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COSEWIC Annual Report - 2006

Item IV - COSEWIC Operations and Procedures

Revised Definition – Data Deficient Category:

A category that applies when the available information is insufficient (a) to resolve a species' eligibility for assessment or (b) to permit an assessment of the species' risk of extinction.

Approach to Streamlining Reassessments:

In recent years, the CESCC has identified as a priority for COSEWIC the development of an approach to streamlining status reassessments especially in view of the requirement under the Species at Risk Act to review the classification of each species at risk at least once every 10 years.

A working group was struck to work on this task in May, 2005, and in April, 2006, COSEWIC approved an approach to streamlining species reassessments.

See Appendix V submitted for your approval.

Incorporation of Community Knowledge into the Assessment Process:

As approved by COSEWIC in May 2005 and following the recommendations of its Community Knowledge Working Group, COSEWIC undertook the following steps to better incorporate community knowledge into the assessment process:

  • developed a procedure to provide the interim species status reports to holders of Community Knowledge and
  • added a Community Knowledge section to its website to better explain the type of information COSEWIC seeks and to inform individuals, organisations and associations how to contribute knowledge to the assessment process. A questionnaire was also posted on the website to facilitate this process.

Over the past year, COSEWIC received relevant information as a result of this preliminary Community Knowledge initiative for some of the species assessed in 2006. The approach to contact potential contributors directly seems promising and will be continued. COSEWIC is also considering the development of an outreach program to better inform the public about the mandate, role and activities of COSEWIC and to better inform individuals, organisations and associations about how to contribute to the assessment process.

Guidelines for Recognizing Designatable Units below the Species Level:

COSEWIC revised its Guidelines for Recognizing Designatable Units below the Species Level to better describe the circumstances under which COSEWIC may combine designatable units when assigning status.

See Appendix VI submitted for your approval.

Habitat Reports / Ecosystem Approach:

In cooperation with the Province of British Columbia, COSEWIC undertook a project to document changes in habitat that have occurred over time in the Okanagan Valley. A final report is in production.

Following this initiative, COSEWIC struck a Working Group, chaired by the member from the Province of Alberta, to begin the process of undertaking a similar habitat mapping project on the native habitat of the Prairies (e.g. sand hill complex, sand dunes, tall grass and short grass ecosystems).

Another Working Group was struck to examine how an ecosystem approach might be used as a tool in assessing species with habitat and threat commonality. (A workshop on this subject is planned for Fall 2006.)

Summary – Documents Recommended for Approval