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Amended Recovery Strategy and Management Plan for Multiple Species of Atlantic Coastal Plain Flora in Canada - 2015 [Proposed]

 

1. Background Information

1.1 Introduction to Atlantic Coastal Plain Flora

The Atlantic Coastal Plain is a term that refers to the relatively flat land along the Atlantic Coast of the United States, from Florida to southern Massachusetts. The Atlantic Coastal Plain Flora (ACPF) refers to the group of plant species largely or entirely restricted to this region (Keddy and Rezincek 1982). Concentrations of ACPF occur outside the strict limits of the Atlantic Coastal Plain in a number of areas. Within Canada they occur to a limited degree in southwestern New Brunswick (NB), with a greater diversity in the southern Georgian Bay region of Ontario, and most extensively in southern NS.

In NS, ACPF consists of a unique suite of 98 species of taxonomically unrelated vascular plants, including both herbaceous and woody species. They are best represented in habitats in and around lakes and rivers, and in fens, bogs, saltmarshes and estuaries. There are 13 provincial and/or federal legally listed ACPF species at risk that, within Canada, occur only in the province of NS. Globally, NS has some of the most intact and best remaining habitat for these species.

ACPF are poor competitors and are therefore limited to habitats where low fertility and continuous disturbance minimizes competition from more aggressive but stress-intolerant herbaceous plants (Keddy and Wisheu 1989, Morris et al. 2002). In NS, ACPF are at the northern limit of their range and their distribution may be limited due to scarcity of suitable habitat, slow growth, and low reproductive rates (Sweeney and Ogilvie 1993). The legally listed ACPF species are 'at risk' as a result of natural rarity combined with anthropogenic threats to individuals and their habitats, including cottage and residential development, infilling, and alterations to natural disturbance regimes.

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1.1.1 Species Addressed in this Recovery Planning document

This recovery strategy and management plan addresses species that are legally listed and uses the best available information to provide recovery planning for species that are of high conservation concern, but have not yet been assessed for legal listing.

The focus of this document are the 13 legally listed ACPF species, including the two provincially and federally legally listed Endangered species, Pink Coreopsis (Coreopsis rosea) and Thread-leaved Sundew (Drosera filiformis) and the three federally Threatened species, Water Pennywort (Hydrocotyle umbellata) [provincially Endangered], Goldencrest (Lophiola aurea) [provincially Vulnerable], and Plymouth Gentian (Sabatia kennedyana) [provincially Endangered]. This document also addresses the five provincially and federally listed Special Concern species (Vulnerable under the NS ESA), Sweet Pepperbush (Clethra alnifolia), Tubercled Spike-rush (Eleocharis tuberculosa), New Jersey Rush (Juncus caesariensis), Redroot (Lachnanthes caroliniana) and Eastern Lilaeopsis (Lilaeopsis chinensis); and three species listed under the NS ESA but not SARA: Eastern Baccharis (Baccharis halmifolia)  [provincially Threatened], Spotted Pondweed (Potamogeton pulcher) [provincially Vulnerable] and Long's Bulrush (Scirpus longii) [provincially Vulnerable] [SARA Schedule 3] (Table 1), as well as one species, Tall Beakrush (Rhynchospora macrostachya), assessed as Endangered by COSEWIC in November 2014, but not yet listed under SARA or the NS ESA.

The document also addresses ACPF species for which there is a conservation concern, but that are not legally listed. These are species that have been assigned provincial General Status ranks assessed under the Wild Species 2010 process (CESCC 2011) (herafter refered to as the provincial general status ranks or process). By explicitly including these additional species in the recovery process, this multiple species recovery strategy and management plan enables the integration of recovery and conservation of species at risk as well as the prevention of species from becoming at risk. This is a key element of long term recovery planning for this suite of species because should additional ACPF species be listed under SARA or NS ESA, this document will be updated to include them as legally listed ACPF species. If additional ACPF species are not legally listed, they will still benefit from the approaches outlined in this document.

Under the provincial general status process, 13 of the 98 ACPF speices are ranked Red (May be at Risk), 16 Yellow (Sensitive) and 2 Undetermined.A species is assigned an 'Undetermined' rank due to insufficient information to assess their status (Data deficient). The remaining 50 ACPF species are ranked Green (Secure). There are an additional four species that are Extirpated or Historic in NS (Purple rank). A description of each legally listed ACPF species and its needs, along with more detailed information on populations and distribution, can be found in Section 3. See Appendix 1 and 2 for the complete list of ACPF species Footnote2and Appendix 3 for definitions of terms and risk categories.

The list of NS's ACPF (Appendix 1 and 2) includes all species that have been added since the 2005 and 2010 Recovery Strategies (ACPF RT 2007 and EC and PCA 2010). Species that were candidates for inclusion on the ACPF list, but had not previously been examined by the Recovery Team were reviewed in 2007 and in 2012 Species were added to the list if they met at least two of the following three criteria (Blaney, pers. comm. 2007):

  1. Coastal plain range overall (predominantly US east coast, limited occurrence on the west side of the Appalachians),
  2. Coastal plain range in NS (predominantly south of Halifax-Windsor line, potentially including spread further north along Atlantic coast),
  3. Coastal plain habitat (lake & river shore or aquatic, peatland, swamp forest, sand barren, saltmarsh or estuarine shore).

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Table 1: The 13 legally listed Atlantic Coastal Plain Flora species and the one additional species assessed by COSEWIC but not yet legally listed.
Common NameCOSEWICNote a of Table 1
Status
COSEWICNote a of Table 1
Year
SARANote b of Table 1NS ESANote c of Table 1
Status
NS ESANote c of Table 1
Year
Global RankEstimated PopulationSummary of Rationale for Status
Pink CoreopsisE1984
(2000,2012)
EE2000G3> 6,000 flowering plants 276,600 to 328,000A shoreline species with a limited geographic range and significant decline in range in NS. It is found along the shorelines of 8 lakes where it reproduces mainly vegetatively. It is subject to continued threats from development of recreational properties.
Thread-leaved SundewE1991
(2001)
EE2000G4Unknown (likely tens of 1000's)Peat bog species occurring in 5 sites highly disjunct from the main range of the species and subject to on-going risk of new developments such as peat extraction and cranberry farming.
Plymouth GentianE1984
(2000,2012)
TE2001G373,400 to 90,700 flowering stemsA shoreline species disjunct from its main range and found at 11 lakes. These populations are subject to continued threat from recreational land use and development and increased nutrients due to animal husbandry (i.e. mink farming).
Eastern BaccharisT2011T5T2013G52850Small, restricted and highly disjunct (400+ km from northern Massachusetts) population on saltmarsh margins in southernmost Nova Scotia, where rising sea levels and development could threaten habitat.
Sweet PepperbushT1986
(2001,2001, 2014)
SCV2000G5Unknown <51,870 stems
(far fewer genetic individuals)
A disjunct and vigorous clonal species found only along the shores of 6 lakes. Invasive Glossy Buckthorn, habitat destruction from cottage development, and possibly nutrient enrichment from an inactive hog farm undergoing conversion to mink farming are threats. Uplisted from Special Concern in 2014..
Tubercled Spike-rushSC2000
(2010)
SCV2013G53,000-4,000 plantsHighly localized species disjunct in NS; occurs at 5 sites covering small areas of lakeshore habitats. Populations are threatened by recreational activities, cottage development and water pollution.
Water PennywortSC1985
(1999,2000,2014)
TE2001G5231,000+ plantsA disjunct, primarily clonal species, found along the shorelines of only 3 lakes two of which are subjected to heavy recreational use. Downlisted from Endangered in 1998.
New Jersey RushSC1992
(2004)
SCV2001G2~ 5,000 -10,000 plantsA disjunct, globally rare species, found along the periphery of 30 bogs and fens in southeastern Cape Breton Island, NS. This comprises a large proportion of the global population. It is sensitive to activities that alter the hydrologic regime such as logging, road construction, and infilling.
RedrootSC2000
(2009)
SCV2013G4>5,000 vegetative & flowering plantsRange restricted in NS to the shorelines of 6 lakes. Limited sexual reproductive potential and considerable threats from on-going development of the shoreline habitat.
Eastern LilaeopsisSC1987
(2004)
SCV2006G5130,000-187,000 mature plantsSmall perennial herb present in 5 estuaries in NS with the area of occupancy very small, but the population large. No significant declines in the last 15 years. Threats do not appear imminent; however, future shoreline development or degradation could destroy extant populations.
GoldencrestSC1987
(2000,2012)
TV2013G4>300,000 individualsA disjunct species at the northern edge of its range reproduces mainly vegetatively. It is present in only a few lakeshore and wetland habitats subject to continued threats from development and habitat alteration.
Spotted Pondweed-2014-V2013G5unknownA freshwater aquatic plant found in highly acidic, nutrient poor wetlands in only 16 populations in NS.  Threats include activities that change water quality or quantity.
Long's BulrushSC1994-V2001G2G3unknown (many thousands of rosettes, but likely quite low number of genetic individuals)A globally rare, slow growing perennial species restricted in Canada to southwestern Nova Scotian wetlands and lakeshores. Sexual reproduction is very limited in NS.
Tall BeakrushE2014Not yet listed Not yet listedG5688A shoreline species with a very small number of individuals, restricted to two lakes, with one site being highly susceptible to near-future cottage development, and the other also having some potential for future development.

Notes of Table 1

Note a of Table 1

COSEWIC Status: E = Endangered, T = Threatened, SC = Special Concern; status was re-examined in years in brackets

Return to note a referrer of table 1

Note b of Table 1

SARA Status: E= Endangered, T = Threatened, SC = Special Concern

Return to note b referrer of table 1

Note c of Table 1

NS ESA Status: E = Endangered, T = Threatened, V = Vulnerable

Return to note c referrer of table 1

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1.1.2 Ecological Role

All legally listed ACPF species are at the northern limit of their distribution in NS and are disjunct from the rest of their range along the eastern seaboard of the US. Species at the edge of their distribution may be genetically and/or morphologically distinct. Genetic research has been completed on Pink Coreopsis (Woods 2006), Thread-leaved Sundew (Cody 2002), and Plymouth Gentian (Sutton 2007), but the extent of genetic isolation and variability from the US populations is not yet clear. Further work is required to understand the rangewide significance of the genetic diversity of Nova Scotian ACPF populations.

In general, NS has a small percentage of the global range of each species; however ACPF habitats in NS are considered some of the most intact in the world. Populations in the US are experiencing mounting pressure from development, resulting in major habitat losses. For several species, such as the New Jersey Rush and Long's Bulrush, NS's populations are some of the largest remaining in the world.

There are several species from a variety of taxonomic groups, other than the vascular flora, that are associated with the Atlantic Coastal Plain. This includes interesting and rare insects, lichens, mosses, amphibians, and reptiles, however, it is not clear at this time whether there are any obligate relationships between any of these species and the ACPF. It is possible that they occur but this would require additional research and knowledge to assess.

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1.1.3 Limiting Factors

All of the legally listed ACPF species at risk have some biologically limiting factors that result in rarity and may influence recovery potential. Their distribution may be limited due to scarcity of suitable habitat, slow growth, and low reproductive rates (Sweeney and Ogilvie 1993). Almost all of these species occur in a specific habitat typeof limited occurrence in southwestern NS (Wisheu and Keddy 1989a). The 'rescue effect' from outside of Canada for these species is low as they are isolated, disjunct populations with limited chance of recolonization from distant populations along the eastern US seaboard. Natural disturbance regimes, including water level fluctuations, wave action, and ice scouring, are critical in minimizing interspecies competition, preventing the establishment of more aggressive species, including shrubs and invasive exotics.

Low, or no, seed production in NS is characteristic of several species of ACPF and instead of producing seeds these plants often reproduce clonally, using fragmentation, runners or sucker growth. These asexual reproductive strategies successfully enable the spread of the species, however, low levels of sexual reproduction, coupled with a limited seed bank and a small number of populations, limits genetic diversity. This can lead to poor environmental adaptability and thus a reduced ability to recover from severe habitat disturbance.

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1.2 Populations and Distribution

The presence of ACPF in NS has been linked to the retreat of the ice at the end of the Wisconsin Glaciation, approximately 10,000 years ago. With glaciation sea levels were lower and a series of now-submerged islands may have served as a biological link between southern NS and the Cape Cod region of Massachusetts (Keddy and Wisheu 1989, Pielou 1991). Recent evidence, however, has shown offshore land to have been more limited in time and area than was previously assumed, and that offshore land had an Arctic or sub-Arctic climate that may not have been suitable for ACPF (see summary in Clayden et al. 2009), meaning that other explanations for dispersal of ACPF into Nova Scotia are likely equally or more important.

In general, the distribution of ACPF ranges from Texas to Southern Maine in the US, coinciding with the Gulf and Atlantic Coastal Plain of the eastern seaboard of North America (Figure 1). Disjunct zones of ACPF occur in the southern Georgian Bay region of Ontario, to a limited degree in southwestern New Brunswick, and more extensively in NS. Within Canada the 12 of the 13 legally listed ACPF species in this document occur only in the province of NS. Spotted Pondweed occured in Ontario but has not been observed there since 1939.

Figure 1. The general distribution (green shading) of ACPF in North America (from www.speciesatrisk.ca).
The general distribution (green shading) of ACPF in North America
Map : The general distribution (green shading) of ACPF in North America © Environment Canada 2014.

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The majority of ACPF species at risk in NS are concentrated in the southwestern portion of the province where 12 of the 13 legally listed ACPF species are located (Figure 2). However, ACPF habitat does exist in other regions of the province, including, for example, the coast-influenced peatlands supporting New Jersey Rush in southeastern Cape Breton Island.

Figure 2. Blue shading indicates the general distribution of legally listed ACPF species, non-legally listed Red (May be at Risk) and Yellow (Sensitive) ranked species.
Blue shading indicates the general distribution of legally listed ACPF species, non-legally listed Red (May be at Risk) and Yellow (Sensitive) ranked species.
Map : Blue shading indicates the general distribution of legally listed ACPF species, non-legally listed Red (May be at Risk) and Yellow (Sensitive) ranked species.

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Five of the 94 ACPF species in NS are considered at risk globally with a Global rank (G-rank) of G2 or G3 (see Appendix 3 for G-rank definitions). These include four of the legally listed ACPF species: Pink Coreopsis, Plymouth Gentian, New Jersey Rush, Long's Bulrush plus Curly Grass Fern, which is relatively secure in NS (Appendix 1). All five of these species have a very limited distribution along the eastern seaboard of North America and are at risk over most of their range. This highlights the importance of the populations in NS to the global conservation and recovery of these species at risk.

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1.3 Rationale for Multiple Species Approach to Recovery

Multiple species and ecosystem approaches to recovery planning are explicitly permitted under SARA and the NS ESA. While there are currently only a handful of multiple species recovery strategies in Canada, recognition of their value and utility is increasing (Moore and Wooler 2004). A multiple species approach to the conservation and recovery of ACPF was adopted dating back to the original ACPF Recovery Plan in 1998.

Key factors in deciding on a multiple species approach include the high number of legally listed ACPF species at risk which have similarities in regards to habitat requirements, threats, and geographic distribution within NS. These 13 legally listed ACPF species are part of a broader complement of 98 ACPF species. A multiple species approach enables the conservation of other non-legally listed ACPF species to be addressed within the document as well. This facilitates the recovery of species at risk and enables the prevention of further ACPF species from becoming at risk. This multi-species approach can achieve efficient use of limited recovery funds and ecological and human resources while maximizing conservation and recovery efforts (Wisheu and Keddy 1994). It is effective for addressing conflicting needs between species, developing appropriate recovery actions, and establishing priorities. Multi-species recovery planning can be complex and therefore, establishing priorities is a challenging but essential part of the process, providing the organizational structure for the recovery planning document and ultimately facilitating a more effective development and delivery of recovery actions.

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1.4 Characterizing and Prioritizing Recovery Planning for ACPF

Priorities in this document address conservation priorities and have been determined by experts reviewing information. Priorities have been examined in an effort to determine where to focus recovery planning. Once priorities are established they provide the basis for recovery objectives and approaches and ultimately help guide the structural content and planning of the document.

When using a multiple species approach to conservation and recovery, establishing priorities is challenging, but essential. In this document priorities are established within biologically relevant categories enabling recovery approaches and steps to be grouped and targeted to benefit more than one species at a time. By examining all priorities within these categories, and through the integration across categories, overall priorities emerge. The emergent priorities then provide the organizational structure for conservation and recovery approaches and steps.

In this section a level of priority (high, medium, low) is established for each of three biologically relevant categories (species, habitats, threats). Each category is characterized, providing relevant background information upon which priorities are based. The levels of priority assigned to each species, habitat, and threat represent the degree of emphasis that will be place on recovery approaches and is described in more detail for each of the categories.

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1.4.1 Characterizing and Prioritizing Species

It is important to indicate the level of priority for recovery and conservation planning for all species because this document addresses the recovery of the 13 legally listed ACPF species within the context of the full complement of 98 ACPF species. A high, medium, or low level of priority is assigned to all 98 ACPF species and with each of these levels comes a difference in the necessary or required approaches to conservation and recovery.

Under half of the 98 ACPF species are assigned a high or medium priority for recovery. High priority species include legally listed ACPF species at risk, and non-legally listed ACPF species with provincial Red (May be at Risk) and Undetermined ranks (Table 2). The primary focus of the recovery strategy and management plan is the 13 federally and provincially legally listed ACPF species (Table 1). The 13 Red (May be at Risk) species are also assigned a high priority for recovery as they are assessed as 'may be at risk' based on their risk of extirpation in the province and on the Recovery Team decision (Table 3). Biological and other information available for these species has been reviewed by botanical experts and they see these species as candidates for more detailed status reports and potential legal listing as species at risk. The two Undetermined rank species are also assigned a high priority (Table 3). These species will require additional research and monitoring before a status can be assigned as there is still much to be learned about these are cryptic, hard to identify species.

All high priority species will be explicitly addressed in terms of recovery goals, objectives, and approaches. There are some instances where the legally listed ACPF species will receive greater attention, however, because of requirements under provincial (NS ESA) and federal (SARA) legislation. The legal requirements and aspects of recovery are one part of the conservation response.

The 16 Yellow (Sensitive) species are assigned a medium priority (Table 2) include the (see Appendix 1 for species list). Without conservation attention these species have a high probability of becoming at risk. Medium priority species are not considered to be at risk currently and thus recovery goals, objectives, and approaches are not explicitly included in this document. It is important to recognize that as a result of their geographical and ecological association with the high priority species the medium priority species will also receive benefits from recovery approaches. However, proactive approaches can ensure that stewardship and management actions for high priority species also address medium priority species. This will be the primary means to prevent these species from becoming at risk.

Just over half of the 98 ACPF species are considered Green (Secure) (Table 2, see Appendix 2 for species list) and these species are assigned a low priority. The four species ranked Purple (Extirpated or Historic), are also assigned a low priority (see Appendix 1 for species list). Conservation and recovery of these extirpated species as well as the Green (Secure) species is not required at this time and therefore goals, objectives, and approaches are not set. As with the medium priority species it is important to recognize that as a result of their geographical and ecological association with the high priority species the low priority species will also receive benefits from recovery approaches. It is still important to include them in the document however, in order to provide the full context of how many ACPF species are in NS.

Purple (Extirpated or Historic) species have not been documented in NS for over 25 years, so their status in the province is uncertain. The four species with this rank are all difficult to identify gresses or sedges, and all may still occur in the province. If any of these species are rediscovered in NS their priority status within this document will re-evaluated.

The status of the group as a whole should continue to be tracked because conservation information could change and it is important that conservation priorities reflect the state of the information. As is the case with this amended document, the recovery strategy can be amended and updated whenever it is necessary to do so.

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Table 2: The ranking or status for each of the 94 ACPF species and the assigned level of priority for each rank.
Status ProcessNote a of Table 2Ranking/ Status# of Species% of Total # of SpeciesLevel of Priority for Recovery
Legally listed provincially or federallySARA & NS ESANote b of Table 21314High
Provincial General Status (Non-Legally Listed)Red (May be at Risk)1314High
Provincial General Status (Non-Legally Listed)Undetermined22High
Provincial General Status (Non-Legally Listed)Yellow (Sensitive)1617Medium
Provincial General Status (Non-Legally Listed)Purple (Extirpated or Historic)44Low
Provincial General Status (Non-Legally Listed)Green (Secure)5053Low
Total # High & Medium Priority Species-44 47-
Total # Species-94--

Notes of Table 2

Note a of Table 2

See Appendix 3 for an explanation of species status assessment processes and definitions of ranks

Return to note a referrer of table 2

Note b of Table 2

Eight of these species are Red (May be at Risk) rank and five Yellow (Sensitive) rank under the general status assessment process

Return to note b referrer of table 2

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Table 3: The non-legally listed high and medium priority species ranked as Red (May be at Risk), Yellow (Sensitive) or Undetermined by the provincial General Status process.
Scientific NameCommon NameNS DNR General Status
Amelanchier nantucketensisNantucket ShadbushRed
(May Be At Risk)
Eutrochium dubiumJoe-pye-weed (Coatal Plain Joe-Pye-Weed)Red
(May Be At Risk)
Iris prismaticaSlender Blue FlagRed
(May Be At Risk)
Lyonia ligustrinaMaleberryRed
(May Be At Risk)
Panicum dichotomiflorum var. puritanorumSpreading Panic-GrassRed
(May Be At Risk)
Proserpinaca intermediaIntermediate Mermaid-WeedRed
(May Be At Risk)
Proserpinaca palustris var. palustrisMarsh Mermaid-WeedRed
(May Be At Risk)
Rhynchospora macrostachyaTall BeakrushRed
(May Be At Risk)
Salix sericeaSilky WillowRed
(May Be At Risk)
Schoenoplectus torreyiTorrey's BulrushRed
(May Be At Risk)
Sisyrinchium fuscatumCoastal-Plain Blue-Eyed-GrassRed
(May Be At Risk)
Toxicodendron vernixPoison SumacRed
(May Be At Risk)
Trichostema dichotomumForked BluecurlsRed
(May Be At Risk)
Elymus virginicus var. halophilusTerrell GrassUndetermined
Suaeda maritima ssp. richiiRich's Sea-bliteUndetermined
Agalinis maritimaSalt-Marsh False-FoxgloveYellow (Sensitive)
Alnus serrulataBrook-side AlderYellow (Sensitive)
Carex longiiGreenish-White SedgeYellow (Sensitive)
Cephalanthus occidentalisButtonbushYellow (Sensitive)
Eleocharis olivaceaCapitate SpikerushYellow (Sensitive)
Eleocharis rostellataBeaked SpikerushYellow (Sensitive)
Galium obtusumLarge Marsh BedstrawYellow (Sensitive)
Hudsonia ericoidesHudsoniaYellow (Sensitive)
Iva frutescens ssp. orariaMarsh ElderYellow (Sensitive)
Juncus marginatusGrassleaf RushYellow (Sensitive)
Juncus subcaudatusWoodland RushYellow (Sensitive)
Najas gracillimaThread-Like NaiadYellow (Sensitive)
Platanthera flava var. flavaSouthern Rein-OrchidYellow (Sensitive)
Shoenoplectus americanusThree-Square BulrushYellow (Sensitive)
Spiranthes casei var. novascotiaeCase's Ladies'-TressesYellow (Sensitive)
Utricularia resupinataNortheastern BladderwortYellow (Sensitive)

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1.4.2 Characterizing and Prioritizing Habitats

Maintaining and protecting habitat is central to the conservation and recovery of ACPF. Since ACPF species share habitat commonalities, protecting whole habitats benefits multiple species and maximizes the efficiency of conservation actions. Habitat protection increases the probability that the protected system will be self-perpetuating, maintain its functional processes, and be more resistant to occasional perturbations (Keddy and Wisheu 1989).

ACPF species are generally poor competitors and are often unable to coexist with more aggressive plants. This characteristic usually prevents them from occurring in nutrient rich habitats (Sweeney and Ogilvie 1993). As a result, ACPF species grow in areas where most other plants have difficulty surviving; typically acidic, nutrient-poor, wet habitats exposed to high levels of natural stress and disturbance. ACPF tend to coincide with stress tolerant plant species such as submerged, short-stemmed aquatic plants (isoetids) and carnivorous species that are also associated with low nutrient, infertile soils (Wisheu and Keddy 1989a, Wisheu and Keddy 1994). Table 4 provides an overview of key habitat and reproductive characteristics for the 13 high priority legally listed ACPF species. Additional specific habitat information for these 13 species is provided in Section 3.

For the purpose of assigning priorities within this recovery planning document, habitat is divided into three biologically relevant categories; habitat types (i.e. lake, bog/fen, and coastal), locations (i.e. specific lakes and bogs), and watersheds in which these species occur.

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Table 4: Species-specific habitat and reproductive characteristics for the 13 legally listed ACPF species. For references please refer to species-specific information in Section 3
Species# of Locations per high priority Habitat TypeNote a of Table 4Habitat DescriptionEssential
Requirements
E/T/SC Species Co-occurring in at least one LocationReproductive StrategyFlowering SeasonPollinationNote b of Table 4Seed Dispersal MechanismsNote c of Table 4
Pink Coreopsis8 L
2 HL
Infertile, gently sloping sandy, gravel, peat, or cobblestone lake shorelinesNatural disturbances:
fluctuating water conditions, ice scour, wave action
Water Pennywort, Plymouth Gentian, Long's BulrushAsexual (rhizomes); Sexual (sporadic seed production)Mid July-Sept.IU
Thread-leaved Sundew5 B/FRaised (or plateau) bogs which are infertile, acidic open wetlands dominated by peat mosses, heath shrubs, short sedges and grasses. It is typically found in peaty hollows where competition from other vegetation is limited.Open conditions (shade intolerant)Long's BulrushSexual (seeds)Mid July- Aug.IWa
Plymouth Gentian11 L
3 HL
Broad, infertile, gently sloping lakeshores of sand, cobble, gravel, or peat.Open lakeshore maintained by natural disturbances: fluctuating water levels, ice scour, wave actionPink Coreopsis, Water Pennywort, Long's BulrushAsexual (stolons); Sexual (sporadic seed production)Mid July- Sept.IWa
Water Pennywort2 LPrimarily on sand or gravel lake shorelines in a narrow band above or below the waterline. In NS restricted to acidic and nutrient poor sites.Open lakeshore maintained by natural disturbances: fluctuating water levels, ice scour, wave actionPink Coreopsis, Plymouth GentianAsexual (stolons); Sexual (seeds not observed in NS)July- Sept.N/AU
Goldencrest6 L
3 F
Cobble lakeshores, bay bogs and fens in locations where peat accumulates from stands of Twigrush (Cladium mariscoides), sometimes on floating mats. Occasionally large, open peatlands not associated with lakesOpen lakeshore maintained by natural disturbances: fluctuating water levels, ice scour, wave action
OR
Saturated open peatland
Redroot, Long's Bulrush, , Spotted PondweedAsexual (rhizomes); Sexual (sporadic seed production)Aug. -Sept.IU
Eastern Baccharis7 E/CUpper estuarine saltmarsh margins near transition to non-saline habitats in sites protected from open ocean exposure and having especially mild winter temperatures.Highly moderated winter temperatures; moderate soil salinity reducing ability of competing shrubs to survive-Asexual (rhizomes, branch rooting); Sexual (seeds)AugI(?)Wi, Wa
Sweet Pepperbush6 LBouldery acidic lakeshores and adjacent wet, often peaty sites. Unlike some lakeshore ACPF herbaceous species, it occurs above the zone of most intense ice scour and it is not known from high catchment area lakes.Lakeshore and associated wetlands above zone subject tp intensive ice scourNoneAsexual (vegetative suckers); Sexual (seeds, but seed production may be limited in NS)Mid Aug.- Oct.UU
Tubercled Spike-rush5 LSandy or stony lakeshores and gravel bars, on the fringes of peat layers, and on the edges of peaty wetlands bordering lakes. It is also found on vegetative mats that are either floating or pushed onto shorelines in storms or by ice.Open lakeshore maintained by natural disturbances: fluctuating water levels, ice scour, wave actionNoneAsexual (vegetative); Sexual (seeds)Aug.WiWi
Wa
New Jersey Rush30 B/FEdges of small lobes of open peatland extending into surrounding forest, and in small boggy openings in coniferous woods; generally with some nutrient enrichment from groundwater flow. It is found in wet areas but does not tolerate prolonged standing water conditions. It is sensitive to hydrological changes and is negatively affected by events such as site drainage or flooding.Saturated open peat,
Enrichment relative to surrounding peatland through groundwater flow, intolerant of hydrological changes
NoneAsexual (rhizomes); Sexual (seeds not observed in NS)July- Aug.WiU
Redroot6 LLakeshores on peat, sand, gravel. Abundance is highest on cobble or gravel beaches with a thin peaty soil layer, often within meadows of Twigrush.Natural disturbances: fluctuating water conditions, wave and ice action to reduce competitionGoldencrest, Long's BulrushAsexual (rhizomes); Sexual (seeds)Aug.-Sept.I (?)U
Eastern Lilaeopsis6 E/CIntertidal zone along the shorelines of river estuaries, within zones where salinity is strongly moderated by freshwater inflow; mainly on gentle, muddy slopes, and occasionally on gentle slopes of fine gravel.Tidal fluctuations with salinity moderated by freshwater inflowNoneAsexual (rhizomes); Sexual (seeds)Aug.- Sept.UWa
Spotted Pondweed11 L
2 R
Shallow water (to ~1.5m) of lakes and rivers; generally acidic and nutrient poor sites.Near-constant inundationRedroot, Goldencrest, Long's Bulrush, Tubercled Spikerush, Water Pennywort, Pink Coreopsis, Tall BeakrushAsexual (rhizomes); Sexual (seeds)July-AugU (may be Wi & Wa)Wa, An (esp. ducks)
Long's Bulrush6 L
16 B/F
Open peatlands of various types [a) large peatlands not associated with lakes; b)“bay bogs” and “barrier bogs” – peatlands developed at the margins of lakes; c) stillwater fens – marshy peatlands on the margins of slow-moving rivers. It also occurs on much shallower peat on the shorelines of a few large catchment area lakes. Generally in especially wet and/or low competition areas. It tends to grow in the most waterlogged areas of these habitats, and on east-facing shores.Saturated peaty soil with minimal tree and tall shrub cover (shade intolerant)Thread-leaved Sundew, Water Pennywort, Plymouth Gentian, Goldencrest, RedrootAsexual (rhizomes); Sexual (irregular seed production)June- early JulyWiWa
Wi

Notes of Table 4

Note a of Table 4

High priority habitat type: L-lake, B-bog, F-fen, E/C-estuary/coastal, HL-historic lake

Return to note a referrer of table 4

Note (b) of Table 4

Pollination: I-insect, Wi-wind, U-unknown, N/A-not applicable;

Return to note b referrer of table 4

Note (c) of Table 4

Seed Dispersal Mechanisms: Wa-water, Wi-wind, An - Animal, U-unknown.

Return to note c referrer of table 4

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1.4.2.1 ACPF Habitat Types

For the purposes of recovery planning and defining priorities, habitat types were identified based on broad ecological and functional groups (eg. lakeshore, bog/fen, estuary, river, forest) (Table 5). Members of the ACPF Recovery Team evaluated all species and indicated which habitat types the species is known to occur in. Appendix 4 contains a complete listing of all ACPF species according to habitat type. All habitat types that contain ACPF species are important for conservation and recovery; however, establishing priorities enables efforts to be more directed which is particularly important when resources are limited.

The level of priority was determined by assessing the number of high and medium priority species (Table 5) as well as other conservation factors such as recovery feasibility, adequate knowledge, and threat management options. High priority was assigned to lakeshore and bog/fen habitat types because together they contain 11 of the 13 legally listed ACPF species. Estuary habitat is the only known habitat type for Eastern Lilaeopsis and saltmarsh is the only known habitat for the final legally listed ACPF species (Eastern Baccharis) and therefore is also assigned a high priority. Medium priority was assigned to river/stream shore, marsh, and aquatic habitat types because at least one legally listed ACPF species and a few other high priority species are known to occur in it. The remaining habitat types (marsh, swamp/wooded swamp, meadow/field, barrens) have been assigned a low priority.

High priority habitats will be specifically targeted within this document for all recovery approaches. Whereas conservation and recovery of species in medium priority habitat types will primarily be opportunistically included when approaches associated with high priority habitats are conducted. Low priority habitat types, even if they contain high priority species will not be directly targeted in this recovery planning document.

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Table 5: The frequency of occurrence of ACPF species by habitat type and the level of conservation priority assigned to each habitat type. Note that some species occur in more than one habitat.
Habitat TypeHigh Priority Species

Legally listed, N=13Note * of Table 5
High Priority Species

Red (May Be At Risk), N=13
High Priority Species

Undetermined, N=2
Medium Priority Species

Yellow (Sensitive)
N=161
Level of Priority
Lakeshore810-8High
Bog/ Fen45-2High
Estuary/Coastal
(saltmarsh, sea beach, tidal river)
2124High
River/stream Shore44-5Medium
Aquatic22-2Medium
Marsh04-2Low
Swamp/ Wooded Swamp13-5Low
Meadow/ Field02-2Low
Barrens03-3Low

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1.4.2.2 Characterization of Lakeshore Habitat

Eleven of the 13 legally listed ACPF species occur on lakeshores. ACPF lakeshore species occur throughout the gradient or cross-section of a lake shoreline, from the shrub zone, through the shore zone and into the aquatic zone. However, they are typically found within the shore zone and are most abundant where there is glacial "red till", (Keddy 1984, Keddy 1985a). This till generally occurs on broad, gently sloping shorelines made up of smooth sand or gravel and tends to be water-saturated and low in nutrients (Keddy and Wisheu 1989).

Important habitat characteristics associated with lakeshores include water depth, shoreline gradient (low gradient correlating with greater width), till type, and exposure to disturbance (Keddy and Wisheu 1989). Shoreline width and low gradient are important for the persistence of ACPF and are good predictors of the presence of rare ACPF in a region (Hill and Keddy 1992). ACPF tend to grow in areas below the shrub zone that are often flooded and where exposure to disturbance is greatest (Keddy and Wisheu 1989). There are some exceptions, notably Sweet Pepperbush, which tends to occur in bouldery acidic lakeshores within the shrub zone where shorelines are steeply sloped, free of ice scour disturbance.

Natural disturbances are important in maintaining populations of ACPF on lakes.  Natural disturbances can remove competing plant species and create new areas of suitable habitat.  ACPF species are associated with lakes characterized by three key natural disturbances: (a) seasonally fluctuating water levels, (b) high wave energy and, (c) ice scouring.

(a) Seasonally fluctuating water levels: high water levels create an open shoreline suitable for ACPF species by inhibiting shrub growth and thereby preventing competitor establishment (Keddy and Wisheu 1989, Wisheu and Keddy 1994). However, consistent and sustained high water levels may negatively affect reproductive efforts in ACPF species by preventing growth from the seed bank (Keddy and Reznicek 1982, Keddy and Wisheu 1989). Therefore, fluctuating water conditions are ideal in terms of reproduction and competitor reduction (Keddy and Reznicek 1982).

(b) High wave energy: the exposure of shorelines to battering wave action has two primary effects that benefit ACPF. Firstly, wave action decreases shoreline competition by preventing shrubs from establishing (Keddy 1985b, Keddy and Wisheu 1989). Secondly, this exposure reduces the fertility of shorelines and helps create low nutrient conditions by washing fine particles and nutrients out of the soil (Keddy 1985b). Wave energy is inversely proportional to the level of organic matter, silt, clay, phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, and calcium in the shoreline substrate (Keddy 1985b, Keddy and Wisheu 1989).

(c) Ice scouring: ice scouring tends to benefit ACPF by promoting the colonization of ACPF in surrounding areas. Heavy shifting ice often uproots mats of soil and plants and transports it to nearby shorelines, potentially creating habitat and new populations (Wisheu and Keddy 1989b, Sweeney and Ogilvie 1993, Morris 1994). Wisheu and Keddy (1989b) observed that soil infertility, wave damage, and ice scour was greatest along shoreline areas composed of red till.

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1.4.2.3 Characterization of Bog and Fen Habitat

As with lakeshore habitats, bogs and fens present favourable conditions for ACPF species because they are low biomass communities that exhibit low levels of interspecific competition. However, the diversity of ACPF species is lower within bog and fen habitats than in lakes. The National Wetlands Working Group (1997) defines bogs as acidic, low nutrient peatlands, with the water table at or slightly below the surface. The surface of bogs is raised or level with the surrounding landscape and as a result groundwater and surface runoff do not provide a source of water. Consequently water is primarily obtained from precipitation and snowmelt, which is low in dissolved minerals. In comparison, fens are peatlands rich in dissolved minerals with a fluctuating water table at or near the surface (National Wetlands Working Group 1997). Water sources include surface runoff, precipitation, and groundwater inflows. Water may or may not be flowing at the surface of the fen through channels, pools, or open water bodies (National Wetlands Working Group 1997). These two habitat types are not always distinct and many wetlands may have both bog and fen components.

ACPF species are found in several different types of bog habitats, including bay, barrier, and plateau bogs. Bay bogs, as defined by Hill and Johansson (1992), form when sheltered bays of lakes become entirely filled with accumulated peat. Barrier bogs, as defined by Hill and Johansson (1992), are separated from water bodies by a rocky barrier and are flooded in the winter when the water level of the neighbouring waterbody rises. The high water levels are maintained by the rocky barrier after the water levels recede in the spring (Hill and Johannson 1992).

Plateau (or raised) bogs are distinctly located above the surrounding landscape and often have steeply slopping edges (National Wetlands Working Group 1997). Plateau bogs in southwestern NS are characterized by mud bottoms and 50-60 cm high conical hummocks (Damman and Dowhan 1981).  The hummocks provide raised and lowered areas that support different types of vegetation that are adapted to wetter or drier conditions. As is typical of many bogs, the pH tends to be very low and the water levels rise and fall with the level of precipitation.

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1.4.2.4 Characterization of Estuary/Coastal Habitat

An estuary is the region of interaction between rivers and nearshore ocean waters, where tidal action and river flow create a mixing of freshwater and saltwater (Environment Canada 2006). These areas may include bays, mouths of rivers, saltmarshes, and lagoons (Environment Canada 2006). Estuarine habitat is characterized by gently sloping muddy shorelines or shorelines with fine gravel and often is located in intertidal mudflats between large boulders. One legally listed ACPF species, Eastern Lilaeopsis, occurs in estuaries at the mouths of large rivers in NS, and a second Eastern Baccharis occurs around saltmarsh margins in sheltered southern Nova Scotia bays. Eastern Baccharis occurs in a restricted range of coastal habitats in unshaded or partially shaded sites on the margins of well-developed salt marshes or on upper beaches, usually fronted by saltmarsh. This habitat is above the extent of daily tidal inundation and is in estuaries or bays that provide significant protection from onshore wind and waves. The species is often found in the upland fringe of salt marshes, in or near the transition zone to coastal forest, where soil salinity is lower and vegetation cover is predominantly graminoids and low shrubs. Estuarine species are adapted to daily fluctuations in water levels and are inundated by several meters of water for part of each day.

Coastal habitat describes areas such as saltmarshes, tidal beaches and tidal rivers where water level and water composition are affected by marine processes such as tide cycles. High priority ACPF species occur in coastal habitats, including two Undetermined ranked species (Appendix 4).

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1.4.3 ACPF Habitat: Locations

For this document location priorities will be established only for the three high priority habitat types (lakeshores, bogs/fens and estuary/coastal). Although all locations with ACPF species are important for conservation and recovery, establishing priorities enables efforts to be more directed. Characterization and prioritization by location is an important level from the perspective of species recovery, as a geographically definable unit at which to target efforts and a level at which communities can be engaged. The level of priority was assigned based on the number of legally listed ACPF species, the total number of other non-legally listed high priority (Red (May Be At Risk) and Undetermined ranked) species, and then the number of medium priority (Yellow (Sensitive)) species.

Characterization and prioritization provides an overview of the depth and breadth of locations that must be addressed. It may be perceived that the conservation and recovery of multiple species of ACPF will require actions of a large number of locations. However, less than 2% of all 6,700 lakes in NS are known to contain high and medium priority ACPF species. Similarly, less than 0.5% of the greater than 22,000 bogs in NS have high priority ACPF species.

High, medium, or low priority will be assigned to each location, indicating the level of conservation and recovery efforts required. High priority lakes will receive the greatest attention with respect to recovery approaches and actions to follow. These include all locations for the 13 legally listed ACPF species recovery approaches and will include legal protection of species and habitats, targeted reduction of threats, necessary research, as well as stewardship and management. Medium priority lakes will receive primarily stewardship and management approaches and efforts will be less targeted and more opportunistic. Low priority lakes do not contain high priority species and will not be directly addressed in this document.

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1.4.3.1 Prioritization of Lakes

Table 6 indicates which lakes have the greatest number of high and medium priority APCF species and are thus assigned a high priority for conservation efforts. Note that the relevance of the watershed column included in Table 6 is explained in Section 1.5 below. High priority was assigned to lakes that contained one or more legally listed ACPF species as these are the primary focus of the document. Lakes containing one or more non-legally listed Red (May Be At Risk) or Undetermined ranked species were assigned a medium priority (see Appendix 6). There are 53 high priority lakes many of which have more than one high priority species and as a result many conservation and recovery efforts for species can be combined when priority lakes are targeted. A table indicating which high and medium priority ACPF species occur on each of the lakes is included in Appendix 5 and 6. Yellow listed species of ACPF also exist on approximately 70 other lakes with no legally listed, Red (May Be At Risk) or Undetermined ACPF species.

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Table 6: The 53 high priority lakes for ACPF species in NS, including the total number of high priority species and the primary watershed where they are located.
WatershedLocationHigh Priority Legally Listed Species

E Note a of Table 6
High Priority Legally Listed Species

T Note a of Table 6
High Priority Legally Listed Species

SC Note a of Table 6
High Priority Non-Legally Listed Species

Red (May Be At Risk)
High Priority Non-Legally Listed Species

Undetermined
Total # High Priority Species
TusketWilsons Lake211206
MedwayHog Lake012115
MedwayMolega Lake013105
Tusket (Annis)Pleasant Lake101305
MedwayLittle Ponhook Lake012104
MedwayPonhook Lake012104
TusketBennetts Lake200204
TusketLac de l'Ecole101204
TusketLake Fanning100304
Tusket (Annis)Salmon Lake101 Note b of Table 6114
BarringtonBarrington Lake001113
MedwayCameron Lake001203
MedwayShingle Lake012003
MerseyCarrigan Lake001 Note b of Table 6203
MerseyKejimkujik Lake002103
TusketGillfillan Lake200103
TusketRaynards Lake101 Note b of Table 6103
BarringtonGreat Pubnico Lake001102
Barrington (Clyde)Harpers Lake001102
MedwayBeartrap Lake011002
MedwayFirst Christopher Lake002002
MedwayMill Lake002 Note b of Table 6002
MerseyLittle Ten Mile Lake001102
MeteghanBelliveau Lake011 Note b of Table 6002
TusketKegeshook Lake100102
TusketMill Lake011 Note b of Table 6002
TusketPearl Lake100012
Tusket (Annis)Agard Lake200002
AnnapolisGrand Lake001001
LaHaveHirtles Lake001000
LaHaveRhodenizer Lake001100
LaHaveSeven Mile Lake100100
MerseyLoon Lake001001
MerseyTen Mile Lake001001
MerseyMcBride Lake001101
MedwayBeavertail Lake001001
MedwayFancy Lake010001
MedwayMoosehorn Lake001001
MedwayMudflat Lake010001
MedwayPretty Mary Lake010001
RosewayGold Lake001001
RosewayWestern Lake001001
TusketLong Lake001001
TusketPlacides001001
TusketSpringhaven Duck Lake010102
TusketCanoe Lake010001
TusketLouis Lake010001
TusketSloans Lake100001
TusketThird Lake100001
TusketTravis Lake100001

Notes of Table 6

Note a of Table 6

COSEWIC status: E= Endangered, T= Threatened, SC= Special Concern

Return to note a referrer of table 6

Note b of Table 6

Spotted Pondweed, provincially Vulnerable not COSEWIC assessed

Return to note b referrer of table 6

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1.4.3.2 Prioritization of Bogs and Fens

Table 7 indicates which bogs/fens have the greatest number of legally listed high priority APCF species. Only three of the 56 bogs/fens known to support legally listed ACPF contain more than one species, while the remaining 53 bogs/fens contain only one legally listed ACPF species. These locations are as important as those that contain more than one species and as a result, high priority was assigned to all 56 bogs/fens. Since only three of the bogs have more than one legally listed high priority species, conservation and recovery efforts for species cannot be combined for the bog/fen habitat. However, common strategies and approaches to conservation and recovery can be applied across bogs/fens.

Five high priority non-legally listed Red (May Be At Risk) and Undetermined rank species are known to occur in bog/fen habitat and include: Greenish-white Sedge, Large Marsh Bedstraw, Slender Blue Flag, Intermediate Mermaid-Weed and Poison Sumac. There are two known historic records for Goldencrest at Big Meadown Bog/Fen complex on Brier Island and Sandy Cove, Digby County, NS.

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Table 7: The 56 high priority bogs/fens for the legally listed ACPF species in NS, including which species occur in each location, and the watershed where they are located.
LocationCOSEWIC StatusNote a of Table 7
Thread-leaved SundewE
GoldencrestT
Long's BulrushSC
New Jersey RushSC
Table 7. Continued
WatershedLocationThread-leaved SundewGoldencrestLong's BulrushNew Jersey RushTotal # of Species
MerseyDunraven Bog--2
RosewayQuinns Meadows Bog--2
RosewayPort La Tour Bog---1
RosewaySwaines Road Bog---1
RosewayVillagedale Bog---1
RosewayWest Baccaro Bog---1
LaHaveSmith Lake Bog---1
LaHaveDemones Run Bog--2
RosewayBlue Hill Bog Brook---1
Little RiverMoores Lake Bog---1
Little RiverTiddville Bog---1
MerseyBog at Big Sixteen Mile Bay---1
MerseyBog/fen at outlet of Bull Moose Lake---1
MerseyBog near McGowan Lake---1
MerseyBog west of Wilkins Lake---1
MerseyBog NW of East Brook Bay, Lake Rossignol (Previously named - Bog S of Little Rocky Lake)---1
MedwayBarren Meadow Brook Bog N - Near Hwy 325---1
MedwayBarren Meadow Brook Bog S – Near Cow Moose Bay, Shingle Lake---1
MedwayEel Weir Stillwater Bog/Fen---1
MedwayFen at Eighteen Mile Brook---1
MedwayBog/Fen near Molega Lake - S of Salmon Bay---1
MedwayBog/Fen near Molega Lake - W of Bear Cove---1
MedwayMedway River Bog/Fen - Glode Meadow Brook (Previously named Medway River Bog/Fen #1)---1
MedwayMedway River Bog/Fen - Wentworth Brook / Poltz Falls (Previously named Medway River Bog/Fen #2 and #3)---1
MedwayMedway River Bog/Fen - Echo Lodge Road (Previously named Medway River Bog/Fen #4)---1
MedwayWildcat River---1
GrandBarren Hill---1
GrandGracieville Bog/Fen complex – includes Bog 1& 2Note b of Table 7, 3, 4, and 5---1
GrandGrand River (Indian Point)---1
GrandGrand River East 1---1
GrandGrand River East 2---1
GrandGrand River West---1
GrandMacAskills Brook bog/fen complex
Includes Point Michaud bogs/fens (unnamed bog/fen, German Bog, Elbow Bog), and Grand River bogs/fens (Bog 8, Bog 9b)
---1
Sydney & MiraBelfry Lake---1
Sydney & MiraBog E of South Arm Breeches Lake---1
Sydney & MiraMacLeods Pond
(Previously named Bog near Framboise/Fourchu and Framboise/Fourchu (opposite Morrison Beach Road))
---1
Sydney & MiraBog S. of Kennington Cove Road---1
Sydney & MiraFen N. of Kennington Cove Road---1
Sydney & MiraBog/Fen complex E of Cricket Lake
(Previously named Bog W of Mulcuish Lake and Mulcuish Lake (near gravel pit))
---1
Sydney & MiraCricket Lake---1
Sydney & MiraBog/Fen NW of Jimmy MacLeods Brook
(Previously named Fen near Stirling)
---1
Sydney & MiraGabarus Lake---1
Sydney & MiraMacLeods Lakes - SE of lakes
(Previously named Loch Lomond (Grace's Road Fen- new location)
---1
Sydney & MiraMacLeods Lakes - W of lakes
(Previously named Loch Lomond (Grace's Road Fen)
---1
Sydney & MiraSilver Mine---1
Sydney & MiraL'Archevêque/ St. Esprit---1
Sydney & MiraLower St. Espirit Bog/Fen complex---1
Sydney & MiraSt. Espirit/ Ferguson Road Bog---1
Sydney & MiraSt. Esprit – Matheson Brook---1
Sydney & MiraSt. Paul Island Bog 2---1
Sydney & MiraBarren Hill---1
Sydney & MiraUpper Marie Joseph Lake---1
Sydney & MiraBog/Fen NW of Upper Marie Joseph Lake---1
Sydney & MiraLower Marie Joseph Lake---1
Sydney & MiraBog/Fen N of Powderhorn Lake---1
Sydney & MiraBog/Fen complex W of Belfry Lake---1

Notes of Table 7

Note a of Table 7

COSEWIC Status: E = Endangered, T = Threatened, SC = Special Concern

Return to note a referrer of table 7

Note b of Table 7

Bog 1 and Bog 2 are separated only by a highway and are considered a single population in the 2004 COSEWIC Assessment and Update Status Report.

Return to note b referrer of table 7

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1.4.3.3 Prioritization of Estuary / Coastal Habitat

High priority is assigned to the six estuaries where Eastern Lilaeopsis is found because these are the only known locations for Eastern Lilaeopsis. These five estuaries are located at the mouth of the Annis, Tusket, Medway, LaHave, and Roseway Rivers in southwestern NS and the River Philip in north-west NS.

High priority is assigned to seven saltmarshes because these are locations that contain Eastern Baccharis. These seven saltmarshes are in in Yarmouth County at the Tusket River Estuary: Arnold Point, Johnston Cove (north), Johnston Cove (south) and Bird Point; as well as Morris Island - Roberts Island, Surrettes Island, and West Pubnico.

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1.4.4 ACPF Watersheds

When planning conservation and recovery priorities and actions, it is important to examine immediate and broad contexts. Watersheds are widely recognized as an important planning and management unit, providing the opportunity to address broad-scale threats and deal with cumulative effects that have the potential to impact more than one location. The watershed is considered an important ecological unit for ACPF species (Hill and Keddy 1992, Hill et al. 2000), however management and stewardship at this scale is more challenging and thus a less obvious consideration for recovery than location.

More information is needed to fully understand the importance of the watershed scale for the conservation and recovery of ACPF in NS. However Hill and Keddy (1992) have determined that lakes positioned lower in watersheds, and hence with a larger watershed area, typically have greater species richness and higher numbers of rare ACPF. This is likely due to the increased disturbance that arises from the funnelling of a large catchment area of melt-water in the spring, or rainfall from storms. Spring flooding and storm surges cause shorelines to be cleared of shrubs and other vegetation that might out-compete ACPF. These actions also leach nutrients from the soil, thus favouring the ACPF that are poor competitors, but tolerant of low-nutrient substrate. Not all ACPF species are found on lakes with large watersheds and therefore low catchment lakes cannot be excluded from conservation and recovery actions (Hill et al. 2000). For bog or estuary species the importance of the watershed in relation to the distribution, abundance, or persistence has not yet been examined.

Prioritization at the watershed level will have the least impact on the implementation of recovery approaches and actions because it is such a broad scale at which to deliver. However, some management decisions and research must take place at this scale and therefore identification of the priority watersheds is important. ACPF are known to occur in approximately 75% of the 46 primary watersheds in NS. However, only 13 primary watersheds have legally listed high priority ACPF species. All 13 of these watersheds have been identified as high priority because they contain the legally listed high priority species and because the majority of other high priority and medium priority species also occur within these watersheds. Figure 3 shows the location of these 13 high priority watersheds, with nine of the 13 occurring in southwestern NS. This highlights the importance of this southwestern region of the province for ACPF species conservation and recovery.

Appendix 7 summarizes the occurrences of the legally listed high priority species in each of the 13 high priority watersheds. The Tusket, Medway, and Roseway River watersheds contain the highest number of species with five in each. These watersheds also contain at least one species that occurs in no other watershed. The Grand River and Sydney/Mira River watersheds in Cape Breton Island, NS contain the only locations of New Jersey Rush.

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Figure 3. The 13 high priority watersheds in NS that contain high priority ACPF species.
The 13 high priority watersheds in NS that contain high priority ACPF species.
Map : The 13 high priority watersheds in NS that contain high priority ACPF species.
Long Description for figure 3

Figure 3 shows the distribution of the rankings of ACPF species in Nova Scotia in relation to the high priority primary watersheds. The Red Ranked species are mainly in the southwestern portion of the province, whereas the Undetermined and Orange Ranked species are scattered evenly throughout the province.

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1.5 Characterizing and Prioritizing Common Threats

1.5.1 Threat classification

Table 8 summarizes the 24 general and specific threats to the 13 legally listed ACPF species addressed in this document. The threats are organized according to six broad threat categories defined in the RENEW guidelines: Habitat Loss and Degradation, Changes in Ecological Dynamics or Natural Processes, Pollution, Disturbance or Persecution, Exotic or Invasive Species, and Climate and Natural Disasters (RENEW 2006). It also provides the indicators of stress caused by the threat, additional threat information such as occurrence and frequency as well the level of priority of the threat for each priority habitat type (see Appendix 9 for definitions of each Threat Information category). Many of these threats are common across species and habitat type; however, Table 9 provides a summary of which species are affected by each threat.

ACPF species at risk are constrained by biologically limiting factors including small population sizes, northern range limitations, and reduced reproductive capabilities (see Section 1.1.2). However, there are also many significant anthropogenic threats that have an effect on all of the legally listed high priority ACPF species (Table 8 and 9). Several of these threats are interrelated and the stresses on the species are likely a result of complex interactions and cumulative effects of more than one threat.

The assessment of threat information presented in Table 8 and Table 9 is based on documented research (see References Section 4) or expert opinions from members of the ACPF Recovery Team. For some of the threats additional research is required to empirically assess the causal certainty of threats and the biological stresses induced.

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1.5 Characterizing and Prioritizing Common Threats

1.5.1 Threat classification

Table 8 summarizes the 24 general and specific threats to the 11 legally listed ACPF species addressed in this document.  The threats are organized according to six broad threat categories defined in the RENEW guidelines: Habitat Loss and Degradation, Changes in Ecological Dynamics or Natural Processes, Pollution, Disturbance or Persecution, Exotic or Invasive Species, and Climate and Natural Disasters (RENEW 2006).  It also provides the indicators of stress caused by the threat, additional threat information such as occurrence and frequency as well the level of priority of the threat for each priority habitat type (see Appendix 9 for definitions of each Threat Information category).  Many of these threats are common across species and habitat type; however, Table 9 provides a summary of which species are affected by each threat.

ACPF species at risk are constrained by biologically limiting factors including small population sizes, northern range limitations, and reduced reproductive capabilities (see Section 1.1.2).  However, there are also many significant anthropogenic threats that have an effect on all of the legally listed high priority ACPF species (Table 8 and 9).  Several of these threats are interrelated and the stresses on the species are likely a result of complex interactions and cumulative effects of more than one threat.

The assessment of threat information presented in Table 8 and 9 is based on documented research (see References Section 4) or expert opinions from members of the ACPF Recovery Team.  For some of the threats additional research is required to empirically assess the causal certainty of threats and the biological stresses induced.

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Table 8. Threat classification table for threats impacting all 13 legally listed ACPF species
Threat CategoryGeneral Threat
(Alpha-numeric Threat Code)
Specific ThreatStressThreat Information+Note aof Table 8

Extent
Threat Information+Note aof Table 8

Occurrence
Threat Information+Note aof Table 8

Frequency
Threat Information+Note aof Table 8

Causal Certainty
A. Threat Category: Habitat Loss or Degradation1. Cottage and residential developmentHabitat conversion & fragmentation; Erosion; Increased siltation; Eutrophication (increased nutrients)↑ mortality, poor reproductive success; ↑ interspecific competitionWCCH
A. Threat Category: Habitat Loss or Degradation2. Shoreline alterations (i.e. mowing & raking, boat docks & launches, wharves, breakwaters)Habitat conversion & fragmentation; Alteration of habitat characteristics (substrate composition)↑ mortality; poor reproductive success; ↑ interspecific competitionWCCH
A. Threat Category: Habitat Loss or Degradation3. Off-highway vehicle (OHV) useReduced microhabitat; Alteration of habitat characteristics (species composition, substrate compaction)↑ mortality; poor reproductive successWCCH
A. Threat Category: Habitat Loss or Degradation4. Infilling(i.e. filling in wetland areas for development, recreational or industrial purposes)Habitat conversion & fragmentation↑ mortalityLCOTH
A. Threat Category: Habitat Loss or Degradation5. Forest harvesting practices (i.e. clear cutting, harvesting in the riparian zone, rotation times)Erosion; Increased siltation; Eutrophication (increased nutrients)↑ interspecific competitionLCCL
A. Threat Category: Habitat Loss or Degradation6. Agricultural practices (i.e. tilling, crop production)Erosion; Increased siltation; Eutrophication (increased nutrients)↑ interspecific competitionLCCL
A. Threat Category: Habitat Loss or Degradation7. Animal husbandry(i.e. mink)Erosion; Increased siltation; Eutrophication (increased nutrients)↑ interspecific competitionLCCH
A. Threat Category: Habitat Loss or Degradation8. Peat miningHabitat conversion; Removal of substrateLocal extinction; poor reproductive successLAOTH
A. Threat Category: Habitat Loss or Degradation9. Cranberry growingHabitat conversion; Removal of substrateLocal extinction; poor reproductive successLACH
A. Threat Category: Habitat Loss or Degradation10. Road constructionHabitat conversion & fragmentation; Increased access for further OHV use↑ mortality; poor reproductive success; ↑ interspecific competitionLACH
A. Threat Category: Habitat Loss or Degradation11. Diatomaceous earth miningRemoval of substrateLocal extinctionLHOTH
A. Threat Category: Habitat Loss or Degradation12. Dam construction(Hydroelectric)Habitat conversionLocal extinctionLHOTH
A. Threat Category: Habitat Loss or Degradation13. Livestock (i.e, pigs)Erosion; Increased siltation; Eutrophication (increased nutrients)↑ interspecific competitionLACM
B. Threat Category: Changes in Ecological Dynamics or Natural Processes1. Cottage and residential developmentAlteration of natural disturbance regime; Fragmentation of pollinator habitat↑ mortality; poor reproductive success; ↑ interspecific competitionWCCH
B. Threat Category: Changes in Ecological Dynamics or Natural Processes2. Shoreline alterations (i.e. mowing & raking, boat docks & launches, wharves, breakwaters)Alteration of natural disturbance regime↑ mortality; poor reproductive success; ↑ interspecific competitionWCCH
B. Threat Category: Changes in Ecological Dynamics or Natural Processes3. Dam operation(Hydroelectric)Alteration of natural disturbance regime (stabilization of water levels)Poor reproductive success; ↑ interspecific competitionLCCH
B. Threat Category: Changes in Ecological Dynamics or Natural Processes4. Forest harvesting practices (i.e. clear cutting, harvesting in the riparian zone, rotation times) and Agricultural practices (i.e. tilling, crop production)Alteration of natural disturbance regime (stabilization of water levels)Poor reproductive success; ↑ interspecific competitionLCCH
B. Threat Category: Changes in Ecological Dynamics or Natural Processes5. Peat miningHydrologic regime changes (water table changes)↑ mortality; poor reproductive successLAOTH
B. Threat Category: Changes in Ecological Dynamics or Natural Processes6. Cranberry growingHydrologic regime changes (flooding)↑ mortality; poor reproductive successLACH
C. Threat Category: Pollution1. Waste Water(i.e. septic, industrial, livestock, animal husbandry)Eutrophication (increased nutrients)↑ interspecific competitionWCCM
C. Threat Category: Pollution2. Pesticide Use(i.e. landscaping, crop and animal production)Direct exposure; Alteration of habitat characteristics (species composition)↑ mortality; ↑ interspecific competitionWCCL
C. Threat Category: Pollution3. Gas and oil leakage and spills (i.e. motorboats, OHVs, washing cars)Direct exposure; Alteration of habitat characteristics (substrate conditions)↑ mortality; poor reproductive successLCCL
D. Threat Category: Disturbance or Persecution1. Off-highway vehicle (OHV) use-↑ mortalityWCCH
D. Threat Category: Disturbance or Persecution2. Picking and trampling-↑ mortalityWCCH
E. Threat Category: Exotic or Invasive Species1. Various plant speciesResources competition↑ interspecific competition; poor reproductive successLACL
F. Threat Category: Climate and Natural Disasters5. Climate changeAlteration to water levels and natural disturbance regimeUncertainWUCL
Table 8. Continued
Threat CategoryGeneral Threat
(Alpha-numeric Threat Code)
Specific ThreatStressThreat Information+Note a of Table 8

Severity
Threat Information+Note a of Table 8

Level of Concern
Priority by Habitat TypeNote b of Table 8

Lakeshore
Priority by Habitat TypeNote b of Table 8

Bog/Fen
Priority by Habitat TypeNote b of Table 8

Estuary/
Coastal
A. Threat Category: Habitat Loss or Degradation1. Cottage and residential developmentHabitat conversion & fragmentation; Erosion; Increased siltation; Eutrophication (increased nutrients)↑ mortality, poor reproductive success; ↑ interspecific competitionHHHLL
A. Threat Category: Habitat Loss or Degradation2. Shoreline alterations (i.e. mowing & raking, boat docks & launches, wharves, breakwaters)Habitat conversion & fragmentation; Alteration of habitat characteristics (substrate composition)↑ mortality; poor reproductive success; ↑ interspecific competitionHHH-M
A. Threat Category: Habitat Loss or Degradation3. Off-highway vehicle (OHV) useReduced microhabitat; Alteration of habitat characteristics (species composition, substrate compaction)↑ mortality; poor reproductive successHHHHL
A. Threat Category: Habitat Loss or Degradation4. Infilling(i.e. filling in wetland areas for development, recreational or industrial purposes)Habitat conversion & fragmentation↑ mortalityHHHHH
A. Threat Category: Habitat Loss or Degradation5. Forest harvesting practices (i.e. clear cutting, harvesting in the riparian zone, rotation times)Erosion; Increased siltation; Eutrophication (increased nutrients)↑ interspecific competitionULLL-
A. Threat Category: Habitat Loss or Degradation6. Agricultural practices (i.e. tilling, crop production)Erosion; Increased siltation; Eutrophication (increased nutrients)↑ interspecific competitionULL-L
A. Threat Category: Habitat Loss or Degradation7. Animal husbandry(i.e. mink)Erosion; Increased siltation; Eutrophication (increased nutrients)↑ interspecific competitionHHH--
A. Threat Category: Habitat Loss or Degradation8. Peat miningHabitat conversion; Removal of substrateLocal extinction; poor reproductive successHH-H-
A. Threat Category: Habitat Loss or Degradation9. Cranberry growingHabitat conversion; Removal of substrateLocal extinction; poor reproductive successHH-H-
A. Threat Category: Habitat Loss or Degradation10. Road constructionHabitat conversion & fragmentation; Increased access for further OHV use↑ mortality; poor reproductive success; ↑ interspecific competitionMM-MM
A. Threat Category: Habitat Loss or Degradation11. Diatomaceous earth miningRemoval of substrateLocal extinctionHL-L-
A. Threat Category: Habitat Loss or Degradation12. Dam construction(Hydroelectric)Habitat conversionLocal extinctionHLL--
A. Threat Category: Habitat Loss or Degradation13. Livestock (i.e, pigs)Erosion; Increased siltation; Eutrophication (increased nutrients)↑ interspecific competitionHMM--
B. Threat Category: Changes in Ecological Dynamics or Natural Processes1. Cottage and residential developmentAlteration of natural disturbance regime; Fragmentation of pollinator habitat↑ mortality; poor reproductive success; ↑ interspecific competitionMHHLL
B. Threat Category: Changes in Ecological Dynamics or Natural Processes2. Shoreline alterations (i.e. mowing & raking, boat docks & launches, wharves, breakwaters)Alteration of natural disturbance regime↑ mortality; poor reproductive success; ↑ interspecific competitionMHH--
B. Threat Category: Changes in Ecological Dynamics or Natural Processes3. Dam operation(Hydroelectric)Alteration of natural disturbance regime (stabilization of water levels)Poor reproductive success; ↑ interspecific competitionMM-L-
B. Threat Category: Changes in Ecological Dynamics or Natural Processes4. Forest harvesting practices (i.e. clear cutting, harvesting in the riparian zone, rotation times) and Agricultural practices (i.e. tilling, crop production)Alteration of natural disturbance regime (stabilization of water levels)Poor reproductive success; ↑ interspecific competitionMMLL-
B. Threat Category: Changes in Ecological Dynamics or Natural Processes5. Peat miningHydrologic regime changes (water table changes)↑ mortality; poor reproductive successHH-H-
B. Threat Category: Changes in Ecological Dynamics or Natural Processes6. Cranberry growingHydrologic regime changes (flooding)↑ mortality; poor reproductive successHH-H-
C. Threat Category: Pollution1. Waste Water(i.e. septic, industrial, livestock, animal husbandry)Eutrophication (increased nutrients)↑ interspecific competitionHHH--
C. Threat Category: Pollution2. Pesticide Use(i.e. landscaping, crop and animal production)Direct exposure; Alteration of habitat characteristics (species composition)↑ mortality; ↑ interspecific competitionULM--
C. Threat Category: Pollution3. Gas and oil leakage and spills (i.e. motorboats, OHVs, washing cars)Direct exposure; Alteration of habitat characteristics (substrate conditions)↑ mortality; poor reproductive successULLLL
D. Threat Category: Disturbance or Persecution1. Off-highway vehicle (OHV) use-↑ mortalityHHHHL
D. Threat Category: Disturbance or Persecution2. Picking and trampling-↑ mortalityLLLL-
E. Threat Category: Exotic or Invasive Species1. Various plant speciesResources competition↑ interspecific competition; poor reproductive successULMMM
F. Threat Category: Climate and Natural Disasters5. Climate changeAlteration to water levels and natural disturbance regimeUncertainUUUUH

Notes of Table 8

Note a of Table 8

Extent: W (widespread) or L (local).
Occurrence: H (historic), C (current), I (imminent), A (anticipated), or U (unknown).
Frequency: OT (one-time), S (seasonal), C (continuous), R (recurrent), or U (unknown).
Causal Certainty: H (high), M (medium), or L (low).
Severity: H (high), M (moderate), L (low), or U (unknown).
Level of Concern: (H: high, M: medium, L: low, or U: Uncertain) See Appendix 9 for definitions of each of the threat information categories.

Return to note a referrer of table 8

Note b of Table 8

HabitatPriority (H: high, M: medium, L: low, U: Uncertain, or - [dash]: not applicable).

Return to note b referrer of table 8

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Table 9: A summary of the threats that impact the high priority legally listed ACPF species.
Threat CategoryGeneral ThreatHigh Priority Species (legally-listed)Note a of Table 9

Lakeshore (L)

Pink Coreopsis
High Priority Species (legally-listed)Note a of Table 9

Lakeshore (L)

Tubercled Spike-rush
High Priority Species (legally-listed)Note a of Table 9

Lakeshore (L)

Plymouth Gentian
High Priority Species (legally-listed)Note a of Table 9

Lakeshore (L)

Water Pennywort
High Priority Species (legally-listed)Note a of Table 9

Lakeshore (L)

Redroot
High Priority Species (legally-listed)Note a of Table 9

Lakeshore (L)

Sweet Pepperbush
High Priority Species (legally-listed)Note a of Table 9

Lakeshore (L)

Spotted Pondweed
High Priority Species (legally-listed)Note a of Table 9

L & B/F

Goldencrest
A. Habitat Loss or Degradation1. Cottage and residential development
A. Habitat Loss or Degradation2. Shoreline alterations (i.e. mowing & raking, boat docks & launches, wharves, breakwaters)
A. Habitat Loss or Degradation3. Off-highway vehicle (OHV) use
A. Habitat Loss or Degradation4. Infilling(i.e. filling in wetland areas for development, recreational or industrial purposes)
A. Habitat Loss or Degradation5. Forest harvesting practices (i.e. clear cutting, harvesting in the riparian zone, rotation times)-
A. Habitat Loss or Degradation6. Agricultural practices (i.e. tilling, crop production)
A. Habitat Loss or Degradation7. Peat mining------ 
A. Habitat Loss or Degradation8. Cranberry growing------ 
A. Habitat Loss or Degradation9. Road construction------ -
A. Habitat Loss or Degradation10. Diatomaceous earth mining------ 
A. Habitat Loss or Degradation11. Dam construction(Hydroelectric)----
B. Changes in Ecological Dynamics or Natural Processes1. Cottage and residential development
B. Changes in Ecological Dynamics or Natural Processes2. Shoreline alterations (i.e. mowing & raking, boat docks & launches, wharves, breakwaters)
B. Changes in Ecological Dynamics or Natural Processes3. Dam operation(Hydroelectric)----
B. Changes in Ecological Dynamics or Natural Processes4. Forest harvesting practices (i.e. clear cutting, harvesting in the riparian zone, rotation times) andAgricultural practices (i.e. tilling, crop production)-
B. Changes in Ecological Dynamics or Natural Processes5. Peat mining-------
B. Changes in Ecological Dynamics or Natural Processes6. Cranberry growing-------
C. Pollution1. Waste Water(i.e. septic, industrial)
C. Pollution2. Pesticide Use(i.e. landscaping, crop and animal production)
C. Pollution3. Gas and oil leakage and spills (i.e. motorboats, OHVs, washing cars)
D. Disturbance or Persecution1. Off-highway vehicle (OHV) use
D. Disturbance or Persecution2. Picking and trampling
E. Exotic or Invasive Species1. Various plant species
F. Climate and Natural Disasters1. Climate change
Totals-1816181816161821
Table 9. Continued
Threat CategoryGeneral ThreatHigh Priority Species (legally-listed)Note a of Table 9

L & B/F

Long's Bulrush
High Priority Species (legally-listed)Note a of Table 9

Bog/Fen (B/F)

Thread-leaved Sundew
High Priority Species (legally-listed)Note a of Table 9

Bog/Fen (B/F)

New Jersey Rush
High Priority Species (legally-listed)Note a of Table 9

Estuary/ Coastal

Eastern Lilaeopsis
High Priority Species (legally-listed)Note a of Table 9

Estuary/ Coastal

Eastern Baccharis
A. Habitat Loss or Degradation1. Cottage and residential development
A. Habitat Loss or Degradation2. Shoreline alterations (i.e. mowing & raking, boat docks & launches, wharves, breakwaters)----
A. Habitat Loss or Degradation3. Off-highway vehicle (OHV) use 
A. Habitat Loss or Degradation4. Infilling(i.e. filling in wetland areas for development, recreational or industrial purposes) 
A. Habitat Loss or Degradation5. Forest harvesting practices (i.e. clear cutting, harvesting in the riparian zone, rotation times)--
A. Habitat Loss or Degradation6. Agricultural practices (i.e. tilling, crop production)---
A. Habitat Loss or Degradation7. Peat mining--
A. Habitat Loss or Degradation8. Cranberry growing--
A. Habitat Loss or Degradation9. Road construction-- 
A. Habitat Loss or Degradation10. Diatomaceous earth mining-----
A. Habitat Loss or Degradation11. Dam construction(Hydroelectric)-----
B. Changes in Ecological Dynamics or Natural Processes1. Cottage and residential development
B. Changes in Ecological Dynamics or Natural Processes2. Shoreline alterations (i.e. mowing & raking, boat docks & launches, wharves, breakwaters)----
B. Changes in Ecological Dynamics or Natural Processes3. Dam operation(Hydroelectric)----
B. Changes in Ecological Dynamics or Natural Processes4. Forest harvesting practices (i.e. clear cutting, harvesting in the riparian zone, rotation times) andAgricultural practices (i.e. tilling, crop production)--
B. Changes in Ecological Dynamics or Natural Processes5. Peat mining--
B. Changes in Ecological Dynamics or Natural Processes6. Cranberry growing--
C. Pollution1. Waste Water(i.e. septic, industrial)----
C. Pollution2. Pesticide Use(i.e. landscaping, crop and animal production)---- -
C. Pollution3. Gas and oil leakage and spills (i.e. motorboats, OHVs, washing cars)-
D. Disturbance or Persecution1. Off-highway vehicle (OHV) use 
D. Disturbance or Persecution2. Picking and trampling----
E. Exotic or Invasive Species1. Various plant species-----
F. Climate and Natural Disasters1. Climate change
Totals-131414105

Notes of Table 9

Note a of Table 9

- (dash) indicates that it is not applicable for that species

Return to note a referrer of table 9

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1.5.2 Description of threats

The majority of threats to ACPF fall into the two broad categories: 'Habitat loss and degradation' and 'Changes in Ecological Dynamics and Natural Processes' (Table 8 and Table 9). It is known that ACPF are poor competitors and are dependent upon habitats with specific characteristics, particularly low nutrient substrates that are subject to natural disturbance that maintains the habitat characteristics and reduces competition (Wisheu and Keddy 1989a). The persistence of ACPF populations is dependent upon maintaining the current levels of natural disturbance (Wisheu and Keddy 1989a). Thus human actions that have an effect on ACPF habitats or natural processes pose a considerable threat to ACPF species at risk.

Threats that are assigned a High level of concern (Table 8) are considered High priority and will be the emphasis of recovery approaches and actions. Lakeshore and bog/fen species both have seven high priority threats. However, these are not the same threats for each habitat type and for the bog/fen species only three of the threats are current and the other four are anticipated. Lakeshore species face the greatest total number of threats with up to 18 general threats. Bog/fen species have up to 14 threats and the estuary/coastal species have up to 10 threats (Table 9). Goldencrest occurs in both bog/fen and lakeshore habitats and therefore faces the greatest total number of threats with 21.

Wisheu and Keddy (1989) found that the greatest threat to ACPF is an increase in human disturbance, particularly cottage and residential development and off-highway vehicle (OHV) use, which have an effect on all three priority habitat types (bog/fen, lake, and estuarine). As indicated in Table 9, cottage and residential development, OHV use, and infilling are the only threats that affect all 13 legally listed ACPF species. The severity of the affect of these threats varies by habitat type, with development being a more serious concern for lakeshore species (Eaton and Boates 2003). Several of the threats included in Table 8 and Table 9 are not described in the COSEWIC status reports for the species. Threats in these tables are based on the expert opinion of the ACPF Recovery Team and other referenced sources.

Threats to Lakeshore Habitats and Species

Cottage development around key ACPF lakes is steadily increasing. Over the past 55 years the number of cottages on key ACPF lakes has increased by an average of 353% (Eaton and Boates 2002). The threat of development is compounded because it is directly correlated with an increase in the number of shoreline alterations, including boat wharves and docks, infilling, raking, mowing, and OHV use (Eaton and Boates 2003). There are already significant effects of existing development and the potential for it to have a continued and increased effect on ACPF species and their habitats is high. Eaton and Boates (2002) presented data on the total number of cottages per lake and the number of properties not yet developed, at 13 lakes, and estimated that on average the number of cottages per lake could increase by an average of almost 100%.

Off-highway vehicle use on lakeshores can have several negative effects on ACPF species and habitats (Table 8). Not only does it lead to soil compaction and destruction of existing plants, it also can reduce the seed bank. Areas of severely disturbed shorelines have 10% of the seed bank compared to areas with no OHV use (Wisheu and Keddy 1991). Of the remaining seeds, 91% failed to germinate, suggesting that the seed bank is not only severely reduced but also damaged by OHV use (Wisheu and Keddy 1991).

Other concerns associated with development include potential effects on ecological processes such as pollination. Recent work on Plymouth Gentian indicates that the number of pollinators and time spent at flowers decreases in disturbed shorelines (Trant 2005). It is speculated that this is as a result of fragmentation of the shoreline habitat and degradation of the shrub zone used by the pollinators for overwintering and nesting (Trant 2005), however it has not yet been empirically evaluated.

Hydroelectric dam construction in the late 1920's resulted in the extirpation of Pink Coreopsis and Plymouth Gentian from lakes in the Tusket River watershed and alteration of suitable habitat on several lakes.  It is estimated that 50% of the suitable shoreline habitat for rare ACPF has been lost due to hydroelectric dam installation (Morris et al. 2002).  Large catchment area lakes (>50,000 ha) are generally the target for hydroelectric dam operations, however, these lakes are also positively correlated with the presence of rare ACPF (Hill et al. 1998).  Although significant new losses related to power generation are unlikely, there are still potential negative effects on ACPF species because hydro dams disrupt and stabilize natural seasonal water levels within a watershed (Hill et al.1998).  Stabilization of a lake's water level would result in fewer disturbances and thus less regeneration from buried seeds (Keddy and Reznicek 1982).  There may be opportunities to mitigate past and current affects through the planned management of water levels for ACPF (Morris et al. 2002, Lusk 2006). 

Threats that result in increased runoff and eutrophication will require additional research to determine the severity of their effects on ACPF species and habitats. However, ACPF are generally located on nutrient-poor, infertile substrates and thus soil enrichment from nutrient runoff may alter shoreline habitats by providing suitable growing conditions for species that are able to out-compete ACPF (Wisheu and Keddy 1989a, Wisheu and Keddy 1994). It has been documented that nutrient runoff from cottages and/or disturbance could alter the species composition of shoreline vegetation (Wisheu et al. 1994). In addition, it is likely that some forest harvesting practices and agricultural practices could contribute to the input of sediments and nutrients as well and lead to shoreline soil enrichment (Wisheu and Keddy 1989a). Future work is needed to examine the cumulative effects of nutrient loading from lake developments, forest harvesting and agriculture at a watershed level (Wisheu et al. 1994). ACPF along the Tusket river face threats of nutrient input from animal husbandry operations (mink farms). Studies are currently underway to determine source and amounts of nutrients from those operations and whether they are contributing to downstream algal blooms on ACPF lakes (Fanning, Raynards).

Another threat that is often tied to cottage development and agriculture is the introduction of exotic or invasive species. A preliminary examination of invasive plant species on six priority lakes in the Tusket River watershed revealed that this is not currently a serious threat (Eaton and Boates 2003). However, because of the dynamic element of invasives (rapid spread and unpredictable introduction) and the potential severity of effects, the potential future threat to ACPF from invasive plant species should not be underestimated and should continue to be monitored.

Threats to Bog and Fen Habitats and Species

The number of current high priority threats affecting bog/fen habitat is considerably less than in lakeshore habitats. Certain human activities, including residential and cottage development, forest harvesting, road construction, and infilling can alter the hydrology of the bog/fen, changing the vegetation community to favour more aggressive species which could out compete ACPF (Hill and Johansson 1992). Although no current plans exist for commercial peat mining or cranberry production at ACPF locations, this continues to be an anticipated threat. In the past, proposals have been made to extract peat from one of the Thread-leaved Sundew locations. Development of peat mining has been restricted in this bog due to the presence of the Thread leaved Sundew.

Threats to Estuary / Coastal Habitats and Species

Eastern Lilaeopsis and Eastern Baccharis are the high priority ACPF species that occur in estuary/coastal habitats. Eastern Lilaeopsis, which occurs in esturine habitat, faces fewer severe current threats than lakeshore and bog/fen species. The only high priority threat to this species is infilling which can occur as a result of land reclamation for development or road construction. Road construction has had a negative effect in the past, resulting in changes to the hydrology of the estuary and direct loss of habitat, however, this is considered an anticipated threat as there are no current proposals for road development near the known locations. Human alteration of the coastal habitats used by Eastern Baccharis is the most immediate threat. Climate change induced increases in storm frequency and severity and sea level rise is also a threat to this species; however, there is uncertainty regarding the impact of this threat (Blaney and Mazerolle 2011).

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1.6 Actions Already Completed or Underway

Work on the conservation of ACPF species in NS have been underway for at least three decades with recovery and conservation efforts being formalized in 1996 with the creation of the ACPF Recovery Team. The Team developed an initial multiple species Recovery Plan in 1998. In 2005 this Plan was evaluated and expanded upon with the completion of a new ACPF Multiple Species Recovery Strategy and Action Plan. This 2015 Recovery Strategy and Management Plan builds on these plans, retaining much of the content but including additional information as required under SARA.

Although research and conservation efforts have been underway for decades, actions undertaken have not always been systematically planned and initiatives have often been opportunistic, not necessarily strategic. As a result of this ad hoc approach there are some fundamental knowledge gaps that still need to be addressed. This recovery planning document and subsequent Action Plan will provide the guidance necessary to ensure progress towards conservation and recovery. This section provides an overview of the progress to date organized by the three broad strategic approaches identified in Section 2.4 (Information Acquisition, Management, and Stewardship).

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1.6.1 Information Acquisition

Databases

The most comprehensive databases on ACPF species are housed and maintained by NS DNR and Atlantic Canada Conservation Data Centre (AC CDC). Other databases are maintained by the NS Museum of Natural History, Acadia University Museum, NS Department of Environment and Labour (NS DEL) - Protected Areas Branch, KNP, and Nova Scotia Nature Trust (NSNT), as well as individual researchers. Databases contain historic and current records for ACPF species, often including specific location information, population estimates, and additional field notes. A database of monitoring efforts from 2010-2012 coordinated by Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute (MTRI) (including population, habitat, water quality and threat data) are stored in an online, password protected database. Population monitoring data for this project are also stored at the ACCDC.

Surveying and Monitoring

Since 1998, a number of high priority ACPF locations have been visited regularly. Field work has been conducted by several different individuals and organizations and a complete summary of this work and lakes surveyed can be obtained from the ACPF Recovery Team. However, before 2010, in general the selection of locations for surveying and monitoring has been opportunistic rather than systematic. Standards and protocols for field sampling and monitoring of different species have not been formally developed for ACPF species, with the exception of the Water Pennywort population in KNP (Vasseur 2005). As a result there has been considerable variation in the amount and quality of survey data collected. Since 2010, however, new protocols for lakeshore surveys, threat monitoring, as well as volunteer monitoring program have been developed and adopted. Also, the identification of new areas of potential habitat for high priority species has occurred informally and unsystematically. It has been based primarily on predicted possible locations in the literature, proximity to other known locations, or fortuitously while conducting other research. A five year monitoring program that engages both researchers and volunteers commenced in 2010 that will monitor populations, habitat and threats along the entire shore length of the 36 high priority lakes outlined in appendix 5 of the 2010 recovery strategy.

Research

In NS, extensive research and conservation work began in the 1980's by botanists such as Dr. Paul Keddy, Cathy Keddy and Dr. Irene Wisheu. Work on ACPF included the examination of habitat characteristics, shoreline zonation and distribution, the role of disturbance regimes, competitive abilities and limitations, seed bank representation, and the effect of threats such as cottage development and ATV use, ultimately highlighting the need for conservation attention. Subsequent work has continued to increase the body of knowledge surrounding ACPF and is summarized in Appendix 8. In 1990, a Coastal Plain Flora workshop was held in Halifax, NS and was attended by researchers and conservation agencies from eastern Canada and US.

At several NS universities research is ongoing or has recently been conducted on ACPF, under Dr. Sara Good-Avila, Dr. Tom Herman and Dr. Ed Reekie at Acadia University, Dr. Liette Vasseur at Saint Mary's University, Dr. Nick Hill and Dr. Ron MacKay at Mount Saint Vincent University. Studies include research on genetics, reproductive biology, seed bank composition, shoreline development, and hydroelectric reservoir lakes (Appendix 8). Research by NS DNR, Environment Canada, and Parks Canada (KNP) include studies such as an inventory of the anthropogenic threats to ACPF in the Tusket River Watershed, the effects of water quality and alien invasive species on ACPF, and the development of a monitoring protocol for the Water Pennywort (Appendix 8).

Traditional Ecological Knowledge

Preliminary discussions and assessment of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) related to ACPF species indicate that there may be little known about these plants. Mi'kmaq communities were contacted and offered the opportunity to participate on the ACPF Recovery Team.

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1.6.2 Management

Management recovery actions include conservation and recovery efforts such as legislation, decision-making, coordination, planning, policies, and programs. There are several provincial and federal acts that contribute to the conservation and recovery of ACPF (Section 2.7.1 and 2.7.2 provides an overview of these acts). Since the formation of the ACPF Recovery Team in 1996 the NS Endangered Species Act (1998) and the federal Species at Risk Act (2002) were passed, affording protection to 13 ACPF species.

The provincial Integrated Resources Management (IRM) planning process highlights key ACPF conservation and recovery areas. This means any proposed development in these areas is closely scrutinized for potential impacts on ACPF. Programs such as the Government of Canada Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk, which has been in place since 2000, has enabled conservation and recovery work on several ACPF initiatives.

The Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources can issue Special Management Practices (SMPs) that apply to activities carried out on Crown Land. Currently SMPs exist for other at risk species such as Boreal Felt Lichen, Mainland Moose, Canada Lynx and Wood Turtles. No Special Management Practices are currently in place for ACPF.

ACPF conservation and recovery has involved coordination and collaboration between all three levels of government (federal, provincial, and municipal). Eaton and Boates (2005) identified municipalities as key partners in the recovery of ACPF, particularly because lakeshore development is one of the primary threats to ACPF and municipalities are responsible for much of the regulation regarding development planning and permitting. Also municipalities had been engaged successfully in 2002 when NS DNR and NS DEL staff met with a local developer and municipal officials to create guidelines for development that eliminate lakeshore threats to ACPF and have resulted in a new process to improve lakeshore alteration permitting processed under the Environment Act. Some municipalities have developed municipal planning strategies that account for wildlife and habitat (e.g. Municipality of the County of Queens).

Progress towards the on the ground protection of ACPF has been made with the creation of protected areas including; Kejimkujik National Park in 1976, the Tusket River Nature Reserve on Wilsons and Gillfillan Lakes established in 1987, followed by Ponhook Lake Nature Reserve, Quinns Meadow Nature Reserve (land surrounding the bog/fen location), and the Tobeatic Wilderness Area. Bowers Meadows and Tidney River Wilderness Areas may also prove to have some value for ACPF conservation.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has been involved in the purchasing and protection of the land on Wilsons Lake which became the site of a Nature Reserve. NCC owns additional properties with high priority ACPF on Pearl, Third, Kegeshook and Bennets Lakes as well as Quinns Meadow. Bowater Mersey Paper Company Incorporated worked with the NCC to donate a piece of land to TREPA that became the private C.R.K. Allen Nature Reserve on Gillfillan Lake. Nova Scotia Nature Trust (NSNT) has reserves with ACPF on Gillfillan, Bennets, Wilsons and Ponhook Lakes, as well as Riversdale on the Medway river.

In 2012 Nova Scotia started the process to identify new protected areas to reach the goal of 12% protected areas in the province. Inevitibly, some new wilderness areas and nature reserves will be established because of the presence of high priority ACPF species. Candidate areas include expansion of nature reserves at Ponhook Lake, Eighteen Mile Brook and Gillfillan Lake. New candidate nature reserves and wilderness areas will protect ACPF at Ten Mile and Little Ten Mile Lakes, Shingle Lake, Seven Mile Lake, Smith Lake, Harpers Lake, Western Lake, Gold Lake, Raynards Lake, Shingle Lake, Canoe Lake, Dunraven Bog, Kegeshook Lake and the Tusket River. Forchu Coast wilderness area as well as Point Michaud and Mulcuish Lake Nature reserves will protect New Jersey Rush in Cape Breton

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1.6.3 Stewardship

Groups undertaking stewardship initiatives have worked closely with the ACPF Recovery Team. Since 2000 the Nova Scotia Nature Trust (NSNT) has focused on promoting the role and importance of private land stewardship in the conservation of ACPF through its Coastal Plain Stewards and Plants on the Edgeprojects.

The NSNT has collected detailed information on private land holdings at key ACPF locations, produced signage for use on private land, compiled landownership records, met with landowners to discuss ACPF protection on their land, and documented interactions with individual landowners. Stewardship agreements have been established with landowners at 45 properties. The landowners agree to three things: to be good stewards of their ecologically significant property; to contact the NSNT if they are interested in altering the habitat, and to notify the NSNT if they decide to sell the property.

The success of the NSNT landowner contact program provides a foundation for the formal securement (purchase, donation, or the establishment of conservation easements) of key ACPF habitats identified in collaboration with the ACPF Recovery Team. Four properties have been permanently secured, two on Molega Lake and two on Gillfillan Lake; over 5 km of ACPF lakeshore habitat (for more information please visit Nova Scotia Nature Trust).

The NSNT and NS DEL have increased stewardship and support for the recovery of ACPF through public education initiatives such as presentations and guided walks. They have lead guided walks for private landowners and the general public, with local experts, biologists, and researchers promoting ACPF conservation and recovery.

Effective educational communications materials have also been produced and distributed including: a poster illustrating high priority ACPF species, brochures and fact sheets regarding NSNT stewardship and volunteer monitoring programs, support materials for a volunteer plant monitoring program, brochures on water quality and alien invasive species. The NSNT has produced a Guide to the ACPF in NS (NSNT 2005), and the Recovery Team has produced a website (Nova Scotia's Atlantic Coastal Plain Flora - Recovery and Stewardship). The Tusket River Environmental Protection Association (TREPA) has been involved in communicating and educating local landowners in the Tusket River area. Also, KNP continues to promote the suite of ACPF species, placing particular emphasis on the Water Pennywort.

In 2010 the Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute (MTRI) began a multi partner 5 year project to increase awareness of ACPF by involving the public in monitoring and by conducting targeted outreach at 36 high priority lakes. A field guide "Atlantic Coastal Plain Flora in Nova Scotia: Identification and Information Guide" was produced by Parks Canada and MTRI (MTRI, 2011). The guide, along with "Healthy Lakes and Wetlands for Tomorrow" (MTRI, 2009), was distributed door to door to landowners on the 36 high priority lakes. Social events, BBQ's and plant walks were held with partner organizations in communities near the high priority lakes. From 2010-2012 volunteers contributed over 1700 hours to the various aspects of the project.

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1.7 Knowledge Gaps Common to All or Most Species

Conservation and recovery of ACPF species at risk has been underway for over a decade, with some protected areas in place for over three decades. As a result the information base for recovery efforts is sufficient for directing objectives and strategic approaches. However, knowledge gaps still exist and further monitoring and research of species, their habitats, and threats are required to further advance recovery efforts. Although knowledge gaps are common across all high priority species, the legally listed priority species will be the primary focus. The following actions are required:

Survey and Monitoring Requirements:

  • Regular surveys of known sites as part of a long-term monitoring program to determine accurate population abundance and distribution, population trends, and habitat conditions
  • Identification of potential sites and inventories to determine species presence or absence at additional locations

Threat Clarification Research Requirements:

  • Determine the extent of threats and the pathways through which they are impacting species and habitats, particularly for high priority threats and threats where severity is unknown or causal certainty is low (Table 8)

Biological and Ecological Research Requirements:

  • Examination of population biology such as reproductive, demographic, genetic and dispersal information (i.e. seed production, seed bank longevity, dispersal, recruitment, survivorship)
  • Understanding of key habitat characteristics required to comprehensively identify critical habitat for Endangered and Threatened species
  • Understanding of ecological processes such as habitat requirements of pollinators and watershed level processes such as dispersal between lakes
  • Determination of whether there are barriers to restoration of specific populations of some species, or to reintroduction of new populations
  • Examination of the genetic differences between US and NS populations to determine if the NS populations are distinct, whether they are irreplaceable global populations, or if they are similar to the US populations and therefore may serve as a source population for the highly threatened US locations.

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Footnotes

Footnote 2

Appendix 1 provides information on the provincially and federally legally listed ACPF species, the non-legally listed Red ranked species, the Yellow ranked species, the Undetermined ranked species and the Blue ranked species. Appendix 2 provides information on the Green ranked species.

Return to first footnote 2 referrer

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