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Recovery Strategy for Hotwater Physa
Effects, Evaluation and Approach
2.5 Effects on other species
Recovery activities that will protect Hotwater Physa may also protect additional invertebrate and plant species at risk within the park. The only BC location for Ischnura damula (Order Odonata) commonly known as the plains forktail damselfly is found at Liard River Hotsprings. The mayfly Caenis youngi, known to occur in the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Alaska was found within the Liard river hotsprings complex within the park (Salter 2003). The Hotwater Physa is known to be globally rare (G1 rating) and is ranked critically imperilled because of extreme rarity (S1 rating) in BC.
The lake chub fish, Couesius plumbeus, at Liard River Hotsprings Provincial Park have received special attention. Although not a distinct species, the chub at Liard are physically isolated, adapted to their thermally enhanced environment and have been examined by COSEWIC and designated as data deficient (COSEWIC 2004). Hotwater Physa and Lake Chub habitat overlap in many areas of the hotsprings complex.
The plants found at Liard River Hotsprings Provincial Park include the provincially blue-listed Carex heleonastes (Hudson Bay sedge), Carex tenera (tender sedge), Malaxis brachypoda (white adder’s-mouth orchid) and Lupinis kuschei (Yukon lupine). There is also Sanicula marilandica (snake root), Urtica dioca ssp. lyallii (stinging nettle) and Mimulus guttatus (monkeyflower), which are only present at this latitude because of the thermal hotsprings environment.
The goals, objectives and strategies that are outlined herein will be reviewed within five years of the Recovery Strategy’s acceptance by the Minister. The following performance measures will be used to assess the effectiveness of the objectives and strategies, and to determine whether recovery remains feasible. Detailed performance measures will be identified more fully during the development of the action plan.
Objective-based evaluation criteria that will be used to measure whether the species’ status is heading towards meeting the recovery goal are:
- Was Hotwater Physa’s current distribution within the Alpha and Beta pools complexes and outlet streams maintained through 2011? Is there a better understanding towards quantifying this objective by 2011?
- Was Hotwater Physa’s current relative abundance maintained through 2011? Was a methodology developed to increase survey precision by 2011?
- Strategy-based evaluation criteria that will be used to evaluate progress towards meeting the recovery goal are:
- Was population monitoring carriedout? Was a standardized protocol for population monitoring and habitat assessment developed?
- Was the Liard River Hotsprings Park Master Plan reviewed? Were additional options to protect habitat within the park considered?
- Has the understanding of threats to Hotwater Physa been improved? How?
- Were any genetic studies undertaken and, if so, did the distinct species status of Hotwater Physa change? In what way? Does this knowledge assist the recovery plans for Hotwater Physa? Was there a decline in the population that requires new research studies to be identified? What studies are needed or were carried out?
- Did awareness of the Hotwater Physa and their habitat improve protection?
2.7 Statement on Action Plans
An action plan provides the specific details for recovery implementation, including measures to monitor and implement recovery, address threats and achieve recovery objectives, and when these measures are to take place. The action plan also includes an identification of critical habitat(s), to the extent possible, and examples of activities that are likely to result in its destruction. It also recommends measures to protect critical habitat(s) and identifies any portions of critical habitat(s) that have not been protected. An evaluation of the socio-economic costs of the action plan and benefits to be derived from its implementation is also included. An action plan will be completed by 2011.
2.8 Recommended Approach for Recovery Implementation
Currently, a single-species approach has been adopted. However, an ecosystem-based approach may be necessary to protect the entire hotsprings area. The Liard River Hotsprings ecosystem has unique flora and fauna at a regional and national level and there is the possibility that additional species in this ecosystem type will be designated at risk by COSEWIC. Where species occupy similar habitat and face similar threats, the activities required for their recovery will be common. The integration of research activities will ensure more efficient use of effort.
Hotwater Physa is currently integrated into the Liard River Hotsprings Provincial Park Master Plan. Provisions for this species’ protection and management are outlined in the plan, with the ability to adapt management objectives according to new information.
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