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Recovery Strategy for the Western Spiderwort (Tradescantia occidentalis) in Canada – 2013

6. Broad Strategies and General Approaches to Meet Objectives

6.1 Actions Already Completed or Underway

Alberta has formed a provincial recovery team and created a maintenance and recovery plan for 2005-2010 (Alberta Western Spiderwort Recovery Team 2004). Recent recovery actions in the Pakowki Lake Sand Hills have focused on survey and monitoring, invasive species control, as well as education and awareness (Fish and Wildlife Division 2010). In Saskatchewan, surveys are being conducted by numerous agencies in the Elbow Sand Hills, both on Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada – Agri-Environment Services Branch (AAFC-AESB) land and within Douglas Provincial Park; these surveys are mainly to locate new occurrences and delineate the area of occupancy of occurrences. AAFC-AESB has started to develop management guidelines and decision support tools for pasture land managers (E. Svendsen, pers. comm.). Leafy Spurge monitoring and control has been ongoing since 1991 using an integrated pest management approach, including sheep grazing. Saskatchewan Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport is starting a multi-year adaptive and integrated management program for western spiderwort habitat using prescribed burning, integrated pest management for invasive exotic species such as Leafy Spurge, and grazing (R. Wright, pers. comm.). In Manitoba, there have been efforts to delimit the area of occupancy of all occurrences, and the recent initiation of a monitoring program to monitor responses to different management techniques in an effort to reduce spurge and woody vegetation encroachment (Hamel and Foster 2005, Foster and Reimer 2007, Foster 2008, Krause-Danielson and Friesen 2009, J. Greenall, pers. comm., P. Westhorpe, pers. comm.).

6.2 Strategic Direction for Recovery

Research and management approaches recommended to address threats as well as key information needs for successful recovery planning are outlined in Table 3.

Table 3. Recovery Planning Table. Accessible version of Table 3
Threat or LimitationPriorityGeneral Description of Research and Management Approaches
Broad Strategy: Inventory and Monitoring
Knowledge gaps related to trends in population, distribution and habitat; all threatsHigh
  • Using consistent survey guidelines (Henderson 2009), confirm and/or determine area of occupancy for all occurrences.
  • Determine trends and range of natural variation for population size and area of occupancy.
  • Determine long-term impacts of threats and management practices on populations and habitat quality.
Low
  • Coordinate inventory and monitoring activities through the Recovery Team to ensure effective and efficient use of funds and labour.
  • Develop models (e.g., habitat suitability and/or species distribution models) to predict priority search areas for new populations; validate with surveys.
Broad Strategy: Adaptive Habitat Management
All threats except Prolonged Wet Climatic PeriodsHigh
  • Develop, implement and monitor population or location specific beneficial management practices (BMP) using adaptive habitat management (prescribed burns, brush control, invasive species control, grazing) to improve habitat as applicable to each population.
  • Integrate habitat management with that for other dune specialist species (Appendix C) and evaluate effectiveness of other habitat restoration/management projects in dunes.
  • Engage and partner with existing organizations, land owners and land managers to implement appropriate habitat management strategies at each population.
Broad Strategy: Habitat Conservation and Stewardship
All threats except Prolonged Wet Climatic PeriodsMedium
  • Engage private landowners and broker stewardship or conservation arrangements; encourage implementation of BMPs and/or participation in habitat management.
  • Educate public and land users to minimize habitat deterioration through recreational use.
  • Secure surface/subsurface resources (where possible) to control access and prevent new developments.
  • Communicate activity set-back distance guidelines for disturbances to appropriate regulatory agencies.
  • Monitor compliance with, and success of, BMPs and stewardship arrangements.
Broad Strategy: Research
All threats; Knowledge gaps related to impact of threats and plant ecologyMedium-High
  • Develop in-situ or ex-situ experiments and/or studies that will inform and facilitate development of BMPs, conservation and management of critical habitat and an understanding of the species ecological needs.

6.3 Narrative to Support the Recovery Planning Table

Research activities needed to further the recovery of the species are explained below.

Research
Addressing several knowledge gaps through research into impacts of human-related threats, habitat needs, and species’ ecology is relevant to the recovery and long-term conservation and management of Western Spiderwort. Research is needed to evaluate the magnitude and direction of threats and mitigation effects on plant fitness, population size, and area of occupancy. In particular ex-situ or in-situ experimental and observational field investigations that could be undertaken, include examining the effects, timing and intensity of grazing, fire, invasive species control, brush control, and idled habitats, or a combination thereof, on Western Spiderwort survival and reproductive output and its habitat quality and availability. Other knowledge gaps requiring research include: aspects of the species’ life cycle; the influence of precipitation on dormancy, population health, and population fluctuations; its tolerance for varying conditions (climate, vegetation encroachment, dune stabilization, precipitation); pollination and pollinator limitations. The research findings need to be applied to beneficial management practices developed for the species and may be used to re-evaluate critical habitat.