Vol. 140, No. 18 -- September 6, 2006
SOR/2006-189 August 15, 2006
SPECIES AT RISK ACT
Order Amending Schedules 1 to 3 to the Species at Risk Act
P.C. 2006-768 August 15, 2006
Her Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, pursuant to section 27 of the Species at Risk Act (see footnote a), hereby makes the annexed Order Amending Schedules 1 to 3 to the Species at Risk Act.
ORDER AMENDING SCHEDULES 1 TO 3 TO THE SPECIES AT RISK ACT
1. Part 2 to Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act(see footnote 1) is amended by striking out the following under the heading "MAMMALS", as enacted by Order in Council P.C. 2005-1342 dated July 14, 2005 and registered as SOR/2005-224:
Whale, Killer (Orcinus orca) Northeast Pacific southern resident population
Épaulard population résidente du sud du Pacifique Nord-Est
2. Part 2 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order under the heading "MAMMALS":
Whale, North Pacific Right (Eubalaena japonica)
Baleine noire du Pacifique Nord
3. Part 2 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order under the heading "BIRDS":
Sapsucker, Williamson's (Sphyrapicus thyroideus)
Pic de Williamson
4. Part 2 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order under the heading "REPTILES":
Turtle, Blanding's (Emydoidea blandingii) Nova Scotia population
Tortue mouchetée population de la Nouvelle-Écosse
5. Part 2 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order under the heading "FISH":
Sturgeon, White (Acipenser transmontanus) Kootenay River population
Esturgeon blanc population de la rivière Kootenay
Sturgeon, White (Acipenser transmontanus) Nechako River population
Esturgeon blanc population de la rivière Nechako
Sturgeon, White (Acipenser transmontanus) Upper Columbia River population
Esturgeon blanc population du cours supérieur du Columbia
Sturgeon, White (Acipenser transmontanus) Upper Fraser River population
Esturgeon blanc population du cours supérieur du Fraser
6. Part 2 to Schedule 1 of the Act is amended by striking out the following under the heading "ARTHROPODS":
Ringlet, Maritime (Coenonympha tullia nipisiquit)
Satyre fauve des Maritimes
7. Part 2 to Schedule 1 of the Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order under the heading "ARTHROPODS":
Flower Moth, White (Schinia bimatris)
Héliotin blanc satiné
Ringlet, Maritime (Coenonympha nipisiquit)
Satyre fauve des Maritimes
Skipper, Ottoe (Hesperia ottoe)
8. Part 2 to Schedule 1 of the Act is amended by striking out the following under the heading "PLANTS":
Buttercup, Water-plantain (Ranunculus alismaefolius var. alismaefolius)
Renoncule à feuilles d'alisme
Quillwort, Engelmann's (Isoëtes engelmannii)
9. Part 2 to Schedule 1 of the Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order under the heading "PLANTS":
Buttercup, Water-plantain (Ranunculus alismifolius var. alismifolius)
Renoncule à feuilles d'alisme
Campion, Spalding's (Silene spaldingii)
Silène de Spalding
Chestnut, American (Castanea dentata)
Lupine, Dense-flowered (Lupinus densiflorus)
Meconella, White (Meconella oregana)
Owl-clover, Grand Coulee (Orthocarpus barbatus)
Phacelia, Branched (Phacelia ramosissima)
Quillwort, Engelmann's (Isoetes engelmannii)
Spike-primrose, Dense (Epilobium densiflorum)
10. Part 2 to Schedule 1 of the Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order under the heading "MOSSES":
Cord-moss, Rusty (Entosthodon rubiginosus)
11. Part 3 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by striking out the following under the heading "MAMMALS", as enacted by Order in Council P.C. 2005-1342 dated July 14, 2005 and registered as SOR/2005-224:
Whale, Killer (Orcinus orca) Northeast Pacific northern resident population
Épaulard population résidente du nord du Pacifique Nord-Est
12. Part 3 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order under the heading "MAMMALS":
Whale, Fin (Balaenoptera physalus) Pacific population
Rorqual commun population du Pacifique
13. Part 3 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order under the heading "REPTILES":
Racer, Eastern Yellow-bellied (Coluber constrictor flaviventris)
Couleuvre agile à ventre jaune de l'Est
Turtle, Blanding's (Emydoidea blandingii) Great Lakes/ St. Lawrence population
Tortue mouchetée population des Grands Lacs et du Saint-Laurent
14. Part 3 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order under the heading "FISH":
Sculpin, "Eastslope" (Cottus sp.) St. Mary and Milk River populations
Chabot du versant est populations des rivières St. Mary et Milk
15. Part 3 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by striking out the following under the heading "PLANTS":
Blue-Flag, Western (Iris missouriensis)
Iris du Missouri
Gentian, Victorin's (Gentianopsis procera ssp. macounii var. victorinii)
Gentiane de Victorin
16. Part 3 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order under the heading "PLANTS":
Blue Flag, Western (Iris missouriensis)
Iris du Missouri
Fern, Mountain Holly (Polystichum scopulinum)
Polystic des rochers
Gentian, Victorin's (Gentianopsis virgata ssp. victorinii)
Gentiane de Victorin
Iris, Dwarf Lake (Iris lacustris)
Meadowfoam, Macoun's (Limnanthes macounii)
Limnanthe de Macoun
Paintbrush, Cliff (Castilleja rupicola)
Castilléjie des rochers
Phlox, Showy (Phlox speciosa ssp. occidentalis)
Phlox de l'Ouest
Rue-anemone, False (Enemion biternatum)
Isopyre à feuilles biternées
Sedge, Baikal (Carex sabulosa)
Carex des sables
Thistle, Hill's (Cirsium hillii)
Chardon de Hill
17. Part 3 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order under the heading "MOSSES":
Moss, Alkaline Wing-nerved (Pterygoneurum kozlovii)
Ptérygoneure de Koslov
18. Part 4 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by striking out the following under the heading "MAMMALS", as enacted by Order in Council P.C. 2005-1342 dated July 14, 2005 and registered as SOR/2005-224:
Whale, Killer (Orcinus orca) Northeast Pacific transient population
Épaulard population océanique du Pacifique Nord-Est
19. Part 4 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order under the heading "MAMMALS":
Whale, Fin (Balaenoptera physalus) Atlantic population
Rorqual commun population de l'Atlantique
20. Part 4 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order under the heading "BIRDS":
Murrelet, Ancient (Synthliboramphus antiquus)
Guillemot à cou blanc
21. Part 4 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order under the heading "REPTILES":
Racer, Western Yellow-bellied (Coluber constrictor mormon)
Couleuvre agile à ventre jaune de l'Ouest
22. Part 4 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order under the heading "FISH":
Pickerel, Grass (Esox americanus vermiculatus)
Sturgeon, Green (Acipenser medirostris)
23. Part 4 of Schedule 1 to the French version of the Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order under the heading "POISSONS":
Chabot tacheté de Columbia (Cottus bairdii hubbsi)
Sculpin, Columbia Mottled
24. Part 4 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order under the heading "PLANTS":
Goldenrod, Houghton's (Solidago houghtonii)
Verge d'or de Houghton
Pondweed, Hill's (Potamogeton hillii)
Potamot de Hill
Quillwort, Prototype (Isoetes prototypus)
Rose-mallow, Swamp (Hibiscus moscheutos)
Ketmie des marais
25. Part 4 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order under the heading "MOSSES":
Cord-moss, Banded (Entosthodon fascicularis)
Moss, Pygmy Pocket (Fissidens exilis)
26. Part 4 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order under the heading "LICHENS":
Glass-whiskers, Frosted (Sclerophora peronella) Nova Scotia population
Sclérophore givré population de la Nouvelle-Écosse
27. Part 2 of Schedule 2 to the Act is amended by striking out the following under the heading "REPTILES":
Turtle, Blanding's (Emydoidea blandingi) Nova Scotia population
Tortue mouchetée population de la Nouvelle-Écosse
28. Part 2 of Schedule 2 to the Act is amended by striking out the following under the heading "FISH":
Whitefish, Lake (Coregonus clupeaformis) Lake Simcoe population
Grand corégone population du lac Simcoe
29. Part 2 of Schedule 2 to the Act is amended by striking out the following under the heading "PLANTS":
Chestnut, American (Castanea dentata)
30. Schedule 3 to the Act is amended by striking out the following under the heading "MAMMALS":
Whale, Fin (Balaenoptera physalus)
31. Schedule 3 to the Act is amended by striking out the following under the heading "BIRDS":
Murrelet, Ancient (Synthliboramphus antiquus)
Guillemot à cou blanc
32. Schedule 3 to the Act is amended by striking out the following under the heading "AMPHIBIANS":
Salamander, Smallmouth (Ambystoma texanum)
Salamandre à nez court
33. Schedule 3 to the Act is amended by striking out the following under the heading "REPTILES":
Racer, Eastern Yellow-bellied (Coluber constrictor flaviventris)
Couleuvre agile à ventre jaune de l'Est
Skink, Northern Prairie (Eumeces septentrionalis septentrionalis)
Scinque des Prairies
34. Schedule 3 to the Act is amended by striking out the following under the heading "FISH":
Sturgeon, Green (Acipenser medirostris)
Sturgeon, White (Acipenser transmontanus)
35. Schedule 3 to the Act is amended by striking out the following under the heading "PLANTS":
Aster, Gulf of St. Lawrence (Symphyotrichum laurentianum)
Aster du Golfe St-Laurent
Bartonia, Branched (Bartonia paniculata ssp. paniculata)
Gentian, Victorin's (Gentianopsis victorinii)
Gentiane de Victorin
Lilaeopsis (Lilaeopsis chinensis)
Liléopsis de l'Est
Meadowfoam, Macoun's (Limnanthes macounii)
Limnanthe de Macoun
Pondweed, Hill's (Potamogeton hillii)
Potamot de Hill
Rose-mallow, Swamp (Hibiscus moscheutos)
Ketmie des marais
Rue-anemone, False (Enemion biternatum)
Isopyre à feuilles biternées
COMING INTO FORCE
36. This Order comes into force on the day on which it is registered.
REGULATORY IMPACT ANALYSIS STATEMENT
(This statement is not part of the Order.)
The Governor in Council (GiC), on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, amends, pursuant to section 27 of the Species at Risk Act (SARA), Schedule 1, the List of Wildlife Species at Risk, by adding 42 new species. This Order is based on scientific assessments by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) and on consultations with governments, Aboriginal peoples, wildlife management boards, stakeholders and the Canadian public and consideration of benefits and costs.
SARA received Royal Assent in December 2002, after extensive consultation with provincial and territorial governments, Aboriginal peoples, wildlife management boards, environmental organizations, industry and the general public. At the time of Royal Assent, 233 species were included in Schedule 1. Since 2002, the Governor in Council (GiC) has on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, added 156 species to Schedule 1. The total number of species on the List is currently 389.
The purpose of SARA is threefold: to prevent wildlife species from being extirpated or becoming extinct; to provide for the recovery of wildlife species that are extirpated, endangered or threatened as a result of human activity; and to manage species of special concern to prevent them from becoming endangered or threatened. SARA complements provincial and territorial laws as well as existing federal legislation (e.g., the Canada National Parks Act, the Canada Wildlife Act,the Fisheries Act, the Oceans Act, the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 and the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act).
By means of an Order issued by the GiC, SARA provides for wildlife species to be added to or removed from Schedule 1, or their classification changed, following their assessment by COSEWIC. The regulatory process for amending the List of Wildlife Species at Risk is subject to the Federal Regulatory Policy, which requires consultations with Canadians as well as consideration of benefits and costs.
SARA establishes COSEWIC as an independent, scientific advisory body on the status of species at risk. The Committee's primary function is to assess the level of risk for wildlife species based on the best available information on the biological status of a species, including scientific knowledge, Aboriginal traditional knowledge and community knowledge. This assessment is based on biological factors identified in detailed status reports and the application of assessment criteria.
The degree of risk to a species is categorized according to the terms extirpated, endangered, threatened and special concern. A species is assessed by COSEWIC as extirpated when it no longer exists in the wild in Canada, but still exists elsewhere in the wild. It is endangered if it is facing imminent extirpation or extinction, and threatened if the species is likely to become endangered if nothing is done to reverse the factors leading to its extirpation or extinction. Special concern status is given to a species if it may become threatened or endangered because of a combination of biological characteristics and identified threats.
Adding a species to Schedule 1 as extirpated, endangered or threatened under SARA may lead to the application of prohibitions that make it an offence to kill, harm, harass, capture or take an individual of a wildlife species, or to damage or destroy the residence of one or more individuals of a wildlife species. Prohibitions under SARA may also apply that make it an offence to possess, collect, buy, sell or trade individuals of a wildlife species. Generally speaking, these prohibitions apply automatically to migratory birds protected by the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 (MBCA, 1994) and aquatic species that are listed as extirpated, endangered or threatened wherever they are found, and to all other wildlife species listed as extirpated, endangered or threatened on federal lands. For all species listed as extirpated, endangered or threatened, a recovery strategy must be developed within fixed timelines and, in general, at least one action plan must be prepared based on the recovery strategy. For those listed as species of special concern, a management plan must be prepared. Should species not be effectively protected by the laws of a province or a territory, SARA has provisions that give the federal government the power to apply prohibitions on non-federal lands to secure their protection. The federal government must consult with the jurisdiction concerned before invoking any provisions.
GiC Officially Acknowledges Receipt of Species Assessments
On November 15, 2005, the GiC officially received the COSEWIC assessments for 46 species that had been assessed by COSEWIC at its meetings of November 2003, May 2004, November 2004 and May 2005. This action initiated a nine-month timeline by the end of which the GIC may decide whether or not to add these 46 species to Schedule 1 of SARA, or to refer the assessments back to COSEWIC for further consideration or information. For the purposes of providing listing recommendations under SARA, white sturgeon has been divided into six separate populations. Therefore, a total of 18 listing recommendations have been provided for aquatic species.
The GiC has decided, on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, to add 42 species to Schedule 1, but to not add five populations of beluga whale (Ungava Bay, Cumberland Sound, Eastern Hudson Bay, Eastern High Arctic/Baffin Bay and Western Hudson Bay), the porbeagle shark, and two populations of white sturgeon (Lower Fraser River and Middle Fraser River). The GiC has referred the assessment for Verna's flower moth back to COSEWIC for further information and consideration. Of the 42 species, 32 are terrestrial species for which the Minister of the Environment is responsible. Ten are aquatic species for which the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans has primary responsibility under SARA. The Minister of the Environment also has responsibility for two of these ten aquatic species as they occur on lands administered by the Parks Canada Agency.
In total, the GiC has decided to add 42 species to Schedule 1, to not add eight species and to refer one species assessment back to COSEWIC.
A number of existing agreements, permits, licences, orders, and other similar documents issued under federal legislation may currently authorize activities affecting individuals, critical habitat or residences of wildlife species that are proposed for listing. Upon listing of these species, persons conducting such activities may be subject to prohibitions. In some cases, an order under section 76 of SARA may be made exempting agreements, permits, licences, orders or other similar documents existing at the time of listing from the SARA prohibitions for up to one year. This would allow, for example, for the completion of a recovery strategy permitting the activity affecting the listed species or for the issuance of SARA permits.
For the four white sturgeon populations (Upper Fraser River, Nechako River, Upper Columbia River, and Kootenay River) that are being added to Schedule 1, the GiC has made under section 76 of SARA, an exemption from the SARA prohibitions for a period of up to one year for existing fishing licences, water use operations, and other activities that may affect the species. This exemption will avoid prohibitions on bycatch fisheries and other activities for up to one year.
The risk status, as assessed by COSEWIC, for each of the 42 listed species is presented in Appendix 1. Detailed information on each species added to Schedule 1 is available from the COSEWIC status reports, which can be found on the SARA Public Registry at www.sararegistry.gc.ca.
Thirty-two terrestrial species are added to Schedule 1 of SARA. These include birds, reptiles, arthropods, plants, mosses and lichens.
Two bird species, the Williamson's Sapsucker and Ancient Murrelet, are migratory birds protected by the MBCA, 1994.
The Williamson's Sapsucker occurs in Canada as two disjunct populations in the interior of southern British Columbia area at the northern limit of the species' range. This woodpecker depends on large trees for nesting, coniferous trees to obtain the sap that is its main food source, and trees with carpenter ants upon which it also feeds. The total Canadian population is small, with 85% of the birds occurring in south-central British Columbia. The other population in the southern Rockies is so small it may no longer be viable. There are no quantifiable population trends, but suitable habitat (mostly mature western larch forests) has undergone considerable losses, and has likely resulted in similar losses in sapsucker populations. Loss of habitat to timber harvesting and land clearing is expected to continue, and a 53% projected habitat loss over the next 10 years may potentially reduce the woodpecker population size to where it may no longer remain viable in Canada.
About half of the world breeding population of the Ancient Murrelet breeds in Canada in 31 colonies on the Queen Charlotte Islands. These seabirds normally nest in burrows on islands where mammalian predators are absent and prefer to make their burrows under a forest canopy. It is believed that human activities and introduced predators may have drastically altered population sizes and distributions before the first surveys were conducted. Although many of the Canadian breeding colonies have not been surveyed in the last 20 years, of those that have been visited, four show population increases, six show declines and 11 have been abandoned. In general, islands with no mammalian predators show population increases, while those with introduced mammalian predators show dramatic declines or extirpations. Colonies that declined as a result of introduced rats are not showing signs of recovery even though rats had been exterminated from the island. Colonies in areas where the forest cover has been removed have not recovered either. The most serious threat to the birds are introduced mammals (rats and raccoons), with over half of the colonies on the Queen Charlotte Islands susceptible to raccoon invasion. The birds are very sensitive to human disturbance and easily abandon their nests. They are also threatened by by-catch in fishing gear, competition with the commercial fishery and altered zooplankton productivity, and are potentially threatened by oil and gas exploration and exploitation, increased shipping and oil spills. The overall Canadian population is estimated to have declined by 18% over the last 10 years.
Four species, subspecies and populations of reptiles are added to Schedule 1. They are the Nova Scotia population of Blanding's turtle, the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence population of Blanding's turtle, the eastern yellow-bellied racer and the western yellow-bellied racer. All four species occur at the northern extent of their respective ranges, are probably limited by climate, and may be living in suboptimal habitats. They all have small ranges and are threatened by habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation, which restrict gene flow, thereby increasing the vulnerability of isolated populations to random events. If local populations disappear, isolated habitat patches are not likely to be re-colonized.
The Blanding's turtle is a very long-lived, late maturing species with a low reproductive output, characteristics that make the species highly susceptible to population declines even with low mortality rates among mature individuals. Populations are very susceptible to the loss of adult females, often affecting the long-term viability of subpopulations.
The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence population of the Blanding's turtle occupies part of the core range of the species. It is still widespread and fairly numerous, but is declining and often occurs as isolated subpopulations, some of which are no longer viable. The species has disappeared from some areas. Where it still exists, it occurs at low densities. Since the 1900s, much of its habitat has been lost, degraded and fragmented, and habitat loss continues. Currently, the population experiences low recruitment and very high nest failure due to predation and cool summers. It is threatened by habitat loss/fragmentation (resulting from urban development and alteration of wetlands), road mortality (especially nesting females that tend to lay eggs on gravel roads or the shoulders of paved roads), nest predation and collecting for the pet trade (nesting females are most vulnerable to collecting).
The small Nova Scotia population of the Blanding's turtle represents a highly disjunct population at the north-eastern edge of the species' range. It is composed of three genetically distinct subpopulations that are more or less isolated from each other. The turtle has been exposed to habitat fragmentation and water-flow regime changes that occurred since European settlement, likely resulting in population declines from historic levels. A large part of the current population is protected within the boundaries of a national park, but the population continues to decline as a result of the loss of females and hatchlings to road mortality, nest predation, prolonged flooding and habitat loss.
Both the western yellow-bellied racer and the eastern yellow-bellied racer occur in Canada in small, restricted ranges and are likely limited by climate. They inhabit grasslands and other open areas, habitats that are themselves restricted and that have undergone significant losses in the past. In addition, both subspecies need hibernating dens that do not freeze in winter, usually on south-facing slopes. Suitable denning sites may be limiting.
The western yellow-bellied racer is believed to occur as five discrete subpopulations which were likely once contiguous but which have become fragmented as a result of range contraction. The subspecies is threatened by continuing habitat loss and fragmentation (from urban development and conversion of native habitat to agriculture and ranching, especially in the densely populated Okanagan Valley), increased road mortality (particularly adult females during egg-laying migrations and juveniles during their dispersal stage) as a result of expanding road networks and increased traffic volumes, destruction of hibernacula, pesticides and fires. The subspecies is particularly intolerant of urbanization and has been extirpated from urban areas. Most of the remaining suitable habitat has development potential and is not protected. It is generally accepted that the subspecies is undergoing range-wide declines because of extensive continuing habitat loss.
The total population of the eastern yellow-bellied racer is believed to be relatively small and is restricted to two small areas. It likely occurs as a number of small sub-populations that are isolated from each other. This subspecies was probably never very common or widespread, but likely experienced at least local declines as a result of habitat loss to agriculture. Some individuals are protected in a national park, and some occupy ranch land where they are not under substantial pressure except from incidental killing by farm machinery. The subspecies suffers from the effects of small population size, road mortality and loss of den sites, and it may be threatened by pesticides, fires, persecution when mistaken for rattlesnakes.
Two species of arthropods are added to Schedule 1. These are the white flower moth and the Ottoe skipper.
The white flower moth belongs to a group of moths whose larvae feed exclusively on and in the flowers of their hosts, usually only one or several closely related plant species. It is a globally uncommon, short-lived species known from only a few scattered locations in North America. The only known population in Canada is restricted to an active sand dune and blow-out area of only a few square kilometres in south-western Manitoba, at the northern edge of the species' range. The species is likely limited by the limited availability of suitable habitat. Little is known about the white flower moth, except that populations in the United States (and likely in Canada) undergo large fluctuations. It probably occurs in low numbers, so low that it escapes detection in some years even when experts who know the species search for it specifically. However, it has been collected periodically over the last 100 years, always in the same general area, indicating that the species is probably actually restricted to that area and is not found in similar habitats elsewhere. Most dune habitats in Canada appear to be too dry for this species. The moth's habitat has undergone drastic declines in the past due to sand stabilization by vegetation overgrowth, with probably proportional declines in the moth's population. The only known extant population in Canada is in a provincial park where its habitat is protected from development and the moth is not subject to any imminent threats. Although dune stabilization (in the park and elsewhere) appears to have slowed or halted recently, it could become a threat if it resumes. Because its population is likely so small, the species is also vulnerable to stochastic events.
The Ottoe skipper is another habitat specialist confined to native, dry, mixed-grass and sand prairies. It is extremely intolerant of habitat alteration and now occurs as isolated populations in remnant prairies. Over the last 85 years, it was found sporadically at only three sites in southern Manitoba, each time as only a very few individuals. The skipper was likely more common before about 99% of its prairie habitat was lost and likely underwent severe declines before it was first detected. Today, few suitable prairie remnants persist and some are still being lost to overgrazing, invasion by alien species and gravel extraction. In Canada, the Ottoe skipper has been found recently at only one location.
Plants, Lichens and Mosses
Twenty-four species, subspecies, varieties or populations of vascular plants, lichens and mosses are added to Schedule 1. They are the American chestnut, branched phacelia, dense spike-primrose, dense-flowered lupine, Grand Coulee owl-clover, Spalding's campion, white meconella, rusty cord-moss, Baikal sedge, cliff paintbrush, dwarf lake iris, false rue-anemone, Hill's thistle, Macoun's meadowfoam, mountain holly fern, showy phlox, alkaline wing-nerved moss, Hill's pondweed, Houghton's goldenrod, prototype quillwort, swamp rose-mallow, banded cord-moss, pygmy pocket moss and the Nova Scotia population of frosted glass-whiskers.
Habitat is the single most important issue for almost all of these plants. Competition from introduced exotic plants, many of which are invasive, is also a serious threat to many of them, including Macoun's meadowfoam, Hill's pondweed, Houghton's goldenrod, Grand Coulee owl-clover, Spalding's campion, white meconella, dense-flowered lupine, banded cord-moss, dense spike-primrose, false rue-anemone, swamp rose-mallow and showy phlox.
The false rue-anemone, Hill's thistle, swamp rose-mallow, American chestnut, branched phacelia, dense spike-primrose, showy phlox, dense-flowered lupine and pygmy pocket moss have substantial North American distributions, but occur only in small, restricted areas in Canada because they occur at the northern limits of their distributions. The Canadian ranges of these species are restricted to the southern parts of the country and are often limited by climatic conditions. Frequently, the southern parts of the country where peripheral species occur are also the areas where human populations and their impacts are greatest. As a result, virtually all peripheral species are affected by habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation resulting from a variety of human activities, but mostly from urban and industrial development, extraction operations, conversion of native habitats to agriculture, agricultural practices, draining of wetlands, shoreline cottage development, landscaping and property maintenance, recreational activities and successional processes resulting from fire suppression. The dwarf lake iris, Houghton's goldenrod, Hill's pondweed, Grand Coulee owl-clover, Spalding's campion, white meconella, cliff paintbrush and banded cord-moss also occur at the northern limits of their ranges, but have very small and restricted global ranges. As such, they are subject to all of the same limitations as other peripheral species, but their situations are generally more precarious.
The American chestnut has always had a small distribution in Canada as it is a southern species that is limited to the Carolinian zone of southern Ontario. However, it has undergone major historic declines, not only as a result of human settlement, but also as a result of an introduced disease known as chestnut blight. The blight kills trees, which often develop new sprouts from their trunks, but the sprouts usually become infected before they reach reproductive age. The American chestnut was once a dominant species within its habitat, but now occurs as a small population of scattered individuals, the majority of which are immature. Remaining suitable habitat is limited because of the high level of forest clearing. In addition, the tree is threatened by continuing damage by blight, reduced reproductive potential because some healthy mature trees are too far apart for cross-pollination (required for seed set), loss of genetic diversity and hybridization with introduced chestnut species, which may lead to genetic swamping.
The cliff paintbrush, Hill's pondweed, pygmy pocket moss, Houghton's goldenrod and dwarf lake iris do not face identified imminent threats to their restricted habitats. The cliff paintbrush inhabits rocky outcrops and ridges at high mountain elevations where few people go. It occurs, however, at a limited number of sites, each consisting of few individuals, making it exceptionally vulnerable to stochastic events. Hill's pondweed, an aquatic plant that grows in calcareous wetlands, occurs in a small restricted area of southern Ontario. Although it does not appear to persist at any site over a long period of time, it currently does not appear to be subject to any identifiable threats. However, it could be affected by a number of factors, including chemical and thermal pollution, water turbidity, wetland draining, and cattle access to water. The pygmy pocket moss is another species that does not persist in any one location for a long time. Most of the known locations are in areas benefiting from some level of protection, but the species occurs in only a few sites in a highly populated and developed region where the species may be affected by pollution and habitat fragmentation. The dwarf lake iris and Houghton's goldenrod are both Great Lakes endemic species with extremely small and restricted global ranges. Houghton's goldenrod is mostly associated with alvars, a rare and threatened habitat, and is potentially threatened by recreational activities, grazing, all-terrain vehicles, quarrying and invasive species. The dwarf lake iris is restricted to sandy and gravely beach ridges along the shoreline. It is sensitive to changes in light and water table levels and could be threatened by cottage construction and landscaping activities. Because it has very low genetic variability, it may be vulnerable to disease and climate change.
Among the peripheral species, dense-flowered lupine occurs in Canada as a small, disjunct, northern outlier population, separated from the main part of the species' range by hundreds of kilometres. This population has undergone drastic historic declines and continues to be threatened by habitat loss and degradation to urban development and other human activities, such as trampling, landscaping and mowing. Currently occupied habitats are unlikely to be re-colonized if the species becomes extirpated.
Macoun's meadowfoam, a Canadian endemic species, has an extremely small global distribution. It is a habitat specialist that is highly restricted to a narrow coastal fringe of southern Vancouver Island. The plant is limited to open soil on rocky shore localities that are wet or submerged in winter and completely dry in summer. It has disappeared from more than a quarter of known localities, and the overall remaining population is declining. This species is threatened by introduced grasses as well as by human activities such as construction, filling and burning.
The prototype quillwort, Baikal sedge and alkaline wing-nerved moss are unusual in that most of their known North American distributions occur in Canada. The prototype quillwort, an aquatic plant, is known from only a dozen sites in the Maritime Provinces and one site in Maine. It appears to be confined to cold oligotrophic lakes with clear water and soft sediments. Potential threats to populations include shoreline development, damming, draining, water pollution, eutrophication, siltation and uprooting of plants by boating, use of anchors and raking of swimming areas. The Baikal sedge is known from six dune systems in Canada as well as from one area of Alaska and dune systems in central Asia. It is limited by the scarcity of sand dune habitats in the Canadian north. The largest population is protected in Kluane National Park, and despite their location in northern Canada, some of the sites are being affected by heavy recreational traffic. COSEWIC suggests that one large population is also potentially at risk of flooding if a glacier advances and dams a river, as has occurred in the recent past. As its name suggests, the alkaline wing-nerved moss, a habitat specialist, grows along the margins of alkaline sloughs and ponds in semi-arid regions. Canada possesses the great majority of documented locations, with a possible location in the United States and several locations in Europe and Asia. The inconspicuous moss is threatened by trampling by livestock and all-terrain vehicles as well as urban development and road construction. Another habitat specialist found in the same alkaline habitat and threatened by the same factors is the rusty cord-moss.
The mountain holly fern is another plant with very narrow habitat requirements. It occurs only on serpentine substrates in small populations in three widely separated areas of Canada. All these small populations are vulnerable to stochastic events, and the populations in one area are potentially threatened by mining for precious metals that occur in the rock formations inhabited by the species.
The frosted glass-whiskers is a tiny inconspicuous lichen that is believed to be rare to extremely rare despite its widespread global distribution. Known locations are widely disjunct. The Nova Scotia population of the lichen is known to occur at only two sites, both in large protected areas and both appear healthy. However, the lichen has been found only on the heartwood of trees in old-growth forests, an ecosystem that is declining.
Of the 18 species for which listing recommendations have been developed, ten aquatic species are added to Schedule 1 of SARA.
The Atlantic and Pacific populations of fin whale and the North Pacific right whale are added to Schedule 1 of SARA.
The Atlantic population of fin whale occurs throughout the Atlantic coast of Canada, from the Bay of Fundy up to the Strait of Davis, including in the Gulf and estuary of the St. Lawrence. It is the most abundant of the large whale species, except for the minke whale. In the winter, individuals seem to move toward the south although some will stay in Canadian waters through the winter. Distribution area and migrations are not well documented. Fin whales were greatly reduced by historic commercial whaling. While this activity was banned in Canada in 1971, its continuation in other countries is a source of concern. COSEWIC has identified the main threats to the Atlantic population of fin whale as ship strikes, seismic activities, and entanglement in fishing gear. As well, habitat degradation through prey reduction and pollution are also considered as potential limiting factors to population growth.
The Pacific population of fin whale occurs in North America from the Gulf of Alaska to the coast of California. The species can be observed in Pacific Canadian waters, where it feeds during the summer months. It is also believed that the species uses these waters for migration, travelling from low-latitude areas in the winter to high-latitude feeding grounds in the summer. There are no known reproducing populations in Canada. Recent fin whale sightings in British Columbia have been concentrated off the west coast of Vancouver Island and near-shore areas of Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound. COSEWIC has stated that based on severe depletion and lack of sufficient time for recovery since commercial whaling ended in 1971, it is believed that the Pacific population of fin whale is less than half of its level three generations ago. Similar to the Atlantic population, the most significant threats facing the Pacific population are ship strikes and entanglement in fishing gear. Increased oceanic noise, limited availability of food due to climate change and pollution has also been identified as threats.
The North Pacific right whale occurs historically in Canadian Pacific waters from April to October, possibly using the waters for feeding or during migration to or from calving grounds. Due to insufficient data, it is not possible to describe the current distribution of this species in Canadian waters. The most recent confirmed sighting of a North Pacific right whale that was known to be in Canadian waters was in 1951. COSEWIC has stated that although there have not been sightings of this species in the last 50 years in Canadian waters, there have been sightings both south and north of British Columbia waters. Therefore, this suggests that the species does use Canadian waters and as such COSEWIC does not consider it appropriate to classify the species as extirpated. Right whales were greatly reduced by commercial whaling in the early 1900s and have not shown significant signs of recovery. Although current threats facing the North Pacific right whale are poorly known, the most significant threats facing other right whale populations include ship strikes and entanglement in fishing gear.
The St. Mary and Milk River populations of Eastslope sculpin, grass pickerel, green sturgeon, and four populations of white sturgeon (Upper Fraser River, Nechako River, Upper Columbia River, Kootenay River) are added to Schedule 1 of SARA.
The Eastslope sculpin is a small freshwater fish that, within Canada, is located only in the St. Mary and Milk Rivers in Alberta and perhaps in the Flathead River in British Columbia. Life history of the Eastern sculpin (St. Mary and Milk River populations) is extremely limited and most of it is based on one study of the sculpins of Alberta. COSEWIC has identified dams and reservoirs and water removals as the main threats to the Eastslope sculpin. Dams and reservoirs may cause habitat fragmentation and create unfavourable habitat conditions downstream of reservoirs while water removals can exacerbate low flows in drought periods and harm sculpin and other fish populations. Although it is relatively abundant where it occurs in the St. Mary and Milk Rivers, the sculpin's restricted distribution and sensitivity to water diversion or impoundment are reasons cited for COSEWIC's assessment.
The grass pickerel is a freshwater fish found in Ontario and Quebec that can be distinguished from the related species of Northern pike and Muskellunge by its small adult size, more cylindrical body shape, and the presence of three dark bars below the eyes. This species spawns mainly in the spring in, or on the edge of, aquatic vegetation. COSEWIC has identified all conditions resulting in low water levels, loss of aquatic vegetation, decreased water transparency, and lowering of stream temperatures as the main threats to this species. COSEWIC has noted that an overall decline of approximately 22% in the area of occupancy has been observed.
The green sturgeon is an ancient and primitive species that can live up to sixty years and grow to over two metres and 150 kilograms in size. This species occurs on the Pacific coast of North America, and primarily inhabits marine and estuarine environments, entering the lower reaches of coastal rivers to spawn. Information on the species' distribution in Canada is limited, though it has been documented in the marine environment as well as in the Fraser River and several north coast river systems in British Columbia. COSEWIC has identified the degradation and loss of marine, estuarine, and freshwater habitat due to damming of rivers as the greatest threat to green sturgeon. The species is also threatened by impacts in the United States portion of its range, including directed and incidental catches in fisheries, entrainment and habitat alteration by dams, pollution, and exotic species.
For the purposes of providing listing recommendations under SARA, white sturgeon is being treated as six separate populations. This approach is consistent with COSEWIC's assessment and status report as well as with other approaches such as the Department of Fisheries and Ocean's Wild Salmon Policy, which recognizes distinct populations within a species. Therefore, the Upper Fraser River, Nechako River, Upper Columbia River and Kootenay River populations of white sturgeon are being added to Schedule 1 of SARA.
The white sturgeon is the largest freshwater fish in Canada, sometimes exceeding six metres in length. Sturgeons consist of several species that historically occurred throughout the temperate northern hemisphere, which have in recent years declined substantially due to various human induced impacts. Spawning populations of white sturgeon occur only in the Fraser, Columbia, and Sacramento River systems on the Pacific coast of North America. These populations are genetically distinct from each other and each consists of several genetically distinct sub-populations. Six of these subpopulations have a Canadian range: four in the Fraser River system (Lower, Middle, and Upper Fraser populations as well as the Nechako River population) and two in the Columbia River system (Upper Columbia River and Kootenay River populations). COSEWIC has identified habitat degradation and loss through dams, impoundments, channelization, diking, pollution, illegal fishing and bycatch in fisheries as threats to the species. In addition, COSEWIC has indicated that a developing commercial aquaculture industry may also impose additional genetic, health, and ecological risks to wild white sturgeon populations.
In addition to adding 42 species to Schedule 1, this Order corrects spelling, typographical and taxonomic errors for species previously listed on Schedules 1, 2 and 3. It removes the Lake Simcoe population of Lake Whitefish from Schedule 2 as it was reassessed as data deficient. This Order also removes two species from Schedule 2 (Nova Scotia population of Blanding's turtle and American chestnut) and 10 species from Schedule 3 (eastern yellow-bellied racer, false rue-anemone, Macoun's meadowfoam, Ancient Murrelet, Hill's pondweed, swamp rose-mallow, the Pacific population of fin whale, the Atlantic population of fin whale, white sturgeon and green sturgeon) of SARA as they have now been added to Schedule 1. As a result of these amendments, the names of species in Schedule 1 have been updated to correspond to the names currently used by COSEWIC.
Under SARA, the GiC can, within nine months after receiving an assessment of the status of a species by COSEWIC, take one of three courses of action: (1) accept the assessment and add the species to Schedule 1; (2) decide to not add the species to Schedule 1; or (3) refer the assessment back to COSEWIC for further information or consideration. All three courses of action were considered when developing this Order.
One course of action is to accept the assessments and to add the species to Schedule 1 of SARA, thereby ensuring that these species receive protection in accordance with the provisions of SARA, including mandatory recovery planning. The GiC, on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, is adding 42 species to Schedule 1 of SARA.
A second course of action is to not add the species to Schedule 1. Although species may still be protected under other federal, provincial or territorial legislation, species at risk not added to Schedule 1 would not benefit from the protection and recovery planning measures afforded by SARA.
The GiC, on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, on the advice of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, is not listing eight species to Schedule 1, including five populations of beluga whale (Ungava Bay, Eastern Hudson Bay, Western Hudson Bay, Cumberland Sound, Eastern High Arctic/Baffin Bay), the porbeagle shark, and two populations of white sturgeon (the Lower Fraser River and Middle Fraser River).
The decision to not add the five populations of beluga whale is necessary in order to further consult with the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board. In addition, the porbeagle shark is not being added to Schedule 1, because in the absence of a provision that allows for the possession and trade of listed species in certain circumstances, listing the porbeagle would eliminate the directed porbeagle fishery and also prohibit the sale and trade of porbeagle shark that is by-caught in other fisheries. This would result in economic losses for some fishers and associated industries in coastal communities and the loss of industry-based sources of information on the species. The Lower Fraser River and Middle Fraser River populations of white sturgeon are not being added to Schedule 1 based on the potential negative socio-economic impacts a listing decision would have on Aboriginal peoples and the sport fishing industry.
A third course of action is to refer the assessment back to COSEWIC for further information or consideration. It would be appropriate to send an assessment back if, for example, significant new information became available after a status report is developed, through public consultation or others means. During the time that COSEWIC reviews the new information and confirms or modifies its assessment, the species would not benefit from the protection and recovery planning measures afforded by SARA but may be managed and protected under other legislation or policies.
The assessment for Verna's flower moth is referred back to COSEWIC for further information or consideration, by order of the GiC on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, based on several factors including lack of data on the species distribution, abundance, range, threats and suitable habitat.
Benefits and Costs
This Order entails both benefits and costs in terms of social, economic and environmental considerations through the implementation of SARA's immediate prohibitions upon listing and the recovery requirements. Some impacts can be quantified in absolute terms, while others are more qualitative, such as the intrinsic value of species or their contribution to the biological diversity of the planet.
SARA provides a framework for actions across Canada to ensure the survival of wildlife species at risk and the protection of our natural heritage. Protecting species from the effects of pollution, overharvesting, alien invasive species and destruction of habitat is essential. Ultimately, the success of SARA will depend on the cooperation of the many different constituencies involved in its implementation. Left intact, natural habitat also provides many intangible and hard to quantify benefits to society. These include protection of genetic diversity, aesthetic appreciation and wildlife enhancement.
Upon being listed as extirpated, endangered or threatened on Schedule 1 of SARA, migratory birds protected by the MBCA, 1994 and aquatic species wherever they are found, as well as all extirpated, endangered or threatened species found on federal lands, benefit from immediate protection in the form of prohibitions against killing, harming, harassing, capturing or taking individuals of species. Once listed, these species are also protected by prohibitions against possessing, collecting, buying, selling or trading individuals, or parts or derivatives thereof, of extirpated, endangered or threatened listed species. In addition, the damage or destruction of the residences of one or more individuals of these species is prohibited for those species listed as endangered or threatened, or for those species listed as extirpated if a recovery strategy has recommended the re-introduction of the species into the wild in Canada.
Listed species also benefit from the implementation of recovery strategies, action plans and management plans. If a species is listed on Schedule 1 as extirpated, endangered or threatened, under section 37 of SARA, the competent minister is required to prepare a strategy for its recovery. Recovery strategies and action plans are developed through consultation and cooperation with people likely to be affected by the implementation of recovery measures. Critical habitat is the habitat that is necessary for the survival or recovery of species listed as extirpated, endangered or threatened. Critical habitat may be identified in recovery strategies and action plans and, if identified, will be protected through a range of mechanisms, including stewardship or conservation agreements, other legislation or regulations or prohibitions against the destruction of any part of that habitat. Action plans implement recovery strategies for listed species by identifying: measures to achieve the population objectives for the species; activities that would destroy the species' critical habitat; unprotected portions of the species' critical habitat; and methods to monitor the recovery of the species and its long-term viability. SARA also requires an evaluation of the socio-economic costs of the action plan and the benefits to be derived from its implementation. For those listed as species of special concern, management plans must be prepared. Proposed recovery strategies, action plans and management plans must be included in the Public Registry within the timelines set out under SARA.
Many of these species occupy an ecological niche as predators, prey or symbionts, such that their recovery may contribute to strengthening related predator/prey populations and ecosystems. The grass pickerel is of special significance as it is a top predator and plays a significant role to its habitat. Conservation measures taken to protect species listed under SARA may also prevent other species from becoming at risk. Recovery measures to protect the white sturgeon may also benefit other marine and freshwater species such as salmon, as well as the ecosystems they inhabit.
Species provide various ecosystem services and serve as indicators of and contributors to environmental quality. Freshwater fish are often indicators of good water quality in watersheds where they occur. For example, sculpins have been identified as a potentially excellent biomonitor of environmental conditions for the rivers where they are located. Many of these geographically and biologically distinct species are of public and scientific interest due to their unique genetic composition and evolutionary histories. Considerable scientific attention has been focused on white sturgeon, in particular on its unique phylogeny, ecology, and physiology.
Additional potential benefits stemming from recovery measures for wetlands and watersheds are: improvements in water quality; decrease in water treatment costs; increase in recreational opportunities; mitigation flooding; and lower dredging costs of waterways. Furthermore, some recovery measures may provide benefits to the agricultural sector from a more efficient use of fertilizers, through improved nutrient management techniques and reduced soil erosion.
Industries such as forestry and fishing have recognized that sustainable use of the resource can result in immediate cost savings as well as the long-term viability of the resource. The protection of marine mammals can provide increased opportunities to expand the ecotourism industry once the species is recovered. Where fin whales occur in coastal waters, they are of interest to whale-watchers; rebuilding of these populations could benefit this industry.
Canadians depend upon biodiversity for continued food sources, new medicines and the natural resource economy. Ecosystem health and the sustainable use of our current natural resources may be the source of future economic and employment opportunities. Many of these species are also valued by Aboriginal peoples for cultural, spiritual and subsistence purposes. White Sturgeon has traditionally been utilized for subsistence and cultural purposes by several British Columbia First Nations along the Fraser, Nechako, Columbia, and Kootenay Rivers. The recovery of the white sturgeon would provide social and cultural value to First Nations.
Species also have substantial non-economic or intrinsic value to Canadian society. Canadians want to preserve species for future generations to enjoy. Many derive value from knowing the species exists, even if they will never personally see or "use" them. There is also value derived from retaining the option to observe or even use the species at some future time.
A significant benefit of adding species to Schedule 1 is the conservation of biological, genetic and ecological diversity. Biological diversity, often referred to as biodiversity, includes both the amount and variety of life forms at several levels of scale, for instance, individual, population, community, ecosystem, landscape or biome. Genetic diversity refers to the number and abundance of gene types within a population and is important for maintaining the health of individuals and populations over time. Ecological diversity refers to the number and abundance of ecological types or zones (e.g. ecosystems and landscape features) and is important for maintaining a variety of habitats needed by species, particularly in times of stress such as drought or increased predation.
The unique genetic composition and evolutionary histories of species at risk contribute to the biological diversity of natural resources. For instance, the Blanding's turtle is one of the longest lived freshwater turtles with a lifespan exceeding 75 years and is a unique representative of the family of box turtles and pond turtles. The dwarf lake iris is an endemic plant species that occurs nowhere else in the world. In the case of the Williamson's Sapsucker, passive and indirect use values are assumed to be the most significant as the species is not hunted, or in any other way directly used by people. The species is nevertheless of particular scientific interest as it represents the oldest line, and is the least genetically variable of North American sapsuckers. In addition, it may be used as a representative, or an indicator of the rapidly disappearing old-growth, multi-storied Western Larch forests which it inhabits. The species is of particular interest to birders as a result of sexual dimorphism, with males and females exhibiting strikingly different plumage. As well, preservation of the species' habitat in the form of old-growth forests would create additional social benefits in excess of those realized from preservation of the species alone, including ecological functions such as the provision of wildlife habitat, improving air quality, carbon storage and sequestration, soil formation, biological and storm water control, as well as recreational uses by humans.
Sturgeon belong to an ancient and primitive taxon that first appeared millions of years ago and once dominated the world's fish fauna, but fewer than 25 species have survived into modern times. White sturgeon fills a distinct and irreplaceable ecological role as an apex species in the large river ecosystems they inhabit on the Pacific coast of North America. Green sturgeon is a unique and irreplaceable component of the marine and estuarine ecosystems they inhabit on the Pacific coast of North America. Protecting these species, by adding them to Schedule 1, will ensure their chance of survival and reduce the risk of losing their unique biodiversity value.
Biodiversity is invaluable to the sustainable productivity of soils and provides the genetic resources for harvested species. It protects against ecosystem disruptions and disease outbreaks, and is an essential source of bio-control agents. The importance of biological diversity has been recognized internationally, as more than 180 countries have become parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, committing to promote the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. Adding species to Schedule 1 will also help Canada meet its recent commitment under the Convention to achieve, by 2010, a significant reduction in the current rate of biodiversity loss.
Listing of species under SARA may also contribute to Canada's image as an international leader in environmental conservation and supports our role in international trade discussions. In the past, some American interests have charged that the lack of federal endangered species legislation in Canada has presented Canadian industry with an unfair advantage over U.S. firms.
Adding an endangered or threatened species to Schedule 1, and the resulting application of prohibitions and mandatory recovery provisions, may lead to costs for industry, Aboriginal communities, federal, provincial and territorial governments and other affected parties. Costs may also arise from recovery and critical habitat protection measures, once they are in place. As a result of the protection afforded by the prohibitions applying to listed species found on federal lands and to listed aquatic and migratory birds species protected by the MBCA, 1994 everywhere, listing of these species creates obligations for all federal resource or land management departments (in addition to Environment Canada, the Parks Canada Agency and Fisheries and Oceans Canada) to ensure compliance with SARA.
A variety of direct management costs will result from adding a species to Schedule 1, including developing and implementing recovery strategies, action plans and management plans, as well as conducting research, consultation, negotiation, monitoring, enforcement and stewardship activities. Indirect costs could include the loss of tax and royalty income if listing reduced economic activity. There could also be an increase in social benefit payments to affected individuals. However, these expenditures could generate offsetting revenue/economic benefits for local economies.
A major cause of the decline of species at risk is the conversion of our natural areas for other uses (e.g. non-renewable resource extraction, transportation corridors, industrial use of renewable resources, industrial food production and urban space). These land uses provide a value to society -- people need homes, jobs, food, goods and services. However, meeting these requirements coincidentally forces us to find substitutes for the services that the natural habitat provides. Such services include water purification, waste treatment, cleansing of the atmosphere, mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions, erosion control, pollination, pest control, flood prevention, soil formation and retention, alternative recreation services and more. The substitutes for natural services may be more expensive to build and to continuously operate.
Species found within the boundaries of national parks or other lands administered by the Parks Canada Agency, including species at risk, are already protected or managed under the Canada National Parks Act or through measures and management tools available to the Parks Canada Agency under other legislation. Protection measures that result from adding species to Schedule 1 will not, therefore, impose significant additional burdens on the public with respect to those lands. The species, added to Schedule 1, that have occurrences on lands administered by the Parks Canada Agency include the Nova Scotia population of Blanding's turtle, the eastern yellow-bellied racer, the Baikal sedge, the Macoun's meadowfoam, the dwarf lake iris, the Hill's Thistle and the Great Lakes / St. Lawrence population of Blanding's turtle, the Atlantic population of fin whale, the grass pickerel, the Ancient Murrelet, the Hill's pondweed and the swamp rose-mallow.
There are 32 terrestrial species, assessed as endangered, threatened or special concern, being added to Schedule 1 (Appendix 1). This may require that some current activities on federal lands, including the activities of lessees of federal lands and Aboriginal peoples, may have to be modified to ensure protection of the species. For federal landholders, there will be a need to ensure that adequate protection measures are put in place to guard against any practices that could harm listed species. Prohibitions related to the protection of individuals or residences resulting from the listing of the two migratory bird species (the Williamson's Sapsucker and the Ancient Murrelet) will not result in any additional costs to Canadians, as these species and their residences (nests) receive similar protection under the MBCA, 1994. However, SARA provides the additional protection to their critical habitat.
The British Columbia government and B.C. forest industry are proposing to protect the species and some habitat using provincial legislation, plus an adaptive management strategy for timber harvest lands, a seven point plan, and this proposal will incur costs. Habitat protection measures are expected to result in incremental costs to the logging industry, including potential revenue losses. These costs would be localized in distribution, i.e., concentrated around the area of the largest populations of Williamson's Sapsucker. In particular, the Okanagan-Greenwood and surrounding area may bear the vast majority of cost impacts, because this is where the largest population of the species is found and where most habitat protection measures may have to be located. In contrast, benefits are expected to be spread throughout all the species' distribution range and for citizens throughout B.C. and Canada. These benefits would be of a non-market based nature, dominated by indirect and passive use values. Overall, net benefits to Canadian society from protecting the habitat of the Williamson's Sapsucker will likely be positive.
Several human activities represent potential threats to the survival of the threatened and endangered species being added to Schedule 1. Landscaping, urban expansion, coastal and cottage development, recreational activities including the use of ATVs and motorboats on some stretches of the Great Lakes, in the south of the Manitoulin Island and on the Bruce Peninsula shorelines, for example, are among potential human activities that could adversely affect the survival of endangered and threatened species. For example, the Dwarf Lake Iris needs to be protected from road development as well as cottage development along Lake Huron. More detailed socio-economic impacts of addressing such threats will be evaluated at the time action plans are developed, that lay out proposed recovery measures.
Nineteen of the 24 vascular plants, lichens and mosses added to Schedule 1 are found on federal lands. For these species, there may be restrictions on the collection of species for research purposes, as well as access to shoreline habitat, recreational use and operation or maintenance of federal lands or properties.
During the subsequent development of recovery strategies and action plans, critical habitat will be identified, to the extent possible, in consultation with the provinces and territories, implicated Wildlife Management Boards, Aboriginal peoples that would be directly affected and other parties considered appropriate by the Minister. As well, the Minister will consult, to the extent possible, with persons whom the Minister considers to be directly affected by the recovery strategy or action plan. Should there be a portion of identified critical habitat found to be unprotected, SARA has provisions that give the federal government the power to secure its protection. Therefore, there is the potential, over the longer term, for some costs to be incurred by Canadians regarding the protection of critical habitat. However, throughout the recovery process, various parties will be involved and consulted. The intent of SARA is to ensure the protection of critical habitat through voluntary actions and stewardship measures. Any potential socio-economic impacts that are identified during the recovery process will be evaluated and taken into account prior to the application of any prohibition protecting critical habitat under SARA by way of ministerial or GiC order.
Costs associated with the listing of the ten aquatic species are based on incremental changes to current activities and the potential for implications to future human activities. In some cases, fishing and other human activities may need to be changed in order for the listed species to be protected and recovered. In other cases, for example where species are being listed as special concern and SARA prohibitions are not in effect, there are often limited socio-economic impacts as significant current and future impacts are not anticipated and costs to governments may be focussed on scientific research.
The North Pacific right whale and the Atlantic and Pacific populations of fin whale are being added to Schedule 1 of SARA. The costs associated with listing the North Pacific right whale and the Pacific population of fin whale will likely be minimal due to the overlap with current and planned conservation efforts and regulatory actions and because the species are extremely rare with low occurrences of a realized threat such as ship strikes or fishing gear entanglement. Potential protective measures for large whales could include guidelines for oil and gas exploration, modifying ship traffic, and management of fishing gear entanglement. However, given the rarity of these populations, other more abundant whales are expected to be the focus of protection measures. Likewise, incremental costs to governments for protecting these species may be minimal for enforcement and recovery actions because the species are rare. The Atlantic population of fin whale is being listed as a species of special concern, which means that automatic prohibition and recovery requirements under SARA do not apply. However, listing as a species of special concern may result in some changes to human activities under a SARA compliant management plan. Controls under a management plan, however, are likely to be similar and not greater than would be considered for the blue whale, a species that is already listed on Schedule 1 as endangered.
Four populations of white sturgeon are being added to Schedule 1 of SARA. At this time, no immediate impacts are anticipated on the limited First Nation fisheries for salmon, or the small recreational fishery for other species. Although the level of impact is not know at this time, listing the Nechako River and Upper Columbia River populations could potentially impact First Nation salmon fisheries and the walleye recreational fishery. Listing of the Nechako River, Upper Columbia River, or Kootenay River populations could potentially affect the operations of existing hydro companies, although the magnitude of such impacts is currently unknown. United States power producers on the Kootenay River may face some restrictions to operations and residents and agriculturalists around Kootenay Lake may be impacted depending on the actions of the power company.
While immediate costs from listing the Eastslope sculpin (St. Mary and Milk River populations) are considered to be relatively small at this time, listing may lead to costs in the longer term based on the loss of some economic opportunities for irrigation interests and domestic and industrial water users as a result of project construction not being authorized or increased construction and operating costs to implement effective mitigation measures. However, there may be options for relocation of projects or redesign that could minimize costs to the region. A potential dam and reservoir on the Milk River could be expected to have negative impacts on the Eastslope sculpin, for which mitigative measures may not be possible. The Western Silvery Minnow, currently listed as threatened on Schedule 1 of SARA, also resides in the watershed and might also be affected by the proposed dam and other activities as well. Since the required recovery measures for the Western Silvery Minnow might complement the necessary recovery measures for the Eastslope sculpin, if listed, the incremental cost of listing the Eastslope sculpin might be less than if it were to occur in isolation.
The costs of listing the grass pickerel and green sturgeon appear to be minimal at this time. The grass pickerel and green sturgeon are both being listed as species of special concern, where SARA prohibitions do not apply. After listing, a management plan would be required for the grass pickerel that would need to address the preservation of wetlands in the known range of the species. However, environmental initiatives to preserve wetland habitat are already underway and the success of the grass pickerel management plan will be largely dependent on the success of those initiatives. There would be minimal to no economic consequences from listing green sturgeon as there are no spawning grounds in Canada, bycatch of this species is rare, and the special concern designation would not result in mandatory protection and recovery.
For the current aquatic species being listed under SARA, the GiC has, by order, exempted SARA prohibitions from applying to the Upper Fraser River, Nechako River, Upper Columbia River, and Kootenay River populations of white sturgeon for up to one year.
For the four populations being listed, white sturgeon is currently harvested as bycatch by First Nations in food, social, and ceremonial fisheries, and a recreational walleye fishery. White sturgeon may also be affected by hydro-operations and other industrial activities. For the four white sturgeon populations that are being added to Schedule 1, an exemption of SARA prohibitions is required for existing fishing licences, water use operations, and other activities that may affect the species. An exemption under section 76 of SARA will avoid prohibitions on bycatch fisheries and other activities until a recovery strategy can be finalized. In addition, the exemption will also eliminate the need for issuing new permits during the middle of the fishing season.
For future projects that are likely to affect a listed wildlife species and trigger a federal environmental assessment, SARA requires that the competent Minister be notified in writing of the project. The person required to ensure that a federal environmental assessment is conducted must identify any adverse effects on the listed wildlife species and its critical habitat, and, if the project is carried out, ensure that measures are taken to avoid or lessen those effects and to monitor them. These requirements may lead to additional costs to the proponent in both preparing the environmental assessment and fulfilling any mitigation and monitoring requirements.
Federal Programs for SARA Implementation
There are three main federal funding programs centered on the protection and recovery of species at risk that add to the investments made by Environment Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Parks Canada Agency and many other federal departments and corporations involved in the recovery of species at risk. The three federal funding programs are: the Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk; the Endangered Species Recovery Fund; and the Interdepartmental Recovery Fund.
To help Canadians protect and recover species at risk, the federal government established the Habitat Stewardship Program (HSP) in 2000. The program allocates up to $10 million a year to projects that conserve and protect species at risk and their habitat. For every dollar spent in federal HSP funds, more than one dollar of non-federal resources is contributed. Since 2000, the HSP funded 1,000 projects directed at benefiting the habitat of approximately 300 species at risk. It also contributed to the protection of more than 200,000 hectares of habitat and the improvement of 210,000 hectares of habitat.
The Endangered Species Recovery Fund, a joint initiative of Environment Canada and World Wildlife Fund (Canada), was established to support recovery activities for species at risk of extinction. Since its inception in 1988, over $8.6 million has been invested by partners in support of over 480 projects and more than 100 different species at risk.
The Interdepartmental Recovery Fund became operational in 2002 to assist federal departments in meeting the requirements set out under SARA. The aim of this fund is to contribute to the recovery of extirpated, endangered and threatened species by supporting high-priority recovery activities. Since 2002, the fund has supported implementation of recovery activities on federal lands and for species under federal jurisdiction. More than $10 million has been invested in over 300 recovery projects.
Public consultation is an essential part of the regulatory process of the Government of Canada. The SARA listing process was designed to be both open and transparent. Under SARA, the scientific assessment of species status and the decision to place a species on the legal list involve two distinct processes. This separation guarantees that scientists benefit from independence when making assessments of the biological status of wildlife species and that Canadians have the opportunity to participate in the decision-making process in determining whether or not species will be listed under SARA.
Public consultations were conducted on the proposal to list species under the responsibilities of the Minister of the Environment and the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. Environment Canada, the Parks Canada Agency and Fisheries and Oceans Canada work closely to ensure that their stakeholders are consulted and to avoid duplication of consultation efforts. Canadians were invited to express their views on whether or not to include the 46 species on the legal list established under SARA.
Environment Canada began initial public consultations in November 2005 on the 33 terrestrial species assessed to be at risk by COSEWIC. Stakeholders and the general public were consulted by means of a document entitled Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: November 2005. The document, which was posted on the SARA Public Registry, outlined the species for which addition to Schedule 1 was being considered, the reasons for considering listing, and the implications of listing species. The process also consisted of wide distribution of the discussion document and direct consultation with identified stakeholders, including various industrial sectors, provincial and territorial governments, federal departments and agencies, Aboriginal organizations, wildlife management boards, resource users, landowners and environmental non-governmental organizations. Meetings were held with affected Aboriginal peoples, the Species at Risk Advisory Committee and other identified concerned groups.
Many comments and concerns were received during initial consultations, both through written submissions and during meetings and workshops from Aboriginal groups, non-governmental organizations, environmental associations, industry groups and the public. Several environmental non-governmental organizations including the Sierra Club of Canada, Nature Canada, the David Suzuki Foundation, the Canadian Wildlife Federation and the majority of Canadians who provided comments concerning the 33 terrestrial species, support COSEWIC's assessments. They asked the Minister of the Environment to proceed with recommending the inclusion of these species in Schedule 1 of SARA.
Provincial and territorial governments, Aboriginal peoples and industry stakeholders signalled support for the protection and recovery of species at risk, while raising concerns regarding negative implications to social and economic activities.
The Department of Environment and Conservation of Newfoundland and Labrador stated that they do not have any objections to the listing of the mountain holly fern which is the only terrestrial species proposed for listing that occurs in the province. They indicate that they will be prepared to participate in any national recovery process for the species.
Saskatchewan Environment raised concerns about the assessments and the listing of the alkaline wing-nerved moss and the eastern yellow-bellied racer, as threatened species. According to their conservation data, there are no confirmed occurrences of the alkaline wing-nerved moss in the province and the eastern yellow-bellied racer appears stable and is not subject to any known threats.
Only one occurrence of the alkaline wing-nerved moss was confirmed in Saskatchewan. While this is the only known record, according to the province the alkaline slough habitat where the moss was found appears to be fairly common. Consequently, additional surveys may discover new occurrences in Saskatchewan. This species is also found in British Columbia. Therefore, the alkaline wing-nerved moss is added to Schedule 1 of SARA as threatened.
Threats and population trends are two central factors that COSEWIC uses in its assessments. When COSEWIC assessed eastern yellow-bellied racer it met the criteria for the status of endangered; however, due to the potential rescue effect from a population in the United States, COSEWIC recommended a status of threatened. Therefore, the eastern yellow-bellied racer is added to Schedule 1 of SARA as threatened.
Yukon Environment provided comments on the proposed listing of the Baikal sedge as threatened under SARA. They expressed their belief that the species would be more appropriately listed as a species of special concern because the needs of the species could be addressed by the protection and management of key sites within protected areas despite its limited range within the territory.
The Minister of the Environment is satisfied that COSEWIC used the best available information in conducting its assessment of the species. Environment Canada officials have not received any additional information that would cause them to question COSEWIC's assessment. Furthermore, while threats are a factor considered in COSEWIC assessments, in the case of Baikal sedge, the small range and limited distribution are sufficient for this species to be assigned a status of threatened. For these reasons, the Baikal sedge is added to Schedule 1 of SARA as threatened.
Comments were received by Alberta Sustainable Resources Development regarding the proposed recommendation to list the Verna's flower moth as threatened. They report that because of the scarcity of data on this species, specifically lack of knowledge of the distribution and relative abundance of the species, that a designation of data deficient would be more appropriate.
The assessment of Verna's flower moth is being referred back to COSEWIC for further consideration given the paucity of information on this species.
There are two forestry associations who raised concerns with the listing of the Williamson's Sapsucker (the Council of Forest Industries and the Forest Products Association of Canada) in Schedule 1 and they requested that the species be referred back to COSEWIC for further evaluation and consideration. The Council of Forest Industries, whose companies operate approximately 120 production facilities in interior British Columbia, has entered into a collaborative agreement with the provincial Ministry of Environment in order to develop a habitat protection plan. The Council requested a one year delay in the decision to list the bird in order that the forestry industry may work on the plan with the province and that COSEWIC may use this information in its evaluation. The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) requested that the assessment be referred back to COSEWIC for further evaluation of its limited range in Canada. In addition, the Department of the Environment of British Columbia requested that the Minister of the Environment postpone the listing of Williamson's Sapsucker in order to consider whether the conservation measures being considered for Williamson's Sapsucker would result in a different designation by COSEWIC.
The Williamson's Sapsucker was designated at risk by COSEWIC primarily due to population declines inferred from past and ongoing timber harvesting of its habitat. In order to consider recommending that COSEWIC reassess the Williamson's Sapsucker, or to conclude that it need not be listed, its remaining habitat must be protected and there must be evidence that the population is increasing. Therefore, the appropriate course of action is to recommend that the Williamson's Sapsucker be added to Schedule 1 of SARA as endangered. Environment Canada officials will work with the province and industry in support of the development of a recovery strategy for the species.
During the period from November 2004 to July 2005, Fisheries and Oceans Canada conducted extended public consultations on the proposed listing of aquatic species that were assessed by COSEWIC at its November 2003 and May 2004 meetings. These species include the five populations of beluga whale (Ungava Bay, Cumberland Sound, Eastern Hudson Bay, Eastern High Arctic/Baffin Bay and Western Hudson Bay), the six populations of white sturgeon (Upper Fraser River, Nechako River, Upper Columbia River, Kootenay River, Lower Fraser River and Middle Fraser River) and the porbeagle shark. These species were placed on an extended consultation process in order to adequately consult with potentially affected stakeholders and to obtain a better understanding of potential benefits and costs of listing these species under SARA.
For the remaining aquatic species, public consultations were conducted by Fisheries and Oceans Canada from November 2005 to early 2006 on the proposed listing of the Atlantic and Pacific populations of fin whale, the North Pacific right whale, the St. Mary and Milk River populations of Eastslope sculpin, the grass pickerel and the green sturgeon.
Consultations were facilitated through workshops, meetings, consultation workbooks and other supporting documents, which were made publicly available on the SARA Public Registry and government internet sites. These documents were also provided by mail to Aboriginal peoples, other government departments, stakeholders, and non-governmental organizations. Public sessions were conducted in communities, and additional meetings were held with interested or potentially affected individuals, organizations, and Aboriginal peoples. As well, all provincial and territorial governments were provided the opportunity to give their views on listing these aquatic species. Similarly, the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board (NWMB) was asked for its views to the proposed listing of the beluga whale populations and the Atlantic population of fin whale. The NWMB subsequently indicated that the timeline for providing positions on whether or not to list the five populations of beluga whale and the Atlantic fin whale is not feasible and in conflict with the requirements of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement.
Communities, Aboriginal and environmental organizations, and government agencies in Nunavut and Manitoba, and Aboriginal and environmental organizations in Ontario, were consulted on whether the Cumberland Sound, Eastern High Arctic/Baffin Bay, and Western Hudson Bay populations of beluga whale should be added to Schedule 1. With some exceptions, most of those consulted do not support listing these populations. For the Cumberland Sound population of beluga whale, Hunters and Trappers Organizations and the public do not support listing given the belief that the population is not at risk, listing under SARA might limit subsistence hunting, and a new population survey is required. In contrast, the Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. does support listing the Cumberland Sound population of beluga whale. The majority of those consulted were also against listing both the Eastern High Arctic/Baffin Bay and Western Hudson Bay populations of beluga whale. The Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. does not support listing the Eastern High Arctic/Baffin Bay population because they believe there is no biological justification for listing. Most community members from Churchill do not support listing the Western Hudson Bay population of beluga whale, primarily over concerns that listing could negatively impact local tourism and shipping activities. Similarly, Manitoba Hydro does not support listing this population because current data appear to indicate an abundant and stable population. Limited support for listing the Western Hudson Bay population included the views of the community of Sanikiluaq, based on the protection SARA will provide and that harvest restrictions are unlikely in the near future. The government of Ontario supports the addition of the Western Hudson Bay population of beluga whale to Schedule 1 of SARA.
Based on responses from a questionnaire, the general public supports listing the Ungava Bay and Eastern Hudson Bay populations of beluga whale. In contrast, the majority of Inuit people and Aboriginal organizations are strongly opposed to listing these populations, indicating that SARA listing would be an additional control on their activities and expressed concern that listing would mean a complete ban on subsistence hunting in the case of the Eastern Hudson Bay population. One Aboriginal organization also indicated that significant measures had already taken place over recent years that contribute to the recovery of the Eastern Hudson Bay population while also providing for the continuation of a subsistence hunt. The province of Newfoundland and Labrador is not opposed to listing these two populations of beluga whale on Schedule 1 of SARA.
Generally, limited responses were received during consultations on whether to list the Atlantic and Pacific populations of fin whale and the North Pacific Right Whale. For the Pacific population of fin whale and North Pacific Right Whale, comments received were in favour of listing these species. Similarly, there was strong support from the general public and non-government organizations for listing the Atlantic population of fin whale. While some people involved in whale watching expressed concerns that listing this species would negatively impact their activities, others do not consider their activities as a significant threat to the Atlantic population of fin whale and support listing under SARA. The provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island are not opposed to listing the Atlantic population of fin whale on Schedule 1 of SARA. The province of New Brunswick recognized the importance of whales to coastal communities, but caution that future costs from listing the Atlantic fin whale must be considered with respect to the commercial fishing and aquaculture sectors.
Consultations on whether or not to add the porbeagle shark to Schedule 1 of SARA were held with the general public, interested stakeholders and Aboriginal groups during 2004 and 2005. Additionally, bilateral meetings were held with the governments of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Quebec. A consultation workbook and survey was also made available by mail and on the internet. Members of the fishing industry that capture the porbeagle generally do not support listing based on the potential socio-economic impacts of listing and on their belief that this species is not at risk. However, both the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and the Shipping Federation of Canada support listing this species and indicated the importance of consulting their industries during the development of a recovery strategy. While there was generally no strong view for or against listing from Aboriginal groups, some questioned the impacts on the swordfish fishery if the porbeagle shark were to be listed. The province of Nova Scotia does not support listing porbeagle shark under SARA, given the potential socio-economic impacts from listing and the lack of clarity regarding the current abundance of the population. Nova Scotia does support enhanced recovery actions for this species including reduced catch levels. Similarly, the province of New Brunswick supports a scenario of not listing porbeagle shark accompanied by actions to recover the species.
First Nations, fishing industry representatives, recreational fishermen, other governments, conservation and non-government organizations, and the general public were consulted on whether or not to list white sturgeon as part of broader consultations on a number of species. In general, First Nations support listing where listing would further support recovery efforts, but may not support listing where food, social and ceremonial fishing is negatively impacted. The recreational fishing community is strongly opposed to listing the Lower and Middle Fraser River populations based on the potential for reducing or closing fishing opportunities, but support listing the other four populations. The ongoing protection and recovery of all six populations of white sturgeon is supported by conservation groups. Some of these groups are supportive of maintaining the recreational catch and release fishery in the Fraser River, provided that robust efforts are made to address conservation concerns. The province of British Columbia supports the listing of the Upper Fraser River, Nechako River, Upper Columbia River, and Kootenay River populations of white sturgeon, but believes the Lower and Middle Fraser River populations should not be listed.
During consultations, the Town of Milk River (Alberta), the County of Warner, and the Milk River Watershed Council of Canada strongly opposed listing the Eastslope sculpin (St. Mary and Milk River populations) under SARA. The basis for this opposition is concern that listing the Eastslope sculpin may negatively affect future plans for the construction of a dam on the Milk River. In addition, these groups feel that there is insufficient and inconclusive data to list the species under the "threatened" designation. Comments were received from environmental organizations and some members of the public in support of listing this species; other members from the public do not support listing this species. The Province of Alberta supports listing the St. Mary and Milk River populations of Eastslope sculpin on Schedule 1 of SARA.
For both the grass pickerel and the green sturgeon, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans received a limited number of responses regarding the listing of these species. Of those received, there was general support for adding these species to Schedule 1. The government of Ontario supports listing the Grass Pickerel under SARA. Similarly, the government of British Columbia supports adding the green sturgeon to Schedule 1 of SARA.
Pre-publication in the Canada Gazette, Part I
Following initial consultations, the proposal to add species to Schedule 1 was pre-published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, for a final, 30-day period of public review and comment on June 10, 2006.
With respect to the proposal that the William's Sapsucker be listed as endangered, the British Columbia Ministry of Environment requested postponing listing the William's Sapsucker while it works with the federal government to develop a conservation agreement under section 12 of SARA to protect the species habitat. The BC Council of Forest Industries recommends that the Williamson's Sapsucker be sent back to COSEWIC for re-evaluation due to questions with respect to known information and habitat dependencies for the species.
The Williamson's Sapsucker has been included in the Category of Species at Risk under the B.C. Forest and Range Practices Act, enabling Wildlife Habitat Areas where resource activities are managed to reduce their impacts on the species. B.C. has proposed establishing Wildlife Habitat Areas within the range of the Williamson's Sapsucker. However, British Columbia has not fully put its protective measures for the species in place yet, and neither government is in a position yet to understand the full scope of measures that need to be applied.
The Williamson's Sapsucker is a migratory bird under the MBCA, 1994 and already receives similar protection respecting the species and its residences as it would receive under SARA. In addition to this level of protection, SARA would provide for the recovery of the species, including measures to protect the species' habitat. The federal government supports British Columbia's plans to protect the Williamson's Sapsucker's habitat and intends to continue working with British Columbia and the forestry industry to protect the species' habitat.
With respect to the proposed recommendation that White Sturgeon be listed as endangered, BC Hydro reiterated the position that the company has no preference as to whether or not Columbia white sturgeon is listed. BC Hydro also raised other issues including the potential for compensation in the event recovery measures have significant negative impacts and the need for longer term measures to allow human activities that may harm listed species. This Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement (RIAS) has also been updated based on the confirmation from BC Hydro that there is currently no proposal to build a dam on the Columbia River system.
The Fraser River Sturgeon Conservation Society (FRSCS) submitted an extensive brief documenting scientific information on sturgeon conservation issues. This submission also questioned the assertion that the Lower Fraser River population was recovering, given their concern about mortality of certain size groups and recent recruitment trends. The society indicated their support for the intentions of SARA and for listing the white sturgeon as endangered. The FRSCS expects that future actions will be taken to recover white sturgeon. Some of the key activities supported by this conservation society include scientific research and monitoring, protection of critical habitat, and reduction of white sturgeon mortality from other fisheries and poaching. The FRSCS has also recommended that the current catch and release white sturgeon fishery in the lower Fraser River be maintained.
The Nunavut Wildlife Management Board have confirmed their support for listing the Atlantic fin whale under SARA, and reaffirmed their commitment to the purposes of SARA. The Shipping Federation of Canada is also not opposed to listing the Atlantic fin whale as a species of special concern under SARA. It does, however, wish to be consulted and involved in any future recover strategy or action plan development where measures could impact commercial shipping.
With respect to the beluga whale populations (Ungava Bay and Hudson Bay populations), the porbeagle shark and the Atlantic fin whale, the province of Quebec does not object to the listing of these species, as they state they do not have the expertise to assess their status. However, the province would like to be consulted on the development of recovery strategies should any of these species be listed under SARA, given the possible impacts to the commercial fishing sector. The province of Quebec supports listing the grass pickerel as special concern under SARA, given that SARA applies nationally, although this species may be considered as threatened in the province of Quebec.
A member of the academic community raised concerns with the recommendation to not list porbeagle shark and the supporting scientific and socio-economic analyses. The socio-economic analysis, which describes the impact of listing porbeagle shark under SARA, was reviewed with stakeholders, Aboriginal communities, and provincial government officials and posted on the DFO website for comment coincident with the pre-publication in the Canada Gazette, Part I of the proposed listing recommendation for this species. This RIAS has been clarified to reflect that, in the absence of a regulation to allow it, the prohibition on the sale and trade of species listed as endangered would be applicable to porbeagle shark caught in a directed or by-catch fishery and that conservation measures have been put in place, using the Fisheries Act, and will continue, to ensure the long term viability of this species.
Strategic Environmental Assessment
A decision to list 42 of the species assessed as at risk by COSEWIC would ensure that they receive the full benefits of the protection and recovery measures established in the SARA. This would result in overall benefits to the environment both in terms of the actual species protected and in terms of the conservation of Canada's biological diversity.
A decision to not list species means that the prohibition and recovery measures under SARA will not apply. In some cases, other existing tools, including legislation such as the Fisheries Act, and non legislative tools such as government programs and actions by non government organizations, industry, and Canadians will continue to protect and recover the species. When these species are found within the boundaries of national parks or other lands administered by the Parks Canada Agency, the species would continue to be protected or managed under the Canada National Parks Act or through measures and management tools available to the Parks Canada Agency under other legislation.
Five populations of beluga whale are not being listed on Schedule 1 of SARA. However, many conservation measures are already in place to protect and conserve these populations, as the management of beluga whales is regulated by the Marine Mammal Regulations under the Fisheries Act. Where significant conservation concerns, based on scientific data and traditional knowledge exist for populations of beluga whale, no subsistence harvesting is provided. For example, no hunting is permitted in Ungava Bay given the low number of animals in the Ungava Bay population.
The porbeagle shark is not being added to Schedule 1 of SARA. The management of porbeagle sharks will continue under the Canadian Atlantic Pelagic Shark Integrated Fisheries Management Plan. DFO carried out comprehensive stock and recovery potential assessments for the porbeagle shark in 2005. These analyses suggested that the decline in porbeagle abundance had ceased and predicted that recovery could be achieved with some fishery-induced mortality. The ability to allow for some harvest of this species could provide for the collection of critical scientific information that would be used to monitor the recovery of the porbeagle shark and would permit the incidental capture of this species in the large pelagic and groundfish fisheries. By using existing regulatory mechanisms, including the Fisheries Act, Fisheries and Oceans Canada will work with resource users and other stakeholders to develop a conservation strategy for this species that ensure its protection and recovery. While the strategy is in development, catch limits have been reduced to levels that do not jeopardize the long-term recovery of the species.
As well, the Lower Fraser River and Middle Fraser River populations of white sturgeon are not being listed under SARA. White sturgeon, including these two populations, has been the subject of a comprehensive recovery and awareness program, involving provincial, federal, and United States agencies, First Nations, industry, and other stakeholders. Recovery strategies for all six populations are in development or have been completed. Specific protection and recovery measures that have been introduced include focused enforcement activities to address poaching and consideration of white sturgeon when reviewing gravel extraction proposals in the Lower Fraser River. The fishery that exists for the Lower and Middle Fraser River populations are non retention only, which is a key source of information to monitor and manage the populations. Fisheries and Oceans Canada will continue to use existing mechanisms, other government programs and actions by non-government organizations, industry, and Canadians to protect and recover these populations.
Referring the assessment of the Verna's flower moth back to COSEWIC for further information or consideration will mean a delay in adding the species to Schedule 1, if COSEWIC confirms that the species is at risk. In the interim, the species would not benefit from mandatory SARA prohibitions and recovery planning actions.
Aquatic species would continue to be protected under the Fisheries Act or other complementary legislation.
Compliance and Enforcement
SARA promotes protection and recovery of species at risk by engaging Canadians in stewardship programs, and by giving landowners, land users and other stakeholders the opportunity to participate in the recovery process. Stewardship actions include the wide range of voluntary actions Canadians are taking to monitor species at risk and their habitats, recovery measures to improve the status of species at risk, and direct actions to protect species at risk.
Environment Canada, the Parks Canada Agency and Fisheries and Oceans Canada facilitate stewardship activities and promote compliance with SARA by producing promotional and educational materials, and by organizing educational activities. These materials and activities include, for example, the SARA Public Registry, an electronic information bulletin, posters, information sessions, engaging learning activities, Web features, curricula and other public education projects. As well, funding under the Habitat Stewardship Program is available for those groups or individuals wishing to undertake projects to protect and enhance important habitat.
At the time of listing, timelines apply for the preparation of recovery strategies, action plans or management plans. The implementation of these plans may result in recommendations for further regulatory action for protection of the species. It may draw on the provisions of other acts of Parliament, such as the Fisheries Act, to provide required protection.
SARA provides for penalties for contraventions to the Act, including liability for costs, fines or imprisonment, alternative measures agreements, seizure and forfeiture of the proceeds of an illegal activity. SARA also provides qualified officers designated under the Act with inspections and search and seizure powers. Under the penalty provisions of SARA, a corporation found guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction is liable to a fine of not more than $300,000, a non-profit corporation to a fine of not more than $50,000, and any other person to a fine of not more than $50,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than one year, or to both. In the case of a corporation found guilty of an indictable offence, it is liable to a fine of not more than $1,000,000, a non-profit corporation to a fine of not more than $250,000, and any other person to a fine of not more than $250,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than five years, or to both.
Certain activities affecting a listed species will require permits. Such permits can be considered only for research relating to the conservation of a species that is conducted by qualified persons, for activities that benefit a listed species or enhance its chances of survival, or when affecting the species is incidental to the carrying out of an activity. These exceptions can be made only when it is established that all reasonable alternatives to the activity have been considered and the best solution has been adopted, when all feasible measures will be taken to minimize the impact of the activity, and when the survival or recovery of the species will not be jeopardized by the activity.
Socio-economic and Legislative Services
Program Operations Division
Canadian Wildlife Service
Legislative and Regulatory Affairs
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Ecological Integrity Branch
National Parks Directorate
Parks Canada Agency
Appendix 1: Forty-two species added to Schedule 1, the List of Wildlife Species at Risk, Species at Risk Act
|Mammals||North Pacific Right Whale|
|Fish||White Sturgeon, Kootenay River population|
|Fish||White Sturgeon, Nechako River population|
|Fish||White Sturgeon, Upper Columbia River population|
|Fish||White Sturgeon, Upper Fraser River population|
|Reptiles||Blanding's Turtle, Nova Scotia population|
|Arthropods||White Flower Moth|
|Plants||Grand Coulee Owl-clover|
|Mammals||Fin Whale, Pacific population|
|Reptiles||Blanding's Turtle, Great Lakes / St. Lawrence population|
|Reptiles||Eastern Yellow-bellied Racer|
|Fish||"Eastslope" Sculpin, St. Mary and Milk River populations|
|Plants||Dwarf Lake Iris|
|Plants||Mountain Holly Fern|
|Mosses||Alkaline Wing-nerved Moss|
|Mammals||Fin Whale, Atlantic population|
|Reptiles||Western Yellow-bellied Racer|
|Mosses||Pygmy Pocket Moss|
|Lichens||Frosted Glass-whiskers, Nova Scotia population|
S.C. 2002, c. 29
S.C. 2002, c. 29
- Date Modified: