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Recovery strategy for multi-species at risk in Maritime Meadows associated with Garry Oak Ecosystems in Canada

Species at Risk Act Recovery Strategy Series. Recovery Strategy for Multi-Species at Risk in Maritime Meadows associated with Garry Oak Ecosystems in Canada

Species at Risk Act
Recovery Strategy Series

  • Island marble
  • Taylor’s checkerspot
  • Bearded-owl clover
  • Bear’s-foot sanicle
  • Coastal Scouler’s catchfly
  • Golden paintbrush
  • Prairie lupine
  • Purple sanicle
  • Seaside birds-foot lotus

 

July 2006


About the Species at Risk Act Recovery Strategy Series

What is the Species at Risk Act (SARA)?

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

What is recovery?

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

What is a recovery strategy?

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

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

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

What’s next?

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

The series

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

To learn more

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

Recovery strategy for multi-species at risk in Maritime Meadows associated with Garry Oak Ecosystems in Canada

July 2006

Recommended citation:

Parks Canada Agency. 2006. Recovery Strategy for multi-species at risk in Maritime Meadows associated with Garry Oak Ecosystems in Canada. In Species at Risk Act Recovery Strategy Series. Ottawa: Parks Canada Agency. 93 pps.

Additional copies:

You can download additional copies from the SARA Public Registry.

National Library of Canada cataloguing in publication data

Main entry under title:
Recovery Strategy for Multi-Species at Risk in Maritime Meadows associated with Gary Oak Ecosystems in Canada

Cover photos:

Golden Paintbrush & Bear’s-foot Sanicle © Matt Fairbarns
Taylor’s checkerspot © J.Miskelly


Également disponible en français sous le titre :
Programme national de rétablissement multi-espèces visant les espèces en peril des prés maritimes associé aux chânaies de Garry en Canada

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

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

Responsible jurisdictions

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

Authors

Carrina Maslovat, R. P. Bio
Email: cmaslovat@pacificcoast.net
Telephone: (250) 592-2733

Matt Fairbarns
Email: aruncus_consulting@yahoo.ca
Telephone: (250) 595-2057

on behalf of the:
Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team
Plants at Risk Recovery Implementation Group

Acknowledgments

This document is adapted from a pre-consultation draft prepared by Carrina Maslovat and Matt Fairbarns on behalf of the GOERT Plants at Risk Recovery Implementation Group. Background information for both the island marble and Taylor’s checkerspot strategies was prepared by Crispin Guppy, Norbert Kondla and Lee Shaeffer with funding provided by the BC Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection. Members of the Invertebrates at Risk Recovery Implementation Group of the Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team, Ann Potter (Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife), Dan Grosboll (Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife), James Miskelly (University of Victoria), and Scott Hoffman-Black (Xerces Society) reviewed drafts of the island marble and Taylor’s checkerspot strategies. Members of the Invertebrates at Risk Recovery Implementation Group of the Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team also reviewed drafts of this strategy. The BC Conservation Data Centre, James Miskelly, Wayne Hallstrom, Brenda Beckwith, Nancy Turner, and Vince Nealis supplied information.

Jenifer Penny and Marta Donovan (BC Conservation Data Centre), Trudy Chatwin (BC Ministry of Environment), Hans Roemer (consultant), Adolf Ceska (consultant) and Tracy Fleming (Capital Regional District Parks) supplied information pertaining to plants in this strategy. Staff from a wide range of jurisdictions (refer to Record of Experts Consulted) provided details of ongoing actions, policies and procedures. Herbaria throughout the range of Garry oak and associated ecosystems provided distribution information (refer to Record of Consultation). Members of the Plants at Risk Recovery Implementation Group of the Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team including Hans Roemer, Marilyn Fuchs and Mike Miller reviewed drafts of this strategy. Ted Lea, Brenda Costanzo and Kari Nelson provided support and contract management for the development of this recovery strategy.

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

Preface

The national recovery strategy for maritime meadow species at risk addresses the recovery of one extirpated butterfly; the island marble (Euchloe ausonides insulanus), one endangered butterfly; the Taylor’s checkerspot (Euphydryas editha taylori); and seven endangered or threatened plant species: bearded owl-clover (Triphysaria versicolor spp. versicolor), bear’s-foot sanicle (Sanicula arctopoides), coastal Scouler’s catchfly (Silene scouleri ssp. grandis), golden paintbrush (Castilleja levisecta), prairie lupine (Lupinus lepidus var. lepidus), purple sanicle (Sanicula bipinnatifida) and seaside birds-foot lotus (Lotus formosissimus).

In Canada, these species occur (or occurred) primarily in Garry oak and associated ecosystems and are largely restricted to low elevation, marine-influenced habitats. Although the range of all species extends into the United States, many of the species are widely disjunct from the US populations.

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

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

Strategic environmental assessment

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

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

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

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

Executive summary

The national recovery strategy for maritime meadow species at risk addresses the recovery of two extirpated butterfly and seven endangered or threatened plant species: island marble (Euchloe ausonides insulanus), Taylor’s checkerspot (Euphydryas editha taylori), bearded owl-clover (Triphysaria versicolor spp. versicolor), bear’s-foot sanicle (Sanicula arctopoides), coastal Scouler’s catchfly (Silene scouleri ssp. grandis), golden paintbrush (Castilleja levisecta), prairie lupine (Lupinus lepidus var. lepidus), purple sanicle (Sanicula bipinnatifida) and seaside birds-foot lotus (Lotus formosissimus). The maritime meadow recovery strategy is designed to fit under the umbrella recovery strategy for Garry oak and associated ecosystems drafted by the Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team (GOERT 2002).

In Canada, these species occur (or occurred) primarily in Garry oak and associated ecosystems and are largely restricted to low elevation, marine-influenced habitats. Although the range of all species extends into the United States, many of the species are widely disjunct from the US populations. Mild winters with frequent coastal fogs and cool, dry summers characterize maritime meadow ecosystems. These ecosystems are naturally fragmented, occurring along shorelines and small islands. However, urbanization has intensified the natural fragmentation and remnant habitats and species at risk face a diverse array of threats.

Stewardship approach

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

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

Threats

Maritime meadows are greatly diminished from their former abundance due to habitat destruction; some remaining patches continue to be threatened by urban development and high recreational demands are placed on remnant patches. Maritime meadow species at risk are threatened by the invasion of exotic shrubs, grasses and forbs. Habitat fragmentation limits the dispersal of seeds and pollinators, causes genetic isolation, and limits the availability of foodplants for butterflies. Historically these ecosystems were fire-maintained. Fire suppression has changed vegetation composition, density and structure, and altered nutrient cycling and increased fuel loading, thus limiting the possibility of re-introducing fire as a management tool. Demographic collapse, caused by a combination of environmental and genetic factors may limit the persistence of species at risk. Other human activities including mowing, changes to hydrology, re-introduction of fire, maintenance activities, ecosystem restoration, pesticide and herbicide spraying and cultivation of non-native plants can negatively affect maritime meadow species at risk. Herbivory, livestock grazing, climate change, marine pollution and invasive invertebrates and vertebrates are also potential threats.

Recovery goals and objectives

The long-term goals for recovery for all of these species include maintaining existing populations and developing appropriate management strategies to mitigate the identified threats. For most species, translocationsFootnote 1 may also be required to ensure the long-term viability of the species and restore distributions to natural historic ranges. This could include augmenting existing populations, establishing populations at historic sites or introducing populations to new locations.

The following short-term objectives (5-10 year) for meeting the long-term goals are listed in decreasing order of priority for recovery, although importance may vary from species to species:

  1. Establish protectionFootnote 2 for existing populations through stewardship and other mechanisms.
  2. Engage the cooperation of landowners in habitat protection
  3. Identify life history, dispersal and habitat constraints and methods for mitigating them.
  4. Determine the causes of extirpation, and/or population decrease or loss.
  5. Develop and implement a habitat monitoring and restoration plan for locations with confirmed records or, in the case of extirpated species, for sites needed for recovery.
  6. Identify and prioritize sites for inventories and conduct surveys to determine whether there are any undocumented populations.
  7. Identify potential habitat to establish new populations, as outlined in species-specific goals
  8. Develop priorities to establish new populations and one experimental population per species (if appropriate based on above research).

Strategic approaches

The recovery actions and approaches developed in this recovery strategy address the above objectives and identify ways to mitigate threats. Recovery actions fall under seven strategic approaches, listed roughly in descending order of importance, although importance may vary from species to species:

  1. Habitat protectionFootnote 2
  2. Habitat stewardship
  3. Research
  4. Mapping and inventory
  5. Habitat restoration
  6. Public education and outreach
  7. Experimental population trials

Social and economic considerations

Recovery of species at risk and restoration of imperiled habitats associated with Garry oak ecosystems will contribute to biodiversity, health and functioning of the environment and enhance opportunities for appreciation of such special places and species thereby contributing to overall social value in southwestern British Columbia. The natural beauty of Garry oak ecosystems in the lower mainland, Gulf Islands and Vancouver Island are an important resource for British Columbians that provide for a robust tourism and recreation industry. Protecting these natural spaces, biodiversity and recreation values has enormous value to the local economy. Recovery actions could potentially affect the following socioeconomic sectors: recreation; private land development; operations and maintenance activities. The expected magnitude of these effects is expected to be low in almost all cases.

Knowledge gaps

Research is required to address specific knowledge gaps. The following knowledge gaps are listed in descending order of priority for recovery, although importance may vary from species to species:

  1. Effects of invasive species and the response of invasive species, species at risk and habitat to management
  2. Detailed characteristics and delineation of suitable habitat
  3. Species-specific demographic and dispersal information
  4. Accurate species distributions and total numbers of populations
  5. Trophic and other ecological interactions 6. Ex situ germination/ propagation methodologies for plants and captive breeding/rearing techniques for butterflies
  6. Ex situ germination/ propagation methodologies for plants and captive breeding/rearing techniques for butterflies
  7. Nature of genetic differences between US and Canadian populations of prairie lupine, Taylor’s checkerspot and Island marble

Further studies will help refine restoration targets and recovery actions.

Footnotes

Footnote 1

Translocation is defined here as “deliberate moving of plant or butterfly propagules from one location to another in order to help conserve the species.”

Return to footnote 1 referrer

Footnote 2

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

Return to first footnote 2 referrer

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