Action Plan for the Barrens Willow (Salix jejuna) in Canada - 2016 [Proposed]

Species at Risk Act
Action Plan Series

Barrens Willow

Photo: Barrens Willow

2016

Table of Contents


Document Information

Action Plan for the Barrens Willow (Salix jejuna) in Canada - 2016 [Proposed]

Species at Risk Act
Action Plan Series

Cover of the publication

Recommended citation:

Environment Canada. 2016. Action Plan for the Barrens Willow (Salix jejuna) in Canada [Proposed]. Species at Risk Act Action Plan Series. Environment Canada, Ottawa. iv + 15 pp.

For copies of the action plan, or for additional information on species at risk, including the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) Status Reports, residence descriptions, recovery strategies, and other related recovery documents, please visit the Species at Risk (SAR) Public Registry.

Cover illustration: Barrens Willow © Peter Thomas, Environment Canada

Également disponible en français sous le titre
« Plan d’action pour le saule des landes (Salix jejuna) au Canada [Proposition] »

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


Preface

The federal, provincial, and territorial government signatories under the Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk (1996) agreed to establish complementary legislation and programs that provide for effective protection of species at risk throughout Canada. Under the Species at Risk Act (S.C. 2002, c.29) (SARA), the federal competent ministers are responsible for the preparation of action plans for species listed as Extirpated, Endangered, and Threatened for which recovery has been deemed feasible. They are also required to report on progress within five years after the publication of the final document on the SAR Public Registry.

Under SARA, one or more action plan(s) provides the detailed recovery planning that supports the strategic direction set out in the recovery strategy for the species. The plan outlines what needs to be done to achieve the population and distribution objectives (previously referred to as recovery goals and objectives) identified in the recovery strategy, including the measures to be taken to address the threats and monitor the recovery of the species, as well as the proposed measures to protect critical habitat that has been identified for the species. The action plan also includes an evaluation of the socio-economic costs of the action plan and the benefits to be derived from its implementation. The action plan is considered one in a series of documents that are linked and should be taken into consideration together. Those being the COSEWIC status report, the recovery strategy, and one or more action plans.

The Minister of the Environment is the competent minister under SARA for the Barrens Willow and has prepared this action plan to implement the recovery strategy, as per section 47 of SARA. To the extent possible, it has been prepared in cooperation with Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Success in the recovery of this species depends on the commitment and cooperation of many different constituencies that will be involved in implementing the directions and actions set out in this action plan and will not be achieved by Environment Canada, or any other jurisdiction alone. All Canadians are invited to join in supporting and implementing this action plan for the benefit of the Barrens Willow and Canadian society as a whole.

Implementation of this action plan is subject to appropriations, priorities, and budgetary constraints of the participating jurisdictions and organizations.

The recovery strategy sets the strategic direction to arrest or reverse the decline of the species, including identification of critical habitat to the extent possible. It provides all Canadians with information to help take action on species conservation. When the recovery strategy identifies critical habitat, there may be future regulatory implications, depending on where the critical habitat is identified. SARA requires that critical habitat identified within federal protected areas be described in the Canada Gazette, after which prohibitions against its destruction will apply. For critical habitat located on federal lands outside of federal protected areas, the Minister of the Environment must either make a statement on existing legal protection or make an order so that the prohibition against destruction of critical habitat applies. For critical habitat located on non-federal lands, if the Minister of the Environment forms the opinion that any portion of critical habitat is not protected by provisions in or measures under SARA or other Acts of Parliament, and not effectively protected by the laws of the province or territory, SARA requires that the Minister recommend that the Governor in Council make an order to extend the prohibition against destruction of critical habitat to that portion. The discretion to protect critical habitat on non-federal lands that is not otherwise protected rests with the Governor in Council.

Acknowledgments

Thanks to Julie Robinson for drafted the original version of this document. This action plan was prepared by Peter Thomas and Krista Baker (Environment Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service – Atlantic Region), in cooperation with members and associated specialists of the Limestone Barrens Species at Risk Recovery Team (LBSARRT). Thanks also to the LBSARRT for their knowledge and support during the preparation of this document. Thanks to the many graduate and undergraduate students whose research has contributed to our current knowledge of Barrens Willow.

Executive Summary

Barrens Willow (Salix jejuna) was listed as Endangered in 2003 under the Species at Risk Act (SARA). This acion plan identifies recovery measures required to meet the recovery goal outlined in the Recovery Strategy for Barrens Willow (Salix jejuna) in Canada (Environment Canada 2006):

To secure the long term persistence of the natural population throughout its range.

A total of 28 recovery measures are identified in this action plan and address 7 broad approaches (monitoring, habitat management and protection, restoration and species reintroduction, scientific research, ex-situ conservation, enforcement and compliance, and education and stewardship). 

Critical habitat was partially identified for Barrens Willow in the recovery strategy (Environment Canada 2006). Additional critical habitat for this species is identified in this action plan based on partial completion of the Schedule of Studies outlined in the recovery strategy (Environment Canada 2006). Critical habitat is identified on both federal and non-federal lands on the limestone barrens of the Great Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland. On federal land, Environment Canada is working with Fisheries and Oceans Canada to protect the species’ critical habitat at Cape Norman. Environment Canada is collaborating with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to determine if the critical habitat on non-federal lands is considered protected.

A socio-economic evaluation for Barrens Willow was developed jointly with the Long’s Braya (Braya longii) and Fernald’s Braya (Braya fernaldii) socio-economic evaluations because their ranges, threats, and habitat are comparable. The direct and indirect costs associated with the implementation of this action plan are considered low. The implementation will not only benefit Barrens Willow, but the larger ecological community, including other species at risk (e.g., Fernald’s Braya) found within the same habitat.

1. Recovery Actions 

1.1 Context and Scope of the Action Plan

Barrens Willow (Salix jejuna) is a low-lying deciduous shrub endemic to the limestone barrens on the north western part of the Great Northern Peninsula of insular Newfoundland. It was assessed as Endangered by COSEWIC in 2001 and subsequently listed as such under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) and the Newfoundland and Labrador Endangered Species Act. This action plan outlines the recovery measures required to meet the recovery goal for Barrens Willow as outlined in the Recovery Strategy for Barrens Willow (Salix jejuna Fernald) in Canada (Environment Canada 2006).

The recovery goal for Barrens Willow is to secure the long-term persistence of the natural population throughout its range. The broad strategies (and associated approaches) to achieve this goal for Barrens Willow include the following:

  1. Assess and monitor the status of the natural population (approach: monitoring)
  2. Assess range and population dynamics of the natural population (approaches: habitat management and protection, and restoration and species reintroduction)
  3. Define threats and limiting factors and mitigate controllable ones (approach: scientific research and ex-situ conservation)
  4. Lessen to the extent possible additional habitat loss and degradation due to human activities (approach: enforcement and compliance)
  5. Implement a stewardship program with local residents and targeted groups (approach: education and stewardship)

Barrens Willow has a very limited distribution and human activities associated with gravel extraction, road maintenance, and off-road vehicle use have degraded, and continue to degrade, its limestone barrens habitat. Recovery efforts for Barrens Willow focus on mitigating the threat of human disturbance by implementing permanent protection measures that support recovery of Barrens Willow and the unique limestone barrens ecosystem on which it and many other rare species (e.g., Fernald’s Braya) occur.

This action plan should be considered along with the federal recovery strategy (Environment Canada 2006). The recovery strategy provides more details on the species, strategic direction, and approaches for recovery of Barrens Willow, including information on the approach to critical habitat identification and threats to the species.

1.2 Measures to be Taken and Implementation Schedule

Table 1. Implementation Schedule
#Broad StrategyApproachRecovery MeasuresPriorityFootnoteaThreats or objectives
addressed
Timeline
1Assess and monitor the status of the natural populationMonitoringDetermine population size to help establish appropriate population and distribution objectives once an acceptable definition of an “individual” plant is established.HighAll threatsBy 2018
2Assess and monitor the status of the natural populationMonitoringEstablish permanent monitoring plots and monitor population size, demographic parameters (e.g., longevity, productivity), and possible threats of pests and pathogens for all tagged plants and within permanent monitoring plots.HighAll threatsEvery 5 years
3Assess and monitor the status of the natural populationMonitoringComplete a census to identify population trends and spatial changes.HighAll threatsEvery 5 years
4Assess and monitor the status of the natural populationMonitoringMonitor and assess possible threat of climate change using the established climatic monitoring network (i.e., weather stations, air and ground temperature loggers, mechanical heave measuring instruments) to determine if climate changes are causing subsequent changes in plant population size, demographic parameters (e.g., productivity), etc.  MediumHabitat loss & degradation;
Climate change
Download logger data – annually;  Collect other information – as required
5Assess range and population dynamics of the natural populationHabitat management and protectionEvaluate the current level of threat posed by land use activities on critical habitat at each known Barrens Willow location and on all areas where past management activities have been implemented. Assess the effectiveness of current management activities.HighAll threatsEvery 5 years
6Assess range and population dynamics of the natural populationHabitat management and protectionPursue the establishment of an ecological reserve adjacent to the federal property at Cape Norman.HighHabitat loss and degradationBy 2017
7Assess range and population dynamics of the natural populationHabitat management and protectionPursue the expansion of the Watts Point Ecological Reserve northward to include populations of Barrens Willow.HighHabitat loss and degradationBy 2017
8Assess range and population dynamics of the natural populationHabitat management and protectionAppropriately mark (e.g., with signs, curbs) high-use areas of critical habitat to discourage off-road vehicle and pedestrian traffic.HighHabitat loss and degradationAs required
9Assess range and population dynamics of the natural populationHabitat management and protectionReview and validate current archive of geo-referenced data, and update with new survey information.  MediumHabitat loss and degradationBy 2018

 

10

Assess range and population dynamics of the natural populationHabitat management and protectionIdentify and consult with interest groups associated with critical habitat use (e.g., all-terrain vehicle users, snowmobile users).  Provide groups with information on critical habitat conservation.HighHabitat loss and degradationBy 2020
11Assess range and population dynamics of the natural populationHabitat management and protectionDevelop and deliver “safe-use” educational materials that describe how work can be carried out in a way that minimizes disturbance to habitat (including maps that identify areas of critical habitat) to service providers and heavy equipment operators on the limestone barrens.HighHabitat loss and degradationOngoing
12Assess range and population dynamics of the natural populationHabitat management and protectionDevelop and implement an off-road vehicle mitigation plan to prevent loss of, and damage to critical habitat.MediumHabitat loss and degradationOngoing thru to 2020
13Assess range and population dynamics of the natural populationRestoration and species reintroductionWithin critical habitat, evaluate damage to determine if restoration is necessary.MediumHabitat loss and degradationBy 2020
14Assess range and population dynamics of the natural populationRestoration and species reintroductionIf restoration is deemed necessary, determine and implement appropriate methods for Barrens Willow reintroductions using cuttings. Success of rooted cuttings may be improved by rehabilitating compressed substrate.MediumHabitat loss and degradationBy 2022
15Define threats and limiting factors and mitigate controllable onesScientific ResearchUse appropriate tools to improve species definition and then determine the genetic variation within and among populations, assess whether hybridization is occurring, and determine the extent of clonal growth within all populations.HighChanges in ecological dynamicsBy 2020
16Define threats and limiting factors and mitigate controllable onesEx-situ conservation
Maintain ex-situ collection at Memorial University of Newfoundland Botanical Garden and monitor plants for survival and the presence of pathogens and insect pests.HighAll threatsAnnually
17Define threats and limiting factors and mitigate controllable onesEx-situ conservationImprove the current ex-situ collection by establishing more cuttings to include plants of both sexes and at least ten individuals from each established population. Once the natural genetic diversity of wild populations is known, modify population representation as appropriate.HighAll threatsOngoing
18Lessen to the extent possible additional habitat loss and degradation due to human activitiesEnforcement and complianceTrain and provide opportunity to update wildlife and enforcement officials about regulations and issues related to species at risk and critical habitat.MediumHabitat loss and degradationAs required
19Lessen to the extent possible additional habitat loss and degradation due to human activitiesEnforcement and complianceAgencies or institutions carrying out recovery activities to communicate with, and extend invitation to, Federal Wildlife Officers and Provincial Conservation Officers about planned activities in, or adjacent to, critical habitat.MediumHabitat loss and degradationAs required
20Lessen to the extent possible additional habitat loss and degradation due to human activitiesEnforcement and complianceEncourage intergovernmental communication between all federal, provincial, and municipal agencies that have land-use management, or permitting responsibilities for populations of Barrens Willow and associated critical habitat.MediumHabitat loss and degradationOngoing
21Implement a stewardship program with local residents and target groupsEducation and stewardshipBased on field observation of the occurrence of activities that threaten Barrens Willow, identify areas with stewardship needs and initiate stewardship activities where required.HighHabitat loss and degradationOngoing
22Implement a stewardship program with local residents and target groupsEducation and stewardshipEnsure local participation in delivery of recovery activities, such as the establishment of new protected areas or restoration projects.MediumAll threatsOngoing
23Implement a stewardship program with local residents and target groupsEducation and stewardshipContinue to pursue, update, and evaluate stewardship agreements between the Limestone Barrens Habitat Stewardship Program (LBHSP) and local communities, schools, and organizations.MediumHabitat loss and degradationAs required
24Implement a stewardship program with local residents and target groupsEducation and stewardshipProvide information on limestone barrens species at risk and critical habitat conservation to technical and non-technical audiences through use of effective media and social outlets.MediumAll threatsOngoing
25Implement a stewardship program with local residents and target groupsEducation and stewardshipRegularly update the limestone barrens website (www.limestonebarrens.ca) to ensure information is current.MediumAll threatsAs required
26Implement a stewardship program with local residents and target groupsEducation and stewardshipEngage and support the Limestone Barrens Community Working Group by encouraging members to attend regular meetings of the Limestone Barrens Species-at-Risk Recovery Team.MediumAll threatsAnnually
27Implement a stewardship program with local residents and target groupsEducation and stewardshipConduct surveys to determine changes in public attitude and knowledge and evaluate effectiveness of existing stewardship and education measures (e.g., develop and implement a method to assess the effectiveness of the limestone barrens curriculum in the classroom).MediumHabitat loss and degradationAs required
28Implement a stewardship program with local residents and target groupsEducation and stewardshipErect interpretive panels that display information on species biology, population status, and critical habitat conservation at key Barrens Willow sites (i.e., where signs would have the most impact on Barrens Willow conservation without compromising persistence).MediumHabitat loss and degradationBy 2018

Footnote - Table 1

Footnote a

"Priority” reflects the degree to which the measure contributes directly to the recovery of the species or is an essential precursor to a measure that contributes to the recovery of the species. High priority measures are considered those most likely to have an immediate and/or direct influence on attaining the population and distribution objectives for the species. Medium priority measures may have a less immediate or less direct influence on reaching the population and distribution objectives, but are still important for the recovery of the population. Low priority recovery measures will likely have an indirect or gradual influence on reaching the population and distribution objectives, but are considered important contributions to the knowledge base and/or public involvement and acceptance of the species.

Return to footnote a

1.3 Critical Habitat

Critical habitat was partially identified for Barrens Willow in the Addendum (section 1.2) of the recovery strategy (Environment Canada 2006). The recovery strategy contains details regarding the identification of critical habitat and outlines the schedule of studies needed to fully identify critical habitat (Environment Canada 2006).

Additional critical habitat for Barrens Willow has been identified in this action plan based on the partial completion of the schedule of studies, using the same approach described in the recovery strategy. Two of the additional sites are located northeast of North Boat Harbour and the third site is located southwest of North Boat Harbour, NL (Figure 1). Nevertheless, critical habitat remains partially identified.  The completion of surveys of potential substrate within the range of Barrens Willow will allow for the complete identification of critical habitat. 

1.3.1 Identification of the species' critical habitat

Geographical Location

Critical habitat for Barrens Willow (as identified in the  recovery strategy and this action plan) is located within the Strait of Belle Isle ecoregion along the north coastal section of the Great Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland between Eddies Cove (51° 25′ N and 56° 26′ W), and Cook’s Harbour (51° 36′N and 55° 53′W). See Figure 1 for more detail.  

Biophysical Attributes

For the purposes of context within this action plan, the following brief description of critical habitat is provided.  Critical habitat for Barrens Willow is described as “all natural areas of occurrences”. The species occupies exposed coastal limestone barren habitat where vegetation cover is sparse. It is found in dry to periodically wet conditions. The substrate is generally silt and/or sand accumulated in depressions and openings between rocks, or open silt, sand and gravel, sometimes sorted by frost. It is found in a narrow band of coastal limestone barrens characterized primarily by arctic-like climatic conditions from Eddies Cove north to Cape Norman (Figure 1).

1.3.2 Examples of activities likely to result in destruction of critical habitat

Understanding what constitutes destruction of critical habitat is necessary for the protection and management of critical habitat. Destruction is determined on a case by case basis. Destruction would result if part of the critical habitat were degraded, either permanently or temporarily, such that it no longer meets the needs of the species. Destruction may result from one or more activities at one point in time, or from the cumulative effects of one or more activities over time.

Activities likely to result in the destruction of critical habitat were not included in the recovery strategy for Barrens Willow and are therefore included in this action plan.  Examples of these activities are outlined below, but are not limited to the following list:   

  1. The removal of vegetation and/or the organic layer can result in destruction of critical habitat. Specific examples include commercial or industrial activities, such as limestone gravel excavation, quarrying, drilling, and road construction. Other local activities include the development of recreational trails for eco-tourism purposes. Although these activities may occur infrequently, they can result in a significant loss of habitat.
  2. Substrate compaction and substrate damage (e.g., limestone shattering) that affects normal root function, seedling recruitment, and natural hydrologic patterns. Specific examples of activities capable of causing compaction and substrate damage include maintenance of roads, utility corridors, and service lines, recreational use of off-road vehicles, and the placement of temporary or permanent structures. It is important to note that even a single pass of an off-road vehicle (e.g., all-terrain vehicle or dirt bike), especially when substrate is wet, can cause enough compaction to result in the temporary loss of habitat function. These activities occur on a recurrent basis.
  3. Any activity on critical habitat that may result in the disturbance or alteration of the habitat in such a way as to reduce the quality of habitat by removing substrate or damaging components of the plant community. Specific examples include the laying out of fish nets or other fishing equipment, the collecting of rock or plants for horticultural purposes, the collecting of fossils, allowing any domestic animal to run at large, picnicking or camping, the depositing of waste material, and the introduction of plants or animals non-native to the limestone barrens. These activities occur infrequently but result in habitat degradation.

All of these activities can have severe impacts on habitat that is critical to the persistence of the species and can result in direct plant mortality and population decline.

Figure 1. Barrens Willow (Salix jejuna) critical habitat in Newfoundland and Labrador. Critical habitat occurs within the red (units identified in the recovery strategy) and yellow (additional units identified in this action plan) shaded polygons where the biophysical attributes are met. The 10 km x 10 km UTM grid square overlays (red outline) are part of a standard national grid system that highlights the general geographic area containing critical habitat.
Map: Newfoundland and Labrador
Long description for Figure 1

Figure 1 shows the locations of critical habitat for Barrens Willow throughout its entire range, from Eddies Cove to Cape Norman, on the Great Northern Peninsula of insular Newfoundland. Locations are spread out along the coast, with a concentration of locations around Cape Norman.

1.4 Proposed Measures to Protect Critical Habitat 

Critical habitat for Barrens Willow is located on both federal and non-federal lands on the northwestern part of the Great Northern Peninsula of insular Newfoundland (Figure 1).

1.4.1 Measures proposed to protect critical habitat on federal lands

The federal property at Cape Norman (a property of approximately 45 hectares, owned and operated by Fisheries and Oceans Canada) is identified as critical habitat for Barrens Willow.  Section 58(5) of SARA requires the competent minister to make an order for any part of the critical habitat that is not legally protected by the provisions or measures under SARA or any other federal act within 180 days of the final posting of the recovery strategy identifying the critical habitat in the Species at Risk Public Registry.  If the competent minister does not make the order, he or she must include in the Public Registry a statement setting out how the critical habitat or portions of it are legally protected.  Environment Canada is currently working with Fisheries and Oceans Canada to develop an order to protect critical habitat on federal land at Cape Norman under sections 58(4) and (5) of SARA.

1.4.2 Measures proposed to protect critical habitat on non-federal lands

With regard to the portions of critical habitat found on non-federal lands, Environment Canada will assess the protection currently in place. This involves first working with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to determine which legal laws and legal instruments are in place to prevent destruction of critical habitat. If there are gaps in the protection of critical habitat, provisions or measures in place under SARA or other federal legislation will be reviewed to determine wheter they prevent destruction of critical habitat. The laws and legal agreements in place that protect critical habitat will be monitored for efficacy at least every five years. Conservation measures, including stwewarship initiatives, that contribute to reventing critical habitat destruction will also be considered and monitored.

If it is determined that any portions of critical habitat are not protected, and steps are being taken to protect those portions, those steps will be communicated via Species at Risk Public Registry through the reports referred to in section 63 of SARA.

2. Evaluation of Socio-Economic Costs and of Benefits

The Species At Risk Act requires that an action plan include an evaluation of the socio-economic costs of the action plan and the benefits to be derived from its implementation (SARA 49(1)(e), 2002). This evaluation addresses only the incremental socio-economic costs of implementing this action plan from a national perspective as well as the social and environmental benefits that would occur if the action plan were implemented in its entirety, recognizing that not all aspects of its implementation are under the jurisdiction of the federal government.  It does not address cumulative costs of species recovery in general nor does it attempt a cost-benefit analysis. Its intent is to inform the public and to guide decision making on implementation of the action plan by partners.

The protection and recovery of species at risk can result in both benefits and costs. The Act recognizes that “wildlife, in all its forms, has value in and of itself and is valued by Canadians for aesthetic, cultural, spiritual, recreational, educational, historical, economic, medical, ecological and scientific reasons” (SARA 2002). Self-sustaining and healthy ecosystems with their various elements in place, including species at risk, contribute positively to the livelihoods and the quality of life of all Canadians. A review of the literature confirms that Canadians value the preservation and conservation of species in and of themselves. Actions taken to preserve a species, such as habitat protection and restoration, are also valued. In addition, the more an action contributes to the recovery of a species, the higher the value the public places on such actions (Loomis and White 1996, DFO 2008). Furthermore, the conservation of species at risk is an important component of the Government of Canada’s commitment to conserving biological diversity under the International Convention on Biological Diversity. The Government of Canada has also made a commitment to protect and recover species at risk through the Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk. The specific costs and benefits associated with this action plan are described below.

The Barrens Willow socio-economic assessment was conducted jointly with the Long’s Braya and Fernald’s Braya as their range and habitat are comparable. Limestone barrens conservation in Newfoundland is an important issue, and stewardship initiatives are underway from multiple organizations to facilitate and promote these efforts.

2.1 Policy Baseline

The province of Newfoundland and Labrador has access to many legislative, regulatory, and management tools for the conservation and stewardship of Barrens Willow (e.g., Newfoundland and Labrador’s Endangered Species Act, Newfoundland and Labrador Wilderness and Ecological Reserves Act, and Sensitive Wildlife Area designations).    

The Limestone Barrens Habitat Stewardship Program has been ongoing in the area for many years in an effort to promote the long term conservation of rare plants in the area.

Additionally, many recovery measures can be carried out by federal species at risk funding programs, contributions by recovery biologists, or research by universities.

2.2 Socio-economic Profile and Baseline

There are few communities that are affected by protection of the species and its critical habitat. The human population in the immediate area is approximately 300 people. The primary industries of the area relate to the fishery and natural resource extraction. Although there are no Aboriginal groups native to the area, Qalipu First Nation has indicated traditional use of resources on the Great Northern Peninsula, but not within 100 km of Barrens Willow critical habitat (AMEC 2002).

2.3 Socio-economic Costs of Implementing this Action Plan

Direct costs are those that result from the implementation of the approaches identified in the implementation schedule (Table 1). Only the incremental costs are considered and therefore do not include ongoing actions or initiatives discussed in section 2.1 (Policy Baseline). Certain approaches listed in the implementation schedule also apply to the recovery of Fernald’s Braya and Long’s Braya because these species coexist at a number of sites identified as critical habitat.  As a result, the action plan for the Barrens Willow and the action plan for Long’s Braya and Fernald’s Braya (Environment Canada 2015) were developed concurrently. In order to ensure that all direct costs are captured, the shared costs have been calculated in both action plans. The direct costs of implementing the recovery actions for all three species are expected to be low (between $0 and $5 million) over the short (2016-2021) and long term. These anticipated costs include salary, volunteer time, travel, materials, equipment, and other related costs. 

Indirect costs are the costs associated with implementing the action plan, which may have an impact on various stakeholders. Impacts to stakeholders include foregoing or modifying current and future activities. The anticipated indirect costs of implementing this action plan are considered low.

Off-road vehicle (ORV)Footnote 1 damage is a threat throughout the limestone barrens. Presently, the Watts Point Ecological Reserve prohibits the use of ORVs (Parks and Natural Areas Division 1990), and it is expected that the proposed expansion area will have a comparable prohibition against motorized vehicles. In addition, critical habitat found on federal property in the Cape Norman area will be protected from destruction by ORV use through the measures under SARA. However, there is minimal foreseen impact to ORV users given the relatively small area that will be affected.

Quarry operators may need to spend additional time completing the provincial application process and searching for newly proposed quarry sites to ensure they are outside of critical habitat. 

2.4 Benefits of Implementing this Action Plan

2.4.1 Value of biodiversity to Canadians

Biodiversity is essential for healthy ecosystems, human health, prosperity, security and well being. Canadians derive many benefits from biodiversity including recreational, aesthetic, educational, cultural benefits as well as ecological goods and services essential to human survival. Care for the environment is consistently ranked as one of Canada’s top priorities in public opinion pollsFootnote 2. A recent opinion poll found that three quarters of Canadian respondents feel that preserving natural areas and the variety of native plant and animal life in Canada is important to themFootnote 3.

The total value of endangered species consists of non-consumptive use values (such as recreation, spiritual/cultural, research, and education), indirect use values (value of the ecological role of a species in an ecosystem), and non-use values (i.e., preserving the benefits of nature for future generations)Footnote 4. Achieving the goal of this action plan will have a positive impact on society. The direct value of recovering Barrens Willow, for the preservation or the enhancement of biodiversity, is not easily estimated.

2.4.2 Eco-tourism and cultural values

Eco-tourism is the fastest-growing area of the tourism industry (Mastny 2001). In 2004, this market grew three times faster than the industry as a whole and the World Tourism Organization estimates that global spending on eco-tourism is increasing by 20% a year, about six times the industry-wide rate of growth (TEEB 2008).

The communities near critical habitat have been attempting to utilize the uniqueness of the local terrain as a way to generate economic growth. Northern Newfoundland is made up of small coastal communities with a recent history of unemployment and loss of industry. The expansion of Watt’s Point Ecological Reserve, the potential designation of an area near Cape Norman as an ecological reserve, and protecting the limestone barrens’ rare plant species may enhance tourism in the local communities.

As a result of achieving the recovery goals of this action plan, there may be an increase in eco-tourism activity, and the associated economic spin offs to local businesses and enhanced cultural value of local communities.

2.4.3 Conservation of other species

Of the approximately 300 rare vascular plants on the island of Newfoundland, approximately 33% reside in the ecoregions containing limestone barrens, with 30 species being endemic to, or found only on, the limestone barrens. Barrens Willow, Long’s Braya, and Fernald’s Braya are all endemic to the limestone barrens. By focusing on permanent conservation measures, including the expansion of ecological reserves and increased communication among provincial agencies, as well as improved public outreach, it is expected that the recovery approaches outlined in the action plan will benefit the larger ecological community as well as other species at risk. 

2.5 Distributional Impacts

Although Barrens Willow occurs on provincial, federal, and private properties, private landowners are not expected to bear the brunt of the responsibility for the species’ recovery. Non-governmental organizations are active in Newfoundland and Labrador where the species occurs, and an approach of this action plan is to foster cooperative relationships with landowners and others to maintain critical habitat.

3. Measuring Progress

The performance indicators presented in the associated recovery strategy provide a way to define and measure progress toward achieving the recovery goal.

Reporting on implementation of the action plan (under s. 55 of SARA) will be done by assessing progress towards implementing the broad strategies.

Reporting on the ecological and socio-economic impacts of the action plan (under s. 55 of SARA) will be done by assessing the results of monitoring the recovery of the species and its long term viability, and by assessing the implementation of the action plan.

4. References

Appendix A: Effects on the Environment and Other Species

A strategic environmental assessment (SEA) is conducted on all SARA recovery planning documents, in accordance with the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals. 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 and to evaluate whether the outcomes of a recovery planning document could affect any component of the environment or achievement of any of the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy’s (FSDS) goals and targets.

Recovery planning is intended to benefit species at risk and biodiversity in general. However, it is recognized that implementation of action plans may 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 upon non-target species or habitats. The results of the SEA are incorporated directly into the action plan itself, but are also summarized below in this statement.

Overall, the recovery of Barrens Willow will be beneficial to society as a whole within the species’ range in Newfoundland and Labrador, but the specific type and extent of benefit is difficult to assess and quantify. Much of the thinking surrounding the recovery and socio-economic impact of Barrens Willow was considered in conjunction with the recovery of other limestone barrens species – primarily Long’s Braya and Fernald’s Braya that are also SARA listed species. Recovering these species at risk within the context of all the limestone barrens habitat allows for more comprehensive recovery of habitat, while also demonstrating a landscape recovery approach to the public. Section 2 of this action plan will more completely discuss the merits of a landscap/multi-species approach to recovery.


Footnotes

Footnote 1

ORVs include ATVs, dirt bikes, dune buggies, four wheel drive vehicles (jeeps), etc.

Return to footnote 1

Footnote 2

Canada’s Fourth National Report to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity [PDF; 3.72 Mb], 2010. Accessed December 3, 2010.

Return to footnote 2

Footnote 3

Ipsos Reid Opinion Poll “Nine in Ten (87%) Canadians Say That When Connected to Nature They Fell Happier.” Released January 7, 2011.

Return to footnote 3

Footnote 4

Non-use values include bequest value (satisfaction of knowing that future generations will have access to nature’s benefits), altruist value (satisfaction of knowing that other people have access to nature’s benefits) and existence value (satisfaction of knowing that a species or ecosystem exists).

Return to footnote 4