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

Recovery Feasibility

Under the Species at Risk Act (Section 40), the competent minister is required to determine whether the recovery of the listed species is technically and biologically feasible. Based on the following criteria established by the Government of Canada (2009) for recovering species at risk, recovery of the Western Spiderwort is considered biologically and technically feasible:

1. Individuals of the wildlife species that are capable of reproduction are available now or in the foreseeable future to sustain the population or improve its abundance.

Yes. Currently, there are four naturally occurring Western Spiderwort populations known to exist in Canada which are successfully reproducing. Under similar conditions, individuals are likely to continue to reproduce and persist at these sites as they have historically. Further surveys of similar sand dune complexes may result in the discovery of additional occurrences or populations.

2. Sufficient suitable habitat is available to support the species or could be made available through habitat management or restoration.

Yes. Suitable Western Spiderwort habitat exists at all sites where populations occur and with proper management the species can continue to persist. Fire suppression, altered grazing regimes, and invasion by invasive alien species and/or woody vegetation encroachment may contribute to habitat becoming less suitable over time. Beneficial management practices such as prescribed fire, timed grazing and control of invasive alien species have the potential to maintain and enhance Western Spiderwort habitat.

3. The primary threats to the species or its habitat (including threats outside Canada) can be avoided or mitigated.

Yes. The main threats to Western Spiderwort recovery are changes in ecological dynamics or natural processes due to an alteration of grazing and/or fire regimes, ultimately contributing to dune stabilization and woody vegetation encroachment, or increased abundance of invasive alien species. Other major threats include habitat loss and degradation as a result of cultivation, industrial and recreational activities, and possibly mortality from overgrazing by wild and domestic ungulates. Threats can be mitigated through beneficial management practices, protection or private stewardship of species and their habitat.

4. Recovery techniques exist to achieve the population and distribution objectives or can be expected to be developed within a reasonable timeframe.

Yes. Recovery techniques related to habitat conservation and adaptive habitat management can be implemented, and have already been implemented at some locations. This should reduce the main threats to Western Spiderwort and aid in achieving the population and distribution objectives of maintaining existing populations. A number of locations currently occupied by Western Spiderwort are in areas managed for conservation such as provincial parks, AAFC Community Pastures, or ecologically significant areas. Remaining areas could be secured through stewardship arrangements with public and private landowners.