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Species at Risk Act Annual Report for 2013

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Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Assessment of Species at Risk
  3. Listing of Species at Risk
  4. Protection of Individuals and Residences of Listed Species
  5. Recovery Planning for Listed Species
  6. Recovery Implementation
  7. Enforcement
  8. Monitoring
  9. Consultation and Governance
  10. Further information

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1 Introduction

1.1 The Purpose of the Annual Report

This report summarizes activities carried out in 2013 related to the Species at Risk Act (SARA). The report fulfills the Minister of the Environment’s obligation, under section 126 of the Act, to prepare an annual report on the administration of SARA for each calendar year. The Act requires that the report include a summary of:

  1. the assessments of the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) and the Minister’s response to each of them;
  2. the preparation and implementation of recovery strategies, action plans and management plans;
  3. all agreements made under sections 10 to 13;
  4. all agreements entered into and permits issued under section 73, and all agreements and permits amended under section 75 or exempted under section 76;
  5. enforcement and compliance actions taken, including the response to any requests for investigation;
  6. regulations and emergency orders made under SARA; and
  7. any other matters that the Minister considers relevant.

This introductory section provides background information on SARA and outlines the responsibilities of the federal departments and agencies under the Act. Subsequent sections describe the following activities under SARA:

  • Section 2: Assessment of species at risk
  • Section 3: Listing of species at risk
  • Section 4: Protection of individuals and residences of listed species
  • Section 5: Recovery planning for listed species
  • Section 6: Recovery Implementation
  • Section 7: Enforcement
  • Section 8: Monitoring
  • Section 9: Consultation and Governance

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1.2 Background on SARA

SARA is an important tool for conserving and protecting Canada’s biological diversity and helps Canada meet its international commitments under the Convention on Biological Diversity. It also supports the federal commitments under the 1996 Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk to prevent species in Canada from becoming extinct as a consequence of human activity. The purposes of the Act are to prevent wildlife species from being extirpated or becoming extinct, to provide for the recovery of wildlife species that are extirpated, endangered or threatened as a result of human activity, and to manage species of special concern to prevent them from becoming endangered or threatened.

The Act establishes a process for conducting scientific assessments of the status of individual wildlife species and a mechanism for listing extirpated, endangered, threatened and special-concern species. SARA also includes provisions for the protection, recovery and management of listed wildlife species and their critical habitatsFootnote1 and residences.Footnote2

The responsibility for conservation of species at risk is shared by all jurisdictions in Canada. The Act recognizes this joint responsibility and that all Canadians have a role to play in the protection of wildlife.

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1.3 Responsible Authorities for Implementation of SARA

The Parks Canada Agency, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and Environment Canada are the three government organizations, commonly referred to as the “competent” departments, that share responsibility for the implementation of SARA. The ministers responsible for these organizations are known as the “competent” ministers under SARA. The Minister of the Environment is the minister responsible for both Environment Canada and the Parks Canada Agency. Ministerial responsibilities are as follows:

  • The Minister responsible for Parks Canada Agency is responsible for individuals of species found in or on federal lands and waters that the Agency administers.

  • The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans is responsible for aquatic species at risk other than individuals in or on federal lands administered by the Parks Canada Agency.

  • The Minister of the Environment is responsible for all other species at risk.

The Minister of the Environment is the minister responsible for the overall administration of SARA, except in so far as the Act gives responsibility to another minister (i.e., the other competent minister). The Minister of the Environment is required to consult with the other competent ministers as necessary on matters related to SARA administration.

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Footnotes

Footnote 1

Under SARA, “critical habitat” is defined as the habitat that is necessary for the survival or recovery of a listed wildlife species and that is identified as the species’ critical habitat in the recovery strategy or in an action plan for the species (see section 4.2).

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Footnote 2

“Residence” means a dwelling-place, such as a den, nest or other similar area or place, that is occupied or habitually occupied by one or more individuals during all or part of their life cycles, including breeding, rearing, staging, wintering, feeding or hibernating.

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2 Assessment of Species at Risk

SARA establishes a process for conducting scientific assessments of the status of individual wildlife species. The Act separates the scientific assessment process from the listing decision.

2.1 COSEWIC Assessments

The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) is the committee of experts that assesses the status of wildlife species in Canada that it considers to be at risk and identifies existing and potential threats to the species. It includes members from government, academia, Aboriginal organizations, non-governmental organizations and the private sector. The federal government provides financial support to COSEWIC.

In keeping with section 20 of SARA, Environment Canada provides COSEWIC with professional, technical, secretarial, clerical and other assistance via the COSEWIC Secretariat, which is housed within Environment Canada.

COSEWIC assesses the status of a wildlife species using the best available information on the biological status of a species, including scientific knowledge, community knowledge and Aboriginal traditional knowledge. The Committee provides assessments and supporting evidence annually to the Minister of the Environment.

COSEWIC can assess wildlife species as extinct, extirpated, endangered, threatened, of special concern, data-deficient or not at risk:

  • An extinct wildlife species no longer exists anywhere in the world.
  • An extirpated wildlife species no longer exists in the wild in Canada but exists elsewhere in the world.
  • An endangered wildlife species faces imminent extirpation or extinction.
  • A threatened wildlife species is likely to become endangered if nothing is done to reverse the factors leading to its extirpation or extinction.
  • A wildlife species of special concern may become threatened or endangered because of a combination of biological characteristics and identified threats.

Further details on risk categories and more information are available on the COSEWIC website.

To help prioritize species for assessments, COSEWIC uses the general status ranks outlined in the report entitled Wild Species: The General Status of Species in Canada. This report (see section 8.1) is produced every five years by the National General Status Working Group (see section 9.2.3), a joint federal­­–provincial–territorial initiative led by Environment Canada.

Environment Canada, the Parks Canada Agency, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada provide input to the assessment process via staff experts who are members of COSEWIC and through the population surveys that they conduct on some species of interest to COSEWIC. They are also regularly involved in the peer review of COSEWIC status reports.

The data that Fisheries and Oceans Canada submits to COSEWIC to support assessments of aquatic species is vetted through a peer-review process. The process involves government scientists, experts from academia, and other stakeholders as appropriate. In 2013, Fisheries and Oceans Canada provided information on 5 aquatic species to COSEWIC. The Department also peer reviewed COSEWIC status reports for 38 aquatic wildlife species before they were finalized.

In 2013, the Parks Canada Agency continued to conduct detailed assessments to measure the conservation status of individual species at risk on the Agency’s lands and waters. These assessments help determine changes in a species’ population and its risk of extirpation from the heritage places. This information contributes to the Wild Species reports, to COSEWIC status reports and to the development of Parks Canada site-based action plans. Approximately 50% of Canada’s species at risk have been reported on the Agency’s lands and waters. In total, 175 species at risk regularly occur in one or more of Parks Canada’s heritage places.

2.1.1 COSEWIC Subcommittees

COSEWIC’s Species Specialists Subcommittees (SSCs) provide species expertise to the Committee. Each SSC is led by two co-chairs, and members are recognized Canadian experts in the taxonomic group in question, able to demonstrate high standards of education, experience, and expertise and have a demonstrated knowledge of wildlife conservation. Members are drawn from universities, provincial wildlife agencies, museums, Conservation Data Centres, and other sources of expertise on Canadian species. SSC members support the co-chairs in developing candidate lists of species to be considered for assessment, commissioning status reports for priority species, reviewing reports for scientific accuracy and completeness, and proposing to COSEWIC a status for each species. Currently, COSEWIC has 10 SSCs: Amphibians and Reptiles, Arthropods, Birds, Freshwater Fishes, Marine Fishes, Marine Mammals, Molluscs, Mosses and Lichens, Terrestrial Mammals, and Vascular Plants, all of which met in 2013 to formulate advice for consideration by the Committee.

The Act also requires that COSEWIC establish a supporting subcommittee on Aboriginal traditional knowledge (ATK). The Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge Subcommittee had another productive year. ATK source reports, which compiled all potential sources of documented ATK for a given species, were completed for species such as Narwhal, Beluga and Chinook Salmon. In addition, ATK assessment reports, which summarize the relevant content of documented ATK sources, were completed for Caribou, Beluga, Lake Sturgeon and Chinook Salmon. These reports were prepared to inform species status assessments.

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2.2 Wildlife Species Assessments in 2013

COSEWIC finalized the following wildlife species assessments, grouped in batches, between 2002 and 2013:

  • Batch 1: 115 wildlife species in May 2002, November 2002 and May 2003
  • Batch 2: 59 wildlife species in November 2003 and May 2004
  • Batch 3: 73 wildlife species in November 2004 and May 2005
  • Batch 4: 68 wildlife species in April 2006
  • Batch 5: 64 wildlife species in November 2006 and April 2007
  • Batch 6: 46 wildlife species in November 2007 and April 2008
  • Batch 7: 48 wildlife species in November 2008 and April 2009
  • Batch 8: 79 wildlife species in November 2009 and April 2010
  • Batch 9: 92 wildlife species in November 2010 and May 2011
  • Batch 10: 64 wildlife species in November 2011 and May 2012
  • Batch 11: 73 wildlife species in November 2012 and May 2013

Details on Batches 1 through 11 can be found in Table 3 (see section 3.4), and in previous SARA annual reports.

Batch 11

At its November 2012 and May 2013 meetings, COSEWIC finalized assessments and classification reviews of 73 wildlife species:

  • Four (4) wildlife species were examined and found to be data-deficient.
  • One (1) wildlife species was assessed as not at risk.
  • Sixty-eight (68) wildlife species were assessed as at risk, of which 26 were confirmed at the classification already attributed to them on Schedule 1 of SARA.Footnote3

COSEWIC forwarded these assessments to the Minister of the Environment in early fall 2013.

In 2013, COSEWIC produced its first multispecies status reports. The Yucca Moths/Soapweed species reports were prepared as a bundle and individually assessed at the spring 2013 Species Assessment Meeting. Similarly, the information on the three bat species (Little Brown Myotis, Northern Myotis and Tri-colored Bat) assessed in November 2013 is contained in a single status report. It is anticipated that this approach to assessment, where feasible, will enable more efficient protection actions that also address the needs of multiple species.

Footnotes

Footnote 3

Every 10 years, or earlier if warranted, COSEWIC must review the classification of wildlife species previously designated in a category of risk, with an updated status report, if it has reason to believe the status of the species has changed significantly. As necessary, COSEWIC may also reassess other wildlife species previously found not at risk or data-deficient with an updated status report.

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3 Listing of Species at Risk

3.1 Listing Process

Upon formally receiving COSEWIC’s assessments, the Minister of the Environment has 90 days to post a response statement on the Species at Risk Public Registry indicating how the Minister intends to respond to each assessment and, to the extent possible, providing timelines for action.

During this 90-day period, the competent minister carries out an internal review to determine the level of public consultation and socio-economic analysis necessary to inform the listing decision. Timelines for action and the scope of consultations included in the response statement are based on the results of this initial review.

When COSEWIC assesses an aquatic species as threatened or endangered, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, as the competent department under SARA, undertakes a number of actions. Many of these actions require scientific information on the current status of the species, population or designatable unit, threats to its survival and recovery, and the feasibility of its recovery. In many cases, this advice is provided through a recovery potential assessment that Fisheries and Oceans Canada prepares following the COSEWIC assessment. These recovery potential assessments are taken into consideration in the SARA processes, including at the recovery planning stage. In 2013, Fisheries and Oceans Canada led a total of 36 reports associated with recovery potential assessments (8 proceedings, 25 research documents, 15 science advisory reports and 1 science response).

The next step in the listing process is for the Minister of the Environment to provide the COSEWIC assessments to the Governor in Council, and for the Governor in Council to officially acknowledge receipt of the assessments by publishing, in the Canada Gazette, an order acknowledging receipt.

Following receipt by the Governor in Council, the Minister must prepare a recommendation to the Governor in Council regarding each of the species proposed for listing, delisting, reclassification or referral back to COSEWIC for further information or consideration. When making a recommendation to the Governor in Council, the Minister of the Environment cannot vary the status of a species as assessed by COSEWIC. As required by the Cabinet Directive on Streamlining Regulation, the competent minister will conduct public consultations and socio-economic analyses, and consider the results prior to making a recommendation.

Under section 27 of SARA, the Governor in Council may, on recommendation of the Minister, decide to add a species to Schedule 1, to change the status designation of a species already listed on Schedule 1 in accordance with the status reassessment by COSEWIC, to not add a species to Schedule 1 of SARA, or to remove a species from Schedule 1 of SARA. The Governor in Council also has the authority to refer the assessment back to COSEWIC for further information or consideration. If no decision is made within nine months of receipt of the assessment, the Minister must amend the List of Wildlife Species at Risk in accordance with COSEWIC’s assessment.

All of the species that COSEWIC had assessed as being at risk prior to October 1999 (when it adopted new criteria) were included at proclamation on SARA’s Schedules 2 (endangered and threatened) and 3 (special concern). These species are being reassessed by COSEWIC using current criteria as part of the process to determine if they should be added to Schedule 1. Species on Schedule 1 benefit from SARA’s provisions for recovery and prohibitions in the case of extirpated, endangered or threatened species, or management in the case of special concern. All Schedule 2 species have since been reassessed by COSEWIC. For Schedule 3, nine species remained to be reassessed at the end of 2013.

The chart shown in Figure 1 further describes the species listing process. Table 3 (see section 3.4) provides the status of the listing process for each batch of assessed species.

Figure 1: The Species Listing Process under SARA


The Minister of the Environment receives species assessments from COSEWIC at least once per year.


The competent departments undertake an internal review to determine the extent of public consultation and socio-economic analysis necessary to inform the listing decision.


Within 90 days of receipt of the species assessments prepared by COSEWIC, the Minister of the Environment publishes a response statement on the SARAPublic Registry that indicates how he or she intends to respond to the assessment and, to the extent possible, provides timelines for action.


Where appropriate, the competent departments undertake consultations and any other relevant analysis needed to prepare the advice to the Minister of the Environment.


The Minister of the Environment forwards the assessment to the Governor in Council for receipt.


Within nine months of receiving the assessment, the Governor in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, may decide whether or not to list the species under Schedule 1 of SARA or refer the assessment to COSEWIC for further information or consideration.


Once a species is added to Schedule 1, it benefits from the applicable provisions of SARA.

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3.2 Federal Government Response to COSEWIC Assessments

In September 2013, the Minister of the Environment received from COSEWIC the assessments for Batch 11. These assessments included 67 species at risk (44 terrestrial and 23 aquatic). For 1 terrestrial species (Spiked Saxifrage), COSEWIC provided an assessment and a brief reason for status designation but did not provide a status report. COSEWIC indicated that it would provide the status report at a later date. The Minister of the Environment will initiate the listing process for this species after the status report, containing full details for the assessment, has been provided.

The response statements for the other species in Batch 11 were posted in December 2013 (for details see section 3.3, Public Consultations). The response statements (full list included in Table 1) indicate the following:

  • For 22 terrestrial and aquatic wildlife species, normal consultations (i.e., consistent with the consultation path that is typical for most species; see Figure 1) will be undertaken. These include 20 terrestrial species and 2 aquatic species. Seven of these 22 species are already listed on Schedule 1--1 as extirpated, 1 as endangered and 5 as threatened. The 1 endangered species is now eligible to have its risk status lowered (“downlisted”) to threatened. Of the 5 threatened species, 2 are now eligible to be downlisted to special concern and 3 are eligible to have their risk status raised (“uplisted”) to endangered. For 1 terrestrial wildlife species, COSEWIC advised the Minister that it had received new information and would therefore like to reassess it. No consultation will be undertaken at this time.

  • For 12 aquatic wildlife species, extended consultations will be undertaken, because listing these species could potentially have marked impacts on the activities of Aboriginal peoples, commercial and recreational fishers, or Canadians at large.

  • The Minister will also post 32Footnote4 response statements for species already listed and for which COSEWIC had confirmed the current Schedule 1 risk status. For these 32 species, no changes to Schedule 1 are required.

Table 1: List of species received from COSEWIC in September 2013 and for which the government posted a response statement in December 2013

Note: The table has been split into four separate components: No consultation COSEWIC to reassess, Normal consultation, Extended consultation, and Status confirmed – no consultations.

No consultation – COSEWIC to reassess
COSEWIC risk statusTaxonEnglish legal nameScientific name
ThreatenedVascular PlantSpiked SaxifrageMicranthes spicata

 

Normal consultation
COSEWIC risk statusTaxonEnglish legal nameScientific name
EndangeredArthropodMottled Duskywing (Boreal population)Erynnis martialis
EndangeredArthropodMottled Duskywing (Great Lakes Plains population)Erynnis martialis
EndangeredArthropodRiverine Clubtail (Great Lakes Plains population)Stylurus amnicola
EndangeredVascular PlantHairy BrayaBraya pilosa
ThreatenedBirdBank SwallowRiparia riparia
ThreatenedBirdWood ThrushHylocichla mustelina
ThreatenedArthropodIsland Tiger MothGrammia complicata
ThreatenedArthropodGibson’s Big Sand Tiger BeetleCicindela Formosa gibsoni
ThreatenedVascular PlantSilky Beach PeaLathyrus littoralis
Special ConcernMammalAmerican Badger taxus subspeciesTaxidea taxus taxus
Special ConcernBirdEastern Wood-peweeContopus virens
Special ConcernAmphibianWestern Tiger Salamander (Prairie/Boreal population)FootnoteaAmbystoma mavortium
Special ConcernMolluscHaida Gwaii SlugStaala gwaii
Special ConcernArthropodGreenish-white GrasshopperHypochlora alba
Special ConcernArthropodGeorgia Basin Bog SpiderGnaphosa snohomish
Uplist from Threatened to EndangeredReptileMassasauga (Carolinian population)FootnotebSistrurus catenatus
Uplist from Threatened to EndangeredVascular PlantPlymouth GentianSabatia kennedyana
Uplist from Threatened to EndangeredVascular PlantFernald’s BrayaBraya fernaldii
Downlist from Extirpated to EndangeredFishStriped Bass (St. Lawrence River population)FootnotecMorone saxatilis
Downlist from Endangered to ThreatenedFishPugnose ShinerNotropis anogenus
Downlist from Threatened to Special ConcernReptileEastern Musk TurtleSternotherus odoratus
Downlist from Threatened to Special ConcernVascular PlantCrooked-stem AsterSymphyotrichum prenanthoides

 

Extended consultation
COSEWIC risk statusTaxonEnglish legal nameScientific name
EndangeredFishCuskBrosme brosme
EndangeredFishStriped Bass (Bay of Fundy population)Morone saxatilis
EndangeredFishWhite Sturgeon (Upper Fraser River population)FootnotecAcipenser transmontanus
EndangeredMolluscLilliputToxolasma parvum
ThreatenedFishBull Trout (Saskatchewan/Nelson Rivers populations)Salvelinus confluentus
ThreatenedFishWhite Sturgeon (Lower Fraser River population)Acipenser transmontanus
ThreatenedMolluscThreehorn WartybackObliquaria reflexa
Special ConcernFishBull Trout (South Coast British Columbia populations)Salvelinus confluentus
Special ConcernFishBull Trout (Western Arctic populations)Salvelinus confluentus
Special ConcernFishEulachon (Nass/Skeena Rivers population)Thaleichthys pacificus
Special ConcernFishStriped Bass (Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence population)Morone saxatilis
Downlist from Endangered to ThreatenedFishSalish SuckerCatostomus sp. cf. catostomus

 

Status confirmed – no consultations
COSEWIC risk statusTaxonEnglish legal nameScientific name
ExtirpatedMolluscPuget OregonianCryptomastix devia
EndangeredMammalAmerican Badger jeffersonii subspecies (Western population)FootnotedTaxidea taxus jeffersonii
EndangeredMammalAmerican Badger jeffersonii subspecies (Eastern population)FootnotedTaxidea taxus jeffersonii
EndangeredMammalAmerican Badger jacksoni subspeciesTaxidea taxus jacksoni
EndangeredMammalSei Whale (Pacific population)Balaenoptera borealis
EndangeredBirdNorthern BobwhiteColinus virginianus
EndangeredAmphibianWestern Tiger Salamander (Southern Mountain population)FootnoteaAmbystoma mavortium
EndangeredFishWhite Sturgeon (Upper Kootenay River population)Acipenser transmontanus
EndangeredFishWhite Sturgeon (Upper Columbia River population)Acipenser transmontanus
EndangeredMolluscKidneyshellPtychobranchus fasciolaris
EndangeredMolluscOregon ForestsnailAllogona townsendiana
EndangeredMolluscRound HickorynutObovaria subrotunda
EndangeredArthropodYucca MothTegeticula yuccasella
EndangeredArthropodNon-pollinating Yucca MothTegeticula corruptrix
EndangeredArthropodFive-spotted Bogus Yucca MothProdoxus quinquepunctellus
EndangeredVascular PlantSlender Bush-cloverLespedeza virginica
EndangeredVascular PlantPink CoreopsisCoreopsis rosea
ThreatenedBirdNorthern Goshawk laingi subspeciesAccipiter gentilis laingi
ThreatenedReptileMassasauga (Great Lakes/St. Lawrence population)FootnotebSistrurus catenatus
ThreatenedReptileGreat Basin GophersnakePituophis catenifer deserticola
ThreatenedReptileEastern Ribbonsnake (Atlantic population)Thamnophis sauritus
ThreatenedFishNorthern WolffishAnarhichas denticulatus
ThreatenedFishSpotted WolffishAnarhichas minor
ThreatenedArthropodDun Skipper vestris subspeciesEuphyes vestris vestris
ThreatenedVascular PlantSoapweedYucca glauca
Special ConcernReptileEastern Ribbonsnake (Great Lakes population)Thamnophis sauritus
Special ConcernReptileNorthern Map TurtleGraptemys geographica
Special ConcernAmphibianWestern Toad (Calling population)FootnotebAnaxyrus boreas
Special ConcernAmphibianWestern Toad (Non-calling population)FootnotebAnaxyrus boreas
Special ConcernFishAtlantic WolffishAnarhichas lupus
Special ConcernFishBridle ShinerNotropis bifrenatus
Special ConcernMolluscWarty Jumping-slugHemphillia glandulosa

Footnotes

Footnote a

Currently listed on Schedule 1 as one species with three populations. Split into two species, each with two populations, in November 2012. The two populations of Western Tiger Salamander were assessed in November 2012. The assessment of the two populations of Eastern Tiger Salamander was deferred.

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Footnote b

Currently listed on Schedule 1 as a single species. Subspecies reassessed in November 2012 and split into two populations.

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Footnote c

A wildlife species of this name is currently listed on Schedule 1. This newly assessed unit now includes two population units that were not included in the earlier entity.

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Footnote d

Currently listed on Schedule 1 as a single subspecies. Reassessed in November 2012 and split into two populations.

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3.3 Public Consultations

In 2013, the Minister of the Environment carried out consultations for 20 terrestrial species for which status assessments had been received from COSEWIC as part of Batch 10. The consultations were undertaken to provide the Minister with a better understanding of the potential social and economic impacts of listing the species on Schedule 1 of SARA. Information collected during consultations is used to inform the Minister’s recommendations to the Governor in Council.

As well, in December 2013, the Minister of the Environment launched consultations on whether to modify the status of, or add to Schedule 1 of SARA, the 22 terrestrial species whose assessments were received in September 2013 as part of Batch 11. The document Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species – December 2013 was posted on the Species at Risk Public Registry.

In 2013, Fisheries and Oceans Canada consulted Canadians on the possible listing on Schedule 1 of 14 aquatic species (from batches 10, 11 and 12). Public consultations were facilitated through emails to stakeholders and interested parties, and by posting supporting documents on the Species at Risk Public Registry and the Fisheries and Oceans Canada website. Fisheries and Oceans Canada also mailed consultation documents directly to other government departments, Wildlife Management Boards, stakeholders, Aboriginal peoples and non-governmental organizations for their input, and held meetings with potentially affected groups and organizations.

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3.4 Listing Decisions

When making a listing decision, the Governor in Council relies on the scientific assessments provided by COSEWIC, any other relevant scientific information, an assessment of the costs and benefits (including social, cultural and economic) to Canadians, and comments received through consultations with other federal departments or agencies, other levels of government, Aboriginal peoples, wildlife management boards, stakeholders and the public. Governor in Council decisions to add a species to Schedule 1 are published as orders amending Schedule 1 of SARA in the Canada Gazette, and include Regulatory Impact Analysis Statements. Decisions to not add a species at risk to Schedule 1 of SARA or to refer the matter back to COSEWIC are published in the Canada Gazette with an explanatory note. The orders are also posted on the Species at Risk Public Registry. In 2013, the Governor in Council did not receive any listing recommendations from the Minister of the Environment.

In 2013, the Governor in Council added seven aquatic species (three species from Batch 4, two from Batch 5 and two from Batch 7) to Schedule 1 of SARA. Two aquatic species (from Batches 8 and 9) were downlisted on Schedule 1 to a lower risk status. The Governor in Council made three decisions to not list aquatic species in 2013 (from Batches 2, 3 and 4) and two decisions to refer aquatic species back to COSEWIC (from Batch 9).

Table 2: SARA listing decision made by the Governor in Council in 2013

Note: The table has been split into four separate components: Moved to a lower level of risk (downlisted), Added to List of Wildlife Species at Risk (listed), Decision to not list, and Decision to refer back to COSEWIC.

Moved to a lower level of risk (downlisted)
Risk statusTaxonEnglish legal nameScientific name
Special ConcernFishShorthead SculpinCottus confuses
Special ConcernMolluscWavy-rayed LampmusselLampsilis fasciola

 

Added to List of Wildlife Species at Risk (listed)
COSEWIC risk statusTaxonEnglish legal nameScientific name
EndangeredFishSpring CiscoCoregonus sp.
EndangeredMolluscEastern PondmusselLigumia nasuta
EndangeredMolluscRainbowVillosa iris
EndangeredMolluscMapleleaf (Saskatchewan/Nelson population)Quadrula quadrula
ThreatenedFishWestslope Cutthroat Trout (Alberta population)Oncorhynchus clarkia lewisi
ThreatenedMolluscMapleleaf (Great Lakes/Western St. Lawrence population)Quadrula quadrula
Special ConcernMolluscBrook FloaterAlasmidonta varicosa

 

Decision to not list
COSEWIC risk statusTaxonEnglish legal nameScientific name
ThreatenedFishCuskBrosme brosme
ThreatenedFishStriped Bass (Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence population)Morone saxatilis
Special ConcernMammal (marine)Beluga Whale (Eastern High Arctic/Baffin Bay population)Delphinapterus leucas

 

Decision to refer back to COSEWIC
COSEWIC risk statusTaxonEnglish legal nameScientific name
Special ConcernMammal (marine)Humpback Whale (North Pacific population)Megaptera novaeangliae
Special ConcernFishEulachon (Nass/Skeena population)Thaleichthys pacificus

 

Table 3: Listing processes for species at risk at year-end 2013 (Batches 1 to 11)
Batch and year of Minister’s receiptTotal number of species assessedFootnoteeAssessed as at riskConfirm-
ation of current status
Added to Schedule 1FootnotefUplistedDownlistedNot listedReferred backListing decision pending
(Proclamation)̶̶233̶̶233̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶̶
Batch 1 (2004)11595475008Footnoteg8Footnoteg0
Batch 2 (2004)5951 (+9Footnoteh)046001310
Batch 3 (2005)735944400614
Batch 4 (2006)68 (+5Footnotei)5944020427
Emergency Assessment (2006)110000100
Batch 5 (2007)6453829240010
Batch 6 (2008)4639141830103
Batch 7 (2009)4846171831007
Batch 8 (2010)79783414353019
Batch 9 (2011)9281310010247
Batch 10 (2012)6457280000029
Emergency Assessment (2012)330000003
Batch 11 (2013)7367320000035

Footnotes

Footnote e

The total includes species assessed for the first time, species being reassessed and previously assessed species that have been split into more than one designatable unit.

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Footnote f

The total listed as “Added to Schedule 1” may not add up to number of species included on Schedule 1 (518) because it does not account for species that were subsequently split into more than one designatable unit with no corresponding change in status and were therefore treated as status confirmations, or were subsequently removed from the list.

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Footnote g

One species was referred back and subsequently not listed. It is counted under “not listed.”

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Footnote h

Includes four wildlife species that were not listed for further consideration from Batch 1 and reconsidered in Batch 2, and five additional wildlife species when one designatable unit received by COSEWIC was split into six for listing.

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Footnote i

Includes five wildlife species in Batch 1 that were referred to COSEWIC and resubmitted by COSEWIC with the original assessments.

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3.5 SARA Schedule 1 Current Status

When SARA was proclaimed in June 2003, Schedule 1, the official List of Wildlife Species at Risk, included 233 species. Starting in 2005, species have been added to the list every year, except in 2008. As of December 31, 2013, Schedule 1 listed 23 extirpated species, 238 endangered species, 127 threatened species and 130 species of special concern, for a total of 518 species.

Tables 4 and table5 show the number of species added to Schedule 1 each year, by risk status and government agency, respectively.

Table 4: Numbers of species added to Schedule 1 each year by risk status, as of December 2013
YearRisk status:
Extirpated
Risk status:
Endangered
Risk status:
Threatened
Risk status:
Special concern
Total
June 2003
(proclamation)
17
107
67
42
233
2005
4
47
30
31
112
2006
0
18
14
12
44
2007
0
20
5
11
36
2008
0
0
0
0
0
2009
0
8
3
11
22
2010
0
8
4
2011
2
7
4
10
23
2012
0
11
2
5
18
2013
0
4
2
1
7
TotalFootnotej
23
233
135
127

Footnotes

Footnote j

The Eastern Foxsnake was split into two populations. The new populations inherited the species’ status on Schedule 1 of SARA before it was split, and both new populations were uplisted in 2010. For the purpose of this table, one of the new Eastern Foxsnake populations was treated as an addition to Schedule 1.

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Footnote k

Although the total number of listed species (518) is correct, the total listed as endangered, threatened and special concern is slightly off because the values presented in this table do not reflect status changes (i.e., uplisting or downlisting of a species).

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Table 5: Number of species listed on Schedule 1 by department/agency responsible for recovery planning, as of December 2013
TaxonEnvironment CanadaFisheries and Oceans CanadaParks Canada AgencyTotal
Terrestrial mammals
27
4
31
Aquatic mammals
22
23
Birds
70
3
73
Reptiles
34
1
5
40
Amphibians
20
1
21
Fishes
69
68
Molluscs
5
19
2
26
Arthropods
33
4
37
Plants
122
 52
174
Lichens
9
1
10
Mosses
11
4
15
Total
331
111
76
518

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3.6 Emergency Listing Orders

Under section 29 of SARA, if the Minister of the Environment, after consultation with the other competent ministers, is of the opinion that there is an imminent threat to the survival of a wildlife species, the Minister must recommend to the Governor in Council that the species be added to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk as an endangered species on an emergency basis. Upon receipt of such a recommendation, the Governor in Council determines whether or not the species will be added to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk as an endangered species.

As of 2013, no species had been added to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk on an emergency basis.

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3.7 Listing Policy and Directive for Do Not List Advice

In December 2013, Fisheries and Oceans Canada finalized a Species at Risk Act Listing Policy (Policy) and Directive for Do Not List Advice (Directive). The objective of the Policy and Directive is to ensure nationally consistent standards and to increase efficiency in the development of listing and do not list advice for aquatic species at risk by the Department to be provided to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

Footnotes

Footnote 4

COSEWIC reported that 26 wildlife species had their status confirmed by assessments in 2013. Thirty-two wildlife species are treated as status confirmations for listing purposes. The difference is accounted for by wildlife species’ being split into two or more designatable units at the most recent assessment. If a new designatable unit keeps the same status as its parent, it is treated as a status confirmation for listing purposes, while COSEWIC treats it as a new assessment.

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4 Protection of Individuals and Residences of Listed Species

4.1 Legislative Background

The protection that comes into effect following the addition of a species to Schedule 1 of SARA depends on the type of species (e.g., migratory bird, aquatic species), its listed status (endangered, threatened, special concern) and its location.

Sections 32 and 33 of SARA make it an offence to:

  • kill, harm, harass, capture or take an individual of a species that is listed as extirpated, endangered or threatened;
  • possess, collect, buy, sell or trade an individual of a species that is listed as extirpated, endangered or threatened, or any of its parts or derivatives; or
  • damage or destroy the residence of one or more individuals of a species that is listed as endangered or threatened, or of a species listed as extirpated if a recovery strategy has recommended its reintroduction into the wild in Canada.

These prohibitions apply immediately upon listing to:

  • all listed aquatic species,
  • all migratory birds protected under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 wherever they are found in Canada, and
  • all other extirpated, endangered or threatened species on federal lands or on lands in a territory under the authority of the Minister of the Environment or the Parks Canada Agency.

Provinces and territories have the primary responsibility to protect other listed species on provincial, territorial and private land. If the Minister of the Environment is of the opinion that the provincial or territorial legislation does not effectively protect the individuals of a species or their residences, the Minister is required, after consultation with the appropriate provincial or territorial minister or the applicable wildlife management board, to recommend to the Governor in Council that an order be made to apply the prohibitions in sections 32 and 33 of SARA.

The Act also contains requirements about the protection of critical habitat for species at risk once it has been identified. Section 6.1 of this report addresses the protection of critical habitat.

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4.2 Emergency Protection Orders

Under section 80 of SARA, the Governor in Council may, on the recommendation of the competent minister, make an emergency order to provide for the protection of a listed wildlife species. The competent minister must make the recommendation to the Governor in Council if the competent minister is of the opinion that the species faces imminent threats to its survival or recovery.

In November 2013, the Governor in Council issued the first emergency order under section 80 of SARA to protect the Greater Sage-Grouse, an endangered bird that depends on the unique prairie ecosystem of southeastern Alberta and southwestern Saskatchewan. The order comes into force on February 18, 2014. In 2012, it was estimated that there were between 93 and 138 adult birds in Canada.

Greater Sage-Grouse, Photo: © Gordon Court
Greater Sage-Grouse
Photo: © Gordon Court

The Emergency Order addresses imminent threats to the survival and recovery of the Sage-Grouse by protecting important habitat for this species on certain provincial and federal Crown lands in Alberta and Saskatchewan. The Order also restricts activities on these lands that impact Sage-Grouse populations. The Order does not apply on private lands nor does it limit grazing on federal or provincial Crown lands. The Order, along with important voluntary stewardship measures, is anticipated to help stabilize the Sage-Grouse population and begin its recovery.

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4.3 Permits

Sections 73 to 78 of SARA address agreements, permits, licences, orders and other instruments that authorize activities that otherwise would be offences under the Act.

If all reasonable alternatives have been considered, all feasible measures have been taken to minimize the impact of the activity, and the survival or recovery of the species is not jeopardized, the competent minister may enter into an agreement or issue a permit under section 73 of SARA for the following activities:

  • scientific research related to conserving a listed species, conducted by qualified persons;
  • activities that benefit a listed species or enhance its chances of survival in the wild; or
  • activities that incidentally affect a listed species.

In 2012, the Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act amended SARA to provide the authority for regulations respecting time limits for issuing permits under section 73 of SARA, or for refusing to do so, and to specify the circumstances under which those limits may not apply. As a result, on July 3, 2013, the Permits Authorizing an Activity Affecting Listed Wildlife Species Regulations were published in the Canada Gazette, Part II. These Regulations outline the information required to be submitted when applying for a permit, impose a 90-day time limit on the government for issuing or refusing to issue permits, and outline the circumstances under which the time limit will be paused or does not apply, such as where an applicant does not submit all necessary information, where additional consultations are required (e.g., with Aboriginal people) or where the activity described in the permit application is modified before the permit is issued or refused.

Environment Canada, the Parks Canada Agency, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada issued a total of 144 SARA permits in 2013 for purposes of research, conservation and monitoring of listed species.

In 2013, Fisheries and Oceans Canada issued 80 SARA permits. Of these, 57 permits covering at least 34 listed species were issued to academic and government researchers as well as Fisheries and Oceans Canada scientists, for conservation research affecting species at risk, including inventory, population monitoring, habitat use and restoration, and conservation genetics. Twenty-five permits were for activities that may incidentally affect a listed species but where peer-reviewed assessments determined that the level of harm from these activities would not jeopardize the survival or recovery of the listed species.

In 2013, Environment Canada issued 41 permits to allow for the monitoring, inventory or management of 54 species, including reptiles, amphibians, birds, vascular plants, arthropods, molluscs, mosses and mammals. Of the 41 permits issued, 19 were for scientific research related to the conservation of a species, 5 were for activities benefiting a species or required to enhance its chance of survival in the wild, 10 were for activities incidentally affecting a species, and 7 were for more than one of these three purposes. Details regarding delivery against service standards are available online.

In 2013, the Parks Canada Agency issued 23 SARA permits. Of these, 19 permits covering at least 15 listed species were issued to academic and government researchers as well as Parks Canada scientists, for conservation research affecting species at risk, including inventory, population monitoring, habitat use and restoration, and conservation genetics. The remaining 4 permits were for activities that may incidentally affect a listed species. The Parks Canada Agency maintains an online research permitting system to enhance services to researchers, and to ensure that the Agency is informed of research being conducted in the protected heritage places network. The system incorporates a mandatory peer-review mechanism that ensures that SARA requirements are considered for every permitted research activity.

The majority of SARA-compliant permits issued by Parks Canada are issued under legislation other than SARA.

Explanations for all permits issued under the Act by Environment Canada, the Parks Canada Agency, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada are posted on the Species at Risk Public Registry.

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5 Recovery Planning for Listed Species

5.1 Legislative Requirements

A wide range of measures are required for the recovery of species at risk. Under SARA, the competent ministers must prepare recovery strategies and action plans for species listed as extirpated, endangered or threatened and management plans for those listed as special concern. Recovery strategies identify threats to the species and its habitat, identify critical habitat to the extent possible, and set population and distribution objectives for the species. Action plans outline the actions to be taken to meet the objectives in the recovery strategy. Management plans include measures for species listed as special concern.

Table 6 shows the required timelines for developing recovery strategies and management plans. The timelines for developing action plans are set within the recovery strategies. Posting of SARA recovery documents is the responsibility of the federal competent minister for the species; however, they must be developed, to the extent possible, in cooperation and consultation with all relevant jurisdictions and directly affected parties.

Table 6: Timeline for developing recovery documents (in years)

Note: Table 6 has been split into two separate components: Recovery strategy and Management plan

Recovery strategy
Species listing dateStatus:
Endangered
Status:
Threatened or extirpated
June 5, 2003
3
4
New listings after June 5, 2003
1
2
Reassessed Schedule 2 or 3 listings,
after June 5, 2003
3
4

 

Management plan
Species listing dateStatus:
Special concern
June 5, 2003
5
New listings after June 5, 2003
3
Reassessed Schedule 2 or 3 listings,
after June 5, 2003
5

Proposed recovery strategies, action plans and management plans are posted on the Species at Risk Public Registry for a 60-day public comment period. The competent ministers consider comments and make changes where appropriate. The final recovery strategy or action plan, as applicable, is to be published in the public registry within 30 days after the expiry of the public comment period. Five years after a recovery strategy, action plan or management plan comes into effect, the competent minister must report on progress made toward the stated objectives.

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5.2 Recovery Planning Activities in 2013

5.2.1 Recovery Strategies

A recovery strategy is a planning document that identifies what needs to be done to reverse the decline of a threatened or endangered species. It sets population and distribution objectives that will assist the recovery and survival of species, and identifies the threats to the species and its habitat and the main activities to address these threats. A single recovery strategy may address multiple species at risk. Environment Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and the Parks Canada Agency use a multispecies/ecosystem-based approach for the recovery of species at risk where appropriate.

In 2013, the competent departments continued to work on recovery strategies at various stages of development. Environment Canada posted proposed or final recovery documents for 40 species in 2013, and a large number of recovery documents have been drafted and are expected to be posted in the near future. In 2013, Fisheries and Oceans Canada posted proposed recovery strategies for 9 aquatic species and final recovery strategies for 3 aquatic species. Parks Canada completed and posted 11 recovery strategies in 2013. New recovery strategies that were posted on the Species at Risk Public Registry are listed in Table 7. Revised recovery strategies were also published on the Registry for Greater Sage-Grouse (Environment Canada) and Carmine Shiner, Round Hickorynut and Kidneyshell (Fisheries and Oceans Canada).

Table 7: Number of new recovery strategies posted in 2013, and the listed species at risk covered by them, by competent department

Note: Table 7 has been split in two sections: Proposed recovery strategies and Final recovery strategies.

Proposed recovery strategies
Competent departmentNo.Species covered
Environment Canada12
  • American Badger jacksoni subspecies
  • Cobblestone Tiger Beetle
  • Dwarf Woolly-heads (Southern Mountain population)
  • Eastern Flowering Dogwood
  • False Hop Sedge
  • Fowler’s Toad
  • Gold-edged Gem
  • Ivory Gull
  • Lemmon’s Holly Fern
  • Short-rayed Alkali Aster
  • Slender Collomia
  • Stoloniferous Pussytoes
  • Western Spiderwort
  • Williamson’s Sapsucker

Total of 14 species covered

Fisheries and Oceans Canada6
  • Channel Darter
  • Eastern Sand Darter (Quebec population)
  • Humpback Whale (North Pacific population)
  • Spring Cisco
  • Westslope Cutthroat Trout (Alberta population)
  • White Sturgeon (Kootenay River population)
  • White Sturgeon (Nechako River population)
  • White Sturgeon (Upper Columbia River population)
  • White Sturgeon (Upper Fraser River population)

Total of 9 species covered

Parks Canada Agency6
  • California Buttercup
  • Gray’s Desert-parsley
  • Macoun’s Meadowfoam
  • Massasauga
  • Northern Saw-whet Owl brooksi subspecies
  • Oregon Lupine

 

Final recovery strategies
Competent departmentNo.Species covered
Environment Canada12
  • American Badger jacksoni subspecies
  • American Marten (Newfoundland population)
  • Cobblestone Tiger Beetle
  • Dwarf Woolly-heads (Southern Mountain population)
  • Flooded Jellyskin
  • Heart-leavened Plantain
  • Horned Grebe (Magdalen Islands population)
  • Lemmon's Holly Fern
  • Pink Milkwort
  • Short-rayed Alkali Aster
  • Slender Collomia
  • Southern Maidenhair Fern
  • Stoloniferous Pussytoes
  • Western Spiderwort

Total of 14 species covered

Fisheries and Oceans Canada3
  • Channel Darter
  • Humpback Whale (North Pacific population)
  • Pugnose Shiner
Parks Canada Agency11
  • Brook Spike-primrose
  • California Buttercup
  • Coast Microseris
  • Dense Spike-primrose
  • Foothill Sedge
  • Fragrant Popcornflower
  • Lindley’s False Silverpuffs
  • Macoun’s Meadowfoam
  • Muhlenberg’s Centaury
  • Oregon Lupine
  • White Meconella

5.2.2 Identification of Critical Habitat

SARA defines “critical habitat” as the habitat that is necessary for the survival or recovery of a listed wildlife species and that is identified as the species’ critical habitat in the recovery strategy or in an action plan for the species. Competent ministers must identify critical habitat to the extent possible, based on the best available information, in recovery strategies and action plans.

In 2013, Environment Canada identified critical habitat for 14 species in final recovery documents during the 2012 calendar year. Critical habitat was also identified for an additional 6 species in proposed documents that were posted on the Species at Risk Public Registry.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada posted final recovery strategies with critical habitat identified for six aquatic species: Pugnose Shiner, Humpback Whale (North Pacific population), Channel Darter, Round Hickorynut, Kidneyshell and Carmine Shiner, which had its critical habitat identified in a revised recovery strategy. An additional seven aquatic species had their critical habitat identified in proposed recovery strategies posted on the registry.

The Parks Canada Agency identified critical habitat for all 11 species for which final recovery strategies were posted in 2013. The Agency also identified critical habitat for three species in proposed recovery strategies posted on the Species at Risk Public Registry: Massasauga, Gray’s Desert Parsley and Northern Saw-whet Owl.

5.2.3 Action Plans

An action plan identifies the conservation measures required to meet the population and distribution objectives outlined in the recovery strategy. An action plan may also identify critical habitat or complete the identification of critical habitat if it is not fully identified in the recovery strategy. An action plan also includes information on measures proposed to protect that critical habitat, methods proposed to monitor the recovery of the species, and an evaluation of the socio-economic costs of the action plan and benefits to be derived from its implementation.

In 2013, Environment Canada posted a final action plan for one species (Piping Plover circumcinctus subspecies in Ontario) on the Species at Risk Public Registry.

In 2013, Parks Canada completed detailed guidance for action planning and, when possible, will favour a site-based, multispecies approach for action plans that will prioritize conservation actions for the suite of species at risk found in Parks Canada heritage places. In 2013, Parks Canada completed drafts for two site-based action plans and continued the development of 12 multispecies action plans.

5.2.4 Management Plans

Species of special concern are those that may become threatened or endangered because of a combination of biological characteristics and identified threats. SARA requires management plans for species of special concern. A management plan differs from a recovery strategy and an action plan in that it identifies conservation measures needed to prevent a species of special concern from becoming threatened or endangered. Where appropriate, these management plans will be prepared for multiple species on an ecosystem or landscape level.

The management plans that were posted on the Species at Risk Public Registry in 2013 are listed in Table 8.

Table 8: Number of management plans posted in 2013, and the listed species at risk covered by them, by competent department

Note: Table 8 has been split into two parts: Proposed management plans and Final management plans.

Proposed management plans
Competent departmentNo.Species covered
Environment Canada5
  • Athabasca Thrift
  • Beach Pinweed
  • Climbing Prairie Rose
  • Felt-leaf Willow
  • Five-lined Skink (Great Lakes/St. Lawrence population)
  • Floccose Tansy
  • Large-headed Woolly Yarrow
  • Mackenzie Hairgrass
  • Sand-dune Short-capsuled Willow
  • Spring Salamander
  • Turnor’s Willow

Total of 11 species covered

Fisheries and Oceans Canada2
  • Bowhead Whale (Bering-Chukchi-Beaufort population)
  • Sea Otter
Final management plans
Competent departmentNo.Species covered
Environment Canada12
  • Athabasca Thrift
  • Barrow’s Goldeneye (Eastern population)
  • Beach Pinweed
  • Felt-leaf Willow
  • Five-lined Skink (Great Lakes/St. Lawrence population)
  • Flammulated Owl
  • Floccose Tansy
  • Great Plains Toad
  • Hart’s-tongue Fern
  • Large-headed Woolly Yarrow
  • Long-billed Curlew
  • Mackenzie Hairgrass
  • Northern Leopard Frog (Western Boreal/Prairie populations)
  • Pygmy Snaketail
  • Sand-dune Short-capsuled Willow
  • Swamp Rose-mallow
  • Turnor’s Willow
  • Yellow Rail

Total of 18 species covered

Fisheries and Oceans Canada0 

Note: The number of management plans completed may be different than the number of species covered. A plan can cover more than one species.

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6 Recovery Implementation

6.1 Protection of Critical Habitat

SARA requires that all critical habitat identified in a recovery strategy or action plan be protected against destruction. This includes critical habitat located in the exclusive economic zone or on the continental shelf of Canada.

In 2013, Environment Canada protected critical habitat for the Piping Plover (melodus subspecies) in the Cape Jourimain and Portage Island National Wildlife Areas and, in tandem with the Parks Canada Agency, issued an Emergency Protection Order to counter imminent threats to the survival of the Greater Sage-Grouse.

In 2013, the Parks Canada Agency protected critical habitat for four species in eight National Parks: Piping Plover (melodus subspecies) (Kouchibouguac National Park of Canada, Kejimkujik National Park of Canada, Gros Morne National Park of Canada and Prince Edward Island National Park of Canada), Maritime Ringlet (Forillon National Park of Canada), Woodland Caribou, Boreal population (Wood Buffalo National Park of Canada and Prince Albert National Park of Canada), and Common Hoptree (Point Pelee National Park of Canada). Efforts are ongoing to finalize protection measures for critical habitat of other species on lands administered by the Agency.

The provinces and territories are primarily responsible for the management of non-federal lands and of the natural resources and wildlife located on those lands. As such, other than for aquatic species, the critical habitat prohibitions in SARA only apply on non-federal lands when the Governor in Council makes an order. The Minister must recommend the use of an order to the Governor in Council if the Minister is of the opinion there are no other federal laws that protect a species’ critical habitat and the laws of the province or territory do not effectively protect the critical habitat. To date, the Governor in Council has not issued any such orders under SARA.

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6.2 Recovery Activities

6.2.1 Competent Departments’ Recovery Activities

In 2013, Environment Canada continued to lead and support numerous activities, including research projects, education and awareness, habitat restoration and enhancement initiatives, monitoring, and assessment. These activities supported the recovery of numerous species at risk from a wide variety of taxa.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada led or supported a number of activities in 2013 aimed at protecting and recovering aquatic species at risk. These activities are diverse in range and scope, such as scientific research projects for enhancement of critical habitat, developing compliance and enforcement tools, and education and awareness.

In 2013, the Parks Canada Agency continued to implement recovery activities in and around protected heritage places, including research, restoration activities, and public outreach and education. Several Parks Canada projects are conducted in partnership with non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, private citizens and Aboriginal communities.

Fin Whale Rescue: Gulf and Maritimes Regions

In November 2013, Fisheries and Oceans Canada officers assisted in the rescue of a young fin whale that had become stranded in the shallow waters of Jersey Cove in Cape Breton. It is believed that the 10-metre-long young whale may have come in close to shore to feed and then became trapped by the ebbing tide. The efforts of fishery officers and the Marine Animal Response Society were successful, as they were able to haul the whale back out to sea. The Atlantic population of Fin Whales is listed as Special Concern under SARA.

Fin whale being helped back to sea, Photo: Pat Young © Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Fin whale being helped back to sea
Photo: Pat Young © Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Westslope Cutthroat Trout (Alberta Populations)

The Westslope Cutthroat Trout was once found throughout the Pacific Northwest, including Montana, Oregon, British Columbia and Alberta, but its range today is now vastly reduced. In Alberta alone, Westslope Cutthroat Trout are limited to less than 10% of their historical range and have been declining for a number of reasons, including loss of habitat, changes in habitat quality and exploitation by anglers. Another major factor involves invasive related species of rainbow trout and brook trout, which have been introduced to a number of rivers across the province, causing the Westslope Cutthroat Trout to cross-breed and compete. As a result, the Alberta population was designated as Threatened under SARA in 2013.

It is estimated that, out of approximately 274 water bodies historically occupied by Westslope Cutthroat Trout, there are approximately 51 genetically pure populations remaining. The only genetically pure populations of Westslope Cutthroat Trout that exist in Alberta’s National Parks occur in Banff National Park. Parks Canada is therefore an important partner in recovery efforts for this species, working with other federal and provincial agencies and key stakeholders such as Trout Unlimited Canada and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.

Parks Canada has launched an ambitious project to help restore Westslope Cutthroat Trout in the Hidden Lake and Corral Creek drainage, located to the north-east of Lake Louise. The project involves creating a long-term headwater refuge in the area, in order to give Westslope Cutthroat Trout a place to recover without the constant pressures of competition from other species. Over the last three years, Banff National Park staff has removed the majority of the invasive fish species from the headwaters, using a combination of gill and trap netting, angling and electrofishing. A naturally occurring barrier--a waterfall--prevents invasive fish species from returning to the refuge once they are removed.

The next step of the project will look at expanding the population of Westslope Cutthroat Trout by translocation of wild trout into both the lake and the upper reaches of both Hidden Lake and Corral Creek.


Westslope Cutthroat Trout
Photo: © Shane Petry, Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Collaboration in the Yukon to Recover Baikal Sedge

The Baikal Sedge (Carex sabulosa) is a perennial plant that grows in the loose sandy soil of windswept dune systems in the southwest Yukon. The sedge has long horizontal roots called rhizomes, which help to anchor and stabilize the dunes in which they live.

When the rare Baikal Sedge was listed as threatened under SARA in 2005, Kluane National Park Reserve partnered with local First Nations to compile traditional and scientific knowledge to support recovery of the sedge and its habitat. One of the recovery goals was to complete surveys in the dunes systems to assess the health of the known populations within and outside the Park’s boundaries and to locate and assess any additional populations that might exist outside its known range.

Not only were researchers able to find a previously unknown population within the park, they also found one just outside of Whitehorse.

Baikal Sedge, Photo: © Jennifer Line
Baikal Sedge
Photo: © Jennifer Line

6.2.2 Conservation Agreements

A competent minister may, after consultation with the other competent minister and with the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation CouncilFootnote5 or any of its members, enter into a conservation agreement with any government in Canada, organization or person, to benefit a species at risk or enhance its survival in the wild.

The agreement must provide for the taking of conservation measures and any other measures consistent with the purposes of SARA, and may include measures with respect to:

  • monitoring the status of the species;
  • developing and implementing educational and public awareness programs;
  • developing and implementing recovery strategies, action plans and management plans;
  • protecting the species’ habitat, including its critical habitat; or
  • undertaking research projects in support of recovery efforts for the species.

Conservation agreements can also be entered into to provide for the conservation of a wildlife species that is not a species at risk.

In 2013, the competent departments continued work to develop the first conservation agreements under SARA and to finalize guidance for departmental staff on these agreements. Environment Canada continued to pursue the development of agreements with several parties including First Nations and industry partners, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada is pursuing the development of agreements for several aquatic species at risk.

6.2.3 Habitat Stewardship Program

The federal Habitat Stewardship Program (HSP) for Species at Risk was established in 2000 as part of the National Strategy for the Protection of Species at Risk. The program’s goal is to engage Canadians in conservation actions that contribute to the recovery of species at risk. Funded projects focus on four expected results:

  • securing or protecting important habitat for the recovery of species at risk;

  • improving, through restoration/enhancement, or managing important habitat to meet the recovery needs of species at risk;

  • removing or mitigating threats to species at risk caused by human activities; and/or

  • engaging Canadians (landowners, resource users, volunteers) to participate directly in activities that support the recovery of species at risk so that project benefits are sustained over time.

The HSP is co-managed by Environment Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and the Parks Canada Agency, and administered by Environment Canada on a regional basis. Regional implementation boards include representatives from provincial and territorial governments, and other stakeholders. These boards provide advice on priorities and project selection for their regions. Since its inception, the HSP has contributed over $127 million to 2178 projects, leveraging an additional $303 million in matching funds from project partners.

During 2012–2013, 131 new projects and 50 previously approved multi-year projects, involving 134 funding recipients, contributed to the recovery of over 451 SARA-listed species across Canada. A total of $9.5 million in funding was awarded to these projects, and an additional $16.1 million was leveraged from partners, for a total investment of $25.6 million. These contributions provided support to stewardship efforts across Canada that resulted in the securement and protection of 166 463 hectares (ha) of land, including 5 973 ha through legally binding means, such as acquisition or conservation easements. Non-legally binding protection through the use of voluntary verbal and written stewardship agreements with landowners accounts for 160 490 ha, and covers 141 612 ha through renewed stewardship agreements and 18 878 ha through new stewardship agreements to conserve land. The program also supported the improvement or restoration of 15 858 ha of land and 66 km of shoreline.

Improving the Habitat of the Copper Redhorse in the Des Hurons River Watershed in Quebec

This fish habitat improvement project took place in an 80 square kilometre area of the watershed of the Des Hurons River, which crosses the St. Lawrence Plain into the Richelieu River at the Chambly Basin (east of Montréal). This watershed is the largest spawning area for the Copper Redhorse, an endangered fish found only in the St. Lawrence lowlands area of Quebec. This area, which is part of the greater St. Lawrence River watershed, has been identified as an HSP regional priority area due to the high impact of human activities on the habitat of important fish species at risk, including the Copper Redhorse.

Agricultural practices have contributed to riverbank erosion and severely altered the water quality of the Des Hurons River, which as a result now contains high concentrations of phosphorus, suspended solids and pesticides. Improving water quality must be done through mobilization and involvement of all riparian (shoreline) landowners, municipalities and members of the agricultural sector.

The two-year project (2011–2012 to 2012–2013) reduced erosion and siltation of key watercourses in order to improve the quality of Copper Redhorse habitat. In 2011–2012, the project identified appropriate measures needed to be undertaken to reduce erosion. In 2012–2013, Union des producteurs agricoles representatives met with 68 agricultural producers, which led to 52 undertaking a variety of landscaping activities (e.g., vegetation planting to stabilize the shoreline, green fertilizers used on 480 ha of crops, 45 waterfalls filled with rocks to prevent erosion, 70 output drains protected to prevent nutrients from reaching watershed and 11 ditch junctions created to reduce soil erosion) that stabilized river banks and reduced nutrient run-off in order to improve a total of 4.5 km of shoreline. In addition, a committee composed of agricultural producers for the protection of the Des Hurons River watershed was established, and will continue after the end of the project, to discuss and exchange information on best management practices to be used on agricultural lands in the watershed.

All of the activities undertaken by the agricultural producers aimed to reduce the high-priority threat (shoreline and streambed soil erosion) outlined in the Copper Redhorse recovery strategy. The habitat improvements brought about by this project should help to prevent further degradation through soil erosion and siltation of the watercourse. The improvements should also contribute to the reduction of nutrient run-off throughout the watershed and therefore make a significant contribution to the overall quality of the habitat for the Copper Redhorse.

Copper Redhorse, Photo: © COVABAR
Copper Redhorse
Photo: © COVABAR

6.2.4 Aboriginal Funds for Species at Risk

The Aboriginal Funds for Species at Risk (AFSAR) program helps Aboriginal organizations and communities across Canada build capacity to participate in the conservation and recovery of species at risk. The program also helps to protect and recover critical habitat or habitat important for species at risk on or near First Nations reserves or on land and waters traditionally used by Aboriginal peoples. The program is co-managed by Environment Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and the Parks Canada Agency, with the support of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada and the guidance of national Aboriginal organizations.

Since its inception in 2004, AFSAR has contributed nearly $22 million to 631 projects, leveraging an additional $15 million in matching funds from project partners. In the 2012–2013 fiscal year, AFSAR provided $2.9 million for 71 projects, of which $821,320 targeted aquatic species at risk. These projects leveraged additional funds that exceeded $2.4 million (cash and in-kind) and involved 71 Aboriginal organizations and communities as recipients. Funded projects benefited 181 SARA-listed species, mostly through increased Aboriginal awareness of species at risk and through the development of strategies, guidelines and practices or the completion of monitoring studies, surveys and inventories.

6.2.5 Interdepartmental Recovery Fund

The Interdepartmental Recovery Fund (IRF) is administered by Environment Canada. Established in 2002, the IRF supports species at risk projects undertaken by federal government departments, agencies and Crown corporations (other than Environment Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and the Parks Canada Agency). Funded projects predominantly occur on lands owned or administered by federal organizations and directly relate to the implementation of activities identified in recovery strategies or action plans, or surveys of species at risk.

During the IRF’s first 11 years (2002–2013), it has invested $19.4 million in 649 projects. In 2012–2013, the IRF supported 31 projects in 8 federal departments and 4 Crown corporations. Collectively, $1.1 million in program funding and just under $500,000 from project leads supported recovery efforts for 70 species at risk. In 2012–2013, 84.5% of program funds supported recovery actions, while 13.8% supported surveys and 1.6% was directed towards 2 planning projects.

6.2.6 Outreach and Education

SARA recognizes that Canada’s natural heritage is an integral part of our national identity and history. All Canadians have a role to play in the conservation of wildlife species and their habitats, and education and awareness is essential.

Officials from Environment Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and the Parks Canada Agency promote compliance with the Act, ensuring that Canadians are informed about SARA, their responsibilities under the Act and opportunities to help conserve species at risk.

Environment Canada delivered a range of information in the form of fact sheets, Qs and As, Web content, information sessions, etc. to educate communities and the public about activities that affect species at risk and their habitat. The Department also provided information sessions for Aboriginal and stakeholder communities, as well as signage, area-user brochures and volunteer guardian programs.

Environment Canada continues to educate Canadians about species at risk through its longstanding partnership with the Canadian Wildlife Federation in delivering the Hinterland Who’s Who wildlife education program, and through developing and publishing species profiles on the Species at Risk Public Registry.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada continued working with partners to provide education and outreach activities such as school visits, trade shows, workshops, and industry and community meetings on the threats to aquatic species at risk and how to help protect these species. Some highlights include:

  • training on Leatherback Turtle disentanglement and sample collection, including disentanglement techniques, sample kits and data sheets;
  • educating fishers about the importance of recording and reporting species at risk catches in their logbooks and the quick and safe release of these species during coastal and in-port patrols;
  • educating boat operators, including kayakers and fishing lodge staff, about the “Be Whale Wise” guidelines for viewing marine mammals from a safe and responsible distance; and
  • distributing fact sheets to approximately 7000 persons involved in the lobster fishery, to help fishermen identify SARA-listed aquatic species in the Gulf Region.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada hosted species at risk policy and operational working group meetings in Moncton, New Brunswick, on June 5–6, 2013. A simulation of a marine mammal rescue with local fishery officers took place in the Bay of Shediac, providing an opportunity to promote the training and work of departmental fishery officers who respond to marine animals that are stranded or in distress.

The start of 2013 marked year two of a campaign called “Wanted! North Atlantic Right Whales” in search of areas outside of the critical habitat where North Atlantic Right Whales aggregate. Posters were placed on wharves, community bulletin boards, Coast Guard vessels, ferries in all Atlantic coast regions, whale watch companies and Fisheries and Oceans Canada area offices to solicit information from the public on sightings of North Atlantic Right Whales. Pamphlets with additional information on the project were also made available. The Department is currently working to compile a list of the locations from which reports were received.

During 2013, Fisheries and Oceans Canada held 13 outreach sessions throughout Ontario, 8 of which were in partnership with conservation authorities. Since 3 new species had recently been listed and protection orders for critical habitat were pending for 6 fish and 10 mussel species in Ontario, particular emphasis was placed on where critical habitat exists, how critical habitat is defined, and how potential impacts to critical habitat might be mitigated. Over 360 participants took part in these sessions, representing a wide range of stakeholders.

In addition to the outreach sessions, concerted efforts were made in 2013 to develop a SARA guidance document that could be referenced by other regulators (i.e., municipalities) or stakeholders in their planning processes. This new initiative will result in project proponents’ being aware of the need to comply with SARA requirements early in the project planning process.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada completed a session to educate turbot ice fishers in Nunavut on the proper identification and SARA requirements/status of the Atlantic, Spotted and Northern Wolffish. This was completed during the annual compliance and monitoring inspections of the turbot commercial ice fishery.

The Parks Canada Agency promotes species at risk protection through public engagement in efforts to mitigate the factors that adversely affect the protection and recovery of species at risk. In 2013, the Agency continued to implement the Parks Canada Prevention Guidelines, which support the implementation of activities promoting awareness and understanding of species at risk and their habitat.

At Parks Canada, public outreach activities relating to species at risk occur in and around parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas across the country. These activities include interpretative programs, field trips, special events, volunteer programs, media stories and online resources such as Web and social media content. Visitors have the unique opportunity to experience first-hand the places that are key to protecting species at risk.

In addition, Parks Canada has put in place a number of national outreach programs that focus on reaching audiences in urban areas in order to address the low level of awareness among this audience. In 2013, efforts included outreach to youth, families and new Canadians in Canada’s three largest cities--Toronto, Montréal and Vancouver--and a few other urban areas. Creating this awareness and initial connection among urbanites helps foster support for species at risk protection and management.

Footnotes

Footnote 5

The Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council (CESCC) is made up of federal, provincial and territorial ministers responsible for conservation and management of species at risk. Under SARA, the CESCC provides general direction on the activities of COSEWIC, the preparation of recovery strategies, and the preparation and implementation of action plans, and coordinates the activities of the various governments represented on the Council related to the protection of species at risk.

Return to footnote5referrer

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7 Enforcement

Environment Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and the Parks Canada Agency jointly enforce SARA. These federal entities work in partnership with Aboriginal, provincial, territorial and international authorities to protect SARA-listed wildlife species at risk and their critical habitats. More information regarding the applicability of SARA prohibitions (see sections 3.1 and section5.1) can be found on the Species at Risk Public Registry website.

Environment Canada enforces four statutes that protect wildlife: the Species at Risk Act; the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994; the Canada Wildlife Act; and the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act. To ensure the effective enforcement of these Acts, wildlife officers work in close cooperation with national and international partners. In 2013, Environment Canada had a staff of 90 enforcement officers assigned to enforce these Acts.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s enforcement actions for species at risk are carried out by close to 600 front-line fishery officers who have been trained and designated as enforcement officers under SARA and who incorporate SARA enforcement activities alongside their duties under the Fisheries Act and other federal statutes and regulations.

Parks Canada’s Law Enforcement Program enforces legislation related to Parks Canada’s mandate, including SARA, on all lands and waters that the Agency administers. In 2013, the Agency had 87 park warden positions dedicated to law enforcement activities, including SARA, located in the Agency’s protected heritage areas.

Training Provided to Wildlife Officers on American Ginseng During 2013

Environment Canada provides training to enforcement officers on a regular basis in order to keep them informed about the different Acts and Regulations administrated by the Department, including SARA. The market value of wild American Ginseng has recently increased, making it more vulnerable to poaching. Recognizing the precariousness of viable wild American Ginseng populations in Canada, Environment Canada provided a course in 2013 to a group of federal and provincial wildlife enforcement officers focusing on this plant. The course covered current regulations (federal and provincial), the current status of the species in Canada, and how to recognize the plant and its habitat. The goal was to prepare the agents to carry out patrols and investigations effectively.

Each year, Environment Canada prioritizes its enforcement activities. In 2013, Environment Canada conducted 40 inspections, focused on three priorities:

  • Legal obligations: a legal obligation to investigate exists under section 93 of SARA. It comes into play when receiving a public request that an investigation be carried out concerning an alleged offence involving SARA-listed species, their critical habitat or residence.
  • Commercial activities: these involve commercial/industrial activities that may entail the incidental take of SARA-listed species.
  • The protection of critical habitat on federal lands: critical habitat is the habitat necessary for the survival or recovery of species listed under SARA and that is identified as the species’ critical habitat in the recovery strategy or in an action plan for the species.

In 2013, Environment Canada conducted 21 investigations involving critical habitats and regulated species under SARA, such as Piping Plover, Whooping Crane and American Ginseng. More than 3000 hours of proactive patrols were completed. The majority of these investigations closed during 2013. A total of 3 seizures including 2 seizures of American Ginseng and 1 seizure of a Massasauga rattlesnake occurred under the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act (WAPPRIITA) in regard to these SARA species.

In 2013, Fisheries and Oceans Canada fishery officers dedicated over 16 000 hours to patrols, inspections, investigations, court cases, public relations and other duties related to enforcing the prohibitions of SARA. Fishery officers initiated over 70 investigations and spent over 3200 hours on investigative work related to species at risk. The Department recorded a total of 23 SARA violations that resulted in fines, seizures, charges and warnings.

In 2013, Parks Canada’s enforcement activities in protected heritage areas included targeted patrols and investigating reported violations in support of SARA-listed species and critical habitat. Park wardens recorded a total of 13 law enforcement occurrences related to the protection of species at risk in protected heritage areas. There were no charges or prosecutions under the prohibitions of SARA during this period.

Conviction for Harassing a Species at Risk: Sentencing Update

In 2012, a recreational boater from Campbell River, British Columbia, was convicted of harassing killer whales under SARA and of disturbing killer whales under the Fisheries Act. This was the first time that an individual has been found guilty of harassing killer whales under SARA.

Under the Species at Risk Act, it is illegal to harass a member of a wildlife species that is listed as extirpated, endangered or threatened, while the Marine Mammal Regulations of the Fisheries Act specifically prohibit any disturbance of whales.

In January 2013, the individual was fined $7,500, and was ordered to write a mea culpa (“I am to blame”) court-approved article for submission to a Campbell River newsletter. The fine was directed to the Environmental Damages Fund and will support local conservation and education activities in Campbell River.

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8 Monitoring

Species at risk monitoring is ongoing within the Parks Canada heritage areas network to assess the long-term condition of species and to evaluate the results of recovery actions. Parks Canada reviews detailed assessments to monitor and capture changes in the conservation status of species and updates them as new information becomes available. The information assists in determining progress towards achieving recovery goals.

Environment Canada collects species at risk information on its protected areas and through its Migratory Bird program. Federal funding programs administered by Environment Canada also support monitoring activities, including the HSP, AFSAR and the IRF. Information from these initiatives, along with information from partner organizations and researchers, allows for tracking progress towards meeting recovery goals.

In its sixth year, Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Marine Mammal Response Program has well-established regional networks that have become more visible to the general public. Departmental personnel and external partner organizations play key roles in marine animal emergency response. In 2013, they carried out 161 responses nationally for species at risk. Responses included freeing whales from fishing gear entanglements, dealing with ice entrapments, refloating live stranded animals and investigating incidents of harassment. Information from response activities help Fisheries and Oceans Canada monitor and evaluate the threat level from these forms of harm. In addition, the Program also uses the information collected to find ways to reduce entanglements and vessel collisions. Outreach activities also form an important part of the work done to educate the public with respect to ways to help protect and avoid harming marine animals.

Marine Mammal Emergency Responses

The Fisheries and Oceans Canada–supported network of marine animal responders is comprised of internationally recognized experts in marine animal emergency response who provide advice and training expertise to other countries. Information gathered from response activities is used for adaptive management to support regulatory change, species at risk recovery planning, and policy development through the quantification of threats affecting marine animal species. This past year, the activities of marine animal responders garnered national and international attention because of its very public emergency response activities, including work to save Belugas in the St. Lawrence; the release of a stranded killer whale in British Columbia; and aiding ice-entrapped Belugas in the north. Furthermore, the Marine Mammal Response Program was featured on the ABC television network in three episodes of “Sea Rescue” responding to a Pacific Humpback Whale entanglement situation and in an episode of CBC’s “Land and Sea” responding to a stranded juvenile Pilot Whale in the Maritimes.

 

Searching for a Needle in a Haystack – Survey of Mormon Metalmark Colonies

Grasslands National Park in southern Saskatchewan is home to the most northern population of Mormon Metalmark butterflies in North America, a threatened species under SARA. In 2007, Parks Canada launched the Mormon Metalmark project to find and better understand colonies of the metalmark butterfly. At the time, only six colonies of metalmarks had been mapped out within the park.

Locating this rare multicoloured butterfly is like searching for a needle in a haystack. Metalmarks typically do not travel outside of their home colony of branched-umbrella plants (Eriogonum pauciflorum) and rubber rabbitbrush (Ericameria nauseosus). Consequently, to help in narrowing the search, Parks Canada scientists developed a new habitat model that predicts the best and most likely places for the metalmark to be situated within the park. With the help of 65 volunteers, 132 colonies of metalmarks were located--more than 20 times the previously known number!

This project has generated new and exciting information about the life cycle and behaviour of these butterflies. Since then, park scientists have observed females laying their eggs on exposed rock and soil close to their host plants--a different behaviour from their more southerly counterparts. This new information makes a key contribution to our understanding of the species. The information collected from field surveys will help park managers to develop more targeted and effective recovery actions to ensure the metalmark’s survival in Canada.

Mormon Metalmark Butterfly, Photo: © Shelley Pruss
Mormon Metalmark Butterfly
Photo: © Shelley Pruss

 

On the Trail of the American Marten

In 1986, the Newfoundland American Marten population was declared endangered and was protected under SARA since it came into force. For more than 15 years, Parks Canada has been reintroducing martens into the Terra Nova National Park, and as a result of all the recovery efforts across the island, the risk status was moved from endangered to threatened in 2007.

Current monitoring efforts focus on live trapping and radio-collaring adult martens to help park managers better understand whether the marten population is increasing, where they go and what kind of habitat they use. Martens are capable of covering great distances: one radio-collared marten travelled across the entire province and back during the course of a single winter.

Based on data collected so far, the project is succeeding. The number of Newfoundland martens in Terra Nova is steadily growing, and martens have been found throughout the park and surrounding areas, in a variety of different habitat types. Continued effort is needed in order to ensure that the marten survives and thrives once again in its native province.

Newfoundland Marten, Photo: © Parks Canada Agency
Newfoundland Marten
Photo: © Parks Canada Agency

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8.1 SARA General Status Report

SARA requires that a general report on the status of wildlife species be prepared every five years. The report’s purpose is to provide Canadians with an overview of which wild species are doing fine, which should be monitored and which need to be formally assessed or reassessed by COSEWIC. Reports entitled Wild Species: The General Status of Species in Canada (see section 2.1), prepared by a federal–provincial–territorial group of experts, fulfill this requirement. Preparation of the next report, Wild Species 2015, is underway.

Wild Species 2000 provided general assessments of 1 670 species in Canada. Wild Species 2005 presented general status assessments for 7 732 species from all provinces, territories and ocean regions, representing all of Canada’s vertebrate species (fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals), all of Canada’s vascular plants, and 4 invertebrate groups (freshwater mussels, crayfishes, ordinates and tiger beetles). Wild Species 2010 included assessments of 11 950 species. The number and variety of species covered by these reports have greatly increased, but with the total number of species in Canada estimated at more than 70 000, there are still many species left to be assessed.

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9 Consultation and Governance

9.1 Consultation with Aboriginal Groups and Other Stakeholders

SARA recognizes that the role of Aboriginal peoples in the conservation of wildlife is essential and that Aboriginal peoples possess unique traditional knowledge concerning wildlife species. The National Aboriginal Council on Species at Risk (NACOSAR), composed of representatives of Aboriginal peoples in Canada, was created under section 8.1 of SARA to advise the Minister of the Environment on the administration of the Act and to provide advice and recommendations to the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council (CESCC).

In 2013, NACOSAR held several face-to-face meetings and teleconferences, and the Council’s membership was renewed. NACOSAR representatives met with both the Canadian Wildlife Directors Committee (see section 9.2.2) and the Species at Risk Advisory Committee (see below) to discuss permitting, conservation agreements, multispecies/ecosystems approach, and Aboriginal involvement and Aboriginal traditional knowledge throughout SARA.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada consulted with Aboriginal groups across Canada on a draft Guidance Document on Considering Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge in Species at Risk Act Implementation. The guidance document will provide advice on how to work with Aboriginal peoples in the implementation of SARA, and on how to consider Aboriginal traditional knowledge in a respectful and meaningful way throughout the SARA conservation cycle.

The Species at Risk Advisory Committee is an informal committee of 20 members drawn from non-governmental, industry and agriculture organizations, and other parties. This committee has provided advice on the implementation of SARA to government officials.

Two face-to-face meetings of the committee were held in 2013 to provide advice and input on key policy and programming areas concerning the effective implementation of SARA.

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9.2 Cooperation with Other Jurisdictions

The responsibility for conservation of wildlife in Canada is shared by federal, provincial and territorial governments. In recognition of this, federal, provincial and territorial governments agreed to the National Framework for Species at Risk Conservation in June 2007. This framework supports implementation of the 1996 Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk by providing a set of common principles, objectives and overarching approaches for species at risk conservation to guide federal, provincial and territorial species at risk programs and policies. The framework’s objectives are to:

  • facilitate coordination and cooperation among jurisdictions involved with species at risk;
  • encourage greater national coherence and consistency in jurisdictional policies and procedures; and
  • provide context and common ground for federal–provincial–territorial bilateral agreements.

9.2.1 Bilateral Administrative Agreements

The federal government has bilateral administrative agreements on species at risk with various provinces and territories. The agreements set out shared objectives, and commitments for the governments to cooperate on species at risk initiatives. In 2013, the agreement with Quebec was renewed. Agreements with the governments of British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan are in place, and there is a Memorandum of Understanding with the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board.

9.2.2 Canadian Wildlife Directors Committee

The Canadian Wildlife Directors Committee (CWDC) supports inter-jurisdictional cooperation on species at risk. The committee, co-chaired by Environment Canada and a province or territory on a rotating basis (British Columbia in 2013), is comprised of federal, provincial and territorial wildlife directors, including representatives from Environment Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and the Parks Canada Agency. As an advisory body on wildlife issues, the CWDC provides leadership in the development and coordination of policies, strategies, programs and activities that address wildlife issues of national concern and help conserve biodiversity. It also advises and supports the CESCC and the Wildlife Ministers’ Council on these matters.

The CWDC meets twice a year and has monthly teleconferences, providing a forum for collaboration and integration of management and administration of federal and provincial/territorial species at risk programs. The CWDC’s priority actions for 2013–2014 comprised five high-level outcomes: national and international collaborations, species at risk, population conservation, habitat conservation, and public engagement and human dimensions. As part of their face-to-face meeting in 2013, CWDC members participated in a Human Dimensions in Wildlife Management workshop that looked at understanding the perspective of Canadians toward nature, wildlife and recreational angling.

9.2.3 National General Status Working Group

The National General Status Working Group (NGSWG), composed of representatives from the federal government and all provincial and territorial governments, was established by the CWDC to meet the commitment of monitoring, assessing and reporting on the status of wildlife, as required under the Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk. Members of the group are responsible for completing the general status assessments of species in their jurisdictions, which the group then uses to produce the Wild Species: The General Status of Species in Canada reports.

Environment Canada is co-chair and coordinator of the NGSWG; the other co-chair in 2013 was the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. Other members from the federal government include the Parks Canada Agency and Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Natural Resources Canada, and NatureServe Canada are ex-officio members. Members of the working group are responsible to the CWDC and ultimately to the CESCC.

In 2013, the NGSWG prepared the general status assessments of several groups of species for inclusion in the next report, Wild Species 2015.

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9.3 Federal Coordinating Committees

The federal government has established governance structures to support federal implementation of SARA and its supporting programs. Several committees, composed of senior officials from Environment Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and the Parks Canada Agency, meet regularly to discuss programs, policy and strategic issues, and to monitor SARA implementation.

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9.4 Species at Risk Public Registry

The online Species at Risk Public Registry fulfills the requirement under SARA for the Minister of the Environment to establish a public registry for the purpose of facilitating access to SARA-related documents. The Species at Risk Public Registry is an important tool in engaging and informing Canadians on species at risk issues. In addition to providing access to documents and information related to the Act, it provides a forum for Canadians to submit comments on SARA-related documents being developed by the Government of Canada.

Section 123 of SARA identifies documents that must be published on the Public Registry, including:

  • regulations and orders made under the Act;
  • agreements entered into under section 10 of the Act;
  • COSEWIC’s criteria for the classification of wildlife species;
  • status reports on wildlife species that COSEWIC has prepared or has received with an application;
  • the List of Wildlife Species at Risk;
  • codes of practice, national standards or guidelines established under the Act;
  • agreements and reports filed under section 111 or subsection 113(2) of the Act, or notices that these have been filed in court and are available to the public; and
  • all reports made under sections 126 and 128 of the Act.

Other documents prepared in response to the requirements of SARA include recovery strategies, action plans, management plans and reports on round-table meetings.

In 2013, 534 documents were published on the registry. These documents included SARA and COSEWIC annual reports, consultation documents, COSEWIC status reports and species assessments, ministerial response statements, recovery strategies, management plans, action plans and permit explanations. Consultations in 2013 were again on the upswing, with many Canadians voicing their opinions on the proposed listing of a variety of species. Some of the most popular areas of the site for 2013 included text of the Act, the list of wildlife species at risk and individual species profiles. The volume of comments submitted on various public consultations showed that Canadians remain involved and concerned with protecting species at risk.

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10 Further information

To obtain further information or publications--and to submit questions or comments--concerning species at risk programs and activities, please contact any of the following three departments:

Environment Canada
Inquiry Centre
10 Wellington Street, 23rd Floor
Gatineau QC  K1A 0H3
Canada
Tel.: 819-997-2800
or 1-800-668-6767 (toll-free in Canada)
Fax: 819-994-1412
Email: enviroinfo@ec.gc.ca

Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Communications Branch
200 Kent Street
3rd Floor, Station 13228
Ottawa ON  K1A OE6
Canada
Tel.: 613-993-0999
Fax: 613-990-1866
Email: info@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Parks Canada Agency
National Office
25 Eddy Street
Gatineau QC  K1A 0M5
Canada
Tel.: 888-773-8888
Email: information@pc.gc.ca

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Public Registry Office

For more information on the Species at Risk Public Registry, and to submit questions or comments on the Public Registry, please contact the following office:

SARA Public Registry Office
351 St. Joseph Boulevard, 21st Floor
Gatineau QC  K1A 0H3
Canada
Email: SARAregistry@ec.gc.ca

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