Description of critical habitat of Baikal Sedge in Kluane National Park and National Park Reserve of Canada

Baikal sedge (Carex sabulosa) is a species listed on Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act as threatened. It is a perennial plant that grows in northern dune environments and occurs in two sites within Kluane National Park and National Park Reserve of Canada. Critical habitat for the species is identified within the final Recovery Strategy for the Baikal Sedge (Carex sabulosa) in Canada. The biophysical attributes of critical habitat within the identified geographical boundaries include semi-stabilized dunes to active, shifting sand dunes with sparse vegetation; areas where sand is loose and deep, usually 0.5 to 4 m; and areas where strong cold winds consistently blow -- winds and cool microclimates are important for the persistence of the dune environments.

Notice is hereby given that, pursuant to subsection 58(2) of the Species at Risk Act, critical habitat of Baikal sedge in Kluane National Park and National Park Reserve of Canada is described within the following two sites (see Figures 1 and 2). Critical habitat site numbers are based on the unique Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) species identification number for the Baikal Sedge (843) and critical habitat parcel number. All coordinates refer to the North American Datum of 1983, UTM Zone 8. Further detail regarding the Baikal sedge critical habitat (including maps) can be found in the Recovery Strategy at the Species at Risk Public Registry Web site.

Site 843_1 (Alsek Dune)

Critical habitat at site 843_1 is located at the confluence of the Kaskawalsh, Dezadeash and Alsek Rivers in Kluane National Park and in the traditional territory of the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations (Figure 1). This population of Baikal sedge is the largest in Canada, representing approximately 75% of the total population and 45% of the total area of Baikal sedge in Canada.

The critical habitat at site 843_1 is identified as all open sand habitat supporting Baikal Sedge densities of more than 100 ramets (stems) per 10 m2 in any state of health, and all open sand habitat supporting any Baikal Sedge at all (> 1 ramet per 10 m2) in a moderate or better state of health (Figure 1, includes UTM coordinates for each bounding box). Open sand areas with fewer than 100 ramets per 10 m2 that are in minimal to very poor health are not identified as critical habitat. Areas where Baikal Sedge is found in low densities and poor or minimal health status are often areas where there is less open sand due to the influx of other successional plant species that eventually out-compete Baikal Sedge for habitat. A certain amount of disturbance in such areas may benefit a large Baikal Sedge population such as that at the Alsek Dune.

Site 843_2 (Lower Alsek Dune)

Critical habitat at site 843_2 is located along the Alsek River in Kluane National Park and in the traditional territory of the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations (Figure 2).

Since this population is made up of six very small patches of sedge and in order to maintain a sufficient number of individuals for the Lower Alsek population to remain viable over the long term, the critical habitat at site 843_2 is identified as all open sand habitat supporting Baikal Sedge in any state of health within the identified geographical boundaries (Figure 2 and Table 1). The reason we are not using the same criteria for identifying critical habitat at site 843_2 as we did for site 843_1 is that each of the six site 843_2 patches are less than one hectare in size with a combined total population of 2 800 ramets, compared to the 2.5 to 3.0 million ramets in the 843_1 population.

Figure 1 (see footnote 1)

Map - Detailed information can be found in the surrounding text

Figure 2 (see footnote 2)

Map - Detailed information can be found in the surrounding text

Table 1: UTM coordinates of critical habitat bounding boxes for site 843_2 as shown in Figure 2

IDBox cornerX coordY coord
LA1Upper left3464206709330
 Upper right3465106709330
 Lower right3465106709230
 Lower left3464206709230
LA2Upper left3463506708660
 Upper right3464306708660
 Lower right3464306708570
 Lower left3463506708570
LA3Upper left3462906708430
 Upper right3463906708430
 Lower right3463906708310
 Lower left3462906708310
LA4Upper left3463206708250
 Upper right3463806708250
 Lower right3463806708160
 Lower left3463206708160
LA5Upper left3461506707440
 Upper right3462106707440
 Lower right3462106707330
 Lower left3461506707330
LA6Upper left3461006706840
 Upper right3461706706840
 Lower right3461706706790
 Lower left3461006706790

September 6, 2012

ANNE MORIN
Field Unit Superintendent
Yukon Field Unit

[38-1-o]