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Species at Risk Act – Annual Report for 2014

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.

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. The recommendation may be 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. The competent minister will conduct public consultations and socio-economic analyses, and will consider the results of those processes 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 the Governor in Council’s 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 are subject to SARA’s provisions for recovery and are or can be made subject to prohibitions in the case of extirpated, endangered or threatened species, or are subject to management in the case of species of special concern. All Schedule 2 species have since been reassessed by COSEWIC. For Schedule 3, eight species remained to be reassessed at the end of 2014.

Figure 1 outlines the species listing process under SARA. 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 SARA Public 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 receipt of 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.

 

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 at various steps in the SARA process, including at the recovery planning stage. In 2014, Fisheries and Oceans Canada led 3 recovery potential assessments for the Bay of Fundy population of Striped Bass, the Saskatchewan-Nelson rivers population of Bull Trout, and for Cusk, and produced a total of 19 reports associated with recovery potential assessments (6 proceedings, 8 research documents, 4 science advisory reports and 1 science response).

3.2 Federal Government Response to COSEWIC Assessments

In October 2014, the Minister of the Environment received the assessments for Batch 12 from COSEWIC. These assessments included 41 terrestrial and 15 aquatic wildlife species at risk. The Minister’s response statements for the Batch 12 species assessments were posted in January 2015 (for details, see section 3.3). The response statements (full list included in Table 1) indicate the following:

  • For 19 terrestrial and 1 aquatic wildlife species, normal consultations (i.e., consistent with the consultation path that is typical for most species; see Figure 1) would be undertaken. Six (6) of these 20 species are already listed on Schedule 1 and are eligible to have their status changed to either a higher (uplist) or lower (downlist) risk category.

  • For 6 terrestrial and 7 aquatic wildlife species, extended consultations would be undertaken, because listing these species could potentially have marked impacts on the activities of Aboriginal peoples, hunters and trappers, ranchers, commercial and recreational fishers, or Canadians at large, or the consultations are anticipated to take longer than the normal period.

  • For 16 terrestrial and 7 aquatic wildlife species already listed on Schedule 1, COSEWIC’s assessments confirmed the current status, and no changes to Schedule 1 are required.

Table 1: List of species received from COSEWIC in October 2014 and for which the government posted a response statement in January 2015

Note: The table has been split into three separate components: Normal consultation, Extended consultation, and Status confirmed – no consultations.

Normal consultation
COSEWIC risk statusTaxonEnglish legal nameScientific name
EndangeredAmphibiansEastern Tiger Salamander (Prairie population)Ambystoma tigrinum
EndangeredArthropodsGypsy Cuckoo Bumble BeeBombus bohemicus
EndangeredArthropodsOregon Branded SkipperHesperia colorado oregonia
EndangeredVascular PlantsTweedy's LewisiaLewisiopsis tweedyi
ThreatenedArthropodsWestern Bumble Bee occidentalis subspeciesBombus occidentalis occidentalis
ThreatenedArthropodsAudouin's Night-stalking Tiger BeetleOmus audouini
ThreatenedLichensEastern WaterfanPeltigera hydrothyria
Special ConcernBirdsWestern GrebeAechmophorus occidentalis
Special ConcernBirdsGrasshopper Sparrow pratensis subspeciesAmmodramus savannarum pratensis
Special ConcernAmphibiansWandering SalamanderAneides vagrans
Special ConcernArthropodsWestern Bumble Bee mckayi subspeciesBombus occidentalis mckayi
Special ConcernFishes (freshwater)Cutlip MinnowExoglossum maxillingua
Special ConcernLichensWestern WaterfanPeltigera gowardii
Special ConcernVascular PlantsNahanni AsterSymphyotrichum nahanniense
Uplist from Special Concern to ThreatenedVascular PlantsSweet PepperbushClethra alnifolia
Uplist from Special Concern to ThreatenedVascular PlantsHare-footed LocoweedOxytropis lagopus
Uplist from Threatened to EndangeredArthropodsDakota SkipperHesperia dacotae
Downlist from Endangered to ThreatenedAmphibiansRocky Mountain Tailed FrogAscaphus montanus
Downlist from Threatened to Special ConcernArthropodsMormon Metalmark (Prairie population)Apodemia mormo
Downlist from Threatened to Special ConcernVascular PlantsWater PennywortHydrocotyle umbellata

 

Extended consultation
COSEWIC risk statusTaxonEnglish legal nameScientific name
EndangeredFishes (marine)PorbeagleLamna nasus
EndangeredFishes (freshwater)Rainbow Trout (Athabasca River populations)Oncorhynchus mykiss
EndangeredFishes (marine)BocaccioSebastes paucispinis
EndangeredFishes (marine)White Hake (Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence population)Urophycis tenuis
Uplist from Threatened to EndangeredMammals (terrestrial)Caribou (Southern Mountain population)Table note aRangifer tarandus
Uplist from Threatened to EndangeredMammals (terrestrial)Caribou (Central Mountain population)Table note aRangifer tarandus
Downlist from Threatened to Special ConcernMammals (terrestrial)Wood BisonBison bison athabascae
Special ConcernFishes (freshwater)Unarmoured Threespine SticklebackGasterosteus aculeatus
Special ConcernFishes (freshwater)Giant Threespine SticklebackGasterosteus aculeatus
Special ConcernMammals (terrestrial)WolverineTable note bGulo gulo
Downlist from Threatened to Special Concern (9 sub-populations), and Special Concern confirmation (36 sub-populations)Mammals (terrestrial)Caribou (Northern Mountain population)Table note aRangifer tarandus
ThreatenedMammals (terrestrial)Plains BisonBison bison bison
ThreatenedFishes (marine)White Hake (Atlantic and Northern Gulf of St. Lawrence population)Urophycis tenuis

 

Status confirmed – no consultations
COSEWIC risk statusTaxonEnglish legal nameScientific name
ExtirpatedAmphibiansEastern Tiger Salamander (Carolinian population)Table note cAmbystoma tigrinum
EndangeredFishes (freshwater)Copper RedhorseMoxostoma hubbsi
EndangeredBirdsLoggerhead Shrike Eastern subspeciesTable note dLanius ludovicianus ssp.
EndangeredArthropodsMormon Metalmark (Southern Mountain population)Apodemia mormo
EndangeredMammals (marine)North Atlantic Right WhaleEubalaena glacialis
EndangeredBirdsPiping Plover circumcinctus subspeciesCharadrius melodus circumcinctus
EndangeredBirdsPiping Plover melodus subspeciesCharadrius melodus melodus
EndangeredMolluscsRound PigtoePleurobema sintoxia
EndangeredArthropodsSand-verbena MothCopablepharon fuscum
EndangeredAmphibiansSmall-mouthed SalamanderAmbystoma texanum
ThreatenedAmphibiansCoastal Giant SalamanderDicamptodon tenebrosus
ThreatenedMolluscsDromedary Jumping-slugHemphillia dromedarius
ThreatenedBirdsLoggerhead Shrike Prairie subspeciesTable note dLanius ludovicianus excubitorides
ThreatenedBirdsShort-tailed AlbatrossPhoebastria albatrus
Special ConcernFishes (freshwater)Banded Killifish (Newfoundland populations)Fundulus diaphanus
Special ConcernReptilesEastern MilksnakeLampropeltis triangulum
Special ConcernFishes (freshwater)Green SturgeonAcipenser medirostris
Special ConcernBirdsHarlequin Duck (Eastern population)Histrionicus histrionicus
Special ConcernMammals (marine)Steller Sea LionEumetopias jubatus
Special ConcernMolluscsYellow LampmusselLampsilis cariosa
EndangeredMammals (terrestrial)Little Brown MyotisTable note eMyotis lucifugus
EndangeredMammals (terrestrial)Northern MyotisTable note eMyotis septentrionalis
EndangeredMammals (terrestrial)Tri-colored BatTable note ePerimyotis subflavus

Table 1 notes

Table 1 note a

The three Caribou populations included in Batch 12 are currently listed as two populations under different names: Woodland Caribou Southern Mountain population (Threatened) and Woodland Caribou Northern Mountain population (Special Concern). These two populations were recently restructured into three populations and renamed by COSEWIC as the Northern Mountain, Central Mountain and Southern Mountain populations of the Caribou. In this restructuring, nine subpopulations formerly included in the Southern Mountain population, currently listed as Threatened, are now included in the Northern Mountain population, and currently listed as Special Concern. Although COSEWIC’s last assessment for the Northern Mountain population is also Special Concern, this reclassification would mean a downlisting of these nine subpopulations from Threatened to Special Concern. To reflect this potential regulatory change, the Northern Mountain population is considered as a downlisting here.

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Table 1 note b

The Wolverine was formerly considered by COSEWIC as two populations (Western and Eastern populations). The Eastern population is currently listed as Endangered on Schedule 1. The Western population is not listed under Schedule 1 of SARA. In May 2014, COSEWIC considered Western and Eastern populations as a single population and designated it as Special Concern. If Schedule 1 is amended to reflect this change, the former Eastern population would be downlisted from Endangered to Special Concern, and the Western population would be added to Schedule 1 as Special Concern.

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Table 1 note c

The Eastern Tiger Salamander Carolinian population is currently listed as Extirpated on Schedule 1 of SARA under the name Tiger Salamander Great Lakes population.

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Table 1 note d

The species was considered a single unit and designated Threatened in April 1986. The species was then split according to subspecies (excubitorides and migrans) in April 1991, and each received separate designations. The migranssubspecies classification was deactivated in May 2014 in recognition of new genetic information indicating that some of the individuals in southeastern Manitoba should not have been included in the migrans subspecies. A new subspecies (Eastern subspecies, Lanius ludovicianus ssp.) was assessed in May 2014 and was designated Endangered.

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Table 1 note e

COSEWIC provided an emergency assessment in 2012 for the three bat species and confirmed their status as Endangered in Batch 12. These three species were added to the list in 2014; therefore, COSEWIC’s assessment is considered as a status confirmation.

Return to first table 1 note e referrer

3.3 Public Consultations

Public consultations provide the Minister with a better understanding of the potential social and economic impacts of possible changes to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk, and of the potential consequences of not adding a species to the list. Information collected during consultations is used to inform the Minister’s recommendations to the Governor in Council on amending Schedule 1 of SARA.

In 2014, the Minister of the Environment carried out consultations for 21 terrestrial species for which status assessments had been received from COSEWIC 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 2014, Environment Canada also consulted on the emergency listing of three bat species for which COSEWIC provided an emergency assessment in 2012 and confirmed their status as Endangered in Batch 12.

In 2014, Fisheries and Oceans Canada consulted Canadians on the possible listing on Schedule 1 of 21 aquatic species (from Batches 11 and 12).

3.4 Listing Decisions

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.

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.

In 2014, the Governor in Council received Emergency Listing recommendations from the Minister of the Environment for three terrestrial mammal species (Little Brown Myotis, Northern Myotis, Tri-colored Bat) and added them to Schedule 1 of SARA as Endangered in November 2014. The order is posted on the Species at Risk Public Registry.

Table 2: SARA listing decisions made by the Governor in Council in 2014
Added to List of Wildlife Species at Risk (listed)
Risk statusTaxonEnglish legal nameScientific name
EndangeredMammal (terrestrial)Little Brown MyotisMyotis lucifugus
EndangeredMammal (terrestrial)Northern MyotisMyotis septentrionalis
EndangeredMammal (terrestrial)Tri-colored BatPerimyotis subflavus

 

Table 3: Listing processes for species at risk at year-end 2014 (Batches 1 to 12)
Batch and year of Minister’s receipt
Total number of species assessedTable 3 notefAssessed as at riskConfirmation of current statusAdded to Schedule 1Table 3 note gUplistedDownlistedNot listedReferred backListing decision pending
(Proclamation)
233
233
Batch 1 (2004)
115
95
4
75
0
0
0
Batch 2 (2004)
59
0
46
0
0
13
1
0
Batch 3 (2005)
73
59
4
44
0
0
6
1
4
Batch 4 (2006)
59
4
40
2
0
4
2
7
Emergency Assessment (2006)
1
1
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
Batch 5 (2007)
64
53
8
29
2
4
0
0
10
Batch 6 (2008)
46
39
14
18
3
0
1
0
3
Batch 7 (2009)
48
46
17
18
3
1
0
0
7
Batch 8 (2010)
79
78
34
14
3
5
3
0
19
Batch 9 (2011)
92
81
31
0
0
1
0
2
47
Batch 10 (2012)
64
57
28
0
0
0
0
0
29
Emergency Assessment (2012)
3
3
0
3
0
0
0
0
0
Batch 11 (2013)
73
67
32
0
0
0
0
0
35
Batch 12 (2014)
56
56
23
0
0
0
0
0
33

Table 3 notes

Table 3 note f

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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Table 3 note g

The total listed as “Added to Schedule 1” may not add up to the 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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Table note h

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

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Table 3 note i

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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Table 3 note j

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, 2014, Schedule 1 listed 23 extirpated species, 241 endangered species, 127 threatened species and 130 species of special concern, for a total of 521 species.

Tables 4 and 5 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 2014
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
2014
0
3
0
0
3
TotalTable 4 note k
23
236
135
127

Table notes

Table 4 note k

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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Table 4 note l

Although the total number of listed species (521) 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).

Return to table 4 note l referrer

Table 5: Number of species listed on Schedule 1 by department/agency responsible for recovery planning, as of December 2014
SpeciesEnvironment CanadaFisheries and Oceans CanadaParks Canada AgencyTotal
Terrestrial mammals
30
4
34
Aquatic mammals
22
22
Birds
70
3
73
Reptiles
34
1
5
40
Amphibians
20
1
21
Fishes
69
69
Molluscs
5
19
2
26
Arthropods
33
4
37
Plants
122
 52
174
Lichens
9
1
10
Mosses
11
4
15
Total
334
111
76
521