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Recovery Strategy for the Western Prairie Fringed-orchid (Platanthera praeclara) in Canada

Executive Summary

  • The western prairie fringed-orchid was designated as Endangered in Canada in April 1993, and its status was reconfirmed in May 2000. Its Canadian range consists of one extant population in southeastern Manitoba. This population is the largest in the world.
  • The western prairie fringed-orchid is a tall, showy orchid that inhabits open areas of wet tallgrass prairie and fen habitats.
  • Significant threats to the western prairie fringed-orchid include habitat loss and degradation, exclusion by other plants, and illegal removal of plants.
  • The recovery goal for the western prairie fringed-orchid is to maintain the persistence and viability of Canada’s only metapopulation. This will be accomplished through the prevention of further habitat loss and degradation and the management of habitat in ways that benefit the western prairie fringed-orchid and its pollinators.
  • Four objectives have been identified for the recovery of the western prairie fringed-orchid: (1) to monitor the population trends of the western prairie fringed-orchid on an ongoing basis, establishing additional monitoring protocols as required; (2) to identify and implement beneficial management practices to reduce threats and to help sustain or potentially increase the population of the western prairie fringed-orchid; (3) to develop a comprehensive applied research strategy to address knowledge gaps; and (4) to increase landowner and key stakeholder awareness of the western prairie fringed-orchid and its needs to the point where stewardship and beneficial management practices are being implemented.
  • A partial identification of critical habitat has been proposed and includes lands supporting the western prairie fringed-orchid that are part of Manitoba’s Tall Grass Prairie Preserve. These lands make up a total of 24 quarter-sections of land. The total proposed area designated as critical habitat at this time is 1489 ha (3680 acres). Approximately 73% of the total area of occupancy in Canada is found on lands designated as proposed critical habitat (based on the mapped “patches” of the western prairie fringed-orchid). Based on 2005 observations, 83% of flowering plants observed are found on proposed critical habitat.
  • Additional critical habitat may be identified by December 2009 as part of an action plan, pending the completion of a schedule of studies and actions to identify critical habitat.
  • A multiple-species approach to recovery action, involving stakeholders from the Manitoba Tall Grass Prairie Preserve, is proposed.