Hotwater physa (Physella wrighti) recovery strategy

Official title: Recovery Strategy for Hotwater Physa (final)

Hotwater Physa

Hotwater Physa Illustration

About the Species at Risk Act Recovery Strategy Series

What is the Species at Risk Act (SARA)?

SARA is the Act developed by the federal government as a key contribution to the common national effort to protect and conserve species at risk in Canada. SARA came into force in 2003 and one of its purposes is“to provide for the recovery of wildlife species that are extirpated, endangered or threatened as a result of human activity.”

What is recovery?

In the context of species at risk conservation, recovery is the process by which the decline of an endangered, threatened, or extirpated species is arrested or reversed and threats are removed or reduced to improve the likelihood of the species’ persistence in the wild. A species will be considered recovered when its long-term persistence in the wild has been secured.

What is a recovery strategy?

A recovery strategy is a planning document that identifies what needs to be done to arrest or reverse the decline of a species. It sets goals and objectives and identifies the main areas of activities to be undertaken. Detailed planning is done at the action plan stage.

Recovery strategy development is a commitment of all provinces and territories and of three federal agencies -- Environment Canada, Parks Canada Agency, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada -- under the Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk. Sections 37–46 of SARAoutline both the required content and the process for developing recovery strategies published in this series.

Depending on the status of the species and when it was assessed, a recovery strategy has to be developed within one to two years after the species is added to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk. Three to four years is allowed for those species that were automatically listed when SARA came into force.

What’s next?

In most cases, one or more action plans will be developed to define and guide implementation of the recovery strategy. Nevertheless, directions set in the recovery strategy are sufficient to begin involving communities, land users, and conservationists in recovery implementation. Cost-effective measures to prevent the reduction or loss of the species should not be postponed for lack of full scientific certainty.

The series

This series presents the recovery strategies prepared or adopted by the federal government under SARA. New documents will be added regularly as species get listed and as strategies are updated.

To learn more

To learn more about the Species at Risk Act and recovery initiatives, please consult the SARA Public Registry and the Web site of the Recovery Secretariat (

Recommended citation:

Heron, J. 2007. Recovery Strategy for the Hotwater Physa (Physella wrighti) in Canada. Species at Risk ActRecovery Strategy Series. Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Vancouver, vii + 27 pp.

Additional copies:

Additional copies can be downloaded from the SARA Public Registry.

Cover illustrations: A. Denbigh, courtesy Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Également disponible en français sous le titre :

« Programme de rétablissement de la physe d'eau chaude (Physella wrighti) au Canada »

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, 2007. All rights reserved.

ISBN 978-0-662-44889-1

Catalogue no. En3-4/17-2007E-PDF

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


This Recovery Strategy for the Hotwater Physa in Canada has been prepared in cooperation with jurisdictions responsible for the species, as described in the Preface. Fisheries and Oceans Canada has reviewed and accepts this document as its Recovery Strategy for these species as required by the Species at Risk Act.

Success in the recovery of Hotwater Physa 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 Fisheries and Oceans Canada or any other jurisdiction alone. In the spirit of the National Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans invites all Canadians to join Fisheries and Oceans Canada in supporting and implementing this strategy for the benefit of Hotwater Physa and Canadian society as a whole. Fisheries and Oceans Canada will support implementation of this strategy to the extent possible, given available resources and its overall responsibility for species at risk conservation. The Minister will report on progress within five years.

This strategy will be complemented by one or more Action Plans that will provide details on specific recovery measures to be taken to support conservation of this species. The Minister will take steps to ensure that, to the extent possible; Canadians interested in or affected by these measures will be consulted.

Responsible Jurisdictions

The responsible jurisdiction for Hotwater Physa under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) is Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Hotwater Physa occur solely within the Liard Hotsprings Provincial Park under jurisdiction of the Province of British Columbia (BC). The Province of BC and Fisheries and Oceans Canada have cooperated in the development of this recovery strategy.


The Province of BC and Fisheries and Oceans Canada have cooperated in the development of this recovery strategy.


Scientific review and edit of the proposed recovery strategy was completed by Sue Salter. Subsequent revisions were the collaborative work of the BCMinistry of Environment (MOE) and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO). Sue Salter has contributed data and scientific expertise to this recovery strategy, and her independent research on this and other freshwater invertebrates is vital to these species' recovery in Canada. Additional review was completed by Sue Pollard, BC MOE, Brenda Costanzo BC MOE, Ted Down BC MOE, Ted Lea BC MOE, Carole Eros DFO, John Elliott BC MOE, Doug Biffard BC MOE, Mike Rowe BC MOE, Jim Boutillier DFO, Laurie Convey DFO and Jacquie Lee, independent malacologist.

Strategic Environmental Assessment

In accordance with the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals, the purpose of a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is to incorporate environmental considerations into the development of public policies, plans, and program proposals to support environmentally-sound decision making.

Recovery planning is intended to benefit species at risk and biodiversity in general. However, it is recognized that strategies may also inadvertently lead to environmental effects beyond the intended benefits. The planning process based on national guidelines directly incorporates consideration of all environmental effects, with a particular focus on possible impacts on non-target species or habitats.

This Recovery Strategy will clearly benefit the environment by promoting the recovery of Hotwater Physa. The potential for the strategy to inadvertently lead to adverse effects on other species was considered. The SEA concluded that this strategy will clearly benefit the environment and will not entail any significant adverse effects. Refer to the following sections of the document in particular: Needs of Hotwater Physa; Anticipated conflicts or challenges; Strategies to address threats and effect recovery; and Effects on other species.


SARA defines residence as: "a dwelling-place, such as a den, nest or other similar area or place, that is occupied or habitually occupied by one or more individuals during all or part of their life cycles, including breeding, rearing, staging, wintering, feeding or hibernating" [SARA S2(1)].

Residence descriptions, or the rationale for why the residence concept does not apply to a given species, are posted when available on the SARApublic registry.


Hotwater Physa is a freshwater species under jurisdiction of the federal government under the Species at Risk Act (SARA). SARA (Section 37) requires the competent minister to prepare recovery strategies for listed extirpated, endangered or threatened species. The Hotwater Physa was listed as Endangered under SARA in June 2003. Fisheries and Oceans Canada – Pacific Region and the Province of British Columbia (BC) co-led the development of this recovery strategy. The proposed strategy meets SARA requirements (Sections 39-41) in terms of content and process.

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