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Description of Residence for Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus, circumcinctus and melodus subspecies) in Canada

Section 33 of the Species at Risk Act (SARA) prohibits damaging or destroying the residence of a listed threatened, endangered, or extirpated species. SARA defines residence as: “a dwelling-place, such as a den, nest or other similar area or place, that is occupied or habitually occupied by one or more individuals during all or part of their life cycles, including breeding, rearing, staging, wintering, feeding or hibernating” [s.2(1)].

The prohibition comes into effect in different ways depending on the jurisdiction responsible for the species. As a migratory bird protected under the Migratory Bird Convention Act, the Piping Plover is under federal jurisdiction. This means the residence prohibition is in effect on all lands on which the species occurs immediately upon its addition to the legal list of species at risk. 

Section 33 of the Species at Risk Act (SARA), prohibits damaging or destroying a listed threatened, endangered, or extirpated species’ residence. SARA defines residence as: “a dwelling-place, such as a den, nest or other similar area or place, that is occupied or habitually occupied by one or more individuals during all or part of their life cycles, including breeding, rearing, staging, wintering, feeding or hibernating” [s.2(1)]. The prohibition comes into effect immediately upon listing for all threatened, endangered, and extirpated species on federal lands, and for species under federal jurisdiction on all lands.  Species under federal jurisdiction are aquatic species (a wildlife species that is a fish, as defined in section 2 of the Fisheries Act, or a marine plant, as defined in section 47 of that Act) or migratory birds under the Migratory Birds Convention ActSARA also contains a provision to prohibit the destruction of non-federal species’ residences on provincial, territorial, and private lands by way of the federal criminal law power, if the Minister of the Environment deems it necessary to do so [s.34(2), 35(2)].

The following description of residence for the Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus –circumcinctus andmelodus subspecies)was created for the purposes of increasing public awareness and aiding enforcement of the above prohibition. Piping Plovers are known to have one type of residence – a nest.

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