Species at Risk Act: order amending schedule 1 for western species

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 18 species on Schedule 1, the List of Wildlife Species at Risk, pursuant to subsection 27(1) of the Species at Risk Act (SARA) and makes taxonomic changes to 5 species. Eleven new species are to be added to Schedule 1, while two species will be up-listed and five species will be down-listed, as indicated in tables 1 and 2 below.

Table 1: Addition of 11 wildlife species to Schedule 1 of SARA
Legal Species Name Species Scientific Name Current Status New Status Range
Arthropods - - - -
1. Clubtail, Olive Stylurus olivaceus None Endangered BC
2. Efferia, Okanagan Efferia okanagana None Endangered BC
3. Tachinid Fly, Dune Germaria angustata None Special concern YK
Birds  - - - -
4. Grebe, Horned (Western population) Podiceps auritus None Special concern YK, NWT, NU, BC, AB, SK, MB, ON
5. Sandpiper, Buff-breasted Tryngites subruficollis None Special concern YK, NWT, NU, BC, AB, SK, MB, ON, QC
6. Sparrow, Baird’s Ammodramus bairdii None Special concern AB, SK, MB
Lichens  - - - -
7.  Lichen, Batwing Vinyl Leptogium platynum None Endangered BC
8. Lichen, Crumpled Tarpaper Collema coniophilum None Threatened BC
9. Lichen, Peacock Vinyl Leptogium polycarpum None Special concern BC
Mammals  - - - -
10. Pika, Collared Ochotona collaris None Special concern YK, NWT, BC
Molluscs  - - - -
11. Mantleslug, Magnum Magnipelta mycophaga None Special concern BC
Table 2: Reclassification of 7 wildlife species to Schedule 1 of SARA
Legal Population Name Species Scientific Name Current Status New Status Range
Arthropods  - - - -
1. Hairstreak, Behr's Satyrium behrii Threatened Endangered BC
Birds  - - - -
2. Screech-owl macfarlanei subspecies, Western Megascops kennicottii macfarlanei Endangered Threatened BC
3. Screech-owl kennicottii subspecies, Western Megascops kennicottii kennicottii Special concern Threatened BC
Plants  - - - -
4. Cryptantha, Tiny Cryptantha minima Endangered Threatened AB, SK
5. Buffalograss Bouteloua dactyloides Threatened Special concern SK, MB
6. Lily, Lyall's Mariposa Calochortus lyallii Threatened Special concern BC
7. Prairie-clover, Hairy Dalea villosa Threatened Special concern SK, MB

Ten of the species are assessed as special concern, four as threatened and four 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 3 presents the protections afforded species upon Listing.

Table 3: Summary of Protections Offered to Wildlife Species and their residences immediately upon their Addition to Schedule 1 of SARA
Status General Prohibitions Application of general prohibitions
Protection of Individuals (SARA, sections 32) Residence Protection (SARA, section 33) Species protected by the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 Aquatic species All other listed species
Special Concern SARA General prohibitions do not apply SARA Residence protection does not apply SARA’s general prohibitions are not applicable (SARA’s general prohibitions and critical habitat protection do not apply for species of special concern)
Threatened, Endangered and Extirpated

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 of derivative of this individual.

It is an offence to damage or destroy the residence of one or more individuals of the species. Protections for migratory birds apply everywhere in Canada Protections for aquatic species apply  everywhere in Canada

In the provinces, general prohibitions and residence protection apply only on Federal lands.

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

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 18 species at risk in Canada by 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.

Few impacts are anticipated on the economy following listing the 18 species included in this Order. An economic analysis has been conducted and it has been determined that the Order will have a low socio-economic impact (see Regulatory Analysis Impact Statement at [insert URL when public statement is ready for publication] for more details).

The direct outcome of the Order is to support the survival and recovery of 18 species at risk in Canada. The Order will add or reclassify 18 species on Schedule 1, the List of Wildlife Species at Risk, pursuant to subsection 27(1) of SARA.  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 11 new species to schedule 1 and reclassify 7 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 Theme III, “Protecting Nature and Canadians” of the FSDS. Under Theme III, these amendments will help fulfill Goal 4: “Conserving and Restoring Ecosystems, Wildlife and Habitat and Protecting Canadians,” and one of its “Targets to Conserve and Restore Ecosystems, Wildlife and Habitat.”: “4.1 Species at Risk. By 2020, populations of species at risk listed under federal law exhibit trends that are consistent with recovery strategies and management plans” and a number of implementation strategies.  

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 18 species included in this Listing Order has been assessed and it has been determined that it will have a low socio-economic impact (see Regulatory Analysis Impact Statement).

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.

Related Link:

Species at Risk Public Registry

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