Ministerial order to protect the critical habitat of the Western Chorus Frog: strategic environmental assessment public statement

A review of the potential environmental impacts of protecting the critical habitat of the Western Chorus Frog on federal land.

The Western Chorus Frog is a small frog with a distinct, loud call.  In Canada, the Western Chorus Frog, Great Lakes / St. Lawrence – Canadian Shield population (GLSLCS) lives in the lowlands of southern Ontario and southwestern Quebec. Western Chorus Frog (GLSLCS) populations have undergone serious declines in both Quebec and Ontario. The main threats to the species are habitat loss and degradation.

In 2010, the Western Chorus Frog (GLSLCS) was listed as threatened under the Species at Risk Act (SARA).  Under SARA, individuals of the species (eggs, tadpoles, juveniles and adults) and their residences (breeding sites and hibernating sites) are protected on federal lands. On December 1, 2015 a recovery strategy for the Western Chorus Frog (GLSLCS) was posted on the Species at Risk (SAR) Public Registry. The strategy identified habitat that is necessary for the survival or recovery of the species (also known as critical habitat). The critical habitat of Western Chorus Frog (GLSLCS) is similar to its residence. Some critical habitat occurs on federal lands in Ontario and Quebec.

The Minister of Environment and Climate Change, acting also on behalf of the Parks Canada Agency, has made an Order to protect the critical habitat of the Western Chorus Frog (GLSLCS) on federal lands in Ontario and Quebec. The Order does not apply to First Nations reserve land.

This protection will support the 2016 to 2019 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS) goal, “Healthy Wildlife Populations”. It will support 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.

Protecting the critical habitat of the species on federal land is expected to have a small impact on federal land managers and other stakeholders. The Order may indirectly protect other wildlife species that live in or visit the areas that are subject to the Order.

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

More information on this proposal is found in the Canada Gazette.

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