Contorted-pod evening-primrose (Camissonia contorta) recovery strategy

Official title: Recovery Strategy for the Contorted-pod Evening-primrose (Camissonia contorta) in Canada

Species at Risk Act
Recovery Strategy Series


Table of Contents

Recommended citation:

Parks Canada Agency. 2011. Recovery Strategy for Contorted-pod Evening-primrose (Camissonia contorta) in Canada [Proposed]. Species at Risk Act Recovery Strategy Series. Parks Canada Agency. Ottawa. vi + 30 pp.

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

Cover illustration: Photograph of Contorted-pod Evening-primrose by M. Fairbarns.

Également disponible en français sous le titre
« Programme de rétablissement de l'onagre à fruits tordus (Camissonia contorta) au Canada »

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of the Environment, Year. All rights reserved.

ISBN to come
Catalogue no. to come

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


The federal, provincial, and territorial government signatories under the Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk (1996) 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 recovery strategies for listed Extirpated, Endangered and Threatened species and are required to report on progress within five years.

The Minister responsible for the Parks Canada Agency and the Minister of the Environment are the competent ministers for the recovery of the Contorted-pod Evening-primrose and with the assistance of the Contorted-pod Evening-primrose Recovery Advisory Team have prepared this strategy, as per section 37 of SARA. Its preparation has been led by the Parks Canada Agency, in cooperation with the Government of British Columbia and Environment Canada.

Success in the recovery of this species depends on the commitment and cooperation of many different constituencies that will be involved in implementing the directions set out in this strategy and will not be achieved by the Parks Canada Agency, Environment Canada or any other jurisdiction alone. All Canadians are invited to join in supporting and implementing this strategy for the benefit of the Contorted-pod Evening-primrose and Canadian society as a whole.

This recovery strategy will be followed by one or more action plans that will provide information on recovery measures to be taken by the Parks Canada Agency, Environment Canada or other jurisdictions and/or organizations involved in the conservation of the species. Implementation of this strategy is subject to appropriations, priorities, and budgetary constraints of the participating jurisdictions and organizations.

Recommendation and Approval Statement

The Parks Canada Agency led the development of this federal recovery strategy, working together with the other competent minister(s) for this species under the Species at Risk Act. The Chief Executive Officer, upon recommendation of the relevant Park Superintendent(s) and Field Unit Superintendent(s), hereby approves this document indicating that Species at Risk Act requirements related to recovery strategy development (sections 37-42) have been fulfilled in accordance with the Act.

Recommended by:
Wayne Bourque
Superintendent, Gulf Islands National Park Reserve
Recommended by:
Steve Langdon
Field Unit Superintendent, Coastal British Columbia
Recommended by:
Alan Latourelle
Chief Executive Officer, Parks Canada


All competent ministers have approved posting of this recovery strategy on the Species at Risk Public Registry.


Matt Fairbarns of Aruncus Consulting and Ross Vennesland of the Parks Canada Agency were the authors of this recovery strategy. An advisory group of technical experts oversaw its development. Members of this technical advisory group were Brenda Costanzo of the B.C. Ministry of Environment, Matt Fairbarns, Ted Lea of the B.C. Ministry of Environment and Ross Vennesland and Conan Webb of the Parks Canada Agency. The Parks Canada Agency provided the funding for the production of the strategy. Louise Blight, Jeff Brown, Trudy Chatwin, Marilyn Fuchs, Todd Golumbia, Stephanie Hazlitt, Greg MacMillan, Bonnie McKenzie, Kari Nelson, Jillayne Peers, Richard Pither, Lucy Reiss, Dan Shervill, Kara Vlasman, Leah Westereng and Patrick Yarnell provided input into the strategy.

Executive Summary

Contorted-pod Evening-primrose (Camissonia contorta) was assessed as Endangered by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) in April 2006 and was added to Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act (SARA) in December 2007.

Contorted-pod Evening-primrose is an annual plant that occurs from British Columbia (B.C.) to California, east to Idaho and western Nevada. The species is considered to be globally secure. There are nine known populations in Canada, one of which has been extirpated (last observed in 1893). In Canada, Contorted-pod Evening-primrose is limited to the southeast coast of Vancouver Island and the southern and northern Gulf Islands, the northern limit of its global range. Within Canada, it is restricted to sandy backshore habitats. It prefers low elevation (under 100 m) open areas that are moist in the winter and spring and very dry by mid-summer.

Contorted-pod Evening-primrose faces threats from habitat destruction, recreational activities, invasive plants, and limiting factors such as constraints from small population sizes (all populations likely are under a minimum viable size).

The overall aim of this recovery strategy (for the period 2011 to 2020) is to attain nine viable populations of Contorted-pod Evening-primrose in Canada. To meet this aim, this recovery strategy has four population and distribution objectives. Objectives are not listed in order of priority (see Table 4 for prioritization of activities).

  1. Maintain the known extent of occurrence for the species in Canada (by 2015).
  2. Maintain population sizes for all extant locations at current or higher levels (by 2015).
  3. Ensure all eight extant populations reach, and are maintained at, no less than their minimum viable population size (by 2020).
  4. 4. Establish one additional population (to replace the single known extirpated population) at a site with suitable habitat within the known range of the species in Canada, and maintain it at no less than its minimum viable population size (by 2020).

Additional broad approaches recommended for recovery include activities around conserving populations, conducting priority research to fill crucial knowledge gaps, mapping, surveying and monitoring of extant populations as well as candidate areas for recovery of the one extirpated population, population restoration/augmentation and public education and outreach.

An identification of critical habitat is included in this strategy for the survival and limited expansion of seven of eight extant populations. This identification is not sufficient to meet the population and distribution objectives. Plans are outlined for identifying further critical habitat to meet the population and distribution objectives.

One or more action plans for Contorted-pod Evening-primrose will be posted on the SAR Public Registry by March 2015.

Recovery Feasibility Summary

The recovery of Contorted-pod Evening-primrose in Canada is considered feasible based on the criteria set by the Government of Canada (2009):

Recovery criteria Feasibility for Contorted-pod Evening-primrose
1. Are individuals capable of reproduction currently available to improve the population growth rate or population abundance? Yes. All existing populations produce seeds.
2. Is sufficient habitat available to support the species, or could it be made available through habitat management or restoration? Yes. While Contorted-pod Evening-primrose requires specialized habitat conditions there are occupied locations and other areas of unoccupied habitat which appear capable of sustaining the species.
3. Can significant threats to the species or its habitat be avoided or mitigated through recovery actions Yes. Threats can be mitigated through the actions outlined in Table 4.
4. Do the necessary recovery techniques exist and are they known to be effective. Yes. Over the short term, recovery techniques consist primarily of threat mitigation techniques. Over the longer term, techniques for re-establishing extirpated populations are recommended to be developed.

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