Multi-species action plan for Georgian Bay Islands National Park of Canada

This photograph of the Blanding’s turtle was taken on the western shore of Georgian Bay Islands National Park. The turtle has a yellow chin and its head is sticking up. The shoreline is a mix of small gravel and sand with some sparse grasses in the background. The sun is reflecting off the turtles shell.
This is a close up photo of the top third of a single stem of Forked Three-awned Grass. The lower half of the stem retains a greenish colour with the awns that run perpendicular to the stem are dried and brown.
This photograph depicts an Eastern Foxsnake traversing down a dried tree branch. The branch has broken off the tree and is laying over a mossy ground cover. The snake is facing the lower right in the photo with its next outstretched and the main body coiled and atop the actual branch. The snake has a coppery coloured head with the body being scaled with contrasting yellow and black blotches.

Recommended citation:

Parks Canada Agency. 2016. Multi-species Action Plan for Georgian Bay Islands National Park of Canada. Species at Risk Act Action Plan Series. Parks Canada Agency, Ottawa. iv + 14 pp.

For copies of the action plan, or for additional information on species at risk, including COSEWIC Status Reports, residence descriptions, recovery strategies, and other related recovery documents, please visit the Species At Risk Public RegistryFootnote1.

Cover illustration: Photos: Parks Canada Agency.

Également disponible en français sous le titre :
Plan d’action visant des espèces multiples dans le parc national des Île-de-la-Baie-Goergienne.

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, 2016. All rights reserved.
ISBN 978-0-660-06442-0
Catalogue no. CW69-21/24-2016E-PDF

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

Recommendation and Approval Statement

The Parks Canada Agency led the development of this federal action plan. The Field Unit Superintendent approves this document indicating that the relevant Species at Risk Act requirements related to action plan development have been fulfilled in accordance with the Act.

Approved by:

Katherine Patterson
Field Unit Superintendent, Georgian Bay and Ontario East
Parks Canada Agency


The federal, provincial, and territorial government signatories under the Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk (1996)Footnote2 agreed to establish complementary legislation and programs that provide for effective protection of species at risk throughout Canada. Under the Species at Risk Act (S.C. 2002, c.29) (SARA), the federal competent ministers are responsible for the preparation of action plans for species listed as Extirpated, Endangered, and Threatened for which recovery has been deemed feasible. They are also required to report on progress five years after the publication of the final document on the Species At Risk Public Registry.

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

The Minister responsible for the Parks Canada Agency (the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change) is the competent minister under SARA for the species found in Georgian Bay Islands National Park of Canada and has prepared this action plan to implement the recovery strategies as they apply to the park, as per section 47 of SARA. It has been prepared in cooperation with Beausoleil First Nation, Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the province of Ontario as per section 48(1) of SARA.

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


Comments on this action plan were provided by Wasauksing First Nation (Hali Tabobondung). Comments were also provided by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forests (Chris Risley, Joe Crowley, Joe Nocera) and Environment Canada – Canadian Wildlife Service (Angela McConnell, Lee Voisin, Ken Tuininga, Allison Foran, John Brett).

Executive Summary

The Multi-species Action Plan for Georgian Bay Islands National Park of Canada applies to lands and waters occurring within the boundaries of Georgian Bay Islands National Park of Canada (GBINP). The plan meets the requirements for action plans set out in the Species at Risk Act (SARA s.47) for species requiring an action plan and that regularly occur in this park. Measures described in this plan will also provide benefits for other species of conservation concern that regularly occur at GBINP.

Where it has been determined that the park can conduct management activities to help recover and/or manage a species, park-specific objectives are identified in this plan and represent the park’s contribution to objectives presented in federal recovery strategies and management plans. Species at risk, their residences, and their habitat are protected by existing regulations and management regimes in national parks as well as by SARA. Additional measures that will contribute to the survival and recovery of the species in the park are described in this plan. These measures were identified based on threats and actions outlined in federal and provincial status assessments and recovery documents, as well as knowledge of the status and needs of each species in the park. Population monitoring measures are also identified for the species for which management activities at the park can contribute to recovery.

No critical habitat is identified in this action plan. Measures used for protection of existing critical habitat are described.

Measures proposed in this action plan will have limited socio-economic impact and place no restrictions on land use outside of GBINP. Direct costs of implementing this action plan will be borne by Parks Canada. Indirect costs are expected to be minimal, while benefits will include positive impacts on park ecological integrity, greater awareness and appreciation of the value of biodiversity to Canadians, and opportunities for engagement of local communities and Indigenous groups.

Table of Contents

1. Context

Georgian Bay Islands National Park (GBINP) is located in southeastern Georgian Bay in the heart of Ontario’s cottage country. Georgian Bay is home to the world’s largest freshwater archipelago, the 30,000 Islands, and the park acts as a southern gateway into this area. Comprising 63 dispersed islands and shoals the total area of the park is 14 km2 from the Centennial Group in the south to McQuade Island 50 kilometres northward. Situated just 150 km from the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), GBINP is within a half-day’s drive for millions of Canadians. Created in 1929 it is Canada’s smallest national park straddling two natural regions and forms a core protected area of the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve. The park lies on the edge of the Canadian Shield and is home to both northern and southern plants and animals. The islands are renowned for the variety of reptiles and amphibians they support. The park also has significant cultural value, having been occupied continuously for over 5,500 years.

Maintenance and restoration of ecological integrity is the first priority of national parks (Canada National Parks Act s.8(2)). Species at risk, their residences, and their habitat are therefore protected by existing national park regulations and management regimes. In addition, the Species at Risk Act (SARA) prohibitions protecting individuals and residences apply automatically when a species is listed, and all critical habitat in national parks and national historic sites must be legally protected within 180 days of being identified.

Recovery measures for species at risk will be integrated within the framework of Parks Canada’s ongoing ecological integrity programs. Parks Canada’s ecological integrity programs make contributions to the recovery of species at risk by providing inventory and monitoring data, and through the implementation of habitat restoration projects and other conservation measures. The species-directed measures outlined in this plan will in turn contribute to maintaining and improving the ecological integrity of Georgian Bay Islands National Park by improving the conservation status of native species and their habitat and maintaining biodiversity.

In addition to status assessments, a number of federal and provincial recovery strategies and plans, management plans, and action plans have been prepared for species considered in this action plan. Those documents provide guidance for the recovery of individual species, including strategic directions, recovery objectives, critical habitat, and threats. This action plan was developed and will be implemented in a manner that is consistent with those recovery documents, and should be viewed as part of this body of linked strategies and plans.

1.1 Scope of the Action Plan

The geographic scope of this action plan includes all federally owned lands and waters managed by GBINP (Figure 1). This multi-species action plan has been written specifically for GBINP because the Parks Canada Agency (PCA) is legally responsible for species at risk on PCA lands and waters, has the ability to take direct conservation action, and deals with different threats, legislation, and management priorities than areas outside the park.

Figure 1. Geographic scope for the Multi-species Action Plan for Georgian Bay Islands National Park of Canada.

This map shows Georgian Bay Islands National Park of Canada. The park is a series of 63 islands scattered within the south eastern shore of Georgian Bay. Three quarters of the total area of the 14km2 park is Beausoleil Island near Honey Harbour (ON).

This action plan addresses SARA-listed species that regularly occur in GBINP which require an action plan under SARA (s.47), as well as other species of conservation concern (Table 1). This approach both responds to the legislated requirements of the SARA and provides the Parks Canada Agency with a comprehensive plan for species conservation and recovery at these sites. The plan will be amended as required to meet SARA requirements for action planning.

Table1. Species at risk included in the action plan for GBINP.
Species Scientific Name COSEWIC Status SARA Schedule 1 Status
Blanding’s Turtle (Great Lakes/St. Lawrence population) Emydoidea blandingii Threatened Threatened
Eastern Foxsnake (Great Lakes/St. Lawrence population) Pantherophis gloydi Endangered Endangered
Eastern Hog-nosed Snake Heterodon platirhinos Threatened Threatened
Eastern Musk Turtle Stenotherus odoratus Special Concern Threatened
Eastern Whip-poor-will Antrostomus vociferous Threatened Threatened
Forked Three-awned Grass Aristida basiramea Endangered Endangered
Little Brown Myotis Myotis lucifugus Endangered Endangered
Massasauga Sistrurus catenatus Threatened Threatened
Spotted Turtle Clemmys guttata Endangered Endangered
Western Chorus Frog (Great Lakes/St. Lawrence – Canadian Shield population) Pseudacris triseriata Threatened Threatened
Cerulean Warbler Setophaga cerulean Endangered Special Concern
Eastern Ribbonsnake (Great Lakes population) Thamnophis sauritus Special Concern Special Concern
Five-lined Skink (Great Lakes/St. Lawrence population) Plestiodon fasciatus vermiculatus Special Concern Special Concern
Milksnake Lampropeltis triangulum Special Concern Special Concern
Monarch Danaus plexippus Special Concern Special Concern
Northern Map Turtle Graptemys geographica Special Concern Special Concern
Snapping Turtle Chelydra serpentine Special Concern Special Concern
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica Threatened Not Listed
Eastern Wood-pewee Contopus virens Special Concern Not Listed
Puttyroot Aplectrum hyemale Not Assessed Not Listed
Stiff Yellow Flax Linum medium var. medium Not Assessed Not Listed
Wood Thrush Hylocichla mustelina Threatened Not Listed

2. Site-based Population and Distribution Objectives

The potential for PCA to undertake management actions at the park that will contribute to the recovery of each species was assessed. Park-specific population and distribution objectives were developed (Table 2) to identify the contribution that GBINP can make towards achieving the national objectives presented in federal recovery strategies and management plans. Because they are directly linked to the park population and distribution objectives, monitoring activities are reported in Table 2 rather than in the table of recovery measures (Table 3). If there is little opportunity for the park to contribute to the recovery of a species, site-specific objectives and conservation measures may be limited to protection measures in place under the Canada National Parks Act and SARA, population monitoring, habitat maintenance, and restoration through the existing management regime at GBINP. For many species, site-specific population and distribution objectives for GBINP are not meaningful at the scale of this action plan for various reasons, including 1) threats cannot be controlled in the park or do not exist in the park (e.g., wide-spread disease, loss of overwintering habitat elsewhere); 2) species is only transient or does not occur on land over which the park has jurisdiction (e.g., migrates through park); and, 3) population within the park is a very small part of the Canadian distribution or is unknown or unconfirmed.

Table 2: Species information, objectives and monitoring plans for species at risk in GBINP.
Species National or provincial objectivesFootnote3 Site-based population & distribution objectives Population trend in GBINPFootnote4 Population monitoringFootnote5 General information and broad park approach
Eastern Foxsnake (Great Lakes/St. Lawrence population) Maintain current abundance, area of occupancy and habitat connectivity within local populations. Work with private land owners of hibernaculum to maintain occupancy and site integrity. Stable Visit hibernaculum every 3 years and record Incidental sightings in the park. The known hibernaculum occurs outside the park and individuals disperse long distances and some enter the park. In their travels the snakes encounter many threats and thus the continued need for park outreach efforts.
Forked Three-awned Grass Maintain self-sustaining populations at all sites where the species is of native origin. Maintain current area of occupancy in the park. Increasing Map area of occupancy every 3 years using GPS and estimate population density. The population is currently doing well without any intervention in the park and is not currently threatened within the park.
Monarch Mitigate threats to Monarch and ensure that there is sufficient breeding, nectaring and staging habitat in Canada Maintain reproducing individuals in GBINP. Unknown Record incidental observations of caterpillars and/or eggs. GBINP is a very small part of the Canadian range of the Monarch. Some habitat exists at the park that is suitable for roosting and breeding.
Stiff Yellow Flax N/A Maintain current distribution in GBINP Unknown Map distribution of the species using shoreline surveys every 5 years. This species likely numbers in the 1000s in GBINP along the shoreline. The main known threat to the species is Phragmites encroachment.
Barn Swallow, Blanding’s Turtle, Cerulean Warbler, Eastern Hog-nosed Snake, Eastern Musk Turtle, Eastern Ribbonsnake, Eastern Whip-poor-will, Eastern Wood-pewee, Five-lined Skink, Little Brown Myotis, Massasauga, Milksnake, Northern Map Turtle, Puttyroot, Snapping Turtle, Spotted Turtle, Western Chorus Frog   No objective established: because no threats known in park; or no GBINP management actions can contribute to conservation within the park and GBINP is of limited importance to the species' national recovery. Unknown Record incidental observations and share with partners. Continue to contribute to drafting of recovery plans and identification of critical habitat where applicable. The park will continue to protect individuals and protect suitable habitat on park lands and support partners where feasible on recovery and protection of these species. Additionally, GBINP will work with partners to conduct opportunistic surveys for under-surveyed species in the park and adjust management approaches appropriately when new populations are found.

3. Conservation and Recovery Measures

This action planning process identified measures to achieve the site-based population and distribution objectives, along with measures required to protect the species and learn more about them. The process of determining which measures will be conducted by the Park (Table 3) involved a prioritization process. The process primarily considered ecological effectiveness of measures, and also included consideration of opportunities to increase the value of visitor experience to the park, opportunities to increase awareness through external relations, and budgetary opportunities and constraints. Wherever possible, Parks Canada is taking an ecosystem approach, prioritizing actions that benefit numerous species at once to effectively and efficiently protect and recover species at risk.

As an island-based unit that straddles two unique ecosystems, GBINP has long maintained a high biodiversity of species that has not been affected by a variety of risk factors (e.g. roads, development, etc.). As a result, conservation strategies at the park are largely pro-active and include targeted public and visitor education. The park played a key role in the protection of the Massasauga rattlesnake since the 1970’s when indiscriminate killing of the species was commonplace. In the following years, the park initiated an on-site and community-based program to foster improved understanding and appreciation of the Massasauga rattlesnake, to reduce indiscriminate killing and to promote co-existence between people and snakes. The program was a success and laid the groundwork for similar programs on other reptiles which are on-going. Today, through partnerships with other agencies, these conservation efforts have expanded to include a wide variety of tools, including; identification guides, posters, signs, stewardship manuals, videos, road-kill mitigations, and land-use plans.

Table 3: Conservation and recovery measures that will be conducted by GBINP.
Species Measure # Measure Desired Outcome Threat or recovery measure addressedFootnote6 Timeline
All reptiles 1 Continue to work with other agencies to educate visitors and local audiences about reptiles. Continue to deliver presentations about SAR at the two YMCA camps within the park and weekly presentations to park visitors at the campground. Discriminate killing, road mortality, pet trade On-going
All reptiles 2 Support research, surveys and other projects that help fill knowledge gaps and address key recovery actions. Continue to support projects conducted within the park. Fill knowledge gaps. On-going
Cerulean Warbler, Eastern Wood-pewee 3 Continue to conduct the Forest Bird Monitoring Program. Updated knowledge of the presence of species in the park. On-going assessment of population size and distribution of the Cerulean Warbler (Environment Canada, 2011). Annually
Western Chorus Frog 4 Survey for chorus frogs in the park. Determine if Western Chorus Frogs occur in the park. Clarify the range boundary (Environment Canada, 2015h). 2021
Forked Three-awned Grass 5 Monitor and mitigate any threats to the park population. Note any encroachment by invasive species and respond quickly if needed. Invasive species. Annually
Massasauga 6 Relocate snakes when required in high visitor-use areas of the park. Continue to minimize negative human/snake encounters. Discriminate killing, habitat loss (Parks Canada Agency, 2015). On-going
Massasauga 7 Work with recovery team to develop best management practices and provide advice, eg. Municipal planning. Continue to provide advice to allow Canadians to co-exist with snakes and impact snakes as little as possible. Discriminate killing, development of roads, development of other infrastructure, forest management (Parks Canada Agency, 2015). Annually as opportunities arise.
Monarch 8 Work with volunteers to restore Monarch habitat. Increased abundance of native milkweed and nectaring species in park. Loss of habitat (Environment Canada, 2014a). Annually until 2018

4. Critical Habitat

Critical habitat is “the habitat that is necessary for the survival or recovery of a listed wildlife species and that is identified as the species’ critical habitat in the recovery strategy or in an action plan for the species” (SARA s.2(1)). At the time of writing of this document, it was not possible to identify any additional critical habitat in the park. Critical habitat has already been identified in the park in recovery strategies for Forked Three-awned Grass and the Massasauga and more will be identified in the future when possible. Where critical habitat identification is not complete, it will be identified in an upcoming or revised action plan or revised recovery strategy; refer to the schedule of studies in relevant recovery strategies for further details.

4.1 Proposed Measures to Protect Critical Habitat

Critical habitat identified in other recovery documents within GBINP will be legally protected from destruction as per section 58 of the SARA.

5. Evaluation of Socio-Economic Costs and of Benefits

The Species at Risk Act requires the responsible federal minister to undertake “an evaluation of the socio-economic costs of the action plan and the benefits to be derived from its implementation.”

5.1. Costs

The total cost to implement the action plan will be borne by Parks Canada out of existing salaries and goods and services dollars. This includes incremental salary costs, materials, equipment, and contracting of professional services for measures outlined in this plan. No major socio-economic costs to partners, stakeholders or Indigenous groups are expected as a result of this action plan.

Many of the proposed measures will be integrated into the operational management of the sites and there will be few new costs. These costs to the government will be covered by prioritization of existing funds and salary dollars at the site and thereby will not result in additional costs to society.

The action plan applies to lands and waters in GBINP, and does not bring any restrictions to land use outside the sites. As such, this action plan will place no socio-economic costs on the public. However, minor restrictions may be placed on visitor activities on park lands and waters to protect and recover species at risk.

5.2. Benefits

Measures presented in this action plan for GBINP will contribute to meeting recovery strategy objectives for threatened or endangered species, and will also contribute to meeting management objectives for species of special concern. These measures are expected to have an overall positive impact on ecological integrity and enhance opportunities for appreciation of the park and the species by visitors and the general public. This action plan includes measures which could result in benefits to Canadians, such as positive impacts on biodiversity and the value individuals place on preserving biodiversity.

The proposed measures seek a balanced approach to reducing or eliminating threats to species-at-risk populations and habitats, and include protection of individuals and their habitat (e.g., restrictions to human activities within areas occupied by the species, combined with ongoing research and monitoring), potential species re-establishment, and increasing public awareness and stewardship (e.g., signage, visitor programs, and highlights in communication media).

Potential economic benefits of the recovery of the species at risk found in these sites cannot be easily quantified, as many of the values derived from wildlife are non-market commodities that are difficult to appraise in financial terms. Wildlife, in all its forms, has value in and of itself, and is valued by Canadians for aesthetic, cultural, spiritual, recreational, educational, historical, economic, medical, ecological and scientific reasons. The conservation of wildlife at risk is an important component of the Government of Canada’s commitment to conserving biological diversity, and is important to Canada’s current and future economic and natural wealth.

Implementing this action plan is expected to have positive benefits for park visitors, local residents, and Indigenous groups. Some activities in the plan may create opportunities for local residents to become involved in the recovery of species at risk and for cooperation and community partnerships in species-at-risk recovery. Benefits should be relatively evenly distributed across individuals in local communities, and opportunities for involvement will be available to all local residents. These include opportunities to learn about and take part in the recovery of culturally important species at risk, opportunities for visitors and local communities to be involved in conservation issues, opportunities for integration of Indigenous Traditional Knowledge into conservation issues in GBINP, and greater awareness of Indigenous values and culture among local residents and visitors to the parks. In doing so the plan supports the goals under the Species at Risk Act “the traditional knowledge of the aboriginal peoples of Canada should be considered in the assessment of which species may be at risk and in developing and implementing recovery measures”.

6. Measuring Progress

Reporting on implementation of the action plan (under s. 55 of SARA) will be done by assessing progress towards implementing the measures. Reporting on the ecological and socio-economic impacts of the action plan will be done by assessing progress towards meeting the site-based population and distribution objectives.

7. References

Eastern Foxsnake Recovery Team. 2010. Recovery strategy for the Eastern Foxsnake (Pantherophis gloydi) – Carolinian and Georgian Bay populations in Ontario. Ontario Recovery Strategy Series. Prepared for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Peterborough, Ontario. vi + 39 pp.

Environment Canada. 2011. Management Plan for the Cerulean Warbler (Dendroica cerulea) in Canada. Species at Risk Act Management Plan Series. Environment Canada, Ottawa. iii + 19 pp.

Environment Canada. 2013. Management Plan for the Five-lined Skink (Plestiodon fasciatus), Great Lakes/St. Lawrence population, in Canada. Species at Risk Act Management Plan Series. Environment Canada, Ottawa. iv + 17 pp.

Environment Canada. 2014a. Action Plan for the Forked Three-awned Grass (Aristida basiramea) in Ontario. Species at Risk Act Action Plan Series. Environment Canada, Ottawa. iv + 23 pp.

Environment Canada. 2014b. Management Plan for the Monarch (Danaus plexippus) in Canada [Proposed]. Species at Risk Act Management Plan Series. Environment Canada, Ottawa. iv + 39 pp.

Environment Canada. 2015a. Management Plan for the Eastern Ribbonsnake (Thamnophis sauritus), Great Lakes population, in Canada. Species at Risk Act Management Plan Series, Environment Canada, Ottawa, iv + 23 pp.

Environment Canada. 2015b. Management Plan for the Milksnake (Lampropeltis triangulum) in Canada. Species at Risk Act Management Plan Series. Environment Canada, Ottawa. iii + 27 pp.

Environment Canada. 2015c. Recovery Strategy for the Eastern Whip-poor-will (Antrostomus vociferus) in Canada [Proposed]. Species at Risk Act Recovery Strategy Series. Environment Canada, Ottawa. v + 59 pp.

Environment Canada. 2015d. Recovery Strategy for the Western Chorus Frog (Pseudacris triseriata), Great Lakes / St. Lawrence – Canadian Shield Population, in Canada, Species at Risk Act Recovery Strategy Series, Environment Canada, Ottawa, vi + 50 pp.

Environment Canada. 2016a Management Plan for the Northern Map Turtle (Graptemys geographica) in Canada [Proposed]. Species at Risk Act Management Plan Series. Environment Canada, Ottawa. iv + 45 pp.

Environment Canada. 2016b. Recovery Strategy for the Blanding’s Turtle (Emydoidea blandingii), Great Lakes / St. Lawrence population, in Canada [Proposed]. Species at Risk Act Recovery Strategy Series. Environment Canada, Ottawa. vii + 49 pp.

Environment Canada. 2016c. Recovery Strategy for the Eastern Musk Turtle (Sternotherus odoratus) in Canada [Proposed]. Species at Risk Act Recovery Strategy Series. Environment Canada, Ottawa. viii + 58 pp.

Environment Canada. 2016d. Recovery Strategy for the Spotted Turtle (Clemmys guttata) in Canada [Proposed]. Species at Risk Act Recovery Strategy Series. Environment Canada, Ottawa. viii + 54 pp.

Jones, J.A. 2007. Recovery Strategy for Forked Three-awned Grass (Aristida basiramea) in Canada. In Species at Risk Act Recovery Strategy Series. Ottawa: Parks Canada. 25 pp.

Parks Canada Agency. 2010. Georgian Bay Islands National Park of Canada Management Plan. Parks Canada Agency. Ottawa. 47 pp.

Parks Canada Agency. 2015. Recovery Strategy for the Massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus) in Canada. Species at Risk Act Recovery Strategy Series. Parks Canada Agency. Ottawa. vii + 35 pp.

Seburn, D. 2009. Recovery Strategy for the Eastern Hog-nosed Snake (Heterodon platirhinos) in Canada. Species at Risk Act Recovery Strategy Series. Parks Canada Agency, Ottawa. vi + 24pp.

Appendix A: Effects on the Environment and Other Species

A strategic environmental assessment (SEA) is conducted on all SARA recovery planning documents, in accordance with the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals. The purpose of a SEA is to incorporate environmental considerations into the development of public policies, plans, and program proposals to support environmentally sound decision-making and to evaluate whether the outcomes of a recovery planning document could affect any component of the environment or achievement of any of the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy’sFootnote7 goals and targets.

Recovery planning is intended to benefit species at risk and biodiversity in general. However, it is recognized that recovery measures may also inadvertently lead to environmental effects beyond the intended benefits. The planning process, which is 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, and are summarized below.

Overall, it is anticipated that implementation of this action plan will have a beneficial impact on non-target species, ecological processes, and the environment in GBINP. This plan puts into practice recovery goals presented in recovery strategies already developed for some of the species at risk in this plan, which were subject to SEAs during the development of those documents. Further, this action plan was developed to benefit all species at risk that regularly occur in GBINP; all of these species were considered in the planning process, any potential secondary effects were considered and mitigated, and where appropriate, measures were designed to benefit multiple species. The planning process was also guided by priorities identified in the park’s ecological integrity monitoring program and the park’s management plan (Parks Canada, 2010). Consequently measures outlined in this plan address key management priorities aimed at improving the broader ecological health of the park. Finally, this plan outlines stewardship measures, educational programs, and awareness initiatives that will involve park visitors, local residents, Indigenous organizations, and the general public. This will lead to greater appreciation, understanding, and action towards the conservation and recovery of species at risk in general.

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