Report on the Progress of Recovery Strategy Implementation for Cowichan Lake Lamprey (Entosphenus macrostomus) 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. 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 Cowichan Lake Lamprey threats to critical habitat and/or threats to its residence
Cowichan Lake lamprey
Figure long description
The cover illustration is a drawing of Cowichan Lake lamprey. 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 Cowichan Lake Lamprey (Entosphenus macrostomus) in Canada for the period 2007 – 2015. Species at Risk Act Recovery Strategy Report Series. Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ottawa. v + 13 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 œuvre du programme de rétablissement de la lamproie du lac Cowichan (Entosphenus macrostomus) 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.
Catalogue no. En3-4/34-1-2016E-PDF
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 Cowichan Lake Lamprey (Entosphenus macrostomus) 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 Cowichan Lake Lamprey 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 Cowichan Lake Lamprey.
The Vancouver Lamprey (Lampetra macrostoma), now known as the Cowichan Lake Lamprey1, was assessed as Threatened by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) in 2000, and subsequently listed under the Species at Risk Act as Threatened in June of 2003. In September of 2007 the final Recovery Strategy for Vancouver Lamprey (Lampetra macrostoma) in Canada was posted to the Species at Risk Public Registry. An updated COSEWIC assessment in 2008 reconfirmed the species’ status as Threatened (COSEWIC 2008).
Threats to Cowichan Lake Lamprey, as identified in the Recovery Strategy for Vancouver Lamprey (Lampetra macrostoma) in Canada, include: water use, land use, water quality, recreation, altered prey base, and climate change (VLRT 2007). The recovery goal for Vancouver lamprey is to ensure its long-term viability within its natural range. It is likely that this species will always remain at some risk due to its extremely limited distribution.
This report documents the progress of Recovery Strategy implementation for Cowichan Lake 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, Cowichan Lake Lamprey.
1.1 Species status
Assessment Summary – November 2008
Reason for designation
This endemic parasitic species, known only from one location in British Columbia, is dependent on the availability of salmonids. Given that its primary prey is juvenile Coho Salmon in Cowichan Lake, the recent and ongoing decline of Coho adults observed returning to the lake is expected to have a significant negative impact on lamprey numbers.
Occurrence in Canada:
Designated Special Concern in April 1986. Status re-examined and confirmed in April 1998. Status re-examined and designated Threatened in November 2000 and in November 2008. Last assessment based on an update status report.
Species at Risk ActStatus:
Listed, Threatened – 2003
1.2.1 Threats to Cowichan Lake lamprey
Threats to Cowichan Lake Lamprey, as identified in Section 2 of the Recovery Strategy for Vancouver Lamprey (Lampetra macrostoma) in Canada, include: water use, land use, water quality, recreation, altered prey base, and climate change (VLRT 2007).
1.2.2 Activities likely to destroy critical habitat
Neither critical habitat nor activities likely to destroy critical habitat were identified in the Recovery Strategy for Vancouver Lamprey (Lampetra macrostoma) in Canada(VLLRT 2007); 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 Vancouver lamprey is to ensure its long-term viability within its natural range. It is likely that this species will always remain at some risk due to its extremely limited distribution.
- Maintain a self-sustaining population of Vancouver lamprey within Cowichan and Mesachie lakes that is resilient to short-term habitat perturbations.
- Maintain, and where possible enhance, the ecological integrity of habitat for Vancouver lamprey.
- Increase scientific understanding of Vancouver lamprey through additional investigation of its taxonomic status, natural history, critical habitat and threats to the species’ persistence.
- Foster awareness of Vancouver lamprey and its conservation status, and encourage active local involvement in stewardship and habitat protection.
2.2 Performance measures
Performance Measures (as outlined in Table 3 of the Recovery Strategy) are reproduced in detail 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 Cowichan Lake Lamprey, 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||COSEWIC4|
|Refer to row 12 of Table 1.|
|2||Consolidate and report information previously collected on habitat use.||2,3||BCMOE; DFO; FAS|
|Refer to row 12 of Table 1.|
|3||Review: a) historic and b) current habitat availability.||2,3||Refer to row 2 of Table 1.|
|4||Determine the extent and distribution of different habitat types available to the species.||2,3||Refer to row 2 of Table 1.|
|5||Establish clearly defined population recovery targets for each life stage based on population modeling and rules of thumb.||1,3||Not applicable.|
|Refer to row 12 of Table 1.|
|6||Review a) historic and b) current population abundance.||1,3||Not applicable.|
|7||Employ expert judgement to determine quantitative relationship between critical habitat and abundance.||1,3||DFO|
|8||Use population target, habitat type and species’ abundance information to determine the number and location of distinct habitats required to maintain a viable population.||1,3||Refer to row 7 of Table 1.|
|General Approach: Undertake specific research activities to fill knowledge gaps and clarify threats|
|9||Address information gaps that inhibit conservation of Vancouver Lamprey.||3||DFO|
|Refer to row 10 of Table 1.|
|Refer to row 12 of Table 1.|
|10||Clarify and address threats to Vancouver Lamprey.||1,3||COSEWIC|
|General Approach: Delineate and protect9 key habitats|
|11||Conduct studies to help define critical habitat for Vancouver Lamprey.||2,3||Refer to rows 1 through 4, 6 through 9, and 12 of Table 1.|
|General Approach: Design and implement sound monitoring programs|
|12||Develop and implement a long term monitoring program.||1,4||DFO|
|13||Develop sound protocols for scientific investigations (e.g., limit the number of fish collected each year, etc.)||1,3||DFO|
3.2 Management Activities
Table long description
Table 2 provides a list of activities undertaken to reduce or eliminate threats to the Cowichan Lake 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.
|#||Strategy||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 Vancouver Lamprey.||4||Not applicable.|
|15||Inform and educate stakeholders and the general public about the species and general biodiversity values.||4||BCMOE; CF;13IF;14 SCCP|
|16||Work with local governments, land developers, and others to improve and encourage watershed stewardship.||4||CWB|
|General Approach: Undertake specific research activities to fill knowledge gaps and clarify threats|
|17||Establish water quality and water use objectives for Cowichan and Mesachie lakes.||2||BCMOE; CPC;20 CT;21CVRD;22 DFO; PSC;23WRGI|
|General Approach: Delineate and protect key habitats|
|18||Develop a comprehensive water management plan for each basin.||2||BCMOE; CPC; CT; CVRD; DFO; PSC; WRGI|
3.3 Summary of Progress towards Recovery
DFO, in collaboration with the BCMOE, is developing an Action Plan for Cowichan Lake Lamprey 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
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?
A RIG or working group has not been established.
DFO is developing a draft Action Plan for the Cowichan Lake Lamprey (Entosphenus macrostomus) in Canada in cooperation with the Province of British Columbia’s Ministry of Environment.
The recovery goal for Cowichan Lake Lamprey to “ensure 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 Vancouver lamprey?
Refer to row 9 of Table 1 for activities addressing information gaps. Several additional items remain to be addressed, namely related to: population abundance; life history; habitat use; and, susceptibility to different causes of mortality (VLRT 2007; DFO 2010).
Have threats been clarified and assessed? Are threats being mitigated?
Threats are further summarized and expanded upon in a Status Report (COSEWIC 2008) and a CSAS24Science Advisory Report (DFO 2010).
Has critical habitat been defined for Vancouver lamprey?
DFO (2010) provides recommendations for the identification of critical habitat.
Have monitoring programs been implemented? How long has a monitoring program been in place? Is it effective? Is funding secure for the long term?
Between 2004 and 2013 the BC LSS and MOE (2013) designed and implemented a water quality monitoring program, which included Cowichan Lake. Water quality assessments for Cowichan Lake are summarized in technical reports published by the Province of British Columbia (Province of British Columbia n.d.).
Though an official Cowichan Lake Lamprey monitoring program has not been established, refer to row 12 of Table 1 for details of monitoring conducted by researchers, non-profit organizations 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?
Westland Resource Group Inc. (2007) included objectives addressing water use in the Cowichan Basin Water Management Plan. Government, industry, First nations and community interests worked together to develop this document and it is publicly available to regulators and stakeholders on both the CVRD and CWB websites. Water quality objectives for Cowichan Lake are also included in technical reports published by the Province of British Columbia, available online (Province of British Columbia n.d.).
Does the water management plan adequately address the needs of Vancouver lamprey? Has it been implemented?
Westland Resource Group Inc. (2007) developed a Cowichan Basin Water Management Plan on behalf of the Cowichan Valley Regional District. While this document does not specifically address Cowichan Lake Lamprey, it does address the maintenance of aquatic habitats, and conservation of salmonids (potential prey). In 2010, the Cowichan Watershed Board reported on the status of the Water Management Plan, and provided recommendations on future actions.
Have educational materials been produced? How many classes have received educational presentations? How many educational signs have been erected? Has public perception and awareness been affected?
In August 2010, SCCP produced an online factsheet detailing habitat preferences, threats, and conservation requirements for Cowichan Lake Lamprey. Though not specific to Cowichan Lake Lamprey, in 2012 the CLRSS prepared “The Shoreline of Cowichan Lake: A Report Card”, with the objective of providing awareness to the general public of the need to become proactive in the protection of Cowichan Lake’s biodiversity.
The number of educational signs and classes receiving educational presentations is unknown. Without a follow-up survey on educational outreach it is difficult to measure whether 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?
Currently, the “Official Community Plan Bylaw No. 910-2011,” which is publicly available online, includes policies for development permit areas including “watercourse and streamside protection” (Town of Lake Cowichan 2011).
The CWB (2010) reports that progress is ongoing to implement best management practices for stormwater management and protection of ground water resources in the region. DFO is unaware of compliance monitoring for best management practices.
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. J., and J. Wade. 2008. Critical habitat and the conservation ecology of the freshwater parasitic lamprey, Lampetra macrostoma. Canadian Field-Naturalist 122(4): 327-337.
- BCCF. 2012a. Cowichan Lake Shoreline Habitat Assessment. Assessment prepared for Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada. Available online at: Cowichan Lake Shoreline Habitat Assessment [PDF 4.21 MB][accessed November 2015].
- BCCF. 2012b. The Shoreline of Cowichan Lake: A Report Card (2012). Available online at: The Shoreline of Cowichan Lake: A Report Card (2012)[PDF 594 KB] [accessed November 2015].
- BCLSS and BCMOE. 2013. BC Lake stewardship and monitoring program Cowichan lake 2004-2013. Available online at: CLRSS Projects [accessed November 2015].
- CLRSS. 2015. CLRSS Projects. Cowichan Lake and River Stewardship Society. Available online at: CLRSS Projects [accessed November 2015].
- CWB. 2010. Status of Cowichan Basin Water Management Plan and Recommended Actions. Cowichan Watershed Board. Available online at: Current Status of Cowichan Basin Water Management Plan and Recommended Actions [accessed November 2015].
- COSEWIC. 2008. COSEWIC assessment and update status report on the Vancouver Lamprey Lampetra macrostoma in Canada. Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. Ottawa. vi + 39 pp.
- DFO. 2010. Recovery potential assessment of Vancouver Island lamprey (Lampetra macrostoma Beamish). DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Sci. Advis. Rep. 2009/077.
- Fundy Aqua Services. 2011. Cowichan Lake Lamprey habitat survey. Field survey final report 2011. Report prepared for Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Nanaimo, BC. 15pp.
- Fundy Aqua Services. 2012. Cowichan Lake Lamprey (L. macrostoma) habitat use. field survey final report 2012. Report prepared for Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Nanaimo, BC. 18pp.
- 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.
- Province of British Columbia. n.d. Water quality objectives: West coast region. Available online at: Water quality objectives: West coast region [accessed December 2015].
- Town of Lake Cowichan. 2011. Official Community Plan Bylaw No. 910-2011. Available online at: Bylaw No. 910-2011 [PDF 6.2 MB] [accessed November 2015].
- VLRT (Vancouver Lamprey Recovery Team). 2007. Recovery Strategy for the Vancouver Lamprey (Lampetra macrostoma) in Canada. Species at Risk Act Recovery Strategy Series, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ottawa, ix + 21 pp.
- Wade, J., pers. comm. 2015. E-mail communication with A. Gerick. December 2015. Biologist, Fundy Aqua Services.
- Wade, J., and S. MacConnachie. 2016. Cowichan Lake Lamprey (Entosphenus macrostomus) ammocoete habitat survey 2012. Can. Manuscr. Rep. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 3088: iv + 15p.
- WRG. 2007. Cowichan basin water management plan. Available online at: Cowichan Basin Water Management Plan [accessed November 2015].
1 The previous species name, Vancouver Lamprey (Lampetra macrostoma), is referred to in this document only in relation to previously published documents and their content, such as the Recovery Strategy or COSEWIC reports.
2Referred to in the forthcoming Action Plan for Vancouver Lamprey as “population and distribution objectives.
3 This column is 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.
4Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.
5Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
6British Columbia’s Ministry of the Environment.
7Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
8Fundy Aqua Services.
9Protection can be achieved through a variety of mechanisms including: voluntary stewardship agreements, conservation covenants, sale by willing vendors on private lands, land use designations and protected areas.
10British Columbia Lake Stewardship Society.
11South Coast Conservation Program.
14International Forest Products.
15Cowichan Lake River and Stewardship Society.
16Cowichan Watershed Board.
18British Columbia Conservation Foundation.
19Westland Resource Group Inc.
20Catalyst Paper Corporation.
22Cowichan Valley Regional District.
23Pacific Salmon Commission.
24Canadian 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: