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Management Plan for the Riddell's Goldenrod (Solidago riddellii) in Canada - 2014 [Proposed]

Species at Risk Act
Management Plan Series
Riddell's Goldenrod

Riddell's Goldenrod

Table of Contents

Document Information


Document Information

Management Plan for the Riddell's Goldenrod (Solidago riddellii) in Canada - [Proposed] 2014

Recommended citation:

Environment Canada. 2014. Management Plan for the Riddell's Goldenrod (Solidago riddellii) in Canada [Proposed]. Species at Risk Act Management Plan Series. Environment Canada, Ottawa. iii + 18 pp.

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

Cover illustration

© Gary Allen

Également disponible en français sous le titre
« Plan de gestion de la verge d'or de Riddell (Solidago riddellii) au Canada [Proposition] »

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of the Environment, 2014. All rights reserved.
ISBN
Catalogue no.

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


Preface

The federal, provincial, and territorial government signatories under the Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk (1996) agreed to establish complementary legislation and programs that provide for effective protection of species at risk throughout Canada. Under the Species at Risk Act (S.C. 2002, c.29) (SARA), the federal competent ministers are responsible for the preparation of management plans for listed species of special concern and are required to report on progress within five years.

The Minister of the Environment is the competent minister under SARA for the management of the Riddell's Goldenrod and has prepared this management plan as per section 65 of SARA. It has been prepared in cooperation with the Government of Ontario and the Government of Manitoba.

Success in the conservation 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 management plan and will not be achieved by Environment Canada, or any other jurisdiction alone. All Canadians are invited to join in supporting and implementing this plan for the benefit of Riddell's Goldenrod and Canadian society as a whole.

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

Acknowledgments

This management plan was prepared by Dr. David Anthony Kirk (Aquila Conservation & Environment Consulting) and Dr. Jennie L. Pearce (Pearce & Associates Ecological Research). Revisions and updates were completed by Ken Tuininga and Rachel deCatanzaro (Environment Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service – Ontario). Nicole Firlotte, Chris Friesen (Manitoba Conservation Data Centre), John Haggeman (Environment Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service – Ontario), Ron Ludolph, Wendy Kubinec (Rural Lampton Stewardship Council), Aileen Rapson (Natural Heritage Information Centre, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources), and Allen Woodliffe (Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources) provided information on this species. Contributions from Candace Neufeld (Environment Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service – Prairie and Northern Region), Madeline Austen, Lesley Dunn, Graham Bryan, and Susan Humphrey (Environment Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service – Ontario) are also gratefully acknowledged.

Acknowledgement and thanks is given to all other parties that provided advice and input used to help inform the development of this management plan including various Aboriginal organizations and individuals, individual citizens, and stakeholders who provided input and/or participated in consultation meetings.

Executive Summary

Riddell's Goldenrod (Solidago riddellii) is an herbaceous perennial in the aster family reaching a height of 40 to 100 cm. It is distinguished from other goldenrod species by its conduplicate (folded lengthwise) leaves with several to many prominent parallel veins at the base.

Riddell's Goldenrod has a disjunct distribution in Canada and the United States. In Canada, it is located only in southeastern Manitoba and southwestern Ontario, where there are 47 known extant populations (32 in Manitoba, 15 in Ontario), and 12 historical populations (2 in Manitoba, 10 in Ontario). Population sizes vary from a few stems covering less than a square metre to thousands of stems covering several hectares. In Ontario, this species has also been planted at several hundred prairie restoration sites in Lambton County and surrounding areas, although the number of resulting populations is unknown. When last assessed, the total overall Canadian population of Riddell's Goldenrod was thought to have consisted of fewer than 10 000 flowering stems and occupied under 100 square kilometres (km²) of habitat. Updated data from Manitoba suggest that this may be an underestimate. In Canada, Riddell's Goldenrod is listed as Special Concern under Schedule 1 of the federal Species at Risk Act.

In Manitoba, habitat for Riddell's Goldenrod consists mainly of relatively undisturbed roadsides, tallgrass prairie, and open shrubby fens while in Ontario, habitat consists predominantly of remnant moist tallgrass prairie patches or prairie-like river floodplains, as well as roadsides and railways.

The main threats to Riddell's Goldenrod populations in Canada include: habitat loss through intensification of agriculture and urban/industrial development; habitat loss or degradation through road maintenance; invasive plants, especially European Common Reed (Phragmites australis ssp. australis), Reed Canary Grass (Phalaris arundinacea), and Smooth Brome (Bromus inermis); succession due to alteration of the fire regime; alteration of the hydrologic regime; and possibly hybridization with other goldenrod species.

The management objective for Riddell's Goldenrod in Canada is to maintain or increase, if biologically and technically feasible, its current abundance (number of stems) and distribution in Manitoba and Ontario. Broad strategies to achieve the management objective include: conducting surveys to gather up-to-date information on populations, managing habitat, outreach and communication, and encouraging research to address knowledge gaps.

A number of conservation measures to achieve the management objective of this plan are proposed. There are no expected significant negative effects on other species, and maintenance of habitat for Riddell's Goldenrod is likely to benefit a number of other species at risk found in these locations.

1. COSEWIC Species Assessment Information

Date of Assessment: November 2000

Common Name (population): Riddell's Goldenrod

Scientific Name: Solidago riddellii

COSEWIC Status: Special Concern

Reason for Designation: A species with a restricted range found in remnant and fragmented prairie habitats, in southeastern Manitoba and southwestern Ontario, subject to land development pressures with some populations currently receiving active protection and management.

Canadian Occurrence: Manitoba, Ontario

COSEWIC Status History: Designated Special Concern in November 2000.

2. Species Status Information

Although Riddell's Goldenrod is considered globally Secure[1] (G5), and is not ranked nationally in the United States (NNR), it is Possibly Extirpated[2] (SH) in North Dakota; Critically Imperilled[3] (S1) in Arkansas, Georgia, and South Dakota; Imperilled[4] (S2) in Kansas; and Vulnerable[5] (S3) in Iowa and Missouri. It is not ranked in the other six states in which it occurs (NatureServe 2011) (Appendix A). In Canada, Riddell's Goldenrod is ranked Vulnerable (N3); it occurs only in Manitoba and Ontario, where the subnational ranks are Imperilled (S2) and Vulnerable (S3), respectively (NatureServe 2011).

Riddell's Goldenrod is listed as Special Concern[6] under Schedule 1 of the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). It is also listed as Special Concern[7] under Ontario's Endangered Species Act, 2007 (ESA 2007) and as Threatened[8] under Manitoba's Endangered Species Act (MB ESA).

The percentage of the global range of Riddell's Goldenrod found in Canada is estimated to be less than 5%, where the species occurs at the northern edge of its range.

3. Species Information

3.1. Species Description

Riddell's Goldenrod is an herbaceous[9] perennial[10] in the aster family (Asteraceae). Plants arise from a thickened stem base (caudex), sometimes with rhizomes[11], with several erect and hairless stems reaching heights of 40 to 100 cm tall. It is distinguished from other goldenrod species by its conduplicate leaves[12] with several to many prominent parallel veins at the base (COSEWIC 2000). The lower leaves are linear and gradually taper towards the stem on long stalks (up to 24 cm), and are usually withered by the time the plant flowers. The flat-topped or slightly rounded flowering head develops clusters of yellow flowers with each flower less than 1 cm in diameter (COSEWIC 2000; Foster and Hamel 2006). Flowering typically occurs from late August to early September in Manitoba (Foster and Hamel 2006), and mid September to early or mid October in Ontario (COSEWIC 2000).

3.2. Population and Distribution

Riddell's Goldenrod occurs in Canada and the United States, where it has a disjunct distribution (Figure 1). In the United States, occurrences are known as far south as Arkansas and Georgia, as far west as Kansas, and as far east as Georgia. In Canada, Riddell's Goldenrod is found only in southeastern Manitoba and southwestern Ontario (Figure 2).

Given the widespread loss of tallgrass habitat in both Manitoba and southern Ontario since European settlement (Rodger 1998; Government of Manitoba 2011), it is thought that the number of populations and stems of Riddell's Goldenrod in Canada are probably much lower today than they were historically (COSEWIC 2000). When last assessed, the total overall Canadian population of Riddell's Goldenrod was thought to have consisted of fewer than 10 000 flowering stems[13] and occupied under 100 km² of habitat (COSEWIC 2000). Updated data from Manitoba suggest that this may be an underestimate.

Manitoba

In southeastern Manitoba, populations occur from the United States border north to the Kleefield/ Giroux area, and are concentrated in the Kleefield, Gardenton, and Green Ridge areas. Based on surveys conducted between 1996 and 2008, a total of 32 populations are considered extant, while an additional 2 populations have not been re-located in recent surveys and are considered historical (Friesen pers. comm. 2011; Manitoba CDC 2011). The majority (27) of the known extant populations in Manitoba are located in the east end of Franklin Rural Municipality and/ or west end of Stuartburn Rural Municipality, including the two largest populations (over a thousand stems each). Other known extant populations occur in Hanover Rural Municipality (four populations) and Ste. Anne Rural Municipality (one population). The two historical populations are located in Hanover and De Salaberry Rural Municipalities and were last observed in the 1950s (Manitoba CDC 2011); further targeted surveys are needed to determine conclusively whether these two populations still exist.

Individual populations in Manitoba are comprised of a few stems to over a thousand stems. Based on fieldwork conducted in 1997, E. Punter estimated a total of 1200 stems at 20 locations in Manitoba (COSEWIC 2000); the discovery of new (or previously undocumented) populations and updated stem counts now suggest that the total population in Manitoba is well over 8000 stems[14] (Manitoba CDC 2011). Complete stem count estimates are not always possible (e.g., where populations extend onto private land; Foster and Hamel 2006).

Ontario

In southwestern Ontario, 15 extant populations and 10 historical populations of Riddell's Goldenrod have been documented in the counties of Elgin, Essex, Lambton and Middlesex and in the Municipality of Chatham-Kent (COSEWIC 2000; NHIC 2011). Two extirpated populations have also been documented, one of which was in Essex County and the other of which was in Chatham- Kent (NHIC 2011). An estimated 10% of the Canadian population occurs on Walpole Island First Nation (WIFN) (Bowles 2005). Other populations in Ontario are concentrated in the Greater Sarnia area and the Greater Windsor Area (COSEWIC 2000; NHIC 2011).

When last estimated for the COSEWIC status report (COSEWIC 2000), the total Ontario population was thought to have comprised between 2500 and 10 000 flowering stems. Since then, an additional population has been discovered northwest of Komoka, consisting of a couple hundred stems in 2002 (NHIC 2011). As in Manitoba, population sizes in Ontario are highly variable (from single stems to hundreds), and may cover less than one square metre (e.g., at several sites in the Windsor area) to several hectares (e.g., Brigden Sideroad population east of Sarnia) (COSEWIC 2000). Updated stem counts are not available for most populations in Ontario. However, recent (2008) surveys at a location in Windsor reported over 1700 Riddell's Goldenrod stems in this area alone (Canada-United States-Ontario-Michigan-Border-Transportation Partnership 2008, 2009).

In addition to the above, restoration of historical locations of tallgrass prairie habitat is being undertaken by the Rural Lambton Stewardship Network (RLSN) using seed mixes that include Riddell's Goldenrod from an Ontario native seed source. As of 2011, native-sourced Riddell's Goldenrod had been planted at several hundred restoration sites[15] in Lambton County and surrounding areas (Kubinec pers. comm. 2011). Most of these sites have not been monitored or mapped spatially, and it is unknown the extent to which the species has become established and how many separate populations have resulted.

Figure 1. North American distribution of Riddell's Goldenrod. Range distribution based on COSEWIC (2000) and recent occurrence information from NatureServe (2011).

North American distribution of Riddell's Goldenrod. (See long description below)
Long description for figure 1

Figure 1 shows the North American distribution of Riddell’s Goldenrod concentrated around southern Great Lakes area.

Figure 2: Locations of Riddell's Goldenrod populations in Canada.

Locations of Riddell's Goldenrod populations in Canada. (See long description below)
Long description for figure 2

Figure 2 shows the Canadian distribution of Riddell’s Goldenrod. One population occurs in southern Ontario and the other one occurs in southeast Manitoba. This figure also indicates the population’s status (extant, historic or extirpated).

3.3. Needs of the Riddell's Goldenrod

3.3.1. Habitat and biological needs

In southeastern Manitoba, Riddell's Goldenrod most commonly occurs along relatively undisturbed roadsides (especially ditches supporting fen- or prairie-like vegetation), in tallgrass prairie, and in open shrubby fens (Foster and Hamel 2006). Sites often have moist to wet calcareous sandy loam soils where the water table is at or above the soil surface until about mid-June (COSEWIC 2000; Foster and Hamel 2006). In addition, Riddell's Goldenrod has been observed to grow along railway lines, where prairie remnants survive and railway maintenance (e.g., brush-cutting) helps to maintain open conditions (COSEWIC 2000).

In Ontario, for the populations near Sarnia, on Walpole Island First Nation, and in the Windsor area, the species is found on sandy and loamy soils in moist tallgrass prairie and prairie-like river floodplains (fen-like habitats). For example, along the Ausable River, Riddell's Goldenrod is found in a narrow, discontinuous riparian prairie community (Jean pers. comm. 2009). Several other Ontario populations occur in roadside ditches or along railway lines (COSEWIC 2000; NHIC 2011).

Riddell's Goldenrod appears to require high light intensities and moist or wet soil conditions in the spring for growth and seed germination (Rodger 1998; Delaney et al. 2000), and is a disturbance-tolerant species. Historically, in tallgrass prairie, fire, grazing, and drought were the main forms of natural disturbance which kept the habitat open and reduced woody vegetation encroachment, litter accumulation, and excessive grass cover (Collins 1987; Rodger 1998; Knapp 1999); however, in riparian prairie (such as that along the Ausable River), the main natural disturbances maintaining the community are a combination of erosion, scouring and flooding (Jean pers. comm. 2009).

A wide variety of invertebrates are believed to pollinate Riddell's Goldenrod. Bees, wasps, and flies are the most prevalent pollinators, with moths and butterflies being less important (COSEWIC 2000). The primary mode of reproduction for Riddell's Goldenrod is through wind-dispersed, single-seeded fruits, but Riddell's Goldenrod is also known to reproduce infrequently by vegetative reproduction from rhizomes (COSEWIC 2000).

3.3.2. Limiting factors

In Canada, Riddell's Goldenrod often inhabits tallgrass prairie habitats which today occur in small, fragmented patches. Remnant prairie- or fen-like vegetation along roadside margins may support the species, but populations located in these environments may be more vulnerable to human-caused disturbance and stochastic population effects. This is of particular concern for populations consisting of just a few individuals, since small population size may limit the ability of populations to adapt and persist through disturbance (Riley and Mohr 1994; COSEWIC 2000).

Establishment and growth of Riddell's Goldenrod may be limited in Canada by its requirement for open, disturbed habitats. This species is likely dependent on periodic burning and grazing, flooding and scouring, or other disturbance to create and maintain open habitat (COSEWIC 2000). Without conditions present to keep the habitat open, habitat succession may lead to loss of suitable habitat for this species.

4. Threats

4.1. Threat Assessment

Table 1: Threat Assessment Table
Threat Category
ThreatLevel of Concern[1]ExtentOccurrenceFrequencySeverity[2]Causal Certainty[3]
Habitat Loss and Degradation
Intensification of agriculture and urban/ industrial developmentHighWidespreadHistoric/ CurrentRecurrentHighHigh
Habitat Loss and Degradation
Road maintenanceHighWidespreadCurrentRecurrentHighHigh

Changes in Ecological Dynamics or Natural Processes

Alteration of the fire regimeHighUnknownCurrentContinuousMediumMedium
Changes in Ecological Dynamics or Natural Processes
Alteration of the hydrologic regineLowUnknownHistoric/ CurrentContinuousUnknownLow
Exotic, Invasive, or Introduced Species/ Genome
Invasive plants (European Common Reed (Phragmites australis ssp. australis), Reed Canary Grass (Phalaris arundinacea), Smooth Brome (Bromus inermis))MediumWidespreadCurrent/ AnticipatedContinuousUnknownLow
Exotic, Invasive, or Introduced Species/ Genome
Hybridization with other goldenrod speciesLowLocalizedCurrentContinuousUnknownLow

1 Level of Concern: signifies that managing the threat is of (high, medium or low) concern for the conservation of the species, consistent with the management objectives. This criterion considers the assessment of all the information in the table.
2Severity: reflects the population-level effect (High: very large population-level effect, Moderate, Low, Unknown).
3 Causal certainty: reflects the degree of evidence that is known for the threat (High: available evidence strongly links the threat to stresses on population viability; Medium: there is a correlation between the threat and population viability e.g. expert opinion; Low: the threat is assumed or plausible).

4.2. Description of Threats

Intensification of agriculture and urban/ industrial development

Tallgrass communities (including prairie and savanna) once covered between 800 km² and 2000 km² of southern Ontario, distributed in patches through a largely forested landscape (Rodger 1998). Today, approximately 21 km² remains due to urbanization and conversion for agricultural use (Bakowsky and Riley 1994; Rodger and Woodliffe 2001); this represents less than 3% of its original extent. Similarly, tallgrass prairie in Manitoba today is only a fraction (less than 1%) of its former 6000 km², largely due to cultivation for forage and cereal crops (Government of Manitoba 2011).

Agricultural intensification, particularly in the second half of the 20th century, has caused further loss and fragmentation of habitat for Riddell's Goldenrod. This was due largely to the breaking up of grassland (e.g., hay and pasture) and conversion to cropland. There was also a trend towards increasing mechanization and expansion of field sizes, thus resulting in the loss of field margins and straightening of field edges (Benton et al. 2003); these changes would have involved considerable loss of habitat for Riddell's Goldenrod.

In Ontario, land conversion for cultivation and development likely contributed to extirpation of a population in Essex County (COSEWIC 2000). In Manitoba, populations occupying road allowances have occasionally been impacted by cultivation and haying within the road allowances by adjacent landowners (Foster and Hamel 2006). At a site near Otterburne, Manitoba, intensive cultivation along the roadside, in combination with road rebuilding and repairs (see below) may have lead to extirpation (unconfirmed) of the population (COSEWIC 2000).

Road maintenance

Many populations of Riddell's Goldenrod occupy moist roadside habitats supporting remnant prairie- or fen-like vegetation (Foster and Hamel 2006; Manitoba CDC 2011). Destruction of Riddell's Goldenrod habitat and individuals as a result of road widening and incompatible (or poorly-timed) maintenance activities in shoulders and ditches is a widespread threat. This is particularly problematic in Manitoba, where many populations are located along road allowances and are impacted by right-of-way maintenance activities such as mowing, spraying of herbicides, drainage improvement, trenching, and digging conducted by municipalities or utility companies (Foster and Hamel 2006; Krause Danielsen and Friesen 2009). During surveys in 2005 in Manitoba, roadside habitats at two previously documented populations were found to be severely degraded as a result of ditch cleaning and the installation of a utility line (Foster and Hamel 2006). The Manitoba Conservation Data Centre (CDC) is working with municipalities to mitigate this threat (Krause Danielsen and Friesen 2009; see section 6.1).

Alteration of the fire regime

Riddell's Goldenrod is found in open or early successional habitats, including tallgrass prairie. Historically, in tallgrass prairie, periodic fire, grazing, and drought played an important role in maintaining open conditions (Rodger 1998; Government of Manitoba 2011). The frequency of fire has declined, largely due to the pressure to control fire to protect housing and other infrastructure. Suppression of fire may limit suitable habitat for Riddell's Goldenrod at some locations by allowing trees and shrubs to grow and eventually shade out the species.

Invasive plants (European Common Reed, Reed Canary Grass, and Smooth Brome)

It is likely that invasive species may pose a problem for Riddell's Goldenrod, as several of them are extremely aggressive and grow in moist conditions in disturbed areas such as roadsides. European Common Reed and Reed Canary Grass[16] have both been documented in southwestern Ontario and southern Manitoba[17]. Both of these species grow in ditches and wetlands, where they often form dense stands, out-compete native plants and reduce plant species diversity (Canadian Botanical Conservation Network 2010). In Manitoba, Smooth Brome has been observed in some areas and may also pose a threat to Riddell's Goldenrod; this species can spread into degraded prairies, roadsides and ditches, where it may dominate vegetation cover and negatively impact the growth and establishment of native species (Dillemuth et al. 2009; MN DNR 2012). These invasive plants could compete directly with Riddell's Goldenrod for water, nutrients and/ or light. They can also modify habitat by drying out soils, possibly eliminating the moist conditions required by Riddell's Goldenrod for germination and growth in the spring.

Alteration of the hydrologic regime

Since Riddell's Goldenrod requires moist conditions for spring growth, alterations to local hydrology by drainage projects could have a negative impact on plants. Improved drainage at agricultural sites from installation of tile drainage systems in many areas in southern Ontario during the 1970s may have had a negative long-term impact on Riddell's Goldenrod; however, the severity and extent of the impact has not been documented.

Hybridization with other goldenrod species

Riddell's Goldenrod hydridizes to some extent with other Solidago species. Hybrids between Riddell's Goldenrod and Stiff-leaved Goldenrod (Solidago rigida) have been observed in the Kleefield and Giroux areas of Manitoba (COSEWIC 2000). The two species also coexist in the Walpole Island, Sarnia, and Windsor areas in Ontario, where opportunities for hybridization may occur (COSEWIC 2000). In Manitoba, hybridization with White Upland Aster (Solidago ptarmicoides) has been observed at several sites (Foster and Hamel 2006).

Limited information is available outlining the significance of hybridization to the survival of populations of Riddell's Goldenrod, but it has been speculated that hybridization may influence the survival of very small populations due to loss of genetically pure individuals (COSEWIC 2000). Hybridization in goldenrods is rare, but may be more likely in marginal habitats when one parental species is rare, thus increasing the chances of out-crossing to another species (COSEWIC 2000).

5. Management Objective

The management objective for Riddell's Goldenrod in Canada is to maintain, or increase if biologically and technically feasible, its current abundance (number of stems)[18] and distribution in Manitoba and Ontario.

Efforts to increase the population and distribution of Riddell's Goldenrod in Canada will be carried out as opportunities arise (e.g., through ongoing and future prairie restoration work by stewardship groups). The priority will be to focus on existing locations with small extant populations and historical or new locations within the native range where sufficiently large areas of suitable habitat (tallgrass prairie, open shrubby fens, or prairie-like river floodplains) are available or can be made available through restoration to support long-term persistence of the population. Less emphasis would be placed on augmenting/ re-establishing populations or introducing the species in marginal habitats (e.g., small remnant patches with prairie- or fen-like vegetation restricted to railroad or roadside right-of-ways) due to the lower likelihood of resulting in populations that can be maintained in the long-term.

6. Broad Strategies and Conservation Measures

6.1. Actions Already Completed or Currently Underway

Manitoba

In Manitoba, new populations have been discovered and most known populations have been re-surveyed in recent years (2001, 2005, 2008) by the Manitoba CDC (Reimer and Hamel 2002; Foster and Hamel 2006; Krause Danielsen and Friesen 2009). During the surveys, populations were mapped and stems were counted and threats to populations were noted. Full counts were not always possible where populations extend onto private land. At the Tall Grass Prairie Preserve, ongoing monitoring is conducted by preserve staff.

The Manitoba CDC is working with municipalities to conserve populations of Riddell's Goldenrod occurring in roadside ditches by providing them with maps of right-of-way occurrences along with management recommendations (Krause Danielsen and Friesen 2009). A species at risk fact sheet for Riddell's Goldenrod was produced in 2006 and is available to the public (Foster and Hamel 2006).

Habitat at the Tall Grass Prairie Preserve, which contains several populations of Riddell's Goldenrod, is managed using a combination of activities that mimic natural disturbances (e.g., prescribed burns, grazing, mowing/ haying, removal of exotic or woody species) (Government of Manitoba 2011).

Ontario

In Ontario, prescribed burns have been carried out in some areas where the species occurs. For example, some prairie and savanna habitat is burned every year by Walpole Island First Nation community members.

Efforts by the Walpole Island Heritage Centre to acquire lands for conservation on Walpole Island First Nation have been undertaken, and have resulted in a reduction of the rate of conversion of prairie to agriculture (COSEWIC 2009).

Recovery actions described in the Draft Walpole Island Ecosystem Recovery Strategy (Bowles 2005) include raising awareness in the community about species at risk, including Riddell's Goldenrod. Pamphlets, calendars, newsletter articles, posters and other promotional material have been used to raise awareness of species at risk in the Walpole Island First Nation community. The Walpole Island First Nation is currently developing an ecosystem protection plan based on the community's traditional ecological knowledge (TEK).

Riddell's Goldenrod has been used in seed mixes for prairie restoration projects at several hundred sites in Lambton County and surrounding areas; Riddell's Goldenrod seed is still being included in seed mixes used for some restoration projects in southwestern Ontario. Seed mixes are from an Ontario native source (Kubinec pers. comm. 2011) and the restorations can therefore be considered to contribute to the conservation of the species. The Rural Lambton Stewardship Network also undertakes prescribed burns annually at up to 24 sites in Lambton County as part of prairie restoration projects (Ludolph pers. comm. 2009; Kubinec pers. comm. 2011).

6.2. Broad Strategies

The broad strategies of this management plan are as follows:

  1. Conduct surveys of Riddell's Goldenrod populations (historical and extant) to gather up-to-date data on spatial location, abundance (i.e., stem counts), and threats;
  2. Manage habitat to mitigate threats to Riddell's Goldenrod, and encourage incorporation of Riddell's Goldenrod into prairie restorations, where feasible;
  3. Conduct outreach and communicate with stakeholders, municipalities and landowners to encourage habitat stewardship;
  4. Encourage research to address knowledge gaps

6.3. Conservation Measures

Table 2: Conservation measures and implementation schedule - Accessible version of Table 2
Broad Strategy
Conservation MeasurePriorityThreats or Concerns AddressedTimeline
1. Conduct surveys
1.1 Survey Ontario populations to obtain current data (stem counts, habitat condition, and severity of threats); Determine the extent to which populations occurring in road allowances in Manitoba and Ontario extend onto adjacent private lands[1], where feasible; Assess the success of populations planted as part of prairie restoration efforts to determine whether viable populations are established.HighKnowledge gap: status and size of populations2014-2019

1. Conduct surveys

1.2 Periodically re-survey known extant and historical populations in Manitoba and Ontario to collect updated information (stem counts, habitat condition, and severity of threats).HighAll threatsOngoing
1. Conduct surveys
1.3 Assess the severity of lesser known threats, particularly alteration of the hydrologic regime, invasive plant species, and hybridization, and whether they differ spatially (by population) and in marginal habitats; Document changes in the severity and impact of all threats following management actions, where feasible.MediumAll threats2014-2019
2. Manage habitat and encourage restoration where feasible
2.1 Prioritize areas in terms of management needs for threat mitigation (e.g., prescribed burns; appropriate grazing regimes; removal or control of invasive species and woody vegetation using known methods and best management practices); Implement management actions at priority sites, where feasible.HighAll threats2014-2019
2. Manage habitat and encourage restoration where feasible
2.2 Work with municipalities and utility companies to encourage stewardship to manage road allowance habitats (e.g., delaying mowing and haying until after seed set, avoiding herbicide use).HighRoad maintenanceOngoing
2. Manage habitat and encourage restoration where feasible
2.3 Encourage inclusion of native-sourced Riddell's Goldenrod in seed mixes for prairie restoration plantings, where appropriate[2] and feasible, within the species' native range; Encourage coordinate of restoration activities (e.g., plantings, prescribed burns) among Conservation Authorities/ Municipalities/ Landowners.LowIntensification of agriculture or urban/ industrial development; Alteration of the fire regime; Small population size2014-2019
3. Outreach and communication
3.1 Promote awareness and stewardship of tallgrass prairie communities, including Riddell's Goldenrod, and distribute materials to stakeholders and landowners with suitable habitat to encourage sound management of these habitats.MediumIntensification of agriculture or urban/ industrial development; Alteration of the fire regime; Alteration of the hydrologic regime; Invasive plantsOngoing
3. Outreach and communication
3.2 Encourage the transfer and archiving of Traditional Ecological Knowledge.MediumAll threats; Knowledge gapsOngoing
4. Encourage research
4.1 Encourage research to fill knowledge gaps, such as: the effectiveness of grazing as a management technique for Riddell's Goldenrod habitat in Manitoba, and the most appropriate timing, frequency, and intensity of grazing on tallgrass prairie; the significance of biotic and abiotic factors in determining distribution and abundance of Riddell's Goldenrod; the effect of environmental conditions (e.g., soil moisture, light) on germination rates; the extent to which hybridization is occurring across the Canadian range (through genetic testing).LowKnowledge gaps2014-2019

1 Foster and Hamel (2006) noted they were unable to complete stem counts at some roadside sites where populations extended onto private land.
2 The potential effects on other prairie species and ecosystem processes should be considered when selecting species to be planted at a given location.

7. Measuring Progress

Every five years, success of this management plan implementation will be measured against the following performance indicators:

  • The current distribution of Riddell's Goldenrod in Manitoba and Ontario has been maintained or increased;
  • The abundance (number of stems) of Riddell's Goldenrod in Manitoba and Ontario has been maintained or increased relative to current levels.

8. References

Bakowsky, W., and J. Riley. 1994. A survey of the prairies and savannas of Southern Ontario. Pages 7-16. In Proceedings of the thirteenth North American Prairie Conference: Spirit of the Land, Our Prairie Legacy. R. Wickett, P. Dolan Lewis, A. Woodliffe, and P. Pratt (eds.). Department of Parks and Recreation, Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

Benton, T.G., J.A. Vickery, and J.D. Wilson. 2003. Farmland biodiversity: is habitat heterogeneity the key? TRENDS in Ecology and Evolution 18(4): 182-188.

Bowles, J.M. 2005. Draft Walpole Island Ecosystem Recovery Strategy. Walpole Island Heritage Centre, Environment Canada, and the Walpole Island Recovery Team.

Canadian Botanical Conservation Network. 2010. Invasive Plant Lists. Canadian Botanical Conservation Network.[accessed February 2010].

Canada-United States-Ontario-Michigan-Border-Transportation Partnership. 2008. Environmental Assessment Report W.O. 04-33-002 Detroit River International Crossing Study, City of Windsor, County of Essex, Town of LaSalle, Town of Tecumseh. Prepared for the Ministry of Transportation by URS Canada Inc. [accessed February, 2012].

Canada-United States-Ontario-Michigan-Border-Transportation Partnership. 2009. Canadian Environmental Assessment Act Screening Report CEAR No: 06-01-18170 Detroit River International Crossing Study, City of Windsor, County of Essex, Town of LaSalle, Town of Tecumseh. Prepared for Transport Canada by URS Canada Inc. [accessed February 2012].

Collins, S.L. 1987. Interaction of disturbances in tallgrass prairie: a field experiment. Ecology 68: 1243-1250.

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Appendix A: Subnational Conservation Ranks of Riddell's Goldenrod

Table 3: Subnational Conservation Status Ranks (S-Ranks) for Riddell's Goldenrod in North America (NatureServe 2011)
CountryState/ Province and NatureServe status ranks
CanadaManitoba (S2), Ontario (S3)
United StatesArkansas (S1), Georgia (S1), Illinois (SNR), Indiana (SNR), Iowa (S3), Kansas (S2), Michigan (SNR), Minnesota (SNR), Missouri (S3), North Dakota (SH), Ohio (SNR), South Dakota (S1), Wisconsin (SNR)

S1: Critically Imperiled; S2: Imperiled; S3: Vulnerable; SH: Possibly Extirpated; SNR: Unranked – Status not yet assessed

Appendix B: Effects on the Environment and Other Species

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

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 upon non-target species or habitats. The results of the SEA are incorporated directly into the plan itself, but are also summarized below in this statement.

Many rare and at-risk species are found in tallgrass prairie habitat. Therefore, conservation measures that benefit Riddell's Goldenrod are expected to also benefit other tallgrass prairie species at risk (see Table 4). In addition to the species listed in Table 4, Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna) and Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus), which are not SARA-listed but are listed as threatened under Ontario's ESA, 2007 are likely to benefit.

Table 4. Species at risk expected to benefit from management techniques directed at Riddell's Goldenrod in Canada.
Common NameScientific (Latin) NameSARA StatusProvince
Climbing Prairie RoseRosa setigeraSpecial ConcernOntario
MonarchDanaus plexippusSpecial ConcernManitoba, Ontario
Butler's GartersnakeThamnophis butleriThreatenedOntario
ColicrootAletris fainosaThreatenedOntario
Dense Blazing StarLiatris spicataThreatenedOntario
MassasaugaSistrurus catenatusThreatenedOntario
Willowleaf AsterSymphyotrichum praealtumThreatenedOntario
Eastern FoxsnakePantherophis gloydiEndangeredOntario
Eastern Prairie Fringed-OrchidPlatanthera leucophaeaEndangeredOntario
Northern BobwhiteColinus virginianusEndangeredOntario
Showy GoldenrodSolidago speciosaEndangeredOntario
Small White Lady's-slipperCypripedium candidiumEndangeredManitoba, Ontario
Western Prairie Fringed-orchidPlatanthera praeclaraEndangeredManitoba

While some of the proposed management activities will benefit the environment in general and are expected to positively affect other co-occurring native species, there could be consequences to those species whose requirements differ from those of Riddell's Goldenrod. Consequently, it is important that habitat management activities for Riddell's Goldenrod be considered from an ecosystem perspective through the development, with input from responsible jurisdictions, of multi-species plans, ecosystem-based recovery programs or area management plans that take into account the needs of multiple species, including other species at risk.

Prescribed burning can improve habitat for many rare and at-risk tallgrass prairie species, but burning may also harm some species sensitive to fire (e.g., shrubs). However, fire is recognized as an integral part of this ecosystem in which these plants evolved, and has been used by Aboriginal peoples as a management tool for millennia. Similarly, grazing has historically helped to shape tallgrass prairie and managed grazing regimes may benefit some species, but harm others. It is anticipated that in most cases any reduction of species sensitive to fire or grazing should still result in population levels that fall within the natural range of fluctuations. Monitoring to determine the effects of fire and grazing on some species (e.g., species for which the impacts of these disturbances on population abundance are unknown) may be necessary. Fire may reduce the presence of woody species to the benefit of tallgrass prairie species. This is not expected to have a significant impact since the encroaching woody species tend to be common in non-burned habitats.


1 Common, widespread, and abundant in the jurisdiction

2 Known from only historical records but still some hope of rediscovery. There is evidence that the species or ecosystem may no longer be present in the jurisdiction, but not enough to state this with certainty

3 Critically imperiled in the jurisdiction because of extreme rarity or because of some factor(s) such as very steep declines making it especially vulnerable to extirpation from the jurisdiction

4 Imperiled in the jurisdiction because of rarity due to very restricted range, very few populations, steep declines, or other factors making it very vulnerable to extirpation from jurisdiction

5 At moderate risk of extinction or elimination due to a restricted range, relatively few populations, recent and widespread declines, or other factors

6 A wildlife species that may become a threatened or an endangered species because of a combination of biological characteristics and identified threats

7 A species that lives in the wild in Ontario and that may become threatened or endangered because of a combination of biological characteristics and identified threats

8 Any native Manitoba species likely to become endangered or that is particularly at risk due to low or declining numbers in Manitoba if the factors affecting it don't improve

9 A plant whose leaves and stems die back following the growing season.

10 A plant that lives for more than two years.

11 Horizontal, underground stems, often giving rise to roots or shoots.

12 Leaves that are folded lengthwise

13 Note: Due to the formation of rhizomes, each stem does not necessarily represent a genetically distinct individual

14 Current stem counts for Manitoba populations include both flowering and non-flowering stems.

15 A site in this document refers to a location supporting Riddell's Goldenrod and either a part or whole population.

16 Assessing the impact of Reed Canary Grass is complicated by the fact that there is a less aggressive native North American species that is very difficult to distinguish from the introduced European cultivar, and hybridization between the two is likely.

17 Although in Manitoba as of 2010 European Common Reed had not been documented in any of the counties where Riddell's Goldenrod occurs, recent occurrences had been documented in the southern part of the province (Snyder 2009; Invasive Species Council of Manitoba 2012) and the species is capable of spreading rapidly.

18 The current abundance is based on the most recent stem counts in Manitoba (over 8000 stems) and Ontario (2500 to 10 000 flowering stems). Given that the last available estimate for abundance in Ontario is based on field work up to 1998, the objective may be revised when an updated estimate for the current abundance in Ontario becomes available (see 1.1 in Table 2).