures

  • Figure 1. The Northern Madtom (Noturus stigmosus)
  • Figure 2. Global range of the Northern Madtom
  • Figure 3. Canadian range of the Northern Madtom
  • Figure 4. Critical habitat identified for the Northern Madtom within the Thames River
  • Figure 5a. Critical habitat identified for the Northern Madtom within the Detroit River near Peche Island
  • Figure 5b. Critical habitat identified for the Northern Madtom within the Detroit River near Fighting Island

List of tables

  • Table 1. Canadian and U.S. national and provincial/state heritage status ranks for the Northern Madtom (NatureServe 2009)
  • Table 2. Threat classification table for Northern Madtom
  • Table 3. Summary of recent fish surveys in areas of Northern Madtom occurrence (adapted from EERT 2008)
  • Table 4.Recovery planning table – research and monitoring
  • Table 5. Recovery planning table – management and coordination
  • Table 6. Recovery planning table – stewardship, outreach and awareness
  • Table 7. Performance measures for evaluating the achievement of recovery objectives
  • Table 8. Essential functions, features and attributes of critical habitat for each life-stage of the Northern Madtom*
  • Table 9. Comparison of the area of critical habitat identified (km2) for each Northern Madtom population, relative to the estimated minimum area for population viability (MAPV)*
  • Table 10. Schedule of studies to identify critical habitat
  • Table 11. Human activities likely to result in the destruction of critical habitat for Northern Madtom

Northern Madtom

Northern Madtom

About the Species at Risk Act Recovery Strategy Series

What is the Species at Risk Act (SARA)?

SARA is the Act developed by the federal government as a key contribution to the common national effort to protect and conserve species at risk in Canada. SARA came into force in 2003 and one of its purposes is “to provide for the recovery of wildlife species that are extirpated, endangered or threatened as a result of human activity.”

What is recovery?

In the context of species at risk conservation, recovery is the process by which the decline of an endangered, threatened, or extirpated species is arrested or reversed and threats are removed or reduced to improve the likelihood of the species’ persistence in the wild. A species will be considered recovered when its long-term persistence in the wild has been secured.

What is a recovery strategy?

A recovery strategy is a planning document that identifies what needs to be done to arrest or reverse the decline of a species. It sets goals and objectives and identifies the main areas of activities to be undertaken. Detailed planning is done at the action plan stage.

Recovery strategy development is a commitment of all provinces and territories and of three federal agencies -- Environment Canada, Parks Canada Agency, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada -- under the Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk. Sections 37–46 of SARA outline both the required content and the process for developing recovery strategies published in this series.

Depending on the status of the species and when it was assessed, a recovery strategy has to be developed within one to two years after the species is added to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk. Three to four years is allowed for those species that were automatically listed when SARA came into force.

What’s next?

In most cases, one or more action plans will be developed to define and guide implementation of the recovery strategy. Nevertheless, directions set in the recovery strategy are sufficient to begin involving communities, land users, and conservationists in recovery implementation. Cost-effective measures to prevent the reduction or loss of the species should not be postponed for lack of full scientific certainty.

The series

This series presents the recovery strategies prepared or adopted by the federal government under SARA. New documents will be added regularly as species get listed and as strategies are updated.

To learn more

To learn more about the Species at Risk Act and recovery initiatives, please consult the Species at Risk (SAR) Public Registry.

Recommended citation:

Edwards, A.L., A.Y. Laurin, and S.K. Staton. 2011. Recovery Strategy for the Northern Madtom (Noturus stigmosus) in Canada [Proposed]. Species at Risk Act Recovery Strategy Series. Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ottawa. viii +42 pp.

Additional copies:

Additional copies can be downloaded from the SAR Public Registry.

Cover illustration: Northern Madtom – © Joseph R. Tomelleri

Également disponible en français sous le titre
« Programme de rétablissement du chat-fou du nord
(Noturus stigmosus) au Canada (proposition) »

©Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, 2011. All rights reserved.
Catalogue Number

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


The Northern Madtom is a freshwater fish and is under the responsibility of the federal government. The Species at Risk Act (SARA, Section 37) requires the competent minister to prepare recovery strategies for listed Extirpated, Endangered and Threatened species. The Northern Madtom was listed as Endangered under SARA in June 2003. The development of this recovery strategy was led by Fisheries and Oceans Canada – Central and Arctic Region in cooperation and consultation with many individuals, organizations and government agencies, as indicated below. The strategy meets SARA requirements in terms of content and process (Sections 39-41).

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 Fisheries and Oceans Canada or any other party alone. This strategy provides advice to jurisdictions and organizations that may be involved or wish to become involved in the recovery of the species. In the spirit of the National Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans invites all responsible jurisdictions and Canadians to join Fisheries and Oceans Canada in supporting and implementing this strategy for the benefit of the Northern Madtom and Canadian society as a whole. Fisheries and Oceans Canada will support implementation of this strategy to the extent possible, given available resources and its overall responsibility for species at risk conservation.

The goals, objectives and recovery approaches identified in the strategy are based on the best existing knowledge and are subject to modifications resulting from new information. The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans will report on progress within five years.

This strategy will be complemented by one or more action plans that will provide details on specific recovery measures to be taken to support conservation of the species. The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans will take steps to ensure that, to the extent possible, Canadians interested in or affected by these measures will be consulted.

Responsible jurisdictions

Under the Species at Risk Act, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is the responsible jurisdiction for the Northern Madtom. The province of Ontario also cooperated in the production of this recovery strategy.


This document was prepared by Amy L. Edwards (DFO), André Y. Laurin (DFO Contractor) and Shawn K. Staton (DFO) on behalf of Fisheries and Oceans Canada.


Fisheries and Oceans Canada would like to thank the following organizations for their support of the Ontario Freshwater Fish Recovery Team in the development of the Northern Madtom recovery strategy: Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Essex Region Conservation Authority, Trent University and Upper Thames River Conservation Authority. Mapping was produced by Carolyn Bakelaar (GIS Analyst - DFO).

Strategic environmental assessment

In accordance with the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals, the purpose of a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is to incorporate environmental considerations into the development of public policies, plans, and program proposals to support environmentally-sound decision making.

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 on non-target species or habitats.

This recovery strategy will clearly benefit the environment by promoting the recovery of the Northern Madtom. The potential for the strategy to inadvertently lead to adverse effects on other species was considered. The SEA concluded that this strategy will clearly benefit the environment and will not entail any significant adverse effects. Refer to the following sections of the document, in particular: Description of the Species’ Habitat and Biological Needs, Ecological Role, and Limiting Factors; Effects on Other Species; and the Recommended Approaches for Recovery.


SARA defines residence as: “a dwelling-place, such as a den, nest or other similar area or place, that is occupied or habitually occupied by one or more individuals during all or part of their life cycles, including breeding, rearing, staging, wintering, feeding orhibernating
[SARA S2(1)].

Residence descriptions, or the rationale for why the residence concept does not apply to a given species, are posted on the SARA public registry.

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