Skip booklet index and go to page content

Recovery strategy for multi-species at risk in Garry Oak Woodlands in Canada

Species at Risk Act Recovery Strategy Series Recovery Strategy for Multi-Species at Risk in Garry Oak Woodlands in Canada Deltoid balsamroot White top aster Small-flowered tonella Howell’s triteleia Yellow montane violet July 2006

Species at Risk Act
Recovery Strategy Series

  • Deltoid balsamroot
  • White top aster
  • Small-flowered tonella
  • Howell’s triteleia
  • Yellow montane violet

July 2006

 


About the Species at Risk Act Recovery Strategy Series

What is the Species at Risk Act (SARA)?

SARA is the Act developed by the federal government as a key contribution to the common national effort to protect and conserve species at risk in Canada. SARA came into force in 2003 and one of its purposes is “to provide for the recovery of wildlife species that are extirpated, endangered or threatened as a result of human activity.”

What is recovery?

In the context of species at risk conservation, recovery is the process by which the decline of an endangered, threatened or extirpated species is arrested or reversed, and threats are removed or reduced to improve the likelihood of the species' persistence in the wild. A species will be considered recovered when its long-term persistence in the wild has been secured.

What is a recovery strategy?

A recovery strategy is a planning document that identifies what needs to be done to arrest or reverse the decline of a species. It sets goals and objectives and identifies the main areas of activities to be undertaken. Detailed planning is done at the action plan stage.

Recovery strategy development is a commitment of all provinces and territories and of three federal agencies -- Environment Canada, Parks Canada Agency and Fisheries and Oceans Canada -- under the Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk. Sections 37–46 of SARA (Species at Risk Act) spell out both the required content and the process for developing recovery strategies published in this series.

Depending on the status of the species and when it was assessed, a recovery strategy has to be developed within one to two years after the species is added to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk. Three to four years is allowed for those species that were automatically listed when SARA came into force.

What's next?

In most cases, one or more action plans will be developed to define and guide implementation of the recovery strategy. Nevertheless, directions set in the recovery strategy are sufficient to begin involving communities, land users, and conservationists in recovery implementation. Cost-effective measures to prevent the reduction or loss of the species should not be postponed for lack of full scientific certainty.

The series

This series presents the recovery strategies prepared or adopted by the federal government under SARA. New documents will be added regularly as species get listed and as strategies are updated.

To learn more

To learn more about the Species at Risk Act and recovery initiatives, please consult the SARA Public Registry and the website of the Recovery Secretariat (http://www.speciesatrisk.gc.ca/recovery/default_e.cfm).

 

Recovery strategy for multi-species at risk in Garry Oak Woodlands in Canada

July 2006

Recommended citation:

Parks Canada Agency. 2006. Recovery Strategy for multi-species at risk in Garry Oak Woodlands in Canada. In Species at Risk Act Recovery Strategy Series. Ottawa: Parks Canada Agency. 58 pps.

Additional copies:

You can download additional copies from the SARA Public Registry.

National Library of Canada cataloguing in publication data

Main entry under title:
Recovery Strategy for Multi-Species at Risk in Garry Oak Woodlands in Canada

Cover photos:

SJ Smith 2004

Également disponible en français sous le titre « Programme de rétablissement multi-espèces visant les plantes en péril des chênaies de Garry au Canada »

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of Environment, 2005. All rights reserved.

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

Responsible jurisdictions

The species addressed within the Garry Oak Woodlands Recovery Strategy occur exclusively within the Province of British Columbia in Canada. The Garry Oak Woodlands Recovery Strategy was developed by the Parks Canada Agency on behalf of the Competent Minister (the Minister of the Environment) in partnership with the Government of British Columbia.

Authors

Prepared by:

George W. Douglas, Ph.D. and Shyanne J. Smith
Email: shyanne@uoguelph.ca

For the Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team (GOERT),
Plants at Risk Recovery Implementation Group

Acknowledgments

This document is adapted from a pre-consultation draft prepared by George W. Douglas and Shyanne J. Smith on behalf of the GOERT Plants at Risk Recovery Implementation Group. Douglas and Smith would like to thank the following for providing information on various species: Adolf Ceska, Tim Ennis, Matt Fairbarns, Ted Lea, Moralea Milne, and Hans Roemer. They would also like to thank Brenda Costanzo, Matt Fairbarns, Marilyn Fuchs, Ted Lea, Terry McIntosh, Carrina Maslovat, and Jenifer Penny for spending time reviewing the report and providing valuable input and suggestions. Marta Donovan and Jenifer Penny at the British Columbia Conservation Data Centre also provided information from their database.

This strategy was funded by the Nature Conservancy of Canada and the Habitat Conservation Trust Fund. The Habitat Conservation Trust Fund was created by an act of the legislature to preserve, restore, and enhance key areas of habitat for fish and wildlife throughout British Columbia. Anglers, hunters, trappers and guides contribute to the projects of the Trust Fund through license surcharges. Tax-deductible donations to assist in the work of the Trust Fund are also welcomed.

Preface

This national multi-species strategy addresses the recovery of five endangered or threatened species at risk in Garry oak (Quercus garryana) woodlands: deltoid balsamroot (Balsamorhiza deltoidea), white-top aster (Sericocarpus rigidus), small-flowered tonella (Tonella tenella), Howell’s triteleia (Triteleia howellii), and yellow montane violet (Viola praemorsa ssp. praemorsa). The range of all species in this strategy is primarily in the United States, with only a small percentage extending north into Canada along southeastern Vancouver Island and through the adjacent Gulf Islands.

The Species at Risk Act (SARA, Section 37) requires the competent minister to prepare recovery strategies for listed extirpated, endangered or threatened species. The Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team, Province of British Columbia and the Parks Canada Agency led the development of this Recovery Strategy. The proposed strategy meets SARA requirements in terms of content and process (Sections 39-41). It was developed in cooperation or consultation with numerous individuals and agencies: the Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team, Province of British Columbia, Environment Canada; numerous aboriginal groups within the range of the species were informed of the strategy and opportunity for involvement; numerous environmental non-government groups such as The Land Conservancy and Nature Conservancy of Canada; industry stakeholders such as Weyerhaeuser, and BC Hydro; and landowners such as the Department of National Defence. Almost 1700 individuals and agencies were contacted directly and informed about this recovery program and the opportunity for involvement.

In accordance with the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals (the Directive), a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) was conducted on this Recovery Strategy. The purpose of an SEA is to incorporate environmental considerations into the development of public policies, plans, and program proposals to support environmentally-sound decision making. The strategy has no significant adverse effects, and presents an overall benefit to the environment.

Strategic environmental assessment statement

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

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

There are no obvious adverse environmental effects of the proposed recovery strategy. Implementation of direction contained within this recovery strategy should result in positive environmental effects. In this strategy, the appropriate species (i.e. those in greatest danger of irreversible damage) are targeted for action. Threats to species and habitat are identified to the degree possible and related knowledge gaps are acknowledged. The state of knowledge of habitat critical for the survival and recovery of these species is provided and a specific course of action for definition of these spaces is outlined. Recovery objectives relate back to the specified threats and information gaps. It follows that acting upon the objectives will help to mitigate the effects of threats and improve upon knowledge gaps, thereby resulting in positive impacts to the subject species populations.

The compatibility of this recovery strategy and other plans is facilitated through the multi-stakeholder committee structure of the Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team. It is reasonable to assume that successful stakeholder participation allows for this recovery strategy and relevant plans to be mutually influenced, thereby resulting in some degree of compatibility and positive cumulative effects.

Executive summary

This national multi-species strategy addresses the recovery of five species at risk in Garry oak (Quercus garryana) woodlands: deltoid balsamroot (Balsamorhiza deltoidea), white-top aster (Sericocarpus rigidus), small-flowered tonella (Tonella tenella), Howell’s triteleia (Triteleia howellii), and yellow montane violet (Viola praemorsa ssp. praemorsa). The Recovery Strategy comprises one component of the recovery program for Garry oak and associated ecosystems as outlined in the Recovery Strategy for Garry Oak and Associated Ecosystems and their Associated Species at Risk in Canada: 2001-2006.

The range of all species in this strategy is primarily in the United States, with only a small percentage extending north into Canada along southeastern Vancouver Island and through the adjacent Gulf Islands. The climate in this area is sub-Mediterranean, with cool, moist winters followed by warm summers with a prolonged drought. The woodland habitats range from open parkland with few scattered oaks to woodlands with a closed canopy and a patchy mix of shrubs and meadows. Very little of these woodlands remain and these remnants are fragmented by urbanization and at risk from a number of threats.

Stewardship approach

For successful implementation in protecting species at risk there will be a strong need to engage in stewardship on a variety of land tenures, and in particular on private land and on Indian Reserves. Stewardship involves the voluntary cooperation of landowners to protect Species at Risk and the ecosystems they rely on. It is recognized in the Preamble to the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA) that “stewardship activities contributing to the conservation of wildlife species and their habitat should be supported” and that “all Canadians have a role to play in the conservation of wildlife in this country, including the prevention of wildlife species from becoming extirpated or extinct.” It is recognized in the Bilateral Agreement on Species at Risk, between British Columbia and Canada that:

“Stewardship by land and water owners and users is fundamental to preventing species from becoming at risk and in protecting and recovering species that are at risk” and that “Cooperative, voluntary measures are the first approach to securing the protection and recovery of species at risk.”

Very little Garry oak woodland remains (less than 5%), mostly due to land development. The remaining habitat is highly fragmented, and threatened by further urban development and recreational pressures. The invasion of exotic grasses and shrubs is a pervasive threat to all habitats and species in this strategy. Fire suppression is changing Garry oak stand structure and associated plant community composition, resulting in increased shading, thatch accumulation, and encroachment of shrubs and trees. Herbivory by exotic species and by livestock or deer may also be a potential threat.

  • Information that is pertinent to the ultimate identification of critical habitat is provided for single occurrences, occurrences of the species on federal land, and occurrences under imminent threat. Critical habitat for deltoid balsamroot, white-top aster, small-flowered tonella, yellow montane violet, and Howell’s triteleia will be proposed in the Recovery Action Plan, after a schedule of studies has been completed.

Occupied habitat is discussed in this strategy. Potential habitat remains to be identified and prioritized. Potential habitat should have an open tree canopy, well-drained or seasonally dry soils, and a relatively low amount of invasive species.

Recovery actions will improve the probability of long-term persistence in the wild for all species in this strategy. Further studies are required to determine any insurmountable barriers to restoration or reestablishment.

Long-term recovery goals for all species in this strategy are to: maintain existing populations at current levels of abundance or greater; restore species to their approximate historical area of occupancy and extent occurrence through reintroductions or translocations; and ensure long-term population viability.

The short-term objectives toward meeting these goals are:

  1. Establish protectionFootnote 1 for existing populations through stewardship and other mechanisms.
  2. Involve landowners in habitation protection and species recovery.
  3. Monitor populations and habitat to determine population trends and demography, and assess threats and habitat conditions.
  4. Identify and define habitat attributes of populations including: soil depth and texture, slope and aspect, and associated plant communities.
  5. Conduct biological and ecological research to better understand species at risk biology and ecological requirements and effects of exotic species and fire suppression.
  6. Establish site-specific, adaptive management plans for habitat restoration.
  7. Identify and rank recovery (translocation) sites for each species.
  8. Augment population numbers where required as per recovery goals. 9. Establish new populations or subpopulations of each species as per recovery goals.

Four broad strategies have been designed to address threats and meet recovery objectives:

  • Habitat protection and stewardship
  • Site Management
  • Information collection: inventory, monitoring and research
  • Population Augmentation and Establishment

By taking a multi-species, habitat-based approach to recovery, this strategy recognizes the importance of maintaining Garry oak ecosystems. It is expected that the recommended approaches will benefit not only the individual species at risk but the wider ecological community as well. A program of research to identify specific impacts on associated species at risk will be provided in the Recovery Action Plan.

Social and economic considerations

Recovery of species at risk and restoration of imperiled habitats associated with Garry oak ecosystems will contribute to biodiversity, health and functioning of the environment and enhance opportunities for appreciation of such special places and species thereby contributing to overall social value in southwestern British Columbia. The natural beauty of Garry oak ecosystems in the lower mainland, Gulf Islands and Vancouver Island are an important resource for British Columbians that provide for a robust tourism and recreation industry. Protecting these natural spaces, biodiversity and recreation values has enormous value to the local economy.

Recovery actions could potentially affect the following socioeconomic sectors: recreational activities, private land development, parks operations and maintenance. The expected magnitude of these affects is expected to be low in almost all cases.

There are a number of knowledge gaps that need to be addressed, regarding individual species as well as habitats. Information gaps include: species distribution and population status, species demography, effects of fire suppression, exotic species and restoration activities on species and habitats.

Recovery of the species in this strategy is likely to have minimal socio-economic impact, however, some land use options may be incompatible with recovery goals outlined in this recovery strategy.

The draft Recovery Action Plan for Garry oak woodland species at risk will be completed by March 2010.

Footnotes

Footnote 1

This may involve protection in any form including stewardship agreements and conservation covenants on private lands, land use designations on crown lands, and protection in federal, provincial and local government protected areas.

Return to footnote 1 referrer

Table of contents