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COSEWIC Annual Report 2004

ANNUAL REPORT

TO

THE MINISTER OF THE ENVIRONMENT

AND

THE CANADIAN ENDANGERED SPECIES

CONSERVATION COUNCIL

FROM

THE COMMITTEE ON THE STATUS OF

ENDANGERED WILDLIFE IN CANADA

(COSEWIC)

September 16, 2004

 

COSEWIC Logo



COMMITTEE ON THE                   COMITÉ SUR LA SITUATION
STATUS OF ENDANGERED          DES ESPÈCES EN PÉRIL
WILDLIFE IN CANADA                AU CANADA

July 19, 2004

The Honourable David Anderson
Minister of the Environment and co-chair of the Canadian
Endangered Species Conservation Council
Government of Canada
OTTAWA ON K1A 0H3

Dear Minister Anderson:

The 2004 Annual Report to the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council (CESCC) from the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) is respectfully submitted to you and CESCC in accordance with the requirements under the Species at Risk Act (SARA).

This report includes a summary of all activities undertaken by COSEWIC over the past year (Section 26 of SARA).

This report provides the names, justifications and biosketches of members whom COSEWIC recommends for your appointment effective January 1, 2005 (Section 16 of SARA).

Also included for your consideration is a list of the species status assessments (with reasons) from the November 2003 and May 2004 Species Assessment Meetings (Section 25 of SARA).

In addition, this report includes for your approval, documents outlining significant COSEWIC operations and procedures changes.

This report also contains a copy of the May 2004 publication "Canadian Species at Risk" which provides a complete list of wildlife species assessed by COSEWIC since its inception (Section 25 of SARA).

Yours sincerely,


Marco Festa-Bianchet
Chair of COSEWIC

 

ITEM I - COSEWIC ACTIVITIES

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1. SPECIES ASSESSMENT MEETING - FALL

Date:    November 24-28, 2003
Location:    Ottawa, Ontario
Attendance
Members - 42 members/alternates
Secretariat Staff - 8
Observers - 13 (2 from WWF-Canada, 2 from Canadian Wildlife Federation, 2 students McGill University,1 from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, 1 from Fisheries & Oceans Canada and 5 from the Canadian Wildlife Service).
Regrets - 2 members/alternates (Prince Edward Island and Saskatchewan)

At the first meeting of COSEWIC (Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada) since the passage of SARA (Species At Risk Act), the committee members reviewed the conservation status of 23 species.

2. SPECIES ASSESSMENT MEETING - SPRING

Date:    May 3-7, 2004
Location:    Bird Studies Canada, Port Rowan, Ontario
Attendance
Members - 41 members/alternates
Secretariat Staff - 7
Observers - 30 (1 from Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, 1 from the Department of Natural Resources, New Brunswick, 1 from Fisheries & Oceans Canada, 1 from Parks Canada, 1 from the COSEWIC Molluscs Specialist Subcommittee, 2 from Canadian Wildlife Service, Ontario Region, 1 from the Canadian Wildlife Service Headquarters, 3 from World Wildlife Fund Canada, 12 from Bird Studies Canada, 5 from McGill University, 1 from Upper Thames River Conservation Authority, 1 from Norfolk Field Naturalists)

Regrets - 2 members/alternates (Canadian Museum of Nature and Saskatchewan)

Teleconference
Six Wildlife Management Boards participated in a teleconference with COSEWIC to discuss the draft proposal for working together that was developed from discussions at the meeting and workshop held in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory in April, 2003. The decisions arrived at during the teleconference have been incorporated into the COSEWIC Operations and Procedures Manual.

3. SUMMARY OF SPECIES ASSESSMENT MEETINGS (NOVEMBER & MAY)

During the last year, COSEWIC met twice (in November 2003 and in May 2004) to assess or reassess the status of 59 species, subspecies and populations. The species assessment results include the following:

Endangered: Horned Lark strigata subspecies, Northern Bobwhite, White Sturgeon, Sand Verbena Moth, Butternut, Dwarf Woolly-heads, Slender Collomia, Small-flowered Tonella, Beluga Whale (Eastern Hudson Bay population and Ungava Bay population), Peary Caribou, Red Crossbill perca subspecies, Prairie Skink, Spotted Turtle, Small-mouthed Salamander, Porbeagle Shark, Round Pigtoe, Bog Bird's-foot Trefoil, Dwarf Sandwort, Pink Sand-verbena, Rosy Owl-clover, Stoloniferous Pussytoes.
Threatened: Short-tailed Albatross, Dakota Skipper, Powesheik Skipperling, Branched Bartonia, Dwarf Hackberry, Porsild's Bryum, Beluga Whale (St. Lawrence Estuary population and Cumberland Sound population), Plains Bison, Loggerhead Shrike excubitorides subspecies, Pink-footed Shearwater, Western Rattlesnake, Gulf of St. Lawrence Aster, Victorin's Gentian, Flooded Jellyskin.
Special Concern: Harbour Porpoise, Rocky Mountain Ridged Mussel , Steller Sea Lion, Barren-ground Caribou (Dolphin and Union population), Beluga Whale (Western Hudson Bay population and Eastern High Arctic - Baffin Bay population), Grey Whale, Spotted Bat, Yellow Lampmussel, Eastern Lilaeopsis, New Jersey Rush, Victorin's Water-hemlock, Columbian Carpet Moss, Twisted Oak Moss.

As of May, 2004, the COSEWIC list of Canadian Species at Risk comprises 456 species in various categories, including 169 endangered species, 114 threatened speces and 140 species of special concern. In addition, 21 species are extirpated (no longer existing in the wild in Canada) and 12 are extinct.

Note: There are now twelve species from SARA's Schedule 2 left to be reassessed by June, 2006.

Appendix l (COSEWIC Press Releases from the two Assessment meetings)

  • Draft of the Terms of Reference for the ATK Subcommittee - reviewed and approved (Note: Awaiting endorsement by National Aboriginal Organizations).
  • Prioritization process for candidate lists of species - developed.
  • Designatable units - final document approved by COSEWIC and now included in the Operations & Procedures Manual
  • Application for Species Assessment and submission of unsolicited Species Status Reports - guidelines and template recommended
  • Schedule 2 species reassessment deadlines - confirmation that these will be respected
  • Identifying and reporting uncertainties in species status assessment - draft approach discussed and approved.

4. ANNUAL SPECIES SPECIALIST SUBCOMMITTEES MEETINGS

Amphibians & Reptiles Specialist Subcommittee
November 8, 2003
Holiday Inn, Guelph, Ontario
Members: 9 including 2 co-chairs
Secretariat: 1
Observers: 4 students
Summary of key discussion items: membership; technical summaries; draft atlas of British Columbia amphibians and reptiles; five species status evaluations and recommendations; candidate list species; suggestion for future symposium and workshop COSEWIC on species ranges and mapping ranges.

Arthropods Specialist Subcommittee (Lepidopterans)
July 28-29, 2003
Biological Sciences Building, University of Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta
Members: 9 including co-chair
Secretariat: 1
Observers: 2 (David Duncan, Canadian Wildlife Service, Prairie & Northern Region and Gregory Pohl, Natural Resources Canada)
Summary of key discussion items: The proposed split of the Lepidopterans and Molluscs Specialist Subcommittee and the formation and possible functioning of the Arthropods Specialist Subcommittee; Subcommittee members and conflict of interest; guidelines for determining designatable units and revised instructions for writers of status reports; updates on three species; priority list of species for commissioning status reports; interim status report on two species and status recommendations for these species; and the prioritization scheme for butterflies.

Birds Specialist Subcommittee
September 6-7, 2003
Naramata Centre, Naramata, British Columbia
Members: 6 including 2 co-chairs
Secretariat: 1
Observers: 0

Summary of key discussion items: Seven species status reports and editorial changes; Candidate list was reviewed; Upcoming changes in membership

Freshwater Fishes Specialist Subcommittee
September 13-14, 2003
Huntsman Marine Science Centre, St. Andrews, New Brunswick
Members: 8 including 2 co-chairs
Secretariat: 1
Observers: 0
Summary of key discussion items: review of report schedule, Operations & Procedures Manual update review; three species status evaluations with recommendations; candidate list; improving quality of status reports; possible species name change; membership; template for SSC reviews; ecoregions map and intellectual property issues re potential report writers.
Amphibians & Reptiles Specialist Subcommittee
Summary of Discussion Items:

Marine Fishes Specialist Subcommittee
September 13-14, 2003
Huntsman Marine Science Centre, St. Andrews, New Brunswick
Members: 9 including co-chairs
Secretariat: 1
Observers: 1 from Huntsman Marine Science Centre
Summary of key discussion items: Information to be included in reports and the convention to use, a hands-on workshop to examine statistical approaches applied to scientific survey data, specific examples based on winter skate and porbeagle of how the program RAMAS Redlist could be applied to marine fish species; a detailed update on designatable units in Pacific salmon; continued progress on our Pacific candidate list which resulted in dropping 29 species and adding 13; General Status exercise led by the Department of Fisheries & Oceans identified as helpful in this matter; Status was suggested for two species; discussion of reports on four deepwater species was deferred in favour of the hands-on workshop pending resolution of some statistical issues in these reports; progress on another species report was also discussed.

Marine Mammals Specialist Subcommittee
October 4-5, 2003
Navigator Inn, Iqaluit, Nunavut
Members: 7 including 2 co-chairs
COSEWIC Secretariat: 2
Observers: 7 (2 from Fisheries & Oceans Canada, Iqaluit; 3 from the Quikiqtaaluk Wildlife Board, Nunavut; 1 from the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board and 1 community member, Iqaluit)
Summary of key discussion items: The meeting began with a public session from 9:00-12:00. Presentations were made by Hal Whitehead and Andrew Trites on COSEWIC's mandates, the Species at Risk Act, the role of the SSC, the assessment process, status designations and emergency assessments. Presentations were also made by Joannie Ikkidluak and Abraham Kaunak about the Wildlife Board, and by Gloria Goulet on the use of Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge by COSEWIC. Translations greatly aided the question and answer periods.

Six species status reports were reviewed and discussed in detail. The status of three outstanding species reports was also reviewed.

Molluscs Specialist Subcommittee
October 17-18, 2003
Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Members: 7 including 1 co-chair
Secretariat: 1
Observers: 7 (3 from the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History
1 from Nova Scotia Natural Resources (member of COSEWIC), 1 Soil & Water Conservation Society of Metro Halifax, 1 New Brunswick Museum, 1 Co-chair of the Recovery Team (Atlantic Whitefish) and member of the Recovery Team (Blanding's Turtle)

Summary of key discussion items: The public forum part of the meeting was held in the morning of the 17th and was attended by seven observers. During the public forum, Dr. Buster Welch, who retired from the Subcommittee, was thanked for his valuable contribution to the Molluscs Group for several years and was presented with a plaque in recognition of his work. Presentations were given to the public by Gerry Mackie explaining the work of COSEWIC and by Janice Smith on the work of the National General Status Working Group and particularly her work as Coordinator for Freshwater Mussels. Standard quantitative and qualitative sampling methods for aquatic and terrestrial molluscs were discussed and a motion was passed to provide references to published methodologies to all report writers when reports are first commissioned. Dr. Eva Pip and Dr. Stuart Harris are currently writing up standard sampling methods for freshwater gastropods. Changes to the "Operations & Procedures Manual" and to the "Instructions for Report Writers" were discussed with reference to the needs of the mollusc Species Specialist Subcommittee.

During the closed session part of the meeting, the Mollusc SSC reviewed the prioritization and candidate lists. A list of potential report writers will be generated and given to the Secretariat so the writers may be notified when calls are posted on COSEWIC's web site. Six draft status reports were discussion and status recommendations were provided.

Plants & Lichens Specialist Subcommittee
October 18-19, 2003
Lord Elgin Hotel, Ottawa, Ontario
Members: 14 including 2 co-chairs
Secretariat : 2
Observers : 0
Summary of key discussion items: Candidate Lists; Mosses and Liverworts; Lichens; Macro Algae; Standardization of Names; Status Report Content; Fragmentation; Twenty-four Vascular Plant draft reports and eight moss reports were reviewed and recommendations given.

Terrestrial Mammals Specialist Subcommittee
November 21, 2003
Royal Ontario Museum
Toronto, Ontario
Members: 7 including 2 co-chairs
Secretariat: 1
Observers: 1 (Nunavut Wildlife Management Board via teleconference)
Summary of key discussion items: Membership on the Species Specialist Subcommittee; status recommendations for species to be assessed at the November 2003 and May 2004 COSEWIC meetings and progress on status reports in preparation.

 

ITEM II - ELECTION OF CHAIR OF COSEWIC

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Following procedures set out in the Operations & Procedures Manual, a nominating committee was struck, chaired by Jeff Hutchings. Marco Festa-Bianchet's name was submitted for renewal as chair of COSEWIC. There were no other nominees and Marco was voted in as chair of COSEWIC for a further two-year term effective May 7, 2004.

 

ITEM III - COSEWIC MEMBERSHIP

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Membership Changes

For Information:

See Appendix Il for a list of current and proposed members.

For Approval:

a)    Members from jurisdictions (Provincial /Territorial/Federal) -

At the Spring, 2004 meeting of COSEWIC, the chair reminded members from jurisdictions that CESCC members have to notify the Chair of COSEWIC by July 1, 2004 of the name of any new member or alternate to be submitted to the Minister of the Environment for appointment after consulting with the CESCC.
A curriculum vitae for each nominee will be on record with the COSEWIC Secretariat.

b)   Non-government members and Co-chairs of Species Specialist Subcommittees - New /Renewed Members were selected as a result of a January 2004 public call for members. Justifications and biosketches are herein provided for the following nominees submitted for consideration and review by CESCC and subsequent appointment by the Minister of the Environment effective January 1, 2005:

Non-government Member - Dr. Jeff Hutchings

Co-chair, Amphibians & Reptiles Specialist Subcommittee - Dr. David Green
Co-chair, Arthropods Specialist Subcommittee - Dr. Paul Catling
Co-chair, Arthropods Specialist Subcommittee - Dr. Theresa Fowler*
Co-chair, Birds Specialist Subcommittee - Richard (Dick) Cannings
Co-chair, Marine Mammals Specialist Subcommittee - Dr. Randall Reeves
Co-chair, Molluscs Specialist Subcommittee - Janice Smith

 

* - All memberships are for a four year term with the exception of Dr. Theresa Fowler who was recommended for renewal for two years so that in future, both co-chairs' positions are not vacated at the same time.

See Appendix III (Biosketches).

 

ITEM IV - COSEWIC OPERATIONS AND PROCEDURES

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Suggested Term Limits for Co-chairs

Co-chairs (and non-government members) that have completed two consecutive terms beginning with their ministerial appointments are encouraged to consider not applying for a third term. When a co-chair (or a non-government member) has completed three consecutive terms, the Chair of COSEWIC will advise the selection committee to particularly consider other qualified candidates that may apply for that position.

Decision making procedure during meetings

Species assessments when consensus is not easily and quickly reached will no longer be automatically deferred to a second round of deliberations. Individual discussions will carry on until the assessment has been completed.

Voting

When consensus is not reached, all votes will now be conducted electronically, such that each member's ballot is secret. Previously, voting was by show of hands except when a secret vote was requested and agreed to.

Instructions for the Preparation of COSEWIC Status Reports


Extensive revisions to this document continued into February 2004, after which the document was posted on the COSEWIC website together with COSEWIC's Call for Bids to prepare COSEWIC status reports.

Involvement of Wildlife Management Boards

Wildlife Management Boards will be invited as observers to
Species Specialist Subcommittee meetings.
Relevant Wildlife Management Boards will be invited to participate as non-voting members during emergency assessment determinations.
Wildlife Management Boards will be invited to participate in the teleconference with The Canadian Wildlife Directors Committee following each Species Assessment Meeting.

Summary - Documents Recommended for Approval

Appendix IV - Terms of Reference: COSEWIC Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge Subcommittee
Appendix V - Assessment Process, Categories and Guidelines
Appendix VI - Applications for Species Assessment and Unsolicited Species Status Reports

 

ITEM V - SPECIES STATUS ASSIGNMENTS

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List of Species assessed since the last reporting indicating status assigned, reasons (including uncertainties where applicable and COSEWIC Criteria (with alphanumeric codes.

See Appendix VII

List of status reports available on the Public Registry - www.sararegistry.gc.ca in English and French.

 

ITEM VI - COMPLETE LIST OF WILDIFE SPECIES ASSESSED BY COSEWIC SINCE ITS INCEPTION

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Herein provided is the May 2004 COSEWIC List of Canadian Species at Risk. This publication is available on the Public Registry.

See Appendix VIII (enclosed)

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