Recovery Strategy for the Dense-flowered Lupine in Canada [Proposed] 2011: Recovery

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Recovery is biologically and technically feasible for this species (Table 4).

Table 4. Technical and Biological Feasibility of Recovery. Criteria from Government of Canada (2009).
Criteria Feasibility
1. Individuals of the wildlife species that are capable of reproduction are available now or in the foreseeable future to sustain the population or improve its abundance. Yes. All existing populations produce seeds and plants have been successfully reared in cultivation to produce abundant seed.
2. Sufficient suitable habitat is available to support the species or could be made available through habitat management or restoration. Yes. While Dense-flowered Lupine requires specialized habitat conditions, there are many areas of unoccupied habitat that appear capable of sustaining populations in their current condition or after invasive alien plants populations have been reduced.
3. The primary threats to the species or its habitat (including threats outside Canada) can be avoided or mitigated. Yes. Threats can be mitigated through the strategies outlined in Table 5.
4. Recovery techniques exist to achieve the population and distribution objectives or can be expected to be developed within a reasonable timeframe. Yes. Over the short term, recovery techniques consist primarily of threat mitigation techniques. Over the long term, techniques for population establishment/augmentation are likely to be developed (some component techniques such as seed collection, propagation, seed storage and habitat management techniques have already been successfully tested).

This species was likely always rare in Canada and recovery in this case constitutes a reversal of the population decline and recovery of the known number of historical populations. In the absence of demographic information with which to confirm current population trends or to define the minimum viable population, the setting of specific population and distribution objectives is an uncertain process reflecting the best interpretation of available data. This does not, however, preclude the setting of interim population and distribution targets.The population and distribution objectives for Dense-flowered Lupine are as follows:

  1. Recover and maintain all three known extant populations at no less than their minimum viable population size (note: minimum viable population size to be determined). In the absence of population viability analyses an average of 2,500[1] mature individuals may be used as an interim target for each of the Canadian populations.
  2. Establish at least one population within the historical extent of occurrence in Canada, to compensate for the loss of the Clover Point population, and maintain it at no less than the minimum viable population size. Given that the Dense-flowered Lupine habitat at the one extirpated site (Clover Point) is destroyed, a new site will need to be identified (see section 2.3 below)[2].

1In the absence of demographic information to define the minimum viable population, the setting of specific population and distribution objectives is an uncertain process reflecting the best interpretation of available data. Population viability assessments have been performed for a number of species and while the range of values is large, minimum viable population estimates are generally on the order of thousands of individuals (Brook et. al. 2006, Traill et. al. 2007). Most populations are far below 2,500 mature individuals which provides ample room for recovery; however, it should be noted that 2,500 individuals is less than the minimum viable population size of most plant species that have been investigated using population viability analysis techniques (Traill et al. 2007). N.B. it is not the goal of this strategy to alter the status of Dense-flowered Lupine and achieving a population of 2,500 for each population will not result in a change of status for Dense-flowered Lupine as the species will still meet other COSEWIC criteria for the status of Endangered.

2 The establishment of one more population will bring the number of extant populations up to the number of historically documented populations. Establishment of more than one additional population may be justified as populations were likely lost before they were documented. The total number of new populations to establish will be assessed as recovery proceeds.

The recovery objectives for Dense-flowered Lupine will be met through the following broad strategies (explored in greater detail in Table 5):

  1. Habitat and species protection: protect existing populations and their habitat from destruction (e.g. from land development) through regulation;
  2. Stewardship: use stewardship to control the damaging effects of trampling and soil disturbance, invasive alien plants, fire suppression, and mowing;
  3. Research: address knowledge gaps relating to critical habitat of Dense-flowered Lupine, seedbank longevity, and the taxonomic status of the proposed variety scopulorum;
  4. Mapping and inventory: map and inventory existing populations and other suitable sites;
  5. Population restoration: develop and test population establishment/augmentation techniques to establish populations on other suitable sites; and
  6. Public education and outreach: provide public education and outreach to increase interest in the protection and stewardship of the species.
Table 5. Broad Recovery Strategies for Dense-flowered Lupine.
Priority Obj. No. Broad Strategy Threat General Description
Urgent 1 Habitat and species protection
  • Land development
  • Identify critical habitat for extant known populations.
  • Develop list of priority sites for creation of a new population.
  • Establish protection mechanisms/instruments for critical habitat
Urgent 1 Stewardship
  • Trampling and soil disturbance
  • Invasive alien plants
  • Fire suppression
  • Mowing
  • Prepare Best Management Practices guidelines for species in maritime meadows, including Dense-flowered Lupine, to support land managers in stewardship activities.
  • Engage the cooperation of all involved land managers in habitat stewardship.
Urgent 1, 2 Research
  • Trampling and soil disturbance
  • Invasive alien plants
  • Fire suppression
  • Describe habitat for Dense-flowered Lupine and refine critical habitat attributes (see Section 2.5 for detail).
  • Determine appropriate restoration and adaptive management protocols using existing techniques (including the use of fire) for populations of Dense-flowered Lupine and their habitat.
  • Develop population establishment/augmentation techniques and priorities to establish one experimental population.
  • Determine minimum viable population size.
Necessary 2 Mapping and inventory
  • Land development
  • Trampling and soil disturbance
  • Invasive alien plants
  • Identify and prioritize areas for inventory.
  • Assess maritime meadows throughout the extent of occurrence to prioritize sites for establishment of one new population.
Necessary 1, 2 Population restoration
  • Trampling and soil disturbance
  • Invasive alien plants
  • Fire suppression
  • Mowing
  • Develop and implement a population restoration plan for locations with existing populations (including a monitoring component).
  • Conduct trials for Dense-flowered Lupine population establishment.
  • Develop and implement a translocation plan establishing one new population of Dense-flowered Lupine.
Beneficial 1,2 Public education and outreach
  • Trampling and soil disturbance
  • Invasive alien plants
  • Increase public awareness of the existence and conservation value of Dense-flowered Lupine and associated species at risk.
  • Develop priorities to deliver public education and outreach concerning species at risk, their habitats and their management (e.g. to naturalist and outdoor recreation clubs, schools, First Nations, local governments, land owners, land managers, and stakeholders)

Public support, stewardship, and research will be critical to the recovery of Dense-flowered Lupine. Landscape level changes in land use have, and are continuing to alter the habitat and processes this species depends on. The intensive public use of some of the locations means that public support and involvement will be required to effect changes away from the current damaging land use, to practices that are compatible with Dense-flowered Lupine (such as reducing trampling and the resulting plant death and erosive habitat losses).

The identification and protection of critical habitat alone will not be sufficient for Dense-flowered Lupine recovery. The habitat processes which allow Dense-flowered Lupine to survive have been altered by human activity (e.g. across the region fire is strictly controlled, alien plants have been introduced, and mowing is common place). Protection must be coupled with active stewardship that reintroduces or mimics missing habitat processes (e.g. wildfire), and mitigates new pressures (e.g. trampling).

Strategies to conserve Dense-flowered Lupine habitat include monitoring and controlling the abundance of invasive weeds, controlling shrub encroachment, protecting sites from development, and reducing trampling and soil disturbance to curb plant mortality and habitat erosion. Some of these activities have already been implemented at some sites.

Further habitat stewardship could be accomplished by developing and implementing best management practices including trail re-alignment at Macaulay Point and Dallas Bluffs. The abundance and species composition of invasive weeds could be monitored and weed control measures could be taken when necessary to steward habitat at occupied sites and potential locations for establishing populations.

It is important to note that additional habitat may be needed to expand existing populations to a sustainable level. It will help recovery of this species if habitat which is adjacent to Dense-flowered Lupine patches and that matches the critical habitat attributes is managed according to best management practices for critical habitat. Similarly, the recovery of this species will be assisted if habitat within the range of Dense-flowered Lupine and which matches the critical habitat attributes, or could be easily restored to match critical habitat attributes, is conserved for potential use in the creation of a new population.

Research is essential to provide knowledge regarding appropriate stewardship activities, restoration targets, and levels of disturbance that Dense-flowered Lupine needs to survive. As more is learned this information will need to be incorporated into recovery actions in an adaptive manner.

Progress towards recovering Dense-flowered Lupine in Canada will be assessed using the following measures:

Areas of critical habitat for Dense-flowered Lupine are identified in this recovery strategy. Critical habitat is defined in the Species at Risk Act as "the habitat that is necessary for the survival or recovery of a listed wildlife species and that is identified as the species' critical habitat in a recovery strategy or in an action plan for the species" (Subsection 2(1)). Habitat for a terrestrial wildlife species is defined in the Species at Risk Act as "…the area or type of site where an individual or wildlife species naturally occurs or depends on directly or indirectly in order to carry out its life processes or formerly occurred and has the potential to be reintroduced" (Subsection 2(1)).

The habitat of Dense-flowered Lupine plants is generally characterized as dry to moist, low elevation grassy openings (Douglas et. al. 1999). To further characterize habitat of Dense-flowered Lupine, site and vegetation data were collected at each extant location (Fairbarns 2008, 2010a). Common characteristics were then selected as critical habitat attributes (see section 2.5.2).

The Dense-flowered Lupine depends directly on openings to provide certain habitat attributes. These openings must be large enough that the Dense-flowered Lupine plants are not sheltered by surrounding vegetation. The minimum size of openings can be determined based on the height of vegetation likely to grow in the area and cast shade on the Dense-flowered Lupine (e.g. Spittlehouse et. al. 2004).

Populations of Dense-flowered Lupine are prone to large annual fluctuations (Fairbarns 2005a; COSEWIC 2005). Such fluctuations mean that critical habitat cannot be identified based on data from any single year: a long term data set is required to ensure the full range of population fluctuation is captured. Recent studies (Fairbarns 2008, 2010a; Miskelly 2008, 2009) can be used to identify a minimum baseline of critical habitat required by Dense-flowered Lupine populations; however, it is expected that these datasets do not represent the maximum extent of annual variation in these populations and therefore do not represent the total habitat required for the survival of extant Dense-flowered Lupine populations. For these reasons, to accommodate expected population fluctuations, critical habitat is identified as a set of attributes that occur within specified geographical boundaries. It is expected that continued monitoring which documents annual fluctuations in population extent will provide data which more confidently characterizes the habitat needed by this species. The studies referred to above have been used to guide the location of boundaries within which critical habitat is found.

To maintain the population at current numbers or greater, all habitat required by each patch of plants in each current population is required. To account for a natural range of annual variability in each population the amount of habitat identified as critical to each patch needs to be based on the maximum patch extent. While some habitat may not be used every year, the presence of plants in one year indicates that the habitat may be critical for storing seeds and boosting seed production in favourable years.

The critical habitat identified here is necessary, but not sufficient, to support either population and distribution objective for Dense-flowered Lupine in Canada. Within the geographical boundaries identified in Figure 4, Figure 5, Figure 6, and Figure 7, critical habitat for the survival of current populations is the minimum opening supporting each patch of Dense-flowered Lupine plants in each population: the size of this opening is calculated using all available data regarding the maximum patch extent such that full meadow conditions prevail across all areas where Dense-flowered lupine is, or has, grown. Areas within the identified boundaries where the required habitat attributes (see below) are not located are excluded from critical habitat. In total, as of December 2010, studies documenting patch extent have identified an approximate minimum of 0.9 ha of habitat which is critical to Dense-flowered Lupine survival.

Critical habitat attributes are as follows:

Figure 4. Area (~0.8ha) within which critical habitat for Dense-flowered Lupine is found at Macaulay Point. This area includes properties managed by the Capital Regional District and the Department of National Defence (CFB Esquimalt and the Township of Esquimalt). As of December 2010 approximately 0.18 ha of critical habitat has been identified within this area.

Map of the area within which critical habitat is found

© Parks Canada
The critical habitat parcel 856_01 is bounded by a rectangle with the following corner coordinates: 469566, 5362737; 469566, 5362914; 470025, 5362914; and 470025, 5362737 (Zone 10 NAD 1983)

Figure 5. Area (~ 1.0 ha) within which critical habitat for Dense-flowered Lupine is found at Trial Island. This area includes properties managed by the Canadian Coast Guard, and the Province of British Columbia. As of December 2010 approximately 0.31 ha of critical habitat has been identified within this area.

Map of the area within which critical habitat is found

© Parks Canada
The critical habitat parcel 856_02 is bounded by a rectangle with the following corner coordinates: 477387, 5360389; 477387, 5360483; 477502, 5360483; and 477502, 5360389 (Zone 10 NAD 1983).

Figure 6. Area (~ 0.35 ha) within which critical habitat for Dense-flowered Lupine is found at Holland Point (Dallas Bluffs). This area is managed by the City of Victoria. As of December 2010 approximately 0.13 ha of critical habitat has been identified within this area.

Map of the area within which critical habitat is found

© Parks Canada
The critical habitat parcel 856_03 is bounded by a rectangle with the following corner coordinates: 471976, 5361892; 471976, 5362163; 472107, 5362163; and 472107, 5361892 (Zone 10 NAD 1983).

Figure 7. Area (~ 0.9 ha) within which critical habitat for Dense-flowered Lupine is found at Finlayson Point (Dallas Bluffs). This area is managed by the City of Victoria. As of December 2010 approximately 0.29 ha of critical habitat has been identified within this area.

Map of the area within which critical habitat is found

© Parks Canada
The critical habitat parcel 856_04 is bounded by a rectangle with the following corner coordinates: 472613, 5361604; 472613, 5361781; 473128, 5361781; and 473128, 5361604 (Zone 10 NAD 1983).

Examples of activities likely to destroy critical habitat are provided below (Table 6). Destruction of critical habitat will result if any part of the critical habitat is degraded, either permanently or temporarily, such that it would not serve its function when needed by the species. Destruction may result from single or multiple activities at one point in time or from the cumulative effects of one or more activities over time. It is important to note that some activities have the potential to destroy critical habitat from outside the critical habitat.

Table 6. Examples of activities likely to result in the destruction of critical habitat
Activity Effect of activity on critical habitat Most likely sites
Damaging recreational use (e.g. intensive walking, cycling, and animal exercising activities) Soil compaction and loss of vegetation leading to changes in hydrology (such as decreased infiltration and increased runoff). Habitat is likely to be directly lost due to increased erosion and plants may become stressed and die due to impaired ability of the habitat to provide a suitable moisture regime.

In addition this activity is likely to introduce or spread alien plant species. Alien plant species compete with Dense-flowered Lupine and alter the availability of light, water, and nutrients in the habitat, such that the habitat would not provide the necessary habitat conditions required by Dense-flowered Lupine.
Macaulay Point, Finlayson Point, and Holland Point
Landscaping (e.g. planting/ development and maintenance or modification of existing structures, roads or trails) This activity can cause direct land conversion, soil compaction and associated hydrological effects (see recreational use), shading (e.g. by introduced plants or nearby structures), altered moisture regime (e.g. impounded drainage, or reduced water flow to the plants through ditching, or diversion of subsurface water by built structures), and introduction of alien species (e.g. intentional plantings or accidental introductions such as facilitated by unclean machinery; see recreational use for effect of invasive species).

Some landscape / construction activities may destroy critical habitat even if they occur outside of the critical habitat. For example tall buildings may still cast shade on the plants. Also, some activities such as road or trail construction, ditching, or irrigation may alter hydrological regimes within the critical habitat area.
Macaulay Point, Finalyson Point, and Holland Point (e.g. road maintenance, park facility or coastline protection structures)
Dumping of waste (e.g. poorly planned invasive alien plant removal efforts, illegal dumping of garden waste and household items) Increased cover of coarse debris reduces the ability of the habitat to support germination and growth and is likely to introduce alien invasive alien plants (see recreational use for effect of invasive species). All

To identify sufficient critical habitat for the survival of existing populations, additional monitoring of existing populations is required to refine the maximum patch extent.

In addition, further study is needed to verify whether the known habitat characteristics can be used to predict suitable unoccupied habitat for recovery. Once suitable habitat can be identified, an analysis of the population dynamics is required to determine the total amount and configuration of habitat that is required to support a viable population. To achieve the above, the following studies are required for the identification of critical habitat to expand or reintroduce populations of Dense-flowered Lupine as per population and distribution objectives:

  1. Identify high quality unoccupied sites and conduct surveys to determine whether they possess the known habitat characteristics required by Dense-flowered Lupine. Survey efforts should focus on maritime meadows within the extent of occurrence (Esquimalt, Victoria, Oak Bay, Trial Islands, and small islands and islets in Haro Strait). Suggested completion date 2013.
  2. Test the suitability of high quality unoccupied sites identified in (#1) by attempting to establish, maintain, and monitor a small number of Dense-flowered Lupine individuals in an experimental manner. Suggested completion date 2014/2015.
  3. If #2 is successful, test the potential for establishing new self sustaining populations or expanding existing populations through introduction of larger numbers of seeds or seedlings into suitable habitats and monitoring over many years. Seed bank viability must be determined to facilitate restoration and introductions. Suggested completion date 2016 onward[3].
  4. Towards a full identification of critical habitat: undertake analyses to determine the amount and configuration of habitat needed to achieve the recovery goals of population expansion and creation. Suggested completion date 2020 (completion date assumes successful and timely completion of previous steps)

3 Following the conclusion of step 3, additional critical habitat can be identified, but full identification will not be possible until step four.

A number of other rare species (Table 7) have been reported in the vicinity of one or more populations of Dense-flowered Lupine.

It is impossible to discuss all possible interactions associated with recovery. Actions to assist in the recovery of Dense-flowered Lupine will likely benefit other species at risk. For example, increased public education and awareness may limit harmful recreational activities in locations with species at risk and invasive alien plant management may restore habitat for other plant species at risk.

However, actions to assist in the recovery of Dense-flowered Lupine may negatively affect other species at risk. For example, trampling or other disturbance due to on-site recovery activities (e.g. surveys, research, and landscape management) poses a threat to rare species that occur in or near sites with Dense-flowered Lupine. If not planned and implemented carefully, recovery activities may have a negative effect on other species at risk.

Table 7. Co-occurring Rare Species (S-ranks assigned by as per BC Conservation Data Centre 2010.
Species Common name Conservation Rank COSEWIC Status
Coenonympha tullia insulana Island Ringlet G5T3T4 S1 Not assessed
Castilleja victoriae Victoria Owl-clover G1 S1 Not assessed
Castilleja levisecta Golden Paintbrush G1 S1 Endangered
Entosthodon fascicularis Banded Cordmoss G4G5 S2S3 Special Concern
Isoetes nuttallii Nuttall's Quillwort G4? S3 Not assessed
Leymus triticoides Creeping Wildrye G4G5 S1 Not assessed
Limnanthes macounii Macoun's Meadowfoam G2 S2 Threatened
Lotus formosissimus Seaside Bird's-foot Trefoil G4 S1 Endangered
Lotus unifoliolatus var. unifoliolatus Spanish-clover G5T5 S3 Not assessed
Lupinus oreganus var. kincaidii Kincaid's Lupine G5T2 SX Extirpated
Orthocarpus bracteosus Rosy Owl-clover G3? S1 Endangered
Polygonum paronychia Black Knotweed G5 S3 Not assessed
Ranunculus californicus California Buttercup G5 S1 Endangered
Sanicula arctopoides Bear's-foot Sanicle G5 S1 Endangered
Sanicula bipinnatifida Purple Sanicle G5 S2 Threatened
Sericocarpus rigidus White-top Aster G3 S2 Special Concern
Silene scouleri ssp. grandis Coastal Scouler's Catchfly G5TNR S1 Endangered

Parks Canada Agency and partners such as the Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team are guiding recovery actions for this and other species in the area to ensure that recovery actions for one species do not unduly hinder the recovery of another.

Recovery of Dense-flowered Lupine will be coordinated with other maritime meadow species as outlined in the multi-species strategy for maritime meadows in Garry Oak Ecosystems (Parks Canada Agency 2006). Parks Canada Agency and partners such as the Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team will coordinate this approach.

One or more action plans will be completed by March 2016.

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