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CONSULTATION ON AMENDING THE LIST OF SPECIES UNDER THE SPECIES AT RISK ACT: MARCH 2004

Jump to: Table of Contents

Please send your comments on this consultation to the SARA Public Registry at:

http://www.sararegistry.gc.ca

For regular mail please send your comments to:
Lynda Maltby
Director, Species at Risk
Canadian Wildlife Service
Ottawa, Ontario,
K1A OH3

Comments specific to your Region should be sent to the appropriate Regional Director, Canadian Wildlife Service, Environmental Conservation Service, at the following addresses:

Atlantic Region:
George Finney
17 Waterfowl Lane, P.O. Box 6227
Sackville, NB
E4L 1G6

Quebec Region:
Albin Tremblay
1141 route de l'Église, P.O. Box 10100,
Sainte-Foy, QC
G1V 4H5

Ontario Region:
Simon Llewellyn
4905 Dufferin Street
Downsview, ON
M3H 5T4

Prairie & Northern Region: Bill Gummer
Twin Atria No.2, 4999-98 Avenue
Edmonton, AB
T6B 2X3

Pacific & Yukon Region:
Paul Kluckner
5421 Robertson Road,
R.R. #1,
Delta, BC,
V4K 3N2

For more information on the Species at Risk Act, please visit the Public Registry at
http://www.sararegistry.gc.ca

For more information on species at risk, please visit Environment Canada's Species at Risk website:
www.speciesatrisk.gc.ca

Information on species at risk is also available on the website of the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC): www.cosewic.gc.ca

Cover Photo Credits:
Background photo - Wapusk National Park, Manitoba © D. Delahaye.
Large center photo - Polar Bear © Parks Canada/Parcs Canada W. Lynch.
Small photo, first from left - Long-billed Curlew © Chuck Gordon 2003.
Small photo, second from left - Oregon Forestsnail © Kristiina Ovaska 2001.
Small photo, third from left - Streambank Lupine © Brian Klinkenberg.
Small photo, fourth from left - Spiny Softshell © Parks Canada/Parcs Canada Point Pelee National Park.

National Library of Canada cataloguing in publication data

Main entry under title:

Consultation on amending the list of species under the Species at
Risk Act: March 2004

Annual.

Issued also in French under title : Consultation sur la modification de
la liste des espèces de la Loi sur les espèces en péril.

ISSN 1710-3029
ISBN 0-662-36209-8

Cat. no. En1-36/2004E

1. Endangered species - Law and legislation - Canada -- Periodicals.
2. Biological diversity conservation - Law and legislation - Canada -
Periodicals.
I. Canada. Environment Canada.

KE5210.C66 2004 346.7104'69522'05 C2004-980065-5

For additional copies of this document please visit: http://www.ec.gc.ca/prod/inqry-e.html, E-mail: enviroinfo@ec.gc.ca or contact:
Environment Canada Inquiry Centre
351 St. Joseph Boulevard
Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0H3
Telephone: (819) 997-2800
Toll-free 1 800 668-6767 (only in Canada)

Publ. aussi sous le titre : Consultation sur la modification de la liste des espèces de la Loi sur les espèces en peril.

Table of Contents

FOREWORD FROM THE MINISTER OF THE ENVIRONMENT

With the passage of the Species at Risk Act, Canada took a major step towards protecting the natural heritage of current and future generations of Canadians. This important piece of legislation will help us prevent endangered or threatened wildlife from becoming extinct or lost from the wild and will guide the recovery actions for species at risk.

The provisions of the Act apply to species listed on Schedule 1, the List of Wildlife Species at Risk. It is important that this list reflects an accurate representation of the state of wildlife in Canada. Since the List was first established in 2002, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) has assessed or reassessed an additional 91 species as being at risk. The Government of Canada must now decide whether or not these species should be added to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk.

During the creation of the Species at Risk Act, the Government of Canada embarked on extensive consultations across the country with people and communities who depend on our natural environment, such as farmers, fishers, forest workers, miners, those in tourism and recreation and Aboriginal Peoples. The Government of Canada will continue with open and cooperative consultations to ensure Canadians have an opportunity to understand and comment on the potential impacts of listing new species under SARA.

As I launch Environment Canada's consultation process, I am pleased to provide you with a consultation document for species that are the responsibility of Environment Canada and are currently under consideration for addition to Schedule 1. I encourage you to review the document and provide comment on factors you think should be taken into consideration in making these important decisions.

Ultimately, the success of the Species at Risk Act will depend on Canadians and their willingness to take action to ensure that all species at risk survive and recover. Your willingness to provide input early in the decision making process will help ensure the needs and concerns of Canadians are addressed in the process of protecting species at risk.

I look forward to hearing your views.

The Honourable David Anderson, P.C., M.P.
Minister of the Environment.

^ Table of Contents

Part I: Addition of species to the Species at Risk Act

Public consultation

Background

The Government of Canada proclaimed the Species at Risk Act (SARA) on June 5, 2003 as part of its strategy for the protection of wildlife species at risk. Attached to the Act is Schedule 1, the list of the species that receive protection under SARA, hereinafter referred to as the 'SARA list'.

The existing SARA list reflects the 233 species the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) had assessed and found to be at risk at the time of the reintroduction of SARA (then known as Bill C-5), to the House of Commons on October 9th, 2002. Since that time, COSEWIC has assessed or reassessed an additional 91 species as being at risk, making them eligible for consideration for addition to the SARA list. The Minister of the Environment is responsible for the listing of all 91 species. Sixty-three are included in this document (Table 1). The remaining 28 are aquatic species (Appendix 1) and are the subject of separate consultations being conducted by the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. For more information on these consultations please contact Fisheries and Oceans Canada at:
info@dfo-mpo.gc.ca .

Nearly 40 per cent of the 91 newly eligible species occur in parks administered by the Parks Canada Agency, which was formerly under the authority of the Minister of Canadian Heritage and is now under the authority of the Minister of the Environment. Responsibility for those species (both terrestrial and aquatic) that occur within parks, is shared between the Parks Canada Agency and either Environment Canada or Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Reflecting government policy, SARA has been designed to ensure the persistence of Canadian wildlife species and the habitats that support them, while embracing Canadian values of participation. Public involvement is integral to the process of listing species as being at risk, as it is to the ultimate protection of Canadian wildlife. The best way to secure the survival of species at risk and their habitats is through the active participation of all those concerned. Your comments on this document will be given serious consideration.

Purpose of the consultation

Having received the COSEWIC assessment of the species' status, the Minister of the Environment must recommend to the Governor in Council one of the following possible courses of action as set out in SARA:

  1. that the COSEWIC assessment be accepted and the species be added to the SARA list, or be reclassified or removed from the list accordingly;
  2. that the species not be added to the SARA list; or
  3. that the species be referred back to COSEWIC for further information or consideration.

The Government of Canada is obligated to take one of these actions within nine months of the Governor in Council having received the assessment from the Minister of the Environment.

COSEWIC bases its assessments solely on its evaluation of the biological status of each species. Consultation with Canadians regarding the potential impacts of the addition of each species to the SARA list will occur before the Minister of the Environment can arrive at informed decisions as to the appropriate course of action, in accordance with the options outlined above. Of particular interest in these discussions is the identification of the benefits and costs of adding or not adding each of the species to the SARA list, relative to the potential impacts on these species and on society of not adding them.

In this context, before the government makes decisions regarding the SARA list, Canadians will have the opportunity to express their views and concerns. This consultation allows those interested to contribute to the government decision-making process. Where applicable, Wildlife Management Boards will be consulted. Aboriginal people identified as being affected will have the opportunity to contribute to the process. Other members of the public that are either affected or interested will have the opportunity to provide their views. This includes, but is not limited to, industries, industry groups and resource users, landowners, land users and environmental non-government organizations.

Process of public consultations

Canadians are invited to comment on whether all or some of the species included in this document should be added to the SARA list. This document has been posted on the Public Registry. Affected Aboriginal people and other identified concerned groups will be contacted.

This document will be circulated to provincial and territorial jurisdictions, Wildlife Management Boards, federal departments and agencies. Notice will also be sent to recognized stakeholders, including environmental and industrial non-government organizations and individuals who have made their interests known to the Canadian Wildlife Service. Other audiences may be engaged directly through other forms of consultation.

Role and impact of public consultation

The results of this public consultation are of great relevance to the entire process of listing species at risk. The comments received will be carefully reviewed and evaluated. They will then be documented in a Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement (RIAS). The RIAS is an integral part of the federal regulatory process and is published with all regulatory proposals in the Canada Gazette Part I.

Following initial consultations, a draft Order (an instrument that serves notice of a decision taken by the executive arm of government) proposing to list all or some of the 63 species under consideration will be prepared. This draft Order will be published along with the RIAS in the Canada Gazette Part I for a comment period. The Minister of the Environment will take into consideration comments and any additional information received, following publication in the Canada Gazette Part I. The Minister will then make a recommendation to the Governor in Council on whether to add certain species to the SARA list or to refer them back to COSEWIC. The final decision will be published in Canada Gazette Part II and on the Public Registry.

^ Table of Contents

Process of identifying and listing species at risk

The Species at Risk Act

The Species at Risk Act strengthens and enhances the Government of Canada's capacity to protect Canadian wildlife species, subspecies and distinct populations that are at risk of becoming Extinct or Extirpated. The Act applies only to species on the SARA list.

Openness and transparency, including public consultation, is required in making decisions about which species should be included on the SARA list. The process begins with the assessment of a species as being at risk by COSEWIC. Upon receipt of these assessments, the Minister of the Environment then has 90 days to report on how he or she intends to respond to the assessment and to the extent possible, provide timelines for action. The Minister will then make a recommendation to the Governor in Council on whether to add certain species to the SARA list or to refer them back to COSEWIC. Once a species is added to the SARA list, specific actions must be taken within specified time periods to help ensure that species' protection and recovery.

Process and role of COSEWIC

COSEWIC comprises experts on wildlife species at risk. Their backgrounds are in the fields of biology, ecology, genetics, aboriginal traditional knowledge and other relevant fields and they come from various communities, including government, academia, Aboriginal organizations and non-government organizations.

Initially, COSEWIC commissions a status report for the evaluation of the conservation status of a species. To be accepted, status reports must be peer-reviewed and approved by a subcommittee of species specialists. In special circumstances assessments can be done on an emergency basis.

COSEWIC then meets to examine the status report, discuss the species and determine whether or not the species is at risk and if so, assess the level of risk.

For more information on COSEWIC visit: www.cosewic.gc.ca .

Terms used to define the degree of risk to a species

The degree of risk to a species is categorized according to the terms Extirpated, Endangered, Threatened and Special Concern. A species is assessed by COSEWIC as Extirpated when it is no longer found in the wild in Canada but still exists elsewhere. It is Endangered if it is facing imminent extirpation or extinction. An assessment of Threatened means that the species is likely to become Endangered if nothing is done to reverse the factors leading to its Extirpation or Extinction. COSEWIC assesses a species as Special Concern if it may become a Threatened or Endangered species because of a combination of biological characteristics and identified threats.

^ Table of Contents

Significance of the addition of a species to the SARA list

The protection that comes into effect following the addition of a species to the SARA list depends upon the degree of risk assigned to the species, the type of species and where it occurs.

Protection for listed Extirpated, Endangered and Threatened species

Under the Act, prohibitions protect individuals of Extirpated, Endangered and Threatened species. These prohibitions make it an offence to kill, harm, harass, capture or take an individual of a species listed as Extirpated, Endangered or Threatened, or to damage or destroy the residence of one or more individuals of an Endangered or a Threatened species. The Act also makes it an offence to possess, collect, buy, sell or trade an individual of a species that is Extirpated, Endangered or Threatened or a part or derivative of one. These prohibitions will come into force June 1st, 2004.

The focus of protection will be on those species for which the federal government has direct legal authority. The protection will be in force for all listed birds protected under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 and for listed aquatic species. The prohibitions will also apply to all listed species on federal lands.

For all other listed Endangered, Threatened and Extirpated species, the provinces and territories have the responsibility to ensure that they receive adequate protection. Should species not be effectively protected, SARA has "safety-net" provisions that give the federal government the power to make an Order securing their protection. The federal government would consult with the jurisdiction concerned and the public before any safety-net provisions would be invoked.

Exceptions to these prohibitions may be authorized by the Minister of the Environment or the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans These ministers can enter into agreements or issue permits only for research relating to the conservation of a species that is conducted by qualified scientists, for activities that benefit a listed species or enhance its chances of survival, and for activities that incidentally affect a listed species. These exceptions can be made only when it is established that all reasonable alternatives have been considered and the best solution has been adopted, when all feasible measures will be taken to minimize the impact of the activity, and when the survival or recovery of the species will not be jeopardized

Protection for listed species of Special Concern

The prohibitions of SARA for species listed as Extirpated, Endangered and Threatened will not apply to species of Special Concern; however any existing protections and prohibitions, such as those authorized by the Migratory Birds Convention Act or the Canada National Parks Act, continue to be in force.

Recovery strategies and action plans for Extirpated, Endangered and Threatened species

The addition of an Extirpated, Endangered or Threatened species to the SARA list triggers the requirement for the preparation of a recovery strategy and action plan which will be the subject of separate consultations.

Recovery strategies will be completed and made available on the SARA Public Registry to allow for public review and comment, within one year for Endangered species and within two years for Threatened and Extirpated species.

Recovery strategies will address the known threats to the species and its habitat. They will identify areas where more research is needed and population objectives that will help ensure the species' survival or recovery and will include a statement of the timeframe. Recovery strategies and action plans will identify, to the extent possible, the critical habitat of the species. Action plans will include measures to address threats, help the species recover and protect critical habitat. Measures to implement the recovery strategy will also be identified in the action plan.

Recovery strategies and action plans will be prepared in cooperation with Wildlife Management Boards and aboriginal organizations directly affected by them and with the jurisdictions responsible for the management of the species. Landowners and other stakeholders directly affected by the recovery strategy will also be consulted.

Management plans for Species of Special Concern

For species of Special Concern management plans will be prepared and made available on the Public Registry within three years of their addition to the SARA list, allowing for public review and comment. Management plans will include appropriate conservation measures for the species and for its habitat.

Management plans will be prepared in cooperation with jurisdictions responsible for the management of the species, including directly affected Wildlife Management Boards and aboriginal organizations. Landowners, lessees and others directly affected by a management plan will also be consulted.

Public comments solicited on the addition of 63 species to the SARA list

The 63 wildlife species that appear in Table 1 have been assessed or reassessed by COSEWIC as species at risk and are being considered for addition to the SARA list.

Please e-mail your comments to the SARA Public Registry at: SARAregistry@ec.gc.ca by no later than the 14th of June, 2004,

or by regular mail, please address comments to:

Lynda Maltby
Director, Species at Risk
Canadian Wildlife Service
Ottawa, Ontario,
K1A OH3

Your comments will be reviewed and used to consider whether or not to place each species on the SARA list.

Table 1: Species eligible for addition to Schedule 1 with consultations conducted by Environment Canada
TaxonSpeciesScientific NameRange
Extirpated
ReptilesPacific GophersnakePituophis catenifer cateniferBC
ReptilesPacific Pond TurtleActinemys marmorataBC
MolluscsPuget Oregonian SnailCryptomastix deviaBC
MossesIncurved Grizzled MossPtychomitrium incurvumON
Endangered
MammalsTownsend's MoleScapanus townsendiiBC
MammalsWolverine, Eastern populationGulo guloQC NF
BirdsWestern Screech-owl macfarlanei subspeciesMegascops kennicottii macfarlaneiBC
ReptilesBlue RacerColuber constrictor foxiiON
MolluscsOregon ForestsnailAllogona townsendianaBC
LepidopteransMormon Metalmark, Southern Mountain populationApodemia mormoBC
LepidopteransYucca MothTegeticula yuccasellaAB
Vascular PlantsBird's-foot VioletViola pedataON
Vascular PlantsCoastal Scouler's CatchflySilene scouleri ssp. GrandisBC
Vascular PlantsEastern Prairie Fringed-orchidPlatanthera leucophaeaON
Vascular PlantsForked Three-awned GrassAristida basirameaON QC
Vascular PlantsHowell's TriteleiaTriteleia howelliiBC
Vascular PlantsKellogg's RushJuncus kelloggiiBC
Vascular PlantsSmall-flowered LipocarphaLipocarpha micranthaBC ON
Vascular PlantsSmall-flowered Sand-verbenaTripterocalyx micranthusAB SK
Vascular PlantsStreambank LupineLupinus rivularisBC
MossesMargined Streamside MossScouleria marginataBC
MossesSilver Hair MossFabronia pusillaBC
MossesSpoon-leaved MossBryoandersonia illecebraON
LichensBoreal Felt Lichen, Atlantic populationErioderma pedicellatumNB NS
Threatened
MammalsGrey FoxUrocyon cinereoargenteusMB ON QC
ReptilesEastern Ribbonsnake, Atlantic populationThamnophis sauritusNS
ReptilesGreat Basin GophersnakePituophis catenifer deserticolaBC
ReptilesMassasaugaSistrurus catenatusON
ReptilesSpiny SoftshellApalone spiniferaON QC
ReptilesStinkpotSternotherus odoratusON QC
MolluscsDromedary Jumping-slugHemphillia dromedariusBC
LepidopteransMormon Metalmark, Prairie populationApodemia mormoSK
Vascular PlantsCommon HoptreePtelea trifoliataON
Vascular PlantsCrooked-stem AsterSymphyotrichum prenanthoidesON
Vascular PlantsLakeside DaisyHymenoxys herbaceaON
Vascular PlantsLemmon's Holly FernPolystichum lemmoniiBC
Vascular PlantsVan Brunt's Jacob's-ladderPolemonium vanbruntiaeQC
Vascular PlantsWestern SpiderwortTradescantia occidentalisAB SK MB
Vascular PlantsWhite Wood AsterEurybia divaricataON QC
Vascular PlantsWild HyacinthCamassia scilloidesON
Vascular PlantsWillowleaf AsterSymphyotrichum praealtumON
Special Concern
MammalsGrizzly Bear, Northwestern populationUrsus arctosYT NT NU BC AB
MammalsPolar BearUrsus maritimusYT NT NU MB ON QC NL
MammalsWolverine, Western populationGulo guloYT NT NU BC AB SK MB ON
MammalsWoodland Caribou, Northern Mountain populationRangifer tarandus caribouYT NT BC
BirdsCerulean WarblerDendroica ceruleaON QC
BirdsLong-billed CurlewNumenius americanusBC AB SK
BirdsWestern Screech-owl kennicottii subspeciesMegascops kennicottii kennicottiiBC
ReptilesEastern Ribbonsnake, Great Lakes populationThamnophis sauritusON
ReptilesMilksnakeLampropeltis triangulumON QC
ReptilesNorthern Map TurtleGraptemys geographicaON QC
ReptilesRubber BoaCharina bottaeBC
ReptilesWestern SkinkEumeces skiltonianusBC
AmphibiansGreat Plains ToadBufo cognatusAB SK MB
AmphibiansNorthern Leopard Frog, Western Boreal/Prairie populationsRana pipiensNT AB SK MB
AmphibiansRed-legged FrogRana auroraBC
AmphibiansSpring SalamanderGyrinophilus porphyriticusON QC
AmphibiansWestern ToadBufo boreasYT NT BC AB
MolluscsWarty Jumping-slugHemphillia glandulosaBC
Vascular PlantsAthabasca ThriftArmeria maritima ssp. interiorSK
Vascular PlantsClimbing Prairie RoseRosa setigeraON
Vascular PlantsTuberous Indian-plantainArnoglossum plantagineumON
LichensBoreal Felt Lichen, Boreal populationErioderma pedicellatumNL

Part II: Species proposed for amendment to the SARA list

Extirpated

Reptiles

Pacific Gophersnake
Pituophis catenifer catenifer

Status assigned by COSEWIC
Extirpated
COSEWIC reasons for status designation
There have been no sightings of this subspecies in almost 50 years.
Assessment date
May 2002
Previous Canadian range
British Columbia
Situation summary
The Pacific Gophersnake is known to have occurred in extreme southwestern British Columbia. It is one of three recognized subspecies of Gophersnake in Canada.
Urban encroachment and the resulting loss of the Pacific Gophersnake's grassland habitat may have lead to this subspecies' loss from Canada. In addition to the conversion of the grasslands of the lower Fraser Valley and Gulf Islands into farmland and urban developments, invasive Scotch broom has taken over much of the islands' remaining grasslands. Potential suitable habitat for this snake continues to decline rapidly in quality and size.
In Canada, the Pacific Gophersnake is known from only two records, both from a very small, restricted area in British Columbia at the very northern edge of Pituophis catenifer range. Despite this part of the province now being heavily populated, the Pacific Gophersnake has not been seen in Canada since 1957. The subspecies persists in the United States in western Oregon and California.
Both sightings of the Pacific Gophersnake in British Columbia were in grasslands, on Galiano Island and south of Abbotsford, near the international boundary at Sumas, Washington. This British Columbia population was probably a relict.
Gophersnakes play an important role; they have been known to remove large proportions of small mammal populations, some of which are a major threat to crops.
Conservation activities underway
A recovery strategy is under development and the species is included in multi-species recovery planning, under RENEW (Recovery of Nationally Endangered Wildlife in Canada), the national recovery program established under the Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk.

Pacific Pond Turtle
Actinemys marmorata

Status assigned by COSEWIC
Extirpated
COSEWIC reasons for status designation
This species was found occasionally in southern British Columbia up to 1959. This species is at risk throughout its range and has disappeared from the northern parts of its range, in British Columbia and most of Washington, Oregon and northern California. As it has not been recorded in British Columbia since 1959, it can be considered to be extirpated from Canada.
Assessment date
May 2002
Previous Canadian range
British Columbia
Situation summary
The Pacific Pond Turtle has disappeared from the northern parts of its range, including from southern British Columbia, most of Washington, Oregon and northern California. Its main distribution is now coastal California and Baja California, with isolated inland populations.
Although it can inhabit a wide variety of habitats, in areas where the Pacific Pond Turtle still occurs, it is most often found in slow-moving streams, large rivers and sloughs. It can tolerate brackish water for short periods. It occurs in water bodies with rocky as well as muddy bottoms and prefers areas with emergent vegetation. It requires deep pools with large woody debris that provides refuges from predators. The Pacific Pond Turtle experiences seasonal drought in portions of its range, apparently surviving by migrating to persisting pools and aestivating in the mud. Nest sites are in dry, open areas. This turtle overwinters in both woodland areas and under water. Suitable basking areas are critical for Pacific Pond Turtles to maintain optimal body temperature.
In the mid-1800s, the Pacific Pond Turtle was common in the ponds and lakes of the southern British Columbia mainland and Vancouver Island, but no sightings have been recorded in Canada since 1959. The last record is from the Vancouver area. The species has become rare or extirpated in the northern and southernmost parts of its range and it is at risk throughout the remaining range in the United States, where extensive wetland habitat modification and destruction continue to limit its distribution.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Pacific Pond Turtle was subject to unrelenting commercial harvesting for food, which caused a significant decline in overall population numbers. Habitat has been and continues to be modified or lost as agricultural and urban development increases in North America. Dams and other water diversions have created unsuitable habitat for turtles by increasing water velocity, decreasing water temperature, removing bank vegetation and creating barriers that prevent the turtles from accessing terrestrial habitat. The American Bullfrog, an eastern North American species introduced to the west coast, is a major predator of juvenile Pacific Pond Turtles. In Canada, the Pacific Pond Turtle was also limited by climate as southern British Columbia is at the extreme northern limit of its former range.
Conservation activities underway
A Recovery strategy and action plan are under development and this species is included in multi-species recovery planning under RENEW (Recovery of Nationally Endangered Wildlife in Canada).

Molluscs

Puget Oregonian Snail
Cryptomastix devia

Status assigned by COSEWIC
Extirpated
COSEWIC reasons for status designation
In Canada, the species was known previously (1850-1905) from only three old records from Vancouver Island and southwestern mainland of British Columbia. In spite of surveys of 38 forested localities in 1986 and 450 localities since 1990 for terrestrial gastropods and 142 localities specifically to locate C. devia (total of about 110 person hours) no specimens have been found. Regions in which known localities for C. devia were said to have occurred have been heavily impacted by urbanization and agricultural use.
Assessment date
November 2002
Previous Canadian range
British Columbia
Situation summary
The Puget Oregonian Snail occurs in the western Cascade Range and the Puget Trough. Its range once extended from southwestern British Columbia south to western Washington and to the Oregon side of the Columbia Gorge. Occurrence of the species is patchy throughout its remaining range in the United States where it is typically found at scattered localities. The only three Canadian records are from an extremely restricted area at the northern edge of the species' known range on Vancouver Island and on the southwestern mainland of British Columbia.
The habitat of the Puget Oregonian Snail is moist old-growth forests where large diameter decaying maple logs provide refuge from predators and severe weather. This snail is a mature forest specialist which inhabits moist old-growth and late-successional stage forests and riparian areas at low and middle elevations. The canopy closure is usually 70% or greater. The snails are frequently associated with hardwood debris or talus and are often found under decaying logs or leaf litter, especially around seepages or springs. Juveniles may be found on the mossy trunks of large Bigleaf Maples.
Probably never common within its Canadian range, the snail was last seen in 1905. Despite surveys for terrestrial gastropods of 38 forested localities in 1986 and 450 additional localities since 1990 and despite a survey of 142 localities specifically directed at locating this species, no Puget Oregonian Snail specimens were found.
The reasons for the extirpation of the Puget Oregonian Snail from Canada are unknown. Available information indicates that the species was likely uncommon when it did occur in Canada. Populations at the extreme northern edge of their range are more vulnerable to climatic fluctuations and stochastic events, and habitats in the vicinity of reported historical localities of the Puget Oregonian Snail have been modified extensively since the original records were made between 1850 and 1905. This snail cannot survive the lower humidity and higher temperatures that occur in clear-cuts and younger forests. Extensive habitat loss and fragmentation from urbanization and agriculture have led to deterioration in the quality of any remaining habitat, making it largely inhospitable to the snail. Non-native slugs are more common in urban and agricultural areas than in natural habitats and may also pose a problem through predation or competition.
Conservation activities underway
A recovery strategy is under development under RENEW (Recovery of Nationally Endangered Wildlife in Canada).

Mosses

Incurved Grizzled Moss
Ptychomitrium incurvum

Status assigned by COSEWIC
Extirpated
COSEWIC reasons for status designation
A small moss that is widely distributed in the eastern deciduous forests of eastern North America and whose frequency of occurrence attenuates toward the northern portion of its range. In Canada, the only known location for the species is a single record from a boulder in southern Ontario in 1828. Despite many years of collection made in the region, the species has never been rediscovered.
Assessment date
November 2002
Previous Canadian range
Ontario
Situation summary
The Incurved Grizzled Moss has a temperate global distribution. Most populations are centred in the eastern and southeastern United States and some occur in the mountainous regions of Europe. Widely distributed in the deciduous forests of eastern North America, this moss becomes increasingly uncommon toward the northern portion of its range. In Canada, the only known location for this species is a single record from a boulder in southern Ontario in 1828.
The Incurved Grizzled Moss grows in the eastern deciduous forest on both calcareous and non-calcareous rocks. It is commonly found on the surface and in small crevices of boulders in open hardwood forests and rarely at the base of trees or on logs. The Incurved Grizzled Moss appears adaptable to anthropogenic substrates, such as rock walls and gravestones.
In North America, the distribution of the Incurved Grizzled Moss is concentrated in the southeastern United States, but the moss is also relatively widespread and common in the eastern states. Over the last 150 to 200 years, this species has disappeared from New York State and its distribution is apparently retracting southward. This moss is small, inconspicuous and easily overlooked. In Canada, it is known from only one specimen collected in 1828 in the Niagara area, presumably in Ontario. Despite many years of collections made in the region, the species has never been rediscovered.
It is not known why the Incurved Grizzled Moss became extirpated from Canada. Apparently suitable habitat remains plentiful in Ontario and there are no known threats to the species. The historical record shows that the moss was at the extreme northern limit of its range and species at the edge of their ranges are more vulnerable to stochastic events. Human activities resulting in pollution and the loss of habitat may have contributed to the extirpation of this species from southern Ontario.
Conservation activities underway
None

Endangered

Mammals

Townsend's Mole
Scapanus townsendii

Status assigned by COSEWIC
Endangered
COSEWIC reasons for status designation
There are only about 450 mature individuals in a single Canadian population with a range of 13 km², adjacent to a small area of occupied habitat in the United States of America. Threats to the population include trapping by pest removal companies and property owners. The habitat has been degraded through fragmentation and urbanization. There is no evidence of decline over the last 10 years. It is uncertain whether immigration across the international border may rescue the Canadian population.
Assessment date
May 2003
The Townsend's Mole was designated by COSEWIC as Threatened in April of 1996. It was re-examined and up listed in 2003.
Canadian range
British Columbia
Applicable lands
None confirmed
Situation summary
The Townsend's Mole is found in the Pacific Coast Region of northern California, Oregon and Washington. In Canada, a single population occurs in an extremely restricted area of less than 13 km2 on the southern mainland of British Columbia. This population consists of fewer than 500 mature individuals and is adjacent to a small population in the United States.
Townsend's Moles are fossorial, spending most of their lives underground. They typically inhabit lowland areas, such as pastures, farmland and lawns, usually in medium-textured silt loam soil with good humus content. They are also found in open forests and light sandy soils.
In British Columbia, this species is limited by climate and available suitable habitat. Historically, the Townsend's Mole may have benefited from the creation of farmland, the drying of wet meadows by dyking and the introduction of large species of earthworms (such as Lumbricus terrestris) which have become a major food for the mole. New suitable habitat is no longer being created in significant amounts to benefit Townsend's Moles and populations are believed to have since declined. The loss of farmland through urban sprawl and habitat fragmentation contributes to lower population numbers. Intensive agricultural practices (such as constant tilling and the application of fertilizers and pesticides on farms growing vegetables, berries and flowers) create soils with poor structure and less earthworm biomass. Some moles may also be killed by pesticides and farm equipment. Over the last ten years, the species' range has been relatively stable, with no evidence of further population decline; however stable populations may be the result of immigration across the international border. Further loss of mole habitat outside Agricultural Land Reserve areas can be expected.
The primary threats to the species are from trapping by pest removal companies and property owners who do not always distinguish Townsend's Moles from more common moles. Molehills cause damage to farm machinery and livestock and the moles themselves eat some types of crops, leading some homeowners and farmers to treat moles as pests. The relatively low reproductive rate of the Townsend's Mole makes it slow to recover from population declines. While Coast Moles, a more common species, quickly re-invade areas from which they have been cleared, an area cleared of Townsend's Moles may be reinvaded by Coast Moles instead.
Conservation activities underway
None.

Wolverine, Eastern population
Gulo gulo

Status assigned by COSEWIC
Endangered
COSEWIC reasons for status designation
There have been no verified reports of this species in Quebec or Labrador for about 25 years but there are unconfirmed reports almost every year. Any remaining population would be extremely small and therefore at high risk of extinction from stochastic events such as incidental harvest. The apparent lack of recovery despite the recent high local abundance of caribou suggests that this population may be extirpated.
Assessment date
May 2003
In 1982, all Wolverines in Canada were considered a single unit. In April of 1989, the unit was split into an Eastern and a Western population, at which time the Eastern population was designated by COSEWIC as Endangered. This status was re-examined and confirmed in May of 2003.
Canadian range
Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador
Applicable lands
Wildlife Management Boards
Situation summary
In eastern Canada, Wolverines never occurred on the island of Newfoundland, in Nova Scotia or Prince Edward Island. They have probably been eliminated from New Brunswick in the early 19th century. There have been no verified reports of Wolverines in Quebec since 1978 or in Labrador since 1950, but there are unconfirmed reports almost every year. Any remaining population would be extremely small and at high risk of extinction.
Wolverines combine low reproductive rates with large home ranges and low population densities. Rather than being specific to a particular topography or plant association, they are most abundant where large ungulates are common and where carrion is available in winter. They require vast, undisturbed areas to maintain viable populations.
Although Wolverines were once much more widespread, their population in eastern Canada may have always been quite low. Historical data is considered unreliable because an unknown portion of the pelts in fur-trading records that are attributed to Quebec may have originated elsewhere. The current total population is unknown, but based on the lack of reliable reports for approximately 25 years, it is believed to be extremely low or non-existent.
Declines in the Eastern population of the Wolverine are related to a combination of factors: hunting and trapping in the late 19th century, dwindling caribou herds in the early 20th century, human encroachment on habitat, reduction in the number of wolves and the indiscriminate use of poison bait. Wolverines are most abundant where large ungulates are common and benefit from the carrion generated by other large carnivores. Increases in Wolverine populations have been noted elsewhere in Canada where caribou have increased. The apparent lack of recovery of Wolverines in Quebec despite both the recent high local abundance of caribou, and the recovery of wolves that followed the cessation of poisoning, suggests that the Eastern population - which is believed isolated from that in Ontario, may no longer exist.
Conservation activities underway
A recovery strategy is under development and a stewardship project is ongoing under RENEW (Recovery of Nationally Endangered Wildlife in Canada).

Birds

Western Screech-owl, macfarlanei subspecies
Megascops kennicottii macfarlanei

Status assigned by COSEWIC
Endangered
COSEWIC reasons for status designation
This subspecies has a very low population in Canada where it depends on mature riparian woodlands for nesting and roosting. These woodlands have been heavily impacted by agricultural and urban developments over the last century. It also relies on cavities in old, large trees for nesting and roosting, trees which have become rare even within the woodlands that remain.
Assessment date
May 2002
In 1995 the species was considered a single unit and assigned a status of Data Deficient. In May of 2002 it was split into two subspecies, each of which was assessed separately.
Canadian range
British Columbia
Applicable lands
Parks Canada Agency
Situation summary
The macfarlanei subspecies of the Western Screech-owl is found in western North America from southern Alaska to central Mexico. In Canada, the subspecies occurs in low numbers in a small restricted area. Its population is concentrated in the highly populated and developed Okanagan Valley in the southern interior of British Columbia.
The habitats in which the Western Screech-owl occurs are quite varied. In Canada and the northern United States, the owl prefers lower-elevation riparian areas with mature woodlands for nesting and roosting, but the forest type and proportion of coniferous to deciduous trees may vary.
There is no hard data on the subspecies' population size or trend, but the owl appears to have always been relatively uncommon and local in the central southern interior of the province and very rare in the west and east Kootenay region. The current population size is very small (estimated at 50 to 200 birds) and is thought to have been declining during the last 30 to 40 years. Over 50% of the owl's habitat has been lost to housing, agriculture and forestry and its range may also be contracting.
Habitat loss is considered the main factor contributing to the species' decline. The valley bottomlands preferred by the Western Screech-owl macfarlanei subspecies are more likely to be developed than are other habitats. Forestry operations may negatively affect screech-owl habitat. Current forestry practices dictate the removal of old, large trees and snags, making suitable nesting and roosting sites rare within the remaining woodlands. This loss could be mitigated by the provision of nest boxes, which the Western Screech-owl is known to use.
The Barred Owl has become common in British Columbia in the last few decades. Anecdotal reports allude to a link between Barred Owl predation and the decline of the Western Screech Owl. Collisions with motorized vehicles may also have a significant negative impact on such a small population.
Conservation activities underway
An update recovery plan and strategy are under development and stewardship projects are ongoing under RENEW (Recovery of Nationally Endangered Wildlife in Canada).

Reptiles

Blue Racer
Coluber constrictor foxii

Status assigned by COSEWIC
Endangered
COSEWIC reasons for status designation
The snake is almost certainly extirpated from mainland Ontario and blue racers are now found only in the eastern two-thirds of Pelee Island. Continued development for cottages, residences and other structures and an increase in vehicular traffic further reduce and fragment the amount of suitable habitat remaining.
Assessment date
May 2002
The Blue Racer was first designated Endangered by COSEWIC in April 1991. This status was confirmed in 2002.
Canadian range
Ontario
Applicable lands
None confirmed
Situation summary
This subspecies of Coluber constrictor has a distribution limited to an area south of the Great Lakes, from Iowa east to Ohio and north to extreme southwestern Ontario. In Canada, it is now found only on Pelee Island. The range of the Blue Racer in Canada has decreased; at one time this snake was more widely distributed on Pelee Island and also occurred in other areas of southwestern Ontario.
In Canada, Blue Racers prefer the open to semi-open habitat of Pelee Island's alvar savannahs, old fields and shorelines. During the summer, they live in open habitats with abundant cover, such as dense woody and/or herbaceous vegetation, rock outcrops and hedgerows. Blue Racers hibernate in quarries, old cisterns and areas where limestone bedrock is close to the surface. They have an extremely large activity range, which is in part attributable to the combination of their requirement for a variety of habitat types and to the high degree of habitat fragmentation that has occurred on the island.
All mainland populations, including those that once occurred in provincial parks, appear to have been lost. The Blue Racer now persists only on Pelee Island. Its range is undergoing further contraction and suitable habitat continues to become increasingly fragmented. In 1995 there were about 205 adult Blue Racers on Pelee Island, largely restricted to the eastern two thirds of the Island. Since then, the number of Blue Racers appears to have declined.
Loss of habitat is an important limiting factor. Blue Racers inhabit an area that is densely populated by humans and much of their habitat, particularly nesting and hibernating sites, has been lost. Continued development (for cottages, residences and other structures) and an increase in vehicular traffic further reduce and fragment the remaining suitable habitat. When compared with other racer populations in North America, the Blue Racers on Pelee Island range over an extremely large area - the average range is 75 ha for females and 140 ha for males - probably because habitat fragmentation on Pelee Island forces the snakes to travel greater distances to obtain the resources they need.
Accidental killing of snakes on roads and the deliberate killing of snakes by humans are two other significant threats to the continued existence of this subspecies in Canada. Furthermore, Blue Racers appear to be less tolerant of high levels of human activity than other snakes.
Conservation activities underway
A recovery strategy is in development and a stewardship project is ongoing on Pelee Island, under RENEW (Recovery of Nationally Endangered Wildlife in Canada).

Molluscs

Oregon Forestsnail
Allogona townsendiana

Status assigned by COSEWIC
Endangered
COSEWIC reasons for status designation
The species is restricted to a very small area of the extreme southwestern British Columbia mainland and southern Vancouver Island. Populations are severely fragmented with continuing declines observed in extent of occurrence, area of occupancy and area, extent and quality of habitat due mainly to urban development. Even though there may be other locations, the species is still very uncommon.
Assessment date
November 2002
Canadian range
British Columbia
Applicable lands
None confirmed
Situation summary
The Oregon Forestsnail has a limited global distribution. It is found only in two northwestern United States, on the extreme southwestern British Columbia mainland and on southern Vancouver Island. The British Colombia records are largely from the Fraser Valley in the Mission/Abbotsford/Chilliwack area and from the lower Chilliwack Valley. Two additional locations in Langley and on southern Vancouver Island are outside this core region.
The Oregon Forestsnail occupies low-elevation, mixed-wood and deciduous lowland forests that are typically dominated by Bigleaf Maple. In Canada, almost all the known sites where the snail occurs are at elevations under 360 m. A dense herbaceous cover was present at all sites and Stinging Nettles were often present. In addition to providing food, Stinging Nettles may discourage trampling. This snail is believed to require coarse woody debris, copious amounts of leaf litter and both living and senescent vegetation. Shade provided by the forest canopy conserves moisture and reduces fluctuations in temperature and humidity on the forest floor.
Throughout its Canadian range, the Oregon Forestsnail has a patchy distribution. Populations are severely fragmented with continuing declines observed in extent of occurrence, area of occupancy and the area, extent and quality of habitat, due mainly to urban development. Population trends cannot be determined due to the lack of historical information on population sizes. Recent searches have established 19 sites where the Oregon Forestsnail still occurs. Although the species may occur at other locations, it is very uncommon.
The most significant threat to the Oregon Forestsnail is that it lives adjacent to some of the most heavily modified and used land in British Columbia. Agriculture, logging and recent urbanization threaten snail populations. Because these activities increase habitat fragmentation, subpopulations are becoming more isolated, and habitat fragmentation can be expected to further degrade microhabitats. The minimum habitat size that can support a viable snail population is unknown. The poor dispersal ability of this species makes it unlikely that habitat patches will be recolonized if all the local individuals die. Numerous introduced slugs (such as Arion rufus and Deroceras reticulatum) may prey upon the Oregon Forestsnail or compete with it for resources. Brush burning, trampling and pest