Buffalograss (Buchloë dactyloides) recovery strategy: chapter 1

Executive Summary

  • Buffalograss is a perennial grass, reproducing asexually by aboveground stolons and sexually by male and female flowers which occur on separate plants. Seeds from the female plant are contained within protective, globular burs. In Canada, it is associated with the Souris River valley and tributaries in southwestern Manitoba and southeastern Saskatchewan. Currently, there are five populations in Manitoba and one in Saskatchewan, with a minimum estimated area of occupancy of 407 ha and 1.27 ha, respectively.
  • Currently identified threats to buffalograss are: habitat loss and degradation from strip coal mining, flooding from reservoirs/dams, cultivation, construction or upgrading of roads, urban expansion, clay pit mining; invasive exotic species; changes in ecological dynamics or natural processes due to a lack of grazing and/or fire regimes.
  • The long-term recovery goal is to maintain the persistence of all naturally occurring populations in Canada. Because of difficulties in counting individuals or clones of buffalograss, population objectives have not been set, and distribution objectives are based on two scales involving area of occupancy and number of occupied quarter-sections. Due to incomplete data these should be viewed as short-term objectives (5 years):

    1. Saskatchewan - Estevan population: Maintain at least 1.27 hectares in at least 17 quarter-sections.
    2. Manitoba - Souris River population: Maintain at least 402 hectares in approximately 43 quarter-sections.
    3. Manitoba - Sourisford Park population: Maintain at least 0.01 hectares (136 ) in at least 1 quarter-section.
    4. Manitoba - Blind River Valley North (Element occurrence number 6): Maintain at least 4.2 hectares in at least 2 quarter-sections.
    5. Manitoba - Blind River Valley South (Element Occurrence Number 5): Maintain at least 0.79 hectares (7974 ) in at least 1-2 quarter-sections.
    6. Manitoba - Blind River Valley East (Element Occurrence Number 11): Maintain at least 0.01 hectares (137 ) in at least 1 quarter-section.

  • Four objectives have been identified for the recovery of buffalograss:

    1. Objective 1: Develop and promote beneficial management practices and stewardship agreements to land owners, land managers, stakeholders and industry to reduce threats to buffalograss and its habitat by 2012 (Priority – Urgent).
    2. Objective 2: Identify critical habitat by 2011 (Priority – Urgent).
    3. Objective 3: Identify extent of occurrence and area of occupancy of buffalograss populations, to the extent possible, by 2012 (Priority - Necessary).
    4. Objective 4: Monitor trends in area of occupancy for existing populations through 2017 (Priority - Beneficial).

  • Research and management activities needed to achieve these objectives include: developing, communicating and implementing beneficial management practices to reduce threats; establishing stewardship agreements with affected land owners/land managers to protect habitat; creating set-back distance guidelines for disturbances; researching habitat associations; conducting research required for population viability analysis, and completing critical habitat identification; researching impact of threats and management practices; establishing standardized monitoring and inventory guidelines, and; continuing with monitoring and inventorying activities.
  • The identification of critical habitat will occur, following additional survey effort, in one or more action plans, developed in cooperation with the responsible jurisdictions.
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