Government of Canada extends critical habitat protection to six more species at risk

News release

September 4, 2019                               

Ottawa, Ontario - Over the past 50 years, the world’s wildlife populations have declined by 60%. In Canada, approximately 544 species have been identified as being at risk under the Species at Risk Act and the list is growing. The Government of Canada is committed to protecting and recovering aquatic species at risk, to benefit Canada’s biodiversity as well as local and Indigenous communities that rely on them. That’s why the Government of Canada is taking urgent and concrete actions to ensure that at-risk species are protected for future generations.

The Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, has signed six Critical Habitat Orders this year under the Species at Risk Act. The approved Critical Habitat Orders will allow for further protection of these at-risk species: Hotwater Physa, Western Brook Lamprey (Morrison Creek population), Salish Sucker, Round Hickorynut, Kidneyshell, and Lake Utopia Rainbow Smelt (small-bodied population). These are all species with small habitat ranges, many existing in only one watershed in the country.

A Critical Habitat Order focuses on protecting the functions, features and attributes of a species’ critical habitat in specific geographical locations that are essential to its survival. Critical habitat may include areas where species give birth, hatch, feed or raise their young. Activities are permitted on a case-by-case basis within the critical habitat of a species, provided that any proposed activities are assessed to ensure that the activities will not result in the destruction of critical habitat. A Critical Habitat Order applies to any ongoing or future human activities that could result in the destruction of any part of the identified critical habitat of an at-risk species.

Quotes

“Over the past 50 years, the world’s wildlife populations have declined by 60%. Here in Canada, approximately 544 species have been identified as being at risk under the Species at Risk Act and the list is growing. The decline in biodiversity impacts both our natural environment, and the economy. That’s why, protecting, enhancing and conserving Canada’s species at risk and their habitats is a priority for our government. This funding will enable our partners, including Indigenous organizations across the country to improve our country’s biodiversity and the natural resources that Canadians rely on.”

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

Quick facts

  • The Critical Habitat Orders protecting the critical habitat of the following species found in British Columbia have already been the subject of public consultations and were published in Canada Gazette, Part II:

    • Hotwater Physa on February 6, 2019.
    • Western Brook Lamprey (Morrison Creek population) on May 15, 2019.
    • Salish Sucker on August 7, 2019
  • The Critical Habitat Orders protecting the critical habitat of the following species have already been the subject of public consultations and will be published today in Canada Gazette, Part II:

    • Round Hickorynut, Kidneyshell found in southwestern Ontario, and Lake Utopia Rainbow Smelt (small-bodied population) found in southwestern New Brunswick.

Associated links

Contacts

Jocelyn Lubczuk
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans
and the Canadian Coast Guard
343-548-7863
Jocelyn.Lubczuk@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Media Relations
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
613-990-7537
Media.xncr@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

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