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Vol. 150, No. 25 -- June 18, 2016

Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act

Statutory authority

Species at Risk Act

Sponsoring department

Department of the Environment

REGULATORY IMPACT ANALYSIS STATEMENT

(This statement is not part of the Order.)

Issues

Biodiversity is rapidly declining worldwide as species become extinct. (see footnote 1) Today’s extinction rate is estimated to be between 1 000 and 10 000 times higher than the natural rate. (see footnote 2) Biodiversity is positively related to ecosystem productivity, health and resiliency (see footnote 3) (i.e. the ability of an ecosystem to respond to changes or disturbances), and, given the interdependency of species, a loss of biodiversity can lead to decreases in ecosystem function and services (e.g. natural processes such as pest control, pollination, coastal wave attenuation, temperature regulation and carbon fixing). These services are important to the health of Canadians, and also have important ties to Canada’s economy. Small changes within an ecosystem resulting in the loss of individuals and species can therefore result in adverse, irreversible and broad-ranging effects.

The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), a non-government, independent body of scientific experts, has assessed the following 18 species as being at risk of becoming extirpated from Canada or extinct:

  1. Olive Clubtail
  2. Okanagan Efferia
  3. Dune Tachinid Fly
  4. Horned Grebe (Western population)
  5. Buff-breasted Sandpiper
  6. Baird’s Sparrow
  7. Batwing Vinyl Lichen
  8. Crumpled Tarpaper Lichen
  9. Peacock Vinyl Lichen
  10. Collared Pika
  11. Magnum Mantleslug
  12. Behr’s Hairstreak
  13. Western Screech-owl macfarlanei subspecies
  14. Western Screech-owl kennicottii subspecies
  15. Tiny Cryptantha
  16. Buffalograss
  17. Lyall’s Mariposa Lily
  18. Hairy Prairie-clover

Pursuant to section 27 of the Species at Risk Act (SARA or the Act), the Governor in Council (GIC) (see footnote 4) is proposing the Order Amending Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act to add or reclassify these species to Schedule 1 of SARA.

Background

Canada’s natural heritage is an integral part of its national identity and history. Wildlife is valued by Canadians for aesthetic, cultural, spiritual, recreational, educational, historical, subsistence, medical, ecological and scientific reasons. Canadian wildlife species and ecosystems are also part of the world’s heritage. (see footnote 5) Part of the Department of the Environment’s mandate is to preserve and enhance the quality of the natural environment, including flora and fauna. Although the responsibility for the conservation of wildlife in Canada is shared among governments, the Department of the Environment plays a leadership role as federal regulator in order to prevent terrestrial species from becoming extinct (see footnote 6) or extirpated (see footnote 7) from Canada.

The primary federal legislative mechanism for delivering on this strategy is SARA. The purposes of SARA are to prevent wildlife species from becoming extirpated from Canada or extinct, to provide for recovery of wildlife species that are listed as extirpated, endangered or threatened and to manage species of special concern to prevent them from becoming endangered or threatened. At the time of proclamation in 2003, the official list of wildlife species at risk (Schedule 1 of SARA) included 233 species. Since then, the GIC, on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, has amended the list on a number of occasions to add, remove or reclassify species. There are currently 521 species listed on Schedule 1, which classifies those species as being extirpated, endangered, threatened, or a special concern.

With the proclamation of SARA in 2003, the Act established COSEWIC (see footnote 8) as the body responsible for providing the Minister of the Environment with assessments of the status of Canadian wildlife species that are potentially at risk of disappearing from Canada. The assessments are carried out in accordance with section 15 of SARA. COSEWIC meets twice annually to review information collected on wildlife species and assigns each wildlife species to one of the seven following categories: extinct, extirpated, endangered, threatened, special concern, data deficient, or not at risk. (see footnote 9)

After COSEWIC provides its assessments of species at risk to the Minister of the Environment, the Minister has 90 days to post a response statement on the Species at Risk Public Registry indicating how the Minister intends to respond to the assessment and related anticipated timelines. These statements outline the extent of consultations on proposed changes to Schedule 1 of SARA.

Subsequent to the consultations and required analysis being carried out, the Governor in Council formally acknowledges its receipt of the COSEWIC assessments. This then triggers a regulatory process through a proposed Order whereby the Governor in Council may, within nine months of the receipt, on the recommendation of the Minister,

  • (1) add a wildlife species to Schedule 1 of SARA according to COSEWIC’s status assessment;
  • (2) not add the wildlife species to Schedule 1; or
  • (3) refer the assessment back to COSEWIC for further information or consideration.

If the Governor in Council does not decide within nine months of its formal receipt of the COSEWIC assessments, SARA states that the Minister shall amend Schedule 1 according to those assessments.

Protection and recovery planning for extirpated, endangered or threatened species

Upon listing, wildlife species benefit from various levels of protection, which vary depending on their status. Table 1 below summarizes the various protections afforded following listing to Schedule 1 of SARA.

Table 1: Summary of protections offered to wildlife species and their residences immediately upon their addition to Schedule 1 of SARA

This table presents the summary of Protections Offered to Wildlife Species and their residences immediately upon their Addition to Schedule 1 of SARA.
StatusGeneral prohibitionsApplication of general prohibitions
Protection of individuals (SARA, section 32)Residence protection (SARA, section 33)Species protected by the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994Aquatic speciesAll other listed species
Special concernGeneral prohibitions do not apply.Residence protection does not apply.Not applicable (there are no prohibitions or protections)
Threatened, endangered (see footnote 10) and extirpatedProtection for individuals of the species against being killed, harmed, harassed, captured or taken. Prohibition against the possession, collection, buying and selling or trading of an individual of the species or any part or derivative of this individual.It is an offence to damage or destroy the residence of one or more individuals of the species.Protections for migratory birds apply everywhere in Canada.Protections for aquatic species apply everywhere in Canada.In the provinces, general prohibitions and residence protection apply only on federal lands. In the territories, general prohibitions and residence protection apply only on federal lands under the authority of the Minister of the Environment or the Parks Canada Agency.

On non-federal lands, listed species that are not an aquatic species or a migratory bird protected by the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 can only be protected under SARA by an order made by the Governor in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment. (see footnote 11) The Minister of the Environment must recommend that such an order be made if the Minister is of the opinion that the laws of the province or territory do not effectively protect the species or the residences of its individuals.

SARA permits

A person wishing to engage in an activity that could contravene one or more of the general prohibitions may apply to the competent minister (see footnote 12) for a permit under section 73 of the Act. A permit may be issued if the Minister is of the opinion that

  • (a) the activity is scientific research relating to the conservation of the species and conducted by qualified persons;
  • (b) the activity benefits the species or is required to enhance its chance of survival in the wild; or
  • (c) affecting the species is incidental to the carrying out of the activity.

Additionally, the permit may only be issued if the competent minister is of the opinion that

  • (a) all reasonable alternatives to the activity that would reduce the impact on the species have been considered, and the best solution has been adopted;
  • (b) all feasible measures will be taken to minimize the impact of the activity on the species or its critical habitat or the residences of its individuals; and
  • (c) the activity will not jeopardize the survival or recovery of the species.
Recovery planning

In addition, listing under an endangered, threatened or extirpated status triggers mandatory recovery planning, by the competent minister, in order to address threats to the survival or recovery of these listed species. SARA states that a proposed recovery strategy must be posted on the Species at Risk Public Registry (SAR Registry):

  • Endangered species: within one year of listing;
  • Threatened species: within two years of listing; and
  • Extirpated species: within two years of listing.

Recovery strategies include

  • the description of the species;
  • the threats to the species’ survival;
  • the identification of critical habitat (i.e. the habitat necessary for a listed wildlife species’ recovery or survival) or a schedule of studies required for the identification of critical habitat;
  • the statement of population and distribution objectives for the species (i.e. the number of individuals, populations and/or geographic distribution of the species required to successfully recover the species); and
  • a statement of the time frame for the development of one or more action plans.

Recovery strategies must be prepared in cooperation with

  • appropriate provincial or territorial governments;
  • other federal ministers with authority over federal lands where the species is found;
  • wildlife management boards authorized by a land claims agreement;
  • Aboriginal organizations that are directly affected; and
  • any other person or organization that the competent minister considers appropriate.

Recovery strategies may also be prepared in consultation with landowners (including provinces and territories) or other persons whom the competent minister considers to be directly affected by the strategy.

Once a recovery strategy has been posted as final, the competent minister must then prepare one or more action plans based on the recovery strategy. Action plans are also prepared in consultation with the above-mentioned organizations and require consultation. SARA does not mandate timelines for their preparation or implementation; rather, these are set out in the recovery strategy. Action plans must include

  • an identification of critical habitat, to the extent possible, if not already identified, and consistent with the recovery strategy;
  • examples of activities likely to destroy critical habitat;
  • a statement of the measures that are proposed to protect the species’ critical habitat, including entering into conservation agreements under section 11 of SARA;
  • an identification of any portions of critical habitat that have not been protected;
  • methods to be used to monitor the recovery of the species and its long-term viability;
  • an evaluation of the socio-economic costs of the action plan and the benefits from its implementation; and
  • any other matters that are prescribed by regulations.
Protection of critical habitat

If critical habitat (or portions of critical habitat) is identified on federal lands, the Act requires that it must be legally protected. There are a number of tools under SARA to accomplish this.

Protection is afforded by the publication of the critical habitat description in the Canada Gazette for listed species found

  • in a national park listed in Schedule 1 of the Canada National Parks Act (CNPA);
  • in the Rouge National Urban Park established by the Rouge National Urban Park Act;
  • in a migratory bird sanctuary under the Migratory Bird Sanctuary Regulations of the Migratory Bird Convention Act, 1994 (MBCA);
  • in a national wildlife area under the Canada Wildlife Act (CWA); and
  • in a marine protected area under the Oceans Act.

As for critical habitat identified on federal lands other than the lands described above, protection is afforded either by

  • ensuring that the critical habitat is already protected under federal laws, in which case a protection statement must be published in the SAR Registry, setting out how the critical habitat or portions of it is legally protected; or
  • the issuance of an order by the Minister to prohibit the destruction of critical habitat, (see footnote 13) if it is not already protected under federal laws.

It may not always be possible to identify critical habitat in a recovery strategy or action plan, and, in those cases, a schedule of studies outlining the activities required to obtain the information necessary to complete the identification of critical habitat will be included in the recovery strategy or action plan.

For portions of critical habitat on non-federal lands, SARA allows for the effective protection of the critical habitat by the responsible management authority (e.g. provinces or territories or other stakeholders). In cases where the competent minister determines that critical habitat on non-federal lands is not protected, the Governor in Council, on the recommendation of the competent minister, may issue an order to prohibit the destruction of that critical habitat. (see footnote 14)

Management of special concern species

A special concern designation in Schedule 1 of SARA does not trigger SARA’s general prohibitions. Once a species is listed in SARA as special concern, the preparation and publication of a management plan within three years is required. The plan includes conservation measures deemed appropriate to preserve the wildlife species and avoid a future decline of its populations. It is developed in cooperation with the relevant provincial and territorial governments, other federal government departments, wildlife management boards, Aboriginal organizations and any other appropriate stakeholders.

Objectives

The objective of the proposed Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act (the proposed Order) is to help maintain Canada’s biodiversity and the well-being of Canadian ecosystems by preventing wildlife species from becoming extirpated from Canada or extinct.

Description

The proposed Order would add 11 terrestrial species to Schedule 1 of SARA and reclassify 7 currently listed species, as shown in Tables 2 and 3 below. These species were grouped together because they are found primarily in the same geographical area, namely in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, the Yukon and the Northwest Territories. Two species are also found in Ontario and Nunavut, and one is found in Quebec.

The Order also introduces taxonomic changes to five wildlife species, to reflect modifications made by COSEWIC. These proposed changes can be found in Table 4 below.

A description of each species, their ranges and threats is found in Annex 1. Additional information on these species can also be found in the COSEWIC status reports. (see footnote 15)

Table 2: Proposed addition of 11 wildlife species to Schedule 1 of SARA

This table presents the proposed addition of 11 wildlife species to Schedule 1 of SARA.
Legal Population NameSpecies Scientific NameCurrent StatusProposed StatusRange
Arthropods    
1. Clubtail, OliveStylurus olivaceusNoneEndangeredBC
2. Efferia, OkanaganEfferia okanaganaNoneEndangeredBC
3. Tachinid Fly, DuneGermaria angustataNoneSpecial concernYK
Birds    
4. Grebe, Horned (Western population)Podiceps auritusNoneSpecial concernYK, NT, NU, BC, AB, SK, MB, ON
5. Sandpiper, Buff-breastedTryngites subruficollisNoneSpecial concernYK, NT, NU, BC, AB, SK, MB, ON, QC
6. Sparrow, Baird’sAmmodramus bairdiiNoneSpecial concernAB, SK, MB
Lichens    
7. Lichen, Batwing VinylLeptogium platynumNoneEndangeredBC
8. Lichen, Crumpled TarpaperCollema coniophilumNoneThreatenedBC
9. Lichen, Peacock VinylLeptogium polycarpumNoneSpecial concernBC
Mammals    
10. Pika, CollaredOchotona collarisNoneSpecial concernYK, NT, BC
Molluscs    
11. Mantleslug, MagnumMagnipelta mycophagaNoneSpecial concernBC

Table 3: Proposed reclassification of 7 wildlife species to Schedule 1 of SARA

This table presents the proposed reclassification of 7 wildlife species to Schedule 1 of SARA.
Legal Population NameSpecies Scientific NameCurrent StatusProposed StatusRange
Arthropods    
1. Hairstreak, Behr’sSatyrium behriiThreatenedEndangeredBC
Birds    
2. Screech-owl macfarlanei subspecies, WesternMegascops kennicottii macfarlaneiEndangeredThreatenedBC
3. Screech-owl kennicottii subspecies, WesternMegascops kennicottii kennicottiiSpecial concernThreatenedBC
Plants    
4. Cryptantha, TinyCryptantha minimaEndangeredThreatenedAB, SK
5. BuffalograssBouteloua dactyloidesThreatenedSpecial concernSK, MB
6. Lily, Lyall’s MariposaCalochortus lyalliiThreatenedSpecial concernBC
7. Prairie-clover, HairyDalea villosaThreatenedSpecial concernSK, MB

Table 4: Taxonomic changes for 5 wildlife species to Schedule 1 of SARA

This table presents the taxonomic changes for 5 wildlife species to Schedule 1 of SARA.
Required ChangeCurrent Status and Taxonomic GroupCurrent Common Name (Scientific Name) [English]New Common Name (Scientific Name) [English]
Legal population name changeEndangered (Part 2) -- BirdsChat auricollis subspecies, Yellow-breasted (Icteria virens auricollis) British Columbia populationChat auricollis subspecies, Yellow-breasted (Icteria virens auricollis) Southern Mountain population
Scientific name change onlyEndangered (Part 2) -- PlantsOwl-clover, Bearded (Triphysaria versicolor ssp. versicolor)Owl-clover, Bearded (Triphysaria versicolor)
Scientific name change onlyThreatened (Part 3) -- PlantsBuffalograss (Buchloë dactyloides)Buffalograss (Bouteloua dactyloides)
Scientific name change onlyThreatened (Part 3) -- PlantsPrairie-clover, Hairy (Dalea villosa var. villosa)Prairie-clover, Hairy (Dalea villosa)
Legal population name change and scientific name changeThreatened (Part 3) -- ArthropodsHairstreak, Behr’s (Columbia) (Satyrium behrii columbia)Hairstreak, Behr’s (Satyrium behrii)

Benefits and costs

1 Analytical framework
1.1 Framework for costs and benefits

The quantitative and qualitative incremental impacts (costs and benefits) of the proposed Order were analyzed. Incremental impacts are defined as the differences between the baseline scenario and the policy scenario. The baseline scenario refers to the current situation (i.e. the current ongoing activities on federal lands where a species is found) and incorporates any projected changes over the next 10 years (2016–2025) that would occur without the proposed Order in place. The policy scenario refers to the situation in which the proposed Order is implemented over the same period. An analytical period of 10 years (2016–2025) was selected, as the status of the species must be reassessed by COSEWIC every 10 years. (see footnote 16) Costs provided in present value terms are discounted at 3% over the period of 2016–2025.

The analysis presents how listing triggers beneficial recovery planning and additional protection, which would support the recovery and survival of the species. It is also important to note that preventing the extirpation of a given species contributes to overall biodiversity in Canada. More diverse ecosystems are generally more stable and less subject to be disrupted; thus, the benefits (goods and services) they provide are also more stable over time. (see footnote 17)

In terms of incremental costs, the following matters were considered:

  • Costs to stakeholders and Aboriginal peoples of complying with general prohibitions;
  • Government costs of recovery strategy, action plan or management plan development, permit applications and issuance, and compliance promotion and enforcement; and
  • Potential implications of a critical habitat protection order on federal lands, if one is required in the future.
    • As indicated above, if critical habitat is identified on federal land, protection must be afforded either by ensuring that the critical habitat is protected under existing federal laws including conservation agreements under section 11 or, if it is not already protected under federal laws, by issuing a ministerial order to prohibit the destruction of critical habitat. Since critical habitat is only identified in a recovery strategy or action plan following the listing stage, the extent of critical habitat identification is unknown. Thus, the need for, and the form of, future measures on federal lands are not known at the time of the listing. Hence, the analysis of potential changes to critical habitat protections resulting from this proposed Order is illustrative, based upon best available information.
    • It is important to note a characteristic of critical habitat on non-federal lands. As noted above, if any future critical habitat identified on non-federal lands is determined by the Minister to be insufficiently protected, a decision to issue an order to protect that critical habitat would be made by the Governor in Council. Therefore, the potential for critical habitat protection on non-federal lands is not considered an incremental impact of the proposed Order.
1.2 Analytical scope

Environment Canada conducted a preliminary assessment of impacts of the proposed listing of the 18 species. This preliminary assessment indicated that the cost impacts of the proposed Order would be low, given that each species falls within one of four categories associated with minimal impacts on stakeholders, as described below.

(1) Listing or reclassification to level of special concern only (10 species):

  • General prohibitions would not apply and critical habitat is not required to be identified or protected, minimizing impacts on stakeholders or Aboriginal peoples.
  • Species falling into this category are the following: Baird’s Sparrow, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Buffalograss, Collared Pika, Dune Tachinid Fly, Hairy Prairie-Clover, Horned Grebe (Western Population), Lyall’s Mariposa Lily, Magnum Mantleslug and Peacock Vinyl Lichen.

(2) Upgrade/downgrade of status from threatened to endangered or vice versa (3 species):

  • General prohibitions and the requirements to identify critical habitat would not change, so no new obligations would accrue to stakeholders or Aboriginal peoples.
  • Species falling into this category are the following: Behr’s Hairstreak, Tiny Cryptantha and Western Screech-owl (macfarlanei subspecies).

(3) SARA listing of species that are not found on federal lands (3 species):

  • General prohibitions would not be triggered and critical habitat is unlikely to be identified on federal lands. The recovery planning process would be initiated, but no incremental impacts on stakeholders or Aboriginal peoples are expected in the absence of subsequent Governor in Council decisions.
  • Species falling into this category are the following: Batwing Vinyl Lichen, Crumpled Tarpaper Lichen and Olive Clubtail.

(4) Listing of species that are known to be found on one or few federal lands (2 species):

  • Additional obligations to stakeholders and/or Aboriginal peoples due to general prohibitions and critical habitat protection would be expected to be minimal given the limited extent of current activities in the areas of species occurrence as well as protection measures already in place.
  • Species falling into this category are the following: Okanagan Efferia and Western Screech-owl kennicottii subspecies.

In light of these low anticipated impacts, a detailed, qualitative analysis that is proportional to the level of cost impact was conducted.

2 Incremental impacts of the proposed Order

The incremental impacts of the proposed Order are described below by category.

The overall costs to the Government of Canada of listing these species are anticipated to be low. Costs arise from the development of recovery strategies, action plans or management plans that are required when a species is listed under SARA, as well as compliance promotion and enforcement activities. Based on the list of species included in the proposed Order, an overall cost to Government was estimated at $350,000 to $389,000 (present value) over 10 years.

Costs arising from the enforcement activities associated with the listing recommendations under the proposed Order are anticipated to be low. This is due to a combination of factors, including that the general prohibitions would not be triggered for many of the species (i.e. special concern species or species that are not found on federal lands), many species have limited distributions on federal lands, and some species already benefit from different levels of protection under different statutes such as the Wildlife Area Regulations (WAR), made under the Canada Wildlife Act (CWA). As a result, costs for compliance promotion and enforcement are estimated to be approximately $47,500 (present value) over 10 years, which have been included in the total cost estimate above. These costs would cover routine patrols and are based on the protection of individuals and their residences and would increase significantly if critical habitat was identified on federal lands.

Generally speaking, there could also be some implications for projects (see footnote 18) required to undergo an environmental assessment by or under an Act of Parliament (hereafter referred to as “federal EA”). Once a species is listed in Schedule 1 of SARA, under any designation, additional requirements under section 79 of SARA are triggered for project proponents and government officials undertaking a federal EA. These requirements are as follows: to notify the competent minister if a listed wildlife species or its critical habitat is likely to be affected by the project; to identify all the adverse effects that the project could have on the species and its critical habitat; and, if the project is carried out, to ensure that measures are taken to avoid or lessen those effects and to monitor them. Thus, there could be costs to proponents arising from the need to consider any of the 11 newly listed species as part of a federal EA if found in the relevant area (e.g. development of a mine, pipeline, waste management facility, electrical transmission line, industrial facility). However, any such costs are expected to be minimal relative to the total costs of performing a federal EA. Given this, quantifying these potential costs was not possible.

2.1 Category 1: Species recommended for special concern listing or reclassification

As shown in Tables 2 and 3, the following 10 species were assessed or re-assessed by COSEWIC as special concern:

  • (a) Baird’s Sparrow (new listing)
  • (b) Buff-breasted Sandpiper (new listing)
  • (c) Collared Pika (new listing)
  • (d) Dune Tachinid Fly (new listing)
  • (e) Horned Grebe (Western population) [new listing]
  • (f) Magnum Mantleslug (new listing)
  • (g) Peacock Vinyl Lichen (new listing)
  • (h) Buffalograss (down-listing from threatened to special concern)
  • (i) Hairy Prairie-clover (down-listing from threatened to special concern)
  • (j) Lyall’s Mariposa Lily (down-listing from threatened to special concern)

2.1.1 Description of incremental change due to proposed Order

A special concern listing in Schedule 1 of SARA would require the preparation and publication of a management plan within three years of the listing. The plan would include conservation measures deemed appropriate to preserve the wildlife species. It would be developed in collaboration with the relevant provincial/territorial governments, other federal governments, wildlife management boards, Aboriginal peoples and any other appropriate stakeholders.

A special concern designation would not trigger SARA’s general prohibitions, critical habitat identification or the development of recovery strategies or actions plans.

2.1.2 Incremental costs

The only cost to Government would be for the development of management plans, expected to be approximately $10,000 per species, for a total of $100,000 for all species in this group.

2.1.3 Incremental benefits

The addition of a species as special concern to Schedule 1 of SARA would serve as an early indication that the species requires attention due to a combination of biological characteristics and identified threats. Triggering the development of a management plan at this stage would help enable the species to be managed proactively, maximize the probability of recovery success, and could be expected to avoid higher-cost measures in the future.

The addition of the Horned Grebe and Buff-breasted Sandpiper as special concern species under SARA would complement the protections they already receive from the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 (MBCA) [i.e. protection of the individuals, populations and their nests] by requiring the development of a management plan.

Buffalograss, Lyall’s Mariposa Lily and Hairy Prairie- clover would be down-listed from threatened to special concern. An incremental benefit of the down-listing would be that management efforts for the species would reflect the best available scientific information, as provided by COSEWIC, in order to ensure that the species are protected according to the purposes of SARA while minimizing impacts on stakeholders and resources. Since SARA’s general prohibitions would no longer apply, there could be avoided costs to stakeholders of mitigating their practices to respect the prohibitions. In previous years, only three SARA permits have been issued to researchers from non-governmental organizations for scientific research affecting Hairy Prairie-clover. Should this species be down-listed, researchers would no longer need to apply for a SARA permit, and this administrative burden would be removed. This avoided cost to businesses has not been quantified.

2.2 Category 2: Species recommended for down-listing or up-listing from threatened to endangered or vice versa

As shown in Table 1, the following species were previously listed in Schedule 1 of SARA, and were re-assessed by COSEWIC as threatened from endangered or vice versa:

  • (a) Behr’s Hairstreak (threatened to endangered)
  • (b) Tiny Cryptantha (endangered to threatened)
  • (c) Western Screech-owl (macfarlanei subspecies) [endangered to threatened]

2.2.1 Description of incremental change due to proposed Order

The designations of threatened and endangered in Schedule 1 of SARA offer identical protections (i.e. general prohibitions applicable on federal lands) and have identical requirements (i.e. critical habitat identification, development of recovery strategies and action plans, and consideration in federal environmental assessments), although the timelines differ depending on the status. Therefore, any species listing that involves a reclassification within these two designations would not result in major changes to the level of government activity or impacts on stakeholders or Aboriginal peoples.

2.2.2 Incremental costs

Recovery strategies and action plans for these species would need to be updated and posted on the SAR Registry. However, the cost of updating these recovery strategies would be less than the development of new recovery strategies. SARA enables a multi-species approach to the development of recovery strategies and management plans. Therefore, it is likely that Western Screech-owl kennicottii subspecies would be combined with Western Screech-owl macfarlanei subspecies when developing recovery documents, resulting in one comprehensive document. This cost is therefore only being counted once (see estimates for Western Screech-owl kennicotti subspecies in section 2.4.2). The government cost of updating recovery strategies and action plans for the two remaining species in this group is estimated to be $40,000.

2.2.3 Incremental benefits

The primary benefit of the reclassification would be that the designation would be consistent with the latest available scientific information, as provided by COSEWIC, thus allowing for better decision-making regarding the species in terms of its conservation prioritization. For Behr’s Hairstreak, which is recommended for up-listing from threatened to endangered, this would also provide national recognition that this species is facing imminent extirpation or extinction.

2.3 Category 3: Species that are not found on federal lands

As shown in Table 2, the following species were assessed by COSEWIC as threatened or endangered and were previously not listed in Schedule 1 of SARA. At this time, there are no known occurrences of these species on federal lands:

  • (a) Batwing Vinyl Lichen (new listing as endangered)
  • (b) Crumpled Tarpaper Lichen (new listing as threatened)
  • (c) Olive Clubtail (new listing as endangered)

2.3.1 Description of incremental change due to proposed Order

In the case of the three species in this category, given that no populations have been identified on federal lands, the general prohibitions would not be expected to be triggered. Thus, no incremental impacts on stakeholders or Aboriginal peoples would be initially expected. This also implies that no critical habitat would likely be identified on federal lands in the future, limiting the possibility for a ministerial critical habitat protection order.

2.3.2 Incremental costs

The only expected costs to Government are related to recovery plan and action plan development, and are estimated at $20,000 to $25,000 per species per document, for a total of $120,000 to $150,000 for the species in this category. In cases where a provincial recovery plan has already been published, that plan may be adapted to meet SARA requirements, resulting in some cost savings.

2.3.3 Incremental benefits

The key benefit of the listing of these species is that recovery strategy and action plan development would be triggered. These documents would enable coordinated action by responsible land management authorities wherever the species are found in Canada. Improved coordination among authorities would increase the likelihood of species survival. This process would also provide an opportunity to consider the impact of measures to recover the species and to consult with stakeholders and Aboriginal peoples.

2.4 Category 4: Species that are known to be found on one or few federal lands

As shown in Tables 2 and 3, the following two species were assessed by COSEWIC as threatened or endangered:

  • (a) Okanagan Efferia (new listing as endangered)
  • (b) Western Screech-owl (kennicottii subspecies) [up-listing from special concern to threatened]

2.4.1 Description of incremental change due to proposed Order

The only known occurrence of Okanagan Efferia on federal land is within Vaseux Bighorn National Wildlife Area. Although the SARA general prohibitions would apply in the National Wildlife Area (NWA) upon listing, the Canada Wildlife Act and its associated Wildlife Area Regulations already afford certain protections in NWAs by prohibiting hunting, possession, damage, destruction or molestation of species, eggs and nests. (see footnote 19) Therefore, in most cases, the SARA general prohibitions would not result in incremental changes within the NWA.

In terms of any incremental change due to potential critical habitat protection, the only plant correlated with this fly’s occurrence grows on gravelly or sandy loam soils and this habitat within the NWA is expected to be protected by the WAR prohibition against “disturbing or removing any soil, sand, gravel or other material.” A person wishing to perform this activity already requires a permit under the WAR, and a separate permit under SARA would not be required. If critical habitat for this species is identified in the NWA following its listing, the incremental change due to the proposed Order would likely be small.

On federal lands, the only known occurrence of Western Screech-owl kennicottii subspecies is on Parks Canada land within the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. The National Parks Wildlife Regulations (NPWR), under the Canada National Parks Act (CNPA), prohibit the hunting, disturbing, holding in captivity or destroying of any wildlife within, or removing any wildlife from, a park except in accordance with a permit. In addition, nests are protected where they exist on Parks Canada lands. These protections are similar to those afforded by SARA general prohibitions. Furthermore, section 74 of SARA allows for permits issued under other Acts of Parliament to have the same effect as a permit issued under subsection 73(1) of SARA under certain conditions. Therefore, on Parks Canada lands, there would be no significant incremental changes in terms of immediate protections afforded to the Western Screech-owl kennicottii subspecies by the SARA general prohibitions upon listing of the species.

Although critical habitat identification and activities likely to destroy critical habitat are not known at the time of listing, the CNPA and the National Parks General Regulations (NPGR) prohibitions are also likely to provide some level of protection to Western Screech-owl kennicottii subspecies critical habitat. Subsection 8(2) of the CNPA states that maintenance or restoration of ecological integrity, (see footnote 20) through the protection of natural resources and natural processes, shall be the priority when considering all aspects of the management of parks, and a permit is required for the disturbance or destruction of flora or natural objects. The NPGR prohibits the removing, defacing, damaging or destruction of any flora and natural objects. The incremental impacts of critical habitat protection, if it were to be identified on the National Park Reserve, would therefore be minimal.

Any small incremental changes related to both types of permits described above would mainly affect researchers, who are typically well versed in the Department of the Environment’s permitting requirements. There are no anticipated incremental impacts or costs to businesses since there are no businesses performing activities on this Parks Canada property that are likely to affect the species.

2.4.2 Incremental costs

Both Okanagan Efferia and Western Screech-owl kennicottii subspecies are already protected to some degree wherever they are known to exist on federal lands. Activities that are likely to affect individuals, and in the case of Okanagan Efferia, its habitat, already require a permit under other pieces of federal legislation. There could be small incremental costs to stakeholders applying for permits related to additional information they would have to provide to comply with SARA permitting requirements.

Recovery plan and action plan development is estimated to cost the Government $40,000 to $50,000 for the Okanagan Efferia. As noted in section 2.2.2, document updates for the Western Screech Owl kennicotti would likely be combined with those for the Western Screech Owl macfarlanei, for a total cost of $20,000. Western Screech Owl kennicottii subspecies has a published provincial recovery strategy, which would likely reduce the cost of developing a federal recovery strategy.

2.4.3 Incremental benefits

As noted in section 2.3.3, the key benefit of the listing of these species would be that recovery strategy and action plan development would be triggered, enabling coordinated action by the responsible land management authorities wherever the species are found in Canada and, ultimately, increasing the likelihood of species survival.

3 Summary of benefits and costs

This proposed Order is expected to have moderate benefits to the environment and to society and culture. Threatened and endangered species would be protected on federal land through the general prohibitions of SARA, including prohibitions on killing, harming, harassing and capturing. In addition, these species would benefit from the development of recovery strategies and action plans that identify the main threats to species survival, as well as identify, when possible, the habitat that is necessary for their survival and recovery in Canada. Special concern species would benefit from the development of a management plan, which would include measures for the conservation of the species. These activities may be augmented by local government actions to protect species and habitats. Protecting these species would also be an integral part of maintaining biodiversity in Canada and conserving Canada’s natural heritage.

The overall costs to the Government of Canada of listing these species are anticipated to be low. Costs would arise from the development of recovery strategies, action plans or management plans that are required when a species is listed under SARA. Based on the list of species included in the proposed Order, an overall cost to Government was estimated at $350,000 to $389,000 in present value over 10 years, and no costs would be expected for stakeholders. The extent of future critical habitat protection is undetermined at this stage, but the analysis of species occurrences relative to land tenure and current protections suggests that any associated costs are not expected to be large.

“One-for-One” Rule

The “One-for-One” Rule does not apply because the proposed additions to Schedule 1 of SARA would not impose new administrative costs on businesses.

Small business lens

The small business lens does not apply to this proposal, as there is no anticipated impact on small businesses.

Consultation

Under SARA, the scientific assessment of wildlife species’ status conducted by COSEWIC and the decision made by the Governor in Council to afford legal protection by placing a wildlife species on Schedule 1 of the Act are two distinct processes. This separation allows scientists to work independently when assessing the biological status of wildlife species and provides Canadians with the opportunity to participate in the decision-making process in determining whether or not wildlife species will be listed under SARA and receive legal protection.

The Government of Canada recognizes that the conservation of wildlife is a joint responsibility and that the best way to secure the survival of species at risk and their habitats is through the active participation of all those concerned. SARA’s preamble stipulates that all Aboriginal peoples and Canadians have a role to play in preventing the disappearance of wildlife species from our lands. One of the ways Aboriginal peoples and Canadians can get involved is by sharing comments concerning the addition or reclassification of terrestrial species to Schedule 1 of SARA. Comments are considered in relation to the potential consequences of whether or not a species is included on Schedule 1, and comments received from those who would be most affected by the proposed changes are given particular attention. All comments received feed into the proposed listing recommendations from the competent minister to the Governor in Council.

The Department of the Environment begins initial public consultations with the posting of the Minister’s response statements on the Species at Risk Public Registry within 90 days of receiving a copy of an assessment of the status of a wildlife species from COSEWIC. Stakeholders, Aboriginal people and organizations, and the general public are also consulted by means of a publicly posted document titled “Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act, Terrestrial Species.”

With regard to the species included in this proposed Order, the consultation documents inviting comments from Aboriginal peoples and Canadians were published in December 2009 for one species (Horned Grebe), in December 2011 for 6 species (see footnote 21) and in December 2012 for 11 species. (see footnote 22)

These consultation documents provided information on the species, including the reason for their designation, a biological description and location information. The documents also provided an overview of the SARA listing process. These documents were distributed directly to 2 400 stakeholders, Aboriginal people and organizations for the Horned Grebe consultation in 2009, and to over 3 600 for the 2011 and 2012 consultations, including Aboriginal people and organizations, wildlife management boards, (see footnote 23) provincial and territorial governments, various industrial sectors, resource users, landowners and environmental non-governmental organizations.

Consultations results summary

A total of 65 written comments were received from 26 different sources for the 2011 and 2012 consultation documents and 12 written comments were received with respect to the Horned Grebe (Western population) for the 2009 consultation document. Most comments (62) were generally supportive or not opposed to adding or reclassifying the species in Schedule 1 of SARA, including those comments received from provincial and territorial governments and non-profit organizations. Comments were received from eight wildlife management boards and one First Nation, all of which supported or did not oppose the listing of the species.

Six comments were received that specifically opposed the listing of species or expressed concerns about the impact of listing on agriculture and the recovery planning process under SARA. More information on these comments is presented below and in Annex 1.

One business opposed the listing of Western Screech-owl kennicottii subspecies because it disagrees with the COSEWIC assessment. The matter was brought to COSEWIC, which reconsidered the available information, determined that there was no new information that warranted a reassessment for the species, and confirmed the assessed status of threatened. A statement to that effect was published on the Species at Risk Public Registry. (see footnote 24)

A provincial ministry opposed the listing of Crumpled Tarpaper Lichen, citing insufficient survey efforts and recommending that the wildlife species be sent back to COSEWIC. The Department of the Environment concluded that the search efforts were sufficient to justify listing of this species.

An individual opposed the down-listing of Tiny Cryptantha from endangered to threatened. The individual argued that considering that this species has a propensity to decrease below detection, its occurrence is localized, it has specific habitat requirements, and it is known to be in proximity to a major water body, this species’ status should remain as endangered. However, COSEWIC recommends the down-listing of the species as threatened, because a larger range and population size have been identified. A change in status from endangered to threatened will not have any implications in the legal protection afforded to the species.

A municipal association expressed concerns about the implications for agricultural producers of adding more species to SARA, because many species reside on crop or pasture lands. The association indicated that maintaining native prairie habitat may create hardship for some agricultural producers, as normal agriculture activities may unintentionally threaten species at risk and their habitat. The association recommends a permanent exemption in SARA for these activities and compensation when agricultural producers remove land from agriculture production to maintain prairie habitat. The Department notes that these hardships are not expected to materialize, because general prohibitions and residence protection under SARA would not apply to the prairie species proposed for listing as special concern.

Another business expressed concerns about the efficiency of the SARA process after a species is a listed. It asks the federal government to provide additional clarity and transparency on the development of recovery strategies, management plans and identification of critical habitat. This stakeholder was also concerned about the uncertainty this causes for business, if clarity is not provided in a timely manner. To address this concern, the Department of the Environment has recently provided additional transparency by posting the Recovery Document Posting Plan on the SARA Registry. (see footnote 25) This provides additional clarity to Canadians and Canadian businesses regarding the process and plan to prepare and share recovery documents.

A number of stakeholders raised general concerns about consultations and collaboration during recovery planning activities. The Department of the Environment is committed to a collaborative process throughout the assessment, listing and recovery planning processes. The results of the public consultations are of great significance to the process of listing species at risk. Environment Canada carefully reviews the comments it receives to gain a better understanding of the benefits and costs of changing the List.

The Minister of the Environment will take into consideration comments and any additional information received following publication of the proposed Order and this Regulatory Impact Assessment Statement in the Canada Gazette, Part I.

Detailed consultation results for all 18 species are provided in Annex 1.

Rationale

Biodiversity is crucial to ecosystem productivity, health and resiliency, yet is rapidly declining worldwide as species become extinct. (see footnote 26) The proposed Order would support the survival and recovery of 18 species at risk in Canada by affording legal protections and mandating recovery planning, thus contributing to the maintenance of biodiversity in Canada. In the case of threatened or endangered species, they would be protected on federal land through the general prohibitions of SARA, including prohibitions on killing, harming, harassing and capturing. In addition, these species would benefit from the development of recovery strategies and action plans that identify the main threats to species survival, as well as identify, when possible, the habitat that is necessary for their survival and recovery in Canada. Species listed as special concern would benefit from the development of a management plan, which includes measures for the conservation of the species.

The proposed Order would help Canada meet its commitments under the Convention on Biological Diversity. In accordance with the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals, a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) concluded that the Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act (the Order) would result in important positive environmental effects. This proposal has direct links with the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS) [2013–2016]. The proposed amendments to Schedule 1 of SARA would support Theme III, “Protecting Nature and Canadians,” of the FSDS. Under Theme III, these amendments would help meet one of the “Targets to Conserve and Restore Ecosystems, Wildlife and Habitat,” namely Target 4.1 “Species at Risk. By 2020, populations of species at risk listed under federal law exhibit trends that are consistent with recovery strategies and management plans” of Goal 4 “Conserving and Restoring Ecosystems, Wildlife and Habitat and Protecting Canadians” and the development of a number of implementation strategies.

The overall costs to Government of listing these species are limited to government actions related to recovery and management plan development and are anticipated to be low and to be covered by existing program funding. The overall costs to businesses is also expected to be minimal.

Implementation, enforcement and service standards

Following the listing, the Department of the Environment and the Parks Canada Agency would implement a compliance promotion plan. Compliance promotion initiatives are proactive measures that encourage voluntary compliance with the law through education and outreach activities and raise awareness and understanding of the prohibitions. Potentially affected stakeholders would be reached to

  • increase their awareness and understanding of the proposed Order;
  • promote the adoption of behaviours that will contribute to the overall conservation and protection of wildlife at risk;
  • achieve their compliance with the proposed Order; and
  • enhance their knowledge regarding species at risk.

These objectives would be accomplished through the creation and dissemination of information products explaining the new prohibitions applicable on federal lands where it relates to those 18 species, the recovery planning process that follows listing and how stakeholders can get involved, as well as general information on each of the species. These resources will be posted on the Species at Risk Public Registry, but mail-outs and presentations to targeted audiences may also be considered as appropriate.

Subsequent to listing, the preparation and implementation of recovery strategies, action plans or management plans may result in recommendations for further regulatory action for protection of wildlife species. It may also draw on the provisions of other Acts of Parliament to provide required protection.

SARA provides for penalties for contraventions to the Act, including fines or imprisonment, seizure and forfeiture of things seized or of the proceeds of their disposition. Alternative measures agreements may also be used to deal with an alleged offender under certain conditions. SARA also provides for inspections and search and seizure operations by enforcement officers designated under SARA. Under the penalty provisions of the Act, 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 is liable to a fine of not more than $50,000 and any other person is liable to a fine of not more than $50,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than one year, or to both. A corporation found guilty of an indictable offence 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.

The Permits Authorizing an Activity Affecting Listed Wildlife Species Regulations, which came into effect on June 19, 2013, impose a 90-day timeline on the Government to either issue or refuse permits under section 73 of the Species at Risk Act (SARA) to authorize activities that may affect listed wildlife species. The 90-day timeline may not apply in certain circumstances. These Regulations contribute to consistency, predictability and transparency in the SARA permitting process by providing applicants with clear and measurable service standards. The Department of the Environment measures its service performance annually, and performance information is posted on the Department of the Environment Web site (see footnote 27) no later than June 1 for the preceding fiscal year.

Contact

Caroline Ladanowski
Director
Wildlife Program Support Division
Canadian Wildlife Service
Department of the Environment
Gatineau, Quebec
K1A 0H3
Telephone: 819-938-4105

Annex 1 -- Description of species being added to or reclassified on Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act

Baird’s Sparrow (Ammodramus bairdii)

COSEWIC assessed this species as a species of special concern in May 2012.

About this species

Baird’s Sparrow is a secretive prairie songbird. It is distinguished from other sparrows by “moustache” marks on its yellowish-ochre face, a necklace of thin streaks across its breast and a song that usually ends in a wiry, musical trill. Its range is restricted to the northern prairies and it is a valuable grassland indicator of that region.

Baird’s Sparrow is found only in North America, where it breeds in southern Alberta, Saskatchewan and southwest Manitoba, south to Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota. It overwinters in southern Arizona, New Mexico and Texas south to north Central Mexico.

The main threats to this species are habitat destruction, degradation and fragmentation caused by a variety of factors, with energy extraction becoming particularly important recently. Other threats include disruption of natural processes, brood parasitism by cowbirds, pesticides and climate change.

Consultations

Five comments were received following the publication of the COSEWIC assessment of Baird’s Sparrow. Two comments came from environmental non-governmental organizations that supported the listing as a species of special concern. An additional non-governmental organization did not indicate if they support or oppose the listing but expressed reservations and provided advice on the process of consultations for listing or recovery. A municipal association did not indicate if it supported or opposed listing, but expressed concerns that adding prairie species to the list would lead to hardship for agricultural producers who should be compensated for protecting land that they cannot use for agricultural production or obtain a permanent exception to SARA for their activities. In response, the Department of the Environment noted that listing this species would not create a burden on the agricultural community since it is being listed as a species of special concern; therefore, the general prohibitions of SARA do not apply. A forestry business did not specifically oppose listing but raised concerns about the listing process and the increase in the number of species on Schedule 1 of SARA. They are concerned that listing is not accompanied with the advancement of management or recovery strategies and that it leads to increased business uncertainty.

Listing rationale

Canada supports about 60% of the breeding population of this prairie songbird. The species was common and perhaps even abundant historically. It suffered declines stemming from agricultural conversion of its native prairie habitat across the Great Plains. There is good evidence for population decline in recent decades, but the species is difficult to monitor effectively, and information on short-term population trends is relatively weak. Loss and degradation of its specialized grassland habitat, on both its breeding and wintering grounds, are believed to pose the most significant threats. Evidence of long-term population decline, coupled with ongoing threats to habitat, are the primary reasons for elevating the status of this species from not at risk to a species of special concern.

Baird’s Sparrow is a migratory bird under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 (MBCA); therefore, it is already protected wherever it is found in Canada. A listing as a species of special concern under SARA does not create additional prohibitions; however, listing would complement the protection it already receives under the MBCA (i.e. protection of the individuals, its nest and its eggs) by requiring the development of a management plan that includes measures to prevent the species from becoming further at risk.

Batwing Vinyl Lichen (Leptogium platynum)

COSEWIC assessed the Batwing Vinyl Lichen as endangered in May 2011.

About this species

The Batwing Vinyl Lichen is a distinctive rock-dwelling “jellyskin” lichen characterized by leafy, medium-sized lobes (4–6 mm wide). Its upper surface is bluish grey or sometimes brown, shiny, hairless, finely wrinkled when dry, and bears small lobules. Its lower surface is paler than the upper surface, and is either hairless or bears scattered tufts of white hairs.

This leafy lichen occurs in western North America in dry coastal regions. It reaches the northern limit of its range in coastal southwestern British Columbia, where it is commonly found at three, possibly four, locations on Vancouver Island. Collectively, these three locations have 370 thalli (i.e. the plant body of a lichen) with a combined surface area of less than 9 m2. Other locations have been reported in Mexico, New Mexico and Texas. This species is very rare in the Canadian portion of its global range, and more than 80% of individuals occur in one location. There are no known occurrences on federal land.

The apparent decline of the Batwing Vinyl Lichen may be attributed to natural causes, such as competition by mosses and increasingly dry summers. This lichen is also vulnerable to unpredictable (or random) natural events such as heavy rainfall. The loss at one location is likely due to nutrient enrichment of the habitat from nearby intensive agricultural activity. The region where this lichen occurs also includes areas with a rapidly expanding human population, which could lead to both loss of available habitat and increasing air pollution, which can affect lichens.

Consultations

Two comments supporting the listing of Batwing Vinyl Lichen were received. One comment was received from an environmental non-governmental organization and the other from a provincial government ministry.

Listing rationale

This wildlife species has reproductive traits not found in other lichens of this type, and it makes a unique contribution to the nitrogen balance in the ecosystem nutrient cycle. In addition, this species is an ecological indicator of low disturbance and stable conditions because it can only persist for long periods in sites where the vegetation and nutrient balance are maintained.

All three Canadian locations currently known to support this species are situated in permanently designated provincial protected areas, and more than 80% of individuals occur in one location. Listing the species as endangered would complement the existing protection that the species already receives by requiring the development of a recovery strategy.

Behr’s Hairstreak (Satyrium behrii)

This species was listed as threatened in Schedule 1 of SARA in June 2003. COSEWIC reassessed Behr’s Hairstreak in May 2012 and changed its status to endangered.

About this species

Behr’s Hairstreak is a small butterfly. Its wings have a wide black margin that surrounds a rich, yellowish-orange-brown patch. Its larval host plant is the Antelope-brush, which has special significance in Canada as a symbol used by conservation organizations for the protection of associated plant communities and grasslands within the Okanagan region. In Canada, Behr’s Hairstreak is restricted to southcentral British Columbia from Penticton in the north to Osoyoos in the south. The species occupies an area less than 12 km2. This small butterfly faces a number of threats. It is restricted to a habitat that has decreased considerably in extent in the past century and remains under threat due to land use change (e.g. conversion to viticulture, residential and commercial development) and the impact of fire. It rarely disperses much more than 120 m and persists in small, isolated fragments of habitat, which continue to decline in area and quality. Large annual fluctuations in population size, as documented for the largest Canadian population, increase the species’ vulnerability and call into question its long-term viability.

Consultations

One comment was received from a provincial government ministry supporting the reclassification of this species from threatened to endangered.

Listing rationale

Behr’s Hairstreak is currently listed as threatened under SARA, which provides immediate protection for individuals and their residences on federal lands, and includes provisions for the protection of critical habitat once identified in a federal recovery strategy or action plan. Reclassifying the species as endangered reflects the continuing decline of the species, but would not entail additional SARA prohibitions. The preparation of a recovery strategy would still be required.

Buffalograss (Bouteloua dactyloides)

This species was listed as threatened in Schedule 1 of SARA in June 2003. COSEWIC reassessed the Buffalograss in November 2011 and changed its status to a species of special concern.

About this species

Buffalograss is a low-growing, curly leaved, perennial grass forming dense colonial mats. In the United States, it is an important drought-tolerant forage and turf grass. It requires an environment with little competition from more competitive grasses and herbs. Grazing and moderate trampling may help maintain suitable habitat.

Buffalograss is widespread in North America. In Canada, it is a peripheral species, occurring in limited areas of remnant short-grass prairie in southern Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Threats to this species in Canada are related to its occurrence in only small areas of unusual habitat. Threats include coal strip mining, invasive alien species, disruption of natural disturbance regimes including grazing and/or fire, flooding by reservoirs and dams, cultivation, and road construction or upgrades.

Consultations

One comment was received from a non-profit conservation group and another comment was received from a non-profit group representing beef farmers. The latter expressed reservations about a regulatory approach and indicated its interest in participating in the creation of incentive-based programs. It also highlighted the importance of consultation with stakeholders during the listing and recovery planning processes.

Listing rationale

Buffalograss occurs in limited areas in southern Saskatchewan and Manitoba. It was listed as threatened under SARA in 2003, and a recovery strategy was prepared and posted by the Department of the Environment. However, recent survey efforts have shown that the size of the Canadian populations is much larger than originally estimated, and the species no longer qualifies as a threatened species under SARA.

A recovery strategy has already been posted for this species when it was listed as threatened. Listing Buffalograss as a species of special concern would continue to complement the recovery efforts already provided by requiring the development of a management plan to prevent the species from becoming further at risk.

Buff-breasted Sandpiper (Tryngites subruficollis)

COSEWIC assessed this species as a species of special concern in November 2011.

About this species

The Buff-breasted Sandpiper is a medium-size shorebird that breeds in the Arctic. As its name implies, it has a buffcoloured face and underparts, and brown to black speckling on its wings and back. It is the only North American shorebird with a lek mating system, where males congregate to display to females during courtship.

Canada supports 75% of the Buff-breasted Sandpiper’s breeding range. It overwinters in South America. During the breeding season, it is found in northern Alaska, the Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

Habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation are likely the primary threats to Buff-breasted Sandpiper populations. Breeding habitat overlap areas of mineral, coal, oil and gas development. In the rest of its migration and winter ranges, native grasslands have disappeared, and this species has switched to using human-altered habitat. The regular use of croplands by the species may thus expose it to agrochemicals, and changes to agricultural practices may decrease food availability and limit suitable habitat. Climate change may impact the Buff-breasted Sandpiper in several ways; for example, rising sea levels and increased rainfall in the winter could flood breeding coastal habitats.

Consultations

Eleven comments supporting or not opposing the listing of the Buff-breasted Sandpiper as a species of special concern were received. Three wildlife management boards, three provinces and territories, one environmental non-governmental organization and one member of the public supported the listing of this species. One business did not specifically oppose the listing of the species, but had general reservations regarding the increase in the number of species listed under Schedule 1 of SARA, which creates uncertainty for businesses. One non-profit organization representing industry had no specific concern with changes being proposed to Schedule 1 related to this species, but had reservations about a regulatory approach and indicated its interest in participating in the creation of incentive-based programs. It also highlighted the importance of consultation with stakeholders during the listing and recovery planning processes. Finally, one non-profit organization representing beef producers did not specifically oppose the listing, but had concerns regarding its perception of the hardship it would cause to agricultural producers.

Listing rationale

The Canadian Arctic supports about 87% of the North American breeding range of this shorebird, and about 75% of its global population. The species was once common and perhaps even abundant historically, but it suffered severe declines stemming from intensive commercial hunting in the late 1800s and early 1900s. By the 1920s, it was thought to be on the brink of extinction. Its population has grown since the hunting of this species was banned in North America, but numbers remain much lower than those before hunting began. There is evidence of population decline in recent decades. However, this species is difficult to monitor effectively, and data necessary to estimate population trends are currently lacking. Outside the breeding period, loss and degradation of its specialized grassland habitat, both on its wintering grounds in South America and along its migration routes, are believed to pose the most significant threats.

Buff-breasted Sandpiper individuals and their nests are protected in Canada under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 (MBCA). A listing as a species of special concern under SARA does not create additional prohibitions; however, it would complement the development of a protection management plan to prevent the species from becoming further at risk.

Collared Pika (Ochotona collaris)

COSEWIC assessed this species as a species of special concern in November 2011.

About this species

The Collared Pika is a small mammal, related to the rabbit. It is one of two Pika species found in North America. Both males and females are dull grey with pale grey patches on their necks. They are limited to alpine boulder fields (talus) that are interspersed with meadows. In order to forage and remain safe from predators, Collared Pika are behaviourally restricted to this type of habitat and will stay within 10 m of this talus edge when foraging in meadows.

Its range is restricted to talus slopes in alpine areas in northwest British Columbia, the Yukon and the Northwest Territories.

This species’ demonstrated sensitivity to climate variability, coupled with a poor dispersal ability and the fragmented nature of its populations, increases the vulnerability of this species to climate change. The most likely risks are related to the direct effects of changes in temperature, moisture or weather conditions and habitat changes. Pikas survive best under cool, dry conditions and changes in either direction (i.e. higher temperatures, or cold wet conditions) leave them susceptible to death from exposure. Loss of suitable alpine habitat is also a major threat to its survival.

Consultations

Ten comments supporting or not opposing the listing of the Collared Pika as a species of special concern were received. The comments came from all three territorial governments, one First Nation and six wildlife management boards.

Listing rationale

The Canadian distribution of this species comprises over half its global range. The best available information indicates that the potential of negative impacts of climate change to the long-term persistence of this species is substantial. A listing as a species of special concern under SARA would provide conservation tools by requiring the development of a federal management plan that would include measures to prevent the Collared Pika from becoming further at risk. This listing would not create prohibitions on provincial or federal lands.

Crumpled Tarpaper Lichen (Collema coniophilum)

COSEWIC assessed Crumpled Tarpaper Lichen as threatened in November 2010.

About this species

Crumpled Tarpaper Lichen is a distinctive, moderately sized leafy lichen with several broad, mostly rounded lobes.

This wildlife species is found only in Canada (an endemic species). To date, this species has been documented at only eight localities worldwide, all in British Columbia. Its core range occupies a small humid portion of the Rocky Mountain trench, approximately 65 km east of Prince George, though additionally it is known from the Upper Adams River, in the Columbia Mountains, 20 km southeast of Blue River. This wildlife species has been documented only in humid old forests older than 100 years.

Land use practices leading to the loss of old growth forests would jeopardize this wildlife species by making it more vulnerable to disturbances such as wildfire, disease and insect outbreak. The species may end up confined to a small number of artificially enhanced roadside occurrences, where nutrient enriched nodes composed of calcareous road dust are created by logging activities (hauling logs to mill).

Consultations

Two comments were received specific to Crumpled Tarpaper Lichen. One comment was from an environmental non-governmental organization that supports the listing of this species as threatened and offered to provide recovery advice. The other comment was received from a provincial government ministry that opposes listing the wildlife species, citing insufficient survey efforts and recommending that the wildlife species be sent back to COSEWIC. In describing the search effort, the status report indicated that thorough searches have been carried out for this wildlife species in suitable habitats since 1991. Approximately 5 000 trees have been examined for the presence of this lichen across British Columbia, and it was found on only 20 trees at eight localities. The report also indicates that search efforts in other portions of inland British Columbia have varied in intensity, but are sufficient to detect the presence of species well beyond its known range. In its assessment, COSEWIC determined that the wildlife species might meet one of the criteria for endangered species. However, since it acknowledges the uncertainties in population decline, COSEWIC assessed the wildlife species as threatened.

Listing rationale

The status of Crumpled Tarpaper Lichen as endemic to western Canada is exceptional among macrolichens. Most species often have broad intercontinental distributions. This wildlife species’ range appears to lie entirely within a small region of humid old growth forests in inland British Columbia. This being the case, it is expected that the loss of old growth forests as a result of logging is causing a corresponding decline in this wildlife species. Ensuring the long-term well-being of Crumpled Tarpaper Lichen is a uniquely Canadian responsibility. This wildlife species also draws attention to the complex ecological effects of timber harvest in old growth forests and could therefore be useful as an ecological indicator of stable, low disturbance natural conditions.

Listing the species as threatened under SARA would contribute to the conservation efforts of the species by requiring that a recovery strategy and an action plan be developed.

Dune Tachinid Fly (Germaria angustata)

COSEWIC assessed the Dune Tachinid Fly as a species of special concern in May 2011.

About this species

The Dune Tachinid Fly is a black, bristly, medium-sized fly in the family Tachinidae. Its antennae have a distinctive, elbowed appearance. The Dune Tachinid Fly is a parasitic species dependent on a host moth species.

In North America, the known distribution of the Dune Tachinid Fly is restricted to 11 locations in southwestern Yukon.

The current population is likely quite small. The main threat to the wildlife species is that appropriate habitat is limited and declining. Other threats include the use of all-terrain vehicles in some areas and the spread of invasive plants that can stabilize dune habitat. This may be detrimental because stabilized dune habitats are not conducive to the survival of this species. Rather, the Dune Tachinid Fly is found in active dunes and blowouts with sparse grasses that occur consistently throughout its habitat.

Consultations

Three comments supporting or not clearly opposing the listing of the Dune Tachinid Fly as a species of special concern were received. Comments were provided by a wildlife management board, a territorial government ministry and a renewable resources council under a wildlife management board. The wildlife management board provided advice on the species’ significance in the consultation document. The territorial government ministry supported the listing and recovery of the species through awareness and the environmental assessment process. It also recognized the natural rarity of the habitat in which the Dune Tachinid Fly occurs. The renewable resources council acknowledged reception of the consultation package.

Listing rationale

This fly is biologically significant because it represents a group of invertebrates that are restricted to active dunes in the southern Yukon, a rare and threatened ecosystem. In North America, this species is known to be found only in Canada. A listing as a species of special concern under SARA would contribute to the conservation of the Dune Tachinid Fly in Canada by requiring the development of a federal management plan that would include measures to prevent the species from becoming further at risk, and would likely promote further research and monitoring activities. This listing does not create prohibitions under SARA.

Hairy Prairie-clover (Dalea villosa)

This species was listed as threatened in Schedule 1 of SARA in June 2003. COSEWIC reassessed the Hairy Prairie-clover in November 2011 and changed its status to a species of special concern.

About this species

Hairy Prairie-clover is a member of the pea family. It is a perennial with a woody taproot and stem base. It is a nitrogen-fixing legume and is found only in sand or sand-dune complexes. It is a warm season species well adapted to dry environments.

This species is restricted to the Great Plains region of North America. In Canada, it is found in southcentral Saskatchewan to southwestern Manitoba.

The greatest threat to Hairy Prairie-clover is dune stabilization, in part due to changes in ecological processes such as fire suppression and disruption of natural grazing regimes, and the introduction and spread of invasive species. Recreational activities such as unrestricted all-terrain vehicle activities and hiking are thought to crush plants, and sand removal by humans results in a complete loss of habitat and presumably the viable seeds naturally stored in the soil (i.e. the soil seed bank).

Consultations

One comment was received from a non-profit conservation group and another comment was received from a non-profit group representing beef farmers. The latter expressed reservations about a regulatory approach and indicated its interest in participating in the creation of incentive-based programs. It also highlighted the importance of consultation with stakeholders during the listing and recovery planning processes.

Listing rationale

This plant was listed as threatened under SARA in 2003, and a recovery strategy is currently being drafted identifying critical habitat and is scheduled for posting by the Department of the Environment. With respect to federal lands, recommendations regarding Hairy Prairie-clover are listed in the Activity Set-back Distance Guidelines for Prairie Plant Species at Risk, (see footnote 28) a document providing advice to help land managers make proactive mitigation decisions about new industrial disturbances and agricultural or recreational activities on natural landscapes dominated by native vegetation where plant species at risk occur on federal lands. A larger population size is now known due to greatly increased survey effort and, as a result, the level of risk no longer qualifies the species as threatened under SARA, but as special concern. A recovery strategy is already being prepared by the Department of the Environment for this species, and these efforts would not be halted by a down-listing from a threatened to a special concern status. Further, listing the species as special concern would continue to complement the recovery efforts already provided by requiring the development of a management plan to prevent the species from becoming further at risk.

Horned Grebe (Podiceps auritus) Western population

COSEWIC assessed the Horned Grebe (Western population) as a species of special concern in April 2009.

About this species

The Horned Grebe is a relatively small water bird with breeding plumage characterized by a patch of bright buff feathers behind the eye, which extends into tufts that contrast with its black head. The Horned Grebe occupies the upper trophic level (food chain) and all of its life stages are tied to water. It may, therefore, be a useful indicator of changes in wetland habitat. Furthermore, its striking nuptial plumage, spectacular courtship displays and approachable nature make this species popular among bird watchers and ecotourists.

The Horned Grebe is found across North America and Eurasia. Its breeding range in Canada is Yukon, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. Currently, the Western population of the Horned Grebe is estimated at between 200 000 and 500 000 individuals, with most of the birds found in Saskatchewan and Alberta.

Threats to Horned Grebe (Western population) include degradation of wetland breeding habitat, droughts, increasing populations of nest predators (mostly in the Prairies), and oil spills on their wintering grounds in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

Consultations

The Horned Grebe (Western population) underwent extended consultations from December 17, 2009, to March 1, 2011. Twelve comments were received for this species, all in favour of listing it as a species of special concern. Four of the twelve comments supported listing all species in the consultation but did not specifically mention the Horned Grebe. These comments were provided by two environmental non-governmental organizations, two municipalities and one individual from the general public. All other supporting comments clearly identified Horned Grebe (Western population) and were submitted by three wildlife management boards, one renewable resources council under a wildlife management board, two provincial/territorial government ministries, one environmental non-governmental organization and one municipality.

Listing rationale

Approximately 92% of the North American breeding range of this species is in Canada and is occupied by this population. It has experienced both long-term and short-term declines and there is no evidence to suggest that this trend will be reversed in the near future.

The Horned Grebe is a migratory bird under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 (MBCA) and is already protected wherever it is found in Canada. A listing as a species of special concern under SARA does not create additional prohibitions; however, listing would complement the protection it already receives from the MBCA (i.e. protection of the individuals, its nest and its eggs) by requiring the development of a management plan and that measures be put in place to prevent it from becoming further at risk.

Lyall’s Mariposa Lily (Calochortus lyallii)

This species was listed as threatened in Schedule 1 of SARA in June 2003. COSEWIC reassessed Lyall’s Mariposa Lily in November 2011 and changed its status to a species of special concern.

About this species

The Lyall’s Mariposa Lily is a long-lived perennial plant with a single, long, flat, basal leaf and a hairless stem measuring 10 to 30 cm, which grows each year from a subterranean bulb. Its purplish, bell-shaped flowers are composed of three fringed, lance-shaped petals and three sepals.

It is endemic to British Columbia and Washington State.

Silvicultural practices (especially the planting of coniferous tree seedlings in logged areas, including in areas that were natural meadow openings), excessive trampling and grazing by livestock, and invasion of habitat by exotic weeds threaten the species. Herbivory by insects and small mammals can also have a detrimental impact on populations. Finally, pollinator availability and poor seed dispersal are intrinsic biological limiting factors. This plant was formerly designated threatened, but most of the area where it occurs has been designated as a provincial protected area (the South Okanagan Grasslands Protected Area) and the main threats, related to grazing and forest management, have now been mitigated.

Consultations

Two comments supporting the down-listing of Lyall’s Mariposa Lily from threatened to special concern were received from an environmental non-governmental organization and from a provincial government ministry. The organization also suggested that the management of invasive species will be important for the recovery of Lyall’s Mariposa Lily.

Listing rationale

This species is part of a genus of about 70 species of showy bulbous plants. Many of these species occur on very restricted areas, their bulbs are difficult to raise and the plants take many years to flower. Additionally, the species is known to undergo dormancy episodes that can exceed three years, complicating population estimates and monitoring studies. Also, this species holds a strong charismatic appeal for naturalist, botanists and photographers.

This plant was formerly designated threatened, but the main threats, related to grazing and forest management, have now been mitigated. A down-listing from threatened to special concern does not preclude the conservation efforts already underway by requiring the development of a management plan to prevent the species from becoming further at risk.

Magnum Mantleslug (Magnipelta mycophaga)

COSEWIC assessed this species as a species of special concern in May 2012.

About this species

The Magnum Mantleslug is a large slug, measuring up to 80 mm in length. Its most distinct feature is a large mantle that covers most of the back. Its body is tan-brown with uneven black spotting and there is an irregular dark stripe on each side of the mantle.

This species occurs in southeastern British Columbia, northwestern Montana, northern Idaho and extreme northeastern Washington. This species is uniquely endemic to northern Columbia basin and adjacent mountains, an area that contains many unique plants and animals. This species occurs in cool, humid, and shady mountain habitats, usually below the treeline and is vulnerable to small changes in its habitat.

This species is threatened by logging, recreational development and activities, wildfire and warmer temperatures resulting from climate change and affecting the delicate balance of its habitat.

Consultations

One comment supporting the listing of Magnum Mantleslug as a species of special concern was received from a provincial ministry.

Listing rationale

Similar to other herbivorous/fungivorous slugs, this species probably contributes locally to ecosystem processes by aiding nutrient cycling and by dispersing seeds of understory plants and spores of mushrooms and other fungi that the slugs ingest and later deposit in their feces. This species is the sole representative of its genus and is the only member of the Arionidae family in western North America. Therefore, it is also of evolutionary interest to science.

Listing the species as special concern under SARA does not create prohibitions. There are currently no management plans or guidelines available for this species. A special concern status would benefit the species by requiring that a management plan be prepared to prevent the species from becoming further at risk.

Okanagan Efferia (Efferia okanagana)

COSEWIC assessed this species as endangered in November 2011.

About this species

The Okanagan Efferia is a large (up to about 2 cm) brown, bristly fly in the family Asilidae (robber flies). Both males and females have striking orange-golden bristles behind their eyes. The species is a predator of other insects, both as larvae and adults. It is a spring-flying species, presumably adapted to the cooler temperatures of that season.

The species is endemic to British Columbia and is only known from five locations within a very small area of southcentral British Columbia. It is apparently restricted to dry grasslands growing on gravelly or sandy loam soils. These grasslands are limited in area and are vulnerable to agriculture (including grape crop production) and land development, which contribute to their degradation.

Threats to this species include grassland habitat loss or degradation, wild fires and related changes, invasive plants, a warmer climate as a result of climate change and pesticide effects.

Consultations

One comment supporting the listing of Okanagan Efferia as endangered was received from a provincial government ministry.

Listing rationale

The Okanagan Efferia is significant because it is one of the more obvious large invertebrates representative of the Antelope-brush ecosystem in Canada, and much of this habitat is threatened. This Canadian endemic species is known from only five locations within a very small area of southcentral British Columbia. The only known occurrence of Okanagan Efferia on federal land is within Vaseux Bighorn National Wildlife Area. A SARA listing as endangered creates protection for individuals and their residences on federal lands and would require the development of a recovery strategy and action plans.

Olive Clubtail (Stylurus olivaceus)

COSEWIC assessed the Olive Clubtail as endangered in May 2011.

About this species

The Olive Clubtail is a dragonfly in the Clubtail family. Adults are 56–60 mm long, have widely separated eyes and the tip of the abdomen, especially in males, is swollen; the wings are clear. The thorax is grey-green with broad, brown shoulder stripes and the black abdomen bears a yellow mark on the top of each segment and has yellow on the sides.

Olive Clubtail is distributed in scattered populations across western North America, in warm, lowland valleys from southcentral British Columbia south through the interior of Washington and northern and southeastern Oregon, southeastern Idaho, northern and central Utah, northwestern Nevada and parts of California. This highly rare, stream-dwelling dragonfly is known to be found in only five Canadian locations within three separate regions of British Columbia, the South Thompson River, Christina Creek and the Okanagan Valley.

Threats to the Olive Clubtail include loss and disturbance of habitat due to human activity, such as beach recreation, impacts of invasive species of predatory fish, invasive aquatic plants that change aquatic environments, pollution from agricultural practices (including pesticides), sewage treatment, storm water runoff and forestry.

Consultations

Two comments supporting the listing of Olive Clubtail as endangered were received from a non-governmental organization and from a provincial government ministry. The non-governmental organization also suggested that enhanced watershed management and creating new protected areas would be beneficial for the Olive Clubtail.

Listing rationale

The Olive Clubtail is the only representative of the genus Stylurus in British Columbia. Few dragonflies in British Columbia develop in streams; this species may prove to be a good indicator of stream ecosystem health for warm, mesotrophic lowland rivers in the province. This type of lotic habitat is relatively scarce in British Columbia. Only five locations are known in Canada. There are no identified populations on federal lands.

Listing the species as endangered would, require the development of a federal recovery strategy and action plans, which would help guide conservation and recovery efforts, to ensure that the species does not become extirpated from Canada.

Peacock Vinyl Lichen (Leptogium polycarpum)

COSEWIC assessed the Peacock Vinyl Lichen as a species of special concern in May 2011.

About this species

The Peacock Vinyl Lichen is a loosely-attached foliose “jellyskin” lichen that is generally 2–5 cm in diameter. The lobes are 5–10 mm wide, rounded, and more or less translucent when wet. The upper surface is pale to dark greyish or sometimes brown, shiny, hairless, scarcely wrinkled when dry, and bears numerous, partly sunken button-like apothecia.

This species occurs in western North America. Specifically, it occurs from northern California northward to southern British Columbia, from the southern Vancouver Island north along the mainland inlets to the Homathko Valley. It also extends eastward in the main valleys through the Coast Range. It does not extend beyond the range of Bigleaf Maple (Acer macrophyllum) except for the outlying population on South Moresby Island on Haida Gwaii. This lichen grows on deciduous trees.

The principal threat to the survival of the Peacock Vinyl Lichen is seasonal drought potentially due to climate change. Other threats include urbanization, resource extraction projects, air pollution from industrial and agricultural activities, as well as forestry and associated infrastructure.

Consultations

Two comments supporting the listing of the Peacock Vinyl Lichen as special concern were received from an environmental non-governmental organization and from a provincial government ministry. The non-governmental organization also indicated it was interested in providing recovery advice.

Listing rationale

This wildlife species may be an indicator of climate change because it is sensitive to summer drought and it relies on wind to disperse its spores for reproduction. Because of its specific reproductive traits, this species makes a unique contribution to the nitrogen balance in the ecosystem nutrient cycle and may benefit other organisms in the immediate vicinity. The Peacock Vinyl Lichen has over 30% of its global distribution in Canada and almost 1 000 individuals of this lichen are known, but confined to only 67 trees. Six of the thirteen Canadian locations are in protected areas, including one national park.

Listing as a species of special concern would not create prohibitions, but would benefit the species by requiring the preparation of a management plan to prevent the species from becoming further at risk.

Tiny Cryptantha (Cryptantha minima)

This species was listed as endangered in Schedule 1 of SARA in June 2003. COSEWIC reassessed the Tiny Cryptantha in May 2011 and changed its status to threatened.

About this species

Tiny Cryptantha is a small, bristly-haired annual plant that has tiny white flowers with yellow centres. It is found within about 5 km of river systems. Periodic soil disturbance by wind, water, erosion or animals is required to open up the canopy and provide spaces for germination and establishment.

This plant is native to North America. Twenty-five extant populations of Tiny Cryptantha exist in Canada. There are twenty-two in Alberta, two in Saskatchewan and one straddling the Alberta-Saskatchewan border.

Identified threats include habitat loss and habitat degradation as a result of residential development and oil and gas exploration, cultivation and sand/gravel extraction. Additionally, modifications to natural processes through altered hydrogeological regimes, lack of grazing and/or fire and invasion by alien species have been identified as threats. Climate change may be beneficial to the species if its suitable habitat experiences warmer temperatures and moister winters. However, if temperatures cool down and winter precipitations are reduced within the range of the species, the impacts of climate change would be detrimental to the species.

Consultations

Four comments supporting or not opposing the reclassification of Tiny Cryptantha from endangered to threatened were received. One environmental non-governmental organization and one non-profit conservation group supported this reclassification. A forestry business did not specifically oppose down-listing this species, but raised concerns about the listing process related to the increase in the number of species on Schedule 1 of SARA, especially if they are not accompanied with advancement of management or recovery strategies, as this may lead to increased business uncertainty. One individual from the public opposed down-listing this species. This individual believes that this species should remain on SARA as endangered. COSEWIC’s reason for designation of the species as threatened, rather than the previously assessed status of endangered, is because a larger range and population size has been identified, even though is still faces important threats from development and other pressures. A revision in status to threatened would preserve the existing general prohibitions under SARA that are in place for the species.

Listing rationale

This small herbaceous annual plant is limited in Canada to a small area of grassland habitat in southeastern Alberta and adjacent southwestern Saskatchewan. A larger range and population size are now known due to increased search efforts, warranting a status change from endangered to threatened. Consistent with COSEWIC’s assessment that the Tiny Cryptantha is still under threat, this status change would not affect the existing general prohibitions of SARA already in place for this species. A large part of the Canadian population occurs in a federal protected area. An amended recovery strategy identifying critical habitat is currently available on the public registry.

Western Screech-owl kennicottii subspecies (Megascops kennicottii kennicottii)

This species was listed as a species of special concern in Schedule 1 of SARA in January 2005. COSEWIC reassessed the Western Screech-owl kennicottii subspecies in May 2012 and changed its status to threatened.

About this species

The Western Screech-owl is a small owl with distinct “ear” tufts and yellow eyes; both sexes are alike. It is non-migratory and breeding pairs defend territories all year round.

The Western Screech-owl is found at low elevations in Pacific coastal forests and at lower elevations from the southern interior of British Columbia south through the mountain valleys to northwestern Mexico. Western Screech-owl kennicottii subspecies is found along the Pacific coast of British Columbia.

Predation by the Barred Owl and habitat loss are the primary threats to this species.

Consultations

Four comments were received regarding the listing of Western Screech-owl kennicottii subspecies. One environmental non-governmental organization clearly supported the reclassification of this species from special concern to threatened. A provincial ministry did not oppose the reclassification, but expressed concerns relating to socio-economic impacts and the lack of inventory data. Finally, one forestry business and one forestry non-governmental organization clearly opposed the reclassification. They disagree with the COSEWIC assessment and would like the species referred back to COSEWIC. COSEWIC has since reconsidered the available information based on this request and has determined that there is no new information that warrants a reassessment for this species, and that the assessed status of threatened is confirmed.

Listing rationale

The Western Screech-owl kennicottii subspecies is considered an indicator species for a healthy riparian woodland environment. This small owl has shown serious declines in the southern part of its range in Metro Vancouver, Victoria and the Gulf Islands areas, where it has nearly disappeared over the last 10 to 15 years.

An up-listing from special concern to threatened would benefit the species by requiring the development of a recovery strategy and action plans, and would trigger general prohibitions for individuals and their residences under SARA when they are found on federal lands.

Western Screech-owl macfarlanei subspecies (Megascops kennicottii macfarlanei)

This species was listed as endangered in Schedule 1 of SARA in January 2005. COSEWIC reassessed the Western Screech-owl macfarlanei subspecies in May 2012 and changed its status to threatened.

About this species

The Western Screech-owl is a small owl with distinct “ear” tufts and yellow eyes; both sexes are alike. It is non-migratory and breeding pairs defend territories all year round.

The Western Screech-owl is found at low elevations in Pacific coastal forests and at lower elevations from the southern interior of British Columbia south through the mountain valleys to northwestern Mexico. In Canada, the Western Screech-owl macfarlanei subspecies is found in the valleys of the southern interior of British Columbia.

The main threat to the survival of this species is habitat loss and degradation. Timber harvesting and the removal of dead trees that serve as potential nest-cavity sites may also negatively impact the species.

Consultations

Three comments supporting the down-listing of Western Screech-owl macfarlanei subspecies from endangered to threatened were received. They came from an environmental non-governmental organization, a provincial ministry and a forestry business.

Listing rationale

The Canadian population of this owl is small, numbering between 350 and 500 adults, but is larger than previously estimated based on recent survey effort and has a much wider range in southern British Columbia than previously thought. The population has been apparently stable over the last 10 years, but faces ongoing threats, especially from the loss of mature trees needed for nesting and roost sites.

A down-listing from endangered to threatened recognizes both the newly available data and that the species is still under threat. This status change would not affect the existing SARA general prohibitions already in place for this species, and the preparation of a federal recovery strategy would still be required.

PROPOSED REGULATORY TEXT

Notice is given that the Governor in Council, pursuant to subsection 27(1) of the Species At Risk Act (see footnote a), proposes to make the annexed Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act.

Interested persons may make representations concerning the proposed Order within 30 days after the date of publication of this notice. All such representations must cite the Canada Gazette, Part I, and the date of publication of this notice, and be addressed to Caroline Ladanowski, Director, Wildlife Program Support Division, Canadian Wildlife Service, Environment Canada, Gatineau, Quebec, K1A 0H3 (fax: 819-938-4147 email: Caroline.Ladanowski@canada.ca).

Ottawa, June 2, 2016

Jurica Čapkun
Assistant Clerk of the Privy Council

Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act

Amendments

1 Part 2 of Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act (see footnote 29) is amended by striking out the following under the heading “BIRDS”:

Chat auricollis subspecies, Yellow-breasted (Icteria virens auricollis) British Columbia population

Paruline polyglotte de la sous-espèce auricollis population de la Colombie-Britannique

Screech-owl macfarlanei subspecies, Western (Megascops kennicottii macfarlanei)

Petit-duc des montagnes de la sous-espèce macfarlanei

2 Part 2 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order under the heading “BIRDS”:

Chat auricollis subspecies, Yellow-breasted (Icteria virens auricollis) Southern Mountain population

Paruline polyglotte de la sous-espèce auricollis population des montagnes du Sud

3 Part 2 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order under the heading “ARTHROPODS”:

Clubtail, Olive (Stylurus olivaceus)

Gomphe olive

Efferia, Okanagan (Efferia okanagana)

Asile de l’Okanagan

Hairstreak, Behr’s (Satyrium behrii)

Porte-queue de Behr

4 Part 2 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by striking out the following under the heading “PLANTS”:

Cryptantha, Tiny (Cryptantha minima)

Cryptanthe minuscule

Owl-clover, Bearded (Triphysaria versicolor ssp. versicolor)

Triphysaire versicolore

5 Part 2 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order under the heading “PLANTS”:

Owl-clover, Bearded (Triphysaria versicolor)

Triphysaire versicolore

6 Part 2 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order under the heading “LICHENS”:

Lichen, Batwing Vinyl (Leptogium platynum)

Leptoge à grosses spores

7 Part 3 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order under the heading “BIRDS”:

Screech-owl kennicotti subspecies, Western (Megascops kennicottii kennicottii)

Petit-duc des montagnes de la sous-espèce kennicottii

Screech-owl macfarlanei subspecies, Western (Megascops kennicottii macfarlanei)

Petit-duc des montagnes de la sous-espèce macfarlanei

8 Part 3 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by striking out the following under the heading “ARTHROPODS”:

Hairstreak, Behr’s (Columbia) (Satyrium behrii columbia)

Porte-queue de Colombie-Britannique

9 Part 3 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by striking out the following under the heading “PLANTS”:

Buffalograss (Buchloë dactyloides)

Buchloé faux-dactyle

Lily, Lyall’s Mariposa (Calochortus lyallii)

Calochorte de Lyall

Prairie-clover, Hairy (Dalea villosa var. villosa)

Dalée velue

10 Part 3 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order under the heading “PLANTS”:

Cryptantha, Tiny (Cryptantha minima)

Cryptanthe minuscule

11 Part 3 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order under the heading “LICHENS”:

Lichen, Crumpled Tarpaper (Collema coniophilum)

Collème bâche

12 Part 4 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order under the heading “MAMMALS”:

Pika, Collared (Ochotona collaris)

Pica à collier

13 Part 4 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by striking out the following under the heading “BIRDS”:

Screech-owl kennicottii subspecies, Western (Megascops kennicottii kennicottii)

Petit-duc des montagnes de la sous-espèce kennicottii

14 Part 4 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order under the heading “BIRDS”:

Grebe, Horned (Podiceps auritus) Western population

Grèbe esclavon population de l’Ouest

Sandpiper, Buff-breasted (Tryngites subruficollis )

Bécasseau roussâtre

Sparrow, Baird’s (Ammodramus bairdii)

Bruant de Baird

15 Part 4 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order under the heading “MOLLUSCS”:

Mantleslug, Magnum (Magnipelta mycophaga)

Limace à grand manteau

16 Part 4 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order under the heading “ARTHROPODS”:

Tachinid Fly, Dune (Germaria angustata)

Mouche tachinide des dunes

17 Part 4 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order under the heading “PLANTS”:

Buffalograss (Bouteloua dactyloides)

Buchloé faux-dactyle

Lily, Lyall’s Mariposa (Calochortus lyallii)

Calochorte de Lyall

Prairie-clover, Hairy (Dalea villosa)

Dalée velue

18 Part 4 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order under the heading “LICHENS”:

Lichen, Peacock Vinyl (Leptogium polycarpum)

Leptoge à quatre spores

Coming into Force

19 This Order comes into force on the day on which it is registered.

[25-1-o]

  • Footnote 1
    https://www.ec.gc.ca/default.asp?lang=En&n=31D9FF32-1
  • Footnote 2
    Henderson, D. C. 2011. Activity Set-back Distance Guidelines for Prairie Plant Species at Risk. Canadian Wildlife Service. Environment and Climate Change Canada.
  • Footnote a
    S.C. 2002, c. 29
  • Footnote 3
    S.C. 2002, c. 29
  • Footnote 1
    Butchart, S. M. H., et al. 2010. Global biodiversity: indicators of recent declines. Science. 328: 1164–1168.
  • Footnote 2
    Bamosky, A. D., et al. 2011. Has the Earth’s sixth mass extinction already arrived? Nature. 471: 51–57.
  • Footnote 3
    Hooper, D. U., et al. 2005. Effects of biodiversity on ecosystem functioning: a consensus of current knowledge. Ecological monographs. 75: 3–35.
  • Footnote 4
    The Governor in Council is the Governor General of Canada acting by and with the advice of the Queen’s Privy Council of Canada (Cabinet).
  • Footnote 5
    Preamble to the Species at Risk Act (2003).
  • Footnote 6
    COSEWIC defines an extinct species as a wildlife species that no longer exists. http://www.cosewic.gc.ca/eng/sct2/sct2_6_e.cfm.
  • Footnote 7
    Section 2 of SARA defines an extirpated species as a wildlife species that no longer exists in the wild in Canada, but exists elsewhere in the wild.
  • Footnote 8
    http://www.cosewic.gc.ca/eng/sct6/index_e.cfm
  • Footnote 9
    More information on COSEWIC can be found on its Web site at http://www.cosewic.gc.ca.
  • Footnote 10
    As indicated below, the protections afforded threatened and endangered species differ in one area, the timeline for posting recovery strategies on the Species at Risk Public Registry: two years for threatened species, and one year for endangered species.
  • Footnote 11
    Subsection 34(2) of SARA for provinces and subsection 35(2) of SARA for territories.
  • Footnote 12
    As per definition in SARA, competent minister means (a) the Minister responsible for the Parks Canada Agency with respect to individuals of the wildlife species in or on federal lands administered by that Agency; (b) the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans with respect to aquatic species, other than species mentioned in (a); and (c) the Minister of the Environment with respect to all other individuals of the wildlife species.
  • Footnote 13
    As per SARA, subsection 58(1).
  • Footnote 14
    As per SARA, section 61.
  • Footnote 15
    www.sararegistry.gc.ca/search/advSearchResults_e.cfm?stype= doc&docID=18
  • Footnote 16
    As required by section 24 of SARA.
  • Footnote 17
    Cardinale et al 2012. [Cardinale, J.; Emmett, Duffy; Gonzalez, Andrew; Hooper, David U.; Perrings, Charles; Venail, Patrick; Narwani, Anita; Mace, Georgina M.; Tilman, David; Wardle, David A.; Kinzig, Ann P.; Daily, Gretchen C.; Loreau, Michel; Grace, B.; Larigauderie, Anne; Srivastava, Diane S.; Naeem, Shahid]. Biodiversity loss and its impact on humanity. Nature. 486: 56–67. http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v486/n7401/full/nature11148.html.
  • Footnote 18
    Under section 79 of SARA, a “project” means a designated project as defined in subsection 2(1) or section 66 of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012, a project as defined in subsection 2(1) of the Yukon Environmental and Socioeconomic Assessment Act or a development as defined in subsection 111(1) of the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act.
  • Footnote 19
    Wildlife Area Regulations, subsection 3(1). Subject to subsection (2), no person shall, in any wildlife area, (a) hunt or fish, […] (c) have in his possession any animal, carcass, nest, egg or a part of any of those things, (d) damage, destroy or remove a plant, […] (i) destroy or molest animals or carcasses, nests or eggs thereof, […] (l) disturb or remove any soil, sand, gravel or other material […].
  • Footnote 20
    Subsection 2(1) of the CNPA defines “ecological integrity” as “... a condition that is determined to be characteristic of its natural region and likely to persist, including abiotic components and the composition and abundance of native species and biological communities, rates of change and supporting processes.”
  • Footnote 21
    Dune Tachinid Fly, Olive Clubtail, Batwing Vinyl Lichen, Crumpled Tarpaper Lichen, Peacock Vinyl Lichen, Lyall’s Mariposa Lily.
  • Footnote 22
    Baird’s Sparrow, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Western Screech-owl kennicottii subspecies, Western Screech-owl macfarlanei subspecies, Collared Pika, Behr’s Hairstreak, Okanagan Efferia, Magnum Mantleslug, Buffalograss, Hairy Prairie-clover, Tiny Cryptantha.
  • Footnote 23
    Any board or other body established under a land claims agreement that is authorized by the agreement to perform functions in respect of wildlife species.
  • Footnote 24
    http://www.sararegistry.gc.ca/default.asp?lang=En&n= 95116D91-1
  • Footnote 25
    http://www.sararegistry.gc.ca/default.asp?lang=En&n= 1C098D5B-1
  • Footnote 26
    Butchart, S. M. H., et al. 2010. Global biodiversity: indicators of recent declines. Science. 328: 1 164–1 168.
  • Footnote 27
    https://www.ec.gc.ca/default.asp?lang=En&n=31D9FF32-1
  • Footnote 28
    Henderson, D. C. 2011. Activity Set-back Distance Guidelines for Prairie Plant Species at Risk. Canadian Wildlife Service. Environment and Climate Change Canada.
  • Footnote a
    S.C. 2002, c. 29
  • Footnote 29
    S.C. 2002, c. 29