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

9. Approaches to Meeting Recovery Objectives

The general approaches recommended in this recovery strategy are to:

  • establish and support stewardship initiatives,
  • undertake specific research activities to fill knowledge gaps and clarify threats,
  • delineate and protect[2] key habitats,
  • minimize impacts from land and water use, and
  • design and implement sound monitoring programs.

A description of the recommended strategies and approaches is presented in Table 3.  These  approaches will be further detailed in one or more Action Plans, to be developed with the participation of a Recovery Implementation Group (RIG).  Further plans and decisions may require involvement of various participants including government agencies, First Nations, private land owners, industry and local stewardship groups.

Table 3.  Prioritized strategies and recommended approaches for the recovery of Vancouver lamprey.
Priority[3]StrategyApproachesPerformance Measure [4]
NecessaryEstablish and support a Recovery Implementation Group (RIG) or alternative working group for Vancouver lamprey.
  1. Invite stakeholders and interested parties to participate in a RIG.
  2. Encourage local governments (e.g., Town of Lake Cowichan, Cowichan Valley Regional District) to have membership or representation on RIGs to facilitate Action Plan communication and implementation. 
  3. Establish the RIG leadership (chair, facilitator, etc.), develop terms of reference, and obtain necessary funding to support RIG activities. 
  4. Develop and implement one or more Action Plans, which are to be guided by the Recovery Strategy.
Has a RIG or working group been established? 
Is the RIG adequately supported with funding and technical expertise?
Has an Action Plan been developed? 
Is the RIG achieving the goals outlined in the Recovery Strategy?
NecessaryAddress information gaps that inhibit conservation of Vancouver lamprey.

Address key information gaps including:

  1. synthesis and reporting of information from previous studies,
  2. phylogenetic studies to clarify taxonomic status,
  3. habitat use and requirements,
  4. life history information,
  5. causes of mortality (e.g., temperature, pollutants, predation, bycatch, etc.),
  6. use of tributary habitats throughout the watershed,
  7. limiting factors to population growth,
  8. levels of parasitism and scarring on prey species, and
  9. Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge
Are there key information gaps that inhibit conservation of Vancouver lamprey?
PrimaryClarify and address threats to Vancouver lamprey. 

Undertake appropriate research to clarify threats, including:

  1. Quantify relation between abundance of Vancouver lamprey and its prey.
  2. Assess effects of land and water use on the productivity of lamprey habitats.
  3. Develop guidelines that will mitigate potential threats related to development or water-use.
Have threats been clarified and assessed? 
Are threats being mitigated?
PrimaryConduct studies to help define critical habitat for Vancouver lamprey.Undertake necessary research to define critical habitat and to delineate it in the wild.  See Section 6.2 for a list of necessary research activities.Has critical habitat been defined for Vancouver lamprey?
PrimaryDevelop and implement a long-term monitoring program.

RIG to develop a monitoring program to assess population status and response to management activities or threats.  Monitoring may include:

  • trends in abundance of Vancouver lamprey  and its prey species,
  • trends in habitat quantity and quality,
  • water quality,
  • land use, and
  • water use.
Have monitoring programs been implemented?
How long has a monitoring program been in place? 
Is it effective? 
Is funding secure for the long term?
PrimaryEstablish water quality and water use objectives for Cowichan and Mesachie lakes.
  1. Assess the need for species-specific water quality or quantity objectives.
  2. Work with relevant agencies and stakeholders as required to achieve objectives.
Have water quality and water use objectives been established and communicated to relevant regulators and stakeholders?
SecondaryDevelop a comprehensive water management plan for each basin.

RIGs will work with Water Stewardship Division (Ministry of Environment), water licence holders, and stakeholders to:

  1. review existing licences,
  2. review existing water uses,
  3. secure unallocated water for conservation purposes, as needed, and
  4. Assess the efficacy of the Cowichan Valley Water Management Plan in relation to conservation of Vancouver lamprey
Does the water management plan adequately address the needs of Vancouver lamprey?
Has it been implemented?
SecondaryInform and educate stakeholders and the genral public about the species and general biodiversity values.

RIG to work with government agencies and educators to develop

  1. educational material (e.g., an educational brochure, web-based material) to explain the general biology of the species, its biodiversity values and threats to its persistence.  Consider developing material for project WILD (
  2. educational material for use in public schools, particularly schools in the vicinity of Cowichan and Mesachie lakes.
  3. educational materials and signage for anglers and other lake users (e.g., at tackle shops, boat ramps, habitat enhancement projects, etc.).
Have educational materials been produced?
How many classes have received educational presentations?
How many educational signs have been erected?
Has public perception and awareness been affected?
SecondaryWork with local governments, land developers, and others to improve and encourage watershed stewardship.Develop criteria for assessing effects of land developments (including forest harvest) on lamprey habitats, develop guidelines for good stewardship, establish Wildlife Habitat Areas (WHAs) where appropriate, and establish Special Development Areas where appropriate.  For private lands, work with land owners to encourage good stewardship. Develop and implement Best Management Practices (BMP), as needed. Develop and employ conservation covenants where useful.Have forest harvest and land management criteria been developed? 
Is forest harvest and land development meeting the criteria? Have BMPs been developed and communicated?
Is there compliance with BMPs?
SecondaryDevelop sound protocols for scientific investigations (e.g., limit number of fish collected each year, etc.)Recovery Team to work with government agencies to set boundaries for experimental work and collection activities.  Note: SARA permits are required to legally collect and undertake research on a listed wildlife species.Have scientific investigation protocols been set and communicated?
Have they been implemented?


[2] Protection can be achieved through a variety of mechanisms including: voluntary stewardship agreements, conservation covenants, sale by willing vendors on private lands, land use designations and protected areas.

[3] Priority has been assigned based on professional judgement into one of three groups, from highest to lowest: necessary, primary, secondary.

[4] Performance measures plot the progress toward meeting the stated objectives.  The performance measures are presented here as questions, the answers to which can be plotted in time to monitor progress.