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Species at Risk Act – Annual Report for 2014

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1 Introduction

1.1 The Purpose of the Annual Report

This report summarizes activities carried out in 2014 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 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

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 habitats Footnote 1 and residences.Footnote 2

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.

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 under the responsibility of 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 insofar 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.

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 5.2).

Return to footnote 1 referrer

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.

Return to footnote 2 referrer

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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. COSEWIC 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 on COSEWIC are available online.

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 9.3.3), 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 2014, Fisheries and Oceans Canada hosted peer-review meetings regarding Blue Shark and River Darter, and provided published information for many other aquatic species to COSEWIC. The Department also reviewed 24 COSEWIC status reports for aquatic wildlife species before they were finalized.

In 2014, the Parks Canada Agency continued to conduct detailed assessments to measure the conservation status of individual species at risk and help determine the changes in species populations and risk of extirpation from a given heritage place, such as a national park, national historic site, historic canal or national marine conservation area. The information from detailed assessments contributes to the Wild Species reports, COSEWIC status reports and the development of Parks Canada site-based action plans. There are currently 180 species at risk regularly occurring in one or more of Parks Canada’s heritage places.

2.1.2 COSEWIC Subcommittees

COSEWIC’s Species Specialists Subcommittees (SSCs) provide species expertise to COSEWIC. 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 2014 to formulate advice for consideration by COSEWIC.

SARA also requires that COSEWIC establish a supporting subcommittee on Aboriginal traditional knowledge (ATK). The Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge Subcommittee produced 11 ATK source reports, which compiled potential sources of documented ATK for a given wildlife species such as Western Painted Turtle, Ivory Gull, Cherry Birch, Ash species and Ringed Seal. In addition, an ATK assessment report, which summarizes the relevant content of documented ATK sources, was completed for Narwhal. These reports are prepared to inform wildlife species status assessments.

2.2 Wildlife Species Assessments Since 2002

COSEWIC finalized the following wildlife species assessments, grouped in batches, between 2002 and 2014:

  • 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
  • Batch 12: 56 wildlife species in November 2013 and May 2014

Details on Batches 1 through 12 can be found in Table 3 (see section 3.4), and in previous SARA annual reports online.

Batch 12

At its November 2013 and May 2014 meetings, COSEWIC finalized assessments and classification reviews of 56 wildlife species:

  • One (1) wildlife species was assessed as not at risk.
  • Fifty-five (55) wildlife species were assessed as at risk, of which 24 were confirmed at the classification already attributed to them on Schedule 1 of SARA.Footnote 3

COSEWIC forwarded these assessments to the Minister of the Environment in early fall 2014.

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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.

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.

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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).

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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

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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 (aquatic, terrestrial, migratory bird), 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 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 that are in a territory and that are 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 provincial, territorial or other federal 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.

SARA 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.

4.2 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. 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.

Before issuing a permit, the competent minister must be of the opinion that all preconditions listed under subsection 73(3) have been met. This requires applicants to demonstrate that:

  • 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.

Activities affecting a SARA-listed species may be authorized by a permit or a similar document issued under another Act of Parliament if this permit has the same effect as a permit issued under section 73. Such permits, referred to as “SARA-compliant” permits, can only be issued for the activities listed above and must respect subsections 73(2) to 73(6.1) preconditions.

The Permits Authorizing an Activity Affecting Listed Wildlife Species Regulations outline the information required to be submitted when applying for a permit under section 73 of the Act, 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 peoples) 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 276 SARA and SARA-compliant permits in 2014 for purposes of research, conservation and monitoring of listed species.

In 2014, Fisheries and Oceans Canada issued 110 SARA permits under section 73 of the Act, covering at least 30 listed aquatic species. The majority of these permits were issued to academic and government researchers, consultants, environmental non-governmental organizations, industry, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada scientists, for conservation research affecting species at risk, including inventory, population monitoring, habitat use and restoration, and conservation genetics. Twenty (20) 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 addition, Fisheries and Oceans Canada issued 41 SARA-compliant permits under other Acts. Ten (10) were for fishing licences with SARA conditions, one was for a SARA-compliant Fisheries Act authorization, and 30 were for experimental licences with respect to Northern Wolffish, Spotted Wolffish and Leatherback Sea Turtle.

In 2014, Environment Canada issued 33 permits under section 73 of SARA to allow for activities such as the monitoring, inventory or management of 29 species, including reptiles, amphibians, birds, vascular plants, arthropods, molluscs and mammals. Of the 33 permits issued, eight were for scientific research related to the conservation of a species, five 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 10 were for more than one of these three purposes. Environment Canada also issued 73 SARA-compliant permits affecting threatened and endangered migratory bird species under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994. Details regarding delivery against service standards are available online.

In 2014, the Parks Canada Agency issued 19 SARA-compliant permits, most of which were issued under the Canada National Parks Act. Of these, 18 permits covering at least 19 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 permit was issued 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. Explanations for all permits issued under SARA 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

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, but do not identify critical habitat.

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: EndangeredStatus: 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.

5.2 Recovery Planning Activities in 2014

As of April 2014, proposed recovery strategies or management plans for 189 species under the responsibility of Environment Canada had not yet been posted. On December 17, 2014, an additional 3 species were added to Schedule 1.

In 2014, Environment Canada published a plan to publish proposed recovery strategies and management plans for these 192 species over three years in a prioritized manner based on consideration of immediate threats and population declines as well as program priorities and information availability. The posting plan and progress in publishing proposed recovery strategies and management plans to date are available on the Species at Risk Public Registry.

5.2.1 Recovery Strategies

In 2014, Environment Canada posted proposed recovery strategies for 25 species and final recovery strategies for 18 species. Fisheries and Oceans Canada posted final recovery strategies for 7 aquatic species. Parks Canada completed and posted final recovery strategies for 3 species. New recovery strategies that were posted on the Species at Risk Public Registry are listed in Table 7. Fisheries and Oceans Canada also published a revised recovery strategy on the registry for North Atlantic Right Whale.

Table 7: Species for which recovery strategies were posted in 2014 by competent department
Competent departmentProposed recovery strategies:
Species
Final recovery strategies:
Species
Environment CanadaBehr's (Columbia) Hairstreak
Colicroot
Dense Blazing Star
Five-lined Skink, Carolinian population
Golden-winged Warbler
Greater Short-horned Lizard
Half-moon Hairstreak
Kentucky Coffee-tree
Loggerhead Shrike Prairie excubitorides ssp.
Marbled Murrelet
Oregon Forestsnail
Oregon Spotted Frog
Pacific Water Shrew
Porsild's Bryum
Sage Thrasher
Scarlet Ammannia
Small White Lady’s Slipper
Smooth Goosefoot
Toothcup
Vesper Sparrow affinis ssp.
Vole Ears Lichen
Western Chorus Frog, Great Lakes/St. Lawrence population
Wolverine, E. population
Woodland Caribou, Southern Mountain population
Yellow-breasted Chat auricollis ssp., Southern Mountain population
Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamander, Great Lakes/St. Lawrence population
Bluehearts
Dense Blazing Star
Eastern Flowering Dogwood
False Hop Sedge
Gold-edged Gem
Greater Sage-Grouse urophasianus ssp.
Ivory Gull
Kentucky Coffee-tree
Least Bittern
Marbled Murrelet
Pacific Water Shrew
Sage Thrasher
Small White Lady’s Slipper
Vole Ears Lichen
White-headed Woodpecker
Williamson's Sapsucker
Woodland Caribou, Southern Mountain population
Fisheries and Oceans Canada Eastern Sand Darter, Quebec 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
Parks Canada AgencySlender PopcornflowerGray’s Desert-parsley
Northern Saw-whet Owl brooksi ssp.
Slender Popcornflower

 

Case Study: Garry Oak Ecosystems

British Columbia’s west coast records the highest annual rainfalls in all of Canada. In contrast to the surrounding rainforests, a land of savannah and prairie lies in the rain shadow of the nearby mountains of Washington State’s Olympic range, along the east coast of Vancouver Island between Victoria and Campbell River.

With its iconic Camas lilies and Garry Oak trees, this area, which has supported Coast Salish communities for thousands of years, is one of the most diverse terrestrial landscapes in British Columbia.

Increased development has put extreme pressure on this area, and over 120 species in this landscape are at risk, including some species that exist nowhere else in the world. More than 40 of these species are protected under the Species at Risk Act.

In 2003, Parks Canada committed to lead on recovery planning for 42 plants and invertebrates that are part of Garry Oak and associated ecosystems. Parks Canada, in partnership with the Garry Oak Ecosystem Recovery Team, has worked with private landowners, local governments, non-governmental organizations, other federal departments and First Nations throughout the region to successfully publish recovery strategies. The final recovery strategy, for Slender Popcornflower, was posted in September 2014 and represents the completion of more than a decade of planning for the recovery of Garry Oak species and the ecosystems they call home. With these recovery strategies as their guide, Canadians now have a framework to preserve these ecosystems for future generations.

Garry Oak ecosystem
Garry Oak ecosystem
Photo: © Parks Canada

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 2014, Environment Canada published final recovery strategies in which critical habitat was identified for 16 species, and proposed recovery strategies in which critical habitat was identified for 24 species.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada identified critical habitat in final recovery strategies for seven aquatic species: Eastern Sand Darter (Quebec populations), Spring Cisco, Westslope Cutthroat Trout (Alberta population), White Sturgeon (Nechako River population), White Sturgeon (Upper Columbia River population), White Sturgeon (Upper Fraser River population) and White Sturgeon (Kootenay River population).

The Parks Canada Agency identified critical habitat for all three species for which it published final recovery strategies in 2014 (Northern Saw-whet Owl brooksi subspecies, Slender Popcornflower and Gray’s Desert Parsley). The Agency also identified critical habitat for the Greater Sage-Grouse urophasianus subspecies in an amended recovery strategy.

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 must also to the extent possible 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 2014, Environment Canada posted final action plans for two species (Victorin’s Gentian in Canada and False Hop Sedge in Quebec).

In 2014, Parks Canada continued its 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. At the end of 2014, multispecies action plans covering 14 heritage places were in development.

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 competent ministers to prepare 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 but does not identify critical habitat. Where appropriate, these management plans may be prepared for multiple species on an ecosystem or landscape level.

In 2014, Environment Canada posted proposed management plans for 14 species and final management plans for 4 species. Fisheries and Oceans Canada posted a proposed management plan for 1 species and final management plans for 2 species. Parks Canada posted a final management plan for 1 species. The species for which management plans were posted in 2014 are listed in Table 8.

Table 8: Species for which management plans were posted in 2014 by competent department
Competent departmentProposed management plans:
Species
Final management plans:
Species
Environment CanadaEastern Ribbonsnake, Great Lakes population
Houghton's Goldenrod
McCown's Longspur
Milksnake
Monarch
Mountain Beaver
Nuttall's Cottontail nuttallii ssp.
Riddell's Goldenrod
Rusty Blackbird
Sonora Skipper
Spotted Bat
Tuberous Indian-plantain
Western Skink
Western Yellow-bellied Racer
Climbing Prairie Rose
Lewis's Woodpecker
McCown's Longspur
Spring Salamander
Fisheries and Oceans CanadaGreat Lakes KiyiBowhead Whale, Bering–Chukchi–Beaufort population
Sea Otter
Parks Canada Agency Hill’s Pondweed

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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 2014, Environment Canada protected critical habitat for the Eastern Prairie Fringed-orchid the in St. Clair National Wildlife Area. Efforts are ongoing to finalize protection measures for critical habitat of other species on federal lands.

In 2014, the Parks Canada Agency protected critical habitat for 13 species in 15 National Park Reserves:

  • American Marten, Newfoundland population (Gros Morne National Park of Canada and Terra Nova National Park of Canada);
  • Blanding’s Turtle, Nova Scotia population (Kejimkujik National Park of Canada);
  • Contorted-pod Evening Primrose (Gulf Islands National Park Reserve of Canada);
  • Eastern Ribbonsnake, Atlantic population (Kejimkujik National Park of Canada);
  • Foothill Sedge (Gulf Islands National Park Reserve of Canada);
  • Greater Sage-Grouse urophasianus subspecies (Grasslands National Park of Canada);
  • Gulf of St. Lawrence Aster (Prince Edward Island National Park of Canada and Kouchibouguac National Park of Canada);
  • Marbled Murrelet (Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve of Canada and Pacific Rim National Park Reserve of Canada);
  • Roseate Tern (Sable Island National Park Reserve of Canada);
  • Slender Popcornflower (Gulf Islands National Park Reserve of Canada);
  • Westslope Cutthroat Trout, Alberta population (Banff National Park of Canada);
  • Woodland Caribou, Boreal population (Nahanni National Park Reserve of Canada); and
  • Woodland Caribou, Southern Mountain population (Banff National Park of Canada, Jasper National Park of Canada, Glacier National Park of Canada and Mount Revelstoke National Park of Canada).
Blanding's Turtle
A newly-hatched Blanding's turtle
Photo: © Brennan Caverhill

Efforts are ongoing to finalize protection measures for critical habitat of other species on lands administered by Parks Canada.

6.2 Recovery Activities

6.2.1 Competent Departments’ Recovery Activities

In 2014, Environment Canada continued to lead and support numerous activities to support the recovery of species at risk, including research projects, education and awareness, habitat restoration and enhancement initiatives, monitoring, and assessment.

In its seventh 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 2014, they carried out 204 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.

In 2014, 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.

Case Study: Working with Fishers to Free Leatherback Sea Turtles

In September 2014, a number of reports came in to the Marine Mammal Response Program in the Gulf Region about Leatherback sea turtles entangled in fixed gear lines. In most cases, the Marine Mammal Coordinator contacts fishery officers, who have been specially trained by the Canadian Sea Turtle Network to respond to these types of incidents.

In one case, fishery officers worked with a fisher to free a large turtle that was entangled in lines attached to three lobster traps. Using their expertise, they were able to remove all of the gear without harming the turtle. The animal, which appeared to be in good condition, swam away.

This is a good example of how Fisheries and Oceans Canada works with fishers to respond to animals in distress. This collaboration works in the favour not only of the animal that in most cases is set free, but also for the fisher who as a result does not lose valuable gear.

Case Study: One Step Closer to Restoring Balance and Safe Seabird Habitat in Gwaii Haanas

Parks Canada and the Haida Nation, along with partners Island Conservation and Coastal Conservation, are continuing to play a leadership role in protecting and restoring critical seabird habitat with Canada’s first aerial eradication of invasive rats from an island ecosystem.

The Ancient Murrelet, a species at risk in Canada, is being devastated by invasive rats. Approximately half of the world population of this seabird breeds on remote islands in Haida Gwaii, including in Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve, and Haida Heritage Site. The Ancient Murrelet is a culturally significant seabird species to Haida peoples, who used it for sustenance and ceremonial purposes.

In 2009, Parks Canada and the Haida Nation launched a five-year joint effort to eradicate invasive rats from four islands within Gwaii Haanas and restore nesting habitat throughout the national park reserve, an area of global significance for seabirds. In 2011, a ground-based eradication was carried out on the smaller Bischof and Arichika islands. The September 2013 eradication of rats from Murchison and Faraday Islands required an aerial broadcast approach due to the larger size of the islands and the more complicated terrain. In 2014, monitoring activities were carried out and will continue over the coming years to gauge ecological response of seabirds, songbirds and native small mammals.

More information on the Ecosystem restoration in Gwaii Haanas is available online.

Aerial treatment for eradication of rats
Aerial treatment for eradication of rats
Photo: © Chris Gill

6.2.2 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 or their habitat caused by human activities; 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 $139 million to 2297 projects, leveraging an additional $325 million in matching funds from project partners.

During the 2013–2014 fiscal year, 115 new projects and 48 previously approved multi-year projects involving 132 funding recipients contributed to the recovery of over 307 SARA-listed species across Canada. A total of $11.9 million in funding was awarded to these projects, and an additional $26.7 million was leveraged from partners, for a total investment of $38.6 million. These contributions provided support to stewardship efforts across Canada that resulted in the securement and protection of 261 647 hectares (ha) of land, including 9 142 ha through legally binding means, such as acquisition or conservation easements. Non-legally binding protection was put in place through the use of voluntary verbal and written stewardship agreements with landowners, which accounts for a total of 252 505 ha, including 210 413 ha through renewed stewardship agreements and 42 092 ha through new stewardship agreements to conserve land. The program also supported the improvement or restoration of 10 956 ha of land and 136 km of shoreline.

6.2.3 Aboriginal Fund for Species at Risk

The Aboriginal Fund 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 over $25 million to 727 projects, leveraging an additional $16 million in matching funds from project partners. In the 2013–2014 fiscal year, AFSAR provided $3.2 million for 58 new projects and 22 previously approved projects, of which over $1 million targeted aquatic species at risk. These projects leveraged additional funds that exceeded $2.9 million (cash and in‑kind) and involved 66 Aboriginal organizations and communities as recipients. Funded projects benefited 105 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.

Case Study: Engaging Aseniwuche Winewak Nation in the Recovery of Woodland Caribou

Aseniwuche Winewak Nation (AWN) currently represents over 500 non-status Aboriginal people in 6 communities located within a 50 km radius of Grande Cache, Alberta. The traditional territory of AWN is situated in the eastern slopes of the Rockies and extends from Grande Prairie in the north to Jasper National Park in the south. For decades, AWN has acted as a champion for local caribou herds and habitat.

Woodland Caribou is an AFSAR regional priority, and the Little Smoky herd is the Boreal population most at risk of extirpation in Canada, as its range overlaps with the most disturbed boreal caribou habitat in the country.

In 2013–2014, AWN received AFSAR funds to support establishing the Caribou Patrol program to contribute to recovery efforts for Woodland Caribou in the Grande Cache and Highway 40 North region of Alberta. The Caribou Patrol crews reduced the potential of vehicle collisions with Woodland Caribou on area roadways by safely moving 18 caribou from roads using a variety of diversion and harassment techniques. AWN also developed an “EduKit” and used it to raise awareness on caribou management with the public, including local Aboriginal communities, industry and area schools.

Lastly, AWN collected data on 21 caribou sightings and 427 physical barriers constructed to deter highway vehicles from gaining access to the caribou habitat zones. It is expected that this data will contribute to a better understanding of population structure, trends and distribution over time in relation to habitat conditions and disturbance, as well as to determine whether physical barriers are effective in reducing vehicle access to caribou habitat.

Boreal caribou
Boreal caribou
Photo: © A. David M. Latham

Case Study: Hunter Training Video Helps Arctic Species at Risk

As part of the newly established Prevention Stream of AFSAR in 2014, Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated was awarded $60,000 to develop, produce and distribute a walrus hunter training video. The video is the first AFSAR-funded project in the far north and will be released in the spring of 2015 through television, Web and DVD as part of a suite of training materials in support of the spring subsistence walrus hunt.

Filmed from the perspective of two Inuit hunters, an Elder, and a youth, the video shifts between interviews and footage of an actual Atlantic Walrus hunt in Foxe Basin, Nunavut. Foxe Basin is home to one of the seven stocks of walrus found in the Eastern Canadian Arctic. The Atlantic Walrus is currently under consideration for listing under SARA and is primarily harvested by local Inuit for subsistence purposes.

By artfully bridging generations, the 44-minute instructional video demonstrates to young hunters the harvesting process of catching, skinning and butchering the walrus to reduce losses (walrus that are shot but not retrieved). Currently, loss rates for Atlantic walrus can be as high as 32%. This first-of-its-kind video will record and preserve traditional Inuit hunting practices for future generations and at the same time protect a culturally important species at risk.

Atlantic Walrus
Atlantic Walrus
Photo: J.B. Dunn © Fisheries and Oceans Canada

6.2.4 Interdepartmental Recovery Fund

Established in 2002, the Interdepartmental Recovery Fund (IRF), administered by Environment Canada, 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 12 years (from 2002–2003 to 2013–2014), it has invested $19.9 million in 657 projects. In 2013–2014 fiscal year, the IRF supported 23 projects in 6 federal departments and 2 Crown corporations. Collectively, $750,000 in program funding and just under $200,000 from project leads supported recovery efforts for 59 SARA-listed species. In 2013–2014, 84% of program funds supported recovery actions, while 16% supported surveys and a planning project.

6.2.5 Outreach and Education

All Canadians have a role to play in the conservation of wildlife species and their habitats, and education and awareness is essential.

In 2014, 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 also continued 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 examples include:

  • training on sea turtle dehooking provided by the Canadian Sea Turtle Network in Nova Scotia;
  • sharing important information with the fishing industry on handling situations related to SARA aquatic listed species and fishing gear interactions; and
  • training for fishery officers on marine animal rescue offered by Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Marine Animal Rescue Society in October 2014 in Shediac, New Brunswick.

During 2014, Fisheries and Oceans Canada held 12 SARA outreach sessions throughout Ontario, six of which were in partnership with provincial agencies and conservation authorities. Particular emphasis was placed on where listed species and critical habitat exist, how critical habitat is defined, and how potential impacts to critical habitat might be mitigated. Over 540 participants took part in these sessions, representing a wide range of stakeholders.

In addition to the outreach sessions, efforts were made in 2014 to provide planning authorities in Ontario with federal aquatic species at risk guidance materials for incorporation within municipal official plans.

2014 marked the conclusion of the three-year campaign “Wanted! North Atlantic Right Whales” that worked to solicit Right Whale sighting information from the public in areas outside their known critical habitat. During the campaign, Fisheries and Oceans Canada worked with the Canadian Sea Turtle Network and the Canadian Whale Institute to distribute posters and pamphlets to over 300 wharves, community bulletin boards, Canadian Coast Guard vessels, ferries, whale watch companies and Fisheries and Oceans Canada area offices in Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, and Newfoundland and Labrador. Additional posters were also inserted into commercial fishing logbooks. The information from this campaign is recorded in the Department’s Maritimes Region Cetacean Sightings Database. The information is also provided to the New England Aquarium and the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service for their interactive sightings map. The Department is currently compiling a list of the locations from which reports were received; some reports of sightings are from areas where no previous information had been received.

The Parks Canada visitor experience program promotes species at risk protection through implementation of the Parks Canada Prevention Guidelines. The guidelines focus on proactive communication with visitors to highlight the connection between their actions and the effect they can have on the protection and recovery of species at risk and their habitat.

At Parks Canada, public outreach activities relating to species at risk occur in national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas across the country. These activities include interpretative programs, field trips, special events and volunteer activities including participating in restoration and monitoring projects (i.e., citizen science). Through these various programs, visitors have the unique opportunity to experience first hand the places that are key to protecting species at risk.

In addition, Parks Canada has a number of outreach programs that focus on reaching youth, families and new Canadians in urban areas in order to increase awareness among these audiences. In 2014, efforts included outreach programs about species at risk at dozens of special events and festivals, and at several partner venues (e.g., zoos and aquariums) in large cities such as Toronto, Montréal, Vancouver, Winnipeg and Calgary. Creating this awareness and initial connection among urbanites helps foster support for species at risk protection and recovery. Parks Canada species at risk stories were also shared through the Parks Canada website, the media and organizations that reach out to children with various programs, articles and websites.

Case Study: BioKit at the Mauricie National Park of Canada

During the summer of 2014, the first digital BioKit developed for a protected area in Canada was launched. The nature BioKit allows young visitors to learn about biodiversity, including endangered species (the timber wolf, wild turtle and butternut) present in the Mauricie National Park of Canada.

For this project, the Mauricie National Park collaborated with CREO, a team of science communicators who develop and distribute innovative, multiplatform science products, on the layout and programming of the interactive BioKit application for iPad, using the concept of BioKits first developed by Environment Canada's Biosphere.

In addition to reading information on the rich biodiversity of the park, one can hear the sounds of animals including bird songs and see photos. This innovative tool also allows the naturalist apprentice to record observations, take pictures or videos of the observed species and even draw.

Following their field visit, users can share and compare notes with their friends and share their diagnosis on the website BioKits. BioKit is a new way to tell and be told about nature.

Young visitors using the Nature BioKit at Mauricie National Park
Young visitors using the Nature BioKit at Mauricie National Park
Photo: © Parks Canada

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7 Enforcement

Environment Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and the Parks Canada Agency work jointly and in partnership with Aboriginal, provincial, territorial and international authorities to protect SARA-listed wildlife species at risk and their critical habitats.

In 2014, Environment Canada focused on two priorities related to Canadian species at risk and their habitats:

  • Canadian species at high risk for conservation and/or at high risk for non-compliance;
  • Habitats or protected areas at high risk for conservation and/or at high risk for non-compliance. Environment Canada enforcement officers patrol national wildlife areas and migratory bird sanctuaries to ensure compliance with SARA, the Canada Wildlife Act and the Migratory Bird Convention Act, 1994. The protection of these habitats, which includes some critical habitat identified in SARA recovery strategies, is important, given the fact that these habitats are deemed necessary for the conservation and/or recovery of key species.

In 2014, Environment Canada’s Enforcement Branch conducted 74 inspections under SARA based on these two priorities. Inspections mainly focused on the protection of American Ginseng from poaching and trade in Ontario and Quebec; on the protection of Piping Plovers and their critical habitat in Eastern Canada and Ontario; and on the protection of the Greater Sage-Grouse in Saskatchewan and Alberta following the coming into force of an Emergency Protection Order in early 2014.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s enforcement actions for species at risk are carried out by 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.

In 2014, Fisheries and Oceans Canada fishery officers dedicated over 13 000 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 3 200 hours on investigative work related to species at risk. The Department recorded a total of 18 SARA violations that resulted in fines, seizures, charges and warnings.

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 2014, 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. Parks Canada’s Law Enforcement Program tracks enforcement activities through the Occurrence Tracking System. In 2014, wardens recorded a total of 21 law enforcement occurrences related to the protection of species at risk in protected heritage areas. There were 4 charges under the Canada National Parks Act and 1 charge under the prohibitions of SARA during this period.

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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 toward 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 and, in some cases, co-managed by Environment Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and Parks 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 toward meeting recovery goals.

Case Study: Little Brown Myotis and Northern Myotis Bats at the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site

The health and numbers of several bat species in North America are being compromised by a relatively new disease called white-nose syndrome, which could have catastrophic consequences for at least three Canadian species: the Little Brown Myotis, the Northern Myotis and the Tri-colored Bat. In 2014, these bat species were added as Endangered to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk on an emergency basis. All three species are found in sites managed by Parks Canada, along with other bat species.

One conservation initiative consists of monitoring bats using digital recorders at a historic tunnel at the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site. This initiative is conducted in partnership with bat researchers from St. Mary’s University and the Atlantic Coastal Action Program in Cape Breton. Automated sound detectors near the tunnel entrance have recorded the echolocation clicks of Little Brown Myotisand Northern Myotis. Both species use the tunnel to roost and to hibernate. Parks Canada staff collaborated with bat researchers to capture bats at the tunnel entrance to determine species, numbers and health. As of August 2014, the fungus causing white-nose syndrome has not been detected in the tunnel.

Little Brown Myotis captured at the tunnel entrance at the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site
Little Brown Myotis captured at the tunnel entrance at the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site
Photo: © Ian Harte, Parks Canada

 

Case Study: Presence of Grass Pickerel in Quebec finally confirmed

In 2014, the presence of the Grass Pickerel in Quebec was finally confirmed after three consecutive years of surveys funded by Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The species had not been seen in the province in more than 25 years.

The Grass Pickerel is usually less than 30 cm long and is the smallest pickerel found in Canada. Its range is limited to North America, including Quebec and Ontario. In Quebec, the species was last captured in 1988 near Maple Grove, in the Lake St. Louis area. It had also been captured in the St. Lawrence River near Coteau-du-Lac and in a tributary off the north shore of Lake St. François. In Ontario, the Grass Pickerel is still present, occurring in a number of streams between Lake St. Francis and southern Lake Huron.

Because of its limited range and the apparent decline of several populations, the Grass Pickerel was designated a species of special concern and added to the list of species at risk in 2006. These surveys were implemented under the management plan published in 2012 and were intended to confirm the species’ presence in historical and potential new locations. Surveys conducted in 2012 and 2013 focused on the historical range, but no Grass Pickerel were captured. Further surveys were carried out in the summer of 2014 with greater emphasis on potential new locations, such as the tributaries between Lake St. François and Lake St. Louis. About 30 specimens were captured in 6 tributaries of the south shore of Lake St. François, where the species had never before been reported.

The species’ confirmed presence in a new area is an encouraging sign for its recovery. Other measures will be implemented in the coming years to learn more about the Grass Pickerel population in Quebec and to ensure its protection.

Grass Pickerel
Grass Pickerel
Photo: © AECOM

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9 Consultation and Governance

9.1 Minister’s Round Table

SARA requires that, at least every two years, the federal Minister of the Environment convene a round table of persons interested in matters respecting the protection of wildlife species at risk in Canada.

The fifth SARA round table was held in Ottawa on November 17, 2014, and involved representatives from government, Aboriginal communities, industry, wildlife management boards, ranchers, hunters and trappers, and non-governmental organizations. The discussion focused on areas where the federal government can increase effective actions by all Canadians to conserve species at risk and improve implementation of SARA, including Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge, SARA and the North, and efforts to enhance stewardship of species at risk.

9.2 Consultation with Aboriginal Groups

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 2014, NACOSAR held face-to-face meetings and teleconferences to share information and discuss such topics as emergency listings, socio-economic analysis, SARA policies under development, and Aboriginal involvement and Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge throughout SARA. NACOSAR initiated work on consultation, accommodation and cooperation with Aboriginal groups, and methods used for socio-economic assessment.

9.3 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.

9.3.1 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. Agreements with the governments of Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan and British Columbia are in place, and there is a Memorandum of Understanding with the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board.

9.3.2 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 (Nova Scotia in 2014), 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 comprised five high-level outcomes: national and international collaboration on implementation of wildlife and habitat conservation and management; effective and efficient coordination of actions regarding the conservation of species at risk; collaborative ways to promote conservation of healthy wildlife populations; collaborative ways to promote provision of habitat for wildlife; and public engagement to facilitate an understanding of Canadian values and promote wildlife conservation. As part of their spring face-to-face meeting in 2014, CWDC members participated in a one-day workshop on effective Aboriginal collaboration and consultation for wildlife management in which invited presenters described management agency experiences and best practices about Aboriginal consultation and collaboration in wildlife conservation issues. At the fall face-to-face meeting, CWDC members took part in a Species at Risk Workshop on working together on species at risk conservation and protection. Members discussed progress on implementation of the National Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk, stewardship actions and multi-species initiatives.

9.3.3 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 2014 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 2014, the NGSWG prepared the general status assessments of several groups of species for inclusion in the next report, Wild Species 2015.

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 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 SARA, 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 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 2014, 416 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. A notable addition to these documents was the publication of Recovery Document Posting Plans for both Environment Canada and Parks Canada, to identify when recovery documents will be posted for specific species.

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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 and Climate Change Canada
Public Inquiries
7th Floor, Fontaine Building
200 Sacré-Cœur Boulevard
Gatineau QC  K1A 0H3
Telephone: 819-997-2800
Toll-free 1-800-668-6767 (Canada only)
Fax: 819-994-1412
Email: ec.enviroinfo.ec@canada.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
30 Victoria Street
Gatineau QC  J8X 0B3
Canada
Tel.: 888-773-8888
TTY: 866-787-6221
Email: information@pc.gc.ca

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: ec.registrelep-sararegistry.ec@canada.ca

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