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Recovery Strategy for the Gattinger's Agalinis (Agalinis gattingeri) in Canada - 2017 [Proposed]

Part 1 – Federal Addition to the Recovery Strategy for the Gattinger's Agalinis (Agalinis gattingeri) in Ontario, prepared by Environment and Climate Change Canada

Preface

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 after the publication of the final document on the SAR Public Registry.

The Minister of Environment and Climate Change is the competent minister under SARA for the Gattinger's Agalinis and has prepared the federal component of this recovery strategy (Part 1), as per section 37 of SARA. To the extent possible, it has been prepared in cooperation with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and the Manitoba Conservation Data Centre, as per section 39 (1) of SARA. SARA section 44 allows the Minister 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 Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (now the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry) led the development of the attached recovery strategy for the Gattinger's Agalinis (Part 2) in cooperation with Environment and Climate Change Canada. The Province of Ontario also led the development of the attached Government Response Statement (Part 3), which is the Ontario Government's policy response to its provincial recovery strategy and summarizes the prioritized actions that the Ontario government intends to take and support.

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 Environment and Climate Change Canada or any other jurisdiction alone. All Canadians are invited to join in supporting and implementing this strategy for the benefit of the Gattinger's Agalinis 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 and Climate Change Canada 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 strategy sets the strategic direction to arrest or reverse the decline of the species, including identification of critical habitat to the extent possible. It provides all Canadians with information to help take action on species conservation. When critical habitat is identified, either in a recovery strategy or an action plan, SARA requires that critical habitat then be protected.

In the case of critical habitat identified for terrestrial species including migratory birds SARA requires that critical habitat identified in a federally protected areaFootnote 4 be described in the Canada Gazette within 90 days after the recovery strategy or action plan that identified the critical habitat is included in the public registry.  A prohibition against destruction of critical habitat under ss. 58(1) will apply 90 days after the description of the critical habitat is published in the Canada Gazette.

For critical habitat located on other federal lands, the competent minister must either make a statement on existing legal protection or make an order so that the prohibition against destruction of critical habitat applies.

If the critical habitat for a migratory bird is not within a federal protected area and is not on federal land, within the exclusive economic zone or on the continental shelf of Canada, the prohibition against destruction can only apply to those portions of the critical habitat that are habitat to which the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 applies as per SARA ss. 58(5.1) and ss. 58(5.2).

For any part of critical habitat located on non-federal lands, if the competent minister forms the opinion that any portion of critical habitat is not protected by provisions in or measures under SARA or other Acts of Parliament, or the laws of the province or territory, SARA requires that the Minister recommend that the Governor in Council make an order to prohibit destruction of critical habitat. The discretion to protect critical habitat on non-federal lands that is not otherwise protected rests with the Governor in Council.

Acknowledgements

The initial draft federal addition was prepared by Judith Jones, Winter Spider Eco-Consulting under contract to Environment and Climate Change Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service – Ontario Region (ECCC, CWS-ON). Christina Rohe, Angela Darwin (ECCC, CWS-ON) and Candace Neufeld (ECCC, CWS-Prairies ) led the completion of this recovery strategy with assistance from Lee Voisin, Elisabeth Shapiro (ECCC, CWS-ON) and Lauren Schmuck (formerly ECCC, CWS-ON). Contributions from Elizabeth Rezek, Ken Corcoran, Jude Girard, Krista Holmes (ECCC, CWS-ON), Kim Borg (ECCC, CWS-National Capital Region), Michael J. Oldham (Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (OMNRF) Natural Heritage Information Centre), staff from the Species Conservation Policy Branch and the Protected Areas Section of the OMNRF, Chris Friesen and Colin Murray (Manitoba Conservation Data Centre (CDC)) are also gratefully acknowledged.

Acknowledgement and thanks is given to all other parties that provided advice and input used to help inform the development of this recovery strategy including various Indigenous organizations and individuals, individual citizens, and stakeholders who provided input and/or participated in consultation meetings.

Executive summary

Gattinger's Agalinis (Agalinis gattingeri) is listed as Endangered on Schedule 1 of the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). It is a slender plant that is typically less than 15 cm tall with an olive-green stem. It flowers for only one day before the pale pink flowers fall off of the plant, making it difficult to otherwise identify. It is an annual plant that must go through an entire life cycle from germination and seedling establishment to seed-set and dispersal all in one season. As a result, this species may be present and abundant in some years, but sparse or undetectable in other years.

Gattinger's Agalinis occurs at its northern limit in Canada, and is known from the provinces of Ontario and Manitoba.  The bulk of populations and species abundance is found in Ontario, with 26 extant populations (25  populations on alvars of the Bruce Peninsula and the Manitoulin Island region, and 1  population in tallgrass prairie on the Walpole Island First Nation). There are 5 populations in the Interlake region of Manitoba, two of which were more recently discovered.

The primary threats to Gattinger's Agalinis include human intrusions and disturbance, natural system modifications caused by indiscriminate fire and fire suppression, invasive non-native species and inappropriately timed construction or activities along transportation and service corridors. Despite these threats and based on the criteria that Environment and Climate Change Canada uses to establish recovery feasibility, recovery is deemed biologically and technically feasible. The population and distribution objectives for Gattinger's Agalinis in Canada are to:

  • Maintain, self-sustaining populations for the 31 extant populations;
  • Maintain the current distribution and where biologically and technically feasible; promote the natural expansion of Gattinger's Agalinis into unoccupied habitat at extant populations.

Critical habitat for Gattinger's Agalinis is partially identified in this recovery strategy. In Ontario, critical habitat is identified as the extent of suitable habitat where Gattinger's Agalinis is known to exist. In addition to the suitable habitat, a critical function zone of 50 m (radial distance) is applied when the biophysical attributes around a plant extend for less than 50 m. In Manitoba, critical habitat is identified as the area within a 300 m critical function zone of each occurrence that contains the biophysical attributes of Gattinger's Agalinis. A schedule of studies (section 7.2) has been developed and outlines the activities required for identification of additional critical habitat necessary to support the population and distribution objectives.

One or more action plans will be completed for Gattinger's Agalinis and posted on the Species at Risk Public Registry by December 31, 2022.

Additions and modifications to the adopted document

The federal recovery strategy for Gattinger's Agalinis in Canada addresses the species range in Ontario and Manitoba. The following sections have been included to address specific requirements of the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA) that are not addressed in the Recovery Strategy for the Gattinger's Agalinis (Agalinis gattingeri) in Ontario (Part 2 of this document, referred to henceforth as "the provincial recovery strategy"), and to provide the information required under SARA for the Manitoba portion of its range.

Environment and Climate Change Canada is adopting the provincial recovery strategy (Part 2) with the exception of section 2.0, Recovery. In place of section 2.0, Environment and Climate Change Canada has established its own performance indicators and population and distribution objectives, and is instead adopting the government-led and government-supported actions of the Gattinger's Agalinis and Houghton's Goldenrod – Ontario Government Response StatementFootnote 5 (GRS) (Part 3) as the broad strategies and general approaches to meet the population and distribution objectives. In Ontario, only those portions of the Ontario GRS pertaining to the Gattinger's Agalinis are adopted in this federal strategy and additional information is included to provide strategic direction for recovery planning in Manitoba.

Under SARA, there are specific requirements and processes set out regarding the protection of critical habitat. Therefore, statements in the provincial recovery strategy referring to protection of the species' habitat may not directly correspond to federal requirements. Recovery measures dealing with the protection of habitat are adopted; however, whether these measures will result in protection of critical habitat under SARA will be assessed following publication of the final federal recovery strategy.

1 Recovery feasibility summary

Based on the following four criteria that Environment and Climate Change Canada uses to establish recovery feasibility, recovery of Gattinger's Agalinis has been deemed technically and biologically feasible.

1. Individuals of the wildlife species that are capable of reproduction are available now or in the foreseeable future to sustain the population or improve its abundance.
Yes. There are currently 31 known extant populations of Gattinger's Agalinis in Canada, and species abundance is estimated to be greater than 70,500 individuals, although this varies from year to year (Friesen and Murray 2010; Jones 2015; Murray and Church 2015; Manitoba Conservation Data Centre (CDC) unpublished data). Reproductively capable individuals are available; however, Gattinger's Agalinis is an annual plant that must go through an entire life cycleFootnote 6 within a single season, making the annual number of individuals particularly susceptible to seasonal conditions (Jones 2015). Loss of genetic diversity is an additional concern, as populations of this annual plant are found in fragmented and geographically disconnected areas within its Canadian range.
2. Sufficient suitable habitat is available to support the species or could be made available through habitat management or restoration.
Yes. Although prairie habitat is limited, and alvarFootnote 7 habitat is rare and easily damaged, sufficient suitable habitat is available (or could be made available through habitat management or restoration) in both Ontario and Manitoba to support the species. In the Bruce Peninsula-Manitoulin Island region of Ontario, there are many alvars with Gattinger's Agalinis present that also have habitat patches that are currently unoccupied but which could support the species natural expansion (Jones 2015). There are also many suitable unoccupied alvars (Jones unpublished data 2004-2008) in this region which could potentially support species introductions if deemed necessary. Restoration of prairie habitat is underway on the Walpole Island First Nation (Jacobs pers. comm. 2014), and habitat adjacent to some occupied sites in Manitoba could be managed to improve habitat suitability for the species' natural expansion (Friesen pers. comm. 2016).
3. The primary threats to the species or its habitat (including threats outside Canada) can be avoided or mitigated.
Yes. The primary threats to the species include, human intrusions and disturbance, natural system modifications caused by indiscriminate fire and fire suppression, invasive non-native species and inappropriately timed construction or maintenance activities (e.g., soil disturbance or compression from heavy machinery) along transportation and service corridors. Primary threats can be avoided or mitigated through communicating and implementing beneficial management practices, land use planning, or stewardship activities.
4. Recovery techniques exist to achieve the population and distribution objectives or can be expected to be developed within a reasonable timeframe.
Yes. Recovery techniques related to habitat conservation and adaptive habitat management can be implemented. These include but are not limited to, support for habitat conservation and habitat management through existing land securement and stewardship programs, restricting off-road vehicle use in suitable habitat and by implementing beneficial management practices to control invasive non-native species. With the possible exception of low genetic diversity as a biologically limiting factor, the reduction of threats is expected to allow Gattinger's Agalinis to maintain, or improve self-sustaining populations and may further promote the species natural expansion into unoccupied areas at extant populations in Canada. 

2 COSEWICi species assessment information

Date of assessment:
May 2001
Common name (population):
Gattinger's Agalinis
Scientific name:
Agalinis gattingeri
COSEWIC status:
Endangered
Reason for designation:
Annual species of fragmented relict prairie and alvar habitats found at only a few small remaining sites in two geographically restricted areas with substantial losses of plants and populations due to habitat loss from agricultural expansion, residential property development and elevated water levels.
Canadian occurrence:
Manitoba, Ontario
COSEWIC status history:
Designated Endangered in April 1988. Status re-examined and confirmed in April 1999 and in May 2001.

i COSEWIC (Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada)

2.1 Species status information

In its global range, Gattinger's Agalinis (Agalinis gattingeri) occurs from Ontario and Manitoba south to Nebraska, Texas, and Louisiana and has a global conservation rank of Apparently SecureFootnote 8 (G4) (Appendix C; NatureServe 2016a). The national conservation rank in the United States is UnrankedFootnote 9 (NNR); it has been reported from 18 states in the United States, but since the Ontario recovery strategy was prepared, the species has been listed as Possibly ExtirpatedFootnote 10 (SH) in Alabama (Appendix C; NatureServe 2016a). The species has a conservation ranking of VulnerableFootnote 11 (S3), ImperiledFootnote 12 (S2) or Critically ImperiledFootnote 13 (S1) in the 11 remaining states where it has been given a rank (Appendix C; NatureServe 2016a). According to the North American Plant Atlas, Gattinger's Agalinis is common in the six states where it has not been given a conservation rank (Kartesz 2014).

In Canada, the species is nationally ranked as Imperiled (N2) (NatureServe 2016a). It has been reported from two provinces in Canada, where it has a conservation ranking of Imperiled (S2) in Ontario and Critically Imperiled (S1) in Manitoba (NatureServe 2016a). Gattinger's Agalinis is listed as EndangeredFootnote 14 on Schedule 1 of the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA), as EndangeredFootnote 15 under the Ontario provincial Endangered Species Act, 2007 (ESA) and as EndangeredFootnote 16 under the Manitoba provincial Endangered Species and Ecosystems Act (ESEA).

In Canada, Gattinger's Agalinis occurs at the northern edge of its North American range. The Canadian population of Gattinger's Agalinis is estimated to constitute less than ten percent of the species' global distribution (Jones 2015). 

3 Species information

3.1 Species description

Gattinger's Agalinis is an annual plant with pale pink flowers that only last one day before falling off the plant (Jones 2015). The plant is slender, with olive-green stems that are usually less than 15 cm tall (Jones 2015).  Without a flower, it can be very difficult to locate, and it is therefore essential to survey during the peak bloom period, as it is most easily located amongst dominant grasses at this time (i.e., individuals flowering at different times within the population). In Manitoba, this period usually occurs between August 8-16 and flowering is typically finished by August 26 (Jones 2015; Murray 2013).   

A more comprehensive species description and Ontario bloom dates are provided in the provincial recovery strategy.

3.2 Species population and distribution

In Canada, Gattinger's Agalinis has been reported in Ontario and Manitoba (Jones 2015; figure 1). The bulk of populationsFootnote 17 and species abundance is found in Ontario, with a total of 26 extantFootnote 18 populations, 25 on alvars of the Bruce Peninsula and the Manitoulin Island region and one population in tallgrass prairie on the Walpole Island First Nation (Jones 2015). In addition to the two historical records noted in the provincial recovery strategy, there is one historic record (Glen Morris) from 1952 where the species was observed in a prairie area in Brant County, Ontario (NHIC 2016). Although the Glen Morris area and nearby prairie remnants have been surveyed on several occasions since, there have been no further observations reported from this region (NHIC 2016). Total species abundance in Ontario is estimated to be 70,000 individuals (Jones 2015). In Manitoba, there are five extant populations in tallgrass prairie of the Interlake region and total species abundance is estimated at greater than 500 individuals (Friesen and Murray 2010; Murray and Church 2015; Manitoba CDC unpublished data; Table 1). Although estimates of species abundance are available, it is difficult to assess for this species as Gattinger's Agalinis is an annual plant and large year-to-year fluctuations can be expected. The length of time seeds can remain viable in the seed bankFootnote 19 is unknown, but seeds in general storage (unrefrigerated with no special treatment for preservation) have germinated after more than 10 years (Jones 2015). Therefore, an absence of live plants for several years may be a result of poor growing conditions and does not necessarily indicate the population no longer exists. In addition, site visits to populations may unintentionally fall outside the short flowering period where the species is otherwise inconspicuous and not easily found.  

In Manitoba, low population abundance and limited distribution may in part be attributed to survey effort; as most known populations were only recently located and have had few revisits (Table 1).

Additional information on the population and distribution of Gattinger's Agalinis in Ontario are further described in the provincial recovery strategy.

Table 1. Populations of Gattinger's Agalinis in Manitoba (sources: Friesen and Murray 2010; Murray and Church 2015; Manitoba CDC unpublished data).
EO IDaPopulation nameFirst observedLast observedAbundance and [most recent survey year]Highest estimated population abundance [year]
5045Site 18W/Poplar Point East200420090 plants [2013]100-200 plants [2007]
5193Site 16W20082014Many [2014]>100 plants [2008]
5196St. Laurent200820105 plants [2010]45 plants [2009]
6095Stony Ridge Road201020144 plants [2014]>60 plants [2010]
6096Wagon Creek Road201020142 plants [2014]<100 plants [2010]

a Element Occurrence Identification (EO ID) is a code to identify individual element occurrences (populations). Values and populations in the table are those known to Environment Canada as of August 2015.

Figure 1. Range of Gattinger's Agalinis in Canada.
Image of map (see long description below)
Long description for Figure 1

Figure 1 is a map showing the clusters of populations for this species. One small cluster is found in southern Ontario on Walpole Island. Another small cluster is near Owen Sound. A larger grouping of locations is on Manitoulin Island. The final moderately large group is near St-Laurent, outside Winnipeg, Manitoba.

3.3 Needs of the Gattinger's Agalinis

In Canada, Gattinger's Agalinis is native to both alvar and tallgrass prairie habitat and requires open unshaded conditions for growth. As an annual, the presence and abundance of live plants depends on the suitable conditions for seed germination and seedling establishment for seed-set and dispersal each year. Though it is not well known how the species is pollinated (Jones 2015); Sellers & McCarthy (2015) suggest that one bee species, Anthophorula micheneri may specialize to some degree on Agalinis flowers in the south-central United States.

Gattinger's Agalinis is a hemi-parasiteFootnote 20 that receives some of its nutrients through specialized roots (haustoria) that attach to the roots of other plants (Musselman and Mann 1977; Canne-Hilliker 1988). The exact host plants used by Gattinger's Agalinis in Canada are not known. Once established, the species occurs across a range of latitudes and is native to both prairie and alvar habitat type, which suggests the species, is tolerant to varying environmental conditions (Jones 2015). For example, it grows mainly in dry conditions in Manitoba (Murray and Church 2015), in moist conditions on the Walpole Island First Nation (Bowles pers, comm. 2008), and in conditions that can vary between extremes of drought and flooding on alvars in the Bruce Peninsula – Manitoulin Island Region (Jones 2015). Dieringer (pers. comm. 2014), commented that in Texas, the amount of rainfall received during seedling emergence can impact the abundance of Gattinger's Agalinis later in the summer. Changes to soil moisture levels at certain points in the lifecycle may also be a factor in the fluctuating abundance of Canadian populations (Jones 2015).  Agalinis species in general may be tolerant of some disturbance and may require some soil disturbance for exposure of the seed bank and for germination (Canne-Hilliker 1988; COSEWIC 2006).

In Manitoba, Gattinger's Agalinis generally occurs on tallgrass prairie remnants as well as in the upper banks of roadside ditches. The occurrence of Gattinger's Agalinis in these remnant habitats may be because little native prairie remains intact.  The general species habitat in Manitoba has been described as sparsely vegetated, dry prairie meadows on well-drained gravelly, calcareous soils (Murray and Church 2015). The ground at these sites is fairly flat with a relatively small proportion of exposed gravel and mineral soil. The majority of sites occur over dolomite bedrock (Foster 2008).  In this region, it is generally found in areas of sparse cover, though tallgrass prairie species are present, with scattered clumps of Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardii) dominant. Associated species from the habitat includes Switch Grass (Panicum virgatum), Wolf-willow (Elaeagnus commutata),  White Sweet Clover (Melilotus albus) (introduced, non-native species), Gentian (Gentiana sp.), Bell Flower (Campanula rotundifolia), Silverweed (Potentilla anserina), Shrubby Cinquefoil (Dasiphora floribunda), Bluegrass (Poa sp.), Goldenrods (Solidago spp.), Blazing Star (Liatris sp.), Willows (Salix spp.), Wild Rose (Rosa sp.), Snowberry (Symphoricarpos sp.), Missouri Goldenrod (Solidago missouriensis) and Aspen seedlings (Populus tremuloides) (Manitoba CDC unpublished data). Within tallgrass prairie habitat, Gattinger's Agalinis is usually found in sparser spots, on bare ground between and around tussocks of grass (Krause-Danielsen pers. comm. 2008; Jones 2015).

Additional information on the species needs in Ontario is provided in the provincial recovery strategy.

3.4 Biologically limiting factors

Low abundance of Gattinger's Agalinis at some populations, annual fluctuations of live plants, large range between populations and low dispersal distance of seeds are all factors that may limit outcrossingFootnote 21, thereby reducing genetic diversity. The degree to which these factors contribute to low genetic diversity and how it can influence its ability to sustain the population or improve its abundance are not well understood.

4 Threats

4.1 Threat assessment

Threats for Gattinger's Agalinis are assessed for both Manitoba and Ontario based on the IUCN-CMP (World Conservation Union–Conservation Measures Partnership) unified threats classification system. Threats are defined as the proximate activities or processes that have caused, are causing, or may cause in the future the destruction, degradation, and/or impairment of the entity being assessed (population, species, community, or ecosystem) in the area of interest (global, national, or subnational). Limiting factors are not considered during this assessment process.  Historical threats, indirect or cumulative effects of the threats, or any other relevant information that would help understand the nature of the threats are presented in the Description of Threats section (Section 4.2).

Due to the geographic separation and difference in threats between the Manitoba and Ontario populations, the threats tables are included separately for each province.

Ontario

Historical threats, indirect or cumulative effects of the threats, and other relevant information regarding the nature of the threats are presented in the provincial recovery strategy. Limiting factors are not considered during this assessment process. See the table footnotes for details on how the values are assigned.

Table 2. Threat Classification Table for the Gattinger's Agalinis – Ontario.
Threat #bThreat descriptionImpactcScopedSeverityeTimingf
1Residential & commercial developmentblank blank blank blank 
1.1Housing & urban areasLowSmallExtremeModerate
1.2Commercial and industrial areasLowSmallExtremeHigh
2Agriculture & aquacultureblank blank blank blank 
2.1Annual & perennial non-timber cropsLow SmallExtremeHigh
2.3Livestock farming & ranchingLowSmallSeriousHigh
3Energy production & miningblank blank blank blank 
3.2Mining & quarryingLowSmallSeriousHigh
5Biological resource useblank blank blank blank 
5.3Logging & wood harvestingNegligibleNegligibleUnknownLow
6Human intrusions & disturbanceblank blank blank blank 
6.1Recreational activitiesMediumRestrictedSeriousHigh
7Natural system modificationsblank blank blank blank 
7.1Fire & fire suppressionMediumRestrictedSeriousHigh
7.3Other ecosystem modificationsLowSmallModerateHigh
8Invasive & other problematic species & genesblank blank blank blank 
8.1 Invasive non-native/alien speciesMediumRestrictedSeriousHigh
Manitoba

In Manitoba, populations are relatively small leaving them vulnerable to damage or complete loss from seemingly small threats. See the table footnotes for details on how the values are assigned in the table. Historical threats, indirect or cumulative effects of the threats, or any other relevant information that would help understand the nature of the threats are presented in the narrative section (Section 4.2). Limiting factors are not considered during this assessment process.

Table 3. Threat classification table for Gattinger's Agalinis in Manitoba.
Threat #bThreat descriptionImpactcScopedSeverityeTimingf
2Agriculture & aquacultureblank blank blank blank 
2.1Annual & perennial non-timber cropsLowSmallExtremeModerate
4Transportation & service corridorsblank blank blank blank 
4.1Roads & railroadsHighLargeSeriousHigh
4.2Utility & service linesHighLargeSeriousHigh
6Human intrusions & disturbanceblank blank blank blank 
6.1Recreational activitiesMediumRestrictedSeriousHigh
6.1Recreational activitiesLowSmallModerateHigh
7Natural system modificationsblank blank blank blank 
7.1Fire & fire suppressionUnknownLargeUnknownHigh
7.3Other ecosystem modificationsLowLargeSlightHigh
8Invasive & other problematic species & genesblank blank blank blank 
8.1Invasive non-native/alien speciesMediumLargeModerateHigh
8.2Problematic native speciesLowLargeSlight-ModerateHigh

b Threat # - Threats are numbered using the IUCN Classification System. Only those threats relevant to Gattinger's Agalinis are presented in this table and in Section 4.2 Description of Threats and Part 2 (Recovery Strategy for the Gattinger's Agalinis (Agalinis gattingeri) in Ontario).

c Impact – The degree to which a species is observed, inferred, or suspected to be directly or indirectly threatened in the area of interest. The impact of each threat is based on Severity and Scope rating and considers only present and future threats. Threat impact reflects a reduction of a species population or decline/degradation of the area of an ecosystem. The median rate of population reduction or area decline for each combination of scope and severity corresponds to the following classes of threat impact: Very High (75% declines), High (40%), Medium (15%), and Low (3%). Unknown: used when impact cannot be determined (e.g., if values for either scope or severity are unknown); Not Calculated: impact not calculated as threat is outside the assessment timeframe (e.g., timing is insignificant/negligible or low as threat is only considered to be in the past); Negligible: when scope or severity is negligible; Not a Threat: when severity is scored as neutral or potential benefit.

d Scope – Proportion of the species that can reasonably be expected to be affected by the threat within 10 years. Usually measured as a proportion of the species' population in the area of interest. (Pervasive = 71–100%; Large = 31–70%; Restricted = 11–30%; Small = 1–10%; Negligible < 1%).

e Severity – Within the scope, the level of damage to the species from the threat that can reasonably be expected to be affected by the threat within a 10-year or three-generation timeframe. Usually measured as the degree of reduction of the species' population. (Extreme = 71–100%; Serious = 31–70%; Moderate = 11–30%; Slight = 1–10%; Negligible < 1%; Neutral or Potential Benefit > 0%).

f Timing – High = continuing; Moderate = only in the future (could happen in the short term [< 10 years or 3 generations]) or now suspended (could come back in the short term); Low = only in the future (could happen in the long term) or now suspended (could come back in the long term); Insignificant/Negligible = only in the past and unlikely to return, or no direct effect but limiting.

4.2 Description of threats

Threats are listed in order as they appear in the Threats Classification Table (Table 2; Table 3).

Ontario

See Section 1.6 (Threats to Survival and Recovery) in the provincial recovery strategy for more information on threats to the Ontario populations. The list below identifies how the IUCN threat categories used in Table 2 correspond to the threat categories used in section 1.6 of the provincial recovery strategy.

IUCN Threat #1. Residential & commercial development

Section 1.6 of the provincial recovery strategy: 'Development and Construction'

IUCN Threat #2. Agriculture & aquaculture

Section 1.6 of the provincial recovery strategy: 'Conversion of prairie to agriculture' and 'Livestock grazing'

IUCN Threat # 3. Energy production & mining

Section 1.6 of the provincial recovery strategy: 'Quarrying and aggregate extraction'

IUCN Threat #5. Biological resource use

Section 1.6 of the provincial recovery strategy: 'Logging and Industrial Activities'.

IUCN Threat #6. Human intrusions & disturbance

Section 1.6 of the provincial recovery strategy: 'Off-road vehicle use' and 'Trampling'

IUCN Threat #7. Natural system modifications

Section 1.6 of the provincial recovery strategy: 'Changes in ecological processes'

IUCN Threat #8. Invasives & other problematic species & genes

Section 1.6 of the provincial recovery strategy: 'Invasion by exotic species'

Manitoba

In Manitoba, Gattinger's Agalinis frequently occurs with Rough Agalinis (Agalinis aspera), which grows in the same type of habitat but has a greater number of known populations than Gattinger's Agalinis (Foster 2008; Murray and Church 2015). Survey work is on-going, and Gattinger's Agalinis may yet be discovered at other Rough Agalinis populations. Threats listed for Rough Agalinis, in addition to those listed for Gattinger's Agalinis; include gravel extraction, cultivation and alteration of hydrological regimes (COSEWIC 2006; Environment Canada 2015). At this time, these are not considered current threats at any habitat supporting Gattinger's Agalinis (Friesen pers. comm. 2016). However, these may be potential threats if Gattinger's Agalinis is discovered at other Rough Agalinis sites.

IUCN Threat # 2. Agriculture & Aquaculture (IUCN Threat 2.1 Annual & Perennial Non-Timber Crops

In Manitoba, it is estimated that tall-grass prairie habitat has declined 99.9% from its original 600,000 hectares, largely due to cultivation for forage and cereal crops (Samson and Knopf 1994).  This has likely resulted in considerable historical habitat loss for species like Gattinger's Agalinis.  Many of the remaining populations are in remnant strips of native prairie between cultivated fields and roadsides and may be further impacted by cultivation of the remaining strips, pesticide drift or encroachment of invasive tame forage species from adjacent cultivated fields (threat 8.1). Those populations still in larger tracts of native pasture may be at risk of future cultivation in years where crop prices are high (Honey and Oleson 2006, Farm Credit Canada 2013, Wright and Wimberly 2013).

IUCN Threat # 4. Transportation & service corridors (IUCN Threat 4.1 Roads & railroads; IUCN Threat 4.2 Utility & service lines)

Several Manitoba populations are along ditches and in roadside rights-of-way, which may leave them vulnerable to certain construction or maintenance actions, such as road improvements, cleaning out or deepening ditches with machinery (ditching), spraying with herbicide and mowing at inappropriate times (when active plants are present). Late summer roadside work particularly threatens Gattinger's Agalinis in Manitoba as this is when the plant is flowering and setting seedFootnote 22; for an annual plant, seed dispersal is important for population persistence. For example, a population of Rough Agalinis was mowed in 2004 thereby damaging those plants and not letting them disperse seed (COSEWIC 2006; Foster 2008). Spraying of herbicides is common along roadsides and if done at the wrong time of year can destroy Gattinger's Agalinis and/or its host plants (Friesen pers. comm. 2016). Additionally, excavation associated with the installation of underground fibre-optic cable alongside ditches may also impact populations (Murray pers. comm. 2016).

IUCN Threat #6. Human intrusions & disturbance (IUCN Threat 6.1 Recreational activities)

At one population, Gattinger's Agalinis is found adjacent to a trail where ATV's are used. While it is presumed the vehicles mainly travel along the trail, the potential for damage to the occupied habitat or directly to the plants does exist.

IUCN Threat #7. Natural system modifications (IUCN Threat 7.1 Fire & fire suppression; IUCN Threat 7.3 Other ecosystem modifications)

IUCN Threat 7.1 Fire & fire suppression

A few populations of Gattinger's Agalinis occurring on upland tallgrass prairie are becoming overgrown from a lack of periodic natural disturbances (e.g., fire). Without disturbances like fire or grazing to maintain open, early successional habitat, vegetation becomes dense, filling in sparse or bare patches of ground that Gattinger's Agalinis is reliant upon for growth. This may also lead to the establishment of woody plants which may make the habitat unsuitably shady (see Threat 8.2).

IUCN Threat 7.3 Other ecosystem modifications

Some populations are in native prairies which are periodically mowed for hay. Haying or mowing can be a beneficial management practice for many prairie species as it can somewhat mimic natural disturbance and reduce litter or control invasive non-native plant species (IUCN threat 8.1) and problematic native woody species (IUCN threat 8.2); however the timing of mowing in the habitat of Gattinger's Agalinis is of critical importance. If the mowing is too infrequent, vegetation may become too dense for Gattinger's Agalinis survival, yet if mowing is done when live plants are present (between approximately July 1 – September 30), it may harm or destroy establishing plants and reduce their ability to mature, set and disperse seed, which in turn can lead to population level effects.

IUCN Threat #8. Invasives & other problematic species & genes (IUCN Threat 8.1 Invasive non-native/alien species; Threat 8.2 Problematic native species)

IUCN Threat 8.1 Invasive non-native/alien species

Competition from invasive plant species may be a threat at almost all Manitoba populations since White Sweet Clover (Melilotus albus) is a habitat associate (Manitoba CDC unpublished data). Smooth Brome (Bromus inermis) and Kentucky Bluegrass (Poa pratensis) are also present and highly invasive in these habitats (Friesen pers. comm. 2016). 

IUCN Threat 8.2 Problematic native species

Native plant species can pose a direct threat to Gattinger's Agalinis through competition, as they may alter the natural community assemblage. The species requires a relatively open and sunny habitat, and cannot compete in areas where overtopping plants persist (Canne-Hilliker 2001). The encroachment of native species such as Trembling Aspen (Populus tremuloides) and shrubs has been reported as a concern for a few of the Manitoba populations of Gattinger's Agalinis

5 Population and distribution objectives

Under SARA, a population and distribution objective for the species must be established. Consistent with the goal set out in the Government of Ontario's Government Response Statement, Environment and Climate Change Canada's population and distribution objectives for Gattinger's Agalinis in Canada are:

  • Maintain, self-sustaining populations for the 31 extant populations;
  • Maintain the current distribution and where biologically and technically feasible, promote the natural expansion of Gattinger's Agalinis into unoccupied habitat at extant populations.

The information currently available for this species is insufficient to demonstrate trends in population growth and stability. However, as the 31 extant populations continue to persist, it is assumed they are self-sustaining. Thus the objective is to maintain all known extant populations and to ensure that they remain self-sustaining. Recovery of Gattinger's Agalinis is therefore based on population persistence and abundance of individuals within a population. The most recent species abundance surveys estimated the Gattinger's Agalinis population to be approximately 70,500 individuals. More information on the species population dynamics and biology is required to determine the species normal range of variation in abundance in order to be used as a measure of recovery.

6 Broad strategies and general approaches to meet objectives

The government-led and government-supported actions tables from the Gattinger's Agalinis and Houghton's Goldenrod - Ontario Government Response Statement (Part 3) are adopted as the broad strategies and general approaches to meet the population and distribution objective for Ontario region.

The following broad strategies and general approaches to meet the population and distribution objectives apply only to the Manitoba region.

6.1 Actions already completed or currently underway

Ontario

See Section 1.8 of the provincial recovery strategy for a description of actions completed or underway in Ontario.

Manitoba

The Manitoba Conservation Data Centre has produced maps of road allowances where species at risk occur, to address threats related to road maintenance and construction. These maps include general rare plant population locations along stretches of road, identification information, and management recommendations to minimize disturbance to plants and avoid destruction of roadside habitat. These maps are intended to better guide road maintenance and construction activities undertaken by rural municipalities and the provincial government (Foster 2008; Friesen and Murray 2010). A more general management summary intended for the public and landowners/land managers has also been produced (Friesen pers. comm. 2016).

6.2 Strategic direction for recovery

Table 4. Recovery planning table for Manitoba region.
Broad strategyThreat # or limitationPrioritygGeneral description of research and management approaches
Broad Strategy: Habitat assessment, management, and conservation2.1, 4.1, 4.2, 8.1, 8.2High
  • Mitigate the impact of threats to populations and habitat by engaging landowners and land managers in conservation agreements, fee-simple purchase or stewardship arrangements aimed at implementing beneficial management practices (BMPs) and protecting critical habitat; monitor effectiveness of conservation or stewardship arrangements in conserving habitat
  • Using adaptive habitat management, monitor the effectiveness of BMPs to improve habitat; amend BMPs as necessary.
  • Integrate habitat management with that for other species occurring in the same habitat and surrounding management area
Broad Strategy: Habitat assessment, management, and conservation8.1Medium
  • Removal of invasive non-native species posing a direct threat to Gattinger's Agalinis
Broad Strategy: Communication, collaboration and engagement4.1, 4.2High
  • Develop or expand communication/outreach strategies for road crews, city and municipal planners, and land users, to minimize or eliminate habitat deterioration or destruction during road maintenance or construction activities
Broad Strategy: Communication, collaboration and engagementAll threatsHigh
  • Develop or expand communication/outreach strategies for the general public, land-users, stakeholders, and land managers to address threats such as off-road vehicle use, indiscriminate use of herbicides, introduction of invasive alien species, etc., and to change perceptions of management tools such as prescribed burns
Broad Strategy: Research as part of an adaptive management frameworkKnowledge gaps pertaining to population dynamics and biology of species (All threats)Medium
  • Determine long-term impacts of threats and existing management practices on populations and habitat quality
  • Conduct research to develop an understanding of the species ecology and habitat needs (e.g., suitable host plants, seed bank dynamics and germination)
  • Apply findings to develop or refine BMPs for the species, particularly for mowing, burning and grazing
Broad Strategy: Research as part of an adaptive management frameworkKnowledge gaps pertaining to population dynamics and biology of species (All threats)Medium
  • Determine effect of population size and isolation on genetic diversity and population viability, including developing a seed gene bank if deemed necessary
Broad Strategy: Inventory and monitoringSupports measuring of progress towards achieving the population and distribution objectiveMedium
  • Use models (e.g., habitat suitability and/or species distribution models) to predict priority search areas for new populations
  • Using consistent survey techniques (e.g. Henderson 2010a), continue surveys to locate new populations
  • Using consistent monitoring techniques, determine range of natural variation for population size and area of occupancy of extant populations

g "Priority" reflects the degree to which the broad strategy contributes directly to the recovery of the species or is an essential precursor to an approach that contributes to the recovery of the species.

7 Critical habitat

7.1 Identification of the species' critical habitat

Section 41(1)(c) of SARA requires that recovery strategies include an identification of the species' critical habitat, to the extent possible, as well as examples of activities that are likely to result in its destruction. Under section 2(1) of SARA, critical habitat is "the habitat that is necessary for the survival or recovery of a listed wildlife species and that is identified as the species' critical habitat in the recovery strategy or in an action plan for the species".

Identification of critical habitat is not a component of provincial recovery strategies under the Province of Ontario's ESA or Province of Manitoba's ESEA. Under both the Ontario ESA and Manitoba ESEA, when a species becomes listed as endangered or threatened in the respective regulations, it automatically receives general habitat protection. Gattinger's Agalinis currently receives general habitat protection under the Ontario ESA and Manitoba ESEA. In addition, tallgrass prairie and alvar habitat are listed as endangered ecosystems under the Manitoba ESEA although there is no regulatory protection affiliated with this. In some cases in Ontario, a habitat regulation may be developed that replaces the general habitat protection. A habitat regulation is a legal instrument that prescribes an area that will be protected as the habitat of the species by the Province of Ontario. A habitat regulation has not been developed for Gattinger's Agalinis under the ESA.

Critical habitat for Gattinger's Agalinis in Canada is identified to the extent possible, based on the best available informationFootnote 23. This is a partial identification, as critical habitat is identified for 15 of 26 known extant populations of Gattinger's Agalinis in Ontario and for all 5 extant populations in Manitoba, which is insufficient to achieve the population and distribution objectives. A Schedule of Studies (section 7.2; Table 5) has been developed and outlines the activities required for identification of additional critical habitat in Ontario necessary to support the population and distribution objectives. Additional critical habitat may be added in the future, if new or additional information supports the inclusion of areas beyond those currently identified (e.g., new sites become colonized or existing sites expand into adjacent areas).

Critical habitat identification is based on the best available information as reviewed and further developed by separate committees in each jurisdiction. Based on consensus expert opinion, different criteria for identifying critical habitat in each province have been developed. The identification of critical habitat in each province is described in detail below.

7.1.1 Critical habitat identification in Ontario

In Ontario, Gattinger's Agalinis is found in alvar and tallgrass prairie habitats. These suitable habitats are typically characterized by biophysical attributes described below:

In tallgrass prairie habitats:
  • Open, unshaded conditions for growth with few woody plants;
  • Prairie meadows containing patches of short, sparse vegetative cover;
  • Some patches of exposed gravel and mineral soil present in the habitat;
  • Grasses or sedges with tufted (cespitose) growth form are dominant;
  • Tallgrass prairie species such as Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), Big Bluestem, Indian Grass (Sorghastrum nutans), and Switch Grass are present;
  • Sandy loam soil type;
  • Moisture regimes may be seasonally moist.
In alvar habitats:
  • Open, unshaded conditions for growth usually with few woody plants;
  • If conifers are present, they do not form a continuous canopy;
  • Alvar meadow or bedrock vegetation with patches of short, sparse vegetative cover;
  • Some patches of exposed bedrock or gravelly substrate;
  • Grasses or sedges with tufted (cespitose) growth form are the dominant cover;
  • Soils are shallow over limestone or dolostone bedrock;
  • Alvar species such a Little Bluestem, Northern Dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis), and Scirpus-like Sedge (Carex scirpoidea);
  • Moisture regimes may range between flooded and drought and may change quickly.

In Ontario, suitable habitat for Gattinger's Agalinis can be described using the Ecological Land Classification (ELC) framework for Southern Ontario (Lee et al. 1998) and based on the best available information, they are described by the following ELC vegetation types (Jones 2015).

  • Dry Annual Open Alvar Pavement (ALO1-2)
  • Dry-Fresh Little Bluestem Open Alvar Meadow (ALO1-3)
  • Dry-Fresh Poverty Grass Open Alvar Meadow (ALO1-4)
  • Creeping Juniper-Shrubby Cinquefoil Dwarf Shrub Alvar (ALS1-2)
  • Jack Pine – White Cedar – White Spruce Treed Alvar (Savanna) (ALT1-4)
  • Fresh-Moist Tallgrass Prairie (TPO2-1)

The ELC framework provides a standardized approach to the interpretation and delineation of dynamic ecosystem boundaries. The ELC approach classifies habitats not only by vegetation community but also considers soil moisture conditions and topography, and as such provides a basis for describing the ecosystem requirements and encompasses the biophysical attributes of suitable habitat for Gattinger's Agalinis. In addition, ELC terminology and methods are familiar to many land managers and conservation practitioners who have adopted this tool as the standard approach for Ontario.

Within the ELC system in Ontario, the vegetation type boundary best captures the extent of biophysical attributes required by the species. The vegetation type includes the areas occupied by Gattinger's Agalinis and the surrounding areas that provide suitable habitat conditions to carry out essential life process for the species and should allow for natural processes related to population dynamics and reproduction (e.g., dispersal and pollination) to occur. There is no specific information about seed dispersal, other than the seeds appear to lack any special adaptation that would enable dispersal to be long-distance (Jones 2015). As such, the occupied ELC vegetation type should provide sufficient opportunity for dispersal and natural expansion of populations. This larger area around the plant may also promote ecosystem resilience to invasive non-native species while protecting what are typically rare communities in Ontario. It will also generally preserve the local surface water movement that determines the alvar's seasonal water cycle.

In Ontario, critical habitat is identified as the extent of suitable habitat where Gattinger's Agalinis is known to exist. In addition to the extent of suitable habitat, a critical function zone of 50 m (radial distance) is applied when the biophysical attributes around a plant extend for less than 50 m (e.g., plants that occur at or near the edge of the extent of suitable habitat). The 50 m is considered a minimum 'critical function zone', or the threshold habitat fragment size required for maintaining constituent microhabitat properties for a species (e.g., critical light, temperature, litter moisture, humidity levels necessary for survival). At present, it is not clear at what exact distances physical and/or biological processes begin to negatively affect Gattinger's Agalinis in Ontario. Studies on micro-environmental gradients at habitat edges, including light, temperature, litter moisture (Matlack 1993), and of edge effects on plants in mixed hardwood forests, as evidenced by changes in plant community structure and composition (Fraver 1994), have shown that edge effects could be detected up to 50 m into habitat fragments although other studies show that the magnitude and distance of edge effects will vary depending on the structure and composition of adjacent habitat types (Harper et al. 2005). Forman and Alexander (1998) and Forman et al. (2003) found that most roadside edge effects on plants resulting from construction and repeated traffic have their greatest impact within the first 30 to 50 m. Therefore, a 50 m radial distance from any Gattinger's Agalinis plant was chosen to ensure that microhabitat properties were maintained as part of the identification of critical habitat. As new information on species' habitat requirements and site-specific characteristics, such as hydrology, become available, these distances may be refined.

Existing human developments and infrastructure do not possess the biophysical attributes of suitable habitat or assist in the maintenance of natural processes and are therefore not identified as critical habitat.

7.1.2 Critical habitat identification in Manitoba

The approach used for identifying critical habitat for Gattinger's Agalinis in Manitoba is based on a decision tree developed by the Recovery Team for Plants at Risk in the Prairie Provinces as guidance for identifying critical habitat for terrestrial and aquatic prairie plant species at risk (see Appendix A in Environment Canada 2012 for the full decision tree). Gattinger's Agalinis inhabits dry, sparsely vegetated, tallgrass prairie with open conditions lending full exposure to sun (little to no shrub or forest overstory), and dolomitic or limestone (calcareous) soils (see Section 3.3). The habitat may be characterized as early successional, and is influenced by some level and type of soil disturbance, resulting in habitat patches being hard to define in space and time. Thus, identification of critical habitat for Gattinger's Agalinis is occurrence-based rather than habitat-based. Critical habitat is identified as the area within a 300 metre critical function zone of each occurrence (area of occupancy) of Gattinger's Agalinis. Rivers, lakes, wetlands as well as existing human developments and infrastructure, within the critical function zone, are not considered to be critical habitat.

Although the exact extent of habitat needed to surround Gattinger's Agalinis plants to fulfill the reproductive, dispersal and long-term survival needs of the population is not fully known, the 300 m critical function zone is based upon a detailed literature review that examined edge-effects of various land use activities that could affect resource availability, and contribute to negative population growth for native prairie plants generally (Henderson 2010b and Appendix B in Environment Canada 2012). It is also based upon a literature review of factors affecting the quality of native prairie patches and persistence of rare plants and pollinators in the tall-grass prairie of Manitoba (Environment and Climate Change Canada 2016 unpublished review). This approach is consistent with the critical habitat identification for other prairie plant species that occupy similar type habitats in Manitoba (e.g. Rough Agalinis (Agalinis aspera), Western Silvery Aster (Symphyotrichum sericeum)). Thus, to ensure the viability, and where feasible, the natural expansion, of Gattinger's Agalinis in Manitoba, the 300 metre critical function zone is thought to be the minimum distance needed to maintain the habitat required to meet the population and distribution objectives. As new information on species' habitat requirements and site-specific characteristics become available, this distance may be refined.

7.1.3 Application of criteria to identify critical habitat for Gattinger's Agalinis

In Ontario, critical habitat is identified for 15 of the 26 extant populations (Appendix A, Table A1, Figure A1). This is a partial identification of critical habitat. A schedule of studies (section 7.2; Table 4) has been established to provide the information necessary to complete the identification of critical habitat needed to meet the population and distribution objectives. In Ontario, critical habitat is the extent of suitable habitat occupied by the species, plus a 50 metre critical function zone around the plants where they occur near the edge of suitable habitat. Due to provincial data sharing agreements in Ontario, critical habitat in Ontario is only presented using the 1 x 1 km UTM grid squares to indicate the general geographic areas containing critical habitat (Appendix A, Figure A1).

In Manitoba, critical habitat is identified for all 5 extant populations (Appendix A, Figs. A2, A3). The area containing critical habitat is approximately 304 hectares (3 km2) and occupies or overlaps into approximately 22 quarter sections of land in the Dominion Land Survey in Manitoba. Generalized geographic locations at the scale of standardized 1x1 km grids and detailed critical habitat unit polygons are provided in critical habitat maps (Appendix A, Figs. A2 and A3).

The detailed information on critical habitat may be requested on a need to know basis by contacting Environment and Climate Change Canada – Canadian Wildlife Service at ec.planificationduretablissement-recoveryplanning.ec@canada.ca.

7.2 Schedule of studies to identify critical habitat

Table 5. Schedule of studies to identify critical habitat.
Description of activityRationaleTimeline
Work with applicable organizations in Ontario to secure the necessary information and identify critical habitat. Further work is required to complete the identification of critical habitat to meet the population and distribution objectives.2017-2022
Confirm/obtain population and habitat information for extant populations in Ontario where critical habitat is not currently identified.Location of population becomes known and habitat associations, biophysical habitat attributes and extent of suitable habitat are confirmed.2017-2022

7.3 Activities likely to result in destruction of critical habitat

Understanding what constitutes destruction of critical habitat is necessary for the protection and management 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. It should be noted that not all activities that occur in or near critical habitat are likely to cause its destruction.  Activities described in Table 6 are examples of those likely to cause destruction of critical habitat for the species; however, destructive activities are not necessarily limited to those listed.

Additionally, a few types of light disturbance, such as light hiking off-trail, or light raking, may be beneficial at certain times of year, as they can expose the soil and allow establishment of seedlings and Gattinger's Agalinis to re-emerge from the seed bank.

Table 5. Activities Likely to Result in the Destruction of Critical Habitat.
Description of activityDescription of effect in relation to function lossDetails of effect
Covering of soils which can be caused by activities such as: creation or expansion of permanent / temporary structures such as land conversion to residential / cottage developments, road widening or realigning.Covering the soil prevents solar radiation and water infiltration needed for germination and survival of plants, such that critical habitat is destroyed.

This activity must occur within the bounds of critical habitat to cause its destruction, is a direct effect, and is applicable at all times of the year.

Links to Threat #1.1; 1.2 and  4.1

Inversion/excavation/extraction of soils, which can be caused by activities such as: new or expanded cultivation (conversion of prairie to agriculture); quarrying and aggregate extraction; utility line installation.Inverting, excavating or extracting soil results in the direct loss of critical habitat by removing or disturbing the substrate within which the plant grows, and altering the biophysical attributes required for germination, establishment and growth of the Gattinger's Agalinis.

This activity must occur within the bounds of critical habitat to cause its destruction, may result in destruction either directly or cumulatively, and is applicable at all times of the year.

Links to Threat #2.1; 2.3; 3.2; 4.2; 5.3; 6.1

Compression or erosion of soils, which can be caused by activities such as: using alvars as staging areas for logging operations in adjacent forests; moving logs, materials and heavy machinery across alvars; creation of trails and roads; off-road vehicle use; destructive or excessive human trampling; high intensity livestock grazing on alvars and camping in habitat (placing tents, fire pits, and latrines in the vegetation) also causes similar effects.Compression and erosion can damage soil structure and porosity, reduce water availability by increasing runoff and decreasing infiltration, prevent establishment of seedlings, or increase the likelihood of invasive non-native species disturbing native ground cover. Foot traffic may have similar effects but at higher thresholds of use.

This activity must occur within the bounds of critical habitat to cause its destruction, may result in destruction either directly or cumulatively, and is applicable at all times of the year, with the exception of winter months when the ground is snow covered and frozen solid (soil temperature below -10C).

Links to Threat #2.3; 5.3; 6.1

Introduction or promotion of Invasive non-native  species and woody vegetation (shrubs and trees), which can be caused by activities such as: intentional dumping or spreading of feed bales containing viable seed of invasive non-native species; seeding invasive non-native species or woody species within critical habitat; transporting invasive non-native species (e.g., on wheel tires); or planting of woody vegetation.Once established, invasive non-native species and woody vegetation can alter hydrology, soil nutrient and moisture availability, and create shade, thereby altering the biophysical attributes, altering the structure of plant communities and resulting in direct competition with Gattinger's Agalinis and other native prairie and alvar species, such that population declines can occur, effectively destroying critical habitat.

This activity can occur within or adjacent to the bounds of critical habitat to cause its destruction, can be a direct or a cumulative effect, and is applicable at all times of the year.

Links to Threat #7.1; 7.3; 8.1; 8.2

Application of herbicides, fertilizers or pesticides, which can be caused by activities such as; spraying of herbicide and insecticide; or additions of fertilizers to soil.Herbicide and fertilizer can alter soil or water nutrient status, creating conditions suitable for some plant species and unfavourable for others, such that species composition in the surrounding plant community can change. Changes to soil or water nutrient status will also influence the outcome of interspecific competition for nutrients.  Pesticide runoff and drift can alter plant and pollinator communities, thereby possibly reducing the capability of the habitat to support Gattinger's Agalinis, or result in complete habitat loss if herbicide is directly used on a regular basis. 

Loss of suitable vegetative conditions for the life cycle of the species. This activity may result in destruction of critical habitat whether it occurs within or outside the bounds of critical habitat (e.g. chemical drift, groundwater or overland flow of contaminated water), may result in destruction either directly or cumulatively, and is applicable at all times of the year.  

Links to Threat #7.3; 8.1; 8.2

Alteration to hydrological regimes, which can be caused by activities such as: temporary or permanent inundation from construction of impoundments downslope or downstream; release of water upslope and upstream, including but not limited to damming, ditching, drainage, culvert installation, road widening or straightening; or residential/cottage developments that affect the hydrology of critical habitat.As the seed bank and plants of Gattinger's Agalinis are adapted to well-drained soils, flooding or inundation by water, even for a short period of time, can be sufficient to alter habitat enough to be unsuitable for survival and re-establishment.  Altering hydrology can also result in conditions being too dry, mimicking prolonged drought.  For example, road construction can interrupt or alter overland water flow, altering habitat conditions and threatening the long-term survival of the species at a said location. An increase in moisture may also lead to increased encroachment by woody vegetation and some invasive plant species.

This activity may result in destruction of critical habitat whether it occurs within or outside the bounds of critical habitat, may result in destruction either directly or cumulatively, and is applicable at all times of the year.

Links to Threat #1.1; 4.1; 7.3

8 Measuring progress

The performance indicators presented below provides a way to define and measure progress toward achieving the population and distribution objectives. Every five years, success of recovery strategy implementation will be measured against the following performance indicators

  • Self-sustaining populations have been maintained at the 31 extant populations;
  • The current distribution of Gattinger's Agalinis is maintained;
  • Where biologically feasible, populations have naturally expanded into unoccupied sites at extant populations.

9 Statement on action plans

One or more action plans for Gattinger's Agalinis in Canada will be posted on the Species at Risk Public Registry by December 2022.

10 References

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NatureServe 2016a. Agalinis gattingeri in NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life, NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. http://explorer.natureserve.org [Accessed January 2016].

NatureServe. 2016b. Habitat-based Plant Element Occurrence Delimitation Guidance, 1 October 2004. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. [Accessed March 18, 2016].

Reschke, C., R. Reid, J. Jones, T. Feeney and H. Potter 1999. Conserving Great Lakes Alvars: Final Technical Report of the International Alvar Conservation Initiative. The Nature Conservancy, Chicago, Illinois. 230 pp.

Samson, F.B. and F.L. Knopf. 1994. Prairie conservation in North America. Bioscience 44: 418-421.

Sellers, E., and D. McCarthy. 2015. Distribution and floral hosts of Anthophorula micheneri (Timberlake, 1947) and Hylaeus sparsus (Cresson, 1869), (Insecta: Hymenoptera: Apoidea: Anthophila), with new state records in Giles and Loudoun counties, Virginia, eastern USA. Check List 11(3):1665.

Wright, C.K. and M.C. Wimberly. 2013. Recent land use change in the Western Corn Belt threatens grasslands and wetlands. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 110: 4134-4139.

Appendix A: Critical habitat for Gattinger's Agalinis in Canada

Figure A1. Critical habitat for Gattinger's Agalinis in Ontario is represented by the red shaded units, where the criteria set out in Section 7.1 are met. The 1 km x 1 km UTM grid overlay shown on the figure is a standardized national grid system that indicates the general geographic area containing critical habitat.
Image of map (see long description below)
Long description for Figure A1

Figure A1 is a close-up of the critical habitat within the cluster of islands north of Manitoulin Island, Ontario. From west to east, the grid squares are as follows: five grid squares are on Darch Island, two are on Landerkin Island, twelve are spread out across Clapperton Island, three are on Amedroz Island, two are on Bedford Island, ten are on the Rous Islands, three are near Wabosons Island, four are on or near Goat Island, seven are found on Strawberry Island.

Table A1. Grid squares that contain critical habitat for Gattinger's Agalinis in Ontario. Critical habitat for Gattinger's Agalinis occurs within these 1 x 1 km standardized UTM grid squares where the description of critical habitat in Section 7.1 is met. Site # refer to the sites listed in Part 2; Table 1.
Population [site #]1 x 1 km Standardized UTM grid  square IDhProvince/ territoryUTM grid square coordinatesi

Easting
UTM grid square coordinatesi

Northing
Land tenurej
Amedroz Island [4]17TML1918Ontario4110005098000Non-federal land
Amedroz Island [4]17TML1919Ontario4110005099000Non-federal land
Amedroz Island [4]17TML1928Ontario4120005098000Non-federal land
Bedford Island East [6]17TML2906Ontario4200005096000Non-federal land
Bedford Island East [6]17TML2907Ontario4200005097000Non-federal land
Bedford Island West [7]17TML1976Ontario4170005096000Non-federal land
Bedford Island West [7]17TML1986Ontario4180005096000Non-federal land
Clapperton Island - Beatty Bay & NW of Baker's Bay [8]17TML0927Ontario4020005097000Non-federal land
Clapperton Island - Beatty Bay & NW of Baker's Bay [8]17TML0937Ontario4030005097000Non-federal land
Clapperton Island - Beatty Bay & NW of Baker's Bay [8]17TML0938Ontario4030005098000Non-federal land
Clapperton Island - Beatty Bay & NW of Baker's Bay [8]17TML0948Ontario4040005098000Non-federal land
Clapperton Island - northern alvars and Logan Bay [9]17TML0958Ontario4050005098000Other federal land and non-federal land
Clapperton Island - northern alvars and Logan Bay [9]17TML0968Ontario4060005098000Other federal land and non-federal land
Clapperton Island - northern alvars and Logan Bay [9]17TML0969Ontario4060005099000Other federal land and non-federal land
Clapperton Island - northern alvars and Logan Bay [9]17TML0978Ontario4070005098000Other federal land and non-federal land
Clapperton Island - northern alvars and Logan Bay [9]17TML0979Ontario4070005099000Other federal land and non-federal land
Clapperton Island - northern alvars and Logan Bay [9]17TMM0060Ontario4060005100000Other federal land and non-federal land
Courtney Island [10]17TLL9996Ontario3990005096000Non-federal land
Courtney Island [10]17TML0906Ontario4000005096000Non-federal land
Darch Island [11]17TLM8092Ontario3890005102000Non-federal land
Darch Island [11]17TLM9001Ontario3900005101000Non-federal land
Darch Island [11]17TLM9002Ontario3900005102000Non-federal land
Darch Island [11]17TLM9011Ontario3910005101000Non-federal land
Darch Island [11]17TLM9012Ontario3910005102000Non-federal land
Freer Point [12]17TML1879Ontario4170005089000Non-federal land
Freer Point [12]17TML1889Ontario4180005089000Non-federal land
Freer Point [12]17TML1980Ontario4180005090000Non-federal land
Goat Island (Little Current Swing Bridge) [13]17TML2992Ontario4290005092000Non-federal land
Goat Island (Little Current Swing Bridge) [13]17TML3902Ontario4300005092000Non-federal land
Innes Island [18]17TLM9061Ontario3960005101000Non-federal land
Innes Island [18]17TLM9071Ontario3970005101000Non-federal land
Little Current, Harbour View Road [19]17TML2991Ontario4290005091000Non-federal land
Little Current, Harbour View Road [19]17TML3901Ontario4300005091000Non-federal land
East Rous Island [20]17TML2926Ontario4220005096000Non-federal land
East Rous Island [20]17TML2927Ontario4220005097000Non-federal land
East Rous Island [20]17TML2936Ontario4230005096000Non-federal land
East Rous Island [20]17TML2937Ontario4230005097000Non-federal land
West Rous Island [21]17TML2905Ontario4200005095000Non-federal land
West Rous Island [21]17TML2915Ontario4210005095000Non-federal land
West Rous Island [21]17TML2916Ontario4210005096000Non-federal land
West Rous Island [21]17TML2917Ontario4210005097000Non-federal land
Strawberry Island (north end) [22]17TML3839Ontario4330005089000Other federal land and non-federal land
Strawberry Island (north end) [22]17TML3849Ontario4340005089000Other federal land and non-federal land
Strawberry Island (north end) [22]17TML3930Ontario4330005090000Other federal land and non-federal land
Strawberry Island (north end) [22]17TML3931Ontario4330005091000Other federal land and non-federal land
Strawberry Island (north end) [22]17TML3940Ontario4340005090000Other federal land and non-federal land
Strawberry Island (north end) [22]17TML3941Ontario4340005091000Other federal land and Non-federal land
Strawberry Island (W of Bowell Cove) [23]17TML3847Ontario4340005087000Non-federal land

h Based on the standard UTM Military Grid Reference System (see http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/earth-sciences/geography/topographic-information/maps/9775), where the first 2 digits and letter represent the UTM Zone, the following 2 letters indicate the 100 x 100 km standardized UTM grid followed by 2 digits to represent the 10 x 10 km standardized UTM grid. The last 2 digits represent the 1 x 1 km standardized UTM grid containing all or a portion of the critical habitat unit. This unique alphanumeric code is based on the methodology produced from the Breeding Bird Atlases of Canada (See Bird Studies Canada for more information on breeding bird atlases).

i The listed coordinates are a cartographic representation of where critical habitat can be found, presented as the southwest corner of the 1 x 1 km standardized UTM grid square containing all or a portion of the critical habitat unit. The coordinates may not fall within critical habitat and are provided as a general location only.

j Land tenure is provided as an approximation of the types of land ownership that exist at the critical habitat units and should be used for guidance purposes only. Accurate land tenure will require cross referencing critical habitat boundaries with surveyed land parcel information.

Figure A2. Critical habitat for Gattinger's Agalinis in Manitoba (Stony Ridge Road [EO 6095], Wagon Creek Road [EO 6096], St. Laurent [EO 5196]) is represented by the yellow shaded units, where the criteria set out in Section 7.1 are met. The 1 km x 1 km UTM grid overlay shown on the figure is a standardized national grid system that indicates the general geographic area containing critical habitat. Areas outside of the yellow shaded units do not contain critical habitat.
Image of map (see long description below)
Long description for Figure A2

Figure A2 shows the fourteen grid squares, all near St-Laurent, Manitoba.

Figure A3. Critical habitat for Gattinger's Agalinis in Manitoba (Site 18W [EO 5045], Site 16W [EO 5193]) is represented by the yellow shaded units, where the criteria set out in Section 7.1 are met. The 1 km x 1 km UTM grid overlay shown on the figure is a standardized national grid system that indicates the general geographic area containing critical habitat. Areas outside of the yellow shaded units do not contain critical habitat.
XXXXXXXXXXX (see long description below)
Long description for Figure A3

Figure A3 shows the four grid squares, south of St-Laurent, Manitoba.

Appendix B: Effects on the environment and other species

A strategic environmental assessment (SEA) is conducted on all SARA recovery planning documents, in accordance with the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals. The purpose of a SEA is to incorporate environmental considerations into the development of public policies, plans, and program proposals to support environmentally sound decision-making and to evaluate whether the outcomes of a recovery planning document could affect any component of the environment or any of the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy's (FSDS) goals and targets.

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 upon non-target species or habitats. The results of the SEA are incorporated directly into the strategy itself, but are also summarized below in this statement.

The primary threats to Gattinger's Agalinis include transportation and service corridors, human intrusions and disturbance, natural system modifications caused by fire and fire suppression and invasive non-native/alien species. The recommended broad strategies, general approaches and actions are intended to support the recovery of Gattinger's Agalinis in Canada. For the most part, the conservation and management activities associated with Gattinger's Agalinis will benefit non-target species, natural communities and ecological processes. As a general rule, actions that incorporate or mimic natural regimes are natural components of any ecosystem and are not likely to negatively impact the persistence of other native species, particularly if the timing, intensity and frequency mimic those natural processes (e.g., fire) (Samson and Knopf 1994). However, some management practices, including prescribed burns, mowing or grazing, and some forms of integrated weed management, have the potential to affect other species negatively in the short or long-term. For example, while Dakota Skipper (Hesperia dacotae), Western Silvery Aster, Gattinger's Agalinis and Rough Agalinis, can be negatively affected by mowing if done in late summer/fall, another species at risk, the Small White Lady's-slipper (Cypripedium candidum) can be harmed if the area is mowed in spring/early summer (Environment Canada 2014, MB Conservation unpublished management summaries). Prescribed burning can improve habitat for many rare and at-risk tallgrass prairie species, but may also harm some species sensitive to fire.  Historically, fire was a natural process that maintained prairie ecosystems, and it has been used by Indigenous communities as a management tool for millennia. It is intended that any reduction of fire-sensitive species should still result in population levels within the range of fluctuations that would occur from a natural burning regime. As well, fire may reduce the presence of woody species to the benefit of tallgrass prairie native species. This is not expected to have a significant impact since the encroaching woody species are common in non-burned habitats.

A list of some of the species that may benefit and their conservation status is presented in Table B1.  There are also numerous additional unranked and provincially rare species (Catling 1995; Reschke et al. 1999; Brownell and Riley 2000) that will benefit.

Table B1. Federal species at risk which co-occur, or may co-occur, in areas occupied by Gattinger's Agalinis.
Common nameScientific nameSARA status
Rough AgalinisAgalinis asperaEndangered
Western Silvery AsterSymphyotrichum sericeumEndangered
Houghton's GoldenrodSolidago houghtoniiSpecial concern
Skinner's AgalinisAgalinis skinnerianaEndangered
Small White Lady's SlipperCypripedum candidumEndangered
Western Prairie Fringed OrchidPlatanthera praeclaraEndangered
Riddell's GoldenrodSolidago riddelliiSpecial concern
Dakota SkipperHesperia dacotaeEndangered
Hill's ThistleCirsium hilliiThreatened
Eastern Prairie Fringed OrchidPlatanthera leucophaeaEndangered
Dense Blazing StarLiatris spicataThreatened
Pink MilkwortPolygala incarnataEndangered
Showy GoldenrodSolidago speciosaEndangered
ColicrootAletris farinosaThreatened
Poweshiek SkipperlingOarisma poweshiekThreatened
MonarchDanaus plexippusSpecial concern

Appendix C: Subnational conservation ranks of Gattinger's Agalinis (Agalinis gattingeri) in Canada and the United States

Table C1. Rank Definitions (NatureServe 2016a)
Gattinger's Agalinis (Agalinis gattingeri)

Global (G) rank
Gattinger's Agalinis (Agalinis gattingeri)

National (N) rank (Canada)
Gattinger's Agalinis (Agalinis gattingeri)

Sub-national (S) rank (Canada)
Gattinger's Agalinis (Agalinis gattingeri)

National (N) rank (United States)
Gattinger's Agalinis (Agalinis gattingeri)

Sub-national (S) rank (United States)
G4nN2lOntario (S2l); Manitoba (S1k)NNRpAlabama (SHq), Arkansas (SNRp), Illinois (S3m), Indiana (S3m), Iowa (S1k), Kansas (SNRp), Kentucky (S3mS4n), Louisiana (SNRp), Michigan (S1k), Minnesota (S1k), Mississippi (SNRp), Missouri (SNRp), Nebraska (S1S3)
Ohio (S2l), Oklahoma (SNRp),
Tennessee (S2lS3m), Texas (S2l), Wisconsin (S2l)

Subnational ranks:

k S1/N1: Critically imperilled – At very high risk of extirpation in the jurisdiction (i.e., N - nation, or S - state/province) due to very restricted range, very few populations or occurrences, very steep declines, severe threats, or other factors.

l S2/N2: Imperilled – At high risk of extirpation in the jurisdiction due to restricted range, few populations or occurrences, steep declines, severe threats, or other factors.

m S3: Vulnerable – At moderate risk of extirpation in the jurisdiction due to a fairly restricted range, relatively few populations or occurrences, recent and widespread declines, threats or other factors.

n S4/G4: Apparently secure – At a fairly low risk of extirpation in the jurisdiction due to an extensive range and/or many populations or occurrences but with possible cause for some concern as a result of local recent declines, threats or other factors.

o S5/N5/G5: Secure – At very low risk of extinction or elimination due to a very extensive range, abundant populations or occurrences, and little to no concern from declines or threats.

p SNR/NNR: Unranked – National or subnational conservation status not yet assessed.

q SH: Possibly extirpated

Footnotes

Footnote 4

These federally protected areas are:  a national park of Canada named and described in Schedule 1 to the Canada National Parks Act, The Rouge National Park established by the Rouge National Urban Park Act, a marine protected area under the Oceans Act, a migratory birds sanctuary under the Migratory Bird Convention Act, 1994 or a national wildlife area under the Canada Wildlife Act see ss. 58(2) of SARA.

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Footnote 5

The Government Response Statement is the Ontario Government's policy response to the recovery strategy and summarizes the prioritized actions that the Ontario Government intends to take and support.

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Footnote 6

From germination and seedling establishment to seed-set and dispersal.

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Footnote 7

Open areas of shallow soil over flat limestone or dolostone bedrock with trees not forming a continuous canopy.  They have a very characteristic association of species, many of which are restricted to these habitats (Brownell and Riley 2000).

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Footnote 8

Uncommon but not rare; some cause for long-term concern due to declines or other factors.

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Footnote 9

Nation or state/province conservation status not yet assessed.

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Footnote 10

Species or community occurred historically in the nation or state/province, and there is some possibility that it may be rediscovered.

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Footnote 11

Vulnerable in the nation or state/province due to a restricted range, relatively few populations (often 80 or fewer), recent and widespread declines, or other factors making it vulnerable to extirpation.

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Footnote 12

Imperiled in the nation or state/province because of rarity due to very restricted range, very few populations (often 20 or fewer), steep declines, or other factors making it very vulnerable to extirpation from the nation or state/province.

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Footnote 13

Critically imperiled in the nation or state/province because of extreme rarity (often 5 or fewer occurrences) or because of some factor(s) such as very steep declines making it especially vulnerable to extirpation from the state/province.

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Footnote 14

A wildlife species facing imminent extirpation or extinction.

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Footnote 15

Lives in the wild in Ontario but is facing imminent extinction or extirpation.

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Footnote 16

"Where the Lieutenant Governor in Council determines that a species indigenous to Manitoba is threatened with imminent extinction or with extirpation throughout all or a significant portion of its Manitoba range, the Lieutenant Governor in Council may, by regulation, declare the species an endangered species" (Sec. 8(1), Manitoba Endangered Species and Ecosystems Act.

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Footnote 17

For the purposes of this recovery strategy, a population is defined as one or more occurrences (Gattinger's Agalinis plant(s)) and is equivalent to an element occurrence as defined by NatureServe (2016 b).

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Footnote 18

A population which is considered to be still in existence, i.e., not destroyed or lost (extirpated).

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Footnote 19

The natural storage of seeds, often dormant, within the soil. Annual plants may rely heavily on banked seeds for successful perpetuation from year to year, particularly in early successional and/or dynamic and naturally transient/patchy habitats; germination is favoured when and where ideal microhabitat conditions occur.

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Footnote 20

Parasitic plant, that carries out photosynthesis but also obtains food from its host. An organism that can live independently or parasitically.

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Footnote 21

To cross (animals or plants) by breeding individuals of different strains but, usually, of the same breed. Thus reducing the probability of an individual being subject to disease or reducing genetic abnormalities.

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Footnote 22

Gattinger's Agalinis typically flowers from August 8-16 in Manitoba and the flowering period typically finishes by August 26 (Murray 2013; Jones 2015).

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Footnote 23

Gattinger's Agalinis occurrences known to Environment and Climate Change Canada as of August 2015 (for Manitoba) and April 2016 (for Ontario).

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