Report on the Progress of Recovery Strategy Implementation for the Western Brook Lamprey – Morrison Creek Population (Lampetra richardsoni) in Canada for the Period 2007 – 2015
Table of contents
- Executive summary
- 1. Background
- 2 Recovery
- 3. Progress towards recovery
- 4. References
List of tables
- Table 1. Table 1. Summary of achievements towards completing the Schedule of Studies and/or identification of critical habitat, as well as new research and monitoring activities conducted and/or ongoing since the completion of the Recovery Strategy in 2007.
- Table 2. Summary of Activities undertaken to reduce or eliminate threats to the MCL, threats to critical habitat and/or threats to its residence
Morrison Creek lamprey
Figure long description
The cover illustration is a photograph of two Morrison Creek Lamprey: one is Lampetra Richardsoni and the other is Lampetra richardsoni var. marifuga. Reference information is found on the second page of the document which is not numbered.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada. 2016. Report on the progress of recovery strategy implementation for the Morrison Creek Lamprey (Lampetra richardsoni) in Canada for the period 2007 – 2015. Species at Risk Act Recovery Strategy Report Series. Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ottawa. v + 18 pp.
For copies of the progress report, or for additional information on species at risk, including COSEWIC Status Reports, residence descriptions, action plans, and other related recovery documents, please visit the Species at Risk Public Registry.
Cover illustration: Credit – Lucas Raptis.
Également disponible en français sous le titre
« Rapport sur les progrès de la mise en oeuvre du programme de rétablissement de la lamproie de l’ouest, population du ruisseau Morrison, au Canada pour la période allant de 2007 à 2015 »
© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, 2016 All rights reserved.
ISBN ISBN to be included by SARA Responsible Agency
Catalogue no. Catalogue no. to be included by SARA Responsible Agency
Content (excluding the illustrations) may be used without permission, with appropriate credit to the source
The federal, provincial, and territorial government signatories under the Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk (1996) agreed to establish complementary legislation and programs that provide for effective protection of species at risk throughout Canada. Under Section 46 of the Species at Risk Act (S.C. 2002, c.29) (SARA), the competent ministers are responsible for reporting on the implementation of the recovery strategy for a species at risk, and on the progress towards meeting its objectives within five years of the date when the recovery strategy was placed on the Species at Risk Public Registry and in every subsequent five-year period, until its objectives have been achieved or the species’ recovery is no longer feasible.
Reporting on the progress of recovery strategy implementation requires reporting on the collective efforts of the competent minister(s), provincial and territorial governments and all other parties involved in conducting activities that contribute to the species’ recovery. Recovery strategies identify broad strategies and approaches that will provide the best chance of recovering species at risk. Some of the identified strategies and approaches are sequential to the progress or completion of others and not all may be undertaken or show significant progress during the timeframe of a Report on the Progress of Recovery Strategy Implementation (Progress Report).
The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans is the competent minister under SARA for the Western Brook Lamprey – Morrison Creek Population and has prepared this Progress Report.
As stated in the preamble to SARA, success in the recovery of species at risk depends on the commitment and cooperation of many different constituencies that will be involved in implementing the directions set out in the recovery strategy and will not be achieved by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, or any other jurisdiction alone. The cost of conserving species at risk is shared amongst different constituencies. All Canadians are invited to join in supporting and implementing the Recovery Strategy for the Western Brook Lamprey – Morrison Creek Population for the benefit of the species and Canadian society as a whole.
This Progress Report was prepared by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans would also like to express its appreciation to all individuals and organizations who have contributed to the recovery of the Western Brook Lamprey – Morrison Creek Population.
The Western Brook Lamprey – Morrison Creek Population (Lampetra richardsoni), hereafter referred to as Morrison Creek Lamprey,1 was assessed by COSEWIC as Threatened in April 1999. In May 2000, the species’ status was re-examined by COSEWIC and designated Endangered, and subsequently listed under the Species at Risk Act as Endangered in June 2003. In July of 2007 the final Recovery Strategy for the Morrison Creek Lamprey (Lampetra richardsoni var.marifuga) in Canada (NRTMCL 2007) was posted to the Species at Risk Public Registry. An updated COSEWIC assessment in 2010 confirmed the species’ status as Endangered.
Key anthropogenic threats identified in the Recovery Strategy for the Morrison Creek Lamprey (Lampetra richardsoni var. marifuga) in Canada include land use, water use, water quality and reduction in prey base. The recovery goal as identified in the Recovery Strategy for this species is to “secure its long-term viability within its natural range.” It is likely that this population will always remain at some risk due to its extremely limited distribution.
This report documents the progress of Recovery Strategy implementation for Morrison Creek Lamprey. It summarizes progress that Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Province of British Columbia’s Ministry of Environment, and other interested parties have made towards achieving the goal and objectives set out in the Recovery Strategy including:
- conducting new research and monitoring activities (including advancing studies to support the identification of critical habitat); and
- completing management activities that help Canadians reduce impacts on, and better understand the threats to, Morrison Creek Lamprey.
1.1 Species status
Assessment summary – April 2010
Western Brook Lamprey – Morrison Creek Population
Legal listing (SARA):
Reason for designation:
This dimorphic population of lamprey is a small freshwater fish endemic to a small stream on eastern Vancouver Island. It is susceptible to habitat loss and degradation owing to its close proximity to a major highway and increasing urbanization in the watershed.
Occurrence in Canada:
Designated Threatened in April 1999. Status re–examined and designated Endangered in May 2000 and in April 2010.
Species at Risk ActStatus:
Listed, Endangered (2003)
1.2.1 Threats to Morrison Creek lamprey
Key anthropogenic threats identified in the Recovery Strategy for the Morrison Creek Lamprey (Lampetra richardsoni var. marifuga) in Canada include land use, water use, water quality and reduction in prey base (NRTMCL 2007).
1.2.2 Activities likely to destroy critical habitat
Neither critical habitat nor activities likely to destroy critical habitat were identified for Morrison Creek Lamprey (MCL) in the Recovery Strategy; however, these will both be identified in a forthcoming Action Plan.
2.1 Recovery goal and objectives
The Recovery Goal and Objectives2(identified in Sections 7 and 8 of the Recovery Strategy respectively), are as follows:
The recovery goal for MCL is to secure its long-term viability within its natural range. It is likely that this population will always remain at some risk due to its extremely limited distribution.
- Resolve taxonomic uncertainties related to MCL for the purposes of its effective protection and recovery.
- Maintain a self-sustaining population of MCL within Morrison Creek.
- Maintain, and where possible enhance, the ecological integrity of habitat for MCL.
- Increase scientific understanding of MCL through additional investigation of its natural history, critical habitat and threats to its persistence.
- Foster awareness of MCL and its conservation status, and encourage active local involvement in stewardship and habitat protection.
2.2 Performance measures
Performance Measures (as outlined in Table 1 of the Recovery Strategy) are reproduced in Section 3.3 of this report.
3. Progress towards recovery
Section 46 of the Species at Risk Act requires the competent Minister to report on the implementation of the Recovery Strategy, and the progress towards meeting its objectives, within five years after it is included in the public registry and in every subsequent five-year period, until its objectives have been achieved or the species’ recovery is no longer feasible. In the interest of capturing the most recent progress on the recovery of MCL, this document includes actions completed up to the end of 2015.
3.1 Research and monitoring activities
Table long description
Table 1 provides a summary of the achievements to date towards completing the Schedule of Studies, identification of critical habitat, new research and monitoring activities. The table is read horizontally from left to right, and consists of five columns and eighteen rows. The top row contains the column headings for the summary of achievements which are # (item number), Strategy, Recovery Objectives Addressed, Activities Completed or Underway, and Organizations Involved. The second row is a subheading containing the General Approach or Activities from Schedule of Studies outlined in the Recovery Strategy, which broadly defines the activities, under which there are one or more rows that identify a related activity, with the columns filled in for each row. A detailed description of the Activities related to the Strategy is provided in column four, with the row subdivided where there are multiple activities related to a single Strategy.
|#||Strategy||Recovery Objectives Addressed||Activities Completed or Underway||Organizations Involved3|
|Activities from Schedule of Studies Outlined in 2007 Recovery Strategy.|
|1||Describe the basic habitat associations for each life stage.||3, 4||DFO; 4FAS5|
|Refer to row 13 of Table 1.|
|2||Develop tools that would allow definitive identification of individual ammocoetes as belonging to either L. richardsoni or L. richardsoni var. marifuga.||1||Not applicable|
|3||Consolidate and report information previously collected on habitat use.||3, 4||MCS; Project Watershed|
|4||Review: a) historic and b) current habitat availability.||4||COSEWIC|
|Refer to row 13 of Table 1.|
|5||Review a) historic and b) current population abundance.||4||Not applicable|
|6||Set recovery targets for each life stage.||4, 5||Not applicable|
|7||Determine the extent and distribution of different habitat types available to the species.||2, 3, 4||Refer to row 4 of Table 1.|
|8||Employ expert judgement to determine quantitative relationship between critical habitat and abundance.||2, 3, 4||Not applicable|
|Wade et al. (2015) provided recommendations for the identification of MCL critical habitat.||DFO; FAS|
|9||Use population targets, habitat type and species’ abundance information to determine the number and location of distinct habitats required to maintain a viable population.||DFO|
|General Approach: Undertake specific research activities to fill knowledge gaps and clarify threats|
|10||Address information gaps that inhibit conservation of Morrison Creek Lamprey.||4||DFO|
|DFO; FAS; refer to row 13 of Table 1|
|Refer to row 11 of Table 1.|
|11||Clarify and address threats to Morrison Creek Lamprey.||2, 4||CDFGPA; GOC; 10MCS & partners|
|GOC; MCS & partners|
|GOC; MCS & partners|
|DFO; MCS; PSF12|
|CEL; COC;14DFO; MCS|
|CEL; FAS; DFO; MCS; HCTF;15 FWCP16|
|General Approach: Delineate and protect key habitats|
|12||Conduct studies to help define critical habitat for Morrison Creek Lamprey.||3, 4||Refer to rows 1 through 5, 7 through 10, and 13 of Table 1.|
|General Approach: Design and implement sound monitoring programs|
|13||Develop and implement a long term monitoring program.||2, 3||KWE; MCS|
|GOC; MCS & partners|
3.2 Management activities
Table 2 long description
Table 2 provides a list of activities undertaken to reduce or eliminate threats to the Morrison Creek Lamprey. The table is read horizontally from left to right, and consists of five columns and nine rows. The top row contains the column headings for the summary of activities which are # (item number), Strategy, Recovery Objectives Addressed, Activities Completed or Underway, and Organizations Involved. The second row is a subheading containing the General Approach, which broadly defines the activities, under which there are one or more rows that identify a related activity, with the columns filled in for each row. Item numbers are continuous from Table 1. A detailed description of the Activities related to the Strategy is provided in column four, with the row subdivided where there are multiple activities related to a single Strategy.
|#||Activity Description||Recovery Objectives Addressed||Activities Completed or Underway||Organizations Involved|
|General Approach: Establish and support stewardship initiatives|
|14||Establish and support a Recovery Implementation Group (RIG) or alternative working group for Morrison Creek Lamprey.||4,5||GOC; MCS & partners|
|15||Inform and educate stakeholders and the general public about the species and general biodiversity values.||5||GOC; MCS & partners|
|16||Work with local government, land developers, and others to improve and encourage watershed stewardship.||5||GOC; MCS & partners|
|General Approach: Delineate and protect key habitats|
|17||Develop a watershed-scale sustainability plan that includes: 1) identification of key habitat, flow and water quality values for lamprey, and 2) guidelines to avoid localized and watershed-scale impacts, which can be incorporated into effective decision making.||1,2,3||BC MOE; GOC; MCS|
|18||Establish water quality and water use objectives for Morrison Creek.||4,5||DFO|
|19||Develop sound protocols for scientific investigations (e.g., limit number of fish collected each year, etc.).||2||DFO|
3.3 Summary of progress towards recovery
DFO, in collaboration with the BC MOE, is developing a forthcoming Action Plan for the Western Brook Lamprey – Morrison Creek Population (Lampetra richardsoni) in Canada as part of the Government of Canada’s ongoing commitment to the conservation of species at risk through the implementation of the Species at Risk Act.
Report on Performance Measures
Performance measures (as outlined in the Recovery Strategy) and their outcomes are addressed below.
Has a RIG or working group been established? Is the RIG adequately supported with funding and technical expertise? Has an Action Plan been developed? Is the RIG achieving the goals outlined in the Recovery Strategy?
Groups such as the MCS (a non-profit, volunteer-based environmental organization located in Courtenay, British Columbia) perform similar functions to a RIG. Staffing and operations funding for the MCS is largely obtained on a year-to-year basis. Specifically, the MCS have been supported via funding, technical expertise, and in-kind contributions from the following organizations: City of Courtenay, British Columbia Ministry of Transport, Government of Canada, Comox Valley Project Watershed Society, Public Conservation Assistance Fund and the Comox Valley Regional District, Pacific Salmon Foundation, Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program (BC Hydro), Timber West, Current Environmental, and other local consulting biologists (Palmer pers. comm. 2015).
DFO is developing a draft Action Plan for the MCL in cooperation with the Province of British Columbia’s Ministry of Environment.
The recovery goal for MCL to “secure its long-term viability within its natural range” may never be fully achieved due to its endemic nature; however, in the timeframe of this report many achievements (outlined in Tables 1 and 2) contributed to the recovery goal of the species.
Are there key information gaps that inhibit conservation of Morrison Creek Lamprey?
Refer to row 10 of Table 1 for activities addressing information gaps. Several additional items remain to be addressed, namely related to: population abundance and dynamics; prey identification and abundance; hydrological connectivity in headwaters; taxonomic status and phylogenetic relationships; and, habitat use by different life stages (NRTMCL 2007; Wade et al. 2015).
Have threats been clarified and assessed? Are threats being mitigated?
Threats are further summarized and expanded upon in a Status Report (COSEWIC 2010), a CSAS22Science Advisory Report (DFO 2015) and Research Document (Wade et al. 2015) as well as a forthcoming Action Plan.
Stewards, consultants, and researchers addressed threats relating to: incidental mortality in a hatchery facility, potential contaminants, erosion, channel drying, works in and around water, invasive plants, and fish passage (refer to row 11 of Table 1 for details).
Has critical habitat been defined for Morrison Creek Lamprey?
Wade et al. (2015) and DFO (2015) provide recommendations for the identification of critical habitat. Critical habitat will be officially identified in the forthcoming Action Plan for the Western Brook Lamprey – Morrison Creek Population (Lampetra richardsoni) in Canada.
Have key areas in the watershed (i.e., those that are disproportionately important for maintaining habitat and the natural flow regime) been identified? Has a watershed plan that recognizes these habitats as important been developed? Have key habitats been effectively protected?
Wade et al. (2015) and DFO (2015) provide recommendations for the identification of critical habitat. Critical habitat will be officially identified in the forthcoming Action Plan for the Western Brook Lamprey – Morrison Creek Population (Lampetra richardsoni) in Canada. Both of these documents assist in the identification of key areas in the watershed.
Though not specific to MCL, in 2011 the Comox Valley Regional District published the Comox Lake Watershed Protection Plan (Wedler Engineering LLP 2011).
Additionally, several parks and protected areas such as the Linton Conservation Area, Roy Stewart Morrison Nature Park and Puntledge Creek are located along Morrison Creek and offer some habitat protection.
Have monitoring programs been implemented? How long has a monitoring program been in place? Is it effective? Is it a benign activity for the population? Is funding secure for the long term?
Though an official monitoring program has not been established, refer to row 13 of Table 1 for details of monitoring conducted by stewards, consultants, researchers, and government.
Harvey and Brown (2013a, 2013b) incorporated best collection and monitoring approaches into draft SARA multi-species compendium reports, which will inform the development and implementation of a comprehensive monitoring plan.
Effectiveness of a monitoring program is pending full implementation and analysis of data from multiple years. Funding is largely obtained on a year-to-year basis. Though expected to be benign, population level impacts from existing monitoring are not assessable until robust population estimates are established.
Have water quality and water use objectives been established and communicated to relevant regulators and stakeholders?
Water quality and water use objectives have not yet been completed. Communication of objectives is pending their development.
Have educational materials been produced? Has public perception and awareness been affected? How many classes have received educational presentations? Has public perception and awareness been affected?
The MCS have developed PowerPoint presentations, classroom activities, press release packages, reports for private landowners, and a Streamkeepers course with a section on MCL. The MCS also maintained a website23 with educational materials, attended Earth Day events and meetings with local and regional governments, posted interpretive signs, and engaged youth in watershed walks and ecological restoration activities. Refer to rows 15 and 16 of Table 2 for more details. Without a follow-up survey it is difficult to measure the extent to which public perception and awareness have been affected by such activities.
Have forest harvest and land management criteria been developed? Is forest harvest and land development meeting the criteria? Have BMPs been developed and communicated? Is there compliance with BMPs?
In 2006/07 the MCS met with local government agents responsible for reviewing and approving development proposals in the Morrison Creek Watershed to encourage the adoption of BMPs; participants resolved that variance from the existing Official Community Plan and Riparian Area Regulations would only be considered on a case by case basis, and that the MCS would be notified of development applications in the watershed. Currently, the “Rural Comox Valley Official Community Plan Bylaw No. 337, 2014”, which is publicly available online, includes development permit guidelines for the “aquatic and riparian habitat development permit area.”
Private Managed Forests are administered under the provincial Private Managed Forest Land Act (PMFLA) by an independent provincial agency, the Managed Forest Council (Council), also established under the PMFLA. The Council mandate is to encourage forest management practices on private Managed Forest land, including monitoring forest practices and the protection of key public environmental values as established by regulation on private managed forest land. To that end, the Council conducts forest practices audits to provide assurance that standards for the protection of public resource values on private managed forest land are being met.
Hancock Forest Management has been participating voluntarily in the Managed Forest Land Program since 1995. Audits conducted by the Managed Forest Council or formerly the Private Managed Forest Land Council on a bi-annual basis indicate that Hancock Forest Management is managing their properties in the Morrison Creek Watershed in accordance with their management commitment and PMFLA regulatory requirements. Specifically, riparian buffers and reforestation practices have met or more often, exceeded requirements.
In addition, the forthcoming Action Plan for MCL includes an action encouraging updating land use plans, official community plans, by-laws and management guidelines with MCL considerations. Compliance monitoring of bylaws and Riparian Area Regulations rests with provincial, regional and municipal governments.
Have scientific investigation protocols been set and communicated? Have they been implemented?
Harvey and Brown (2013a, 2013b) incorporated best collection and monitoring approaches into draft SARA multi-species compendium reports, which will inform the development and implementation of a comprehensive monitoring plan. Communication and implementation of protocols are pending publication.
- Beamish, R. 2013. A summary of the early field studies of the Morrison Creek Lamprey and a new assessment of its taxonomy. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. 3031: iv + 36p.
- COSEWIC, 2010. COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Western Brook Lamprey Lampetra richardsoni, Morrison Creek Population, in Canada. Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. Ottawa. x + 27 pp.
- COSEWIC, 2000. COSEWIC assessment and update status report on the Morrison Creek Lamprey Lampetra richardsoni in Canada. Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. Ottawa. vii + 14 pp.
- DFO, 2015. Review of the Information for the Identification of Critical Habitat for Morrison Creek Lamprey. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Sci. Advis. Rep. 2015/009.
- DFO. In prep. Action Plan for the Western Brook Lamprey – Morrison Creek Population (Lampetra richardsoni) in Canada [Draft]. Species at Risk Act Action Plan Series. Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ottawa. iv + 35 pp.
- FAS (Fundy Aqua Services). 2012. Morrison Creek lamprey (L. richardsoni var. marifuga) 2012 Field Survey Report. Report prepared for Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Nanaimo, Canada. 7pp.
- Harvey, B., and T.G. Brown. 2013a. [Draft] Guidance on protocols for collection of coastal freshwater species. Government of Canada, Ottawa. 27 pp.
- Harvey, B., and T.G. Brown. 2013b. [Draft] Monitoring recovery in a group of SARA-listed freshwater fish species. Government of Canada, Ottawa. 56 pp.
- Jenssen, S. 2011. Comox Valley drinking water reference guide 2011. Comox Valley, BC. Canada.
- Morrison Creek Streamkeepers. n.d. Morrison Creek Streamkeepers website. Available online at: Morrison Creek Streamkeepers [accessed November 2015]
- NRTMCL (National Recovery Team for Morrison Creek Lamprey). 2007. Recovery Strategy for the Morrison Creek Lamprey (Lampetra richardsoni var. marifuga) in Canada. Species at Risk Act Recovery Strategy Series, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ottawa. v + 24 pp.
- Palmer, J. E-mails to A. Gerick. December 2015. Member, Morrison Creek Streamkeepers, Courtenay, British Columbia.
- Rural Comox Valley Official Community Plan Bylaw No. 337, 2014. Available online at: Bylaw No. 337, 2014 [accessed November 2015].
- Wade, J. 2011. Morrison Creek lamprey (L. richardsonivar. marifuga) 2011 Field Survey Report. Report prepared for Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Nanaimo, British Columbia. 5pp
- Wade, J., and Beamish, R. 2014. Identification of barriers affecting the movement of Morrison Creek lamprey (Lampetra richardsoni marifuga) within its natural range. Can. Manuscr. Rep. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 3043: iv + 16 p.
- Wade, J. and S. MacConnachie, S. 2014. Summary of Morrison Creek Lamprey (Lampetra richardsoni variety marifuga) trapping studies 2011-2014. Can. Manuscr. Rep. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 3047: iv + 14p.
- Wade, J., N. Pinnell, G. Kosmider, and S. MacConnachie. 2015. Information to support the identification of critical habitat for the Morrison Creek Lamprey (Lampetra richardsoni var. marifuga). DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Res. Doc. 2015/031. v + 30p.
- Wedler Engineering LLP. 2011. Comox lake watershed protection plan. Comox Valley Regional District, BC, Canada.
- Wong, R. 2014. Morrison Creek Culvert Rehabilitation. Current Environmental Limited and City of Courtenay. Report submitted to Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Vancouver, British Columbia. 21pp.
1 In Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act this species is officially listed as “Western Brook Lamprey – Morrison Creek population.” In this document, the common name “Morrison Creek Lamprey” is used throughout, to maintain consistency with the Recovery Strategy (NRTMCL 2007).
2Referred to in the forthcoming Action Plan for the Western Brook Lamprey – Morrison Creek Population (Lampetra richardsoni) in Canada as “population and distribution objectives.”
3 This column in based on the best available information; DFO acknowledges the large network of people that contribute to recovery of this species, and regrets any potential omissions in Tables 1 and 2.
4Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
5Fundy Aqua Services.
6Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.
7Morrison Creek Streamkeepers.
9Courtenay and District Fish and Game Protective Association.
10Government of Canada.
11Regional District of Comox-Strathcona.
12Pacific Salmon Foundation.
13Current Environmental Ltd.
14City of Courtenay.
15Habitat Conservation Trust Fund.
16British Columbia Hydro’s Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program.
17Komori Wong Environmental.
18Hancock Forest Management.
19Best Management Practices.
20Convening for Action on Vancouver Island.
21Comox Valley Regional District.
22Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat.
*IMPORTANT NOTICE AND DISCLAIMER: DFO does not assume any responsibility for the quality of information, products or services listed in the Web sites provided above. Users should also be aware that information from external sources is available only in the language in which it was provided.
- Date Modified: