Recovery Strategy for the Hickorynut and the Kidneyshell [Final Version]
Fisheries and Oceans Canada engaged several First Nation communities in Southern Ontario in the development of recovery strategies for Ontario mussel species. There were several meetings with members of the London Chiefs Council, one to discuss sampling the Thames River adjacent to the Chippewa, Oneida and Delaware communities and one to discuss the Thames River Recovery Strategy. There was ongoing dialogue between DFO and the policy advisor to the Southern First Nations Secretariat which is the administrative agency of the London Chiefs Council. DFO had meetings with the director of the Walpole Island Natural Heritage Centre and the Fish and Game Enforcement Officer from Walpole Island First Nation. During these meetings, general information on the Species at Risk Act was presented and the Walpole Island Recovery Strategy was discussed. A representative from Walpole Island First Nation was invited to participate on the Ontario Freshwater Mussel Recovery Team which prepared the Round Hickorynut and Kidneyshell Recovery Strategy; the representative was invited to attend all meetings and included in all correspondence sent to the recovery team members regarding this and other mussel recovery strategies. DFO also discussed SARA issues with a representative of the Six Nations of the Grand who works from the Six Nations EcoCentre and who also represents First Nation interests on the Grand River Fishes at Risk Management Plan, the Thames River Fish Management Plan and the St. Clair River Management Strategy.
An information package, which includes a copy of the Round Hickorynut and Kidneyshell recovery strategy and a summary description of the strategy, was prepared to solicit comments from potentially affected First Nations. This package was sent to the Chief and Council of Chippewa of Stoney and Kettle Point, Chippewa of Sarnia, Caldwell First Nation, Moravia of Thames First Nation, Chippewa of the Thames, Oneida, Munsey-Deleware First Nation, Mississauga of New Credit First Nation and Six Nations of the Grand. Members of these communities may have traveled or harvested fish from the waters of the Ausable River, Sydenham River, Thames River and Grand River where these mussels were historically found. Follow-up telephone calls were made to each community office to ensure that packages were received and to ask if they would like to schedule a meeting to learn more about the recovery strategy or the SARA.
The Ontario Freshwater Mussel Recovery Team had representation from all of the Conservation Authorities responsible for managing the rivers where mussels at risk are presently or were historically found. In addition to this, DFO prepared a list of non governmental organizations and municipalities which may be impacted by the Round Hickorynut and Kidneyshell Recovery Strategy. Information packages were prepared to inform these groups that the recovery strategy was posted on the SARA Public Registry and inviting each group to comment on the strategy. As well, an announcement was prepared and placed in newspapers with circulation in the area where these mussels are found to inform landowners and the general public about the strategy and to request their comments. These packages were sent and the announcements published to coincide with posting of the Recovery Strategy on the SARA Registry.
The province of Ontario was represented on the Recovery Team by the Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR) and actively participated in the development of this Recovery Strategy. Further to their participation in the development of the Recovery Strategy, the OMNR conducted a thorough review of the penultimate draft (December 2004) providing valuable additional insight. A letter to request further Provincial comment on the Recovery Strategy was sent to the OMNR to coincide with posting of the Recovery Strategy on the SARA Public Registry.
The National Water Research Institute of Environment Canada was actively engaged in the development of this recovery strategy providing two members to the Ontario Freshwater Mussel Recovery Team. Environment Canada was invited to review and provide comment on the December 2004 draft of the Round Hickorynut and Kidneyshell recovery strategy.
The Recovery Team contacted representatives from Resource Management agencies at the state and federal levels in the U.S.A., where Round Hickorynut and Kidneyshell are extant, to invite their participation if interested; none participated. These two mussels are only found in Canada and the U.S.A. Information packages were sent to each U.S. agency to coincide with posting of the Recovery Strategy on the SARA Public Registry.
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