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Harlequin Duck (Histrionicus histrionicus)


Table 1.  Each item has corresponding text within the plan.  Priorities are defined as: Legal = a legal requirement as dictated by legislation; Urgent = top priority action;  Necessary = needed to evaluate and guide conservation actions; Secondary = beneficial if urgent actions are already underway; Ongoing = action that has been started in the past and is presently still ongoing; Beneficial = action would be beneficial to our understanding of Harlequin Ducks but is not a priority.

Population Management 
RequirementObj.Action ItemSpecific stepsNotes
Legal1Maintain and enforce hunting ban

·        Maintain and enforce the ban on hunting Harlequin Ducks.

·        Maintain communication with CWS Waterfowl Committee and counterpart in the USA

·        Maintain communication with the enforcement organizations associated with migratory bird hunting

Hunting ban is in effect in the Atlantic Flyway. There are no indications that this ban should be removed
Urgent2Develop a monitoring strategy, and data presentation format.

·        Work with scientists and statisticians to assess present monitoring structure and determine statistical validity in assessing population status in eastern North America

·        Consultation with scientists and jurisdictions to determine optimal structure of the strategy if changes are deemed necessary

·        Work with other jurisdictions and groups to implement the monitoring program

CWS-NL to lead this initiative
Necessary2Develop a dynamic population model

·        Determination of available population data

·        If there are knowledge gaps, attempt to fill those gaps with scientific investigation

·        Compile data and develop model

·        Present model in peer reviewed journal

Necessary3Delineate management units

·        Based on current scientific knowledge of the species, attempt to delineate management units 

·        Based on knowledge gaps determined in step 1, complete all necessary research to definitively outline management areas in eastern North America and Greenland

·        Combine that effort with the creation of element of occurrences (Eos)


Population Management (continued) 
RequirementObj.Action ItemSpecific stepsNotes
Necessary6Ensure publication and/or distribution of relevant data

·        Promote the publication of shelved data

·        Promote the publication of studies

·        Work with other jurisdictions to ensure that data and studies relevant to Harlequin Duck recovery and conservation get published in some capacity

Ongoing2, 6Maintain databases and share with Conservation Data Center (CDC) or CDC equivalent organization

·        Continued collection of data on Harlequin Duck sightings and surveys

·        Maintain relationship with local CDCs or CDC equivalent organization

·        Work with CDC or CDC equivalent organization to determine Harlequin Duck element occurrences (EOs) in eastern Canada

Ongoing2Continue winter monitoring

·        Continuation of wintering monitoring at established sites: 1) Cape St. Mary’s, NL; 2) Ile au Haut, ME; 3) The Wolves, NB; and 4) Sachuest Point, RI

·        Revisit methods to determine that the number of sites and the methods used are adequate for assessing the status of the wintering population

·        Compile and distribute the data annually

Beneficial2Plan and implement Harlequin Duck surveys

·        Compile survey and incidental sighting information

·        Collect anecdotal information

·        Based on these data and knowledge of the landscape, determine areas of potential habitat that would benefit from additional and focussed survey efforts

·        Attempt to survey these indicated areas over time

Beneficial2, 7Develop Greenland monitoring strategy·        Discuss possible monitoring programs with Greenland and Dutch biologistsNot relevant to Canadian legislation

Habitat Protection

RequirementObj.Action ItemSpecific stepsNotes
Legal3Protect Harlequin Ducks on federal property

·        Overlay present knowledge of Harlequin Duck locations with the federal lands database to determine key areas on federal lands where Harlequin Ducks are found.

·        Consult with jurisdictions to determine protective status of the area.

·        Work with the other federal departments to ensure these sites are recognized andappropriate protocols are put in place to protect/conserve the locations.

CWS-NL, AC CDC, and Parks Canada are already pursuing this in the Atlantic Region. PCA is also pursuing this in Québec
Necessary5Work with forestry companies to minimize impacts on Harlequin Duck breeding habitat

·        Establish stronger ties with the forestry industry regarding SAR issues.

·        Share data where and when possible to inform companies of areas used by Harlequin Ducks.

·        Develop codes of conduct for forestry activities in known Harlequin Duck habitat.

·        Work with the forest companies and the applicable government departments to implement these codes of conduct and standards regarding Harlequin Ducks.

Necessary5Maintain and improve relations with hydroelectric companies to protect Harlequin Ducks

·        Maintain a strong working relationship with hydro companies where such a relationship already exists.

·        Regular communication with biologists from hydro companies to inform them of where Harlequin Ducks are located and how they are utilizing the area.

·        Continued vigilance with proponents of small scale and local hydro development projects.

Small scale hydro power may become an issue in parts of the region.  Future large scale hydro projects are pending in some areas
Necessary5Develop relationship with aquaculture industry to protect Harlequin Ducks

·        Establish formal connection with aquaculture industry in the region.

·        Develop codes of practices and standards near known Harlequin Duck habitat.

·        Work with the aquaculture companies and the applicable government departments to implement these codes of conduct and standards regarding Harlequin Ducks.

·        Provide the industry representatives with key locations for Harlequin Ducks.


Habitat Protection (continued)  
RequirementObj.Action Item·        Specific stepsNotes
Necessary1, 4Prevent offshore oil dumping

·        Maintain efforts in offshore programs of CWS and other jurisdictions.

·        Regularly survey Harlequin Duck concentrations for oil contamination in areas with busy shipping lanes.

·        Improve the profile of the Harlequin Duck within the shipping industry and within local communities in areas where ship traffic is high and there are known concentrations of Harlequin Ducks:

o       Targeted education programs

o       Community or industry based stewardship initiatives

Necessary1, 4Monitor and work to mitigate pesticide use

·        Establish the network to determine where spraying programs will be initiated and conducted.

·        Develop codes of practice and standards regarding the use of pesticides in areas with Harlequin Ducks.

·        Mitigate effects on Harlequin Ducks where overlap exists.

Beneficial3Refine a habitat protection strategy

·        Determine key habitat locations based on survey and incidental Harlequin Duck data.  This can be done in conjunction with EO analysis with local CDCs.

·        Determine amount of required habitat to ensure long term conservation of Harlequin Ducks.

·        Work with other jurisdictions and NGOs to ensure proper protection for these areas.

Beneficial3, 4, 5Train Environmental Assessment officers and biologists in multiple departments, jurisdictions, and organizations

·        Relevant to all species at risk

·        Prepare a training program

·        Educate on codes of practice and standards

·        Program to include EA officers and biologists in addition to private sector biologists and industry.


RequirementObj.Action ItemSpecific stepsNotes
Urgent1, 4Develop Threat Assessment

·        Consultation is required with the Provinces.

·        Literature review.

·        Ensure threats are differentiated per geographic area.

Threat assessment is considered a priority with jurisdictions and may guide management decisions
Necessary1, 4

1.       Study impacts of threats

2.       Study impacts of human encroachment

·        Completion of a detailed Threat Assessment for each area of their range in eastern North America.

·        Using the assessment, determine the most relevant threats to Harlequin Ducks.

·        Determine knowledge gaps associated with the threats

·        Develop a schedule of studies to address improved knowledge of the impact of the threat and the possible mitigation.

·        Details of the development of the impact studies will need to be developed and may vary among locations.

Necessary6Analyze gaps

·        Identify the short-comings in the conservation efforts based on the threat assessment, monitoring program, and education

·        Develop programs and studies to address our knowledge gaps.

Ongoing2, 6Complete mark-recapture study

·        Use this data to generate a population model for eastern Harlequin Ducks.

·        Such a model will provide insight into population viability, extinction probability, and minimum viable population values.

Analysis nearing completion. Results to be published in CWS Occasional Paper in 2007.
Ongoing2, 6Complete genetic analyses

·        Continued communication with geneticists to establish most up to date information.

·        Interpretation of the data to better delineate distribution, overlap and potential metapopulations of Harlequin Ducks in the east.

·        Develop a schedule of studies if required.

Analysis is ongoing.  This will be relevant to the determination of Management Units
Beneficial3, 6Study habitat

·        If possible, create a habitat model for Harlequin Ducks based on known river and coastal habitat parameters

·        Use this information to predict carrying capacity for Harlequin Ducks.

Will be difficult to accomplish due to a lack of information at the river and coastal areas

Socio-Politics and Communications
RequirementObj.Action ItemSpecific stepsNotes
Necessary5, 7Develop and deliver educational materials

·        Deliver targeted education to hunters and aboriginal groups

·        Consultation required to determine effective education tools

·        Development of general distribution materials.

·        Educational materials needed for Greenland to address the hunting issue.  This is contingent upon support and cooperation from Greenlandic officials.

·        Publicize conservation programs and progress in the local and national media in multiple forms.

Necessary5, 6Develop and promote codes of practice

·        Compile a list of relevant jurisdictions and people

·        Develop Environmental Assessment standards of information that need to be considered when assessing projects that may impact Harlequin Ducks.

·        Develop codes of practice and standards regarding activities that may impact Harlequin Ducks that can be used in environmental assessments.

·        Work with these other jurisdictions to ensure proper training on SARA issues and species.

·        Ensure that Harlequin Ducks are properly represented within all Provincial and Federal Environmental Assessment laws.

Necessary2, 5, 6Prepare and distribute report·        To be completed every three years. 
Beneficial Stewardship promotion

·        Communicate with local NGOs, community groups, and local development associations to educate them on Harlequin Ducks and Harlequin Duck conservation.

·        Facilitate and foster communities and NGOs to take an active role in Harlequin Duck conservation especially in areas where there are known concentrations of Harlequin Ducks.

·        Continue to work with partners in ongoing Harlequin Duck stewardship initiatives.

·        Implement Coastal Stewardship Initiative with NL Provincial Government.

Beneficial4Conduct public information sessions

·        Conduct local presentations and information sessions in communities and schools.

·        Maintain contact with organizations, schools, and NGOs in areas where Harlequin Ducks are common.

Beneficial4Educate law enforcers

·        Develop educational and information packages for law enforcement agencies on Harlequin Ducks.

·        Conduct training sessions on Harlequin Ducks and other species at risk to ensure that issues are clear and that the species are known.