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Hoary Mountain-mint (Pycnanthemum incanum (L.) Michx.)
1. Recovery Goal
The long-term recovery goal for this species is to ensure that the extant populations are protected with no further losses of habitat or populations. In addition, it is imperative to implement proper management practices to portions of the recovery habitat of this species in order to allow for the potential reintroduction of self-sustaining populations to historical locations.
2. Recovery Objectives(2006-2011)
Objective 1: Ensure protection of the habitat of extant populations through implementation of appropriate management techniques
Strategy 1 Annual monitoring of existing populations & habitat
Strategy 2 Promotion of stewardship and awareness among landowners and the public
Strategy 3 Habitat mapping with Ecological Land Classification (ELC) standards and Conservation Land Tax Incentive Program (CLTIP) guidelines
Strategy 4 Invasive species removal at existing sites & monitoring
Objective 2: Increase population size of existing populations to self-sustainable levels
Strategy 1 Determination of species requirements
Strategy 2 Seed collection and propagation of plant material
Strategy 3 Planting (augmentation) or site maintenance to increase population size at
selected areas, if required
Objective 3: Investigate feasibility of restoring recovery habitat and reintroducing individuals to historic sites
Strategy 1 Investigation of the effects of prescribed burning
Strategy 2 Investigation of possibilities for species reintroduction
The recovery objectives for this species place great emphasis on ensuring protection of extant populations. The success of these efforts can be measured through ongoing monitoring of populations and threats, assessment of habitat conditions, and evaluation of the effectiveness of management, stewardship and education programs.
3. Approaches for Meeting Recovery Objectives
A wide range of strategies and approaches are recommended for achieving the short-term and long-term recovery goals for Hoary Mountain-mint in Canada. . A summary of recommended activities for species recovery is provided in Table 1. Each type of activity is categorized according to its priority, actions, and anticipated effects.
Table 1. Strategies and Approaches for Recovery
|Priority||Objective||Strategy||Broad Approach||Threats Addressed||Specific Steps||Anticipated Effect|
|Critical||1||1||yearly monitoring||Monitor population annually and maintain database of the data collected||Ongoing assessment of population status|
|Necessary||1||yearly monitoring||Slumping||Monitor effects of slumping on populations||Determine if there is a need for bank stabilization|
Dumping, Succession and Fire suppression
|Educate landowners and municipalities about species presence, threats and management options||Enhanced protection for areas that are recognized as endangered species habitat|
|Critical||3||habitat mapping||Map current and potential habitat with ELC standards||Improved understanding of habitat and its characteristics; provision of information for habitat protection, and identification of potential habitats for introduction|
|Critical||4||invasive removal||Invasive species||Remove invasive species at existing sites||Prevention of the loss of populations through encroachment|
|Beneficial||2||1||population studies||Determine species requirements||Identification of life history attributes, germination requirements, ecological niche, studies of genetic variation should be initiated|
|Beneficial||2||propagation||Collect seed and propagate plant material||Provision of plants that can be used as a basis for further studies|
|Necessary||3||reintroduction||Small population size||Increase population size at selected areas through planting (reintroduction) or site maintenance||Provision of plants to augment numbers and ensure genetic variability in natural populations|
|Necessary||3||1||habitat restoration||Succession and Fire suppression||Investigate effects of prescribed burning on Hoary Mountain-mint||Burning may increase habitat quality and suitable habitat available for species reintroduction|
|Beneficial||2||propagation||Small population size||Investigate possibilities for species reintroduction||Determination of the suitability of reintroduction in historic habitats|
4. Potential Impacts of Recovery Strategy on Other Species/Ecological Processes
Hoary Mountain-mint tends to occur with many prairie/savanna affiliates including:
Andropogon gerardii Big Bluestem S4
Anemone cylindrica Thimbleweed S4
Asclepias tuberosa Butterfly-weed S4
Aster laevis Smooth Aster S5
Aster oolentangiensis Sky-Blue Aster S4
Elymus canadensis Canada Wild-rye S4S5
Helianthus divaricatus Woodland Sunflower S5
Lespedeza capitata Round-headed Bush-clover S4
Monarda fistulosa Wild Bergamot S5
Panicum virgatum Switchgrass S4
Quercus velutina Black Oak S4
Schizachyrium scoparium Little Bluestem S4
Most of these species have a rank of S4 in Ontario. Further inventory of the habitat at these sites may reveal more species that are considered rare in Ontario (S3 or above). For example, Few-flowered Club-rush is an Endangered species, which occupies similar habitat. Coordination with the Few-flowered Club-rush recovery team and strategy should be investigated because these species share some similar threats and habitat requirements. Additionally, both species may benefit from the same recovery actions.
Much of the habitat in this area appears to be former oak savanna, which is a rare community type in Ontario. Oak savanna is comprised of open-grown oak trees scattered across the landscape with a ground layer of tallgrass prairie species (Rodger, 1998). It is possible that Hoary Mountain Mint occurs at these sites due to its affinity for dry open habitats. It is not considered a prairie species, although other Pycnanthemum species (P. verticillatum var. pilosum, P. virginianum, P. tenuifolium) are considered prairie affiliates and are listed under the Tallgrass Communities Recovery Plan (Rodger, 1998). Although this habitat may fall under the Tallgrass Communities Recovery plan, the extreme degradation of the habitat, including the lack of sufficient “rare” affiliates may make this area an unsuitable candidate for recovery under the auspices of the Tallgrass Community Recovery plan. However, this option should be explored in further detail through discussion with members of the Tallgrass Recovery Team. The small amount of area that represents the current habitat for this species can be easily managed as its own entity, and distinct management practices relating specifically to the habitat requirements of Hoary Mountain Mint should be considered.
Any management practices put in place for Hoary Mountain-mint would be expected to have a positive effect on all of the species listed above and on the existing habitat. Much of the habitat is being overrun with invasive species and management processes/activities that focus on the removal of invasive species will be especially important.
5. Actions Already Completed or Underway
This species is currently regulated under the Ontario Endangered Species Act. This affords protection to the species and its habitat. The current landowners have been informed of the presence of this species on their land through the regulation process (1986). All landowners and adjacent landowners must be re-contacted in order to establish a communications network and to identify landowner concerns and opinions.
Some recovery actions have already been attempted informally over the last four years (2001-2005). Small-scale manual removal of invasive species from the area surrounding one population has been ongoing. No assessment of the effectiveness of these actions has taken place. There have been no recovery actions implemented at the other two sites, apart from the removal of a few shrubs at the "hanging prairie" site.
Seed and plant material were collected by the Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) in 1999/2000 and preliminary propagation and seedbank studies have been completed. In addition, plants propagated in 2000 were planted at a demonstration site at the Cootes Paradise Fishway where they will be used for further research and seed collection.
Census surveys were conducted in 2000/2001 in areas where there were extant and historic records of Hoary Mountain-mint . Nearby areas with similar habitat characteristics were also investigated for the presence of previously overlooked plants. All populations were located within 1m with a Global Positioning System. In addition, representative herbarium specimens were prepared to document each population. These vouchers are stored at the RBG herbarium (HAM).
Ecological Land Classification (ELC) surveys were completed for polygons containing Hoary Mountain-mint, noting also the extent of the Occupied Habitat, Endangered Plant Community, and Habitat Protection Zone within or in the vicinity of that polygon, as required for the Conservation Land Tax Incentive Program (CLTIP) (MNR, 1998). Mapping was based on available airphotos, and is stored at the RBG in GIS files. ELC data included floral inventory, soil and topographic description, and management/disturbance scoring. Summaries of adjacent land-use were also provided. Special note was made of any factors that may present a threat to the Hoary Mountain-mint populations. The results of the census and ELC surveys will be used to develop appropriate action plans for Hoary Mountain-mint populations in Ontario.
Some habitat restoration has begun at one site. The landowners are attempting to remove invasive species and restore the area to oak savanna and open woodland (O’Hara, 2002).
Planning for a prescribed burn at one site was initiated in the fall of 2005. This effort is being led by Aurora and Guelph District MNR in cooperation with Halton-Peel Woodlands and Wildlife Stewardship. Site preparation began in fall 2005 with removal of woody invasives and application of herbicide on stumps. A successful prescribed burn was undertaken in April 2006 resulting in the clearing of woody debris and invasive species such as periwinkle. Monitoring will continue through 2006 with a possible follow up prescribed burn in the spring of 2007.
6. Statement of When One or More Action Plans in Relation to the Recovery Strategy will be Completed
An Action Plan will be prepared by the Recovery Team, and if necessary with the assistance of a Recovery Implementation Group (RIG) by 2009. It will address research needs, monitoring, site management and restoration.
Performance measures for evaluation of the success of the approaches to recovery set out in this strategy will include the extent to which goals and objectives have been met, specifically:
1) All populations have been monitored in a consistent manner for at least 3 consecutive years; monitoring results indicate stable or increasing populations
2) Landowners and the public are aware of the presence of the species and its importance and are participating in recovery
3) All habitat has been mapped using ELC and CLTIP mapping guidelines
4) Invasive species have been removed for at least 1 site and effects have been assessed
1) Species requirements for germination and survival have been determined
2) Seeds have been collected and stored in a gene bank
3) Propagation experiments have been completed
4) Population sizes for at least 2 small sites have been increased to more than 10 plants through planting or habitat improvement
1) Effects of prescribed burning have been assessed for this species through research and experimentation
2) Historic sites have been assessed for suitability of reintroduction by seed or plantings
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