Action Plan for the Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus circumcinctus) in Alberta [Proposed] – 2009
Species at Risk Act
Action Plan Series
Adopted under Section 51 of SARA
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Piping Plover
- About the Species at Risk Act Action Plan Series
- RESPONSIBLE JURISDICTIONS
- STRATEGIC ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT STATEMENT
- 1. SYNOPSIS OF THE RECOVERY STRATEGY AND UPDATE
- 1.1 Associated Recovery Strategy
- 1.2 Species Assessment Information from COSEWIC
- 1.3 Description of the Species
- 1.4 Populations and Distribution
- 1.5 Threats
- 1.6 Goals and Objectives for the Piping Plover
- 1.6.1 Goals
- 1.6.2 Population and Distribution Objectives
- 1.6.3 Recovery Objectives
- 1.7 Critical Habitat addressed in the Recovery Strategy
- 2. RECOVERY ACTIONS
- 2.1 Scope of the Action Plan
- 2.2 Actions and Performance Measures
- 2.3 Critical Habitat
- 2.3.1 Identification of the critical habitat addressed by the Action Plan
- 2.3.2 Schedule of studies to identify critical habitat
- 2.4 Critical Habitat Protection
- 3. EFFECTS ON OTHER SPECIES
- 4. SOCIO–ECONOMIC EVALUATION
- 5. ASSOCIATED PLANS
- 6. REFERENCES
- Appendix 1. Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Plan, 2005–2010
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 an action plan?
Under SARA, an action plan 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 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 measures to protect critical habitat. The socio–economic impacts of implementing the plan are also evaluated. Additional project–specific action plans may also be created for a species that address other areas of recovery implementation.
The approach of developing a recovery strategy followed by one or more action plans has been endorsed by all provinces and territories as well as the federal government. Action plans offer the opportunity to involve many interests in working together to find creative solutions to recovery challenges. Sections 47–55 of SARA outline both the required content and the process for developing action plans published in this series.
Directions set in the action plan are intended to involve jurisdictions, communities, land users, and other interested parties in implementation of conservation activities that build towards recovering the species. Cost–effective measures to prevent the reduction or loss of the species should not be postponed for lack of full scientific certainty.
This series presents the action plans prepared or adopted by the federal government under SARA. New documents will be added regularly as species get listed and as plans are updated.
To learn more
To learn more about the Species at Risk Act and conservation initiatives, please consult the Species at Risk (SAR) Public Registry.
ACTION PLAN FOR THE PIPING PLOVER (CHARADRIUS MELODUS CIRCUMCINCTUS) IN ALBERTA [PROPOSED] 2009
Under the Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk (1996), the federal, provincial, and territorial governments agreed to work together on legislation, programs, and policies to protect wildlife species at risk throughout Canada.
In the spirit of cooperation of the Accord, the Government of Alberta has given permission to the Government of Canada to adopt the Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Plan, 2005–2010 (Appendix 1) as an action plan under Section 51 of the Species at Risk Act (SARA). Environment Canada has included an addition which completes the SARA requirements for this action plan.
Following this 60–day comment period and subsequent final posting of this document, and until the federal Minister of Environment determines otherwise or the Alberta Ministry of Sustainable Resource Development formally amends the document, the Alberta recovery plan and its Environment Canada addition is the action plan of the Minister of the Environment of Canada for this species.
This action plan for the Piping Plover in Alberta consists of two parts:
- An Addition to the Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Plan, 2005–2010, prepared by Environment Canada, and
- The Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Plan, 2005–2010, prepared by the Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Team for Alberta Sustainable Resource Development.
Environment Canada. 2009. Action Plan for the Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus circumcinctus) in Alberta [Proposed]. Species at Risk Act Action Plan Series. Environment Canada, Ottawa. ii + 11 pp. with Appendix.
Additional copies can be downloaded from the SARA Public Registry.
Cover illustration: Judie Shore ©.
Également disponible en français sous le titre
« Plan d’action pour le Pluvier siffleur (Charadrius melodus circumcinctus) en Alberta [Proposition] »
© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of the Environment, 2009. All rights reserved.
Content (excluding the illustrations) may be used without permission, with appropriate credit to the source.
Addition to the Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Plan, 2005–2010 
This action plan for the Piping Plover, circumcinctus subspecies, has been adopted from Alberta, as described in the Preface. Environment Canada has reviewed and accepts this document as an action plan for the Piping Plover, circumcinctus subspecies, as required by the Species at Risk Act (SARA). This plan may be one of several action plans that provide details on specific recovery measures to be taken to support conservation of the species.
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 set out in this plan and will not be achieved by Environment Canada or any other jurisdiction alone. In the spirit of the Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk, the Minister of the Environment invites all Canadians to join Environment Canada in supporting and implementing this plan for the benefit of the Piping Plover, circumcinctus subspecies, and Canadian society as a whole. Environment Canada will endeavour to support implementation of this plan, given available resources and varying species at risk conservation priorities. It will continue to provide recovery leadership in its role as Chair of the Prairie Piping Plover Recovery Team and serve as a member of Alberta’s Piping Plover Recovery Team. The Minister will report on progress, as well as the ecological and socio–economic impacts of the plan, within five years, as required under SARA.
Government of Alberta
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.
Recovery planning is intended to benefit species at risk and biodiversity in general. However, it is recognized that plans 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 into the plan itself, but are also summarized below.
This action plan will clearly benefit the environment by promoting the recovery of the Piping Plover. The potential for the plan to inadvertently lead to adverse effects on other species was considered. The SEA concluded that this plan will clearly benefit the environment and will not entail any significant adverse effects. The reader should refer to relevant sections in the Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Plan (i.e. species biology, threats and limiting factors, action plan, and socio–economic considerations) and in the Addition to the plan (i.e. effects on other species and socio–economic evaluation).
The Piping Plover, circumcinctus subspecies, is a migratory bird covered under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 and is under the management jurisdiction of the federal government. The Species at Risk Act (SARA, Section 47) requires the competent minister to prepare action plans, based on the recovery strategy, for listed extirpated, endangered, or threatened species. The Piping Plover, circumcinctus subspecies, was designated as Endangered by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) in 2001 and officially listed under SARA in June 2003. In Alberta, the Piping Plover is listed as endangered under Alberta’s Wildlife Act. Alberta Sustainable Resource Development led the development of the Alberta recovery plan for the species in cooperation with the Canadian Wildlife Service – Prairie and Northern Region, Environment Canada and other agencies. Environment Canada has developed additional material to complete the requirements under SARA and other legislations, and to permit the Minister of Environment to adopt Alberta’s document as the Action Plan for the Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus circumcinctus) in Alberta. The action plan meets SARA requirements in terms of content and process (Sections 48 and 49). It is one of four action plans that outline measures required to implement the recovery strategy for the Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus circumcinctus) in Canada.
Environment Canada. 2006. Recovery Strategy for the Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus circumcinctus) in Canada. Species at Risk Act Recovery Strategy Series. Environment Canada, Ottawa. vi + 30 pp.
Environment Canada. 2007. Addendum to the Final Recovery Strategy for the Piping
Plover (Charadrius melodus circumcinctus) in Canada Re: Identification of Critical Habitat. Species at Risk Act Recovery Strategy Series. Environment Canada, Ottawa. 12 pp.
Date of Assessment: May 2001
Common Name (population): Piping Plover circumcinctus subspecies
Scientific Name: Charadrius melodus circumcinctus
COSEWIC Status: Endangered
Reason for Designation: The number of individuals of this subspecies breeding in Canada is small and the population is in decline. Reproductive success is low, especially in years of drought, and nests are regularly lost because of flooding. The quality of nesting habitat is decreasing in many places.
Canadian Occurrence: Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario
COSEWIC Status History: The species was considered a single unit and designated Threatened in April 1978. Status re–examined and designated Endangered in April 1985. In May 2001, the species was re–examined and split into two groups according to subspecies. The circumcinctus subspecies was designated Endangered in May 2001. Last assessment based on an update status report.
The Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus) is a small, migratory shorebird with a pale, dry sand coloured back and head, white under–parts and orange legs. When in breeding plumage, the short bill is orange with a black tip, a single black band stretches between the eyes, and one runs across the breast (Haig 1992). Piping Plovers are characterized by their high–pitched “pipe” call and habit of breeding on open sand or gravel beaches (Goossen et al. 2002).
The Piping Plover is divided into two subspecies: the Atlantic C. m. melodus and the inland C. m. circumcinctus (AOU 1957). The circumcinctus subspecies includes two populations: Prairie Canada and Great Lakes. Within Canada, C. m. circumcinctus occurs in the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario. The 2001 International Piping Plover Census estimated the Great Lakes and Northern Great Plains/Prairies populations at 3026 adults. Of these, 974 adults (32%) were in Canada with all breeding pairs recorded in the Prairie population and no breeding pairs recorded in the Great Lakes population (Ferland and Haig 2002)
Alberta Population and Distribution
In 2006, 274 Piping Plovers were counted in Alberta during the International Piping Plover Breeding Census (D. Prescott, unpubl. data). Piping Plovers occur annually in the southern half of the province, usually on about 20 lakes. Breeding has been documented at 51 of the 85 wetlands where Piping Plovers have been located (Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Team 2006).
The Piping Plover has a small population with a wide distribution and faces continued threats. The greatest threats to recovery are predation, habitat loss, and human disturbance.
The long–term recovery goal for C. m. circumcinctus is to achieve a viable1, self–sustained, and broadly distributed population, within the current prairie population range, and the reestablishment of the Piping Plover in the historic southern Ontario range.
Prairie Canada Population
The recovery goal for the Prairie Canada population is 1626 adult Piping Plovers and is based on historical provincial counts and/or estimates. The population goal will be considered achieved if met for each of three consecutive international censuses (i.e., over 11 years). The minimum provincial population (adults) targets are as follows: Alberta 300; Saskatchewan 1200; Manitoba 120; and Ontario (Lake of the Woods) 6.
Canadian Great Lakes Population
The reestablishment of Piping Plovers on the Canadian side of the Great Lakes will depend on the success of the U.S. Great Lakes population. It is too early to set a recovery population goal for this population, as up until 2007 no breeding had occurred on the Canadian side of the Great Lakes since 1977 (Lambert 1987). In the summer of 2007, one pair successfully bred and fledged three young at a beach site along the Lake Huron shoreline. The objective at this time is to ensure protection through active stewardship and monitoring of historic breeding habitat and any breeding pairs or individuals that may occur.
- Update Prairie Canada population status (numbers and distribution).
- Increase knowledge of population dynamics and predators.
- Achieve and maintain a fledging rate of at least 1.25 fledglings per pair per year for managed sites.
- Identify critical habitat and achieve critical habitat protection to the extent possible through the setting of cooperative conservation measures.
- Support relevant conservation practices, policies, and legislation.
- Achieve effective protection of wintering habitat through international efforts.
- Prepare for potential reestablishment of Canadian Great Lakes population.
This action plan pertains only to Piping Plovers in Alberta, and therefore does not address the above objectives from the recovery strategy throughout the species range in Canada. (see Section below on Scope of the Action Plan for further details).
Critical habitat was identified in 43 quarter sections within 13 basins in Alberta in the Addendum to the Final Recovery Strategy for the Piping Plover circumcinctus in Canada (Environment Canada 2007). Further details on the methodology used, the identification and the description of critical habitat can be found in the Recovery Strategy (Environment Canada 2006) and the Addendum (Environment Canada 2007).
1. A viable population has a less than 5% probability of becoming extinct within the next 100 years (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1996).
This action plan outlines recovery actions for the Piping Plover in Alberta only. However, these actions do contribute to implementing the broader federal recovery strategy for the circumcinctus subspecies. Actions within this plan contribute to the five following recovery strategy objectives: updating Prairie Canada’s status, increasing knowledge of population dynamics and predators, achieving and maintaining a fledging rate of at least 1.25 fledglings per pair per year for managed sites, identifying critical habitat and achieving critical habitat protection to the extent possible through the setting of cooperative conservation measures, support for relevant conservation practices, policies and legislation.
Recovery actions for the Piping Plover circumcinctus in Alberta are outlined in the Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Plan (Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Team 2006, Appendix 1). Measures to assess the effect of actions taken for Piping Plover recovery are listed as performance measures in Table 1. The recovery actions proposed might be modified depending on new knowledge or new opportunities.
|Recovery Objective||Performance Measures|
(The numbers refer to the corresponding sections in Appendix 1)
|Habitat management and protection|
|Information and outreach|
|Population monitoring and research|
|Plan management and administration|
No additional critical habitat is being identified in this action plan.
Due to the dynamic nature of Piping Plover habitat and populations, as additional surveys are carried out in Alberta, Environment Canada anticipates that additional critical habitat may be identified or that some sites previously identified as critical habitat may not be considered anymore. Steps to carry out this task are identified in the Table 2.
|Description of Activity||Outcome||Timeline|
|1. Review status of lakes and wetlands known to support Piping Plovers and identify quarter sections which require additional surveys to verify if they meet critical habitat criteria.||New potential critical habitat wetlands are identified and logistics arranged to survey them.||2009–2010|
|2. Census and obtain geographic coordinates of Piping Plovers and nest locations on wetlands needing additional surveys to assist in identifying quarter sections with critical habitat.||Piping Plovers are counted and their locations documented on specific basins to aid assessing whether quarter section criteria are met.||2009–2010|
|3. Update proposed new critical habitat list.||Additional critical habitat is identified or existing critical habitat locations are removed from the list based on reassessments.||2010|
|4. Review and refine critical habitat criteria if required and submit new proposed critical habitat for approval with the next revised recovery strategy.||Critical habitat criteria re–assessment provides opportunity for quality control and evaluation. New critical habitat for Piping Plovers is submitted for approval.||2010|
The Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Plan (2005–2010) describes measures that are in place and/or proposed to protect critical habitat.
The activities identified in this action plan will not jeopardize the survival, distribution or abundance of other species. Most recommended recovery activities relate to a narrow band of habitat on wetlands and affect relatively few Alberta species. Migrating and breeding shorebirds will benefit from the protection and/or stewardship of wetland habitats that are recommended through this plan. Limiting predator access to plover eggs and chicks through predator exclosures are not expected to significantly affect predator populations (Environment Canada 2006). Domestic livestock species are expected to mostly benefit from this plan through improved livestock management.
Action Plans are required by SARA to provide a socio–economic evaluation of costs and benefits (Section 49 (1) (e)). In this section of the Piping Plover action plan for Alberta, the costs and benefits related to implementing the plan are described and estimated.
In 2001, the Piping Plover circumcinctus subspecies was listed as endangered by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. Most of Alberta’s Piping Plover population is found in the Prairie Ecozone of the southern half of the province where agriculture is the primary land use activity. The average number of Piping Plovers seen in Alberta over the four international censuses (1991–2006) was 220 ± 65 (S.D.) adults. The provincial population goal of 300 adult Piping Plovers over three consecutive international censuses (Environment Canada 2006) has not been achieved to date. Piping Plovers are known to have occurred on 85 wetlands in Alberta (see map in Appendix 2 of the Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Plan, 2005–2010). In 2007, critical habitat was identified on 43 quarter sections at 13 lakes (Environment Canada 2007). All shorelines in these quarter sections are owned by the provincial government as they occur between the water’s edge and the ordinary high–water mark and protected by the Alberta’s Public Lands Act. Most (23/43) quarter sections have uplands that are crown land; about 19% are privately owned and about 28% are partly under privately ownership (Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Team 2006). Habitat is not a limiting factor for the Piping Plover in Alberta and the threats in this province to the breeding habitat are relatively minimal. Predation of eggs and chicks are the primary factor limiting reproductive success.
Implementation costs (including services–in–kind) from 2005–2010 are estimated to be $897,000. The cost estimate, however, for the remainder of the plan’s current duration (2009–2010) is $175,000 (Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Team 2006). It is anticipated that a variety of agencies will participate in the funding and implementation of these activities.
Landowner/lessees cost/benefits are addressed in section 10 of the Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Plan 2005–2010 (Appendix 1).
Costs were determined by the Alberta government from known historical costs of program activities, estimates and services–in–kind. Landowner/lessees cost/benefits were not taken into account in determining implementation costs (D. Prescott, pers. comm.). Stewardship activities related to fencing and alternative watering sources are typically borne by conservation agencies. Landowner or lessees sometimes contribute labour and services–in–kind to complete these projects. Preventing cattle from accessing wetlands were Piping Plovers breed may have limited costs to producers. Forage quality is generally poor on vegetated shores and so any loss of grazing habitat on alkaline beaches will have little impact on the cattle industry. Cattle may use shore habitats to avoid biting insects, however, loss of access to shorelines is not anticipated to diminish cattle weight or health significantly. Costs to the oil and gas industry are anticipated to be very low as little activity is anticipated to occur on lakes and or their shores given the legislative protection of these crown lands.
Intensive implementation of Alberta’s first recovery plan during 2002–2004 has resulted in application of protection notations on 135 crown quarters, management plans for 30 Piping Plover lakes, contacts with over 330 landowners and cottagers, habitat improvements at 11 lakes, establishment of the Muriel Lake seasonal sanctuary and sustainable Piping Plover productivity exceeded (Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Team 2005) the proposed threshold of 1.25 fledged chicks per pair (Larson et al. 2002). Notation/landowner costs are estimated to be 6 K for the remainder of the most recent Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Plan, 20 K for cooperative agreements and 100 K for habitat improvements. Costs to landowners/lessees are estimated to be low because of the relatively few number of land users (~40), the modest proposed measures to accommodate Piping Plovers and changes already occurring with increased awareness of Piping Plover needs. The perception of a cost to a land user will also likely go down as more sustainable behaviors are better integrated in land use management.
Socio–economic effects arising from implementing the plan may include altering timing of, or occasional restriction of, land–use activities and minor restrictions to recreational activities. These effects are considered more as inconveniences or required behavioral changes toward a more sustainable land use. The socio–economic costs are anticipated to be low and the number of potentially affected parties limited. Experience to date in Alberta has shown that where a potential conflict has arisen between development and its potential impact on Piping Plovers, that there has always been a mutually agreed outcome, resulting in the successful completion of the development (D. Prescott, pers. comm.).
Benefits may include improved grazing habitat and increased biodiversity (Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Team 2006). Fencing out cattle from wetlands enables ranchers better control in directing cattle to quality foraging areas, prevent cattle from accessing unhealthy alkaline waters and getting stuck in muddy lake beds. Restricting cattle from shoreline vegetation enables plants to grow naturally during the summer and then if cattle are released onto or near shoreline habitats in the fall, they will have access to a greater vegetation biomass than in spring. Undisturbed shores provide a greater biodiversity of habitats and species than shores which have been trampled and denuded of vegetation.
Effective recovery and management of the Piping Plover, using legislative and stewardship tools, will lead to recovery of this species in Alberta sooner than ineffective implementation efforts. This will lead to a cost savings to conservation agencies putting resources into protection and recovery of this species. The plan also promotes a cooperative partnership approach which promotes knowledge sharing and program evaluation.
Nature viewing is an activity most Albertans enjoy (Federal–Provincial–Territorial Task Force 1999) and some citizens and tourist will be interested in seeing this species. Economic benefits to local business and the provincial government, however, are expected to be low as tourist demand to see this species is limited and the challenge to know where to find the birds is great. Plover lakes are generally great distances from major urban centres, access to sites is not straight forward, and landowner permission is required in most places to access the wetlands of interest.
In Canada, C. m. circumcinctus is found in four provinces: Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. Action plans are being prepared for each of these jurisdictions to implement Piping Plover recovery actions. Environment Canada has prepared an action plan for Piping Plovers in Saskatchewan in cooperation with Saskatchewan Environment and this plan is expected to be posted shortly. Manitoba’s action plan is currently in preparation by Environment Canada in association with Manitoba Conservation. Ontario’s action plan is being prepared by Environment Canada in cooperation with the provincial government and other partners.
Alberta Agriculture and Food. 2007. Agriculture Statistics Factsheet. Alberta Agriculture and Food, Economic and Competitive Division.
Alberta Finance. 2007. Alberta Facts Brochure 2007. Alberta Government, Finance.
Alberta Government. 2007. Tourism statistics. Alberta Government
Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Team. 2005. Implementation of the Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Plan, 2002–2004: final program report. Alberta Sustainable Resource Development, Fish and Wildlife Division, Alberta Species at Risk Report No. 99. Edmonton, Alberta. 14 pp. plus an appendix.
Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Team. 2006. Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Plan, 2005–2010. Alberta Sustainable Resource Development, Fish and Wildlife Division, Alberta Species at Risk Recovery Plan No. 10. Edmonton, Alberta. 27 pp.
Environment Canada. 2006. Recovery Strategy for the Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus circumcinctus) in Canada. Species at Risk Act Recovery Strategy Series. Environment Canada, Ottawa. 30 pp. SARA Registry
Environment Canada. 2007. Addendum to the Final Recovery Strategy for the Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus circumcinctus) in Canada RE: Identification of Critical Habitat, Species at Risk Act Recovery Strategy Series. Environment Canada, Ottawa. 12 pp.
Federal–Provincial–Territorial Task Force. 1999. The importance of nature to Canadians: survey highlights. Environment Canada, Ottawa. 46 pp. plus appendices.
Larson, M.A., M.R. Ryan and R.K. Murphy. 2002. Population viability of Piping Plovers: effects of predator exclusion. Journal of Wildlife Management 66: 361–371.
Statistics Canada. 2007. Gross domestic product, expenditure–based, by province and territory. Statistics Canada [online]
Swinnerton, G.S. 1993. The Alberta park system. Policy and planning. Pages 111–136 in P. Dearden and R. Rollins (eds.) Parks and protected areas in Canada. Oxford University Press, Toronto. 336 pp.
Table of Contents
- Alberta Species at Risk Recovery Plan No. 10
- EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
- 1.0 INTRODUCTION
- 1.1 Provincial and Federal Status
- 1.2 Recovery Team
- 2.0 SPECIES BIOLOGY
- 2.1 Breeding Biology
- 2.2 Habitat
- 2.3 Population Size, Distribution and Trends in Alberta
- 3.0 THREATS AND LIMITING FACTORS
- 3.1 Predation
- 3.2 Livestock Grazing
- 3.3 Human Recreation/Disturbance
- 3.4 Vegetation Encroachment
- 3.5 Industrial Development
- 3.6 Water Management Activities
- 3.7 Other Factors
- 4.0 CRITICAL HABITAT
- 4.1 Identification
- 4.2 Destruction of Critical Habitat
- 4.3 Effective Protection of Critical Habitat
- 5.0 RESEARCH NEEDS
- 6.0 RECENT RECOVERY AND CONSERVATION EFFORTS
- 7.0 RECOVERY STRATEGY
- 7.1 Biological and Technical Feasibility of Recovery
- 7.2 Guiding Principles
- 7.3 Recovery Goal
- 7.4 Recovery Objectives
- 7.5 Strategies for Recovery
- 8.0 ACTION PLAN
- 8.1 Habitat Management and Protection
- 8.2 Productivity Enhancement
- 8.3 Information and Outreach
- 8.4 Population Monitoring and Research
- 8.5 Plan Management and Administration
- 8.6 Resource Acquisition
- 9.0 IMPLEMENTATION SCHEDULE AND COSTS
- 10.0 SOCIO–ECONOMIC CONSIDERATIONS
- 11.0 PLAN REVIEW AND AMENDMENT
- 12.0 REFERENCES
- 13.0 APPENDICES
Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Plan, 2005–2010
The Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Team
David R. C. Prescott (Team Leader), Alberta Fish and Wildlife Division
Michael Barr, Ducks Unlimited Canada / Alberta North American
Waterfowl Management Plan
Lance C. Engley, Alberta Conservation Association
J. Paul Goossen, Canadian Wildlife Service
Gerald A. Haekel, Alberta Public Lands and Forest Division
D. Edward Hofman, Alberta Fish and Wildlife Division
B. Craig Horner, Alberta Beef Producers
Dug Major, Special Areas Board
Dave Moore, Alberta Fish and Wildlife Division
Tara Worobetz, Nature Conservancy of Canada
Publication No.: I/239
ISBN: 0–7785–4536–9 (Printed Edition)
ISBN: 0–7785–4537–7 (On–line Edition)
ISSN: 1702–4897 (Printed Edition)
ISSN: 1702–4900 (On–line Edition)
Cover photos: D. Prescott (left), G. Court (middle), D. Sturgess (right)
For copies of this report, contact:
Information Centre – Publications
Alberta Sustainable Resource Development
Main Floor, Great West Life Building
9920 – 108 Street
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T5K 2M4
Telephone: (780) 422–2079
This publication may be cited as:
Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Team. 2006. Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Plan, 2005–2010. Alberta Sustainable Resource Development, Fish and Wildlife Division, Alberta Species at Risk Recovery Plan No. 10. Edmonton, AB. 27 pp.
Albertans are fortunate to share their province with a diverse variety of wild species. Populations of most species of plants and animals are healthy and secure. However, a small number of species are either naturally rare or are now imperilled because of human activities. Recovery plans establish a basis for cooperation among government and stakeholders to ensure these species and populations are restored or maintained for future generations.
Alberta’s commitment to the Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk and to the National Framework for the Conservation of Species at Risk, combined with requirements established under Alberta’s Wildlife Act and the federal Species at Risk Act, has resulted in the development of a provincial recovery program. The overall goal of the recovery program is to restore species identified as Threatened or Endangered to viable, naturally self–sustaining populations within Alberta.
Alberta species at risk recovery plans are prepared under the supervision of the Fish and Wildlife Division, Alberta Sustainable Resource Development. These recovery plans are prepared by recovery teams composed of a variety of stakeholders including conservation organizations, industry, landowners, resource users, universities, government agencies and others. Membership is by invitation from the Director of Wildlife Management, and includes representation from the diversity of interests unique to each species and circumstance. Conservation and management of these species continues during preparation of the recovery plan.
Recovery plans include three main sections: background information that highlights the species’ biology, population trends and threats; a recovery section that outlines goals, objectives, and strategies to address the threats; and an action plan that profiles priority actions required to maintain or restore the Threatened or Endangered species.
These plans are provided by the recovery team as advice to the Minister of Sustainable Resource Development (the Minister; the Department) and to all Albertans. The Department, other provincial departments, as appropriate, and Alberta’s Endangered Species Conservation Committee review draft recovery plans, and provide recommendations to the Minister. In addition, an opportunity for review by the public is provided.
Approved plans are a summary of the Department’s commitment to work with involved stakeholders to coordinate and implement conservation actions necessary to restore or maintain these species. Recovery plans are “living” documents and are revised as conditions change or circumstances warrant. Implementation of each recovery plan is subject to the availability of resources, from within and from outside government.
The Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Plan 2005–2010was reviewed by the Endangered Species Conservation Committee in October 2005. The committee subsequently recommended to the Minister that the plan be approved as written, and implemented. In early 2006, the Minister approved the recovery plan and directed the Department to implement the plan to guide the continued recovery program for piping plovers in Alberta.
The members of the Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Team thank their respective organizations for providing in–kind support for the preparation of this plan. We also thank two former team members, who had substantive input into the management of plovers in Alberta over the past few years, and whose ideas have helped shape the current plan: Tom Sadler (Ducks Unlimited Canada), and Laurel Murphy (Nature Conservancy of Canada). Dan Sturgess and Roy Schmelzeisen (Alberta Conservation Association) were instrumental in the implementation and success of the inaugural recovery plan, and provided valuable input into development of the new plan. We also thank Jake Bureyko (Alberta Public Lands and Forests Division) for providing information on ownership of “critical habitat” areas, and Kelley Kissner (Alberta Fish and Wildlife Division) for assembling much of the background information contained in this document.
Funding from the Species at Risk Program of Alberta Sustainable Resource Development supported the preparation of the Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Plan, 2005–2010.
The piping plover (Charadrius melodus) is a small shorebird that breeds on sand or gravel beaches on the Atlantic coast, Great Lakes and Great Plains. Birds spend the winter along the southeastern Atlantic seaboard and the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, including some Caribbean islands. Less than 6000 individuals occur within the North American range, with approximately one–third of these breeding in Canada. The species’ range and population size has declined in recent decades, and the piping plover is listed as an Endangered species in most parts of its range, including in Canada under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). Reasons for the population decline include increasing levels of predation, and disturbance or habitat deterioration due to agricultural, industrial and recreational use of shorelines.
In Alberta, piping plovers have been reported from at least 85 lakes in the southern half of the province, with breeding being confirmed on 51 lakes. The distribution of populations within the species’ range varies annually, and is determined by local water conditions. In any given year, the species occurs on about 20 lakes in the province. During the past five years, the provincial population has numbered around 150 individuals, with the majority occurring in the aspen parkland and northeast boreal regions.
In February 2000, the piping plover was listed as Endangered in Alberta, because of low population size (<250), threats to habitat, and an inability of existing management to increase population levels. Shortly thereafter, the Minister of Sustainable Resource Development initiated recovery actions with the issuance of an Initial Action Statement, and the establishment of a multi–stakeholder recovery team that would advise the Minister on all matters relating to piping plover conservation in the province. This team produced the Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Plan, 2002–2004, which aimed to recover piping plover populations in Alberta through the protection of nests and the conservation of habitat through cooperative initiatives with land users. Implementation of that recovery plan is now complete. Management efforts resulted in a reduction in human impacts on plover habitat, and yielded breeding productivity that met or exceeded the stated target of 1.25 chicks/pair/year. The Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Plan, 2005–2010 represents a continuation of efforts to recover and conserve piping plovers in Alberta.
This recovery plan is guided by the following principles: (1) the recovery of piping plovers in Alberta is both achievable and desirable; (2) a loss of habitat and individuals is unacceptable; (3) a cooperative approach with landowners, industry and other agencies is essential; (4) management actions will employ tools resulting in the most immediate benefit to piping plovers and will be based on the best information available; (5) landowners and leaseholders will not be unduly affected by the costs associated with recovery measures; (6) activities will be restricted to a small number of effective and achievable actions; (7) recovery actions will embrace an ecosystem (holistic) approach to management; (8) predator management activities will be accomplished through passive means; and (9) the recovery process will be guided by the concept of adaptive management.
The recovery goal for Alberta is to achieve a well–distributed, long–term average population of 300 individual piping plovers within their historical range in the province. During implementation of the Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Plan, 2005–2010, the objectives are:
- To minimize anthropogenic impacts on the quantity and quality of piping plover habitat;
- To employ all management techniques possible to achieve a median fledging rate of greater than 1.25 chicks/pair/year in the province;
- To increase public awareness of piping plovers and their management in Alberta; and
- To monitor the progress of past and current management efforts in the province.
The goal and objectives of the recovery plan will be achieved by the implementation of six distinct strategies (habitat management and protection, productivity enhancement, information and outreach, population monitoring and research, plan management and administration, and resource acquisition), which will be pursued concurrently over the five–year period. A series of specific actions in each of these strategic areas is detailed, along with anticipated costs and lead agencies.
Management will occur in all areas of the province where plovers occur, but will be especially focused on areas designated under the federal Species at Risk Act as being “critical habitat” for the recovery of this endangered species. In Alberta, proposed critical habitat areas include the crown–owned shorelines of 43 quarter sections of land on 13 lakes (Akasu, Baxter, Birch, “Chain Lake #4”, Dowling, Handhills, Killarney, Little Fish, Muriel, “Piper”, Red Deer, Sunken and “West” Reflex). These areas are proposed as critical habitat based on their frequency and magnitude of use by piping plovers over the past 15 years, and on their importance in achieving the provincial recovery goal. Two additional lakes (“Rider” Lake and Rockeling Bay), meet the criteria for designation at the basin level, but there is insufficient information to propose specific quarter sections of shoreline as critical habitat at this time.
The overall cost of the actions detailed in the recovery plan is $897,000 over five years, including both cash and essential “in–kind” support. A variety of agencies will be invited to participate in the funding and implementation of recovery initiatives.
In February 2000, the Minister of Sustainable Resource Development approved the up–listing of the piping plover from Threatened to Endangered in Schedule 6 of the Wildlife Regulation under Alberta’s Wildlife Act, based on the recommendation from the Endangered Species Conservation Committee (ESCC). The status revision was based on Alberta’s very small population (less than 250), persistent threats to habitat, and an inability of recent management actions to increase population levels. The Minister’s Initial Action Statement specified that a recovery plan would be prepared within 24 months, that those organizations with a stake in piping plover issues should be invited to participate in recovery planning, and that sufficient new resources should be made available to support essential conservation actions. Furthermore, the action statement advised that government land–use management systems should be strengthened on crown land to prevent the loss of nests, and that management should ensure the protection of nests (and associated habitats) through direct contact with landowner/disposition holders to facilitate voluntary conservation and/or the negotiation of cooperative management strategies. In 2002, the Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Plan, 2002–2004 (Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Team 2002) was developed to embrace the directives of the Initial Action Statement. Implementation of recovery actions outlined in that plan has helped to reduce human impacts on plover habitat and has allowed productivity goals outlined in the plan to be met or exceeded (Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Team 2005). The Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Plan, 2005–2010 represents a continuation and refinement of recovery and conservation efforts for piping plovers in Alberta.
Nationally, the piping plover was listed as Endangered in 2001 due to a small number of breeding pairs in Canada, decreasing population sizes and habitat quality, and low reproductive success (COSEWIC 2005). The species is now listed under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). In 2002, the National Recovery Plan for the Piping Plover was published (Goossen et al. 2002) and a National Recovery Strategy for the Piping Plover is nearing completion (Martens and Goossen, in prep). The Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Plan, 2005–2010 is intended to be compliant with SARA and to be compatible with recovery and conservation initiatives outlined in the National Recovery Plan and the National Recovery Strategy.
The Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Team was initiated by the Minister of Sustainable Resource Development, and receives operational guidance and approval from the Director of Wildlife Management. The team’s primary responsibility is to facilitate the conservation and recovery of piping plovers in Alberta, and to provide expert advice to the Minister on the management of this endangered species. The team is also responsible for writing, updating and guiding the implementation of the recovery plan, and for providing input to the Prairie Piping Plover Recovery Team on the management of piping plovers in Alberta. The team does not implement recovery actions directly, although team members and their associated organizations will participate in the recovery initiatives. Because of the multi–stakeholder nature of recovery issues, team membership will remain dynamic and strive for the best representation of affected parties. The team will encourage and facilitate the involvement of all interested parties in the recovery of piping plovers in Alberta, whenever possible, and will report annually on the progress of the recovery program.
The piping plover (Charadrius melodus) is a small, thrush–sized shorebird characterized by its unique dry–sand colouration, high pitched ‘piping’ call, and habit of breeding on open sand or gravel beaches (Goossen et al. 2002). Three distinct breeding populations are recognized: the Atlantic coast (C. m. melodus), Great Lakes, and Great Plains (C. m. circumcinctus) populations. Birds breeding on the Atlantic coast tend to winter in coastal areas of the southeastern United States (Virginia to Florida), whereas the two inland–breeding populations generally winter from Florida to northern Mexico (Haig 1992). Band returns indicate that many Alberta birds winter near the Texas/Mexico border (Prescott and Engley, in prep). The continental population is fewer than 6000 individuals, with approximately one–third of these breeding in Canada (Plissner and Haig 1997; Ferland and Haig 2002). The population size and range of piping plovers have contracted in North America over the past few decades. The species has disappeared as a breeding bird from Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, and populations have dropped to extremely low levels in Ontario and Iowa (Haig 1992, Goossen et al. 2002).
In Alberta, piping plovers arrive on their breeding grounds in late April (Pinel et al. 1991, Heckbert 1994, Heckbert and Cantelon 1996). Males establish a territory and attract a mate with a combination of aerial and ground displays. Clutches usually contain four eggs (Whyte 1985, Haig 1992). The latest clutch initiation for Alberta is recorded as 6 to 10 July (Alberta Fish and Wildlife Division 1991), but few nests are initiated after mid–June (Prescott and Engley, in prep.). Incubation of eggs is shared by both sexes and lasts 26 to 28 days (Haig 1992). Young leave the nest within several hours of hatching (Haig 1992), and are capable of sustained flight between 18 and 25 days of age (Cairns 1982, Whyte 1985, Prindiville Gaines and Ryan 1988, Murphy et al. 1999). Most birds leave the Canadian prairies for wintering grounds by the first week in August (Wershler and Wallis 1987).
Reproductive success of piping plovers is highly variable among lakes and across years (Goossen 1994, Prescott and Engley, in prep.). Females are capable of breeding at one year of age and will renest if the eggs are destroyed early in the season, but have only been known to produce one brood per year (Haig and Oring 1988a, Bottitta et al. 1997). Estimates of fledging success in Alberta calculated between 2001 and 2004 range from 1.22 to 1.67 young/pair (Prescott and Engley, in prep., Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Team 2005). These values are considerably higher than an earlier estimate of 0.50 young/pair in the province (Richardson 1999). Increased fledging success is largely due to efforts to reduce predation on nests (predator exclosures) and to habitat stewardship by landholders and other stakeholders (Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Team 2005). Various models have estimated that minimum productivity levels of between 1.13–1.7 young/pair are required to maintain stable populations on the Great Plains (Ryan et al. 1993, Plissner and Haig 2000). The most recent model suggests a median productivity of 1.25 chicks/pair/year is required (Larson et al. 2000).
Estimates of fidelity to breeding areas on the Great Plains range between 42% and 71% for adults, but are typically less than 14% for juveniles (Whyte 1985, Haig and Oring 1988a,b, Goossen 1989, Root et al. 1992). Haig and Oring (1988b) demonstrated that fidelity is highest in areas with large amounts of suitable breeding habitat. Birds have been known to disperse up to 1500 km from one breeding season to the next (Haig and Oring 1988b). Over 90% of re–encounters with Alberta–banded birds during the breeding season occur within this province (Prescott and Engley, in prep.). This indicates that management initiatives and funds directed at the Alberta plover population directly benefit local birds.
In Alberta, the piping plover generally inhabits shorelines and islands of large alkaline lakes (Prescott 1997). Nesting typically occurs on gravel substrates in areas with relatively wide, sparsely vegetated beaches. The availability of suitable nesting substrates for piping plovers depends on variations in water level on nesting lakes. Periodic high–water events may restrict beach width and temporarily limit the availability of nesting habitat, but eventual recession of water levels exposes gravel deposits which provide unvegetated breeding habitat for several years thereafter. Such variations in water levels are typical in prairie ecosystems. Habitat availability for plovers, and the presence and size of local breeding populations, can therefore differ greatly between years (Prescott 2001a).
Piping plovers have a widespread but sparse distribution in Alberta. Four major surveys have been conducted in the province. In 1986, 288 plovers were located on 28 water bodies (Wershler and Wallis 1987). In 1991, the first International Piping Plover Census was conducted across North America. In Alberta, 48 water bodies were surveyed and 180 plovers were recorded (Hofman 1994). The next International Census in 1996 included 103 lakes and recorded 276 plovers at 31 sites (Bjorge 1997). During the 2001 International Census, a total of 126 lakes were surveyed and 150 birds were recorded on 23 lakes (Prescott 2001b). Populations on many of the ‘traditional’ key lakes were much lower than in previous years, despite reasonable habitat conditions (Prescott 2001b). Overall, the provincial population in 2001 had declined by 47.9% since 1986, and 45.7% since 1996. The magnitude of these declines is undoubtedly underestimated, as survey effort and the skill level of observers has increased with each survey (Prescott 2001b).
Annual surveys of most lakes known to have suitable habitat have been conducted since 2002. In the first year, 44 lakes were surveyed and 141 plovers were recorded on 19 lakes (Engley and Schmelzeisen 2002). In 2003, 33 lakes were surveyed with 152 plovers occurring on 23 lakes (Schmelzeisen and Engley 2003). In 2004, 38 lakes were surveyed with 134 plovers recorded on 21 lakes (Engley et al. 2004). These data suggest that the provincial population has been relatively stable since the last International Census.
To date, piping plovers have occurred on at least 85 lakes in the province (Appendix 1 and 2). Although new waterbodies with plovers continue to be found, it is assumed that most basins suitable for plovers have been identified. To date, breeding has been confirmed on 51 of these lakes (Appendix 1). However, changing habitat conditions mean that not all lakes will support breeding pairs in any given year. The Alberta piping plover population has tended to shift northwards in the past decade as basins in the grassland region of Alberta have been impacted by drought (Prescott and Engley, in prep.). Since the early 2000s, most piping plovers in Alberta have been found on saline lakes across the Central Parkland Subregion, and in the adjacent parts of the Dry Mixedwood Subregion to the north, and the Northern Fescue Subregion to the south (Prescott 2001b, Engley and Schmelzeisen 2002, Schmelzeisen and Engley 2003, Engley et al. 2004; see Achuff 1994 for a description of Natural Regions and Subregions in Alberta).
Limiting factors are considered to be those conditions that degrade habitat suitability, reduce survivorship of young or adults, or decrease nesting success of adults once they are established at a site (Prescott 1997). From a management standpoint, an understanding of these factors is important because they identify mechanisms through which plover recovery may be achieved. The limiting factors discussed below have been identified as affecting populations of piping plovers in Alberta (Wershler 1992, Prescott 1997, Goossen et al. 2002, Westworth et al. 2004). Management actions that have been used to mitigate some of these factors are also listed. However, not all actions may be applicable or practical for piping plover recovery in Alberta.
Predation on eggs and chicks is the greatest source of reproductive failure in piping plovers on the Great Plains. Richardson (1999) found that 64% of nesting attempts in Alberta failed because of depredation. Recent analysis suggests that since 1994, the probability that an unprotected plover nest in Alberta will hatch is only 29% (Engley and Prescott 2004, Prescott and Engley, in prep.). This value is apparently lower that anywhere else in North America. Instances of predation are rarely observed, and the types of predators are poorly documented (Haig et al. 1988). American crows (Heckbert 1994) and gulls (Heckbert and Cantelon 1996) are most often implicated in Alberta. However, black–billed magpies, common grackles, blackbirds, American ravens, great horned owls, northern harriers, merlins, ground squirrels, striped skunks, mink, red fox, coyotes, raccoons, weasels, white–tailed deer and domestic dogs have also been observed, or suspected of, preying upon eggs or young in central North America (Whyte 1985, Espie et al. 1992, Murphy et al. 2003, Ivan and Murphy 2005).
Although the loss of eggs and chicks to predators is a natural process, there is evidence that urbanization and recreational use of beaches have increased populations of gulls, foxes and skunks in some areas (Haig 1985). Little is known about adult mortality. However, mink, red fox, peregrine falcons, red–tailed hawks and great horned owls and merlins are known to be responsible for adult predation (Haig 1992, Michaud and Prescott 1999, Murphy et al. 2003). Management tools available to decrease predation of nests and/or adults include predator removal, destruction of stick nests during the nonbreeding season, erection of electric fencing and the use of predator exclosures around nests (Schmelzeisen et al. 2004). A predator exclosure project initiated in Alberta in 1996 showed that fledging success rates of exclosed nests were more than double those of unprotected nests (Richardson 1999). More recent efforts to reduce predation on nests have been at least as successful. Nest success during implementation of the inaugural recovery plan (2002–2004) ranged from 87–98% for exclosed nests, and 43–55% for unexclosed nests (Engley and Schmelzeisen 2002, Engley et al. 2004, Schmelzeisen and Engley 2003).
Livestock can disturb nesting substrates, interfere with normal nesting behaviour by established birds, and directly destroy eggs. In addition, young plovers may fall into deep hoof prints and be unable to escape (Wershler and Wallis 1987, Hofman 1992). Furthermore, the construction of dugouts adjacent to shorelines can foul nesting beaches, change basin hydrology, and accelerate vegetative encroachment (Heckbert 1994). Studies have shown nesting success to be lower on territories with evidence of cattle activity (Prindiville Gaines and Ryan 1988, Hofman 1992). It should be noted, however, that grazing reduces vegetation on shorelines. Controlled grazing has recently been used to slow the rate of vegetation encroachment and thereby improve habitat quality on Little Fish Lake in southern Alberta (Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Team 2005).
During the 2001 International Piping Plover Census, grazing was assessed to be a potential threat on 66.3% of all lakes surveyed and on 69.6% of lakes containing plovers in Alberta (Prescott 2001b). These numbers are relatively consistent with those reported in 1991 (66.7%; recalculated from Hofman 1994) and 1996 (82.6%; Bjorge and Murphy 2004). Despite the potentially negative effects of livestock on plover populations, impacts can be reduced by effective and inexpensive measures such as fencing, establishment of new water sources, and deferred grazing practices. Increased stakeholder awareness and habitat stewardship conducted since 2002 have greatly reduced the threat of grazing on the Alberta population (Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Team 2005).
Motorized off–road travel (all–terrain vehicles), or non–motorized, recreational use of beaches can affect plovers by directly destroying nests and eggs, or by interfering with territory establishment and other reproductive behaviours (Cairns 1982, Flemming et al. 1988, Haig et al. 1988). During the 2001 International Piping Plover Census, motorized vehicles were a threat on 18.6% of all lakes surveyed in Alberta, and on 34.8% of lakes supporting piping plovers. Similarly, recreational/residential use was determined to have an impact on 12.8% of lakes surveyed and 26.1% of lakes supporting plovers (Prescott 2001b). Since the late 1990s, the two lakes with the greatest populations of piping plover in Alberta also have cottage developments (“West” Reflex, and especially Muriel Lake). Management activities aimed at reducing human disturbance typically include the erection of cautionary and interpretive signage, and contact with recreation and user groups to increase awareness of plovers and their conservation requirements. However, restrictions on shoreline use are occasionally necessary, such as at Muriel Lake where a seasonal wildlife sanctuary was created in 2003 to prevent disturbance to plovers (Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Team 2005).
The creation of suitable nesting habitat for piping plovers requires alternating periods of high and low water to remove vegetation and expose gravel substrates on nesting beaches (Prescott 1997). As water recedes, vegetation slowly invades the substrates until habitat becomes unsuitable for nesting, unless the beach is rejuvenated by high–water events. Although such encroachment is a natural occurrence, anthropogenic influences (i.e., grazing and water management) can affect the rate and extent of plant growth. Of particular concern is the stabilization of water bodies to improve recreational opportunities for humans. Such projects greatly diminish the probability of high–water events, and thereby reduce long–term habitat suitability for plovers. One example of this in Alberta is at Buffalo Lake, where stabilization in the 1990s has resulted in the loss of habitat quality at the adjacent “Rider” Lake and Rockeling Bay, which supported significant plover populations in the 1980s and early 1990s (Goossen et al. 2000). Stabilization projects have been also proposed for other plover lakes in Alberta (e.g., Little Fish Lake [Goossen 1994]).
Management tools used to minimize vegetation encroachment include burning, herbicide use, mechanical ground disturbance and fall/winter grazing. Burning was attempted at Rockeling Bay in the mid–1990s with limited success. Mechanical clearing of vegetation has been recently employed at Red Deer Lake, and fall grazing is currently being used to manage habitat at Little Fish Lake (Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Team 2005). These techniques have modestly improved habitat for plovers, but cannot fully reverse the normal progression of vegetation encroachment on shorelines.
Industrial activities (primarily oil and gas exploration and extraction) around plover breeding sites could pollute water and shorelines, deplete water levels or interfere with ground water dynamics, and eliminate surrounding vegetation (Wershler 1992). The direct impacts of oil and gas development on plover habitat are not well documented, but activity has been reported in close proximity to several breeding sites in Alberta. During the 2001 International Piping Plover Census, industrial activity, including petroleum exploration/extraction, was assessed to be a potential threat on 10.5% of all lakes surveyed and on 13.0% of lakes supporting plovers in Alberta (Prescott 2001b). The primary means of reducing the effects of industrial development include the placement of protective notations (PNTs) on public lands to alert developers to the presence of an endangered species, and the application of timing and setback restrictions (Alberta Fish and Wildlife Division 2001) that minimize disturbance to breeding birds and their habitat. To date, protective notations have been placed on the beds and shores of 12 waterbodies in Alberta. In addition, the referral system has proven successful in obtaining support from industrial operators to limit impacts of development on plover habitat (Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Team 2005).
Projects that stabilize water levels to enhance recreational opportunities can remove the natural fluctuation of water levels required to provide plover nesting habitat (see above). However, water levels on most large water empoundments are not static, and seasonal changes in water levels create suitable nesting substrates for piping plovers. Typically, water rises in the spring as snow melts, and then falls throughout the summer as irrigation and hydroelectric demands are met. If suitable habitat is exposed when plovers are establishing territories (early May), subsequent rising water can destroy nests and reduce or eliminate habitat necessary for brood rearing (Espie et al. 1992, Jung et al. 1998). In Alberta, water level fluctuations due to irrigation practices are known to have affected plovers breeding on Keho Lake (Wershler 1992). Fortunately, the use of reservoirs by piping plovers is quite low in this province (Prescott 2001b), but high nest losses often occur on reservoirs in Saskatchewan and in the United States (Goossen et al. 2002). In 2001, water management activities were identified as potential threats on 8.1% of Alberta lakes surveyed for the International Piping Plover Census and on 8.7% of lakes supporting plovers (Prescott 2001b).
A variety of other factors can affect piping plover populations. Many of these factors, however, are either unpredictable or impossible to control or mitigate. For example, severe storms may cause nest losses and reduce fledging success (Murphy et al. 1995, Michaud and Prescott 1999). In addition, because piping plovers spend only 30% of their annual cycle on the breeding grounds, most adult bird mortalities likely occur in wintering areas or during migration (Root et al. 1992). Events occurring outside of Alberta therefore have the potential for major impacts on local piping plover populations.
The cumulative impact of several independent limiting factors may pose an additional threat to piping plover populations. Thus, even when the independent negative effect of any one factor is assumed to be small, it may still pose a significant threat to the population in combination with other factors. The cumulative impact of several factors may greatly reduce the quality of habitat for piping plovers. In reference to the Alberta population, Prescott (2004) suggests “There is probably sufficient structural habitat to maintain the population, but the quality of this habitat is slowly deteriorating due to increasing predators and a variety of anthropogenic disturbances”.
Critical habitat is defined as “the habitat that is necessary for the survival or recovery of a listed wildlife species” (Species at Risk Act, Section 2). The Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Team recognizes that all habitat for plovers in Alberta is worthy of management and protection. However, the team also recognizes that a particular subset of sites in the province is particularly important for protection, due to the frequency and magnitude of use by plovers, and its contribution towards the achievement of provincial management objectives. Based on minimum criteria outlined in the National Recovery Strategy for the Piping Plover (Martens and Goossen, in prep.) the following criteria will be used to define lakes that contain critical habitat in Alberta:
- A floating window of 15 years (starting in 1991) to determine site status;
- A minimum of five years of survey data within the 15–year window;
- Average number of plovers over all surveys on a lake being ≥4 adults.
Based on survey information collected from 1991 through 2004, 15 lakes meet these criteria in Alberta: Akasu, Baxter, Birch, “Chain Lake #4”, Dowling, Handhills, Killarney, Little Fish, Muriel, “Piper”, Red Deer, “Rider”, Rockeling Bay, Sunken and “West” Reflex (see Appendix 1 and 2 for locations). Based on the maximum population sizes recorded on these lakes (Appendix 2), the 15 waterbodies proposed for designation have the collective potential to support 464 piping plovers, which is 56% higher than the provincial recovery goal of 300 adults (see Section 7.3).
Because of the specific habitat requirements of plovers (see Section 2.2), not all of the shoreline on these identified lakes will be considered to be critical for the recovery of the species. The following criteria will be used to identify specific segments of critical habitat on the 15 lakes:
- Use of shoreline by ≥2 pairs of birds (≥4 adults or ≥2 nests) in ≥2 breeding seasons over a 15–year window; or
- Any documented use (probable or confirmed breeding) in ≥4 seasons during the 15–year period.
In all cases, the particular segment of critical habitat on identified lakes will be defined on a quarter–section level, and will extend from the waterline to the normal high water mark.
Based on 1991–2004 survey data, 43 quarter sections on 13 of the 15 critical lakes meet these criteria (Appendix 3). No specific quarter sections met the criteria on either “Rider” Lake or Rockeling Bay. Piping plovers have been virtually absent from these two basins since the mid–1990s, and earlier surveys did not report the specific locations of occupied shorelines. Information required to delineate specific segments of critical habitat will become available if or when populations return to these lakes. However, it should be noted that the stabilization of adjacent Buffalo Lake may have altered the hydrology of these areas such that their former suitability for breeding piping plovers may be reduced.
Analysis of land titles data shows that the shoreline of all 43 identified quarter sections is classified as bed and shore, and is therefore under ownership of the provincial crown (Appendix 3). Many of these quarter sections (20/43) are adjacent to uplands that are wholly or partially under private ownership (Appendix 3). To maintain the anonymity of cooperating and/or adjacent landowners, and to minimize potential human disturbance to these important plover breeding sites, the critical habitat segments are not specifically identified in this report. Rather, designated quarter sections on each lake are generically identified by a letter code (see Appendix 3).
Because plover habitat is dynamic, populations shift between lakes and between sites within lakes on an annual basis. For this reason, the list of lakes and sites within lakes that meet the criteria for listing as critical habitat will be reviewed every five years on a prairie–wide basis (Martens and Goossen, in prep.).
The Species at Risk Act stipulates that critical habitat for a listed species must be “effectively protected” against destruction. In the case of the piping plover, destruction is defined as “the direct, indirect, or cumulative loss of critical habitat structure or complete loss of function that temporarily or permanently prevents its use by the piping plover for its former function” (Martens and Goossen, in prep.). A number of activities could cause destruction of critical habitat. These activities include, but are not limited to, agricultural activities (tillage, unregulated use of shorelines by cattle), resource extraction (gravel mining, oil and gas development), civil infrastructure (construction of roads, bridges or marinas), radical alterations to normal hydrological regimes (wetland drainage, construction of dams), pollution of water or shorelines, or excessive recreational use (all–terrain vehicles)(Martens and Goossen, in prep.).
Most piping plover habitat in Alberta occurs in relatively unpopulated locations, and is of limited value for anthropogenic purposes. Therefore, the destruction of piping plover habitat would be a rare event in this province, and management activities will normally be focused on maintaining a high quality of habitat rather than preventing destruction. Nevertheless, the potential destruction of any plover habitat, whether it is designated as critical or not, must be vigorously opposed if recovery objectives are to be achieved. The Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Team believes that where due diligence fails, the intentional (as opposed to accidental) destruction of critical habitat that causes a loss of suitability for piping plovers for at least one breeding season should be addressed through compliance measures.
Once critical habitat for piping plovers has been designated in an approved strategy or action plan under SARA, it is the province’s responsibility to “effectively protect” it from destruction. There are three methods of critical habitat protection on non–federal land (no plover habitat is known to occur on federal lands in Alberta): (1) existing provincial laws, (2) stewardship agreements drafted according to a national standard, and (3) order from (federal) cabinet (Martens and Goossen, in prep.). Because all critical habitat for piping plovers in Alberta occurs on crown–owned bed and shore, effective protection of these areas is already afforded under Alberta’s Public Lands Act. Of particular importance is Section 54(1)(e), which states that:
“No person shall cause, permit or suffer the disturbance of any public land in any manner that results or is likely to result in injury to the bed and shore of any river, stream, watercourse, lake or other body of water or land in the vicinity of that public land”.
Alberta’s Wildlife Act also offers protection for piping plover habitat through prohibitions on the destruction of nests, and through the establishment of the Muriel Lake Waterbird Sanctuary. This seasonal sanctuary, which prohibits human access between 1 May and 15 August, was established in 2002 to protect key piping plover nesting areas on the lake that are now considered to be critical habitat.
In practice, the protection of shorelines against damage or destruction must take into account the tenure and use of adjacent uplands. The majority of uplands (23/43) in the quarter sections designated as critical habitat for piping plovers are crown land, but some of these lands are under grazing lease agreements or other dispositions. Furthermore, some uplands are entirely (8/43) or partly (12/43) under private ownership (Appendix 3). Private land users generally have right of access to adjacent shoreline habitat under the Public Lands Act. Accordingly, maintaining high quality habitat for piping plovers will require stewardship by landowners and lease holders. Cooperative management agreements have been very successful in Alberta over the past several years (Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Team 2005), and will continue to be used in all areas (critical or otherwise) where plovers occur in the province.
In addition to the Wildlife Act, Public Lands Act and cooperative stewardship with landowners and leasees, there are other policies, procedures and management activities in Alberta that will minimize the likelihood that habitat for piping plovers will be destroyed or damaged in the province. These include the use of protective notations that alert industrial developers and other parties to the presence of piping plover habitat, established timing and setback guidelines for developments and other activities around plover habitat (Alberta Fish and Wildlife Division 2001), and information and extension activities directed toward beach users to minimize disturbance (e.g., brochures, cautionary and interpretive signage, presentations; see Section 6.0 and Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Team  for additional details).
The biology and ecology of piping plovers are relatively well understood, and research to further document general species biology is not required. Research efforts contributing to recovery and conservation of piping plovers in Alberta should focus on continuation of population and habitat monitoring to assess whether recovery goals are being met. This will include the development of a standardized system of ranking piping plover habitat quality and threats in order to prioritize and quantitatively assess the effectiveness of management activities. Research will also be directed towards identifying predators of piping plover nests, so that the design and deployment of nest exclosures and other productivity enhancement tools can be improved. Many activities undertaken during implementation of this plan will include some measure of data collection, analysis and interpretation, in order to consistently improve existing management techniques.
The Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Plan, 2002–2004 outlined recovery strategies and actions necessary for the recovery and conservation of piping plovers in Alberta. All recovery actions outlined in the plan were implemented (see Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Team 2005). Key initiatives included:
- Review and documentation of historical habitat use by piping plovers in the province on a lake and quarter–section basis
- Application to Alberta Public Lands and Forests Division and the Special Areas Management System for protective notations on 135 quarter sections of crown land where plovers are known to have occurred
- Involvement in numerous referrals concerning industrial development around plover breeding lakes
- Completion of management plans for plovers on 30 lakes in the province
- Personal contact with at least 74 landowners and 260 cottagers on 26 plover–inhabited lakes
- Completion of 15 habitat–improvement projects on 11 lakes. In total 16 lakes were included in habitat improvement or interpretive projects over three years
- Establishment of a seasonal sanctuary to prevent disturbance of plovers on Muriel Lake
- Widespread use of predator exclosures to more than double the hatching success of plover nests
- Completion of a review of predator management techniques applicable to plovers in Alberta
- Numerous presentations to technical and non–technical audiences on plovers and their management
- Preparation and distribution of a landowner information package
- Completion of breeding pair and brood surveys on between 33 and 44 lakes each year, including discovery of new populations on five Alberta lakes
- Banding of over 300 chicks, and compilation of re–encounters with birds on the breeding grounds and on wintering areas along the Gulf of Mexico
- Compilation of plover productivity data gathered since 1994. Analysis showed that the production target of 1.25 chicks/pair/year was exceeded during all three years of plan implementation
- Securement of $597,500 in cash funding and in–kind support from numerous individuals and agencies. This total slightly exceeded budgeted funding of $586,000.
Most importantly, these activities resulted in two of the three recovery goals outlined in the plan being met or exceeded. Specifically, these activities protected plover habitat quality and quantity from impacts of human activities, and resulted in fledging success rates exceeding 1.25 chicks/pair/year between 2002 and 2004. However, the main goal of the recovery program – the attainment of a well–distributed, long–term average population of 300 individual piping plovers within their Alberta range – has yet to be achieved. This goal is seen as a long–term target of the recovery program, and will require continued work to be realized, and ongoing management to be maintained (Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Team 2005).
Under the federal Species at Risk Act, species are considered to be recoverable if all of the following criteria apply (Anonymous 2005): (1) individuals capable of reproduction are available; (2) sufficient habitat is present to support the population, or such habitat could be made available through management or restoration; (3) threats to the species can be alleviated or mitigated; and (4) the necessary recovery techniques exist and are demonstrated to be effective.
The Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Team believes that all of the conditions necessary for recovery to be feasible are met. The plover population in Alberta appears to have sufficient habitat in which to breed, although it is possible that the quality of this habitat has deteriorated in recent decades due to increased predator populations, recreational use of shorelines, drought, and other threats (Prescott 2004). As a result, natural production is likely lower than is required to sustain the population. However, recent management efforts in Alberta have improved habitat quality in many areas, and have secured the long–term availability of high–quality habitat through the establishment of sanctuaries, the execution of cooperative stewardship agreements with landowners and leasees, and through education and extension activities. In addition, the protection of nests with predator exclosures has vastly improved nesting success to the point where productivity goals have been met or exceeded, and population recovery is theoretically probable (Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Team 2005). These successes have occurred with relatively modest amounts of funding, at levels that should be sustainable in the future. Increased awareness and support for recovery efforts for the piping plover in Alberta also prompts optimism about the probability of population recovery in Alberta.
It is important to acknowledge that there are a number of factors affecting recovery that are beyond the control of the Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Team or this recovery plan. For example, the piping plover’s migratory nature and international life cycle requirements mean that the policies and actions of numerous governments and industries will affect the success of recovery efforts in Alberta. The effects of drought on habitat availability, and predator densities also cannot be controlled. For these reasons, it is expected that plovers will require long–term management in the province to ensure that the recovery goal is met and that the Alberta population remains viable. Fortunately, emigration of plovers from Alberta is relatively low and thus, conservation efforts and funding directed at recovery and conservation of plovers in Alberta directly affect the Alberta population.
The recovery and management of piping plovers in Alberta will be guided by the following principles:
- Recovery of the piping plover is both possible and desirable
- The loss of habitat and individuals is unacceptable
- A cooperative approach with landowners, industry and other agencies is essential. This includes shared stewardship, compatible land use and local commitment to management initiatives
- Management actions will employ tools resulting in the most immediate benefit to piping plovers, and will be based on the best information available. However, implementation will not be delayed because of a lack of specific supporting information
- Landowners and leaseholders will not be unduly affected by the costs associated with maintaining or enhancing piping plover habitat, or other recovery measures
- Activities will be restricted to a small number of effective and achievable actions
- Recovery actions will embrace an ecosystem (holistic) approach to management
- Predator management activities will be accomplished through passive means (deterrence)
- The recovery process will be guided by the concept of adaptive management, whereby recovery actions are evaluated and are revisited, as necessary, to ultimately improve the outcome.
The Alberta recovery goal is to achieve a well–distributed, long–term average population of 300 individual piping plovers within their historical range in Alberta. This goal is consistent with the National Recovery Plan for the Piping Plover (Goossen et al. 2002), the National Recovery Strategy for the Piping Plover (Martens and Goossen in prep.), and the directives of the Minister’s Initial Conservation Action Statement.
The recovery goal will be achieved by meeting several objectives:
- To minimize anthropogenic impacts on the quantity and quality of piping plover habitat
- To employ all management techniques possible to achieve a median fledging rate of greater than 1.25 chicks/pair/year in the province
- To increase public awareness of piping plovers and their management in Alberta, and
- To monitor the progress of past and current management efforts in the province.
The goal and objectives of the Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Plan 2005–2010 will be achieved through the implementation of six distinct strategies, which will be pursued concurrently over the five–year period. Whenever possible, these strategies and their associated actions will be integrated with those of other species at risk recovery efforts in the province, and with management efforts for piping plovers in other jurisdictions in Canada and the United States. These strategies are:
Habitat Management and Protection – All actions related to assessing and improving the quality and security of breeding habitat for piping plovers in Alberta. Particular emphasis will be placed on the management/protection of sites that meet the criteria of “critical habitat” in Alberta (see Section 4.0). Existing legislation, tools, policies and processes that are applicable to the protection of habitat in Alberta will be used whenever possible.
Productivity Enhancement – All activities related to reducing depredation of piping plover eggs, chicks and adults. The prevention of nest loss will be the major activity under this strategy, because simple and measurably effective tools have been developed to counteract high rates of nest depredation in Alberta.
Information and Outreach – All actions related to providing information and extension to landowners/leaseholders, industrial interests, recovery partners, and the general public about the conservation and management of piping plovers in Alberta. The focus will be on preventing the degradation or loss of habitat, expanding awareness of conservation issues related to piping plovers, ensuring that stakeholders are informed of local recovery initiatives and results of these initiatives, and gaining support and participation in management activities.
Population Monitoring and Research – All activities relating to the monitoring of population size and distribution, breeding success, and habitat threats and condition for piping plovers in Alberta. These efforts are required in order that management can be effectively applied where and when it is most needed.
Plan Management and Administration – All activities related to the operation of the Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Team, and implementation of the Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Plan. A key element of this strategy is to build linkages with other provincial, national and international initiatives that will benefit piping plover conservation in Alberta.
Resource Acquisition – All actions related to securing funding and other resources needed to support management actions detailed in this plan.
The recovery actions outlined below form the basis of a five–year plan aimed at achieving the recovery goal for Alberta.
- Identify ownership (public or private) of all newly discovered plover sites on an annual basis. If land is publicly owned, an application for a protective notation will be submitted to Alberta Public Lands and Forests Division or the Special Areas Board. If land is privately owned, the landowner will be contacted regarding plovers and their management.
- Maintain the recovery team leader as the key contact in the industrial referral system for consultation regarding industrial activities that affect habitat of plover–inhabited lakes.
- Continually seek opportunities for, and negotiate cooperative agreements with landowners/leaseholders to mitigate threats to plover habitat.
- Implement habitat–improvement actions specified in cooperative agreements, with the lead organization to be determined on a case–by–case basis.
- Annually assess habitat quality, threats, and management opportunities on all plover–occupied lakes, with a focus on areas designated under the Species at Risk Act as being “critical habitat”.
- Annually assess habitat quality and threats on all areas where past management activities have been undertaken, to assess effectiveness of management activities.
- Annually implement the predator exclosure project on as many lakes as available personnel and funding will allow.
- Employ and expand, were possible, the use of specific predator deterrence measures recommended by Schmelzeisen et al. (2004) to increase plover productivity and survivorship.
- Produce and distribute an annual report on productivity enhancement activities to funders, stakeholders and other interested parties.
- Provide information on plover–related issues to technical and non–technical audiences through presentations, signage, and other media.
- Maintain annual contact with all landowners, cottagers, industry, and other landusers that have cooperated in piping plover management.
- Produce and distribute an annual newsletter for cooperators, funding partners, and other individuals and agencies.
- Conduct annual adult and brood surveys on a core of at least 25 lakes each year depending on water cycles and habitat availability. All lakes listed as “critical habitat” under the Species at Risk Act will be visited.
- Coordinate and participate in the 2006 International Piping Plover Census.
- Conduct an aerial inventory of piping plover habitat in Alberta in the spring of 2006 in order to guide efforts during the International Census. Aerial inventories should be conducted during other years when water conditions show substantial change.
- Develop an objective system of rating habitat quality and threats in order to determine priorities for management, and to monitor effectiveness of management actions already implemented.
- Identify, through remote digital imagery, specific predators of piping plover nests and young in order to improve management techniques used to enhance productivity.
- Continue with opportunistic banding, capture of banded adults, and compilation of observations of banded birds.
- Cooperate with any provincial, national, and international initiatives that will provide information to better manage piping plovers in Alberta.
- Convene the Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Team a minimum of once annually and circulate results of these meetings to interested persons.
- Monitor and assess the progress of recovery plan actions, and develop new recovery strategies and actions when needed.
- Liaise with the Prairie Piping Plover Recovery Team and other provincial, multi–provincial, or international conservation initiatives and municipal governments to ensure continuity and flow of information between agencies.
- Enter accumulated plover data into the Fisheries and Wildlife Management Information System (FWMIS) and other centralized databases following each field season.
- Prepare and distribute an annual report on recovery plan activities.
- Approach government, non–government, and industry partners to participate in or fund piping plover recovery initiatives.
- Hire and train seasonal staff to participate in annual field programs, and provide training/orientation to staff of cooperating agencies (government and non–government) when opportunities arise.
The following table provides a timeline and estimated costs (including direct and “in–kind”) for implementation of activities detailed in Section 8.0. It is anticipated that a variety of agencies will participate in the funding and implementation of these activities. Costs are not provided for activities that are part of the daily operations of the identified organizations (*).
|8.1||Habitat Management & Protection|
|2.||Liaison in industrial referral system||1||*||*||*||*||*||*|
|4.||Implement habitat improvement||1,2||50||50||50||50||50||250|
|5.||Monitor critical habitat||1,2||3||3||3||3||3||15|
|6.||Monitor managed habitat||1,2||3||3||3||3||3||15|
|1.||Predator exclosure project||2||40||40||40||40||40||200|
|2.||Predator deterrent measures||2||2||2||2||2||2||10|
|8.3||Information & Outreach|
|2.||Contact with cooperators||2||3||3||3||3||3||15|
|8.4||Population Monitoring & Research|
|4.||Habitat rating system||1,2||2||2|
|5.||Remote predator surveillance||1,2||1||5||*||*||*||6|
|7.||Cooperate with other initiatives||All||*||*||*||*||*||*|
|8.5||Plan Management & Administration|
|1.||Annual recovery team meeting||All||1||1||1||1||1||5|
|2.||Evaluate recovery actions||All||*||*||*||*||*||*|
|3.||Liaison with other plover initiatives||1||*||*||*||*||*||*|
1 Alberta Fish and Wildlife Division, 2 Alberta Conservation Association
It is a guiding principle of the Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Team that landowners and leaseholders should not be unduly affected by costs associated with implementation of the plan (see Section 7.2). However, potential economic costs affecting landholders and industrial developers may include occasional restrictions on land–use activities, or on timing of these activities. Restrictions on use or timing of shorelines for recreational activities could impact cottagers or tourists, but it is unlikely that complete restriction of beaches would be needed. A potential economic benefit for leaseholders and landowners is increased productivity of their lands (e.g., for grazing) following habitat management activities aimed at improving habitat for piping plovers. In addition, conservation and stewardship of lakeshore habitat for piping plovers will benefit a variety of other wildlife species and may increase biodiversity in these areas.
There is considerable public interest in piping plovers, making this an ideal species for increasing public awareness and support for the conservation of other at risk wildlife and wildlife habitats. Plovers are considered a priority species for birdwatchers (Goossen et al. 2002). Recreational viewing (birdwatching) has high social value and also has economic value in terms of its potential for ecotourism.
The life of this plan is five years. The Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Team will conduct an annual review of the plan to monitor the implementation of the plan and to determine the effectiveness of recovery actions. A report on the results of these reviews will be submitted annually to the Director of Wildlife Management. Recovery action plans are considered “living” documents and recovery actions can be amended during these reviews as new information becomes available, conditions change, or circumstances warrant. At the end of five years, the recovery team will meet again to determine whether any other amendments are required, prior to the plan being renewed for another five years. The team may determine that the existing recovery plan is suitable or is in need of revision.
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|Map #||Waterbody1||# Years|
|7||Blood Indian Reservoir||1||1||1||N||51.25||111.22|
|9||Bow River / Carseland Prov. Park||1||1||7||N||50.83||113.43|
|11||Chain “#1” (Pearl)||9||5||1–4||Y||51.77||112.10|
|12||Chain “#3” (Clear)||7||4||1–2||Y||51.79||112.13|
|55||“Neutral Hills A”||5||2||2–12||Y||52.06||110.93|
|56||“Neutral Hills B1”||4||2||2–4||Y||52.09||110.94|
|57||“Neutral Hills B2”||5||1||1||N||52.10||110.97|
|58||“Neutral Hills C1”||4||3||5–6||Y||52.13||110.93|
|59||“Neutral Hills C2”||3||1||3||N||52.13||110.97|
|74||St. Mary Reservoir||3||2||2–3||N||49.33||113.18|
|77||Unnamed (E of Bruce Lake)||1||1||1||N||51.22||113.43|
|78||Unnamed (near Keoma)||1||1||1||N||51.23||113.58|
|79||Unnamed (near Water Valley)||1||1||1||N||51.50||114.60|
|80||Unnamed (E of Sheperd)||1||1||1||N||50.96||113.85|
|81||Unnamed (SE of Sam Lake)||4||1||1||N||50.13||110.25|
Sources: Wershler and Wallis (1986), Hofman (1994), Bjorge (1997), Prescott (1997), Goossen et al. (2000), Prescott (2001b), Engley (2001), Engley and Schmelzeisen (2002), Schmelzeisen and Engley (2003), Engley et al. (2004).
1 Names of waterbodies not listed by the Canadian Permanent Committee on Geographic Names (1988) are considered to be unofficial names and are listed in quotations.
Appendix 2. Map of waterbodies where piping plovers have been reported in Alberta. See Appendix 1 for details.
|Lake||Segment||Shoreline Ownership||Upland Ownership|
List of Titles in the Alberta Species at Risk Recovery Plan Series (as of March 2006)
No. 1 Maintenance and Recovery Plan for Western Blue Flag (Iris missouriensis) in Canada. (2002)
No. 2 Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Plan 2002–2004. (2002)
No. 3 Alberta Peregrine Falcon Recovery Plan 2004–2010. (2005)
No. 4 Alberta Woodland Caribou Recovery Plan 2004/05–2013/14. (2005)
No. 5 Recovery Plan for Ord’s Kangaroo Rat in Alberta. (2005)
No. 6 Recovery Plan for Burrowing Owl in Alberta. (2005)
No. 7 Alberta Northern Leopard Frog Recovery Plan 2005–2010. (2005)
No. 8 Alberta Greater Sage–Grouse Recovery Plan. (2005)
No. 9 Maintenance and Recovery Plan for Western Spiderwort in Alberta 2005–2010. (2005)
No. 10 Alberta Piping Plover Recovery Plan 2005–2010. (2006)
- Date Modified: