Species at Risk Act Consultation on Amending Terrestrial Species

Species at Risk Act Consultation on Amending Terrestrial Species
Consultation on Amending
the List of Species under the
Species at Risk Act
Terrestrial Species
January 2015
ISSN: 1713-0948
Cat. No.: En1-36/2014E-PDF
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Cover photos:
Hare-footed locoweed © Cheryl Bradley
Plains Bison © Wes Olson
Wandering Salamander © Scott Gillingwater
© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of the Environment, 2015
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Consultation on Amending
the List of Species under the
Species at Risk Act
Terrestrial Species
January 2015
Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species, January 2015
Please submit your comments by
April 15, 2015, for terrestrial species undergoing normal consultations
and by
October 15, 2015, for terrestrial species undergoing extended consultations.
For a description of the consultation paths these species will undergo, please see:
www.registrelep-sararegistry.gc.ca/default.asp?lang=En&n=F4D833A7-1 Please email your comments to the Species at Risk Public Registry at:
[email protected]
Comments may also be mailed to:
Director General
Canadian Wildlife Service
Environment Canada
Ottawa ON K1A 0H3
For more information on the Species at Risk Act, please visit the Species at Risk Public Registry at:
www.registrelep-sararegistry.gc.ca
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Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species, January 2015
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ADDITION OF SPECIES TO THE SPECIES AT RISK ACT...................................................................................... 4
The Species at Risk Act and the List of Wildlife Species at Risk................................................................................ 4
COSEWIC and the assessment process for identifying species at risk................................................................... 4
Terms used to define the degree of risk to a species.................................................................................................. 4
Terrestrial and aquatic species eligible for Schedule 1 amendments....................................................................... 4
Comments solicited on the proposed amendment of Schedule 1............................................................................ 5
Questions to guide your comments................................................................................................................................ 5
THE species at risk ACT listing PROCESS and consultation .......................................................... 6
The purpose of consultations on amendments to the List......................................................................................... 6
Figure 1: The species listing process under SARA...................................................................................................... 7
Legislative context of the consultations: the Minister’s recommendation
to the Governor in Council............................................................................................................................................... 8
The Minister of the Environment’s response to the COSEWIC assessment: the response statement............... 8
Normal and extended consultation periods.................................................................................................................. 8
Who is consulted and how............................................................................................................................................... 8
Role and impact of public consultations in the listing process.................................................................................. 9
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE ADDITION OF A SPECIES TO Schedule 1............................................................. 10
Protection for listed Extirpated, Endangered and Threatened species.................................................................. 10
Permits and agreements ................................................................................................................................................ 10
Recovery strategies and action plans for Extirpated, Endangered and Threatened species............................. 11
Protection for listed species of Special Concern....................................................................................................... 11
Management plans for species of Special Concern.................................................................................................. 11
THE LIST OF SPECIES ELIGIBLE FOR AN AMENDMENT TO SCHEDULE 1 ............................................ 12
Status of the recently assessed species and consultation paths............................................................................ 12
Providing comments........................................................................................................................................................ 12
Table 1: Terrestrial species recently assessed by COSEWIC eligible for addition
to Schedule 1 or reclassification................................................................................................................................... 13
Table 2: Terrestrial species recently added to Schedule 1 (no consultations)....................................................... 14
Table 3: Terrestrial species recently reassessed by COSEWIC
(no consultations – species status confirmation)....................................................................................................... 14
The COSEWIC summaries of terrestrial species recently added or eligible
for an addition or reclassification on Schedule 1...................................................................... 15
INDEXES................................................................................................................................................................................... 75
Species by Common Name........................................................................................................................................... 75
Species by Scientific Name........................................................................................................................................... 76
Species by Province and Territory of Occurrence...................................................................................................... 77
GLOSSARY....................................................................................................................................................................... 79
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Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species, January 2015
ADDITION OF SPECIES TO THE SPECIES AT RISK ACT
The Species at Risk Act and the List of
Wildlife Species at Risk
The Government of Canada is committed to
preventing the disappearance of wildlife species at
risk from our lands. As part of its strategy for realizing
that commitment, on June 5, 2003, the Government
of Canada proclaimed the Species at Risk Act (SARA).
Attached to the Act is Schedule 1, the list of the
species provided for under SARA, also called the List
of Wildlife Species at Risk. Extirpated, Endangered
and Threatened species on Schedule 1 benefit from
the protection of prohibitions and recovery planning
requirements under SARA. Special Concern species
benefit from its management planning requirements.
Schedule 1 has grown from the original 233 to
521 wildlife species at risk.
The complete list of species currently on
Schedule 1 can be viewed at: www.registrelepsararegistry.gc.ca/species/schedules_e.cfm?id=1
Species become eligible for addition to
Schedule 1 once they have been assessed as being
at risk by the Committee on the Status of Endangered
Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). The decision to add
a species to Schedule 1 is made by the Governor
in Council following a recommendation from the
Minister of the Environment. The Governor in Council
is the formal executive body that gives legal effect to
decisions that are to have the force of law.
COSEWIC and the assessment process for
identifying species at risk
COSEWIC is recognized under SARA as the
authority for assessing the status of wildlife species at
risk. COSEWIC comprises experts on wildlife species
at risk. Its members have backgrounds in the fields
of biology, ecology, genetics, Aboriginal traditional
knowledge and other relevant fields. They come from
various communities, including academia, Aboriginal
organizations, government and non-governmental
organizations.
COSEWIC gives priority to those species more
likely to become extinct, and then commissions
a status report for the evaluation of the species’
status. To be accepted, status reports must be peer-
4
reviewed and approved by a subcommittee of species
specialists. In special circumstances, assessments
can be done on an emergency basis. When the status
report is complete, COSEWIC meets to examine it
and discuss the species. COSEWIC then determines
whether the species is at risk, and if so, then assesses
the level of risk and assigns a conservation status.
Terms used to define the degree of risk to
a species
The conservation status defines the degree of risk to
a species. The terms used under SARA are Extirpated,
Endangered, Threatened and Special Concern.
Extirpated species are wildlife species that no longer
occur in the wild in Canada but still exist elsewhere.
Endangered species are wildlife species that are likely
to soon become extirpated or extinct. Threatened
species are likely to become endangered if nothing is
done to reverse the factors leading to their extirpation or
extinction. The term Special Concern is used for wildlife
species that may become threatened or endangered
due to a combination of biological characteristics and
threats. Once COSEWIC has assessed a species as
Extirpated, Endangered, Threatened or Special Concern,
it is eligible for inclusion on Schedule 1.
For more information on COSEWIC, visit:
www.cosewic.gc.ca
On October 15, 2014, COSEWIC sent to the
Minister of the Environment its newest assessments
of species at risk. Environment Canada is now
consulting on changes to Schedule 1 to reflect these
new designations for these terrestrial species. To
see the list of the terrestrial species and their status,
please refer to tables 1 to 3.
Terrestrial and aquatic species eligible for
Schedule 1 amendments
The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans conducts
separate consultations for the aquatic species. For
more information on the consultations for aquatic
species, visit the Fisheries and Oceans Canada
website at www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca.
Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species, January 2015
The Minister of the Environment is conducting the
consultations for all other species at risk.
Approximately 66% of the recently assessed
terrestrial species at risk also occur in national parks
or other lands administered by Parks Canada; Parks
Canada shares responsibility for these species with
Environment Canada.
Comments solicited on the proposed
amendment of Schedule 1 The conservation of wildlife is a joint legal
responsibility: one that is shared among the
governments of Canada. But biodiversity will not be
conserved by governments that act alone. The best
way to secure the survival of species at risk and
their habitats is through the active participation of all
those concerned. SARA recognizes this, and that all
Aboriginal peoples and Canadians have a role to play
in preventing the disappearance of wildlife species
from our lands. The Government of Canada is inviting
and encouraging you to become involved. One way
that you can do so is by sharing your comments
concerning the addition or reclassification of these
terrestrial species.
Your comments are considered in relation to the
potential consequences of whether or not a species
is included on Schedule 1, and they are then used to
draft the Minister’s proposed listing recommendations
for each of these species.
Questions to guide your comments
The following questions are intended to assist you
in providing comments on the proposed amendments
to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk (see Table
1 for the list of species under consultation). They
are not limiting, and any other comments you may
have are welcome. We also encourage you to share
descriptions and estimates of costs or benefits to
you or your organization where possible, as well as to
propose voluntary stewardship actions that could be
taken for the conservation of these species.
Respondent information
Are you responding as an individual or representing a
community, business or organization (please specify)?
Species benefit to people or the ecosystem
Do any or all of the species provide benefits to you
or Canada’s ecosystems? If yes, explain how. What is
the estimated value of these benefits? Values do not
need to be monetary.
For example:
• Do any or all of the species provide benefits by
supporting your livelihood, for example, through
harvesting, subsistence or medicine?
• Do any or all of the species provide cultural or
spiritual benefits, for example, recreation, sense
of place or tradition? If yes, how?
• Do any or all of the species provide
environmental benefits, for example, pollination,
pest control or flood control? If yes, how?
Impact of your activities and mitigation
• Based on the maps provided in this document,
do any of your current or planned activities
overlap with any or all of the species ranges or
occurrences?
• Do any of your current or planned activities
have the potential to kill, harm or harass any or
all of the species, or damage or destroy their
residence(s)? If yes, what are these activities,
and how are they affecting the concerned
species?
• What are you doing or what could you do to
avoid killing, harming or harassing the species,
or damaging or destroying their residence(s)?
Impacts of amending the List of Wildlife
Species at Risk
Based on what you know about the Species at Risk
Act and the information presented in this document,
do you think amending the List of Wildlife Species at
Risk with the proposed listing (Table 1) would have
no impact, a positive impact or a negative impact on
your activities or the species? Please provide as much
detail as possible.
For example:
• If any of your activities impact a species or its
residence, would you have to avoid or adjust
these activities to mitigate their impact? What
are the implications of such avoidance or
mitigation?
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Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species, January 2015
• Do you think that listing the species would have
cultural or social cost or benefits to you, your
community or your organization?
• Do you think that listing the species would
have economic costs or benefits to you, your
community or your organization?
• Do you think that listing the species would have
costs or benefits to the environment or Canada’s
ecosystems?
Additional information for small businesses
If you are responding for a small business, please
provide the following details to help Environment
Canada gather information to contribute to the
required Small Business Lens analysis that forms part
of the Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement that will
accompany any future listing recommendation.
1) Are you an enterprise that operates in Canada?
2) Do you engage in commercial activities related to
the supply of services or property (which includes
goods)?
3) Are you an organization that engages in activities
for a public purpose (i.e., social welfare or civic
improvement), such as a provincial or municipal
government, school, college/university, hospital or
charity?
4) Is your enterprise owned by a First Nations
community?
5) How many employees do you have?
• 0–99 • 100 or more
6) What was your annual gross revenue
in the last year?
• Less than $30,000
• Between $30,000 and $5 million
• More than $5 million
To ensure that your comments are considered in
time, they should be submitted before the following
deadlines.
For terrestrial species undergoing normal
consultations, comments should be submitted by
April 15, 2015.
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For terrestrial species undergoing extended
consultations, comments should be submitted by
October 15, 2015.
To find out which consultation paths these
species will undergo (extended or normal), please
see: www.registrelep-sararegistry.gc.ca/default.
asp?lang=En&n=F4D833A7-1 Comments received by these deadlines will be
considered in the development of the listing proposal.
Please email your comments to the Species at Risk
Public Registry at: [email protected]
By regular mail, please address your comments to:
Director General
Canadian Wildlife Service
Environment Canada
Ottawa ON K1A 0H3 The Species at Risk Act listing
Process and Consultation
The addition of a wildlife species at risk to
Schedule 1 of SARA strengthens and enhances
the federal government’s capacity to provide for its
protection and conservation. To be effective, the listing
process must be transparent and open. The species
listing process under SARA is summarized in Figure 1.
The purpose of consultations on
amendments to the List
When COSEWIC assesses a wildlife species, it
does so solely on the basis of the best available
information relevant to the biological status of the
species. COSEWIC then submits the assessment
to the Minister of the Environment, who considers
it when making the listing recommendation to the
Governor in Council. These consultations are to
provide the Minister with a better understanding of
the potential social and economic impacts of the
proposed change to the List of Wildlife Species at
Risk, and of the potential consequences of not adding
a species to the List.
Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species, January 2015
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 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 for the Minister of the Environment.
The Minister of the Environment forwards the assessment
to the Governor in Council for receipt. This generally occurs
within three months of posting the response statement,
unless further consultation is necessary.
Within nine months of receiving 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 back to COSEWIC for further
information or consideration.
Once a species is added to Schedule 1, it benefits
from the applicable provisions of SARA.
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Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species, January 2015
Legislative context of the consultations:
the Minister’s recommendation to the
Governor in Council
The comments collected during the consultations
inform the Governor in Council’s consideration of
the Minister’s recommendations for listing species
at risk. The Minister must recommend one of three
courses of action. These are for the Governor in
Council to accept the species assessment and modify
Schedule 1 accordingly, not to add the species to
Schedule 1, or to refer the species assessment back
to COSEWIC for its further consideration (Figure 1).
The Minister of the Environment’s
response to the COSEWIC assessment:
the response statement
After COSEWIC has completed its assessment
of a species, it provides it to the Minister of the
Environment. The Minister of the Environment then
has 90 days to post a response on the Species at Risk
Public Registry, providing information on the scope
of any consultations and the timelines for action, to
the extent possible. This is known as the response
statement. It identifies how long the consultations
will be (whether they are “normal” or “extended”) by
stating when the Minister will forward the assessment
to the Governor in Council. Consultations for a group
of species are launched with the posting of their
response statements.
Normal and extended consultation
periods
Normal consultations meet the consultation needs
for the listing of most species at risk. They usually
take two to three months to complete, while extended
consultations may take one year or more.
The extent of consultations needs to be
proportional to the expected impact of a listing
decision and the time that may be required to
consult appropriately. Under some circumstances,
whether or not a species will be included on
Schedule 1 could have significant and widespread
impacts on the activities of some groups of people.
It is essential that such stakeholders be informed of
the pending decision and, to the extent possible, its
potential consequences. They also need to have the
opportunity to provide information on the potential
consequences of the decision and to share ideas on
8
how best to approach threats to the species. A longer
period may also be required to consult appropriately
with some groups. For example, consultations can
take longer for groups that meet infrequently but that
must be engaged on several occasions. For such
reasons, extended consultations may be undertaken.
For both normal and extended consultations, once
they are complete, the Minister of the Environment
forwards the species assessments to the Governor
in Council for the government’s formal receipt of the
assessment. The Governor in Council then has nine
months to come to a listing decision. Thus, listing
decisions for species in normal consultations are
usually made about one year after the publication
of their response statements. Listing decisions for
species in extended consultations are usually made
about two years after the response statements are
published.
The consultation paths (normal or extended)
for the terrestrial species listed in Table 1 will
be announced when the Minister publishes the
response statements. These will be posted by
January 13, 2015, on the Species at Risk Public
Registry at: www.registrelep-sararegistry.gc.ca/
default.asp?lang=En&n=F4D833A7-1 No consultations will be undertaken for those
species already on Schedule 1 and for which no
change in status is being proposed (Table 3).
Who is consulted and how
It is most important to consult with those who
would be most affected by the proposed changes.
There is protection that is immediately in place when a
species that is Extirpated, Endangered or Threatened
is added to Schedule 1. It prohibits killing or harming
the species or destroying a residence. For terrestrial
species, this applies to migratory birds protected
by the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 (which
already provides similar protection for the migratory
birds and their nests). The immediate protection
also applies to other terrestrial species where they
are on federal land (for more details, see below,
“Protection for listed Extirpated, Endangered and
Threatened species”). This immediate protection does
not apply to species of Special Concern. Therefore,
Environment Canada considers the type of species,
its conservation status, and where the species is
found. Those who may be affected by the impacts
Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species, January 2015
of the automatic protections are contacted directly;
others are encouraged to contribute through a variety
of approaches.
Aboriginal peoples known to have species
at risk on their lands, for which changes to
Schedule 1 are being considered, will be contacted.
Their engagement is of particular significance,
acknowledging their role in the management of the
extensive traditional territories and the reserve and
settlement lands.
A Wildlife Management Board is a group that has
been established under a land claims agreement and
is authorized by the agreement to perform functions
in respect of wildlife species. Some eligible species
at risk are found on lands where existing land claims
agreements apply that give specific authority to
a Wildlife Management Board. In such cases, the
Minister of the Environment will consult with the
relevant board.
To encourage others to contribute and make the
necessary information readily available, this document
is distributed to known stakeholders and posted on
the Species at Risk Public Registry. More extensive
consultations may also be done through regional
or community meetings or through a more targeted
approach.
Environment Canada also sends notice of this
consultation to identified concerned groups and
individuals who have made their interests known.
These include, but are not limited to, industries,
resource users, landowners and environmental nongovernmental organizations.
In most cases, it is difficult for Environment Canada
to fully examine the potential impacts of recovery
actions when species are being considered for listing.
Recovery actions for terrestrial species usually have
not yet been comprehensively defined at the time of
listing, so their impact cannot be fully understood.
Once they are defined, efforts are made to minimize
adverse social and economic impacts of listing and to
maximize the benefits. SARA requires that recovery
measures be prepared in consultation with those
considered to be directly affected by them. In addition to the public, Environment Canada
consults on listing with the governments of the
provinces and territories responsible for the
conservation and management of these wildlife
species. Environment Canada also consults with other
federal departments and agencies.
Role and impact of public consultations
in the listing process
The results of the public consultations are of great
significance to the process of listing species at risk.
Environment Canada carefully reviews the comments
it receives to gain a better understanding of the
benefits and costs of changing the List.
The comments are then used to inform the
Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement (RIAS). The
RIAS is a report that summarizes the impact of a
proposed regulatory change. It includes a description
of the proposed change and an analysis of its expected
impact, which incorporates the results from the public
consultations. In developing the RIAS, the Government
of Canada recognizes that Canada’s natural heritage
is an integral part of our national identity and history
and that wildlife in all its forms has value in and of itself.
The Government of Canada also recognizes that the
absence of full scientific certainty is not a reason to
postpone decisions to protect the environment.
A draft Order (see Glossary) is then prepared,
providing notice that a decision is being taken by the
Governor in Council. The draft Order proposing to list
all or some of the species under consideration is then
published, along with the RIAS, in the Canada Gazette,
Part I, for a comment period of 30 days.
The Minister of the Environment will take into
consideration comments and any additional
information received following publication of the draft
Order and the RIAS in the Canada Gazette, Part I. The
Minister then makes a listing recommendation for each
species to the Governor in Council. The Governor
in Council next decides either to accept the species
assessment and amend Schedule 1 accordingly; or
not to add the species to Schedule 1; or to refer the
species assessment back to COSEWIC for further
information or consideration. The final decision is
published in the Canada Gazette, Part II, and on the
Species at Risk Public Registry. If the Governor in
Council decides to list a species, it is at this point that
it becomes legally included on Schedule 1.
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Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species, January 2015
Significance of the addition of
a species to Schedule 1 The protection that comes into effect following the
addition of a species to Schedule 1 depends upon a
number of factors. These include the species’ status
under SARA, the type of species and where it occurs.
Protection for listed Extirpated,
Endangered and Threatened species
Responsibility for the conservation of wildlife is
shared among the governments of Canada. SARA
establishes legal protection of individuals and
their residences as soon as a species is listed as
Threatened, Endangered or Extirpated, if they are
considered federal species or if they are found on
federal land.
Federal species include migratory birds, as
defined by the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994,
and aquatic species covered by the Fisheries Act.
Federal land means land that belongs to the federal
government, and the internal waters and territorial sea
of Canada. It also means land set apart for the use
and benefit of a band under the Indian Act (such as
reserves). In the territories, the protection for species
at risk on federal lands applies only where they are
on lands under the authority of the Minister of the
Environment or the Parks Canada Agency.
Migratory birds are protected by the Migratory Birds
Regulations, under the Migratory Birds Convention Act,
1994, which strictly prohibits the harming of migratory
birds and the disturbance or destruction of their nests
and eggs.
Protection under SARA makes it an offence to kill,
harm, harass, capture or take an individual of a species
listed as Extirpated, Endangered or Threatened. It is
also an offence to damage or destroy the residence
of one or more individuals of an Endangered or
Threatened species or an Extirpated species whose
reintroduction has been recommended by a recovery
strategy. The Act also makes it an offence to possess,
collect, buy, sell or trade an individual of a species that
is Extirpated, Endangered or Threatened.
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Species at risk that are neither aquatic nor
protected under the Migratory Birds Convention Act,
1994, nor on federal lands, do not receive immediate
protection upon listing under SARA. Instead, in most
cases, the protection of terrestrial species on nonfederal lands is the responsibility of the provinces and
territories where they are found. The application of
protections under SARA to a species at risk on nonfederal lands requires that the Governor in Council
make an order defining those lands. This can only
occur when the Minister is of the opinion that the
laws of the province or territory do not effectively
protect the species. To put such an order in place, the
Minister would then need to recommend the order be
made to the Governor in Council. If the Governor in
Council agrees to make the order, the prohibitions of
SARA would then apply to the provincial or territorial
lands specified by the order. The federal government
would consult before making such an order.
Permits and agreements
For terrestrial species listed on SARA
Schedule 1 as Extirpated, Endangered or Threatened,
the Minister of the Environment may authorize
exceptions to the Act’s prohibitions, when and where
they apply. The Minister can enter into agreements
or issue permits only for one of three reasons: for
research, for conservation activities, or if the effects
to the species are incidental to the activity. Research
must relate to the conservation of a species and
be conducted by qualified scientists. Conservation
activities must benefit a listed species or be required
to enhance its chances of survival. All activities,
including those that incidentally affect a listed
species, must also meet certain conditions. First, it
must be established that all reasonable alternatives
have been considered and the best solution has been
adopted. It must also be established that all feasible
measures will be taken to minimize the impact of the
activity, and finally that the survival or recovery of
the species will not be jeopardized. Having issued a
permit or agreement, the Minister must then include
an explanation on the Species at Risk Public Registry
of why the permit or agreement was issued.
Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species, January 2015
Recovery strategies and action plans for
Extirpated, Endangered and Threatened
species
Recovery planning results in the development of
recovery strategies and action plans for Extirpated,
Endangered or Threatened species. It involves the
different levels of government responsible for the
management of the species, depending on what type
of species it is and where it occurs. These include
federal, provincial and territorial governments as well
as Wildlife Management Boards. Recovery strategies
and action plans are also prepared in cooperation
with directly affected Aboriginal organizations.
Landowners and other stakeholders directly affected
by the recovery strategy are consulted to the extent
possible.
Recovery strategies must be prepared for all
Extirpated, Endangered and Threatened species.
They include measures to mitigate the known threats
to the species and its habitat and set the population
and distribution objectives. Other objectives can
be included, such as stewardship (to establish
protection for an existing population) or education
(to increase public awareness). Recovery strategies
must include a statement of the time frame for
the development of one or more action plans. To
the extent possible, recovery strategies must also
identify the critical habitat of the species. If there is
not enough information available to identify critical
habitat, the recovery strategy includes a schedule of
studies required for its identification. This schedule
outlines what must be done to obtain the necessary
information and by when it needs to be done. In such
cases critical habitat can be identified in a subsequent
action plan.
Proposed recovery strategies for newly listed
species are posted on the Species at Risk Public
Registry to provide for public review and comment.
For Endangered species, proposed recovery
strategies are posted within one year of their addition
to Schedule 1, and for Threatened or Extirpated
species within two years.
Action plans state the measures necessary to
implement the recovery strategy. These include
measures to address threats and achieve the
population and distribution objectives. Action plans
also complete the identification of the critical habitat
where necessary, and to the extent possible state
measures that are proposed to protect it.
Protection for listed species of Special
Concern
While immediate protection under SARA for
species listed as Extirpated, Endangered and
Threatened do not apply to species listed as Special
Concern, any existing protections and prohibitions,
such as those provided by the Migratory Birds
Convention Act, 1994 or the Canada National Parks
Act, continue to be in force.
Management plans for species of Special
Concern
For species of Special Concern, management
plans are to be prepared and made available on the
Species at Risk Public Registry within three years of
species’ addition to Schedule 1, allowing for public
review and comment. Management plans include
appropriate conservation measures for the species
and for its habitat. They are prepared in cooperation
with the jurisdictions responsible for the management
of the species, including directly affected Wildlife
Management Boards and Aboriginal organizations.
Landowners, lessees and others directly affected by a
management plan will also be consulted to the extent
possible.
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Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species, January 2015
The List Of Species Eligible For An Amendment To Schedule 1 Status of the recently assessed species
and consultation paths
On October 15, 2014, COSEWIC submitted
27 assessments of species at risk to the Minister of
the Environment for species that are eligible to be
added to Schedule 1 of SARA. Nineteen of these
are terrestrial species and 8 are aquatic species.
COSEWIC also reviewed the classification of species
already on Schedule 1, in some cases changing
their status. Five terrestrial species are now being
considered for down-listing on SARA (to a lower
risk status) and 4 terrestrial species are now being
considered for up-listing on SARA (to a higher risk
status). In all, 25 terrestrial species that are eligible
to be added to Schedule 1 or to have their current
status on Schedule 1 changed are included in this
consultation (Table 1).
The three other terrestrial species are bats for
which COSEWIC submitted an emergency
assessment in February 2012 and confirmed their
status as Endangered in November 2013 (Table 2).
Consultations for these bat species were conducted
in July–August 2014 and all three species were added
to Schedule 1 of SARA as announced on December
17, 2014. The three bat species are included in this
document for your information but are not a part
of the current consultation. Details on the SARA
listing for the three bat species are available at
http://www.registrelep-sararegistry.gc.ca/default.
asp?lang=En&n=073DC653-1.
COSEWIC also submitted the reviews of species
already on Schedule 1, confirming their classification.
Thirteen of these reviews were for terrestrial species.
These species are not included in the consultations
because there is no regulatory change being
proposed (Table 3).
For more information on the consultations for
aquatic species, visit the Fisheries and Oceans
Canada website at www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca.
12
Providing comments
The involvement of Canadians is integral to the
process, as it is to the ultimate protection of Canadian
wildlife. Your comments matter and are given serious
consideration. Environment Canada reviews all
comments it receives by the deadlines provided
below.
Comments for terrestrial species undergoing
normal consultations must be received by
April 15, 2015.
Comments for terrestrial species undergoing
extended consultations must be received by
October 15, 2015.
Most species will be undergoing normal
consultations. For the final consultation paths,
please see www.registrelep-sararegistry.gc.ca/
default.asp?lang=En&n=F4D833A7-1 after
January 13, 2015.
For more details on submitting comments, see
page 5, “Comments solicited on the proposed
amendment of Schedule 1.”
Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species, January 2015
Table 1:
Taxon
Terrestrial species recently assessed by COSEWIC eligible for addition
to Schedule 1 or reclassification
Species
Scientific Name
Range
Species eligible for addition to Schedule 1 (16)
Endangered (4)
Vascular Plants
Tweedy’s Lewisia
Lewisiopsis tweedyi
BC
Arthropods
Oregon Branded Skipper
Hesperia colorado oregonia
BC
Arthropods
Gypsy Cuckoo Bumble Bee
Bombus bohemicus
Amphibians
Eastern Tiger Salamander (Prairie population)
Ambystoma tigrinum
YT NT BC AB SK
MB ON QC NB PE
NS NL
MB
Threatened (5)
Lichens
Eastern Waterfan
Peltigera hydrothyria
QC NB NS
Vascular Plants
Hare-footed Locoweed
Oxytropis lagopus
AB
Arthropods
Audouin’s Night-stalking Tiger Beetle
Omus audouini
BC
Arthropods
Western Bumble Bee occidentalis subspecies
BC AB SK
Mammals
Plains Bison
Bombus occidentalis
occidentalis
Bison bison bison
BC AB SK
Special Concern (7)
Lichens
Western Waterfan
Peltigera gowardii
BC
Vascular Plants
Nahanni Aster
Symphyotrichum nahanniense
NT
Arthropods
Western Bumble Bee mckayi subspecies
Bombus occidentalis mckayi
YT NT BC
Amphibians
Wandering Salamander
Aneides vagrans
BC
Birds
Grasshopper Sparrow pratensis subspecies
ON QC
Birds
Western Grebe
Ammodramus savannarum
pratensis
Aechmophorus occidentalis
Mammals
Wolverine1
Gulo gulo
YT NT NU BC AB
SK MB ON QC NL
BC AB SK MB
Reclassifications: Up-list (4)
From Threatened to Endangered (3)
Arthropods
Dakota Skipper
Hesperia dacotae
SK MB
Mammals
Caribou (Central Mountain population)2
Rangifer tarandus
BC AB
Mammals
Caribou (Southern Mountain population)
Rangifer tarandus
BC
Clethra alnifolia
NS
Ascaphus montanus
BC
2
From Special Concern to Threatened (1)
Vascular Plants
Sweet Pepperbush
Reclassifications: Down-list (5)
From Endangered to Threatened (1)
Amphibians
Rocky Mountain Tailed Frog
From Threatened to Special Concern (4)
Vascular Plants
Water Pennywort
Hydrocotyle umbellata
NS
Arthropods
Mormon Metalmark (Prairie population)
Apodemia mormo
SK
Mammals
Caribou (Northern Mountain population)2
Rangifer tarandus
YT NT BC
Mammals
Wood Bison
Bison bison athabascae
YT NT BC AB MB
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 down-listed from Endangered to Special Concern, and the Western
population would be added to Schedule 1 as Special Concern.
2. The three Caribou populations included in the present consultation document (Northern Mountain, Central Mountain and Southern Mountain populations) were recently
restructured by COSEWIC. In this restructuration, nine subpopulations formerly included in the Southern Mountain population, currently listed as Threatened, are now included
in the Northern Mountain population, currently listed as Special Concern. Although COSEWIC’s last assessment for the Northern Mountain population is also Special Concern,
this reclassification would mean a down-listing of these nine subpopulations from Threatened to Special Concern. Please refer to the status history sections of the COSEWIC
assessment summaries, reproduced in this document, for details on the restructuration of these three populations of Caribou (formerly called Woodland Caribou).
13
Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species, January 2015
Table 2:
Taxon
Terrestrial species recently added to Schedule 1 (no consultations)
Species
Scientific Name
Range
Mammals
Little Brown Myotis
Myotis lucifugus
Mammals
Northern Myotis
Myotis septentrionalis
Mammals
Tri-colored Bat
Perimyotis subflavus
YT NT BC AB SK
MB ON QC NB PE
NS NL
YT NT BC AB SK
MB ON QC NB PE
NS NL
ON QC NB NS
Endangered (3)
Table 3:
Taxon
Terrestrial species recently reassessed by COSEWIC
(no consultations – species status confirmation)
Species
Scientific Name
Range
Eastern Tiger Salamander (Carolinian
population)
Ambystoma tigrinum
ON
Arthropods
Mormon Metalmark (Southern Mountain
population)
Apodemia mormo
BC
Arthropods
Sand-verbena Moth
Copablepharon fuscum
BC
Amphibians
Small-mouthed Salamander
Ambystoma texanum
ON
Birds
Loggerhead Shrike Eastern subspecies
Lanius ludovicianus ssp.
ON QC
Birds
Piping Plover circumcinctus subspecies
Charadrius melodus
circumcinctus
AB SK MB ON
Birds
Piping Plover melodus subspecies
Charadrius melodus melodus
QC NB PE NS NL
Mollusks
Dromedary Jumping-slug
Hemphillia dromedarius
BC
Amphibians
Coastal Giant Salamander
Dicamptodon tenebrosus
BC
Birds
Loggerhead Shrike Prairie subspecies
Lanius ludovicianus
excubitorides
AB SK MB
Birds
Short-tailed Albatross
Phoebastria albatrus
BC Pacific Ocean
Status Confirmations (13)
Extirpated (1)
Amphibians
Endangered (6)
Threatened (4)
Special Concern (2)
Reptiles
Eastern Milksnake
Lampropeltis triangulum
ON QC
Birds
Harlequin Duck (Eastern population)
Histrionicus histrionicus
NU QC NB NS NL
14
The text information for each species is taken directly from the COSEWIC executive summaries.
The COSEWIC summaries of terrestrial species recently
added or eligible for an addition or reclassification
on Schedule 1
The following section presents a brief summary of the reasons for the COSEWIC status designation of
individual species, and their biology, threats, distribution and other information. For a more comprehensive
explanation of the conservation status of an individual species, please refer to the COSEWIC status report for
that species, also available on the Species at Risk Public Registry at: www.sararegistry.gc.ca
or contact:
COSEWIC Secretariat
c/o Canadian Wildlife Service
Environment Canada
Ottawa ON K1A 0H3
Audouin’s Night-stalking Tiger
Beetle
Photo: © Andy Teucher
Reason for designation
Scientific name
Omus audouini
Taxon
Arthropods
This beetle is restricted to a small area in the
Georgia Basin of southwestern British Columbia,
within a narrow strip of coastal lowland around
Boundary Bay and Greater Victoria. Major threats
include habitat loss through agricultural and urban
development, vegetation succession in open habitats,
disturbance from recreational activities, and, in the
longer term, sea level rise. There are fewer than ten
known sites, and the discovery of more populations is
unlikely. The species is flightless and thus dispersal is
limited.
Wildlife Species Description
and Significance
The Audouin’s Night-stalking Tiger Beetle is a
medium sized (14–18 mm), dull black, flightless
beetle. A closely related species, the Greater Nightstalking Tiger Beetle, occurs in similar habitats, but
the adults of both species are easily distinguished.
COSEWIC Status
Threatened
Canadian range
British Columbia
15
Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species, January 2015
Distribution
The global range of the Audouin’s Night-stalking
Tiger Beetle is in western North America from the
southwestern corner of B.C. south through western
Washington and Oregon to northwestern California.
Approximately 10% of the global range is in Canada.
Within Canada, the species is restricted to a small
area of the Georgia Basin, with sites recorded from a
thin strip of coastal lowland habitat in the Boundary
Bay area (mainland) and the greater Victoria area
(Vancouver Island). Overall, there are eleven recorded
sites within Canada (extant and extirpated). Nine of
these sites are considered extant: seven in the Lower
Mainland and two in greater Victoria. Three of the
nine sites are unconfirmed but potential habitat is
still present within the general collection areas and
these are considered extant. The two sites considered
extirpated are both in the greater Victoria area and
in regions with extensive (1960s to present) urban
development. The Canadian range extent is estimated
at 1600 km2 and all but one site is within 1 km of the
marine shoreline (that site is within 3 km).
Occurrences and potential range of the Audouin’s
Night-stalking Tiger Beetle within the known range of
the species in B.C. Map completed by Byron Woods
(B.C. Ministry of Environment, June 2013).
Source: COSEWIC. 2013. COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Audouin's
Night-stalking Tiger Beetle in Canada
Habitat
The Audouin’s Night-stalking Tiger Beetle is
recorded from two ecosystem types in B.C.: 1)
sparsely vegetated sand ecosystems (six of the
nine extant sites) and 2) Garry Oak and associated
ecosystems (three extant sites and two extirpated
sites, although extirpated site collection information
is vague and habitat is inferred). Overall habitat
16
description includes open grassy areas, sparsely
vegetated habitats, coastal bluffs, meadows, open
forests, older agricultural fields (no crops present for a
number of years), and similar habitats.
Larvae dwell in underground burrows, typically
located within clay banks with up to 50% slope, and
usually above the ocean high-tide line. Burrows are
frequently adjacent to hiking trails and within road
cuts, stream banks and other similar habitats.
The Audouin’s Night-stalking Tiger Beetle appears
to be tolerant of some forms of habitat disturbance,
although it does not appear to depend on dynamic
environmental factors such as fire or flooding. All
known sites are from areas potentially flooded by
seawater or periodic freshwater floods due to rain
runoff. Six sites are within high recreation habitats
and all have both non-native (alien) and native (natural
succession) invasive species.
Biology
The Audouin’s Night-stalking Tiger Beetle has four
main life stages: egg, larva (three larval instars), pupa
and adult. Only adult beetles have been observed
in B.C. They mate sometime in the early spring,
and females lay 10–20 eggs per day within suitable
substrate for larval burrow construction, and egglaying continues throughout early spring. Depending
on the species and local temperature conditions, tiger
beetle eggs hatch 9 to 38 days later.
Tiger beetles spend from 1 to 3 years in the larval
stage, during which time they excavate long, deep
and narrow cylindrical tunnels (20–35 cm) and develop
through three instars. Larvae close their tunnels
during winter months. Pupation takes place after the
third larval instar within a chamber at the bottom of
the larval burrow. Adults and larvae are voracious
opportunistic predators and feed on a variety of small
arthropods, including ants and centipedes. Adults
are mobile, crawling around at moderate speeds
and moving like a spider. Larvae are sit-and-wait
predators, being predominantly confined to their
burrow.
Photo: © Andrew E. McKorney
The text information for each species is taken directly from the COSEWIC executive summaries.
Population Sizes and Trends
Threats and Limiting Factors
Primary threats include habitat loss through
agricultural and urban development, ongoing
pesticide use in some areas, vegetation succession
in sparsely-vegetated habitats, disturbance from
recreational activities, storm surges and, in the longer
term, sea level rise.
Photo: © Andrew E. McKorney
The Audouin’s Night-stalking Tiger Beetle has not
been studied at a population level. Surveys have
been by pitfall trapping and hand searching, methods
that do not give population estimates. There are
insufficient data to provide an accurate estimate of
abundance across the species’ Canadian range.
Most specimen and sight record data are of single
individuals. The species is flightless, and although it
is considered to have moderate running ability, it is
unlikely that it could significantly disperse through
terrestrial habitats.
Male Audouin’s Night-stalking Tiger Beetle. Andrew E.
McKorney collection specimen
Protection, Status, and Ranks
The Audouin’s Night-stalking Tiger Beetle is not
currently protected by provincial or federal laws. The
species is Red-listed (critically imperiled) by the
British Columbia Conservation Data Centre and
ranked globally secure by NatureServe.
17
Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species, January 2015
Caribou
Photo: © Mark Bradley
All stable or increasing subpopulations are located
in the northern part of the range, whereas 9 in the
southern part of the range have declined by 26%
since the last assessment. The status of northern
subpopulations may be compromised in the future
because of increasing threats, particularly land use
change with industrial development causing shifts in
predator-prey dynamics.
Male Caribou, Central Mountain population
Scientific name
Rangifer tarandus
Taxon
Mammals
COSEWIC Status
Northern Mountain population: Special Concern
Central Mountain population: Endangered
Southern Mountain population: Endangered
Canadian range
Northern Mountain population: Yukon, Northwest
Territories, British Columbia
Central Mountain population: British Columbia,
Alberta
Southern Mountain population: British Columbia
Reason for designation
Northern Mountain population:
This population occurs in 45 subpopulations ranging
from west-central British Columbia to the Yukon
and western Northwest Territories. The majority of
its distribution is in Canada, where it numbers about
43,000–48,000 mature individuals. There is little longterm (three generations) trend information, and many
current estimates are based on survey data more than
5 years old. Currently 2 subpopulations are thought
to be increasing, 7 are stable and 9 are declining.
The condition of the remaining 27 subpopulations is
unknown. The two largest subpopulations comprise
> 15,000 animals, or 26-29% of the estimated
population, and are thought to be stable. About half of
the 45 subpopulations each contain < 500 individuals.
18
Central Mountain population
This population is endemic to Canada and
occurs in 10-11 extant subpopulations in eastcentral British Columbia and west-central Alberta
in and around the Rocky Mountains. The current
estimate for the population is 515 mature individuals
and it has declined by at least 62% over the past
3 generations. One subpopulation in central British
Columbia may be extirpated, and an additional one
in Banff was confirmed extirpated in 2010. All extant
subpopulations are estimated to contain fewer than
250 mature individuals, with 7 of these having fewer
than 50. Two recognized subpopulations in 2002 have
since split due to lack of dispersal within former
ranges. All subpopulations have experienced declines
of about 60% since the last assessment in 2002,
and declines continue for all but one subpopulation.
Surveys have shown consistently high adult mortality
and low calf recruitment, accelerating decline rates.
Threats are continuing and escalating.
Southern Mountain population:
This population is largely restricted to Canada,
except for < 40 animals in Idaho and Washington. It
occurs in 15 extant subpopulations in southeastern
British Columbia, most of which have no movement
between them. Two subpopulations have been
extirpated since 2002. The current estimate for
the population is 1,294 mature individuals, which
has declined by at least 46% in the past three
generations, and 30% since the last assessment in
2002. All but two extant subpopulations are estimated
to contain fewer than 250 mature individuals, with 9 of
these having fewer than 50, and 6 with fewer than
15 mature individuals. Dispersal within the ranges of
11 subpopulations is severely limited. Surveys have
shown consistently high adult mortality and low calf
recruitment, accelerating decline rates. Threats are
continuing and escalating.
Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species, January 2015
Status history
2002). The remaining subpopulations were assigned
to the new Central and Northern Mountain
populations. The Southern Mountain population was
designated Endangered in May 2014.
Photo: © Jukka Jatunen
The Northern Mountain population was designated
Not at Risk in May 2000. This population was formerly
designated as part of the “Western population”(now
de-activated). Status re-examined and designated
Special Concern in May 2002. Following the
Designatable Unit report on caribou (COSEWIC
2011), a new population structure was proposed and
accepted by COSEWIC. This new Northern Mountain
population is composed of all 36 subpopulations in
the previous Northern Mountain population of Caribou
in addition to 9 subpopulations from the previous
(2002) Southern Mountain population. The Northern
Mountain population was designated Special Concern
in May 2014.
Following the Designatable Unit report on caribou
(COSEWIC 2011), a new population structure was
proposed and accepted by COSEWIC. This resulted
in the new Central Mountain population, composed
of 12 subpopulations from the previous Southern
Mountain population of Caribou (COSEWIC 2002).
The Central Mountain population was designated
Endangered in May 2014.
Caribou, Northern Mountain population
Photo: © Mark Bradley
Wildlife Species Description
and Significance
Caribou mother and calf, Central Mountain population
The Southern Mountain population was designated
Threatened in May 2000. This population was formerly
designated as part of the “Western population” (now
de-activated). Status re-examined and confirmed in
May 2002. Following the Designatable Unit report on
caribou (COSEWIC 2011), a new population structure
was proposed and accepted by COSEWIC. This
resulted in the new Southern Mountain population,
composed of 17 subpopulations from the former
Southern Mountain population of Caribou (COSEWIC
All the world’s caribou and reindeer belong
to a single species, Rangifer tarandus, and are
found in arctic and subarctic regions as well as in
northern forests. Caribou that occur in the western
mountainous region of Canada are largely brown
in colour with a white mane. Mature females and
males usually weigh 110-150 kg and 160-210 kg,
respectively. Both males and females grow antlers,
although some females may lack these. A distinctive
characteristic is large, rounded hooves that reduce
sinking in snow and wetlands and act as shovels
when digging for food under snow.
Western mountain caribou have played an
important role for Aboriginal peoples as well as for
early fur traders and settlers. A majority of the current
range is in Canada in the Northern Mountain, Central
Mountain and Southern Mountain populations.
Northern and Central Mountain Caribou both inhabit
shallow snow areas in winter where they forage
primarily for terrestrial lichens, but differ in their
genetic makeup and evolutionary origin. Southern
Mountain Caribou are distinct from other mountain
caribou in that they have adapted to living in a deep
snow environment where they forage primarily for
arboreal lichens in winter.
19
Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species, January 2015
Distribution
Habitat
Northern Mountain Caribou are currently distributed
across 45 subpopulations ranging from west-central
British Columbia north to Yukon and Northwest
Territories. The Central Mountain population includes
10 extant subpopulations in east-central BC and
west-central Alberta in and around the Rocky
Mountains. Southern Mountain Caribou are distributed
across 15 extant subpopulations in the deep snowbelt region of southeastern BC, and northern Idaho
and Washington in the United States. There has been
an overall range loss in western mountain caribou
of about 30% since the early 1900s, with the major
change in distribution occurring in the central and
southern portion of BC and Alberta.
In general, caribou require large tracts of range
where they can separate themselves (horizontally
and altitudinally) from other prey and predators, and
shift their range use in response to various natural
processes (e.g. fire, forest insects, weather/snow
conditions) and human activities (e.g. disturbance
from forest harvesting, mining, oil and gas, and
recreation). Access to high-quality undisturbed calving
areas in high-elevation alpine, subalpine parkland,
subalpine forests, and/or islands in lakes is also
essential to mountain caribou survival. While some
subpopulations or portions of subpopulations migrate
long distances between winter and summer ranges,
others do not.
In winter months, both Northern and Central
Mountain Caribou forage primarily on terrestrial
lichens either in older coniferous forests at low
elevations or on windswept alpine slopes, and
summer at high elevations in mountains. They
also may forage on arboreal lichens in older lowelevation and subalpine forests. Southern Mountain
Caribou spend the winter at higher elevations in
older subalpine forests where they are able to walk
on a hardened snowpack and eat arboreal lichens.
Caribou habitat has declined in quality and extent on
many ranges due to impacts from industrial activities,
particularly in Alberta and British Columbia.
Biology
Distribution of the Caribou subpopulations in the
Northern Mountain (DU 7), Central Mountain (DU 8)
and Southern Mountain (DU 9).
Source: COSEWIC. 2014. COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Caribou
Northern Mountain population, Central Mountain population and Southern
Mountain population in Canada.
20
Mountain caribou breed in late September and
October. Mountain caribou have only one calf per
year and females do not generally breed until they
are at least 2 years old. Although pregnancy rates are
generally high (over 90%), calf survival during the first
few months is often 50% or less. Pregnant females
travel to isolated, relatively predator-free areas in
the mountains to calve in mid-late May or early
June. Calf survival is higher for females that calve at
high elevations in mountainous terrain or on islands
in lakes, compared to females that calve below
treeline where they are closer to other ungulates
and predators. Caribou are usually one of several
prey species in multiple predator-prey systems.
Wolves and bears are the main predators of caribou;
however, cougars, wolverine, golden eagles, and other
predators may also kill adults and/or calves in some
areas or during some seasons. Although they have
diverse diets, western mountain caribou are adapted
Photo: © Mark Bradley
The text information for each species is taken directly from the COSEWIC executive summaries.
Caribou and habitat, Central Mountain population
to feed on lichens, with specialized microbes in their
stomachs that digest and extract nutrients from
lichens efficiently. They can withstand severe cold
because their thick winter coat contains insulating
semi-hollow hair.
Population Sizes and Trends
The current Northern Mountain Caribou population
estimate is about 45 000 mature individuals;
however, estimates for only 16 of 45 (36%) of the
subpopulations are based on surveys conducted
within the last 5 years. Twenty-six subpopulations
consist of > 500 caribou and 13 are < 250. Current
trends are known for 18 subpopulations: 9 decreasing,
7 stable, and 2 increasing; all 5 subpopulations
in west-central BC are declining. Late winter calf
recruitment was < 15% for 6 of 10 subpopulations
with sufficient data. An overall trend for caribou
in the Northern Mountain DU is not possible to
determine because survey data and/or data on
vital rates for most subpopulations are lacking. The
9 subpopulations in the southern part of the range
have declined by 27% since the last COSEWIC
assessment in 2002.
The current Central Mountain DU caribou population
is estimated at 469 mature individuals. The population
has declined by at least 64% over the last 27 years
(3 generations) and 62% over the last 18 years
(2 generations). All 10 currently recognized extant
subpopulations consist of < 250 mature individuals;
4 of these are < 50. All but one are in continued
decline; the status of one is unknown. Two additional
subpopulations have been confirmed extirpated since
the last status report in 2002 and two recognized
subpopulations in 2002 have since split into several
due to lack of dispersal within some part of the ranges.
The current estimate for the Southern Mountain
DU caribou population is 1,356 mature individuals.
The population has declined by at least 45% over
the last 27 years (3 generations), 40% over the last
18 years (2 generations), and 27% since the last
assessment in 2002. All 15 extant subpopulations
consist of < 500 mature individuals, 13 of which
are < 250, and 9 < 50; some former subpopulations
21
Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species, January 2015
Threats and Limiting Factors
In the Northern Mountain DU, major threats include
altered predator-prey dynamics due to habitat change.
Human disturbance and habitat loss (including
functional habitat loss due to avoidance) have resulted
from the cumulative effects of forest harvesting,
mineral exploration and development and associated
access, motorized and non-motorized recreational
activities, changes in forest structure due to Mountain
Pine Beetle infestations and/or associated salvage
logging, and impacts from climate change.
The primary threats to caribou in the Central
Mountain DU include altered predator-prey dynamics
due to both direct and functional habitat loss and
disturbance resulting from multiple industrial activities
including forest harvesting, coal exploration and
development, and oil and gas exploration and
development. Additional factors include vehicle
collisions, motorized recreation (all terrain vehicle,
snowmobiling), facilitated access to caribou winter
range for predators resulting from increased linear
corridors and packed trails or ploughed roads in
winter, impacts from climate change, and stochastic
environmental events associated with small
population sizes.
The primary threats to caribou in the Southern
Mountain DU include altered predator/prey
dynamics due to habitat change resulting from forest
harvesting in adjacent low-elevation valley bottoms,
snowmobiling, heli-skiing, impacts from climate
change, and the severe limitation of small populations
that will have a high likelihood of becoming extirpated
due to random environmental and demographic
events.
22
Photo: © Lee Harding
have split into several due to lack of dispersal within
ranges. Fourteen of 15 subpopulations have declined
since the last status report in 2002. At present,
11 subpopulations are still declining, 3 are stable
and 1 is increasing. Most subpopulations have been
subjected to intensive management measures,
including translocations, wolf sterilization programs,
and moose reduction through liberalized hunting. Two
additional subpopulations have been extirpated since
2002. A recent population viability analysis predicted
that 13 of 15 subpopulations would be lost within
50 years.
Caribou at Selkirk Mountains BC, Southern Mountain
population
Protection, Status, and Ranks
Caribou in the former COSEWIC Southern
Mountain population are currently listed as Threatened
under the federal Species at Risk Act. This includes all
caribou in the current Southern Mountain and Central
Mountain DUs and 9 subpopulations in west-central
and north-central BC in the Northern Mountain DU.
Caribou in the former Northern Mountain population
are listed as Special Concern under the federal
Species at Risk Act. The majority of western mountain
caribou habitat is on public land. Protected areas
cover 22%, 41%, and 32% of the Northern Mountain,
Central Mountain and Southern Mountain DU caribou
ranges respectively, although most of the protected
portion of the Central Mountain DU range covers highelevation summer habitat. In addition to protected
areas, in BC, Ungulate Winter Ranges and Wildlife
Habitat Areas were established in 2009 to protect
areas from forest harvesting or to guide forest
harvesting activities.
The text information for each species is taken directly from the COSEWIC executive summaries.
Dakota Skipper
Photo: © Christa Rigney
with differing amounts of orange and paler translucent
spots on the forewing. Wing undersides are greyishbrown with obscure pale spots on the hindwing, and
are considered diagnostic for the species. Male dorsal
wing surfaces are tawny orange with narrow, diffuse
brownish borders and a distinct dark marking on
the forewing. The underside of males is often a dull
yellowish-orange with poorly developed pale spots.
Scientific name
Hesperia dacotae
Taxon
Arthropods
COSEWIC Status
Endangered
Canadian range
Saskatchewan, Manitoba
Reason for designation
This butterfly is dependent on tall-grass and
mixed-grass prairie habitats, which have suffered
> 99% historical losses since the 1850s. The species
occurs within fragmented patches of habitat in three
population centres in Canada. It has a small home
range and is associated with specific prairie plants,
making it sensitive to conversion of prairie remnants
to cropland, spring and summer haying, overgrazing,
controlled burns, drainage of natural sites, and
natural disturbances such as floods. The longterm persistence of this butterfly is dependent on
appropriate management of its habitat, most of which
consists of small fragments.
Wildlife Species Description
and Significance
Dakota Skipper is one of a small group of habitat
specialist butterflies that ranges in native tall-grass
and mixed-grass prairie habitats that remain in small
isolated pockets in Canada. The loss of this skipper
from Canada would represent the loss of a significant
species of this endangered prairie ecosystem. Distribution
Dakota Skipper is closely associated with native
tall-grass and upland dry mixed-prairie ecosystems,
and historically ranged throughout central North
America from southern Illinois, Iowa, North and South
Dakotas and western Minnesota into southern
Canada within Manitoba and extreme Saskatchewan.
As of 2012, there are three extant and five extirpated
population centres in Canada. The three extant
population centres are: 1) Interlake Region
surrounding Lundar, Manitoba; 2) Oak Lake Region
near Griswold, southwestern Manitoba; and 3) Souris
River Region, from Bienfait to Glen Ewen in
southeastern Saskatchewan.
Canadian distribution of the Dakota Skipper.
Source: COSEWIC. 2014. COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Dakota
Skipper in Canada.
Dakota Skipper (Hesperia dacotae) is a small (2133 mm) butterfly. The dorsal wing surfaces of females
vary in colour from grayish-beige to brown, suffused
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Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species, January 2015
Habitat
Dakota Skipper is an obligate native tall-grass and
upland dry mixed-prairie specialist. This species’
habitat is categorized into one of two habitat types.
In Manitoba the species inhabits wet-mesic tall grass
prairie distinguished by topographically low relief
(< 1 m), more sandy gravel-free soils, and high water
tables prone to intermittent flooding. This habitat
type is associated with bluestem grasses and four
predominant flowers, almost always present and in
bloom during Dakota Skipper flight season: Blackeyed Susan, Common Harebell, Mountain Death
Camas, and Wood Lily.
In Saskatchewan Dakota Skipper inhabits upland
dry mixed prairie habitat associated with glacial
landscapes characterized by rolling terrain with
relatively higher relief. Within this habitat, Bluestem
and Needle Grasses are dominant. Wood Lily and
Common Harebell are present; however, Common
Gaillardia and especially Narrow-leaved Prairie
Coneflower are important nectar sources.
Biology
Dakota Skipper has one generation per year.
Individual adults live up to three weeks, but
populations are active for a three- to five-week period
during late June to mid-July. Adult females mate
within one or two days following emergence and
immediately begin laying eggs. Eggs are typically laid
individually on the undersides of leaves of the larval
host plants.
Population Sizes and Trends
There has been substantial search effort for Dakota
Skipper in Canada. As of 2012, the species occurs
within three population centres: two in Manitoba
and one in Saskatchewan. In 2012, Dakota Skipper
population size in Canada is estimated to be
14,000 individuals: Oak Lake, southwest Manitoba
7,670 adults; Interlake Manitoba 5,450 adults; and
Saskatchewan 890 adults. In 2002, Dakota Skipper
population size was estimated between 28,500–
40,500 individuals in only three or four populations.
24
Numerous sites in Manitoba have been affected by
flooding or grazing regimes inappropriate for Dakota
Skipper, which has contributed to the population
decline over the past 10 years. It appears that much
of the suitable habitat in Saskatchewan remains
intact. Estimates of available habitat per site are
uncertain as these sites are not nearly as clearly
defined as in Manitoba.
Threats and Limiting Factors
The predominant threat to Dakota Skipper is
increased frequency and severity of flooding that
partially affects parts of this low-relief habitat at
all three population centres. Historically, prairie
ecosystems experienced periodic natural flooding;
however, the present-day remaining habitat
patches are no longer interconnected, preventing
recolonization between these periodically flooded
sites. This factor, combined with the cumulative
threats that include conversion of habitat to nongrassland farming (e.g., agricultural intensification),
overgrazing, haying, mining operations, native and
non-native vegetative succession, wildfires and fire
suppression and pest control, is causing further
declines.
Protection, Status, and Ranks
In Canada Dakota Skipper was assessed as
Threatened in 2003 by COSEWIC and listed under the
Species at Risk Act (SARA) in 2005. Provincially, the
species is listed as threatened in Manitoba under the
Manitoba Endangered Species Act.
The text information for each species is taken directly from the COSEWIC executive summaries.
Eastern Tiger Salamander
(Prairie population)
Photo: © Scott Gillingwater
Wildlife Species Description
and Significance
Scientific name
Ambystoma tigrinum
Eastern Tiger Salamanders are robust mole
salamanders and among the largest terrestrial
salamanders in North America. Adults are primarily
dark olive to grey or brown with lighter olive to yellow
spots on the back and sides. The head is round when
viewed from above, the eyes are relatively small, and
the underside is dark with yellow blotches. The
Eastern Tiger Salamander was recently recognized to
be a separate species from other tiger salamanders
based on genetic and morphological evidence. Thus
much of the scientific literature on tiger salamanders
does not distinguish the Eastern Tiger Salamander
from what is now known as the Western (= Barred)
Tiger Salamander, including its northern prairie
subspecies, the Gray Tiger Salamander.
Taxon
Amphibians
COSEWIC Status
Endangered
Photo: © Doug Collicutt
Canadian range
Manitoba
Reason for designation
This salamander is known from only six sites in
Canada within a landscape modified by livestock
production, pastures, and forage crops, and
intersected by roads. There are recent records
from only one of these sites, and the species
may be extirpated from one site. The persistence
of populations is precarious because of the
salamander’s small Canadian range, isolation of
populations, and the tendency of salamander
numbers to fluctuate widely among years,
exacerbated by increasing frequency of droughts and
other severe weather events.
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Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species, January 2015
Distribution
In North America, Eastern Tiger Salamanders occur
throughout most of the eastern United States. In
Canada, Eastern Tiger Salamanders are known only
from scattered locales in southeast Manitoba and
from a historical (1915) record in extreme southern
Ontario where the salamanders inhabit the Prairie
and Carolinian Ecozones, respectively. These two
populations represent separate postglacial range
expansions into Canada and are considered separate
designatable units in this report.
abundant emergent vegetation, and must hold water
at least for the 3–7 months needed for development
until metamorphosis. Aquatic, neotenic adults (i.e.,
animals that retain larval form after sexual maturity)
require fishless permanent wetlands. Terrestrial adult
Eastern Tiger Salamanders burrow into deep friable
soils using their forelimbs and tend to be associated
with grasslands, savannas, and woodland edges
adjacent to breeding sites and less so with closed
canopy forests.
Biology
Eastern Tiger Salamanders living in northern locales
breed in wetlands following warm spring rains within
a few weeks of ice-off. To reach these breeding sites,
adults migrate from terrestrial overwintering sites.
Females lay clusters of darkly pigmented eggs below
the surface of the water. Males reach sexual maturity in
2 years and females in 3 to 5 years. The generation time
is approximately 5 years. Eastern Tiger Salamanders
are visually oriented “sit and wait” predators and feed
on a wide variety of aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates,
tadpoles, and other salamanders. In turn, they serve
as prey for predators such as fishes and invertebrates,
garter snakes, and crows.
Population Sizes and Trends
Distribution of the Eastern Tiger Salamander in North
America (Map A). Map B shows confirmed localities
(dots) of the Prairie population in extreme southeastern
Manitoba. Map C shows the approximate location
of the only known Canadian locality for the now
Extirpated Carolinian population, at Point Pelee,
Ontario.
Source: COSEWIC. 2013. COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Eastern
Tiger Salamander in Canada.
Habitat
Eastern Tiger Salamanders inhabit areas where
sandy or friable (crumbly) soils surround fishless,
semi-permanent or permanent water bodies that they
use as breeding sites. These aquatic breeding sites
are generally soft-bottomed, may or may not have
26
There are no recent records of the Eastern Tiger
Salamander from Ontario. There are recent records
of the species from only one site in Manitoba, where
its population sizes and trends are unknown. Studies
conducted elsewhere indicate that Eastern Tiger
Salamander populations are subject to fluctuations in
abundance and are in decline in the mid-western and
southeastern United States.
Threats and Limiting Factors
Like most amphibians with separate habitat
requirements for adults and larvae, Eastern Tiger
Salamanders must contend with threats and
limitations in both aquatic and terrestrial habitats in
increasingly modified environments. When migrating
to and from breeding ponds, tiger salamanders are
susceptible to road mortality. Loss or degradation
of both the terrestrial and aquatic habitats required
by Eastern Tiger Salamanders, as well as migration
routes between these habitats, have detrimental
effects upon the long-term persistence of populations.
The text information for each species is taken directly from the COSEWIC executive summaries.
Introduced fishes present in Eastern Tiger Salamander
breeding ponds will reduce or eliminate populations
by preying on aquatic larvae. Increased incidences of
drought have reduced populations in the southeast
of their range in the US. Although adapted to life
in semi-arid environments, tiger salamanders are
vulnerable to prolonged, multi-year droughts that
curtail breeding and can disrupt the structure of their
populations within the landscape. Emerging infectious
disease agents, such as ranaviruses and chytrid fungi,
are potential threats.
Protection, Status, and Ranks
The Eastern Tiger Salamander, Carolinian
population, in Ontario is listed under the Species at
Risk Act (SARA) as Extirpated (it is listed as Tiger
Salamander, Ambystoma tigrinum, Great Lakes
population, as per the 2001 COSEWIC assessment).
Eastern Tiger Salamanders in Manitoba are not listed
under SARA.
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Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species, January 2015
Eastern Waterfan
propagules. The photosynthetic partner in this lichen
is a cyanobacterium. This species is one of only a few
leafy lichens that can grow at and below water level.
Photo: © David Richardson
Distribution
Scientific name
Peltigera hydrothyria
Taxon
Lichens
COSEWIC Status
Threatened
Canadian range
Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia
The Eastern Waterfan is endemic to eastern
North America. In the USA, this lichen occurs
at approximately 30 sites scattered throughout
Connecticut, Georgia, Maine, Massachusetts, New
Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode
Island, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia.
In Canada, the Eastern Waterfan is currently known
only from three provinces: Québec, New Brunswick
and Nova Scotia. There are thirteen sites comprising
ten occurrences and seven locations. A site is where
the lichen is actually found, and sites less than 1 km
apart comprise a single occurrence. A location is a
geographically or ecologically distinct area in which
a single threatening event can rapidly affect all the
individuals present at an occurrence. There is one
occurrence of the Eastern Waterfan in Québec, three in
New Brunswick and six in Nova Scotia. The Canadian
population of the Eastern Waterfan represents
approximately one-quarter of the known world total.
There are no historical occurrences from Ontario,
Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland and Labrador.
Reason for designation
This rare lichen is endemic to Eastern North
America. In Canada, it is known only from New
Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Quebec. It grows
at or below water level in cool, clear, partially
shaded streams. It is threatened in the short term
by disturbance from activities which cause stream
siltation, alteration of microclimate and declines in
water quality. In the longer term, changes in weather
patterns that alter water levels and flow in its preferred
habitat are another threat.
Wildlife Species Description
and Significance
The Eastern Waterfan, Peltigera hydrothyria, is a
leafy lichen having veins on the under surface that
are distributed in a fan-shaped manner. The lichen
is fixed to rocks by spongy tufts of fibres. The redbrown fruit bodies are borne on the margin of the
lichen. The sacs within the fruit bodies shoot out
elliptical spores. There are no specialized vegetative
28
Distribution on the Western Waterfan in Canada. The
pale yellow circles mark the occurrences where the
lichen has been found, and the open circles show
where streams have been searched unsuccessfully.
Source: Modified from COSEWIC. 2013. COSEWIC assessment and status report on
the Eastern Waterfan in Canada.
The text information for each species is taken directly from the COSEWIC executive summaries.
Habitat
Population Sizes and Trends
In eastern North America, the Eastern Waterfan
grows attached to rocks at or below water level in
clear, cool, partially shaded streams. Small waterfalls,
exposed boulders and sinuous stream configurations
create quiet or protected backwaters where the lichen
grows outside the main current. In summer, this lichen
is often partially or completely exposed during low
water flow periods. The elevation of streams in which
the Eastern Waterfan is found varies from 10 m to
720 m a.s.l. Stream quality, including a suitable pH,
water temperature, and absence of silt, appears to
be very important. Partial shade may be needed to
help keep humidity high and temperatures low during
summer months. Stream water temperature appears
to be very important. Studies on the related Western
Waterfan show that if the temperature reaches 18°C,
photosynthetic rates decline and thallus weight loss
occurs after only 30 days. Nitrate levels at or above
5 mM lead to a similar decline.
The abundance of the Eastern Waterfan at the ten
occurrences varies greatly, from 12 to 484 mature
individuals (colonies).The total enumerated population
of the Eastern Waterfan is 1,282 mature individuals. In
some streams, one or a small number of individuals
(colonies) were found, while in other streams almost
every rock in up to 5 m stretches were colonized. In
such areas, 100 or more colonies occurred and were
a problem to count accurately as it was difficult to
determine where one individual ends and the next
begins.
Biology
The Eastern Waterfan produces no specialized
vegetative propagules but it is likely that small pieces
of lichen break off and become attached downstream
to provide a means for dispersal. The only other way
the lichen can reproduce is via the discharge of fungal
spores from the apothecia but success depends
upon the presence of a suitable cyanobacterium
for resynthesis of the lichen. The fruit bodies of the
lichen eject their spores into the air. Upon landing on
a rock surface in or on the banks of a stream, these
germinate and grow towards nearby cyanobacteria. If
the latter are compatible, they become enveloped by
the fungal strands and eventually grow into a visible
lichen. The generation time for lichens varies from
ten years in rapidly colonizing lichens to more than
17 years for old-growth forest species.
The Eastern Waterfan is a member of a group
of lichens known as cyanolichens in which
cyanobacteria provide carbohydrates through
photosynthesis to the fungal partner as well as
nitrogen since they are able to fix atmospheric
nitrogen. The cyanobacterium in the Eastern Waterfan
is reported to be Capsosira lowei.
Further surveys may reveal a few more occurrences
for this lichen, but it is likely that the total population
of the Eastern Waterfan in Canada will not exceed
2,000 colonies, taking into account the many streams
where this species was searched for but not found.
There are no historical records of the Eastern
Waterfan in Maritime Canada before 1978. Those
found since were only re-visited in 2011 so there is
insufficient documented evidence to assess trends or
fluctuations in the population.
Threats and Limiting Factors
Activities that alter the watercourses, water quality
and protective vegetation surrounding habitats
all have the potential to affect Eastern Waterfan
locations. Cool water appears to be crucial to the
Eastern Waterfan’s ability to thrive. Removal of trees
growing near stream banks exposes the Eastern
Waterfan to increased sun, raised air temperatures,
reduced humidity and increased erosion and runoff.
Increased wind and light exposure in harvested
areas can reduce water levels on and around rocks
where the Eastern Waterfan occurs so that during
months with low water levels, the lichen may be
exposed and become dry beyond its tolerance
limits. Forestry activities in Colchester County,
Nova Scotia, may currently affect five of the seven
locations of this lichen and over 30% of the total
enumerated mature individuals in Canada. The need
to supply 500,000 tons of wood annually for the
new 60-megawatt biomass electricity co-generating
station in Nova Scotia will mean greater forestry
activity and habitat disturbance. Currently, forest
harvesters in Nova Scotia are only required to leave a
20 m buffer on each side of streams; it is 30 m in New
Brunswick.
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Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species, January 2015
The further expansion of wind farms in Nova Scotia,
forestry activity, or mineral exploration also requires
access roads through undisturbed woodlands. These
may encroach on existing Eastern Waterfan habitats
and be a source of siltation, which has the potential
to affect several of the Eastern Waterfan sites. The
extraction of natural gas through hydrofracturing is
also known to alter groundwater patterns and water
quality. Two areas in Nova Scotia where the Eastern
Waterfan occurs are being considered for this activity.
The Eastern Waterfan grows only in semi-shaded
streams with little to no siltation. Repeated siltation
events caused by runoff from roadbeds or motorized
vehicle tracks can coat the lobe surfaces of the lichen,
affect photosynthesis and cover potential sites for
establishment on rock surfaces.
Air pollution can affect lichens. Acid rain, currently
less serious in the Maritimes than in former decades,
may eventually result in the buffering capacity of the
watersheds or substrata being exceeded. This may
lead to the water becoming more acidic and this could
prevent cyanolichens like the Eastern Waterfan from
thriving.
Climate change in the medium term is a serious
threat to most of the Eastern Waterfan locations.
Recent models suggest that the amount of summer
precipitation in Nova Scotia is not expected to
change much, but there will be more droughts due to
increased evaporation as a result of higher summer
temperatures. Droughts reduce water flow and stream
depth, which can lead to desiccation and death of
the Eastern Waterfan. In winter the climate models
suggest there will be more precipitation of which
a higher proportion will fall as rain. The increased
water flow is likely to enhance scouring and remove
the Eastern Waterfan from rocks on the margins and
bottoms of streams.
30
Protection, Status, and Ranks
In Canada, the Eastern Waterfan is ranked
by NatureServe as SNR (unranked at a national
or subnational conservation level: status not yet
assessed). The General Status of Species in Canada
lists it as May Be at Risk in Québec and also for Nova
Scotia, and as Undetermined for New Brunswick.
NatureServe lists the Waterfan as N2 (imperiled) for
Canada as of 09 Sept 2011.
In New Brunswick, two of the three occurrences
for the Eastern Waterfan are currently protected by
being in Fundy National Park. At the other occurrence,
there is no protection as the streams flow through
Crown and private land. Two of the six occurrences in
Nova Scotia are protected: one is in Cape Chignecto
Provincial Park and the second is on Crown land near
the Pollett’s Cove-Aspy Bay Wilderness Area. The
Québec occurrence is now protected via a biodiversity
conservation project called Réserve de biodiversité
projetée de la Forêt-Montmorency.
In the USA, the Eastern Waterfan is ranked as
S1 (critically endangered) in Virginia, and
S3 (vulnerable) in North Carolina. It has not yet been
ranked in Connecticut, Georgia, Maine,
Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania,
Rhode Island, Tennessee, or Vermont.
The text information for each species is taken directly from the COSEWIC executive summaries.
Grasshopper Sparrow
pratensis subspecies
faintly marked flanks, whitish below and mottled
with rust above. Its summer diet is largely composed
of grasshoppers and so the Eastern Grasshopper
Sparrow is considered beneficial for agriculture.
Photo: © Jacques Bouvier
Distribution
In Canada, the breeding range of the Eastern
Grasshopper Sparrow includes extreme southern
Québec and southern Ontario, with the vast majority
of birds occurring in Ontario. In the United States,
it breeds in all states east of the Midwestern states
to the East coast and south to Georgia and Texas.
The Eastern Grasshopper Sparrow winters in the
southeastern United States, but also in the Caribbean
and Central America.
Scientific name
Ammodramus savannarum pratensis
Taxon
Birds
COSEWIC Status
Special Concern
Canadian range
Ontario, Quebec
Reason for designation
In Canada, this grassland bird is restricted to
southern Ontario and southwestern Quebec. This
subspecies has experienced persistent, long-term
declines. It faces several ongoing threats including
habitat loss, as pastures and hayfields are converted
to row crops, habitat fragmentation, which increases
predation rates, and mowing activities that
destroy nests.
Wildlife Species Description
and Significance
The Grasshopper Sparrow pratensis subspecies
(hereafter Eastern Grasshopper Sparrow) is a small
dull-coloured song bird of grassland habitats. It has
a short tail, flat head and conical beige bill. Adults
of both sexes have similar plumage, i.e. a plain
buff-coloured throat and breast, buff, unmarked or
Canadian range of the Grasshopper Sparrow. The
darkest area corresponds to the known breeding
range of the Eastern Grasshopper Sparrow (pratensis
subspecies), and the lighter area corresponds to the
breeding range of the Western Grasshopper Sparrow.
Source: COSEWIC. 2013. COSEWIC assessment and status report on the
Grasshopper Sparrow pratensis subspecies, in Canada.
Habitat
In Canada, the Eastern Grasshopper Sparrow
typically breeds in large human-created grasslands
(≥ 5 ha), such as pastures and hayfields, and natural
prairies, such as alvars, characterized by well-drained,
often poor soil dominated by relatively low, sparse
perennial herbaceous vegetation. The habitat used
by the Grasshopper Sparrow in its wintering range is
generally similar to that used in the breeding range.
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Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species, January 2015
Biology
Threats and Limiting Factors
The Eastern Grasshopper Sparrow is monogamous
and generally exhibits breeding site fidelity. Males
arrive on the breeding grounds in early May, and pair
formation occurs immediately after females arrive,
which is shortly after the males. Clutch size ranges
from 4 to 5 eggs. Two broods can be produced per
year. Nestlings are reared and fed in the nest by both
adults for approximately 8 to 9 days. Post-fledging
care lasts between 4 and 19 days. Age at first
breeding is estimated at 1 year.
The main causes of Eastern Grasshopper Sparrow
declines are: 1) habitat loss caused by the conversion
of forage crops and pastures to intensive crop
production, 2) habitat fragmentation, which can
result in high predation rates and 3) more frequent
and earlier hay mowing activities during the breeding
season causing nest failure.
Population Sizes and Trends
In Canada, the Eastern Grasshopper Sparrow
population is estimated at roughly 25,000 breeding
pairs, distributed primarily in the Lake Simcoe-Rideau
region of Ontario.
Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) trend analyses from
Ontario, where the species is detected on enough
routes for analyses, show a significant long-term
(1970-2011) decline of 1.5% (CI: -2.98, -0.058) per
year and a non-significant short-term (2001–2011)
decline of 1.39% (-3.87, 1.16) per year, which
amounts to population losses of 46% over 41 years
and 13% over 10 years, respectively. According to the
Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas, the Eastern Grasshopper
Sparrow showed a non-significant decline of 17% in
the probability of detection over the 20 years between
atlases. This amounts to a 9% decline over the last
10 years. In Québec, the SOS-POP database (Suivi de
l’occupation des stations de nidification des populations
d’oiseaux en péril du Québec) suggests a decline of
36% (14/39 of known sites) in the number of sites
occupied by the subspecies between 1989–1998 and
1999-2008. In Québec, the average of the maximum
number of individuals observed per site has also
declined by over half between the periods 1989–
1998 and 1999-2008.
32
Protection, Status and Ranks
In Canada, the Eastern Grasshopper Sparrow, its
nest and its eggs are protected under the Migratory
Birds Convention Act, 1994. In Québec, the
Grasshopper Sparrow is protected under Loi sur la
conservation et la mise en valeur de la faune (the Act
Respecting the Conservation and Development of
Wildlife) and the Loi sur la qualité de l’environnement
(the Act for the Quality of the Environment) and it
appears on the list of species likely to be designated
threatened or vulnerable according to the Québec Loi
sur les espèces menacées ou vulnérables (the Act
Respecting Vulnerable and Threatened Species).
NatureServe ranks the Eastern Grasshopper Sparrow
as apparently secure (S4) in Ontario and imperiled
(S2B) in Québec.
The text information for each species is taken directly from the COSEWIC executive summaries.
Gypsy Cuckoo Bumble Bee
Photo: © Rehanon Pampell
Reason for designation
Scientific name
Bombus bohemicus
Taxon
Arthropods
COSEWIC Status
Endangered
Canadian range
Yukon, Northwest Territories, British Columbia,
Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec,
New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia,
Newfoundland and Labrador
This large and distinctive bee is a nest parasite
of other bumble bees. It had an extensive range in
Canada and has been recorded from all provinces
and territories except Nunavut. Although not known to
be abundant, there has been a large observed decline
in relative abundance in the past 20-30 years in areas
of Canada where the species was once common,
with the most recent records coming from Nova
Scotia (2002), Ontario (2008) and Quebec (2008).
Significant search effort throughout Canada in recent
years has failed to detect this species, even where
its hosts are still relatively abundant. Primary threats
include decline of hosts (Rusty-patched Bumble Bee,
Yellow-banded Bumble Bee, and Western Bumble
Bee), pesticide use (particularly neonicotinoids), and
the escape of non-native, pathogen-infected bumble
bees from commercial greenhouses.
Wildlife Species Description
and Significance
Gypsy Cuckoo Bumble Bee (Bombus bohemicus) is
one of six cuckoo bumble bees (subgenus Psithyrus)
occurring in North America. Both sexes are mediumsized (12–18 mm length), with a white-tipped
abdomen and similar colour pattern. Gypsy Cuckoo
Bumble Bee is an obligate social parasite of bumble
bees of the subgenus Bombus in North America,
including the Rusty-patched Bumble Bee (B. affinis)
(assessed Endangered by COSEWIC), Yellow-banded
Bumble Bee (B. terricola) and Western Bumble Bee
(B. occidentalis) (both currently being assessed by
COSEWIC). Cryptic Bumble Bee (B. cryptarum)
may also serve as a host. Due to recent analysis of
DNA barcode and morphological data, the formerly
recognized species Bombus ashtoni was found to be
conspecific with the widespread Old World species
Bombus bohemicus.
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Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species, January 2015
Distribution
Biology
Gypsy Cuckoo Bumble Bee is a holarctic species,
occurring throughout most of Europe (except Iceland)
and extreme southwestern Europe and parts of north
and central Asia. In Canada, Gypsy Cuckoo Bumble
Bee has been recorded in every province and territory
except Nunavut. Canadian records are from 1883 to
2008, the most recent records being from Pinery
Provincial Park in Ontario (2008) and Parc national des
Monts-Valin in Quebec (2008). Since 1991, the
species has only been recorded from three provinces:
Ontario (67 specimens), Quebec (39 specimens) and
Nova Scotia (18 specimens). Despite high search
effort in recent years (2001–2013), only 42 specimens
of Gypsy Cuckoo Bumble Bee have been recorded.
The species distribution is partially determined by the
distribution and abundance of its host bumble bee
species.
Gypsy Cuckoo Bumble Bee is a social parasite,
and does not have the typical eusocial colony cycle of
other bumble bees, and therefore does not produce
workers. Mated females emerge in the spring and look
for potential host nests. The female kills or subdues
the host queen and lays eggs that the host colony
workers tend. In the late summer and autumn, females
and males emerge from the host nest and leave to
mate with conspecifics. Mated females then select an
overwintering site. Like other bumble bees, the males
and the egg-laying female of that generation die at the
onset of cold weather.
Population Sizes and Trends
Recent surveys at historically occupied sites have
recorded no specimens. Historical abundance data
on Gypsy Cuckoo Bumble Bee are available for only
a fraction of the species Canadian range (mainly
southern Ontario and Manitoba). The species has not
been recorded at many sites surveyed within the last
four decades, even where its hosts remain present.
Threats and Limiting Factors
Gypsy Cuckoo Bumble Bee records in Canada and
recent search effort (2000-2012) that shows collection
records for all Bombus specimens.
Source: COSEWIC. 2014. COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Gypsy
Cuckoo Bumble Bee in Canada.
Habitat
Gypsy Cuckoo Bumble Bee occurs in diverse
habitats, including open meadows, mixed farmlands,
urban areas, boreal forest and montane meadows.
The species feeds on pollen and nectar from a variety
of plant genera. Gypsy Cuckoo Bumble Bee emerges
slightly later than host queens, and parasitizes host
nests in the spring. Host nests occur in abandoned
underground rodent burrows and rotten logs.
34
The most likely threat to Gypsy Cuckoo Bumble
Bee is the decline of two of the host species,
especially Rusty-patched Bumble Bee in eastern
Canada and Western Bumble Bee in western Canada.
The third host, Yellow-banded Bumble Bee, is more
widespread although may also be declining in parts of
its range. At regional scales, pesticide use, pathogen
spillover and habitat loss are probable threats.
Protection, Status, and Ranks
Gypsy Cuckoo Bumble Bee is not protected in
Canada by any federal or provincial laws. The Canada
General Status Rank is undetermined overall in
Canada but ‘may be at risk’ in Ontario, Quebec, Nova
Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland. The global
conservation status rank is possibly extinct (GH).
Given this expansive range of Gypsy Cuckoo
Bumble Bee across Canada, many suitable areas of
habitat are within protected areas.
The text information for each species is taken directly from the COSEWIC executive summaries.
Hare-footed Locoweed
medicinal properties and they were used by First
Nation peoples to treat several ailments.
Photo: © Cheryl Bradley
Distribution
There are three varieties of Oxytropis lagopus:
atropurpurea, conjugans and lagopus. Variety
conjugans is restricted to the prairies in southern
Alberta and western Montana. The other two
varieties occur in Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho,
USA. In Canada, Hare-footed Locoweed is known
from 11 subpopulations in an area of approximately
229 km2 on the uplands of the Milk River Ridge and
Del Bonita Plateau in southern Alberta. The number of
subpopulations in Montana is unknown. The nearest
US subpopulation is approximately 48 km south of
the Canadian-USA in Glacier County, Montana.
Scientific name
Oxytropis lagopus
Taxon
Vascular plants
COSEWIC status
Threatened
Canadian range
Alberta
Reason for designation
This member of the pea family occurs in highly
restricted habitat within a small area of rough fescue
prairie on gravelly soils in southern Alberta and
western Montana. Alberta occurrences represent a
large portion of the world population. The plants face
numerous threats including competition with invasive
alien plant species, mining and quarrying, cultivation,
oil and gas drilling, road development, and intensive
livestock grazing, all of which have not been mitigated
and are contributing to continuing habitat loss and
degradation.
Wildlife Species Description
and Significance
Hare-footed Locoweed (Oxytropis lagopus var.
conjugans) is a member of the Fabaceae (pea family).
It is a perennial forb, having a stout taproot crowned
by leaves and large, purple, attractive flowers.
Despite its attractiveness it has little interest for
the horticultural trade. Plants can be poisonous to
livestock, especially horses. Parts of the plant have
Global distribution of the three varieties of Oxytropis
lagopus.
Source: COSEWIC. 2014. COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Hare-footed
Locoweed in Canada.
35
Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species, January 2015
Habitat
Protection, Status, and Ranks
In Canada, Hare-footed Locoweed grows within
the Foothills Fescue and Mixedgrass Subregions
south of Lethbridge. Plants grow on thin gravelly
soils in open grassland at elevations between
1,189 and 1,995 m (3,900 to 6,545 feet) in Alberta.
Native rough fescue grassland communities, in which
it occurs, are themselves becoming rarer and are
considered a high priority for conservation efforts.
A notable characteristic of the habitat descriptions
is the almost continuous cover of microbiotic crust
(primarily lichens) and Dense Spikemoss. There is
also indication that a calcium carbonate (limestone)
component to substrate materials may be important.
Hare-footed Locoweed has no legal protection
in Alberta or the USA. The taxon was last assessed
by COSEWIC in April 1995 when it was designated
a species of Special Concern, and it is currently on
Schedule 3 under the Species at Risk Act (SARA).
The NatureServe Conservation Rank in Canada is
Critically Imperilled (N1) and in Alberta is also Critically
Imperilled (S1).
Biology
Hare-footed Locoweed blooms in late April to early
June. The flowers are insect-pollinated. The plants
take advantage of spring moisture and pods mature
early in the year. Seed predation by insects may be
heavy in some years and annual seed production is
likely to fluctuate between years and localities. Seed
is dispersed primarily by gravity. Wind and rodents
may also contribute to seed dispersal. The longevity
of the seed in the soil and the state of the seed bank
is unknown.
Population Sizes and Trends
Hare-footed Locoweed occurrences are
fragmented and sites that comprise one to several
dozen plants may be separated by several kilometres.
One subpopulation, south of Cardston has been
extirpated within the last 40 years. Currently there are
11 subpopulations, of which one subpopulation needs
to be confirmed to be extant.
Threats and Limiting Factors
Gravel extraction, energy (oil and gas)
development, cultivation, off-road vehicles, road
building and intensive livestock grazing have,
and potentially may, contribute to habitat loss
and modification. Recent observations have also
concluded that the invasive species Crested Wheat
Grass is adversely influencing the numbers of plants
in at least five occurrences. These plants are likely
direct competitors for nutrients, water and light and
may contribute to habitat modification.
36
In Alberta, three subpopulations are on private land
(includes the extirpated site), four subpopulations are
divided between private and public land, three are on
Land Trust property, one is in a provincial protected
area (Ross Grassland Natural Area North) and one is
divided between the provincial protected area (Ross
Grassland Natural Area), land trust properties and
private land.
The variety conjugans is listed by NatureServe as
Vulnerable (S3) in Montana, N3 in the USA, and
G4G5T3 globally. The full species Oxytropis lagopus
has not yet been assessed for the most current IUCN
Red List.
The text information for each species is taken directly from the COSEWIC executive summaries.
Little Brown Myotis, Northern Myotis
and Tri-colored Bat
introduced pathogen. This disease was first detected
in Canada in 2010, and to date has caused a 94%
overall decline in known numbers of hibernating
Myotis bats in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario,
and Quebec. The current range of White-nose
Syndrome has been expanding at an average rate of
200-250 kilometres per year. At that rate, the entire
Photo: © Brock Fenton
Photo: © Merlin Tuttle, Bat Conservation International
Note that these three bat species were added to
SARA Schedule 1, as announced on December 17,
2014. Details on the SARA listing for the three bat
species are available at http://www.registrelepsararegistry.gc.ca/default.asp?lang=En&n=
073DC653-1.
Little Brown Myotis
Little Brown Myotis in flight
Scientific name
Myotis lucifugus (Little Brown Myotis)
Myotis septentrionalis (Northern Myotis)
Perimyotis subflavus (Tri-colored Bat)
Taxon
Mammals
COSEWIC Status
Endangered
Canadian ranges
Little Brown Myotis and Northern Myotis: Yukon,
Northwest Territories, British Columbia, Alberta,
Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New
Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia,
Newfoundland and Labrador
Tri-colored Bat: Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick,
Nova Scotia
Reason for designation:
Little Brown Myotis:
Approximately 50% of the global range of this
small bat is found in Canada. Subpopulations in the
eastern part of the range have been devastated by
White-nose Syndrome, a fungal disease caused by an
Approximate distribution of the Little Brown Myotis
(Myotis lucifugus) and White-nose Syndrome, as
of August 2013. Some records in NT and Nunavut
(indicated with ‘?’) are probable but unconfirmed, or
may be extralimital.
Source: COSEWIC. 2013. COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Little Brown
Myotis, Northern Myotis and Tri-colored Bat in Canada.
37
Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species, January 2015
Canadian population is likely to be affected within
12 to 18 years. There is no apparent containment of
the northward or westward spread of the pathogen,
and proper growing conditions for it exist throughout
the remaining range.
Northern Myotis:
Approximately 40% of the global range of this
northern bat is in Canada. Subpopulations in the
eastern part of the range have been devastated by
White-nose Syndrome, a fungal disease caused
by an introduced pathogen. This disease was first
detected in Canada in 2010 and to date has caused a
94% overall decline in numbers of known hibernating
Myotis bats in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario,
and Quebec hibernacula compared with earlier counts
before the disease struck. Models in the northeastern
United States for Little Brown Myotis predict a 99%
probability of functional extirpation by 2026. Given
similar life history characteristics, these results are
likely applicable to this species. In addition to its
tendency to occur in relatively low abundance levels
in hibernacula, there is some indication this species is
experiencing greater declines than other species since
the onset of White-nose Syndrome. The current range
of White-nose Syndrome overlaps with approximately
one third of this species’ range and is expanding at
an average rate of 200 to 250 kilometres per year. At
Approximate distribution of the Northern Myotis (Myotis
septentrionalis) and White-nose Syndrome, as of
August 2013 Source: COSEWIC. 2013. COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Little Brown
Myotis, Northern Myotis and Tri-colored Bat in Canada.
Photo: © Merlin Tuttle, Bat Conservation International
that rate, the entire Canadian population will likely be
affected within 12 to18 years. There is no apparent
containment of the northward or westward spread of
the pathogen, and proper growing conditions for it
exist throughout the remaining range.
Northern Myotis
38
The text information for each species is taken directly from the COSEWIC executive summaries.
Tri-colored Bat:
This bat is one of the smallest bats in eastern
North America. Approximately 10% of its global
range is in Canada, and it is considered rare in much
of its Canadian range. Declines of more than 75%
have occurred in the known hibernating populations
in Quebec and New Brunswick due to White-nose
Syndrome. This fungal disease, caused by an invasive
pathogen, was first detected in Canada in 2010, and
has caused similar declines in Little Brown Myotis
and Northern Myotis in eastern Canada and the
northeastern United States. Most of the Canadian range
of the species overlaps with the current White-nose
Syndrome range, and further declines are expected as
more hibernacula continue to become infected.
Photo: © Brock Fenton
Approximate distribution of the Tri-colored Bat
(Perimyotis subflavus) and White-nose Syndrome, as
of August 2013. Question marks indicate areas where
status of the species is uncertain.
Source: COSEWIC. 2013. COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Little Brown
Myotis, Northern Myotis and Tri-colored Bat in Canada.
Tri-colored Bat
39
Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species, January 2015
Status history (All three species)
Designated Endangered in an emergency
assessment on February 3, 2012. Status re-examined
and confirmed in November 2013.
Wildlife Species Description
and Significance
All three bat species are small (average 7.4 g),
brown-pelaged, insectivorous species of the Family
Vespertilionidae. Little Brown Myotis (Myotis lucifugus)
likely is the most common bat species in Canada
and the most familiar of the three species to the
public because they often use buildings as dayroosts and forage in areas where they are visible
(e.g., over lakes, aound streetlights, etc.). Northern
Myotis (M. septentrionalis) are common in forests
and Tri-colored Bat (Perimyotis subflavus) is found
in variety of habitats, but is rarer than the other two.
Public concern over zoonotic diseases (i.e., rabies,
histoplasmosis), noise, and hygiene has resulted in
periodic extermination of maternity colonies and/
or elimination of their roosts. Bats are predators
of insects, some of which are considered pests in
the agriculture and forestry sectors, and provide an
important ecological service in this regard.
Distribution
In Canada, Myotis lucifugus and M. septentrionalis
occur from Newfoundland to British Columbia, and
northward to near the treeline in Labrador, Northwest
Territories (NT) and the Yukon. Perimyotis subflavus
occurs in Nova Scotia (NS), New Brunswick (NB),
Quebec, and Ontario. All three species occur in much
of the eastern half of the United States (US), and
M. lucifugus extends to the US west coast, including
Alaska.
Habitat
All three species overwinter in cold and humid
hibernacula (caves/mines). Their specific physiological
requirements limit the number of suitable sites
for overwintering. In the east, large numbers (i.e.,
> 3000 bats) of several species typically overwinter
in relatively few hibernacula. In the west, there are
fewer known hibernacula, and numbers appear
lower per site. Females establish summer maternity
colonies, often in buildings (mainly Myotis lucifugus),
40
or large-diameter trees. Foraging occurs over water
(mainly M. lucifugus, P. subflavus), along waterways,
forest edges, and in gaps in the forest (mainly
M. septentrionalis). Large open fields or clearcuts
generally are avoided. In autumn, bats return to
hibernacula, which may be hundreds of kilometres
from their summering areas, swarm near the entrance,
mate, and then enter that hibernaculum, or travel to
different hibernacula to overwinter.
Biology
Breeding is promiscuous. Females produce one
pup (potentially two in Perimyotis subflavus) after
one year of age. Maximum recorded longevity is
15 years (P. subflavus) to > 30 years (Myotis lucifugus).
Survivorship is low in year one, then highly variable
(e.g., 0.6-0.9) afterwards. Generation time is estimated
as 5-10 years for M. lucifugus and M. septentrionalis,
and 5-7 years for P. subflavus. Finite population
growth rate is slow, with a range of 0.98-1.2.
Population Sizes and Trends
Population sizes are unknown but were likely over
a million for each of the Myotis species prior to the
2010 arrival in Canada of White-nose Syndrome
(WNS), a disease caused by a cold-loving fungus
Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd), likely originating
in Europe. M. lucifugus and M. septentrionalis were
considered to be common in much of their range
in eastern Canada and northeastern US, and
are still common in Canada outside the range of
WNS. Perimyotis subflavus was considered rare to
uncommon in parts of Canada. Approximately 95%
of the hibernating Myotis bats that have been counted
occur in the range from Nova Scotia to Manitoba,
with relatively few bats having been recorded west
of Manitoba. However, the number in the north
and west is considered an underestimate and the
proportion of the populations of the two Myotis that
has been affected by WNS since its arrival in Canada
is unknown. During 2006-2012, an estimated 5.7–
6.7 million bats in eastern North America died due
to WNS. M. lucifugus is predicted to be functionally
extirpated (i.e., < 1% of former population) by 2026 in
northeastern US. The same prediction likely applies to
M. septentrionalis because of similar life history traits.
P. subflavus populations have declined in the US by
approximately 75%.
The text information for each species is taken directly from the COSEWIC executive summaries.
WNS has been recorded in Ontario, Quebec, NB,
NS, and Prince Edward Island (PEI). Most population
trend data are derived from counts in some of the
few, known hibernacula. Data on Myotis lucifugus
and M. septentrionalis often are combined but
percent change is assumed to be equal between
species. Declines recorded at hibernacula having
pre- and post-WNS data have been catastrophic:
93% (Ontario); 99% (NB), 93% (NS) for Myotis
combined, and 98% for M. lucifugus and 99.8% for
M. septentrionalis in Quebec. The total decline in
Myotis bats known to be present in NS, NB, Ontario,
and Quebec hibernacula from the time of WNS
arrival to most recent data for the same sites is 94%
(86,952 to 5,225). Relatively few Perimyotis subflavus
occur in Canada and it is difficult to determine
trends; declines of 94% and 75% were recorded in
caves in Quebec and NB, respectively. Trend data on
bats in summer are limited but are similar to winter
data, suggesting winter hibernacula data likely are
an accurate reflection of declines in the population.
Extent of occurrence has not declined, and may not
in the future if very low numbers persist across the
species’ ranges. Major population declines have not
been reported outside WNS range.
WNS was first recorded in Canada in spring 2010,
and has spread in all directions from the epicentre
in northern New York at a rate of 200-250 km/yr.
There is uncertainty about the rate of spread to the
western range of the two Myotis species. The amount
of east-west bat movements, and the wintering
ecology and hibernacula conditions that may affect
the ecology of the disease in western and northern
Canada, are largely unknown. However, predictions
that WNS will spread throughout the range of both
species rest upon: 1) no evidence of containment to
date; 2) evidence that abiotic conditions in western
hibernacula are conducive to Pd growth; and 3)
evidence that hibernacula with lower bat densities
are still susceptible to WNS. Model predictions and
present rate of spread suggest that WNS will reach
the western edge of M. lucifugus range in 12-18 yrs,
and western edge of M. septentrionalis in 12-15 yrs,
or within three generations, which is 15-30 yrs.
There are also concerns WNS may move more
quickly to western Canada if transmitted via human
clothing from infected caves. The Canadian range of
P. subflavus already is contained within WNS range.
Rescue effect is not likely because mortality is high
in adjacent areas of the US and any future immigrants
likely will be vulnerable to Pd. A few sites near the
epicentre have possibly stabilized at approximately
1,000 bats for several years (albeit following > 90%
decline), but it is unknown if these numbers indicate
survival, or movement between hibernacula. There
is the hope that some individuals have genetically
based resistance to WNS and they will survive and
reproduce resistant offspring. However, the slow
population growth rate of all three species means
populations would take many generations to recover.
Threats and Limiting Factors
Other threats besides WNS include colony
eradication, chemical contamination, change in
forest structure, and wind turbines. Although cases
of colony eradication have been documented (mainly
chemical or physical destruction of maternity colonies
of Myotis lucifugus in buildings), the overall number of
colonies exterminated, or impacts on the larger-scale
population is unknown. The extent of disturbance
by people on hibernating bats and the impacts of
chemical contamination on bats, or insecticide on
prey availability, are unknown. To date, the impact
of wind turbines is highly variable among sites, but
generally they have been less of a mortality factor
on the three species than on other bat species that
conduct long-distance migration. There is potential
concern for M. lucifugus in some regions of Canada
where higher mortality has been recorded.
Protection, Status, and Ranks
Regulations protecting bats vary across their range;
removal of maternity colonies is permitted but some
hibernacula are closed to the public. Ontario listed
M. lucifugus and M. septentrionalis as Endangered,
due to WNS, in autumn 2012. Both NB and NS listed
all three species as Endangered in summer 2013.
NatureServe ranks for Perimyotis subflavus are
Global; G3 (vulnerable), National; N2N3, and
S1 (critically imperilled) to S3 at the sub-national level.
Myotis lucifugus (G3; N3) and M. septentrionalis
(G1G3; N2N3) are ranked sub-nationally as apparently
secure-secure (S4-S5) over much of their range,
although jurisdictions within the area affected by
WNS changed status to vulnerable or endangered
in the last year, or are conducting a review because
of WNS.
41
Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species, January 2015
Mormon Metalmark
(Prairie population)
The central forewings are orange on both dorsal and
ventral surfaces. The larvae are up to 25 mm long,
dark purple with yellow spots, and clumps of black
bristles.
Photo: © Shelley Pruss
Distribution
Scientific name
Apodemia mormo
The Canadian range is represented by two disjunct
populations. The Southern Mountain Population is
restricted to south-central British Columbia (BC) and
the Prairie Population restricted to southwestern
Saskatchewan (SK) (Prairie Population). In BC, the
butterfly occurs in the Similkameen Valley from the
international border to Olalla and west to Keremeos.
It is also known from one extant site in the south
Okanagan Valley near Osoyoos and historically as
far north as Okanagan Falls. Within this range it
occupies an area of less than 50 ha in small, scattered
sites at low elevation (450-680 m above sea level).
In SK, Mormon Metalmark is found in the East and
West Blocks of Grasslands National Park, and a few
adjacent private properties and community pastures.
Taxon
Arthropods
COSEWIC status
Special Concern (Prairie population)
Canadian range
Saskatchewan (Prairie population)
Reason for designation
This butterfly occurs in the remote badlands and
grassland habitats of Grasslands National Park and
adjacent community pastures. Because of extensive
surveys in the last decade, the known population of
this butterfly is now large enough that it no longer
meets the criteria for Threatened. There are few direct
threats to the butterfly, although the slow spread of
non-native plants that may compete with host plants
and overgrazing in areas outside of the park are of
concern and may impact habitat quality.
Wildlife Species Description
and Significance
Mormon Metalmark, Apodemia mormo (Family
Riodinidae) is a small butterfly (wingspan 25 to
32 mm) that is dorsally dark brown and ventrally
grey, with white spots and black marks on the wings.
42
Distribution of the Mormon Metalmark, Prairie
population, in Canada.
Source: COSEWIC. 2014. COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Mormon
Metalmark in Canada.
The text information for each species is taken directly from the COSEWIC executive summaries.
Habitat
Biology
Mormon Metalmarks are associated with open,
arid habitats that support the larval host plants,
buckwheats. The Southern Mountain Population
is primarily found on eroding sandy-gravelly and
rocky slopes with Snow Buckwheat. These include
natural hillsides and human-modified habitats such
as roads and transmission rights-of-way, railway
embankments, and gravel pits. The Prairie Population
is typically associated with Few-flowered Buckwheat
and Rubber Rabbitbrush, the larval host plant and
main adult nectaring source respectively. They can be
found on eroding, clay slopes in the prairie badlands,
as well as more level terrain.
In Canada, Mormon Metalmarks have one
generation per year. Eggs or early instar larvae
overwinter in the soil or at the base of their larval
host plants. The species has five larval instars and
pupates for several weeks in July, within debris near
the base of host plants. The adult flight period is from
late July until late September with a peak in mid- to
late August. Individual adults live about 10 days and
primarily nectar on Stinking Rabbitbrush and the larval
host plant. The maximum dispersal in the Southern
Mountain Population is estimated as 4 km but for
most individuals is probably less (< 100 m).
Photo: © Shelley Pruss
Population Sizes and Trends
Mormon Metalmark caterpillar
Population sizes and trends are poorly known for
both the Southern Mountain and Prairie populations.
Survey effort in both DUs in the last decade has
resulted in new sites. Sites resurveyed show
abundance varies yearly. The population size of the
Southern Mountain DU is estimated to be at least
2000 individuals in 2006 compared to less than
100 in 2002. At least one historic site has been lost
in the Okanagan Valley and yet one additional site
(Spotted Lake) was added. The Prairie Population
is currently small (estimated 1800–3500 at seven
sites, but there are many more sites) but larger than
the 1000 individuals estimated in 2002. This can be
inferred from the additional 126 sites recorded since
2002, bringing the total to 132 known occupied sites.
Habitat mapping in SK grouped known sites into
111 habitat polygons using a 222 m radius around the
outermost occurrence within a grouping.
43
Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species, January 2015
Threats and Limiting Factors
Protection, Status, and Ranks
The primary threat to the Southern Mountain
Population is habitat degradation and loss, which has
resulted in the loss of at least one site within the past
decade. Right-of-way maintenance disrupts roadside
sites in the Similkameen Valley, and gravel extraction
could affect the largest known site in Keremeos.
Conversely, minor disturbance may benefit host plants
by maintaining the early successional habitat required
for these plants.
Under the federal Species at Risk Act the Southern
Mountain Population is listed as Endangered and the
Prairie Population as Threatened. The subnational
conservation status rank in both BC and SK is
critically imperilled (S2); and the global conservation
status rank is secure (S5). The species is ranked as At
Risk (1) by the General Status program, both in
Canada and in BC, and as Sensitive (3) in SK. None of
the Southern Mountain Population sites are within
protected areas. Approximately 92% of Prairie
Population sites are within Grasslands National Park
and federal community pastures. Divesture of
community pastures by Agriculture Canada to the
province of SK will proceed in the next few years,
which will potentially affect Mormon Metalmark
populations if there is a change in land
use practices.
Most Prairie Population sites are protected
within Grasslands National Park and have no
primary threats. However, the divestment of federal
community pastures to the province of SK may result
in the sale of these lands to private individuals or
private business consortiums. Non-native weeds can
be significant competitors of host plants at some
sites, potentially reducing larval food supply.
The distribution of the larval host plants limits the
areas of potential habitat for Mormon Metalmark in
both the Southern Mountain and Prairie DUs, but
both buckwheat species occur in many areas where
the butterfly is currently absent. Both Canadian
populations are at the northern limits of the species’
range so microclimate and related site variables (e.g.,
slope, aspect) may be limiting factors.
44
The text information for each species is taken directly from the COSEWIC executive summaries.
Nahanni Aster
but some plants have 15 or more. The number of
flower heads appears to vary between sites and
may be determined by growing conditions. The
stems are green to reddish, often with fine woolly
hairs, especially towards the base. Each flower
head consists of a yellow disc, surrounded by 15 to
41 white to pale pink rays. Nahanni Aster is endemic
to Canada and found only in Nahanni National Park
Reserve. It may have evolved here when this part of
the Mackenzie Mountains remained unglaciated while
the surrounding region was still covered by ice until
about 11,000 years ago.
Photo: © Allan Harris
Distribution
Scientific name
Symphyotrichum nahanniense
Nahanni Aster is confined to six known sites in
the southern Mackenzie Mountains of the Northwest
Territories, within about 110 km of each other. The hot
springs are mostly arranged along two major faults.
The southeast – northwest trending Broken Skull Fault
follows the valley of the South Nahanni River and lies
beneath the Rabbitkettle Hotsprings. Another fault
extends down the valley of the Flat River.
Taxon
Vascular plants
COSEWIC Status
Special Concern
Canadian range
Northwest Territories
Reason for designation
The global population of this species is restricted
to hot springs in Nahanni National Park Reserve.
A very small range and population size make this
endemic species susceptible to losses through
natural alterations due to geothermal processes or to
landslide events that may become more frequent as
climate warms and permafrost melts.
Global range of Nahanni Aster. Dots represent the
approximate sites of Nahanni Aster populations.
Source: COSEWIC. 2014. COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Nahanni
Aster in Canada.
Wildlife Species Description
and Significance
Nahanni Aster is a perennial wildflower up to
35 cm tall with white to pale pink flower heads. It
typically grows in clumps of about two to ten stems
from short, woody rhizomes (horizontal underground
stems). The stems are branched to form an open
panicle typically with one to three flower heads,
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Habitat
Threats and Limiting Factors
Nahanni Aster is found at hot and warm spring
habitats with tufa (calcium carbonate deposits).
Nahanni Aster grows around the edge of the springs
and along the streams and seepage discharging from
the spring. It is rooted in moss, but also occurs in
broken old tufa and dense turf with various rushes
and sedges and is typically unshaded by trees or
shrubs.
Nahanni Aster habitat is protected from industrial
development and roads by its isolated habitat
and protected status in the Nahanni National Park
Reserve. Climate change is the most likely threat
to Nahanni Aster habitat. The climate in Nahanni
National Park Reserve is warming and rainfall patterns
are changing. Changes in groundwater discharge at
hot springs due to climate change and seismic activity
are potential threats. Its extremely limited range (six
occurrences covering less than 10 ha in total) make it
vulnerable to random environmental events.
Biology
Photo: © Allan Harris
Very little is known of the biology of Nahanni Aster.
It is a perennial species forming clumps of flowering
stems with multiple shoots. It reproduces both by
seed and asexually using short rhizomes. Flowering
occurs in August to September. Nahanni Aster occurs
exclusively at a limited number of springs in a small
geographic area, suggesting that it tolerates a narrow
range of habitat conditions. Dispersal presumably
occurs by wind-borne seeds, as is the case with other
aster species. Dispersal between springs is probably
limited by the scarcity of suitable habitat.
Population Sizes and Trends
Nahanni Aster population fluctuations and trends
are unknown due to the lack of consistent and
comprehensive surveys. Comparison of the 2012 data
with a 2003 survey shows no apparent change in the
distribution of plants or area occupied. Two additional
sites have been discovered since 2003. A minimum
of over 5600 flowering stems (mature individuals) was
counted in 2012. Given the scarcity of springs with
tufa, the species is highly unlikely to be much more
widespread or abundant than currently known.
46
Protection, Status, and Ranks
As all known localities of Nahanni Aster are within
the boundaries of Nahanni National Park Reserve,
Northwest Territories, the plant and its habitat are
afforded some degree of protection under the Canada
National Parks Act and Regulations. The species
receives no specific protection under federal or
territorial laws. It is ranked globally, nationally, and
territorially as Critically Imperilled (G1, N1, and S1) by
NatureServe and as “may be at risk” by the General
Status program, both in Canada and the Northwest
Territories.
The text information for each species is taken directly from the COSEWIC executive summaries.
Oregon Branded Skipper
Photo: © Jeremy Gatten
Wildlife Species Description
and Significance
Scientific name
Hesperia colorado oregonia
Taxon
Arthropods
COSEWIC Status
Endangered
Canadian range
British Columbia
Reason for designation
This species inhabits sparsely vegetated Garry
Oak and coastal sand spit ecosystems that have
undergone enormous historic losses. The populations
of this skipper have likely undergone similar declines
and only four of sixteen sites totalling less than
16 km2 remain extant. This habitat is fragmented and
disjunct. The greatest threats this skipper faces at
present, however, are the application of Btk pesticide,
used to control the invasive Gypsy Moth, and
vegetation succession in the open habitats.
The Oregon Branded Skipper (Hesperia colorado
oregonia) is a small butterfly-like insect (wingspan
25–37 mm) in the family Hesperiidae. The dorsal wing
surfaces are an overall reddish-orange with broad,
dark brown wing margins and orange angular spots.
The ventral wing surfaces are greenish grey with a rich
brown background to the hindwing. Sexes are similar.
Oregon Branded Skipper eggs are hemispherical
and dull, chalky white. Larvae (2–30 mm) have jet
black heads, a body that is pale beige or putty colour
(early moult) to brownish-purple (final moult). In the
last instar, larvae are reddish with black spiracles,
turning brownish-purple just prior to pupation.
Pupae have bluish-black wing cases, dull pink
abdominal segments and a double row of transverse
brownish dashes along the sides. Prior to pupation
the transverse abdominal markings become much
darker in colour.
The Oregon Branded Skipper occurs in dry Garry
Oak (scrub oak ecosystem type) and coastal sand spit
ecosystems, both of which are rare in southeastern
British Columbia (B.C.). Conservation organizations
use the skipper as an interpretive tool to represent the
importance of these ecosystems.
Distribution
The Oregon Branded Skipper is at the
northernmost extent of its global range on
southeastern Vancouver Island, ranging south
through the Puget Trough of southwest Washington
State, through west-central Oregon to Trinity County
in northern California. In B.C., the subspecies is
recorded from southeastern Vancouver Island, from
Victoria north to Shawnigan Lake and the Cowichan
Valley. There are 16 known Oregon Branded Skipper
sites on southeastern Vancouver Island, four of which
remain extant. Based on known records the current
extent of occurrence is estimated at 66 km2 and
the historical and present (combined) extent of
occurrence is < 250 km2.
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Population Sizes and Trends
The Canadian population probably contains fewer
than 1000 individuals, but supporting documentation
is lacking. The skipper has disappeared from at least
three and probably twelve historical sites in the past
decades. Surveys have been primarily by wandering
transects through suitable habitat.
Threats and Limiting Factors
The greatest threat to individuals is deemed to be
the application of Btk insecticide to control introduced
Gypsy Moth. Threats to habitat include habitat
conversion and loss, fire suppression, invasive nonnative plant species, natural vegetative succession and
storms and flooding associated with climate change.
Protection, Status, and Ranks
Distribution of the Oregon Branded Skipper in Canada.
Source: COSEWIC. 2013. COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Oregon
Branded Skipper in Canada.
Habitat
Oregon Branded Skipper habitat can be grouped
into two types: 1) sparsely vegetated areas, including
coastal sand and gravel spits and 2) scrub oak
habitats.
Biology
Adults have been recorded from mid-July to late
September with one generation per year. Oviposition
has not been observed in the field, although in
captivity adults laid less than 40 eggs within a twoday span. Larvae feed for approximately four months
in spring and summer and construct small tent-like
structures at the base of, or in close proximity to host
plants, which are thought to be native bunchgrasses
such as Red Fescue and Roemer’s Fescue. The pupal
stage lasts from early July to late August.
48
Most records are from private land, including five
local government parks. These sites include Cordova
Spit (partly a Central Saanich Park) (extant site);
Goldstream, Mount Wells (Capital Regional District)
(extirpated site); Mount Manuel Quimper within Sooke
Hills Regional Park Reserve (extant site); Island View
Beach (extirpated site); and Mount Douglas (Saanich
Park) (extirpated site).
The private landowner of one site, Camas Hill, is an
active steward and there is a conservation covenant
on the property. A portion of Cordova Spit is within
Tsawout East Saanich Indian Reserve 2 and the
Tsawout First Nation has developed a Land Code,
which identifies important natural features including
the spit where Oregon Branded Skipper occurs. The
B.C. Park Act and Ecological Reserves Act protect
species at risk in protected areas, of which there is
one historical record at Goldstream Provincial Park.
Oregon Branded Skipper is Red-listed in B.C.
(S1, Critically Imperilled), nationally ranked
N1 (Critically Imperilled) and globally ranked
G5T3T4 (rounded to T3, Vulnerable).
The text information for each species is taken directly from the COSEWIC executive summaries.
Plains Bison and Wood Bison
Photo: © Wes Olson
to unpredictable but potentially catastrophic future
events, mainly disease outbreaks and extreme weather.
Plains Bison
Scientific name
Bison bison bison (Plains Bison)
Bison bison athabascae (Wood Bison)
Taxon
Mammals
COSEWIC Status
Plains Bison: Threatened
Wood Bison: Special Concern
Wood Bison:
This bison only occurs in the wild in Canada. There
are currently 5,136 to 7,172 mature individuals in
nine isolated wild subpopulations. The population
has increased since 1987, mostly due to the
establishment of new wild subpopulations within the
original range. About 60% of the overall population
is included in Wood Buffalo National Park and
surrounding areas, and is affected by two cattle
diseases, bovine brucellosis and tuberculosis. Two
wild subpopulations have recently experienced
significant mortality events demonstrating the
inherent vulnerability of small isolated populations.
The Mackenzie herd decreased by 53% due to an
outbreak of anthrax and the Hay-Zama decreased by
20% due to starvation during a severe winter. Further
increases to the population size or the addition of
new wild subpopulations is not likely, as recovery
is constrained by fragmented or unsuitable habitat,
road mortality, disease management associated
with livestock and commercial bison operations, and
disease outbreaks.
Canadian range
Plains Bison: British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan
Wood Bison: Yukon, Northwest Territories, British
Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba
Plains Bison:
This bison occurs in only five isolated wild
subpopulations in Canada. There are approximately
1,200 to 1,500 mature individuals, of which about
half occur in one subpopulation located outside of
the historical range. The total number of individuals
has increased by 36% since the last assessment
in 2004, but the total remains a tiny fraction of their
numbers of 200 years ago. Currently they occupy
less than 0.5% of their original range in Canada. This
animal continues to face a number of threats to its
persistence. Further increases in population size or
the addition of new subpopulations is curtailed by
fragmented or unsuitable habitat that is often managed
to exclude bison. An overall decline is projected for
wild subpopulations because they are managed to
control or reduce population size and are subject
Photo: © Wes Olson
Reasons for designation
Wood Bison
Wildlife Species Description
and Significance
The American bison is a member of the wild
cattle family and is the largest land mammal in
North America. The two recognized subspecies –
Plains Bison (Bison bison bison) and Wood Bison
(B. b. athabascae) – have distinct morphology, body
shape, size, and pelage patterns. Phylogenetic
divisions between them remain despite a massive
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Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species, January 2015
translocation of Plains Bison into the remnant Wood
Bison population during the 1920s, which has had a
substantial impact on their genetic and distributional
integrity.
Bison once served as both an ecological and
cultural keystone species, having a disproportionate
influence on ecological processes and biodiversity in
socio-ecological systems it occupied. This animal has
been important to the material and spiritual cultures
of many Aboriginal peoples. Since the 1970s, Bison
have also increased in economic and commercial
importance. This report provides information
necessary to assess the wild component of the
species, in keeping with COSEWIC guidelines.
Distribution
The late Holocene, pre-Columbian range of the
American Bison extended from the desert grasslands
of northern Mexico to the meadow systems in interior
Alaska and from the woodlands of Manitoba to the
Rocky Mountains. The continental divide between
Alberta and British Columbia marked the approximate
western extent of Plains Bison. The transition between
Parklands and the Boreal Forest marked the northern
extent of Plains Bison and southern limit of Wood
Bison.
Approximate pre-settlement range of Plains Bison
(dashed red line) and current distribution (gray areas)
in Canada.
Source: COSEWIC. 2013. COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Plains Bison
and the Wood Bison in Canada.
Both Wood Bison and Plains Bison populations
declined sharply during the 1800s, largely as a result
of unsustainable hunting. By the end of the 19th
century the Plains Bison had been extirpated from
the wild in Canada, but a small number of Wood
Bison remained in what is now Wood Buffalo National
Park. In 2013, wild Plains Bison occurred in five
isolated subpopulations: three in Saskatchewan, one
in Alberta and one in British Columbia – about 2%
of their original range. There are 9 wild Wood Bison
subpopulations ranging in Alberta, British Columbia,
Manitoba, Yukon and Northwest Territories, occupying
about 5% of their original range.
Approximate pre-settlement range of Wood Bison
(dashed red line) and current distribution (gray areas)
in Canada.
Source: COSEWIC. 2013. COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Plains Bison
and the Wood Bison in Canada.
50
The text information for each species is taken directly from the COSEWIC executive summaries.
Habitat
Population Sizes and Trends
The most important habitats for Wood and Plains
Bison are those producing winter forage, consisting
primarily of grasses, sedges, and rushes. Plains Bison
habitat included prairie grasslands and adjacent
mixed woodlands in Manitoba, central Saskatchewan,
and southwestern Alberta. Conversion of native
prairies to crop and livestock agriculture occurred
rapidly after bison were eliminated. Loss of native
rangelands is still taking place, albeit at a reduced
rate. The potential for conflicts with crop agriculture
and livestock grazing, including programs to control
the spread of bovine tuberculosis and brucellosis from
wild bison, all limit population and range expansion for
wild Plains and Wood Bison in much of their range.
All wild Plains Bison subpopulations in Canada
today are the descendants of approximately
81 ancestors captured in three locations in the
1870s and 1880s, and persist as a tiny fraction
of their original numbers (tens of millions in North
America). The 5 wild subpopulations are in Elk Island
National Park and four others originating from that
source. One new subpopulation was established in
Grasslands National Park since the last COSEWIC
status assessment in 2004. There are an estimated
2,335-2,573 Plains Bison, 1,204-1,490 of which are
mature individuals. This represents a 36% increase
since 2004, although one subpopulation is currently
in decline. Overall, there is an unquantified but
increasing trend over the past 3 generations.
Biology
Female Bison typically produce their first,
single calf (rarely twins) at three years of age and
reproductive senescence occurs after 13 to 15 years
of age. Fecundity varies between individuals and
among populations depending on nutrition and
heredity. Generation time for Bison is estimated
at eight years. Males as young as 1.5 years can
reproduce in well-nourished, captive populations,
but full morphological and behavioural maturity
(adulthood) is not achieved until six or seven years
of age. Sub-adult males rarely have an opportunity
to breed in the presence of adult males. Competition
for mating opportunities among adult males is an
important aspect of the evolutionary ecology of bison.
Wolves, Grizzly Bears, and Coyotes are the primary
predators.
The ca. 250 Wood Bison that persisted in what
is now Wood Buffalo National Park into the late
1800s grew to 1,500-2,000 individuals when the
Wood Buffalo National Park was established in 1922.
Political exigencies resulted in the translocation of
more than 6,000 Plains Bison to the Park in the late
1920s where Wood and Plains Bison subsequently
interbred. All Wood Bison existing today are
descendants of this mixed ancestry although have
remained morphologically and genetically distinct
from Plains Bison and are separately managed.
Two translocations from Wood Buffalo National
Park occurred during the 1960s, including one to
Elk Island National Park to establish a disease-free
population to support recovery. This subpopulation
has directly or indirectly been the source of stock
to establish 7 other subpopulations, one since the
last assessment in 2001. There are between 7,64210,458 Wood Bison in 9 wild subpopulations, of which
5,213-7,191 are mature individuals. This represents a
substantial increase over the past ca. 3 generations
(1987: 1,827) through significant recovery efforts,
and a 47% increase since 2000. Although 8 of the
9 wild subpopulations have increased in number
since the last COSEWIC assessment, 2 have
experienced significant mortality since 2012 due to
disease (anthrax) and starvation following a severe
winter. All but 2 subpopulations number fewer than
500 individuals. The Greater Wood Buffalo National
Park meta-population represents about 60% of the
Canadian population of wild Wood Bison today, and
they are diseased.
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Threats and Limiting Factors
Protection, Status, and Ranks
The overall calculated threat impact based on the
World Conservation Union-Conservation Measures
Partnership ‘unified threats classification system’ is
Very High for Plains Bison and High for Wood Bison.
The highest impact threat facing both is hunting
and population control. Social intolerance due to
perceived competition with other ungulates, disease
transmission, property damage, and human safety is
a significant factor determining policies that reduce,
control, and limit the number of wild Plains and Wood
Bison in large landscapes. Unregulated hunting of
some subpopulations constrains effective population
size below a threshold where small population effects
may negatively impact viability.
Plains Bison in Canada have no status under
the federal Species at Risk Act. They are classified
as wildlife in the provincial wildlife acts of British
Columbia and Saskatchewan, but are not wildlife
under provincial wildlife acts in Alberta or Manitoba. In
Alberta and Manitoba, all bison considered livestock.
Plains Bison are not listed under the U.S. Endangered
Species Act, despite successive petitions to do so.
Disease (livestock-borne and native, e.g., anthrax)
and severe weather are other threats that have caused
significant mortality events, both recently and historically.
The continued existence of reportable cattle diseases
in the Greater Wood Buffalo National Park Wood
Bison meta-population is the largest threat in terms of
geographic scale and potential to impact neighbouring
subpopulations. Plains Bison habitat loss from
conversion of native range to croplands is ongoing with
the sale of public rangelands being a significant threat.
Wild Plains Bison are primarily limited by land tenure
and use patterns, and by land use, grazing, and animal
management policies. Road mortality (Wood Bison)
and genetic introgression from cattle and private bison
holdings serve as localized threats for both Wood and
Plains Bison. Both are also limited by founder effects
and small population sizes (< 500).
52
Wood Bison are listed as Threatened under
Schedule I of the federal Species at Risk Act upon
proclamation in June 2003. Wood Bison are classed
as wildlife in the wildlife acts of Manitoba, Alberta,
British Columbia, and the Northwest Territories. In
Yukon, they are classified as a Transplanted Species
in the Yukon Wildlife Act. Wood Bison is listed on
Appendix II of CITES, and under the U.S. Endangered
Species Act as Threatened. Globally, the IUCN Red
List ranks American Bison (both subspecies) as Near
Threatened. NatureServe has assigned a global rank
of G4 to American Bison, with national ranks of N4 for
U.S. and N3N4 for Canada. The global (and national)
rank for Wood Bison is G4T2Q (N2N3) and Plains
Bison G4TU (N3N4). Canada’s General Status
program considers American Bison (both subspecies)
as At Risk and At Risk in Yukon, Northwest Territories,
Alberta and Manitoba, May be at Risk in British
Columbia, and Sensitive in Saskatchewan.
The text information for each species is taken directly from the COSEWIC executive summaries.
Rocky Mountain Tailed Frog
Photo: © Gary Nafis
Wildlife Species Description
and Significance
Scientific name
Ascaphus montanus
Taxon
Amphibians
COSEWIC Status
Threatened
Canadian range
British Columbia
Reasons for designation
In Canada, this unusual stream-breeding frog is
restricted to two unconnected watersheds, where it
relies on small, forested fast-flowing streams. Habitat
damage from sedimentation due primarily to roads,
logging, and fires, and loss of terrestrial dispersal habitat
from logging and wood harvesting are key threats. The
total population is small, consisting of approximately
3000 adults, which increases the vulnerability of the
population to environmental perturbations. Increases
in habitat protection and a moratorium on mining in the
Flathead River portion of the range resulted in a change
of status from Endangered.
Adult Rocky Mountain Tailed Frogs are small frogs
with a large head, a vertical pupil, broad and flattened
outer hind toes and no ear drum. They vary in colour
from tan or brown to olive green or red, and there
is often a distinct, dark-edged copper bar between
the eyes. Males have a short, conical extension of
the cloaca, the source of the name “tailed frog”,
which is used for copulation. The tadpoles possess
an oral disc modified into a sucker for clinging to rocks
in swift currents. They are mottled black and tan with a
prominent, black-bordered white spot at the tip of the tail.
The two species of tailed frogs, genus Ascaphus,
are among the most primitive living frogs in the world
and are specialized for life in fast-flowing streams.
Rocky Mountain Tailed Frogs are also one of the
longest lived of all North American frogs and the
slowest to develop, spending 3 years as tadpoles and
not attaining sexual maturity until 7–8 years of age.
Distribution
Rocky Mountain Tailed Frogs occur from extreme
southeastern British Columbia south through western
Montana and Idaho north of the Snake River Plain to
the Wallowa Mountains of northeastern Oregon and
Blue Mountains of extreme southeastern Washington.
In Canada, Rocky Mountain Tailed Frogs are restricted
to two disjunct mountainous localities, the Flathead
River watershed and the Yahk River watershed,
separated by the Rocky Mountain Trench.
Distribution of the Rocky Mountain Tailed Frog in
Canada. Red dots are occurrences.
Source: COSEWIC. 2013. COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Rocky
Mountain Tailed Frog in Canada.
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Habitat
Threats and Limiting Factors
Rocky Mountain Tailed Frogs are restricted to
small, permanently flowing, middle elevation creeks in
coniferous forest. They are most often associated with
rapidly flowing, step-pool streams with streambeds
composed largely of smooth rocks, cobbles and
boulders, rather than silt, sand or pebbles.
Tailed frogs have low reproductive rates compared
to other frogs, laying relatively small clutches of 50–
85 colourless, pea-sized eggs every other year. They
are cold-adapted and can withstand temperatures
only as high as 21°C. Adult Rocky Mountain Tailed
Frogs are nocturnal and extremely site-specific,
generally dispersing no more than 20 m in a year. The
tadpoles eat mainly diatoms scraped from submerged
rocks, but transformed frogs will eat a wide variety of
terrestrial arthropods. Predators of Rocky Mountain
Tailed Frogs include American Dipper, Cutthroat Trout,
Garter Snakes, and Western Toad.
Major threats to Rocky Mountain Tailed Frogs in
Canada include increases in stream sedimentation,
alteration of hydrological regimes, loss of riparian
forest habitat and headwater linkages, stochastic
environmental and demographic fluctuations due to
low population size, and climate change resulting
in stream habitat contraction. Human activities
associated with logging, mining and road building
can exacerbate these threats. Wildfires can have a
significant, negative, short-term effect on abundances
of Rocky Mountain Tailed Frog tadpoles; however,
this species may be able to recover from wildfire
within a decade. Epizootic chytridiomycosis disease
caused by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis
has been identified as a major threat to amphibian
populations around the world, but at present there
is no evidence of significant infection or disease
among Rocky Mountain Tailed Frogs. A ban on mining
exploration and development under the Flathead
Watershed Area Conservation Act has reduced threats
in the Flathead portion of the species’ range.
Population Sizes and Trends
Protection, Status, and Ranks
No capture – recapture surveys of Rocky Mountain
Tailed Frogs have been attempted and the number
of breeding adults associated with each creek is
not known with certainty, but the entire Canadian
population is estimated to be ca. 3000 individuals.
Larval densities in Canada range from 0.06 to
1.8 individuals/m2 of stream. No data are available
to assess population trends. Although dispersal
movements of Rocky Mountain Tailed Frogs are
poorly known, individuals are more likely to move
along stream corridors rather than overland and tend
not to move very far; thus the potential for rescue from
neighbouring populations in the USA is limited.
As of 2004, the Global Status rank of the Rocky
Mountain Tailed Frog is G4 (apparently secure),
according to NatureServe. At the national level, as
of 2011, its U.S. status is N4 (apparently secure)
and its Canadian and British Columbia status is
N2 (imperilled).
Biology
54
Habitat protection has increased significantly since
the previous COSEWIC status assessment in 2000.
Ten Wildlife Habitat Areas (WHAs) for Rocky Mountain
Tailed Frogs were established in the Flathead River
watershed and another nine in the Yahk River
watershed under the Forest and Range Practices Act in
2005. As of 2011, these WHAs are considered to be
under the Oil and Gas Activities Act. The WHAs
altogether cover 1,239 ha of habitat and are intended
to protect all known breeding and adjacent foraging
habitats for Rocky Mountain Tailed Frogs in British
Columbia. The effectiveness of the protection in
reducing chronic siltation from the surrounding
landscape remains to be established and is currently
monitored using sentinel sites.
The text information for each species is taken directly from the COSEWIC executive summaries.
Photo: © Megan Crowley
Sweet Pepperbush
Sweet Pepperbush
Scientific name
Clethra alnifolia
Taxon
Vascular plants
COSEWIC Status
Threatened
Canadian range
Nova Scotia
Sweet Pepperbush is one of many nationally
rare, disjunct species of the Atlantic Coastal Plain
in southern Nova Scotia. Outreach programs have
resulted in fairly wide understanding and appreciation
of this rare flora. Sweet Pepperbush is particularly
appreciated by some landowners because of its
showy flowers and strong, pleasant fragrance,
characteristics that have made it a widely used
ornamental species with many developed cultivars.
Canadian populations are isolated from others by
200+ km and are the northernmost worldwide,
suggesting potential significance to the species’
range-wide genetic diversity.
Distribution
Sweet Pepperbush is native to the eastern United
States and southern Nova Scotia, from Maine to
western Texas, primarily along the Atlantic Coastal
Plain (excluding southern Florida) and into the
Piedmont plateau region of the eastern USA within
about 150 km of the coast. In Canada, Sweet
Pepperbush is restricted to three subpopulations on
six lakes in southern Nova Scotia within a 70 km by
60 km area. It has become marginally established
after escaping from cultivation in Belgium, The
Netherlands, and England. Canada supports less than
1% of the global population.
Reason for designation
This disjunct Atlantic Coastal Plain clonal shrub
is restricted to the shores of six lakes in a small area
of southern Nova Scotia. Newly identified threats
from the invasive exotic shrub Glossy Buckthorn and
eutrophication have put this species at increased
risk of extirpation. Shoreline development also
remains a threat.
Wildlife Species Description
and Significance
Sweet Pepperbush is a deciduous, woody, wetland
shrub 1 to 3 m tall that can grow in a clumped form
or with single stems arising from a spreading rhizome
(underground stem). The dense, narrowly elongate
flower clusters are 4 to 12 cm long and composed of
small, white, 5-petalled flowers that are strongly fragrant.
Fertilized flowers mature into dry, round capsules with
many small seeds, though seed production has been
reported as sometimes absent or rare in Canada.
Distribution of Sweet Pepperbush (red dots) in Nova
Scotia at 1 – Belliveau Lake, 2 – Pretty Mary Lake,
Mudflat Lake and Mill Lake, 3a – Louis Lake and 3b –
Canoe Lake. Dark lines are county boundaries.
Source: COSEWIC. 2014. COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Sweet
Pepperbush in Canada.
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Habitat
plant. These allow colonization of wetter areas where
seedling establishment is difficult and form a “sprout
bank” that can respond rapidly to canopy openings.
Time to flowering and to vegetative reproduction for
new vegetative shoots is likely at least several years.
Generation time could be at least 10 years. Clumps
of stems (which continually resprout from the base)
and complexes of connected genetic individuals are
presumably much longer-lived.
In Nova Scotia, Sweet Pepperbush is a species
of acidic upper lakeshores and lakeshore forest
margins, also occurring locally along shrubby and
semi-forested stream margins and under Red Mapledominated swamp forest canopy within about 20 m
of shorelines. It has not been observed to flower
when under dense forest canopy in Nova Scotia.
Similar habitats are occupied throughout its range,
but prevalence in shaded and upland areas is more
frequent in the United States where occurrence in
upper salt marsh margins is also noted.
Photo: © Megan Crowley
Population Sizes and Trends
Sweet Pepperbush habitat
Biology
Sweet Pepperbush flowers in Nova Scotia from
late July to early September. Pollination is primarily
or exclusively by insects, especially bees. Sweet
Pepperbush exhibits strong, but not complete
self-incompatibility. Coupled with theorized low
genetic variability, this could cause the limited
seed production noted at Belliveau Lake and
suspected elsewhere in Nova Scotia, where seedling
establishment is rare. The tiny seeds remain in the
capsules into late fall or winter and could be moved
by water, wind, and vertebrates (via clinging mud).
Seeds can germinate immediately after dispersal
but germination is enhanced by cold stratification.
Seed longevity is unknown. Average time to first
flowering from seed in the field is probably more than
ten years. Individual stems can live at least 28 years.
Most reproduction is by spreading rhizomes which
can produce new shoots up to 2.4 m from the parent
56
The Canadian population is not more than
45,471 individuals based on stem numbers estimated
from comprehensive 2011 and 2012 surveys. Stems
counts overestimate number of mature individuals
because some tightly clumped stems are best classed
as single individuals and smaller stems may be unable
to reproduce sexually or vegetatively. The degree
of this overestimation is unknown. Stem estimates
by subpopulation are: 1) Belliveau Lake – 16,070; 2)
Pretty Mary, Mudflat, and Mill lakes – 27,700; 3) Louis
Lake and Canoe Lake – 1,700 individuals, with only a
single individual at Canoe Lake.
Threats and Limiting Factors
Competition from the invasive exotic shrub Glossy
Buckthorn is already occurring to a very limited
extent and is likely to become more severe at the
Pretty Mary-Mudflat-Mill lakes subpopulation, where
thousands of mature Glossy Buckthorn plants are
present on abandoned farmland adjacent to the
lakes. Glossy Buckthorn is perhaps 10 km away from
Belliveau Lake and 40 km away from Louis Lake and
is likely to reach those sites within one to several
decades. The timing and magnitude of its impact is
uncertain.
Eutrophication from leaching sewage ponds on an
abandoned hog farm at Belliveau Lake is changing
habitat on one corner of the lake where Sweet
Pepperbush occurs. Impacts on the species are
unclear, but could become significant, especially if
coupled with Glossy Buckthorn invasion.
The text information for each species is taken directly from the COSEWIC executive summaries.
Protection, Status, and Ranks
Shoreline development has slowly but steadily
increased on Belliveau, Pretty Mary, and Mudflat
lakes over the past 30 years and will likely continue.
It is also a threat on currently undeveloped Mill Lake.
Landowners frequently cut and remove some (but
generally not all) Sweet Pepperbush for shore access
and to enhance views, with overall losses to shoreline
development up to the present roughly estimated at
less than 4.6%.
About 94% of Sweet Pepperbush habitat in
Canada is on private land. All of the Louis Lake –
Canoe Lake population and 10% of the Belliveau
Lake population are on provincial Crown land that is
likely to be included in new nature reserves soon to
be finalized.
Sweet Pepperbush is currently listed as Special
Concern in Canada by COSEWIC and under
Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act and Vulnerable
under the Nova Scotia Endangered Species Act. It is
Endangered in Tennessee under the state’s Rare Plant
Protection and Conservation Act of 1985, but has no
legal protection elsewhere. Non-legal NatureServe
ranks are: Globally secure (G5) and nationally (N5)
secure in the United States; Critically Imperilled (N1) in
Canada, Nova Scotia (S1), Tennessee (S1), and
Imperiled (S2) in Maine. It is considered Sensitive in
Canada and Nova Scotia by the National General
Status Working Group.
Photo: © Megan Crowley
A long-standing but poorly maintained dam on
Mill Lake may be limiting occurrence there and if it
was breached it might make conditions less suitable
for existing Sweet Pepperbush and allow rapid influx
of Glossy Buckthorn from large nearby populations.
Limited genetic variability resulting in limited seed
production is speculated to be a major limiting factor
in Nova Scotia, which would explain the absence of
Sweet Pepperbush over vast areas of suitable habitat.
Sweet Pepperbush flower
57
Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species, January 2015
Tweedy’s Lewisia
Photo: © Amber Saundry
Wildlife Species Description
and Significance
Scientific name
Lewisiopsis tweedyi
Tweedy’s Lewisia is a clump-forming perennial
herb arising from a thick, fleshy, reddish taproot. The
evergreen, fleshy leaves form a basal cluster, from
which arise multiple stems, each bearing 2-5 showy
salmon-coloured, yellowish-pink or white flowers.
Tweedy’s Lewisia is a distinctive showy species
that has long been grown as an ornamental but
has a reputation for being difficult to keep alive and
therefore of commercial interest only to alpine garden
specialists.
Distribution
Tweedy’s Lewisia occurs from south-central British
Columbia south through the Wenatchee Mountains
into central Washington State. In Canada, Tweedy’s
Lewisia is known from two sites in the Cascade
Mountain Ranges, in E.C. Manning Provincial Park.
Taxon
Vascular plants
COSEWIC Status
Endangered
Canadian range
British Columbia
Reason for designation
This showy perennial plant is known only from
Washington and British Columbia. It exists in Canada
as two small subpopulations and has undergone a
decline of up to 30% in recent years, possibly due to
plant collecting. The small population size and potential
impact from changes in moisture regimes due to
climate change place the species at on-going risk.
Canadian distribution of Tweedy’s Lewisia. Dots
indicate extant populations.
Source: COSEWIC. 2013. COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Tweedy’s
Lewisia in Canada.
Habitat
In Canada, Tweedy’s Lewisia occurs on dry southfacing slopes, in subalpine areas within the Moist
Warm subzone of the Engelmann Spruce – Subalpine
Fir biogeoclimatic zone. This subzone experiences
long, cold winters featuring heavy snowfall, and short,
cool summers. Substantial snowpacks may persist
into June. The plants occur in stable, fractured rock
outcrops where needle litter accumulates; in areas
with a light canopy of mature Douglas-fir, or no
58
The text information for each species is taken directly from the COSEWIC executive summaries.
Biology
The Canadian population flowers between midJune and late July. Bees and syrphid flies made up
the majority of observed daytime flower visitors but
it is not certain that they are the main pollinators.
Tweedy’s Lewisia is self-fertile and there is little
difference in seed set regardless of whether plants
were self-fertilized, fertilized by other plants of
the same subpopulation, or fertilized by plants
from distant subpopulations. The flower scapes of
Tweedy’s Lewisia tend to reflex if several seeds are
produced, which increases the likelihood that seeds
will fall close to the parent. The seeds, which have
a sweet honey scent, are often dispersed by ants.
Seeds germinate in the autumn or spring and existing
plants break shoot dormancy as the snow is melting.
Seed viability in Tweedy’s Lewisia varies considerably.
While germination and growth may begin soon after
the seeds are sown, deposited seeds remain viable
and may germinate episodically for up to 18 months.
Tweedy’s Lewisia is adapted to summer drought
but is not adapted to winter rains. Tweedy’s Lewisia
may be grazed by American Pika, Mule Deer, and Elk.
The degree of herbivory tends to be highest among
large subpopulations of Tweedy’s Lewisia.
Population Sizes and Trends
Two extant subpopulations are currently known
from Canada. The total Canadian population in
2012 was estimated at 106-107 mature individuals.
The Site 2 subpopulation consists of a single mature
individual and a number of juvenile plants. There
is debate whether this population may have been
deliberately introduced. The Site 1 subpopulation,
which contains the balance of the Canadian plants
(i.e., 105-106 mature individuals) is currently in
decline. There is little prospect of a rescue effect
from the USA because of long distance, substantial
geographic barriers, and the lack of evident
adaptations for long-distance transport of seeds.
Threats and Limiting Factors
The distribution of Tweedy’s Lewisia in Canada is
strictly limited by the relatively small area of suitable
habitat within its narrow extent of occurrence. Existing
subpopulations are threatened by plant collecting and
more severe summer droughts as an apparent result
of climate change.
Photo : © Derek Tan, Beaty Biodiversity Museum
trees. Most of the clumps occur on southeast-facing
ledges and crevices while few were found on level
surfaces. The shrub and herb layers are sparse and
interspecific interactions between Tweedy’s Lewisia
and other low-growing species are probably weak.
The habitat in the vicinity of the Site 1 subpopulation
is not obviously vulnerable to any major disturbances.
The habitat surrounding the Site 2 subpopulation
has been significantly altered by road building and
subsequent road re-alignment but there is no ongoing
road building.
Protection, Status, and Ranks
The Canadian population of Tweedy’s Lewisia
is not protected under the federal Species at Risk
Act, provincial species at risk legislation, or CITES.
Tweedy’s Lewisia is ranked globally vulnerable (G3).
In Canada, it is ranked as critically imperilled (N1)
and has a general status rank of 2: May Be at Risk. In
British Columbia, Tweedy’s Lewisia is ranked critically
imperilled (S1); it is a priority 1 species under the
B.C. Conservation Framework and is included on the
British Columbia Red List, which consists of species
that have been assessed as endangered, threatened
or extirpated. Inclusion on the Red List does not
confer any legal protection.
The Canadian population of Tweedy’s Lewisia
occurs within E.C. Manning Provincial Park and is
thereby offered some measure of protection under
general provisions of the B.C. Park Act.
59
Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species, January 2015
Wandering Salamander
measures 75–120 mm in total length (including tail).
The amount of grey and bronze mottling on the back
varies with age. Relatively long legs and squared-off
toe tips are thought to be adaptations for climbing
trees.
Photo: © Scott Gillingwater
Distribution
Scientific name
Aneides vagrans
Taxon
Amphibians
COSEWIC Status
Special Concern
Canadian range
British Columbia
The Wandering Salamander has a small global
range split between coastal parts of northwestern
California and extreme southwestern British Columbia.
It is absent from intervening areas in Washington and
Oregon. Its Canadian distribution is largely restricted
to low-elevation forests on Vancouver Island and
adjacent small offshore islands; there is one locality
on the Sunshine Coast on mainland British Columbia.
Approximately 60% of the species’ global range
is in Canada. Genetic similarities link populations on
southern Vancouver Island with those from Humboldt
County, California. The most likely explanation for this
disjunct distribution is dispersal from California via
natural log-rafting on north-flowing ocean currents.
Other possibilities have been suggested, including
glacial refugia on the west coast of Vancouver Island
or inadvertent introduced to Vancouver Island in the
late 1800s in shipments of Tanoak bark.
Reason for designation
The Canadian distribution of this terrestrial
salamander is restricted mainly to low elevation
forests on Vancouver Island and adjacent small
offshore islands in southwestern British Columbia.
These salamanders depend on the availability of
moist refuges and large diameter logs on the forest
floor, as found in intact forests. The salamanders are
threatened by logging, residential development, and
severe droughts, storm events, and habitat shifts
predicted under climate change. Low reproductive
rate, poor dispersal ability, and specific habitat
requirements contribute to the vulnerability of the
species.
Wildlife Species Description
and Significance
The Wandering Salamander (Aneides vagrans) is a
terrestrial salamander of the family Plethodontidae,
the “lungless” salamanders. It was separated from
the Clouded Salamander (A. ferreus) in 1998 based
on genetic evidence. A typical adult weighs 2–5 g and
60
Distribution of the Wandering Salamander in Canada.
Source: COSEWIC. 2014. COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Wandering
Salamander in Canada.
The text information for each species is taken directly from the COSEWIC executive summaries.
Habitat
Threats and Limiting Factors
The Wandering Salamander depends on cutaneous
respiration. As a result, it is restricted to moist
microhabitats. The salamanders are primarily found
under bark and/or within cavities and cracks of
decaying wood. Females lay eggs within large (50 cm
or more in diameter), moderately decayed logs. Where
suitable downed wood or rubble/talus is available,
the salamanders can persist in logged areas, edges
of forests, or even residential yards, but they are
most abundant in mature and old coniferous forest
stands. Wandering Salamanders live in trees as well
as on the ground. They have been recorded from a
height of 57 m in the canopy of a Sitka Spruce tree on
Vancouver Island.
Across their Canadian range, Wandering
Salamanders are threatened by logging, which
continues to alter and fragment habitats across
Vancouver Island, and severe and prolonged droughts
predicted to become more common under climate
change scenarios. In addition, residential and other
human developments threaten local populations, and
tsunami events could eliminate some populations in
low-lying coastal areas. About 80% of the species’
range is within actively managed forest, and at
least 55 sites are threatened by logging. There
are 25 occupied sites in the Coastal Douglas-fir
biogeoclimatic zone, which is subject to severe
droughts and habitat alteration under climate change.
Low reproductive rate, poor dispersal ability, and
specific habitat requirements of the salamanders
contribute to their vulnerability to perturbations.
Habitat quality for the species has deteriorated
over the past 30 years. Clearcut logging has altered
20 to 26% of the forests within the range of the
Wandering Salamander on Vancouver Island. The
construction of the new Island Highway has displaced
salamanders and fragmented the species’ habitat.
Biology
The female lays a small clutch of 3–28 eggs in
late spring or summer and attends to her eggs
until they hatch in late summer or early fall. Young
undergo direct development and emerge from nests
as independent juveniles. They take at least 3 years
to reach sexual maturity. Females reproduce every
other year or less often. The average age of adults
(generation time) is approximately 8–11 years.
Individual salamanders may live up to 20 years.
Protection, Status, and Ranks
Most of the range and occurrences are on
unprotected provincial or private forestry lands.
Approximately 9% of the species’ range and 17% of
the known records on Vancouver Island are within
protected areas. Globally, the Wandering Salamander
is on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as
“near threatened” (NT). NatureServe ranking of the
species is “apparently secure” (G4). In Canada and
British Columbia, the species’ ranking is “vulnerable
to apparently secure” (N3N4/S3S4), and it is on the
provincial Blue list of species at risk. It was ranked as
“Secure” in British Columbia and Canada by the
General Status Program.
Population Sizes and Trends
Population trends of the Wandering Salamander in
British Columbia are virtually unknown. Its distribution
is patchy in British Columbia with abundance varying
greatly among sites. Wandering Salamanders were
detected at 37% (N=183) of the sites sampled for
salamanders from 1981–2013 (over the past three
generations). These records suggest that the species
remains widespread across its range. Apparent
declines have been noted in one area of northern
Vancouver Island, but historical sites have not been
systematically revisited.
61
Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species, January 2015
Water Pennywort
flowers are in a round cluster at the tip of a leafless
stem. Fruiting has not been seen in Canada.
Photo: © Megan Crowley
Water Pennywort co-occurs in southern Nova Scotia
with many other disjunct species of the Atlantic Coastal
Plain. This group of species is known and appreciated
by many cottagers and residents. Populations in Nova
Scotia are the northernmost worldwide and 410+ km
from the nearest American sites.
Scientific name
Hydrocotyle umbellata
Water Pennywort can be used as a salad herb,
an aquarium plant or a ground cover in gardens.
In the United States it can be a lawn weed and an
impediment to navigation in canals. It has been
extensively investigated in relation to treatment of
nutrient-enriched wastewater, and has potential
for use in removing heavy metals from water. It is a
traditional treatment for anxiety in South America, and
in high concentrations has narcotic effects. Extracts
have been shown to have herbicidal effects.
Distribution
Taxon
Vascular plants
COSEWIC Status
Special Concern
Canadian range
Nova Scotia
Reason for designation
This species is known from only three disjunct
lakeshore locations in southern Nova Scotia, one of
which was discovered since the last assessment.
Alterations and damage to shorelines from shoreline
development and off-road vehicles are ongoing
threats, and water level management is a potential
threat at one lake. Increased competition from other
plants caused by eutrophication is a potential major
future threat.
Wildlife Species Description
and Significance
Water Pennywort is a perennial herb with creeping
stems that root at the nodes. The round, shallowly
lobed leaves are 1-5 cm wide on erect petioles (leaf
stems) attaching in the centre of the leaf. Petioles
are 5-20 cm in terrestrial plants and up to 150 cm
on floating leaves in standing water. The tiny, white
62
Distribution of Water Pennywort in Nova Scotia at
1 – Kejimkujik National Park, 2 – Wilsons Lake and 3 –
Springhaven Duck Lake.
Source: COSEWIC. 2014. COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Water
Pennywort in Canada.
Water Pennywort is native from central and
northern South America and the Caribbean into
California and along the Atlantic coast of the United
States north to Massachusetts, with localized, disjunct
occurrences in inland areas north to Michigan,
Indiana, Ohio, and New York. Occurrence in Canada is
limited to two areas of southern Nova Scotia: two
sites in southern Yarmouth County and one 70 km
northeast in Kejimkujik National Park. It is introduced
in Thailand, New Zealand and reportedly Myanmar.
The text information for each species is taken directly from the COSEWIC executive summaries.
Habitat
Plants flower from late July into September in
Canada. Flowering is initiated only in low water and
occurs on a very low proportion of nodes; large
patches can be completely infertile. Insect pollination
is undescribed but likely important outside Canada.
Individual stem segments are reported as mostly
not exceeding 1.5 years of age in Canada and
under optimal conditions growth can be very rapid.
Subpopulation size can fluctuate substantially (though
under one order of magnitude) with water levels.
In Nova Scotia, Water Pennywort occurs on
broad sand and gravel lakeshores within the zone
flooded in winter (which protects against coldinduced mortality) and exposed in summer, and on
permanently inundated lakeshores in water depths
to about 1.5 M. Canadian habitats are acidic and
nutrient poor which, along with ice scour and wave
action, limits more competitive species. Two of the
three subpopulations are on large catchment area
lakes with high water level fluctuation, typical of rare
Atlantic Coastal Plain flora habitat. Further south, Water
Pennywort occupies a wider range of habitats including
various nutrient-rich and disturbed, moist sites.
Photo: © Megan Crowley
Population Sizes and Trends
The Canadian population is estimated in the
hundreds of thousands of individuals, with fluctuation
between 121,000 and 498,000 (mean 289,000)
at Kejimkujik National Park estimated in 2004 to
2012 surveys. Numbers are unknown but likely of a
similar order of magnitude at Wilsons Lake and are
in the lower thousands (perhaps 10,000 to 20,000)
at Springhaven Duck Lake. Populations appear to
have been stable since the previous status report,
based on annual surveys from 2004 to 2012 at
Kejimkujik National Park, repeated comprehensive
shoreline surveys at Wilsons Lake, and absence of
observed disturbance at Springhaven Duck Lake.
Future shoreline development at Wilsons Lake is likely
but development impacts are likely to remain small
unless future development is of a different nature than
existing development.
Water Pennywort colony
Biology
Water Pennywort is a perennial herb that
reproduces sexually and disperses by seed elsewhere,
but in Canada is known to reproduce and disperse
only through vegetative growth and fragmentation of
the creeping stems. Roots are present on all but the
most recently produced nodes, so survival of small
fragments is possible. In Canada, ice movement is
likely a significant cause of fragmentation. “Mature
individuals” are thus single stem segments having
sufficient roots to survive if severed from the
parent plant. Number of leaves is a good metric
for “individuals”, assuming each internode has the
potential to be a fragment.
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Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species, January 2015
Threats and Limiting Factors
Protection, Status, and Ranks
Eutrophication associated with mink farm waste
is a potential future threat at Wilsons Lake and
Kejimkujik National Park, where new farms could
be built upstream. The mink industry is large and
expanding in southern Nova Scotia and mink farms
have the potential to affect entire river systems.
Despite Water Pennywort’s tolerance of eutrophication
in southern areas, eutrophication-induced increases in
competition from more common, less stress-tolerant
plants would likely threaten Canadian occurrences.
Water Pennywort is listed as Threatened in Canada
by COSEWIC and under Schedule 1 of the Species at
Risk Act and Endangered in Nova Scotia under the
Nova Scotia Endangered Species Act. It is Endangered
with protection under state law in Connecticut and
Ohio. Water Pennywort is Critically Imperilled (N1)
in Canada and Nova Scotia (S1) and is At Risk in
Nova Scotia and Canada. It is globally secure (G5),
nationally secure in the United States (N5), and
is SH (Possibly extirpated) in Pennsylvania,
S1 (Critically Imperilled) in Connecticut and Ohio,
and S3 (Vulnerable) in New York.
Shoreline development is an ongoing threat only
at Wilsons Lake, where 87% of occupied habitat is
adjacent to private land. About 40% of occupied
shoreline abuts 19 developed and 12 undeveloped
cottage lots, and 47% abuts two large private
properties with no cottage development, but with a
recently completed access road suggesting potential
for future development. No new building has occurred
in occupied areas on Wilsons Lake over the past
decade and numbers within developed areas have
appeared stable over that period. New development is
likely to have at least some impact on numbers.
A small dam just downstream from Springhaven
Duck Lake may be raising lake water levels and
reducing Water Pennywort numbers and vigour. Offhighway vehicle impacts are also occurring at Wilsons
Lake, where habitat damage was liberally estimated at
less than 9% in 2011.
64
The text information for each species is taken directly from the COSEWIC executive summaries.
Western Bumble Bee – occidentalis
and mckayi subspecies
increasingly intensive agricultural and other land use
practices, pesticide use (including neonicotinoid
compounds), and habitat change.
COSEWIC Status
occidentalis subspecies: Threatened
mckayi subspecies: Special Concern
Wildlife Species Description
and Significance
Photo: © Rehanon Pampell
Taxon
Arthropods
The mckayi subspecies:
This subspecies ranges in Canada from northern
British Columbia (north of approximately 55-57ºN)
through southern Yukon and westernmost Northwest
Territories; at least 50% of its global range is in
Canada. Recent surveys in northwestern Canada and
Alaska suggest that it is still common. However, the
southern subspecies of the Western Bumble Bee is
experiencing a serious, apparently northward-moving
decline, and because the causes of this decline are
unknown, the northern subspecies faces an uncertain
future. Recent studies in Alaska suggest that this
subspecies has among the highest parasite loads
(particularly the microsporidian Nosema bombi) of
any bumble bee species in North America. Other
potential threats include the unknown transmission of
disease from exotic bumble bee species introduced
for pollination in greenhouses (ongoing in the Yukon),
pesticide use (including neonicotinoid compounds),
and habitat change.
Western Bumble Bee mckayi subspecies
Scientific name
Bombus occidentalis occidentalis
Bombus occidentalis mckayi
Canadian range
occidentalis subspecies: British Columbia, Alberta,
Saskatchewan
mckayi subspecies: Yukon, Northwest Territories,
British Columbia
Reason for designation
The occidentalis subspecies:
This bumble bee ranges in Canada from British
Columbia (south of approximately 55-57ºN), through
southern Alberta east to southern Saskatchewan.
Approximately 30-40% of its global range is in
Canada. Once considered one of the most common
and widespread bumble bees in western Canada,
this subspecies has experienced a significant (> 30%)
decline in recent years and has been lost from a
number of sites in the southern portions of its range
where it was once abundant. It has among the highest
parasite loads (particularly the microsporidian Nosema
bombi) of any bumble bee in North America. Ongoing
threats to the species, particularly within the southern
portions of its range, include pathogen spillover
from commercially managed bumble bee colonies,
Western Bumble Bee, Bombus occidentalis Greene,
is one of five North American members of the subgenus
Bombus sensu stricto. It is a medium-sized (1–2 cm)
bumble bee with a short head. The abdomen is colour
variable, but all individuals have a transverse band of
yellow hair on the thorax in front of the wing bases, and
the tip of the abdomen is almost always white.
Bumble bee taxonomy is widely debated, including
the taxonomic history of Western Bumble Bee. The
species was once considered synonymous with
Yellow-banded Bumble Bee; however, recent genetic
work confirms these two species as separate.
Additional recent taxonomic work further splits
Western Bumble Bee into two separate subspecies:
Bombus occidentalis occidentalis and Bombus
occidentalis mckayi, based on genetic, morphological
and distributional information.
Distribution
Western Bumble Bee ranges throughout most of
western North America. Subspecies occidentalis
65
Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species, January 2015
ranges from central California north to northern British
Columbia, and east into southern Saskatchewan and
South Dakota. Subspecies mckayi ranges from
central-northern British Columbia northward into the
Yukon, Northwest Territories and Alaska.
individuals leave the colony, mate, and only the
mated queens enter hibernation while all other castes,
including the old queen, perish at the onset of colder
temperatures.
Population Sizes and Trends
Subspecies occidentalis continues to be recorded
throughout most of its historical range in Canada,
although at fewer sites and with lesser abundance:
relative abundance data within the past ten years
suggests a probable decline of more than 30%. In
the regions in Canada where subspecies occidentalis
has been most studied (i.e., southern BC and AB),
significant declines in relative abundance have
occurred at all surveyed sites within the last three
decades. Subspecies mckayi is more commonly
observed, and with a constant abundance, although
there is little historical data for this subspecies from
which to derive trends.
Global range map of the Western Bumble Bee showing
the distribution of both subspecies; B. o. occidentalis
(below line) and B. o. mckayi (above line).
Source: COSEWIC. 2014. COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Western
Bumble Bee, occidentalis subspecies and the mckayi subspecies in Canada.
Habitat
Threats and Limiting Factors
Possible threats to subspecies occidentalis may
include the transfer of pathogens from managed bees
used for greenhouse pollination that have escaped.
Additional regional threats include agricultural
pesticide and chemical use, and habitat loss.
Biology
Western Bumble Bee has an annual life cycle.
Mated queens (colony founders) emerge from
wintering sites in the spring and search for potential
nest sites. Once a nest site is chosen, the queen then
forages for pollen and nectar, returning to the nest
site to lay eggs which will eventually produce a brood
of workers. Workers emerge and take over nest care,
pollen and nectar foraging. In late summer, males
and new queens are produced. These reproductive
66
Photo: © Cory S. Sheffield
Western Bumble Bee lives in a diverse range of
habitats, including mixed woodlands, farmlands,
urban areas, montane meadows and into the western
edge of the prairie grasslands. Subspecies mckayi
is seemingly restricted to the Boreal and Cordilleran
Ecological Areas. Western Bumble Bee has been
recorded gathering pollen and nectar from the flowers
of a variety of plant genera. Like many bumble bees,
it typically nests underground in abandoned rodent
burrows or within hollows in decaying wood.
Western Bumble Bee occidentalis subspecies
Protection, Status, and Ranks
There is currently no legal protection in Canada for
either subspecies of Western Bumble Bee. All
members of subgenus Bombus appear to be globally
declining.
The text information for each species is taken directly from the COSEWIC executive summaries.
Western Grebe
Photo: © Nicholas Laporte
Wildlife Species Description
and Significance
Western Grebe
Scientific name
Aechmophorus occidentalis
Taxon
Birds
COSEWIC Status
Special Concern
Canadian range
British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba
The Western Grebe is a large and conspicuous
waterbird. Adapted for an aquatic lifestyle, with lobed
feet set well back on a streamlined body, Western
Grebes are powerful swimmers but awkward on land.
Their white throat, breast and belly contrast with the
black and grey plumage of their crown, neck, back
and wings. They have bright red eyes and a long,
pointed yellowish-green bill. The Western Grebe
has been suggested as a bioindicator for wetland
ecosystems.
Distribution
The Western Grebe breeds in British Columbia,
Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and throughout
the western United States. It is a colonial breeder,
with an uneven and clustered breeding distribution.
It winters mainly in coastal areas from southern
Alaska to Mexico, and on inland lakes, particularly
in the southern portion of its range. Large numbers
formerly occurred in the Salish Sea (Strait of Georgia,
Juan de Fuca Strait, and Puget Sound), but in recent
years the wintering distribution has apparently shifted
southward to California.
Reason for designation
Although population declines have occurred within
this waterbird’s Canadian wintering area on the Pacific
coast, this could largely be the result of a southern
shift in wintering distribution rather than a true loss
in population size. Nevertheless, on a continental
scale, wintering populations have undergone a 44%
decline from 1995 to 2010 based on Christmas Bird
Count data. Some of this decline may also be the
result of declines on the Canadian breeding grounds.
In addition, this species’ propensity to congregate
in large groups, both in breeding colonies and on its
wintering areas, makes its population susceptible to
a variety of threats, including oil spills, water level
fluctuations, fisheries bycatch, and declines in prey
availability.
Global range of the Western Grebe.
Source: COSEWIC. 2014. COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Western
Grebe in Canada
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Habitat
Western Grebes nest on marshes and lakes
with stands of emergent vegetation, stable water
levels, extensive areas of open water, and sufficient
populations of prey fish. During migration, they stop
mainly on large lakes, but sometimes also use sloughs
and river backwaters. On their coastal wintering
grounds, they are generally found in sheltered salt or
brackish water, in bays, inlets, estuaries, lagoons, and
channels.
Biology
The Western Grebe is the most gregarious species
of North American grebe; wintering flocks of over
10,000 individuals have been observed and nesting
colonies can contain thousands of pairs. It engages
in complex courtship rituals and is seasonally
monogamous. Pairs build a nest together, which they
defend aggressively, and they alternate incubation
duties. The downy young leave the nest immediately
after hatching and are then brooded on their parents’
backs. Western Grebes are mainly piscivorous
and both parents feed the young, until they are
independent at about 8-10 weeks of age. They usually
produce one clutch per year. Typical clutches contain
1-4 eggs and annual productivity ranges from 0.39 to
0.88 young per breeding adult.
Population Sizes and Trends
The Western Grebe is a challenging species to
monitor, and survey efforts at breeding colonies have
been intermittent, and thus it is difficult to accurately
estimate breeding numbers or trends in abundance.
The North American breeding population of Western
Grebes is estimated to be ~100,000 mature
individuals, including at least 20,500 in Canada.
Colony sizes range from a few individuals to over
5000 birds. Most of the Canadian breeding population
is concentrated in 12 colonies in Alberta and
Manitoba, with ~25% breeding at a single colony in
Manitoba.
Although the Christmas Bird Count is not a
particularly robust method for surveying this species,
results for the 15-year period from 1995-2010 suggest
that the continental population declined by 44%,
while numbers wintering in Canada have apparently
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declined by 87%. Reduction in the Canadian wintering
population may represent a shift in geographic
distribution of wintering birds rather than a true loss in
the overall population size.
Threats and Limiting Factors
On breeding areas, the primary threats to Western
Grebes are human disturbance of colonies (e.g., by
powerboats and personal watercraft) and habitat
degradation (especially destruction of emergent
vegetation). Their breeding success and survival can
also be negatively impacted by fluctuations in water
levels during nesting, disturbance leading to predation
on eggs, introduction of non-native fish, recreational
and commercial fisheries, declines in prey availability
(e.g., due to winterkill of fish), and chemical pollution
and contaminants. On coastal wintering areas, oil
spills are a major threat. Additional threats in coastal
areas include low-volume chronic oil pollution, other
chemical pollution and contaminants, harmful algal
blooms, bycatch in gillnet fisheries, mortality in
derelict fishing gear, changes in prey availability and/
or abundance, and possible increases in predation by
Bald Eagles.
Protection, Status, and Ranks
Of former and current breeding colonies, 40 are on
lakes adjoining or within provincially protected areas
and two are in federal Migratory Bird Sanctuaries/
National Wildlife Areas. Most of the land surrounding
lakes with Western Grebe colonies is privately owned.
Western Grebes are protected in Canada under the
Migratory Birds Convention Act. In British Columbia,
they are on the Red List, and in Alberta they are listed
as Sensitive and a Species of Special Concern. In
Saskatchewan and Manitoba, they are not provincially
listed as species at risk. On the IUCN Red List they
are ranked as Least Concern, their NatureServe status
is Globally Secure, and they are ranked nationally as
Secure by the National General Status Program. The
Northern Prairie and Parkland Waterbird Conservation
Plan lists the Western Grebe as a species of High
Concern. Likewise, the species is assigned a high
conservation priority in Canada’s Waterbird
Conservation Plan, and is ranked as high concern in
the Waterbird Conservation Plan for the Northern
Prairie and Parkland region.
The text information for each species is taken directly from the COSEWIC executive summaries.
Western Waterfan
Photo: © David Richardson
The upper surface is smooth and dull, and the lower
surface similar except for the presence of distinct
pale veins. There are no vegetative propagules. The
fruit bodies of this lichen are reddish-brown and
contain sacks of colourless, elongate, ascospores.
The photosynthetic partner is a cyanobacterium. The
Western Waterfan is one of very few leafy lichens that
can grow at or below water level.
Western Waterfan
Scientific name
Peltigera gowardii
Taxon
Lichens
Distribution
The Western Waterfan is only found in western North
America, occurring from northern Washington to
Alaska. In Canada, the Western Waterfan is restricted
to British Columbia and has been found near the towns
of Clearwater, Smithers, Terrace and Whistler. The best
estimate from the 2011 surveys in Canada is that there
are currently five locations for Western Waterfan.
Recent surveys indicate that two additional
occurrences – one near Fight Lake, Clearwater, and
one near Garibaldi Lake, Whistler – are extirpated.
COSEWIC Status
Special Concern
Canadian range
British Columbia
Reason for designation
This lichen is endemic to western North America.
There are only five known occurrences in Canada,
all in British Columbia, and two former occurrences
appear to be extirpated. This lichen is unique in
growing at or below water level in clear, permanent,
unshaded alpine or subalpine streams. Habitat loss is
likely to result from temperature increases caused by
climate change. Because of that change, larger plant
species currently below the subalpine zone will be
able to grow at higher elevations. Subalpine meadows
are therefore predicted to become increasingly
colonized by shading vegetation. Also, increasing
drought will transform permanent watercourses into
ephemeral streams.
Wildlife Species Description
and Significance
The Western Waterfan is a leafy lichen that forms
semi-erect, small rosettes that are attached to rocks
by holdfasts. The lichen is olive-black and jelly-like
when wet but slate gray to black and crisp when dry.
Distribution of the Western Waterfan in Canada.
Green dots show occurrences where the lichen has
been found. Open black circles show areas searched
unsuccessfully since 1970. The red triangles are
occurrences with known historical records of this lichen
that were not relocated during the 2011 field surveys.
Source: COSEWIC. 2013. COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Western
Waterfan in Canada.
Habitat
The Western Waterfan is found growing at or below
water level, in spring-fed streams, in open subalpine
and sometimes alpine meadows, above about 1200 m
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elevation a.s.l. The streams are usually one metre or
less across with flowing, cool, silt-free water of neutral
pH and conductivity near 8 μS/cm.
Biology
Fruit bodies are common in the Western Waterfan.
It is suspected that when thalli are at or above water
level, the fungal spores are shot into the air. If they
land on a rock in a stream with appropriate water
quality, they germinate and are attracted to nearby
compatible cyanobacteria, which become enveloped
by the fungal strands and eventually grow into a
visible lichen. The generation time for lichens varies
from ten years in rapidly colonizing lichens, to more
than 17 years for old-growth forest species.
Western Waterfan produces no specialized
vegetative propagules, but it is likely that asexual
reproduction and dispersal are achieved when small
pieces of lichen break off and become attached
downstream. The cyanobacteria within the lichen
provide the fungus with carbohydrates and are also
able to fix atmospheric nitrogen.
Population Sizes and Trends
Historical records of the Western Waterfan have not
included estimates of the numbers of mature plants at
each site. Abundance varies greatly among locations;
in some there are only a few thalli (colonies), while
in others the lichen colonizes almost every stone in
a stream. In the latter case, colonies are difficult to
count, because adjacent individuals often overlap.
The Canadian population estimate in 2011 was
in the range of 727-1,000 mature individuals,
and even allowing for the possibility of a further
discovery, it seems unlikely that the total population
of this lichen in Canada will exceed 2,000 mature
individuals (colonies). However, there is not enough
documentation over a long enough time period to
make an accurate evaluation.
Threats and Limiting Factors
The main threat to the Western Waterfan is climate
change, especially in the interior mountain ranges of
B.C. By 2050, summer temperatures are expected
to rise by 3-4°C, and summer moisture deficit is also
expected to increase. The combined impact of these
changes will be severe at all elevations. For subalpine
snowmelt-fed streams that support the Western
Waterfan, widespread conversion of permanent
watercourses to ephemeral streams is anticipated.
This and the rising tree line will dramatically
restructure all alpine communities. For a rare species
like the Western Waterfan, widespread contraction of
available habitat could have severe consequences.
In addition, in coastal B.C. the winters are likely to
become shorter and wetter, while the summer season
will be longer and drier. There may be a decline in
snowpack with more freeze-thaw events, resulting
in denser snow with more crusts and icy layers.
Again, such changes could adversely affect Western
Waterfan populations.
The second most important factor affecting the
Western Waterfan is human disturbance. Mountain
roads, often developed to allow tourists to visit
subalpine areas, can concentrate water flow and
divert natural water drainage systems. At higher
elevations, path building / use (pedestrian, ski, ATV,
snowmobile) and culvert installation threaten Western
Waterfan habitat by changing water flows and
increasing sediment loads.
Protection, Status, and Ranks
In Canada, the Western Waterfan is listed by
NatureServe (2013), as S1S2 for British Columbia,
where it is deemed vulnerable to trail development
(B.C. CDC). The global status of the Western
Waterfan is designated as G4 or ‘Apparently
Secure’ (NatureServe 2013). In the USA, the statelevel rankings range from S1 (critically imperiled) in
Montana and Alaska, to S2 (imperiled) in Washington
and S3 (vulnerable) in California; there is no ranking
for Oregon.
Only the population on Trophy Mountain in Wells
Gray Provincial Park and those in the Black Tusk area
in Garibaldi Park are afforded some measure of
protection because they are in provincial parks. The
others are on Crown land and so not protected by
designation or by legislation.
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The text information for each species is taken directly from the COSEWIC executive summaries.
Wolverine
human disturbance, and requires vast secure areas to
maintain viable populations.
Photo: © Rollin Verlinde
Wildlife Species Description
and Significance
Scientific name
Gulo gulo
Taxon
Mammals
COSEWIC Status
Special Concern
Canadian range
Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, British
Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario,
Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador
Reason for designation
This wide-ranging carnivore has an estimated
Canadian population likely exceeding 10,000 mature
individuals. Although population increases appear to
be occurring in portions of the Northwest Territories,
Nunavut, Manitoba and Ontario, declines have been
reported in the southern part of the range, e.g. in
British Columbia, and populations in a large part of
the range (Quebec and Labrador) have not recovered.
The species may be extirpated from Vancouver Island.
Population estimates are very limited, and trends are
not known. Most data are limited to harvest records,
and harvest levels may be under-reported because
many pelts used domestically are not included in
official statistics. There is no evidence, however,
of a decline in harvest over the last 3 generations.
This species’ habitat is increasingly fragmented by
industrial activity, especially in the southern part of
its range, and increased motorized access increases
harvest pressure. Climate change is likely impacting
animals in the southern part of the range, and this
impact is expected to increase northward. The
species has a low reproductive rate, is sensitive to
Wolverines are a stocky, medium-sized carnivore
and the largest terrestrial member of the weasel
family. They have long, glossy coarse fur, which varies
from brown to black, often with a pale facial mask and
stripes running laterally from the shoulders, crossing
just above the tail. The skull structure is robust,
allowing it to crush and consume bones and frozen
carcasses. Adult males weigh 13 to 18 kg and adult
females weigh 7.5 to 12.5 kg.
A single subspecies, Gulo gulo luscus, ranges
across most of Canada. Further studies are required
to determine if the Vancouver Island population is a
separate subspecies, G. gulo vancouverensis. A single
designatable unit is recognized for the Canadian
population.
Wolverines may indicate ecosystem health,
given their dependence on extensive connected
ecosystems that support ungulates and large
carnivores which create opportunities for scavenging.
They are a valuable furbearer in the fur trade, and
many furs that do not enter the fur trade are used
locally, especially in the Arctic, where its frostresistant fur is used for parka trim. Distribution
Wolverines are found across northern Eurasia
and North America. In Canada, they are found
in northern and western forested areas, in alpine
tundra of the western mountains, and in arctic
tundra. It is not known whether Wolverines currently
occupy Vancouver Island, Québec, or Labrador.
Range reductions began in the 19th century, and
subpopulations were extirpated from New Brunswick,
southern Ontario, and from the aspen parkland of
Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.
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Population Sizes and Trends
North American distribution of Wolverine.
Source: COSEWIC. 2014. COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Wolverine
in Canada.
Habitat
A wide variety of forested and tundra vegetation
associations are used by Wolverines. Habitats
must have an adequate year-round supply of food,
mainly consisting of smaller prey such as rodents
and Snowshoe Hares, and the carcasses of large
ungulates, like Moose, Caribou, and Muskox. Females
den under snow-covered rocks, logs or within snow
tunnels. Wolverines reproduce in areas where snow
cover persists at least into April.
Biology
Most females breed after they are 2 or 3 years of
age and produce on average 2 kits per litter. Wolverine
home ranges are 50-400 km2 for females (smallest
during denning periods) and 230-1580 km2 for males.
Home ranges may overlap within and between sexes
but home ranges of reproductive females do not
overlap. Home range size in the eastern range is
unknown. Wolverine densities are low and range from
about 5 to 10/1,000 km2. Wolverines are scavengers
and predators, often caching food for future use.
Wolverines face mortality from predation and
starvation. Anthropogenic sources of mortality include
trapping, hunting, and road kill.
72
Confidence regarding population size and trend is
debated because most population data are derived
from harvest records and the proportion of unreported
harvest varies across their range. The Canadian
population size is unknown but likely > 10,000 adults.
Wolverine have been extirpated (or likely extirpated)
in much of southern and eastern Canada. Wolverine
observations continue to be reported in the range of
the eastern sub-population (Québec and Labrador),
but no observation has been verified since 1978.
The last verified record on Vancouver Island was in
1991 and it is likely that they have been extirpated.
There is concern that decline may be occurring in
BC and parts of Alberta where Southern and Central
Mountain Caribou, their primary prey, continue to
decline and habitats are fragmented. Field studies
since 2003 suggest Wolverines are more abundant in
parts of the Northwest Territories (NWT) and Nunavut
than previously thought. The sub-population in the
NWT barren ground region may be decreasing while
recent records in western Arctic islands suggest
population increase, although it is unknown if these
are resident or transient animals. Population trends
are unknown, but based on numerous sources such
as field studies, ATK, and trapper surveys, they
are believed to have been stable over parts of the
northern range for the last 3 generations (22.5 years).
Wolverines in northern Manitoba and Ontario may be
increasing; aerial surveys in northern Ontario have
shown an eastward range reoccupation towards
James Bay and Québec.
Threats and Limiting Factors
The variability in trap effort, the uncertainty
on actual harvest levels in some jurisdictions,
and increased access and efficiency of hunting
using snowmobiles raises concerns over potential
overharvest and the ability to document population
size and trends. Transportation corridors, forestry,
hydroelectric developments, oil and gas and mineral
exploration and development increase access for
harvest and contribute to permanent, temporary or
functional habitat losses (sensitivity to disturbance),
which may destabilize populations.
The text information for each species is taken directly from the COSEWIC executive summaries.
The decline in Caribou as a source of scavenged
meat, particularly in Québec and Labrador where
few Wolverines may persist, may limit population
recovery. Other factors that may limit populations
include harvest, disturbance of denning areas,
threats to habitats, and population fluctuations in
Wolves and other carnivores that provide scavenging
opportunities. The Threats Calculator calculated an
overall threat impact of medium. Protection, Status, and Ranks
Habitat Protection and Ownership
Numerous protected areas exist within the
Wolverine’s range but refugia larger than
20,000 km2 may be required to maintain a Wolverine
population. Many northern national, provincial and
territorial parks allow trapping. In southern parks,
population recovery may be impacted by road
developments that can act as barriers to movements,
and activities such as skiing and snowmobiling that
may disturb denning females.
This species was assessed as Endangered by
COSEWIC in 2003 and is listed on Schedule 1 of the
Species at Risk Act (SARA). The Western Population
(labelled western sub-population in this report) was
assessed as Special Concern by COSEWIC in 2003,
but was not listed under SARA due to concerns
expressed by the Nunavut Wildlife Management
Board. Provincial designations are Endangered in
Labrador, and Threatened in Ontario and Québec
(note: ‘Threatened’ is equivalent to Endangered in
Québec). Remaining provincial designations range
from no ranking to Sensitive or Special Concern.
NatureServe (2013) rankings are Critically Imperilled
(S1) in Québec and Newfoundland and Labrador,
and Imperilled (S2) in Ontario. The Vancouver
Island population is Imperilled. Wolverines are
protected from non-Aboriginal harvest in Québec,
Newfoundland and Labrador, and Ontario, although
unreported harvest may be occurring. Aboriginal
harvest would be in the northern part of the range
(i.e., James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement
area). Wolverines are trapped and hunted in most
other areas of their confirmed range.
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INDEXES
Species by Common Name
Audouin’s Night-stalking Tiger Beetle (Omus audouini)...........................................................................................15
Caribou (Rangifer tarandus) Central Mountain population.......................................................................................18
Caribou (Rangifer tarandus) Northern Mountain population....................................................................................18
Caribou (Rangifer tarandus) Southern Mountain population....................................................................................18
Dakota Skipper (Hesperia dacotae).........................................................................................................................23
Eastern Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum) Prairie population.......................................................................25
Eastern Waterfan (Peltigera hydrothyria)..................................................................................................................28
Grasshopper Sparrow pratensis subspecies (Ammodramus savannarum pratensis)...............................................31
Gypsy Cuckoo Bumble Bee (Bombus bohemicus)..................................................................................................33
Hare-footed Locoweed (Oxytropis lagopus)............................................................................................................35
Little Brown Myotis (Myotis lucifugus)......................................................................................................................37
Mormon Metalmark (Apodemia mormo) Prairie population.....................................................................................42
Nahanni Aster (Symphyotrichum nahanniense)........................................................................................................45
Northern Myotis (Myotis septentrionalis)..................................................................................................................37
Oregon Branded Skipper (Hesperia colorado oregonia)..........................................................................................47
Plains Bison (Bison bison bison)..............................................................................................................................49
Rocky Mountain Tailed Frog (Ascaphus montanus).................................................................................................53
Sweet Pepperbush (Clethra alnifolia).......................................................................................................................55
Tri-colored Bat (Perimyotis subflavus)......................................................................................................................37
Tweedy’s Lewisia (Lewisiopsis tweedyi)...................................................................................................................58
Wandering Salamander (Aneides vagrans)...............................................................................................................60
Water Pennywort (Hydrocotyle umbellata)...............................................................................................................62
Western Bumble Bee mckayi subspecies (Bombus occidentalis mckayi)................................................................65
Western Bumble Bee occidentalis subspecies (Bombus occidentalis occidentalis).................................................65
Western Grebe (Aechmophorus occidentalis)..........................................................................................................67
Western Waterfan (Peltigera gowardii).....................................................................................................................69
Wolverine (Gulo gulo)...............................................................................................................................................71
Wood Bison (Bison bison athabascae).....................................................................................................................49
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Species by Scientific Name
Aechmophorus occidentalis......................................................................................................................................... 67
Ambystoma tigrinum.................................................................................................................................................... 25
Ammodramus savannarum pratensis........................................................................................................................... 31
Aneides vagrans........................................................................................................................................................... 60
Apodemia mormo......................................................................................................................................................... 42
Ascaphus montanus..................................................................................................................................................... 53
Bison bison athabascae............................................................................................................................................... 49
Bison bison bison......................................................................................................................................................... 49
Bombus bohemicus..................................................................................................................................................... 33
Bombus occidentalis mckayi........................................................................................................................................ 65
Bombus occidentalis occidentalis................................................................................................................................ 65
Clethra alnifolia............................................................................................................................................................. 55
Gulo gulo...................................................................................................................................................................... 71
Hesperia colorado oregonia......................................................................................................................................... 47
Hesperia dacotae......................................................................................................................................................... 23
Hydrocotyle umbellata.................................................................................................................................................. 62
Lewisiopsis tweedyi...................................................................................................................................................... 58
Myotis lucifugus........................................................................................................................................................... 37
Myotis septentrionalis................................................................................................................................................... 37
Omus audouini............................................................................................................................................................. 15
Oxytropis lagopus......................................................................................................................................................... 35
Peltigera gowardii......................................................................................................................................................... 69
Peltigera hydrothyria..................................................................................................................................................... 28
Perimyotis subflavus..................................................................................................................................................... 37
Rangifer tarandus......................................................................................................................................................... 18
Symphyotrichum nahanniense..................................................................................................................................... 45
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Species by Province and Territory of Occurrence
Alberta
Caribou (Central Mountain population).....................18
Gypsy Cuckoo Bumble Bee......................................33
Hare-footed Locoweed.............................................35
Little Brown Myotis....................................................37
Northern Myotis.........................................................37
Plains Bison...............................................................49
Western Bumble Bee occidentalis subspecies..........65
Western Grebe..........................................................67
Wolverine...................................................................71
Wood Bison...............................................................49
British Columbia
Audouin’s Night-stalking Tiger Beetle.......................15
Caribou (Central Mountain population).....................18
Caribou (Northern Mountain population)...................18
Caribou (Southern Mountain population)..................18
Gypsy Cuckoo Bumble Bee......................................33
Little Brown Myotis....................................................37
Northern Myotis.........................................................37
Oregon Branded Skipper..........................................47
Plains Bison...............................................................49
Rocky Mountain Tailed Frog......................................53
Tweedy’s Lewisia.......................................................58
Wandering Salamander.............................................60
Western Bumble Bee mckayi subspecies..................65
Western Bumble Bee occidentalis subspecies..........65
Western Grebe..........................................................67
Western Waterfan......................................................69
Wolverine...................................................................71
Wood Bison...............................................................49
Manitoba
Dakota Skipper..........................................................23
Eastern Tiger Salamander (Prairie population)..........25
Gypsy Cuckoo Bumble Bee......................................33
Little Brown Myotis....................................................37
Northern Myotis.........................................................37
Western Grebe..........................................................67
Wolverine...................................................................71
Wood Bison...............................................................49
New Brunswick
Eastern Waterfan.......................................................28
Gypsy Cuckoo Bumble Bee......................................33
Little Brown Myotis....................................................37
Northern Myotis.........................................................37
Tri-colored Bat...........................................................37
Newfoundland and Labrador
Gypsy Cuckoo Bumble Bee......................................33
Little Brown Myotis....................................................37
Northern Myotis.........................................................37
Wolverine...................................................................71
Northwest Territories
Caribou (Northern Mountain population)...................18
Gypsy Cuckoo Bumble Bee......................................33
Little Brown Myotis....................................................37
Nahanni Aster............................................................45
Northern Myotis.........................................................37
Western Bumble Bee mckayi subspecies..................65
Wolverine...................................................................71
Wood Bison...............................................................49
Nova Scotia
Eastern Waterfan.......................................................28
Gypsy Cuckoo Bumble Bee......................................33
Little Brown Myotis....................................................37
Northern Myotis.........................................................37
Sweet Pepperbush....................................................55
Tri-colored Bat...........................................................37
Water Pennywort.......................................................62
Nunavut
Wolverine...................................................................71
Ontario
Grasshopper Sparrow pratensis subspecies.............31
Gypsy Cuckoo Bumble Bee......................................33
Little Brown Myotis....................................................37
Northern Myotis.........................................................37
Tri-colored Bat...........................................................37
Wolverine...................................................................71
Prince Edward Island
Gypsy Cuckoo Bumble Bee......................................33
Little Brown Myotis....................................................37
Northern Myotis.........................................................37
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Quebec
Eastern Waterfan.......................................................28
Grasshopper Sparrow pratensis subspecies.............31
Gypsy Cuckoo Bumble Bee......................................33
Little Brown Myotis....................................................37
Northern Myotis.........................................................37
Tri-colored Bat...........................................................37
Wolverine...................................................................71
Saskatchewan
Dakota Skipper..........................................................23
Gypsy Cuckoo Bumble Bee......................................33
Little Brown Myotis....................................................37
Mormon Metalmark (Prairie population)....................42
Northern Myotis.........................................................37
Plains Bison...............................................................49
Western Bumble Bee occidentalis subspecies..........65
Western Grebe..........................................................67
Wolverine...................................................................71
Yukon
Caribou (Northern Mountain population)...................18
Gypsy Cuckoo Bumble Bee......................................33
Little Brown Myotis....................................................37
Northern Myotis.........................................................37
Western Bumble Bee mckayi subspecies..................65
Wolverine...................................................................71
Wood Bison...............................................................49
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GLOSSARY
Aquatic species: A wildlife species that is a fish as defined in section 2 of the Fisheries Act or a marine plant as
defined in section 47 of the Act. The term includes marine mammals.
Canada Gazette: The Canada Gazette is one of the vehicles that Canadians can use to access laws and
regulations. It has been the “official newspaper” of the Government of Canada since 1841. Government
departments and agencies as well as the private sector are required by law to publish certain information in
the Canada Gazette. Notices and proposed regulations are published in the Canada Gazette, Part l,
and official regulations are published in the Canada Gazette, Part Il. For more information, please visit
canadagazette.gc.ca.
Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council: The Council is made up of federal, provincial and
territorial ministers with responsibilities for wildlife species. The Council’s mandate is to provide national
leadership and coordination for the protection of species at risk.
COSEWIC: The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. The Committee comprises experts
on wildlife species at risk. Their backgrounds are in the fields of biology, ecology, genetics, Aboriginal
traditional knowledge and other relevant fields. These experts come from various communities, including,
among others, government and academia.
COSEWIC assessment: COSEWIC’s assessment or re-assessment of the status of a wildlife species, based on
a status report on the species that COSEWIC either has had prepared or has received with an application.
Federal land: Any land owned by the federal government, the internal waters and territorial sea of Canada, and
reserves and other land set apart for the use and benefit of a band under the Indian Act.
Governor in Council: The Governor General of Canada acting on the advice of the Queen’s Privy Council for
Canada, the formal executive body which gives legal effect to those decisions of Cabinet that are to have the
force of law.
Individual: An individual of a wildlife species, whether living or dead, at any developmental stage, and includes
larvae, embryos, eggs, sperm, seeds, pollen, spores and asexual propagules.
Order: Order in Council. An order issued by the Governor in Council, either on the basis of authority delegated
by legislation or by virtue of the prerogative powers of the Crown.
Response statement: A document in which the Minister of the Environment indicates how he or she intends to
respond to the COSEWIC assessment of a wildlife species. A response statement is posted on the Species
at Risk Public Registry within 90 days of receipt of the assessment by the Minister, and provides timelines for
action to the extent possible.
RIAS: Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement. A description of a regulatory proposal that provides an analysis of
the expected impact of each regulatory initiative and accompanies an Order in Council.
Species at Risk Public Registry: Developed as an online service, the Species at Risk Public Registry has been
accessible to the public since proclamation of the Species at Risk Act (SARA). The website gives users easy
access to documents and information related to SARA at any time and location with Internet access. It can be
found at www.registrelep-sararegistry.gc.ca.
Schedule 1: A schedule of SARA; also known as the List of Wildlife Species at Risk, the list of the species
protected under SARA.
Up-listing: A revision of the status of a species on Schedule 1 to a status of higher risk. A revision of the status
of a Schedule 1 species to a lower risk status would be down-listing.
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Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species, January 2015
Wildlife Management Board: Established under the land claims agreements in northern Quebec, Yukon,
Northwest Territories, British Columbia and Nunavut, Wildlife Management Boards are the “main instruments
of wildlife management” within their settlement areas. In this role, Wildlife Management Boards not only
establish, modify and remove levels of total allowable harvest of a variety of wildlife species, but also
participate in research activities, including annual harvest studies, and approve the designation of species at
risk in their settlement areas.
Wildlife species: Under SARA, a species, subspecies, variety, or geographically or genetically distinct
population of animal, plant or other organism, other than a bacterium or virus. To be eligible for inclusion
under SARA, a wildlife species must be wild by nature and native to Canada. Non-native species that have
been here for 50 years or more can be considered eligible if they came without human intervention.
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Additional information can be obtained at:
Environment Canada
Inquiry Centre
10 Wellington Street, 23rd Floor
Gatineau QC K1A 0H3
Telephone: 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only) or 819-997-2800
Fax: 819-994-1412
TTY: 819-994-0736
Email: [email protected]
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