Progress Report on Steps Taken for Protection of Critical Habitat for Species at Risk in Canada (October 2019 to September 2020)

December 2020

Document information

Recommended citation: Environment and Climate Change Canada. 2020. Progress Report on Steps Taken for Protection of Critical Habitat for Species at Risk in Canada (October 2019 - September 2020). Species at Risk Act Critical Habitat Report Series. Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ottawa.

For copies of this report, or for additional information on species at risk, including the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) Status Reports, residence descriptions, action plans, and other related recovery documents, please visit the Species at Risk (SAR) Public RegistryFootnote 1.

Également disponible en français sous le titre.
« Rapport d’étape sur les mesures prises pour la protection de l’habitat essentiel des espèces en péril au Canada (octobre 2019 à septembre 2020) »

Departmental message

Protecting and recovering species at risk and their critical habitat is a core responsibility of Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), which they share with the provincial and territorial governments. ECCC works with provinces and territories, Indigenous Peoples, and other partners and stakeholders to undertake conservation measures to improve the protection of biodiversity and species at risk.

In collaboration with most provinces and territories, the implementation of the Pan-Canadian Approach to Transforming Conservation of Species at Risk (Pan-Canadian Approach), supported by the Canada Nature Fund (CNF), is starting to yield better outcomes for species at risk through collaborative, multi-species and ecosystem based conservation initiatives in priority places, species and sectors and threatsFootnote 2.

Significant progress has been made for the six priority species, particularly through the implementation of collaborative stewardship-based arrangements. To date, twelve conservation agreements under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) have been finalized or are in negotiation for three priority species (Boreal and Southern Mountain Caribou, and Wood Bison) with provinces, territories, and Indigenous peoples. Investments made under the Canada Nature Fund, including matching contributions and co-leveraged investments from partners, are supporting on-the-ground projects for the recovery of the six priority species across the country. Ongoing collaborative conservation planning arrangements with partners, including Indigenous peoples and multi-partner tables, will also further ensure implementation of high-priority conservation measures for each priority species.

Future reports will continue to expand on the contribution of the priority places and other initiatives of the Pan-Canadian Approach to the protection and recovery of species at risk and their critical habitat through the collaborative stewardship actions of partners. As these initiatives continue to advance through partner engagement (including governance), conservation action planning, and implementation of actions on-the-ground, new and innovative communication tools will be developed to disseminate their progress and outcomes.

ECCC, along with its various partners, continue their work to transform the approach to terrestrial species at risk conservation through advancing the implementation of the Pan-Canadian Approach and related policy and program improvements.

Introduction

The purposes of the Species at Risk Act (SARA) are to prevent wildlife species from being extirpated or becoming extinct, to provide for the recovery of wildlife species that are extirpated, endangered or threatened as a result of human activity, and to manage species of special concern to prevent them from becoming threatened or endangered. The responsibility for conservation of species at risk in Canada is shared by both levels of government. The Government of Canada first looks to the provinces and territories for the protection of terrestrial species’ habitat on non-federally administered lands, whereas the federal government is responsible for critical habitat protection for all species on federal lands.

One of the tools available to the Government of Canada in SARA is the tracking and reporting on actions taken and measures put in place to protect identified critical habitat of species at risk. This responsibility is found under section 63 of the Act. The department has published five reports to date on the measures taken.

In addition to reporting on the implementation of SARA, federal, provincial and territorial governments have been implementing the Pan-Canadian Approach to Transforming Species at Risk Conservation in CanadaFootnote 3 (the Pan-Canadian Approach) since 2018. This approach, now in its third year of implementation, is shifting from a single-species conservation approach to one that focuses on multiple species and ecosystems. This approach also concentrates conservation efforts on priority places, species, sectors and threats across Canada. This transformative approach is enabling conservation partners to work together to achieve better outcomes for species at risk. The Pan-Canadian Approach is also renewing relationships and strengthening collaboration between our governments and Indigenous Peoples, and other partners, including industry and non-governmental organizations.

In the spirit of the Pan-Canadian Approach, and of section 63 of the Species at Risk Act, this report provides a summary of steps and actions taken and underway by provincial, territorial and federal governments to contribute towards the protection of identified critical habitat for 228 species at risk in Canada (see Annex A). The report encompasses information related to species at risk critical habitat on non-federal lands and in national parks. Building on the previous five publicationsFootnote 4, this report focuses on the periods of October 1, 2019, to March 31, 2020, and of April 1 to September 30, 2020, and specifically on the steps and actions that have occurred within those two reporting periods.

Report framework / category definitions

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) contacted provinces and territories to request that they report on steps and actions taken to contribute towards the protection of critical habitat on non-federally administered land. The starting point for this request begins with critical habitat as identified in federal recovery strategies or action plans for federally listed species at risk, between October 1st, 2019 and September 30th, 2020, thereby covering two consecutive reporting periods of 180 days. Due to priority settings to address the COVID-19 pandemic, the report covering the period between October 1st, 2019 and March 31st, 2020 was delayed.

In the spirit of the Pan-Canadian Approach, steps or actions are organized in this report based on whether they relate to a single species, or relate to multi-species, priority places, or priority sectors and threats. ECCC also summarized the input and categorized it into the type of step or action taken. The key categories of steps or actions are defined as follows:

The list of species in each jurisdiction to which this report applies can be found in Annex A. This list represents all terrestrial species currently listed on Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act (SARA) as threatened or endangered for which critical habitat has been identified on non-federal land or on territorial land in a final federal recovery strategy or action planFootnote 5.

The Yukon and Northwest Territories devolution agreements have given administration and control of large portions of land to the Yukon and Northwest Territories governments. This type of agreement is under negotiation for Nunavut. The federal government is working with the governments of the Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Indigenous governments and organizations, and northern Wildlife Management Boards to develop a path forward for protection of critical habitat on devolved lands (also known as territorial lands) and on non‑federally administered lands in Nunavut.

1 Protection of critical habitat in the provinces

For critical habitat occurring on non-federally administered lands in the provinces, the Government of Canada first looks to the laws of the provinces for the protection of terrestrial species’ habitat. In the following sections, a summary of the applicable legislation is provided, followed by the different actions and measures put in place which reduce the risk of destruction of critical habitat, as reported by the provincial governments.

1.1 British Columbia

Status summary

In British Columbia (B.C.), there are 92 species at risk with federally identified critical habitat to which this report relates (see Annex A1). From October 1st 2019 to September 30th 2020, three new species have had critical habitat identified on non-federal lands within BC. No legislative changes were made during the reporting period; the summary of legislation is below.

The Government of British Columbia does not currently have stand-alone species at risk legislation, and the purpose of most provincial land use legislation in B.C. is to manage industrial and commercial activities, including the environmental effects of those activities.

The Ecological Reserve Act, the Park Act, the Wildlife Act, and their associated regulations include provisions that could, in some circumstances, result in an outcome that prohibits critical habitat destruction within ecological reserves, in conservancies or provincial parks, and in wildlife management areas respectively. However, the scope of lands covered by these Acts is limited, and, except within ecological reserves, there are discretions that may enable the authorization of activities likely to result in the destruction of critical habitat. The Forest and Range Practices Act and associated regulations include enforceable prohibitions, but the prohibitions only apply to forest harvesting activities or range use practices under some circumstances, vary in their application depending on the specific land use designation, and have less restrictive provisions or exemptions for various types of operators.

On non-federal lands, some provisions in other pieces of legislation in B.C. may be used to prohibit specific activities likely to result in destruction of critical habitat.

For more details on the provincial legislative assessment, please refer to the 2019 Report on Steps Taken and Protection of Critical Habitat for Species at Risk in Canada.

Steps and actions taken for specific species
Category Species Details
Legislative or regulatory Northern Goshawk Prior to the start of the reporting period, BC had already designated 35 wildlife habitat areas (WHAs) by order under the Government Actions Regulation of the Forest and Range Practices Act. In 2019 and 2020, BC established 19 additional WHAs for the Northern Goshawk covering over 3,668ha.
Legislative or regulatory

Great Basin Spadefoot

Half-moon Hairstreak

Lewis’s Woodpecker

Pacific Water Shrew

Rocky Mountain Tailed Frog

Spotted Owl

Tall Bugbane

Williamson Sapsucker

Yellow-breasted Chat

There has not been new designations of WHAs since the last report (March-September 2019), however new information was made available concerning the designation of WHAs for the Great Basin Spadefoot, Lewis’s Woodpecker, Pacific Water Shrew and Williamson Sapsucker. 11 new WHAs were established for the Great Basin Gophersnake. The WHAs established in B.C. for species with federally identified critical habitat, some of which overlap with critical habitat are:

  • Great Basin Spadefoot: 1200.5 ha
  • Great Basin Gophersnake: 2090 ha
  • Half-moon hairstreak: 386.6 ha
  • Lewis’s woodpecker: 3219.2 ha
  • Pacific Water Shrew: 423.4 ha
  • Rocky mountain tailed frog: 1238.3 ha
  • Spotted Owl: 187,961 ha
  • Tall bugbane: 1052.3 ha
  • Williamson’s Sapsucker thyroideus subspecies: 1676.5 ha
  • Williamson’s Sapsucker nataliae subspecies: 4270.2 ha
  • Yellow-breasted chat: 38.2 ha

Additionally, the nests of Lewis’s Woodpecker and Williamson Sapsucker are protected under the Order of the Minister of Environment under the Wildlife Habitat Features in the Kootenay Boundary Region (see below)

Legislative or regulatory Marbled Murrelet

No new WHAs were designated for the Marbled Murrelet during this reporting period.

However, there is a section 7 order pending under the Forest Planning and Practices Regulations (FPPR), which will require any person preparing a Forest Stewardship Plan or Woodlot Licence Plan to address the objective set by government for wildlife.

Legislative or regulatory Woodland Caribou (Boreal population) Not previously reported, although it did not occur within the Oct 2019 to Sept 2020 period, B.C. designated a total of 24 Wildlife Habitat Areas (WHAs) for the boreal caribou. B.C. also developed General Wildlife Measures associated with the approved WHAs and Ungulate Winter Ranges within the Fort Nelson and the Fort St. John Timber Supply Areas.
Range and Management Planning Woodland Caribou (Boreal population) B.C., Doig River First Nation and Blueberry River First Nation have undertaken multiple community meetings focused on Chinchaga range planning and held scoping meetings with other First Nations. Habitat management objectives and management measures for Chinchaga range will be confirmed via a land-use planning process for the Fort St. John Timber Supply Area and will be appended to an approved revised Boreal Caribou Recovery Implementation Plan.
Policy Woodland Caribou (Boreal population) B.C. is currently updating their Environmental Mitigation Policy, which refers to the use of offsetting to compensate for adverse impacts from industrial development.
Stewardship Woodland Caribou (Boreal population) Blueberry River First Nation commenced site level planning including prescription development in the Black Creek/Pickell Creek area in order to carry out restoration activities in the winter of 2019/2020. BC has supported this project through the funding application process with the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, and assisted the site selection process by providing access to Provincial databases and tenure information. Collaboration between BC and Blueberry River First Nation did not occur to the extent desired by either party due to a lack of Provincial capacity for in-kind or financial support. As this is envisioned as a 3 year project, opportunities for collaboration on this project will be identified moving forward towards the implementation phase and through planning in future years.
Stewardship Woodland Caribou (Boreal population) Fort Nelson First Nation has completed most of the fieldwork associated with year 1 of the Kotcho Lake Restoration Project in the Snake-Sahtahneh range.
Legislative or regulatory Woodland Caribou (Southern Mountain population)

Not previously reported, although it did not happen during the Oct 2019 to Sept 2020 period, B.C. has designated a total of 53 WHAs for the southern mountain caribou.

B.C. is currently working on the designation of 8,580ha for the Klawli WHA in the Omineca region which is intended to cover the Wolverine herd of the northern group of southern mountain caribou.

B.C. is also working on the designation of 47,000ha for the WhiteSail WHA in the Skeena Region which will cover caribou calving grounds of the Tweedsmuir herd of the northern group of southern mountain caribou.

Agreements or easements Woodland Caribou (Southern Mountain Population) (Central Group) On February 21, 2020, Canada, British Columbia, the Saulteau First Nations, and the West Moberly First Nations signed the Intergovernmental Partnership Agreement for the Conservation of the Central Group of the Southern Mountain Caribou (Partnership Agreement). The Partnership Agreement includes commitments related to interim and long-term habitat protection, habitat restoration, predator management and maternal penning. These actions are intended to support the recovery of the Central Group of southern mountain caribou (SMC) in British Columbia.

Protected Areas

(Agreements or easements)

Woodland Caribou (Southern Mountain population)

On February 21, 2020, B.C. permanently protected over 28,000 ha of habitat for the central group of southern mountain caribou through the expansion of Klin-se-za Provincial Park, consistent with commitments made under the Saulteau First Nations - British Columbia New Relationship and Reconciliation Agreement (2015).

On June 26, 2020, B.C. put in place temporary restrictions on forest harvesting on a further 3,700 ha of habitat adjacent to the expanded Klin-se-za Provincial Park. Both measures are incremental to the 734,000 ha temporarily protected, starting in June 2019, through the interim moratorium on new resource development as part of the Partnership Agreement. 

Agreements or easements Woodland Caribou (southern mountain Population) Canada and British Columbia signed the bilateral Canada British Columbia Conservation Agreement for Southern Mountain Caribou in British Columbia (the Bilateral Agreement) on February 21, 2020. This agreement establishes a framework for cooperation and sets out immediate and long-term measures in support of southern mountain caribou conservation and recovery in each of the northern, central, and southern groups of the species in the province. These measures include commitments related to habitat protection and restoration, herd planning, predator management, primary prey management, hunting, science, Indigenous knowledge, recreation management, maternal pens and captive breeding, and monitoring.

Range and Management Planning

(Agreements or easements)

Woodland Caribou (Southern Mountain population) Consistent with the Bilateral Agreement, B.C. is engaging with local communities and First Nations on Phase 2 herd plans in priority herds. Herds that have been identified as a priority include all herds in the Central Group, Central Selkirks, Tweedsmuir, Chase, Wolverine, Takla, Ticha-Ilgachuz, Charlotte Alplands, and Rainbows.

Control of Activities Likely to Result in Destruction

Stewardship

Woodland Caribou (southern mountain Population)

Beginning in April 2019, funding under the Canada Nature Fund allowed for the implementation of 14 southern mountain caribou projects in British Columbia, some of which are still ongoing. Numerous partners are engaged, including indigenous communities.

These projects include actions that aim at reducing Activities likely to result in destruction such as habitat restoration, maternal penning, and predator management. Other beneficial actions include steps leading to securement & restoration planning, including herd planning via engagement between the province, Indigenous peoples, local governments, and stakeholder groups.  In addition, a few actions include steps that could lead to conservation agreements.

Protected Areas

Vancouver Island Marmot

Porsild’s Bryum

A number of species at risk occur within provincial parks and Ecological Reserves in B.C., namely the Vancouver Island Marmots occurs within Hayley Lake Ecological Reserve and Strathcona Provincial Park; Porsild’s Bryum occurs on Mount Socrates in Muncho Lake Provincial Park.

B.C. Parks has a continuous land acquisition program which incrementally increases the amount of habitat to which the BC Parks Act provides protection.

Steps and actions taken related to multiple species, priority places and priority threats
Category Species Details
Legislative or regulatory All species Work is underway to outline a transparent prioritization process for updating legal lists in B.C. under the existing legislation (Forest and Ranges Practices Act(FRPA), Oil and Gas Activities Act (OGAA), Wildlife Act, Private Managed Forest Lands Act), which would enable habitat tools for additional species at risk.

Legislative or regulatory

Policy

Species listed under the FRPA

A proposal is under consideration for amendments to the FRPA. Those amendments would expand the protections afforded to important habitat features (for example, residences) for the species at risk listed under the FRPA.

The Office of the Chief Forester continues to work with ministry experts and decision-makers across the Province to continually inform the development of legislative, regulatory and policy changes to FRPA through two main initiatives:

  • Drafting of the Bill 21 regulation package is underway (with targeted approval by Fall 2020, changes anticipated to be in force by Winter 2021). A key feature of Bill 21 is the introduction of the Forest Operations Map (FOM). Work is underway on systems development and the identification of what may be needed for implementation of the FOM (such as training for operational staff and the public).A series of pilot projects have been initiated across the Province to introduce the proposed new Forest Landscape Planning (FLP) model, which will eventually replace the current Forest Stewardship Plan (FSP) regime
  • Proposal of new practice requirements to improve outcomes for species at risk (SAR) and Regionally Important Wildlife (RIW) under the Forest Planning and Practices Regulation (FPPR). Focus of the work is to enable or increase protection of habitat features on the landscape that are of vital importance to species survival including nests or den trees, and other key sites for resting, feeding, mineral nutrition, temperature regulation and rearing young

The species listed under the FRPA are: Coastal Giant Salamander, Coastal Tailed Frog, Great Basin Gophersnake, Great Basin Spadefoot, Half-moon Hairstreak, Lewis's Woodpecker, Marbled Murrelet, Northern Goshawk (laingi subspecies), Northern Leopard Frog, Northern Saw-whet Owl, (brooksi subspecies), Pacific Water Shrew, Rocky Mountain Tailed Frog, Sage Thrasher, Tall Bugbane, Vancouver Island Marmot, Western Rattlesnake, Tiger Salamander, Woodland Caribou (Boreal population), Woodland Caribou (Southern Mountain population), Williamson's Sapsucker, Yellow-breasted Chat

Legislative or regulatory

Policy

Species in the Kootenay Boundary region

Not previously reported, although it did not occur within the Oct 2019 to Sept 2020 period, The Minister of Environment of B.C. made an Order under the Forest Resource Practices Act: the Wildlife Habitat Features in the Kootenay Boundary RegionFootnote 6. The order protects certain habitat features within the Kootenay Boundary region as Wildlife Habitat Features, such as significant mineral licks, bat hibernacula and roosts nests of Lewis’s Woodpecker and Williamson Sapsucker.

Additionally, a Wildlife Habitat Features Field Guide for the Kootenay Boundary RegionFootnote 7 was developed and published in October 2019, where considerations for species at risk critical habitat are included.

Species in the Kootenay Boundary region include: Woodland Caribou (Southern Mountain population), Pallid Bat, Little Brown Myotis, Northern Myotis, Lewis’s Woodpecker, Williamson’s Sapsucker.

Control of activities likely to result in destruction

Stewardship

Species in the Okanagan / Thompson region, including:

Great Basin Spadefoot

Management partnership between the government of B.C. and the Okanagan Nation Alliance for species at risk in the Okanagan/Thompson region: this priority place project is in year two of four and co-funded by B.C. and ECCC under the Pan-Canadian Approach. The project will identify species at risk and First Nation values at specified locations and future on the ground management options to improve species at risk habitat at each site. Actions already complete (2019/20) include fencing of areas of concentrated species at risk (spadefoot breeding ponds, large owl clover occurrence, annual paintbrush occurrences) to prevent further damage from cattle and off-road vehicles.
Tools for conservation All Species

The mapping of finalized federal critical habitat in B.C. and land management designations was completed, and edits are currently underway.

This project will allow the government of B.C. to determine where critical habitat overlaps with various regulatory tools across the provincial landscape.

1.2 Alberta

Status summary

In Alberta, there are 22 species at risk with federally identified critical habitat to which this report relates (see Annex A2). From October 1st 2019 to September 30 2020, no new species have had critical habitat identified on non-federal lands within Alberta. There have been no modifications to species at risk legislation within this reporting period.

The Government of Alberta does not have stand-alone species at risk legislation. The Wildlife Act and its Wildlife Regulation cover 12 SARA listed species (see Annex A2 for details) and are the primary provincial legislative tools that address wildlife management in Alberta. The Act does not contain prohibitions against the destruction of habitat, but it enables the minister to make regulations respecting the protection of wildlife habitat and endangered species.

The Wilderness Areas, Ecological Reserves, Natural Areas and Heritage Rangelands Act, the Provincial Parks Act and the Willmore Wilderness Park Act include provisions on critical habitat destruction in wilderness areas, ecological reserves, wildland provincial parks, and within Willmore Wilderness Park respectively. On non-federal lands, some provisions in other pieces of legislation, such as the Public Lands Act and the Public Lands Administration Regulation, may be used to prohibit specific activities likely to result in destruction of critical habitat.

For more details on the provincial legislative assessment, please refer to the 2019 Report on Steps Taken and Protection of Critical Habitat for Species at Risk in Canada.

Steps and actions taken for specific species
Category Species Details
Agreements or easements Woodland Caribou (Boreal and southern mountain populations) Canada and Alberta negotiated the finalization of an agreement under section 11 of SARA for the conservation and recovery of woodland caribou in Alberta, which includes commitments to range planning, restoration, and habitat and population management. This agreement was signed by both parties and published as final shortly following the reporting period.
Control of Activities Likely to Result in Destruction

Western Spiderwort

Smooth Goosefoot

Gold-edged Gem

Dusky Dune Moth

Continued actions to reduce and or eradicate invasive species occurred in the Pakowki sand dunes in July 2020. Herbicide was applied to treat invasive baby’s-breath plants within critical habitat for Western Spiderwort, Smooth Goosefoot, Gold-edged Gem, and Dusky Dune Moth. Baby’s-breath is identified as an invasive alien species, which can lead to destruction of critical habitat for these species.
Stewardship

Dusky Dune Moth

Ord’s Kangaroo Rat

Gold-edged Gem

Smooth Goosefoot

Alberta Environment and Parks, Canadian Wildlife Service and Department of National Defense collaborated to restore and regenerate sand dune habitats within Suffield National Wildlife Area, critical habitat for Ord’s Kangaroo Rat, Smooth Goosefoot, Dusky Dune Moth and Gold-edged Gem. Burns were conducted in 2018 and 2019 with a total area of approximaley ~42 ha and approximaley ~9 ha, respectively.

Securement

Stewardship

Greater Sage-Grouse

The Alberta Conservation Association (ACA) has undertaken a number of actions to promote and enhance stewardship of species at risk habitats, including critical habitat within Alberta. Actions taken for the Greater Sage-Grouse are based on a Habitat Conservation Strategy that was completed in 2002 and covered approximately 2,500 acres, of which 912 acres are identified as critical habitat for the Greater Sage-Grouse. Those actions include:

ACA’s Silver Sage Conservation Site (~2,400 acres) is located in the Greater Sage-Grouse Range and was purchased in parcels starting 2010. Approximately, 1,300 acres of cropland have been reseeded to native grassland, starting in 2011, on this property including seeding silver sagebrush. Over 67 acres are identified as critical habitat. This restoration program is ongoing.

ACA’s Escape Coulee Conservation Site (800 acres) secured private land within Greater Sage-Grouse range, 17 acres of which are identified as critical habitat.

Stewardship Woodland Caribou (Boreal and southern mountain populations)

1. Initiation of restoration of approximately 50 km of 6 meter wide seismic line within Richardson Wildl and Provincial Park and Marguerite River Wildland Provincial Park. Both of these wildland parks fall within critical habitat of Woodland Caribou and will be restored using the Provincial Restoration and Establishment Framework for Legacy Seismic lines in Alberta. The project is currently ongoing.

2. A habitat restoration project was completed in the A La Peche caribou range in 2020 under the Caribou Habitat Recovery Program through the Forest Resource Improvement Association of Alberta (FRIAA). The project saw 59.8 km of legacy seismic lines restored, and 24,300 seedlings planted between January and July 2020. This project was completed in 2020 by FRIAA and Alberta.

3. Cold Lake habitat restoration projects (Ongoing)

CNRL (formerly Devon) Project - restored 203.6 km of legacy seismic line (25.6 km and 17,000 trees planted in 2019 and 178 km in winter 2020, with up to 170,000 seedlings planted in summer 2020).  The project is ongoing and additional planning and/or restoration activities will occur in 2020 to 2021.

Cenovus Project - restored 161.5 km in 2019 with 60,645 trees planted. Overall, the projects have accounted for 457.6 km of seismic restoration in the Cold Lake range, with 322.6 km of between June 2019 and August 2020. Up to 150,000 additional trees are anticipated to be planted in summer 2021.

Agreements or easements

Control of Activities Likely to Result in Destruction

Stewardship

Woodland Caribou (Boreal population) A Development Agreement was negotiated by Ovintiv, Alberta Environment and Parks and Alberta Energy throughout 2018/2019 and was signed on October 25, 2019. The agreement includes tenure extensions on a portion of Ovintiv’s holdings within the Little Smoky caribou range with the commitment to no future land disturbance in selected areas within the range. This agreement also provides a 10 year financial contribution to restoration of legacy seismic lines.

Agreements or easements

Control of Activities Likely to Result in Destruction

Woodland Caribou (Boreal population)

On May 7, 2020, Information Letter 2020-20 was released announcing the extensions in caribou ranges. In consideration of ongoing caribou range planning, Alberta Energy will consider applications for extensions to Petroleum and Natural Gas agreements, Oil Sands agreements and Metallic and Industrial Mineral permits which fall in whole or in part within a caribou range.

The letter was posted on the Alberta Energy websiteFootnote 8.

Steps and actions taken related to multiple species, priority places and priority threats
Category Species Details
Stewardship  Multiple Species

A total of 45,330 new acres of land were assessed under MULTISAR planning tools (that is, Conservation Strategies or Management Plans), and no lands were reassessed. Field work plans were altered in 2020 due to the ongoing health emergency, with work on some properties deferred until 2021. The MULTISAR program is delivered by the Prairie Conservation Forum and Alberta Conservation Association.

As of summer 2020, a total of 559,052 acres have had a Conservation Strategy (549,493 acres across 61 landholders) or Management Plan (9,559 acres across 7 landholders) have been completed. In total, over 214,400 acres have had either assessments for Species at Risk (156,294 acres over 83 landholders) or Best Management Plans (58,152 over 22 landholders) applied. Overall, approximately 230 individual habitat improvements have taken place with MULTISAR plans applied to a total acreage of 773,493 acres and 173 landholders.

Alberta Conservation Association’s MULTISAR program collaborates with producers to create Habitat Conservation Strategies on the following amount of critical habitat.

  • Tiny Cryptanthe: 521 acres
  • Western Spiderwort: 49 acres
  • Smooth Goosefoot: 257 acres
  • Small-flowered Sand Verbena: 225 acres
  • Soapweed & Yucca Moths: 445 acres
  • Greater Sage-Grouse:45,882 acres of which 912 acres are new in 2020

Policy

Control of Activities Likely to Result in Destruction

Stewardship

Grassland Species at Risk

Tenure for stewardship determination criteria (Nov. 2019) - Alberta developed provincially standardized criteria outlining requirements for grazing disposition holders on public lands to qualify for extended tenure and published a three page document describing the Tenure for Stewardship Determination CriteriaFootnote 9:

Stewardship assessment: rangeland audit process(Dec. 2019): Alberta updated information on the process for provincial Rangeland Agrologists and disposition holders to audit and assess rangeland stewardship at grazing dispositions and published a ten page document, Stewardship assessment: rangeland audit processFootnote 10 Operating Standards for Alberta’s Public Land Grazing Dispositions: Updates to the previous grazing lease code of practice released in July 2019 and provides information on Crown land grazing dispositions including the responsibilities and rights the leaseholderFootnote 11.

1.3 Saskatchewan

Status summary

In Saskatchewan, there are 20 species at risk with federally identified critical habitat to which this report relates (see Annex A3). From October 1st 2019 to September 30th 2020, no new species have had critical habitat identified on non-federal lands within Saskatchewan. There have been no modifications to species at risk legislation within this reporting period.

The Government of Saskatchewan does not have stand-alone species at risk legislation. Rather, The Wildlife Act, 1998 and its Wild Species at Risk Regulations, covering nine SARA listed species (see Annex A3) are the primary provincial legislative tools that can address wildlife habitat and species at risk in the province. The Act allows for the Lieutenant Governor in Council to make regulations that designate an area of the province to protect wildlife and their habitat, however, the Act also includes provisions to authorize activities in these areas. The Wild Species at Risk Regulations is the only regulation that includes provisions regarding species at risk; however, the prohibitions are limited.

The Provincial Lands Act, 2016 and The Conservation Easement Act include provisions on critical habitat destruction in Ecological Reserves, Representative Area Ecological Reserves and on land that is under a crown conservation easement, respectively. However, the scope of lands covered under these Acts is limited and there are specific provisions associated with each designated reserve and easement. On non-federal lands, some provisions in other pieces of legislation may be used to prohibit specific activities likely to result in destruction of critical habitat.

For more details on the provincial legislative assessment, please refer to the 2019 Report on Steps Taken and Protection of Critical Habitat for Species at Risk in Canada.

Steps and actions taken for specific species
Category Species Details

Range and Management Planning

(Agreements or easements)

Woodland Caribou (Boreal population)

Consistent with commitments made in the SARA section 11 conservation agreement for the boreal caribou, Saskatchewan has completed the public review of the draft Boreal Plain West Range Plan, and is preparing for public review of the Boreal Plain East Range Plan, with financial support from ECCC.

The Caribou Management Tiers have been established and are now available for all of the Boreal Plain range subunits.

ECCC is also working with Saskatchewan to clarify aspects of the plans, in alignment with the 2016 ECCC Range Planning Guidance. Work is also ongoing on the development a disturbance restoration program to create more undisturbed habitat within boreal caribou ranges.

Policy

(Agreements or easements)

Woodland Caribou (Boreal population) Consistent with commitments made in the SARA section 11 conservation agreement for the boreal caribou, Saskatchewan and ECCC are working collaboratively to develop consistent boreal caribou requirements for proposed developments that trigger federal environmental assessment within Saskatchewan boreal caribou ranges. All proposed developments are subject to provincial environmental assessment, which includes considerations for impact to boreal caribou habitat and sensory disturbance (that is, mitigation measures such as offsets and habitat restoration requirements) as conditions for project licensing.

Protected Areas

(Agreements or easements)

Woodland Caribou (Boreal population) Consistent with commitments made in the SARA section 11 conservation agreement for the boreal caribou, Saskatchewan has initiated the designation of protected areas, conservation areas, Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas, and other effective area-based conservation measures in boreal caribou ranges, and nearly 500,000 ha have been added to the provincial areas network in northern Saskatchewan, where a commitment has been made to formally designate these in the near future as a protected area. Crown mineral reserves are in place at these sites to ensure that no exploration or development occurs before they can be formally designated.

Policy

Control of activities likely to result in destruction

(Agreements or easements)

Woodland Caribou (Boreal population) Consistent with commitments made in the SARA section 11 conservation agreement for the boreal caribou, Saskatchewan is also collaborating with ECCC on acceptable measures for management of boreal caribou critical habitat within the Primrose Lake air weapons range in the draft Memorandum of Agreement between National Defence and the Government of Saskatchewan.
Stewardship Sprague’s Pipit Reclamation for one oil and gas well for habitat restoration within the Sprague’s Pipit critical habitat; Surrender date April 17, 2020.
Steps and actions taken related to multiple species, priority places and priority threats
Category Species Details
Policy All species

The Ministry of Environment initiated development of a provincial habitat management plan which will support conservation of critical habitat for SAR and protected areas;

The ministry is continuing work to finalize and implement the Operational Framework for Fish and Wildlife Habitat in Saskatchewan along with supporting tools.  This will help encourage greater avoidance, minimization and offset of industry impacts on critical habitat for SAR and may enable the creation of new protected areas as offsets for industry development.

Policy  All species

Ministry of Environment now reviews all vacant Agriculture Crown land sales for occurrence of CH. When CH is present, the land could be sold with a Crown Conservation Easement (CCE) or withheld from sale and added to lands protected under the Wildlife Habitat Protection Act (WHPA).

Random audits of lands under a CCE are also being undertaken to ensure and confirm compliance with acceptable land uses under the easement.

Legislative or regulatory

Policy

All species

As part of the work funded under SARPAL, the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture has formalized the existing practice of prohibiting the cultivation or conversion of native prairie on Crown land. Pre-approval for any disruption on Crown land, including native prairie, in the form of improvements (such as dugouts, fences, tree removal, etc.) is a requirement of the Provincial Lands Act, 2016.

Development of internal Interim Improvement Guidelines (Jan. 2020) by the Ministry of Agriculture for any and all lessee improvements on Crown land federally designated as Critical Habitat.

1.4 Manitoba

Status summary

In Manitoba, there are 20 species at risk with federally identified critical habitat to which this report relates (see Annex A4). From October 1st, 2019 to September 30th, 2020, no new species have had critical habitat identified on non-federal lands within Manitoba. There have been no modifications to species at risk legislation within this reporting period.

The Endangered Species and Ecosystems Act (ESEA) covers 20 SARA listed species (see Annex A4 for details) and is the primary provincial legislative tool to protect species at risk and their habitat on non-federal lands. In general, the ESEA includes prohibitions against destroying, disturbing or interfering with the habitat of listed endangered or threatened species. However, the ESEA includes exemptions for developments and licenses under The Environment Act. Manitoba has not required proponents to apply for exemption under the ESEA for development projects licensed under The Environment Act. The ESEA also includes provisions for designating endangered or threatened ecosystems as protected through ecosystem preservation zones, which would apply to any overlapping critical habitat. However, as of September 2019, no ecosystem preservation zones had been designated.

Additionally, the Ecological Reserves Act and The Provincial Parks Act includes provisions on critical habitat destruction in ecological reserves, and certain zones within provincial parks. On non-federal lands, some provisions in other pieces of legislation may be used to prohibit specific activities likely to result in destruction of critical habitat.

For more details on the provincial legislative assessment, please refer to the 2019 Report on Steps Taken and Protection of Critical Habitat for Species at Risk in Canada.

Steps and actions taken for specific species
Category Species Details
Agreements Woodland Caribou (Boreal population) Canada and Manitoba have negotiated a draft SARA section 11 conservation agreement for boreal caribou. The agreement will be posted for public comments before final approval and signature by Manitoba and Canada. The agreement would codify measures to support the conservation of the species and the protection of its critical habitat and sets out commitments to the development of range plans, habitat conservation and management, and monitoring.

Range and Management Planning

(Agreements and easements)

Woodland Caribou (Boreal population) Aligned with the draft SARA section 11 conservation agreement for boreal caribou, the internal review/engagement process is ongoing on the range plans. Preparations are underway to engage Indigenous communities, Industry and the general public through participation in planning table discussions.

Range and Management Planning

Control of Activities Likely to Result in Destruction

(Agreements and easements)

Woodland Caribou (Boreal population) Aligned with the draft SARA section 11 conservation agreement for boreal caribou, Manitoba implemented collaring and survey activities which significantly contributed to updated information on core use areas that are important habitats for boreal caribou within the Interlake Management Unit. This information will significantly improve the ability to effectively mitigate impacts to the boreal caribou population and help protect caribou habitat.

Range and Management Planning

Control of Activities Likely to Result in Destruction

(Agreements and easements)

Woodland Caribou (Boreal population) Aligned with the draft SARA section 11 conservation agreement for boreal caribou, Manitoba implemented survey activities which significantly contributed new information on areas that are important habitats for boreal caribou within the Kamachewie Management Unit. Limited information was previously available. This information will help significantly improve our understanding of boreal caribou distribution within the management unit and help protect important caribou habitat.

1.5 Ontario

Status summary

In Ontario, there are 89 species at risk with federally identified critical habitat to which this report relates (see Annex A5). From October 1st, 2019 to September 30th, 2020, six new species have had critical habitat identified on non-federal lands within Ontario.

Habitat protection under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act (ESA) is in place for 171 species at risk in Ontario, 87 of which are part of the 89 terrestrial species with critical habitat identified on non-federal lands in the province (see Annex A5). No changes were made to those habitat protections. Western Chorus Frog (Great Lakes / St. Lawrence - Canadian Shield population) (not currently listed under ESA) and Golden-winged Warbler (currently listed Special Concern under the ESA) are the only two species with final critical habitat in Ontario that do not currently receive any direct habitat protection under the ESA.

On non-federal lands, some provisions in other pieces of legislation may be used to prohibit specific activities likely to result in destruction of critical habitat.

For more details on the provincial legislative assessment, please refer to the 2019 Report on Steps Taken and Protection of Critical Habitat for Species at Risk in Canada.

Steps and actions taken for specific species
Category Species Details

Policy

Range and Management Planning

Woodland Caribou (Boreal population)

In accordance with the Ontario Forest Management Guide for Boreal Landscapes, enhanced requirements for the management of boreal caribou habitat through space and time, including a Dynamic Caribou Habitat Schedule, continue to be incorporated into each renewed forest management plans that intersect with boreal caribou ranges. Individual management plans are at various stages of completion depending on plan renewal schedules.

Three Forest Management Plans (for Red Lake Forest, Caribou Forest, and Gordon Cosens Forest) that intersect with the continuous boreal caribou distribution in Ontario (Berens, Sydney, Churchill, Brightsand, Pagwachuan, and Kesagami ranges) and applied the Forest Management Guide for Boreal Landscapes were approved for implementation for April 1, 2020.

Steps and actions taken related to multiple species, priority places and priority threats
Category Species Details
Legislative or regulatory Species whose critical habitat overlaps with the Area of the Undertaking and may intersect with Crown forest operations.

On June 29, 2020, the temporary conditional exemption for forest operations in Crown forests from the species and habitat prohibitions of the ESA was extended for one year until June 30, 2021. This extension will maintain current requirements for species at risk set out in the conditions of the regulatory exemption and provide additional time (due to COVID 19) for the consideration of a long-term approach to address protection of species at risk during forest operations.

The species whose critical habitat overlaps with the Area of the Undertaking and may intersect with Crown forest operations are the following: Woodland Caribou (boreal population), American Ginseng, Blanding's Turtle (Great Lakes/ St. Lawrence population), Bogbean Buckmoth, Branched Bartonia, Whip-poor-will, Least Bittern, Little Brown Myotis, Massassauga (Great Lakes/ St. Lawrence population), Northern Myotis, Pale-bellied Frost Lichen, Small White Lady's-slipper, Small-flowered Lipocarpha, Spotted Turtle, Toothcup, Tri-colored Bat.

Protected Areas Blanding’s Turtle (Great Lakes/ St. Lawrence population), Whip-poor-will

Ontario is beginning the process to designate Ostrander Crown Land Block and Point Petre Provincial Wildlife Area, two ecologically significant areas along the southern shore of Prince Edward County, as a conservation reserve under the Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act. Over the coming months, the province will complete an assessment and evaluation of the site.

These areas overlap with critical habitat units for two species to which this report pertains: Blanding’s Turtle and Whip-poor-will.  Preliminary surveys at the sites have also recorded other threatened and endangered species, including Common Nighthawk, Bank Swallow, Barn Swallow, and Bobolink, although details on habitat availability and use has not yet been determined.

Stewardship All species The Species at Risk Stewardship Program has provided funding to 33 projects that have supported the protection and recovery of the province’s species at risk and restored approximately 926.69 hectares of Species at Risk habitat. Through education and outreach initiatives, these projects were able to reach upwards of 1 million Ontarians.
Stewardship Species at risk that have critical habitat identified within the Long Point Walsingham Forest Priority Place in Ontario

The Long Point Walsingham Forest Collaborative, comprised of 17 organizations, including 4 provincial government partners, are working towards implementing actions to contribute towards the protection of 22 SAR with CH identified within the priority place. Examples of actions include:

  • implementation of Phragmites australis management
  • prescribed burning and grass prairie/wildflower seeding to restore tallgrass habitat
  • managing and restoring marginal farmland through conservation agreements
  • one Section 11 conservation agreement issued as part of SARPAL completing a wetland restoration BMP for various SAR (1 with CH)

1.6 Quebec

Status summary

In Quebec, there are 29 species at risk with federally identified critical habitat to which this report relates (see Annex A6). From October 1st 2019 to September 30 2020, one new species has had critical habitat identified on non-federal lands within Quebec, and eight species with already identified critical habitat were added to the list based on new information. There have been no modifications to species at risk legislation within this reporting period.

In Quebec, the Act respecting threatened or vulnerable species (LEMV) covers 16 SARA listed species (see Annex A6) and designates species as threatened or vulnerable. The LEMV also anticipates the creation of a List of Species Likely to be Designated Threatened or Vulnerable. Essentially preventive in nature, the List of Species Likely to be Designated Threatened or Vulnerable is an administrative and educational tool aimed at halting, or even reversing, the decline of species. However, there is no obligation to designate or protect habitats necessary for the survival or recovery of a species. In addition, although the LEMV and the Act respecting the conservation and development of wildlife (LCMVF) apply in principle to both private and public lands, the Regulation respecting wildlife habitats (RHF) limits the designation of wildlife habitats to land in the domain of the State, therefore limiting protection of habitat of at-risk wildlife species. However, steps are being taken to modernize the RHF and review these provisions.

In addition, Quebec has several tools available to create different types of protected areas. The designation of protected areas is an element of the Quebec Government’s strategy to promote sustainable development and the protection of biodiversity, including species at risk. However, with few exceptions, the areas of critical habitat covered by protected areas are generally very small except for the Green-scaled willow for which 100% of the critical habitat is in the Gaspésie national park established under the Parks Act. On non-federal lands, some provisions in other pieces of legislation may be used to prohibit specific activities likely to result in destruction of critical habitat.

For more details on the provincial legislative assessment, please refer to the 2019 Report on Steps Taken and Protection of Critical Habitat for Species at Risk in Canada.

Steps and actions taken for specific species
Category Species Details

Policy (Agreements and Easements)

Woodland Caribou (Boreal population)

The federal government and the Government of Quebec have a Cooperation Agreement for the Protection and Recovery of Species at Risk in Quebec, which is specifically applied to boreal caribou in a bilateral cost-sharing agreement.

Under this bilateral agreement, Quebec has maintained interim measures to protect Woodland Caribou habitat until long-term measures are implemented through its future strategy for woodland and mountain caribou. These interim measures will provide administrative protection to certain tracts of forest until Quebec’s strategy is adopted (anticipated in 2022)Note de bas de page 12.

Quebec has also modified and increased the amount of protected land by 76.8 km2 through interim measures implemented in the vast Manouane area.

Protected Areas (Agreements and Easements)

Woodland Caribou (Boreal population)

Under the bilateral cost-sharing agreement between Quebec and the federal government for the recovery of boreal caribou, Quebec is working on designating the extensive Caribous-Forestiers-de-Manouane-Manicouagan protected area, which will consist of a proposed biodiversity reserve (RBP) and land reserved for protected areas (RTFAP), for a total area of over 10,000 km2. The RBP has legal protection status under the Natural Heritage Conservation Act. The RTFAP is a protective measure applied jointly by the Quebec Department of Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change (MELCCC), the Quebec Department of Energy and Natural Resources (MERN) and the Quebec Department of Forests, Wildlife and Parks (MFFP). The RTFAP will be used to expand, in whole or in part, the area of the RBP when permanent protected status is granted.

Control of activities Likely to Result in Destruction (Agreements or Easements)

Woodland Caribou (Boreal population)

Under the bilateral cost-sharing agreement between Quebec and the federal government for the recovery of boreal caribou, Quebec has carried out planning work for the restoration of forest roads in certain areas targeted for inclusion in the strategy for woodland (Charlevoix remaining habitat areas) and mountain caribou. The work is scheduled to begin fall 2020.

Range and management planning

Woodland Caribou (Boreal and Atlantic-Gaspesie populations)

Quebec has continued to work on adapting forest management planning in order to conserve and protect Woodland Caribou habitat.

The work done by regional operational groups has identified potential solutions for the implementation of the future strategy for woodland and mountain caribou. MFFP is analyzing these potential solutions to decide on whether they will be incorporated into the strategy.

Recovery Actions

Woodland Caribou (Boreal population)

Under the bilateral cost-sharing agreement between Quebec and the federal government for the recovery of boreal caribou, Quebec has captured and placed caribou from the Val-d’Or population in enclosures to protect them from predators. This is a temporary measure until decisions are made about the long-term measures to be implemented as part of the strategy being developed.

Quebec also plans to step up predator control efforts for the Val d’Or, Charlevoix and Gaspesie populations.

Steps and actions taken related to multiple species, priority places and priority threats
Category Species Details

Protected Areas

All species

Wildlife refuge establishment project:

  • Boisé-du Tremblay Wildlife Refuge
  • Marguerite-d’Youville Wildlife Refuge
  • Wildlife refuge on the shore of the Ottawa River

Wildlife refuge expansion project:

  • Rivière-des-Mille-Îles Wildlife Refuge
  • Pierre-Étienne-Fortin Wildlife Refuge

Securement

Blanding’s Turtle

Horned Grebe (Magdalen Islands population)

Least Bittern

Spiny Softshell

Development and acquisition projects carried out in the 2019–2020 fiscal year account for a total investment (from partners and MFFP) of over $4.6M, of which $704K was spent on development and $3.9K on acquisition. These projects are located in the Outaouais, Montérégie, Lanaudière, Laurentides and Mauricie Regions and target 23 species at risk at the provincial level, 17 of which are listed under Schedule 1 of the federal Species At Risk Act. Development activities were carried out in the Marguerite-D’Youville Wildlife Refuge, in Marais à Saint-Louis, on Île Sainte-Thérèse and on the Reynolds property. Lastly, approximately 440 ha of private lands were acquired by partners with the aim of transferring ownership to MFFP for conservation purposes.

Agreements or easements

Stewardship

Control of Activities Likely to Result in Destruction

Species at risk in the St. Lawrence Lowlands Priority Place in Quebec

Species in the Community-nominated Priority Places in Quebec

Beginning in April 2019, funding under the Canada Nature Fund (CNF) allowed for the implementation of 28 projects in Québec, most of which are still ongoing. Numerous partners are engaged, including indigenous communities.

Critical habitat for an approximate 22 species at risk could benefit from conservation actions carried out through CNF agreements, including actions that aim at reducing activities likely to result in destruction but also steps leading to conservation agreements and stewardship.

1.7 New Brunswick

Status summary

In New Brunswick, there are 12 species at risk with federally identified critical habitat to which this report relates (see Annex A7). From October 1st 2019 to September 30 2020, one new species has had critical habitat identified on non-federal lands within New Brunswick. There have been no modifications to species at risk legislation within this reporting period.

The Species at Risk Act (NB SARA) is the primary provincial legislative tool that can protect critical habitat for species at risk on non-federal lands. It replaced the New Brunswick Endangered Species Act(NB ESA) in 2013. Schedule A of the NB SARA contains the species that were transferred over from the NB ESA and kept the status they had under the NB ESA, including species that were listed as Endangered. Of the 12 species at risk with federally identified critical habitat in New Brunswick, eight species of Schedule A may receive habitat protection through transitional provisions of the NB SARA up until they are removed from Schedule A (see Annex A7). To be removed from Scheduled A, the species must be listed and regulations provide that the prohibitions under section 28 apply. Once listed, the NB SARA provides the Government of New Brunswick with the power to protect species at risk critical habitat by regulation or by order but only at the discretion of the Minister. To date no species has been listed under the NB SARA, and therefore no regulations have been made or orders issued in respect to the designation or protection of species at risk critical habitat under this Act.

The NB SARA and the Protected Natural Areas Act include provisions for species at risk critical habitat within Protected Natural Areas. Additionally, the Parks Act includes prohibitions against activities that could result in the destruction of species at risk critical habitat, though limited.

Under the Conservation Easements Act, individual easements could include prohibitions against activities likely to result in the destruction of species at risk critical habitat. On non-federal lands, some provisions in other pieces of legislation may be used to prohibit specific activities likely to result in destruction of critical habitat.

For more details on the provincial legislative assessment, please refer to the 2019 Report on Steps Taken and Protection of Critical Habitat for Species at Risk in Canada.

Steps and actions taken for specific species
Category Species Details
Legislative or regulatory Gulf of St-Lawrence Aster

Proposal for dredging a channel to allow for outflow of a salt marsh was denied under the NB SARA, as the project overlapped with an occurrence record of Gulf of St-Lawrence Aster critical habitat.

The Gulf of St. Lawrence Aster is listed on Schedule A of the NB SARA.

Policy Bicknell’s Thrush Guidance was given to licensees that operate within the critical habitat polygons on the Bicknell’s Thrush. The guidance states that if clearing, construction and/or thinning in the species’ breeding habitat cannot be avoided, activities should be performed outside of the bird breeding season whenever possible, to prevent the direct destruction of nests, eggs, nestlings, fledglings or adult birds. Patches of intact forest should be left whenever possible. These patches should: cover at least one quarter hectare; be located 20 to 50 metres from the uncut or unthinned edge; and contain intact undisturbed underbrush.
Steps and actions taken related to multiple species, priority places and priority threats
Category Species Details
Protected Areas All species New Brunswick is currently identifying approximately 385,000 ha of land to add to its protected areas.
Control of Activities Likely to Result in Destruction

Bicknell’s Thrush

Van Brunt’s Jacob’s ladder

Whip-poor-will

New-Brunswick’s department of Natural Resources and Energy Development initiated a multi-year Forest Sector project in winter 2020, under the Pan-Canadian Approach. This project aims to integrate SAR habitat objectives into forestry practices and assess effectiveness of these practices in subsequent years.

Agreements or easements

Control of Activities Likely to Result in Destruction

Little Brown Myotis

Eastern Whip-poor-will

Species at Risk Protection on Agricultural Land Initiative:

Nature NB initiated a collaborative conservation planning project to develop an adaptive management plan for species at risk and SAR habitats on agricultural lands in the Wolastoq/ St. John River Valley of NB.

1.8 Prince Edward Island

Status summary

In Prince Edward Island (PEI), there are two species at risk with federally identified critical habitat to which this report relates (see Annex A9). From October 1st 2019 to September 30th 2020, no new species have had critical habitat identified on non-federal lands within PEI. There have been no modifications to legislation which applies to species at risk within this reporting period.

The Wildlife Conservation Act is the primary provincial legislative tool that can protect critical habitat for species at risk on non-federal lands. The Act provides the Government of Prince Edward Island with the power to protect the critical habitat of species at risk that have been designated (at the discretion Lieutenant Governor in Council) as a threatened or endangered species. To date, no regulations have been made under the Wildlife Conservation Act to designate a species at risk. Species at risk critical habitat could also, potentially, be protected on private land under an agreement with a private landowner which may impose a covenant or easement on the private landowner’s land. Unlike stand-alone easement legislation, which tends to be enforced under common law, such an agreement appears to be enforceable under the Wildlife Conservation Act.

The Natural Areas Protection Actincludes provisions for species at risk critical habitat that occurs within natural areas designated under the Act. On non-federal lands, some provisions in other pieces of legislation, such as the Planning Act, may be used to prohibit specific activities likely to result in destruction of critical habitat.

For more details on the provincial legislative assessment, please refer to the 2019 Report on Steps Taken and Protection of Critical Habitat for Species at Risk in Canada.

Steps and actions taken related to multiple species, priority places and priority threats
Category Species Details
Protected Areas All species

There has been progress on Protected and Conserved Areas, in particular through securement (with support from the ECCC Challenge Fund) and for broader SAR habitat conservation through the Forested Landscape Priority Place Project (PEI and ECCC).

Efforts under the priority place initiative in Prince-Edward Island also include non-habitat related cooperative projects that will benefit many species, but they are outside the specific scope of this report.

1.9 Nova Scotia

Status summary

In Nova Scotia, there are 14 species at risk with federally identified critical habitat to which this report relates (see Annex A8). From October 1st 2019 to September 30 2020, one new species has had critical habitat identified on non-federal lands within Nova Scotia. There have been no modifications to species at risk legislation within this reporting period.

The Endangered Species Act (NS ESA) covers all 14 SARA listed species (see Annex A8) and is the primary provincial legislative tool that can protect habitat for species at risk on non-federal lands. The Act has prohibitions against the destruction of residence such as nests or hibernacula, including dwellings that are anthropogenic structures. The Act also provides the mechanism (through regulation or an order) to list prohibitions against the destruction of species at risk critical habitat on non-federal lands. However, no regulations or orders protecting species at risk critical habitat have been issued under this Act.

The NS ESA, the Wilderness Areas Protection Act, the Brothers Islands Wildlife Management Regulations (under the Wildlife Act), the Provincial Parks Act, the Conservation Easements Act and the Special Places Protection Act include provisions for species at risk critical habitat. On non-federal lands, some provisions in other pieces of legislation may be used to prohibit specific activities likely to result in destruction of critical habitat.

For more details on the provincial legislative assessment, please refer to the 2019 Report on Steps Taken and Protection of Critical Habitat for Species at Risk in Canada.

Steps and actions taken for specific species
Category Species Details
Policy Bicknell’s Thrush Bicknell’s thrush critical habitat is protected under NS’s Critical Habitat Policy from the time of SARA recovery strategy finalization.  No activity can occur within critical habitat since a Special Management Practice has not been prepared.
Policy

Blanding’s Turtle

Eastern Ribbonsnake

Special Management Practices (SMP) for Blanding’s turtle and Eastern Ribbonsnake have been drafted and are in the final stages of review.  All identified critical habitat remains protected through the application of the SMP.  Until the SMP is finalized, the critical habitat of both species is fully protected under the Critical Habitat Policy
Protected Areas

Blanding’s Turtle

Eastern Ribbonsnake

Pink Coreopsis

Plymouth Gentian

In September 2019, the province announced 17 new protected areas and the intention to designate more. Public consultation has closed on the following proposed wilderness areas and additions:

Stewardship Roseate Tern Government of Canada provided financial support for the enhancement of nesting habitat for Roseate Terns (nesting shelters provided and invasive vegetation controlled) within the Lobster Bay Area in Nova Scotia.
Steps and actions taken related to multiple species, priority places and priority threats
Category Species Details
Policy All species In May 2020, the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia released a Judicial Review ruling relating to the implementation of the Nova Scotia Endangered Species Act (Bancroft v. Nova Scotia (Lands and Forests), 2020 NSSC 175). The ruling provided additional clarity around some aspects of ESA implementation and provided new interpretation of others. A new policy is being finalized that outlines the steps required to ensure recovery planning processes are fully compliant with the ESA.
Control of Activities Likely to Result in Destruction

Little Brown Myotis

Northern Myotis

Tri-coloured Bat

Pink Coreopsis

Plymouth Gentian

A number of conservation projects were initiated in the Kespukwitk/ Southwest Nova Scotia Priority Place (K/SWNS PP). Numerous partners are engaged, and 11 species at risk listed in Annex A8 will benefit from those projects.

Projects in the K/SWNS PP include the initiation of a collaborative conservation planning project in late fall 2019/winter 2020 to develop an adaptive management plan for biodiversity and SAR on agricultural lands in Kespukwitk/SWNS. Species listed in A8 were included in this project, which continues into 2020-2021 fiscal and will identify and develop implementation plans for priority strategies for implementation in subsequent years.

Stewardship

Thread-leaved Sundew

Blanding's Turtle, population of Nova-Scotia

Eastern Mountain Avens

Under the K/SWNS PP initiative, Ducks Unlimited Canada started a multi-year project in winter 2020. The “Municipal Wetland Stewardship and Education in Southwest Nova Scotia (SWNS) Priority Place” project aims to engage 9 municipal districts in the K/SWNS Priority Place in conservation-based land use planning to reduce the threat of encroaching development on wetlands within municipal jurisdiction in SWNS, with emphasis on opportunities to protect/steward critical habitat for species at risk. The project allows for potential critical habitat protection through stewardship agreement.
Control of Activities Likely to Result in Destruction

Blanding’s Turtle

Eastern Ribbonsnake

Lichens

Bats

Under the K/SWNS PP initiative, Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute initiated a multi year project that began in winter 2020. The“Carrots, not sticks” project aims to develop and pilot a framework for an incentive/ recognition program for woodlot owners for the protection of targeted species at risk, critical habitat and other high conservation values. Year 1 of this 3-year project focused on project scoping for implementation of actions in future years.

Stewardship

Control of Activities Likely to Result in Destruction

Pink Coreopsis

Plymouth Gentian

Under the K/SWNS Priority Place initiative, Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute initiated a multi-year project that began in winter 2020. The “Re-vegetate the Tusket Watershed” project aims to restore habitat and improve water quality on 10 of the 36 high priority lakes for Atlantic Coastal Plain Flora in the Tusket River watershed, including critical habitat for at-risk Atlantic Coastal Plain Flora by working directly with landowners to restore vegetated buffers along lake shorelines. Year 1 of this 3-year project focused on project scoping for implementation of actions in future years, exploring alignment with Green Shores for Homes program.

1.10 Newfoundland and Labrador

Status summary

In Newfoundland and Labrador, there are 10 species at risk with federally identified critical habitat to which this report relates (see Annex A10). From October 1st, 2019 to September 30th, 2020, no new species have had critical habitat identified on non-federal lands within Newfoundland and Labrador. There have been no modifications to species at risk legislation within this reporting period.

The Newfoundland and Labrador Endangered Species Act (NFL ESA) covers eight SARA listed species (see Annex A10) and is the primary provincial legislative tool that can protect critical habitat for species at risk on non-federal lands. The Act enables the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to make an order to set aside an area of land to be protected as species at risk critical habitat. However, no orders have been issued for species at risk under the NFL ESA.

The Wilderness and Ecological Reserves Act and the Provincial Parks Act both include provisions for species at risk critical habitat within Ecological Reserves and Provincial Parks respectively. On non-federal land, some provisions in other pieces of legislation may be used to prohibit specific activities likely to result in destruction of critical habitat.

For more details on the provincial legislative assessment, please refer to the 2019 Report on Steps Taken and Protection of Critical Habitat for Species at Risk in Canada.

Steps and actions taken for specific species
Category Species Details

Range and Management Planning

(Agreements or easements)

Woodland Caribou (Boreal population) Consistent with commitments made in the SARA section 11 conservation agreement between Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador for the boreal caribou, there has been progress on key deliverables such as initiating steps towards the development of range plans and Indigenous engagement towards the development of a collaborative management planning process. Additional work occurred on key deliverables unrelated to critical habitat protection.
Steps and actions taken related to multiple species, priority places and priority threats
Category Species Details
Protected Areas All species

Continued work on the proposed protected areas network, although not finalized and legally protected, several new proposed reserves and proposed extensions to existing reserves will provide protection for species at risk such as:

Cape Norman Ecological Reserve - would protect federal critical habitat for Fernald’s Braya and Barrens Willow.

Watts Point Ecological Reserve (extension to existing reserve) - would protect federal critical habitat for Fernald’s Braya and Barrens Willow.

Hall’s Gullies Ecological Reserve– would protect federal critical habitat for Vole Ears Lichen (Erioderma mollissimum).

2 Protection of critical habitat in the territories

For critical habitat occurring on non-federally administered lands and in respect of the spirit of devolution agreements in the territories, the Government of Canada first looks to the laws of the territory for the protection of terrestrial species’ habitat. In the following sections, a summary of the applicable legislation is provided, followed by the different actions and measures put in place which reduce the risk of destruction of critical habitat, as reported by the territorial governments.

2.1 Yukon

Status summary

In Yukon there is one species at risk with identified critical habitat to which this report related (see Annex A11). From October 1st 2019 to September 30 2020, no new species have had critical habitat identified on non-federal lands within the Yukon. There have been no modifications to species at risk legislation within this reporting period.

The Yukon has no stand-alone legislation protecting species at risk; however, certain activities impacting individuals of wildlife species are regulated under the Wildlife Act. On territorial lands, some provisions in various territorial acts can be used to prohibit specific activities likely to result in destruction of critical habitat.

Steps and actions taken for specific species
Category Species Details
Agreement Woodland Caribou (Boreal population) The implementation of the conservation agreement for boreal caribou under s. 11 of SARA between Canada, the Yukon Government, the First Nation of Nacho Nyak Dun and the Gwich’in Tribal Council started during the reporting period, and a few projects were completed as planned. Namely, a fire risk model was completed, as well as the deployment of GPS collars on boreal caribou in the Yukon. The development of a lichen map should start in 2021 and a density estimate will be completed by 2022.
Policy Woodland Caribou (Boreal population) No update on the implementation of the Peel Watershed Regional Land Use Plan during the reporting periods.

2.2 Northwest Territories

Status summary

In Newfoundland and Labrador, there are 10 species at risk with federally identified critical habitat to which this report relates (see Annex A10). From October 1st 2019 to September 30 2020, no new species have had critical habitat identified on non-federal lands within Newfoundland and Labrador. There have been no modifications to species at risk legislation within this reporting period.

The Newfoundland and Labrador Endangered Species Act (NFL ESA) covers eight SARA listed species (see Annex A10) and is the primary provincial legislative tool that can protect critical habitat for species at risk on non-federal lands. The Act enables the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to make an order to set aside an area of land to be protected as species at risk critical habitat. However, no orders have been issued for species at risk under the NFL ESA.

The Wilderness and Ecological Reserves Act and the Provincial Parks Act both include provisions for species at risk critical habitat within Ecological Reserves and Provincial Parks respectively. On non-federal land, some provisions in other pieces of legislation may be used to prohibit specific activities likely to result in destruction of critical habitat.

For more details on the provincial legislative assessment, please refer to the 2019 Report on Steps Taken and Protection of Critical Habitat for Species at Risk in Canada.

Steps and actions taken for specific species
Category Species Details

Policy

Range and Management Planning

(Agreements or easements)

Woodland Caribou (Boreal population) Consistent with commitments made in the SARA section 11 conservation agreement between Canada and the Northwest Territories for the boreal caribou, development of five regional boreal caribou range plans in the Northwest Territories is ongoing, since the finalization of the Framework. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of the Northwest Territories organized virtual meetings to pursue their commitments under the agreement. The meetings started after September 30th, and details will be provided in a subsequent report.
Steps and actions taken related to multiple species, priority places and priority threats
Category Species Details
Legislative or regulatory All species

As of July 2019, the new Wildlife Act regulations are being implemented.

Those regulations enable the government of the Northwest Territories to require and enforce Wildlife Management and Monitoring Plans (WMMPs) for development activities that are likely to result in significant disturbance or pose a threat of harm to wildlife, cause substantial damage to wildlife habitat or significantly contribute to cumulative impacts on wildlife or habitat (as set out in section 95 of the Wildlife Act). In order to be approved, a WMMP therefore needs to demonstrate how developments will minimize impacts on species and their habitat.

The department of Environment and Natural Resources in the Northwest Territories has developed guidelines to clarify requirements and expectations related to WMMPs.

Protected Areas

Legislative or regulatory

Woodland Caribou (Boreal population) The implementation of the Protected Areas Actwas initiated during the reporting period.
  • The establishment of Ts’udé Nilįné Tuyeta Territorial Protected Area continues with the signing of an establishment agreement between the GNWT and K’asho Got’ınę Dene and Métis in September 2019 and the development of regulations under the Protected Areas Act targeted for completion by spring 2021
  • The Ts’udé Nilįné Tuyeta management board has been set up and met for the first time on September 23 2020. The first main task of the management board will be the development of a management plan for the area, which will include a monitoring plan
  • The GNWT is working on a renewal of Health Land Healthy People: GNWT Priorities for Advancement of Conservation Network Planning 2021 to 2026

2.3 Nunavut

Status summary

In Nunavut, there are two species at risk with federally identified critical habitat to which this report relates (see Annex A13). From October 1st 2019 to September 30 2020, no new species have had critical habitat identified on non-federal lands within Nunavut. There have been no modifications to species at risk legislation within this reporting period.

The Wildlife Act is the main legislative tool that can specifically protect habitat for species at risk. In general, the Wildlife Act provides prohibitions against the destruction of species at risk critical habitat on public lands. However so far, no species are listed under the Nunavut Wildlife Act. On public lands the Territorial Parks Act includes prohibitions against activities on critical habitat, and some provisions in various territorial acts can be used to prohibit specific activities likely to result in destruction of critical habitat.

For more details on the territorial legislative assessment, please refer to the 2019 Report on Steps Taken and Protection of Critical Habitat for Species at Risk in Canada.

Steps and actions taken for specific species
Category Species Details
Regulatory or Legislative All species No update on the development of a draft Nunavut Land Use Plan. Work is ongoing.
Tools for conservation All species No update on ongoing monitoring of development activities on territory wide.

3 Other collaborative and federal protection of critical habitat

Steps and actions taken specifically for priority species under the Pan-Canadian Approach
Category Species Details
Agreements or easements Woodland Caribou (Boreal Population) Canada and Cold Lake First Nations finalized a conservation agreement for boreal caribou under section 11 of SARA on December 13, 2019. The agreement includes commitments to landscape restoration, community capacity development, predator and alternate prey management and population monitoring.

Agreements or easements

Control of Activities Likely to Result in Destruction Stewardship

White Prairie Gentian The Walpole Island First Nation (WIFN) SARA s.11 conservation agreement is for the conservation and protection of White Prairie Gentian that occurs only on WIFN land in Canada. The implementation of the Agreement includes conservation actions for habitat management and conservation of the plants (for example, removal of invasive species and prescribed burns), and increases community awareness of species at risk and voluntary protection of the plants and their habitat through education and signage.
Steps and actions related to multiple species, or priority places, priority sectors and priority threats under the Pan-Canadian Approach
Category Species Details
Protected Areas

Burrowing Owl

Chestnut-collared Longspur

Mountain Plover

Sprague’s Pipit

Swift Fox

In November 2019, ECCC received administration of and control over Govenlock, Nashlyn and Battle Creek Prairie Pastures in Saskatchewan from Agri-food. There is also an outstanding process to acquire the Saskatchewan revisionary lands, to create a new National Wildlife Area.
Protected Areas Species in south-eastern Ontario In December 2019, ECCC acquired a 33.7 ha private property to add to the Prince Edward Point National Wildlife Area in Ontario.

Legislative or regulatory

Securement

Nova Scotia coastal barrens species In May 2020, ECCC acquired the Owl’s Head lands in the coastal barrens of Nova-Scotia, thereby gaining control over activities occurring within those lands. Any critical habitat occurring on these lands must be legally protected under SARA.
Protected Areas Piping Plover, melodus subspecies In June 2020, ECCC acquired a 14.7 ha of land and additional water adjacent to the Big Glace Bay Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary in Nova Scotia.
Protected Areas Least Bittern

In August 2020, ECCC acquired a private property to add to the Portobello Creek National Wildlife Area in New-Brunswick.

Administration and control over the Sunken Island Bog was transferred to ECCC to be added to the Tintamarre National Wildlife Area in New Brunswick.

Protected Areas Woodland Caribou (boreal population) In August 2020, the Sapp Farm in the Northwest Territories was also transferred to ECCC to be included into the future Edehzie National Wildlife Area.

Annex A - Lists of species with critical habitat identified on non-federally administered lands by province/territory

A1 - Species with critical habitat identified on non-federal lands in British Columbia

A2 - Species with critical habitat identified on non-federal lands in Alberta

a Species listed provincially under Alberta’s Wildlife Regulations, prescribed as endangered species.

A3 - Species with critical habitat identified on non-federal lands in Saskatchewan

b Species listed provincially under the Saskatchewan Wild Species at Risk Regulations as threatened, endangered or extirpated wild species at risk.

A4 - Species with critical habitat identified on non-federal lands in Manitoba

c Species listed provincially as endangered or threatened species under the ESEA regulations.

A5 - Species with critical habitat identified on non-federal lands in Ontario

d Species provincially listed as endangered or threatened, and receiving some habitat protection under the Ontario ESA.

A6 - Species with critical habitat identified on non-federal lands in Quebec

e Species provincially listed under the Quebec Act respecting Threatened or Vulnerable Species.

A7 - Species with critical habitat identified on non-federal lands in New Brunswick

f Species provincially listed as endangered in Schedule A of the New Brunswick Species at Risk Act.

A8 - Species with critical habitat identified on non-federal lands in Nova Scotia

g Species provincially listed as endangered or threatened wildlife species under the Nova Scotia Endangered Species Act.

A9 - Species with critical habitat identified on non-federal lands in Prince Edward Island

A10 - Species with critical habitat identified on non-federal lands in Newfoundland and Labrador

h Species provincially listed as endangered or threatened under the Newfoundland Endangered Species Act.

A11 - Species with critical habitat identified on non-federally administered lands in Nunavut

A12 - Species with critical habitat identified on non-federally administered lands in the Yukon

A13 - Species with critical habitat identified on non-federally administered lands in the Northwest Territories

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