Recovery Strategy for the Dense-flowered Lupine in Canada [Proposed] 2011: Recovery
Recovery is biologically and technically feasible for this species (Table 4).
|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:
- 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 mature individuals may be used as an interim target for each of the Canadian populations.
- 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).
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):
- Habitat and species protection: protect existing populations and their habitat from destruction (e.g. from land development) through regulation;
- Stewardship: use stewardship to control the damaging effects of trampling and soil disturbance, invasive alien plants, fire suppression, and mowing;
- Research: address knowledge gaps relating to critical habitat of Dense-flowered Lupine, seedbank longevity, and the taxonomic status of the proposed variety scopulorum;
- Mapping and inventory: map and inventory existing populations and other suitable sites;
- Population restoration: develop and test population establishment/augmentation techniques to establish populations on other suitable sites; and
- Public education and outreach: provide public education and outreach to increase interest in the protection and stewardship of the species.
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:
- The total Canadian population has been maintained at, or increased from 2010 levels (assuming a natural range of annual variability).
- All three populations extant in 2010 are maintained.
- Four (or more) suitable meadow areas identified, or conserved by 2015 for establishment of a new population of Dense-flowered Lupine.
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:
- Sunny areas with short or sparse vegetation (trees are absent and the cover of shrubs is never substantial).
- One to fifteen metres above sea level, with variable slopes (on steeper slopes the habitat is generally found on southeast to southwest aspects).
- Glaciomarine clay, silt or loam with a depth of 5 to >50 cm.
- Soils tend to be moist in the early growing season (October to March), but are well to rapidly drained which, combined with the full exposure and southern aspects, make these sites very dry by mid-summer.
- Coarse material (e.g. wood, garbage) covering the soil is rarely abundant.
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.
© 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.
© 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.
© 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.
© 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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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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