Species at Risk Act: order amending schedule 1 for eastern Canada

A Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) concluded that the Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act (the Order) will result in important positive environmental effects. Overall protection of wild animal and plant species at risk contributes to national biodiversity and protects ecosystems productivity, health and resiliency (i.e., the ability of an ecosystem to respond to changes or disturbances). Given the interdependency of species, a loss of biodiversity can lead to decreases in ecosystem function and services (e.g., natural processes such as pest control, pollination, coastal wave attenuation, temperature regulation and carbon fixing). These services are important to the health of Canadians, and also have important ties to Canada’s economy (e.g., agriculture, forestry, recreation, etc.). Small changes within an ecosystem resulting in the loss of individuals and species can therefore result in adverse, irreversible and broad-ranging effects.

Specifically, the objective of the Order is to help maintain Canada’s biodiversity and the wellbeing of Canadian ecosystems through the recovery and protection of species at risk. The Order adds or reclassifies 14 species on Schedule 1, the List of Wildlife Species at Risk, pursuant to subsection 27(1) of the Species at Risk Act (SARA). Eight new species are added to Schedule 1, while two species are up-listed and four species are down-listed, as indicated in table 1 below.

Table 1: Species to be added or reclassified under Schedule 1 of SARA

Legal population name New status Range
Amphibians - -
Salamander, Jefferson Up-listing from threatened to endangered Ontario
Salamander, Northern Dusky New listing as endangered Ontario
Salamander, Spring (Adirondack / Appalachian population)* New listing as threatened Quebec
Arthropods - -
Beetle, American Burying New listing as extirpated Ontario, Quebec
Beetle, Hungerford’s Crawling Water New listing as endangered Ontario
Clubtail, Skillet New listing as endangered New Brunswick
Emerald, Hine’s New listing as endangered Ontario
Lichens - -
Lichen, Blue Felt New listing as special concern New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador
Plants - -
Baccharis, Eastern New listing as threatened Nova Scotia
Goldencrest Down-listing from threatened to special concern Nova Scotia
Iris, Dwarf Lake Down-listing from threatened to special concern Ontario
Thistle, Pitcher’s Down-listing from endangered to special concern Ontario
Twayblade, Purple Down-listing from endangered to threatened Ontario, Quebec
Reptiles - -
Gartersnake, Butler’s Up-listing from threatened to endangered Ontario

* COSEWIC recognized the currently listed Spring Salamander (Gyrinophilus porphyriticus) as two separate wildlife species under SARA. The Order strikes Spring Salamander (Gyrinophilus porphyriticus) from Schedule 1 and adds this new designatable unit. The second designatable unit is referred back to COSEWIC.

Four of the species are assessed as special concern, three as threatened and six as endangered. The Order is presented to the GIC on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment and based on the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada’s (COSEWIC) scientific assessment. Table 2 presents the protections afforded species upon Listing.

Table 2: Summary of Protections Offered to Wildlife Species and their residences immediately upon their Addition to Schedule 1 of SARA

- Application of General Prohibitions by Type of Species and their Location General Prohibitions
Species Status Species protected by the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 Aquatic Species All Other Listed Species Protection of Individuals (SARA, section 32) Residence Protection (SARA, section 33)

 

- Application of General Prohibitions by Type of Species and their Location General Prohibitions
Special concern SARA’s general prohibitions are not applicable (SARA’s general prohibitions do not apply for species of special concern) SARA’s general prohibitions do not apply SARA’s residence protection does not apply

 

- Application of General Prohibitions by Type of Species and their Location General Prohibitions

Threatened, endangered,

and extirpated

 

General prohibitions apply everywhere in Canada for migratory birds. General prohibitions apply everywhere in Canada for aquatic species.

In the provinces, general prohibitions apply only on federal lands.

In the territories, general prohibitions apply only on federal lands under the authority of the Minister of the Environment or the Parks Canada Agency.

Protection for individuals of the species against being killed, harmed, harassed, captured or taken.

Prohibition against the possession, collection, buying and selling or trading of an individual of the species or any part or derivative of this individual.

It is an offence to damage or destroy the residence of one or more individuals of a species.

The residence of extirpated species is only protected if a recovery strategy recommends reintroduction into the wild.

Listing under an endangered, threatened or extirpated status triggers SARA’s general prohibitions, i.e., the protection of individuals and their residences on federal lands, as well as mandatory recovery planning, by the competent minister, in order to address threats to the survival or recovery of these listed species. Recovery plans include information such as the description of the species, the threats it faces, a description of its critical habitat and objectives for the recovery of the species. It is accompanied with action plans, which present the steps to take to implement the direction contained in the recovery plan. A special concern designation in Schedule 1 of SARA does not trigger SARA’s general prohibitions, but it mandates the preparation and publication of a management plan within three years of listing. The plan includes conservation measures deemed appropriate to preserve the wildlife species and avoid a future decline of its populations.

The Order supports the survival and recovery of 14 species at risk in Canada by affording legal protections and mandating recovery planning, thus contributing to the maintenance of biodiversity in Canada. In the case of threatened or endangered species, they will benefit from the development of recovery strategies and action plans that identify the main threats to species survival, as well as identify, when possible, the habitat that is necessary for their survival and recovery in Canada. Species listed as special concern will benefit from the development of a management plan, which includes measures for the conservation of the species. The Order will also help Canada meet its commitments under the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Listing these species in Schedule 1 will support the purposes of SARA which are to prevent wildlife species from being Extirpated or becoming Extinct, to provide for the recovery of wildlife species that are Extirpated, Endangered or Threatened as a result of human activity and to manage species of Special Concern to prevent them from becoming Endangered or Threatened. The Order will add 8 new species to schedule 1 and reclassify 6 species.

The outcome of this Order will have significant benefits for the protection of species at risk in Canada.  This Order has direct links with the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS). The amendments to Schedule I of SARA will have positive environmental effects and support the Goal of “Healthy wildlife populations” of the FSDS. Under this Goal, these amendments will help fulfill the Target that “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”.

Overall protection of wild animal and plant species at risk contributes to national biodiversity and protects ecosystems that naturally purify and sustain the environment. This indirectly positively impacts the health of all humans.  Few impacts are anticipated on the economy since the impact of listing the 14 species included in this Listing Order has been assessed and it has been determined that it will have a low socio-economic impact.

The ultimate objective of the Order is to protect species so they can recover. Species are reassessed by COSEWIC every 10 years, which is one of the ways to monitor the health of the species. Monitoring will also be done through the recovery plans or management plans to be developed for the species which must be reassessed every 5 years.

The recovery strategy, enforcement, and other elements will be implemented according to the normal SARA program procedures.

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