Ministerial order to protect the critical habitat of the Barrens Willow

Summary of a strategic assessment of effects on the environment of the Critical Habitat of the Barrens Willow Order.

The Barrens Willow (Salix jejuna) is a low-lying deciduous shrub found only on limestone barrens. This species is located on the northwestern part of the island of Newfoundland. The main threats to the Barrens Willow are loss and degradation of habitat due to human activities.

In 2003, the Barrens Willow was listed as endangered  under the Species at Risk Act (SARA). Under SARA, individuals of the species are protected on federal lands. A recovery strategy for the Barrens Willow was posted on the Species at Risk Public Registry on October 25, 2006, and was subsequently amended on June 20, 2018. The recovery strategy partially identifies habitat that is necessary for the survival or recovery of the species (also known as critical habitat). Some critical habitat of the Barrens Willow occurs on one federal property; Cape Norman on the island of Newfoundland.

The Minister of Environment and Climate Change has made an Order under SARA to protect the critical habitat of the Barrens Willow on federal land from destruction. The Order may indirectly protect other wildlife species, including other species at risk like the Fernald’s Braya and Long’s Braya, and the unique limestone barrens ecosystem in the area that is subject to the Order.

This protection supports the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS) goal of Healthy wildlife populations. It supports the goal’s medium-term target, "By 2020, species that are secure remain secure, and populations of species at risk listed under federal law exhibit trends that are consistent with recovery strategies and management plans". The Order also supports the Canadian Biodiversity Strategy and the United Nations 2030 Agenda’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 15 Life on land.

SARA requires measures such as recovery planning and reporting that will help scientists learn if the Barrens Willow is recovering. The Species at Risk Public Registry will be updated with new or additional information related to the species.

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