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Recovery Strategy for the Vancouver Lamprey (Lampetra macrostoma) in Canada (Final)


11. Recovery Feasibility

Vancouver lamprey have been reported only in Cowichan and Mesachie lakes and they are unlikely to be purposely transplanted elsewhere in BC.  Thus, their population will continue to be limited to a small area.  Indeed, it is this extreme endemism that supports its current status as threatenendangered, and which likely will cause the species to continue to be at some risk.  Recovery actions will be aimed at maintaining or improving current habitat conditions, monitoring the population, and undertaking specific research tasks.  With the support of local governments, local industry and the public, recovery is deemed to be technically and biologically feasible.

As part of the SARA process, the competent minister must determine the feasibility of recovery for each species at risk.  To help standardize these determinations, the current Policy on Recovery Feasibility (Government of Canada 2005) poses four questions, which are to be addressed in each recovery strategy.  These questions are posed and answered here.

  1. Are individuals capable of reproduction currently available to improve the population growth rate or population abundance?

    Yes.  Vancouver lamprey naturally have a very restricted distribution.  The populations are believed to be self-supporting, although population status is not known. Regardless of population abundance and trends, the species will continue to be at risk due to limited geographic range. 

  2. Is sufficient suitable habitat available to support the species or could it be made available through habitat management or restoration?

    Yes.  Sufficient suitable habitat exists in Cowichan and Mesachie lakes.

  3. Can significant threats to the species or its habitat be avoided or mitigated through recovery actions?

    Yes.  Controlling threats to Vancouver lamprey is feasible, but rests more on social than technical considerations.  For example, the primary threats are water management and land use.  Most threats, such as those from excessive water use and land development, can be managed with existing regulations, but will require consultation with stakeholders.

  4. Do the necessary recovery techniques exist and are they demonstrated to be effective?

    Yes.  Special recovery techniques are not required for recovery of Vancouver lamprey.  What is required is effective watershed management and mitigation of current and future threats, which is believed to be entirely feasible.  It should be stressed, however, that Vancouver lamprey will likely always be very restricted in its distribution.  As a result, it will likely always remain at some risk.  Recovery efforts are best concentrated on controlling threats.  There are no significant technical challenges in this regard.