Management Plan for Coastal Wood Fern (Dryopteris arguta) in Canada

Table of Contents

Coastal Wood Fern

Species at Risk Act
Management Plan Series
Adopted under Section 69 of SARA

August 2011

Coastal Wood Fern fronds
© Terry McIntosh

Recommended citation:

Parks Canada Agency. 2011. Management plan for the Coastal Wood Fern (Dryopteris arguta) in Canada.Species at Risk Act Management Plan Series. Parks Canada Agency. Ottawa. iii + 35 pp.

For copies of the management plan, or for additional information on species at risk, including COSEWIC Status Reports, residence descriptions, action plans, and other related recovery documents, please visit the Species at Risk Public Registry.

Cover illustration: Terry McIntosh

Également disponible en français sous le titre
« Plan de gestion de la dryoptéride côtière (Dryopteris arguta) au Canada

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of the Environment, 2011. All rights reserved.
ISBN no. 978-1-100-19107-2
Catalogue no. En3-5/21-2011E-PDF

Content (excluding the illustrations) may be used without permission, with appropriate credit to the source.

Recommendation and Approval Statement


Management Plan for the Coastal Wood Fern
(Dryopteris arguta) in Canada

August 2011

The federal, provincial, and territorial government signatories under the Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk (1996) agreed to establish complementary legislation and programs that provide for effective protection of species at risk throughout Canada.

In the spirit of cooperation of the Accord, the Government of British Columbia has provided the ‘Management Plan for the coastal wood fern (Dryopteris arguta) in British Columbia' to the Government of Canada. The federal Minister responsible for the Parks Canada Agency and the federal Minister of the Environment as the competent ministers under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) adopt or incorporates, in whole or in part, this management plan pursuant to section 69 of the Act, with any exceptions or modifications as detailed within the body of this document.

The finalized management plan, once included in the Species at Risk Public Registry, will be the SARA management plan for this species. Implementation of this plan is subject to appropriations, priorities, and budgetary constraints of the participating jurisdictions and organizations.

The SARA management plan for the Coastal Wood Fern consists of two parts:

  1. The Management Plan for the coastal wood fern (Dryopteris arguta) in British Columbia being adopted/incorporated, developed by the Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team for the province of British Columbia (Appendix 2).

  2. The federal text which completes the existing management plan in terms of meeting the requirements of SARA section 65. This text included additions, exceptions or modifications to the document being adopted or incorporated, in whole or in part.

Executive Summary

The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada designated Coastal Wood Fern (Dryopteris arguta) as Special Concern in 2001. It is listed as Special Concern on the federalSpecies at Risk Act.

The coastal wood fern is an evergreen fern that occurs from southern British Columbia south to California. In Canada, the species occurs on southeastern Vancouver Island and several adjacent northern Gulf Islands. It grows under open forest canopies of Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), Garry oak(Quercus garryana), and/or arbutus (Arbutus menziesii), and on rocky coastal bluffs and outcrops. Most populations occur on steep slopes, with moderate to very dry, rapidly drained soils. The total population size is estimated at more than 7500 plants covering an area of occupancy of 1.9 ha. There are records of 13 populations.

The coastal wood fern faces threats that result in habitat loss or degradation including residential development, recreational activities, and invasive alien plants. Climate change is considered a potential threat: severe weather in the form of winter windstorms may cause erosion or sun and wind exposure. Sudden oak death (Phytophthora ramorum), a fungus, is also considered to be a potential threat.

The long-term management goal for coastal wood fern is to maintain all known populations at no less than their current size and to maintain the species' current distribution and area of occupancy in British Columbia. The management objectives for the coastal wood fern are as follows:

  • To establish stewardship of all known populations.
  • To assess the extent of the main threats (housing development/habitat conversion, recreational activities, and invasive alien plants) to the populations.
  • To clarify the distribution of the coastal wood fern in British Columbia.
  • To increase public awareness of the existence and conservation value of the coastal wood fern in areas with suitable habitat.
  • To address knowledge gaps that prevent effective management of coastal wood fern (e.g., determine population trends, extent of occurrence, habitat attributes, type of reproduction, dispersal capabilities, genetic composition, significance of threats and natural disturbance) to ensure that populations remain at self-sustaining levels.

These objectives may be met through a combination of initiatives such as habitat protection, appropriate stewardship activities to minimize threats, research to address key knowledge gaps, inventory and monitoring of known populations, inventory to determine if there are undocumented populations, and outreach and communication efforts.

Additions, Modifications, and Exclusions to the Adopted or Incorporated Document

Protection under SARA

This section provides clarity on the use of "protection" in the Management Plan for the coastal wood fern (Dryopteris arguta) in British Columbia, (Appendix 2) in relation to the concept of protection under SARA, the Act under which this document is being adopted as the SARA management plan for this species (section 69).

"Protection" is defined in the Management Plan for the coastal wood fern (Dryopteris arguta) in British Columbia in a manner which may not equate to the concept of protection under SARA. Under SARA the adequacy of a given protection measure can only be determined on a case-by-case and/or site-by-site basis. For information on protection under SARA, please see the relevant sections of the Act and the draft SARA Policies, available on the Species at Risk Public Registry.

Appendix 1: Effects on the Environment and Other Species

A strategic environmental assessment (SEA) is conducted on all SARA recovery planning documents, in accordance with theCabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals. The purpose of a SEA is to incorporate environmental considerations into the development of public policies, plans, and program proposals to support environmentally sound decision-making.

Recovery planning is intended to benefit species at risk and biodiversity in general. However, it is recognized that strategies may also inadvertently lead to environmental effects beyond the intended benefits. The planning process based on national guidelines directly incorporates consideration of all environmental effects, with a particular focus on possible impacts upon non-target species or habitats. The results of the SEA are incorporated directly into section eight of the adopted management plan.

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