ARCHIVED — Vol. 147, No. 7 — March 27, 2013

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Registration

SOR/2013-34 March 8, 2013

SPECIES AT RISK ACT

Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act

P.C. 2013-266 March 7, 2013

His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, pursuant to subsection 27(1) of the Species at Risk Act (see footnote a), makes the annexed Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act.

ORDER AMENDING SCHEDULE 1 TO THE SPECIES AT RISK ACT

AMENDMENTS

1. Part 2 of Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act (see footnote 1) is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order under the heading “FISH”:

Cisco, Spring (Coregonus sp.)
Cisco de printemps

2. Part 2 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by striking out the following under the heading “MOLLUSCS”:

Lampmussel, Wavy-rayed (Lampsilis fasciola)
Lampsile fasciolée

3. Part 2 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order under the heading “MOLLUSCS”:

Mussel, Mapleleaf (Quadrula quadrula) Saskatchewan – Nelson population
Mulette feuille d’érable population de la Saskatchewan – Nelson

Mussel, Rainbow (Villosa iris)
Villeuse irisée

Pondmussel, Eastern (Ligumia nasuta)
Ligumie pointue

4. Part 3 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by striking out the following under the heading “BIRDS”:

Falcon anatum subspecies, Peregrine (Falco peregrinus anatum)
Faucon pèlerin de la sous-espèce anatum

5. Part 3 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by striking out the following under the heading “FISH”:

Darter, Eastern Sand (Ammocrypta pellucida)
Dard de sable

Sculpin, Shorthead (Cottus confusus)
Chabot à tête courte

6. Part 3 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order under the heading “FISH”:

Darter, Eastern Sand (Ammocrypta pellucida) Ontario populations
Dard de sable populations de l’Ontario

Darter, Eastern Sand (Ammocrypta pellucida) Quebec populations
Dard de sable populations du Québec

Trout, Westslope Cutthroat (Oncorhynchus clarkii lewisi) Alberta population
Truite fardée versant de l’Ouest population de l’Alberta

7. Part 3 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order under the heading “MOLLUSCS”:

Mussel, Mapleleaf (Quadrula quadrula) Great Lakes – Western St. Lawrence population
Mulette feuille d’érable population des Grands Lacs – Ouest du Saint-Laurent

8. Part 4 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order under the heading “FISH”:

Sculpin, Shorthead (Cottus confusus)
Chabot à tête courte

9. Part 4 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order under the heading “MOLLUSCS”:

Floater, Brook (Alasmidonta varicosa)
Alasmidonte renflée

Lampmussel, Wavy-rayed (Lampsilis fasciola)
Lampsile fasciolée

COMING INTO FORCE

10. This Order comes into force on the day on which it is registered.

REGULATORY IMPACTANALYSIS STATEMENT

(This statement is not part of the orders.)

Executive summary

Issue: A growing number of aquatic species in Canada face pressures and threats that put them at risk of extirpation or extinction. Many serve important biological functions or have intrinsic, commercial, or recreational value to the Canadian public and require conservation and protection to ensure healthy aquatic ecosystems for future generations.

Description: This Order adds seven aquatic species to Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act (SARA) and reclassifies two species on Schedule 1 of SARA (Schedule 1). This Order also amends Schedule 1 by striking out one species previously listed as a single designatable unit and adding two new designatable units of the same species in its place. One designatable unit of a terrestrial species, currently also listed as part of a broader designatable unit, is struck out to eliminate duplication. These amendments are being made on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment with advice from the other competent minister, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. A related Order under section 76 of SARA will exempt activities authorized under the Fisheries Act from the prohibitions of SARA for a period of one year for one of the species being added to Schedule 1 (Westslope Cutthroat Trout).

The addition of species to Schedule 1 as extirpated, endangered or threatened invokes prohibitions against killing, harming, harassing, capturing, taking, possessing, collecting, buying, selling or trading individuals of these species, and to the damage or destruction of the residence of one or more of such individuals. SARA also requires the preparation of recovery strategies and action plans to provide for their recovery and survival. When a species is added to Schedule 1 as a species of special concern, SARA requires the preparation of a management plan to prevent the species from becoming endangered or threatened.

Cost-benefit statement: For each of the seven species being added to Schedule 1, the two species being reclassified and the two species that are replacing another, as well as the terrestrial species being struck out, socioeconomic impacts are estimated to be low and should result in positive net benefits for Canadians.

“One-for-One” Rule and small business lens: As no specific new administrative tasks or compliance actions are required as part of this Order, there is no net change under the “One-for-One” Rule and the small business lens does not apply.

Domestic and international coordination and cooperation: International coordination and cooperation for the conservation of biodiversity is provided through the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to which Canada is a signatory. Domestic coordination and cooperation is covered by several mechanisms developed to coordinate Species at Risk (SAR) Program implementation across the various domestic jurisdictions. These include inter-governmental committees, a National Framework for Species at Risk Conservation (NFSARC), and negotiated species at risk bilateral agreements. The species at risk bilateral agreements foster collaboration in the implementation of SARA and of provincial/territorial endangered species legislation.

Issue

A growing number of wildlife species in Canada face pressures and threats that place them at risk of extirpation or extinction. Canada’s natural heritage is an integral part of Canada’s national identity and history. Wildlife, in all its forms, has value in and of itself and is valued by Canadians for aesthetic, cultural, spiritual, recreational, educational, historical, economic, medical, ecological and scientific reasons. Canadian wildlife species and ecosystems are also part of the world’s heritage. The Government of Canada is committed to conserving biological diversity, through the use of many tools including the Species at Risk Act (SARA).

Background

SARA is a key tool in the ongoing work to protect species at risk. By providing for the protection and recovery of species at risk, SARA is one of the most important tools in the conservation of Canada’s biological diversity. SARA also complements other laws and programs of Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial governments, and supports the efforts of conservation organizations and other partners working to protect Canadian wildlife and habitat. SARA establishes Schedule 1 as the official List of Wildlife Species at Risk. Once a species is listed on Schedule 1, the measures to protect and recover a listed wildlife species apply.

Once an aquatic species has been listed as threatened or endangered, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans is responsible for preparing a recovery strategy which includes, among other things, population and distribution objectives for a species. Where a species has been re-classified, the recovery strategy and the action plan (if one is prepared) may be reviewed to ensure that they are still relevant given changes in the risk status. For example, if there is a new threat to the species this would have to be reflected in the recovery strategy. However, the new risk status may not necessarily change the population and distribution objectives for the future of the species.

On June 19, 2012, the Governor in Council (GIC) officially acknowledged receipt of assessments for 16 aquatic species that had been assessed by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). Receipt of these assessments initiated the nine-month legislated time period within which the GIC, on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, must render a decision as to whether or not to add these species to Schedule 1 of SARA, or to refer the species back to COSEWIC for further review. Therefore, the GIC is required to render a final decision regarding the listing of these species by March 19, 2013. On July 7, 2012, a proposed order and Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement (RIAS) pertaining to the 11 aquatic species considered for addition or modification under Schedule I, as well as other proposed actions relating to 5 other species, were published in Part I of the Canada Gazette for a 30-day public comment period.

Three other orders are being made as part of the broader regulatory action previously described in the Canada Gazette, Part I. One of these will be considered in this statement as it relates directly to a species being added to Schedule 1. An order under section 76 of SARA is issued to exempt certain fishing activities authorized under the Fisheries Act and the Canada National Parks Act from the section 32 prohibitions of SARA for one year after the listing of the Alberta population of Westslope Cutthroat Trout. This course of action was not included as part of the Canada Gazette, Part I, proposal. However, it has been determined that this will help provide for the successful implementation of the recovery measures for the species, and will be assessed in detail in the relevant section.

A separate order will be issued with respect to the decisions not to add three species to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk, which will cover the Beluga Whale (Eastern High Arctic population), the Striped Bass (Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence population) and the Cusk. The decisions not to list these species were made on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, in consultation with the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, taking into account the assessments provided by COSEWIC.

Another order will be issued to refer the matter of the Humpback Whale (North Pacific population) and the Eulachon (Nass and Skeena Rivers population) back to COSEWIC for consideration of new information.

Objectives

The purposes of SARA are

  1. to prevent wildlife species from being extirpated or becoming extinct;
  2. to provide for the recovery of wildlife species that are extirpated, endangered or threatened as a result of human activity; and
  3. to manage species of special concern to prevent them from becoming endangered or threatened.

A decision to add a species to Schedule 1 as endangered or threatened results in the species receiving the benefits of protection and recovery measures required under SARASpecies listed as special concern receive the benefits of a SARA-compliant management plan. This results in overall benefits to the environment both in terms of the protection and recovery of individual species and the conservation of Canada’s biological diversity.

In making a recommendation to the Minister of the Environment, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans considers the following, as appropriate:

  • the purpose of SARA;
  • the COSEWIC status assessment;
  • other available information regarding the status and threats to the species;
  • the results of public consultations with provinces and territories;
  • the results of consultations with appropriate Aboriginal organizations;
  • the results of consultations with any other person or organization that the competent minister considers appropriate;
  • the results of consultations with the appropriate wildlife management board;
  • the social-economic (costs and benefits) and biological impacts from listing the species; and
  • the advice of any other competent minister.

It is the responsibility of the Minister of the Environment to make a recommendation to the GIC to

  • (a) accept the COSEWIC assessment and add the specific species to the list;
  • (b) decide not to add the species to the list; or
  • (c) refer the matter back to COSEWIC for further information or consideration.

Description

The purpose of the Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act is to add seven species to Schedule 1, reclassify two species, replace a current listed species with two new designatable units of the same species and strike out one designatable unit that is currently listed as part of a broader designatable unit. This amendment is made on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment based on advice from the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, on scientific assessments by COSEWIC, and on consultations with governments, Aboriginal peoples, stakeholders and the Canadian public.

The risk status as assessed by COSEWIC for the 11 species included in the Order is presented in Table 1. The full status assessments, including the reasons for classification and the species range are available at www.sararegistry.gc.ca.

Table 1: Status designations of 11 species assessed by COSEWIC and received by the GIC on June 19, 2012

Aquatic species added to Schedule 1 of SARA (7)

Fish

1. Westslope Cutthroat Trout (Alberta population)

Threatened

2. Spring Cisco

Endangered

Molluscs

1. Brook Floater

Special concern

2. Mapleleaf Mussel (Great Lakes — Western St. Lawrence population)

Threatened

3. Mapleleaf Mussel (Saskatchewan — Nelson population)

Endangered

4. Eastern Pondmussel

Endangered

5. Rainbow Mussel

Endangered


Aquatic species reclassified in Schedule 1 of SARA (2)

Fish

1. Shorthead Sculpin

Threatened to special concern

Molluscs

1. Wavy-rayed Lampmussel

Endangered to special concern


Aquatic species where one previously listed species will be replaced with two new populations of the same species in Schedule 1 of SARA (2)

Fish

1. Eastern Sand Darter (Ontario population)

Threatened

2. Eastern Sand Darter (Quebec population)

Threatened


Terrestrial species where a single population of a currently listed species is removed to eliminate administrative duplication (1); not received by GIC on June 19, 2012

Birds

1. Peregrine Falcon (anatum subspecies)

Threatened

SARA includes prohibitions that make it an offence to kill, harm, harass, capture or take an individual of an aquatic species that is listed as extirpated, endangered or threatened on Schedule 1 of SARA. SARA also includes prohibitions that make it an offence to possess, collect, buy, sell or trade such individuals and to damage or destroy the residence of one or more such individuals.

Under section 37 of SARA, once an aquatic species is listed on Schedule 1 as extirpated, endangered or threatened, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans is required to prepare a strategy for its recovery. Pursuant to section 41 of SARA, the recovery strategy must, among other things, address threats to the species’ survival and to its habitat, describe the broad strategy to address those threats, identify the species’ critical habitat to the extent possible based on the best available information, state the population and distribution objectives that will assist the recovery and survival of the species and identify research and management activities needed to meet the population and distribution objectives. The recovery strategy also provides a timeline for completion of one or more action plans.

Action plans are required to be developed to implement recovery strategies for species listed as extirpated, endangered or threatened. Action plans must, with respect to the area to which the action plan relates, identify, among others, measures that address the threats to the species and those that help to achieve the population and distribution objectives for the species and when these are to take place; a species’ critical habitat, to the extent possible, based on the best available information and consistent with the recovery strategy; examples of activities that would likely result in the destruction of the species’ critical habitat; measures proposed to be taken to protect the critical habitat; and methods to monitor the recovery of the species and its long-term viability. These action plans also require an evaluation of the socio-economic costs of the action plan and the benefits to be derived from its implementation.

For species listed as special concern, management plans that include measures for the conservation of the species and their habitat must be prepared. Recovery strategies, action plans and management plans must be posted on the Species at Risk Public Registry within the timelines set out under SARA.

Recovery and management planning is an opportunity for federal, provincial and territorial governments to work together, and to stimulate cooperation and collaboration among a number of partners — including municipalities, Aboriginal organizations and stakeholders — in determining the actions necessary to support the survival and recovery of listed species.

Regulatory and non-regulatory options considered

As required under SARA, on receiving a copy of an assessment from COSEWIC, the Minister of the Environment includes, within 90 days, a report in the Public Registry stating how the Minister intends to respond to the assessment. The receipt of status assessments by the GIC triggers a process in which the GIC may review that assessment and may, on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, (1) accept the assessment and add the species to Schedule 1 of SARA; (2) decide not to add the species to Schedule 1; or (3) refer the assessment back to COSEWIC for further information or consideration.

The first option, to add the species to Schedule 1 of SARA, would ensure that the species receives protection in accordance with the provisions of SARA, including mandatory recovery or management planning.

The second option is not to add the species to Schedule 1. Although the species would benefit from neither prohibitions afforded by SARA, nor the recovery or management planning required under SARA, the species may already be managed under other federal legislation such as the Fisheries Act as well as provincial or territorial species at risk legislation where it exists. When deciding to not add a species to Schedule 1, it is not referred back to COSEWIC for further information or consideration.

The third option is to refer the assessment back to COSEWIC for further assessment when new information is made available that was not taken into consideration during the original assessment. It would be appropriate to refer an assessment back, if, for example, significant new information became available after the species had been assessed by COSEWIC.

If the GIC has not taken a decision in response to COSEWIC’s assessments nine months after acknowledging receipt of these species, the Minister of the Environment must amend the List in accordance with COSEWIC’s assessments.

Consultation

Under SARA, the scientific assessment of species status and the decision whether to add a species to Schedule 1 of SARA are comprised of two distinct processes. This helps ensure that scientists can work independently when assessing the biological status of wildlife species and that Canadians have the opportunity to participate in the decision-making process in determining whether or not a species is listed under SARA.

The 11 aquatic species addressed in this document were assessed by COSEWIC at its meetings between May 2003 and May 2011. Public consultations were conducted following the respective COSEWIC assessments by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) from 2003 to 2011. Consultations were facilitated through mail-outs, meetings, public sessions, consultation workbooks, and other supporting documents which were made available on the Species at Risk Public Registry and other government Internet sites. Consultations were conducted with fish harvesters, industry sectors, recreational fishers, Aboriginal groups, environmental organisations, other levels of government and the public. The consultation results for the individual species are outlined later in this document.

Benefits and costs

Description and rationale

Listing a species on Schedule 1 of SARA entails both benefits and costs in terms of social, environmental and economic considerations, through the implementation of the SARA general prohibitions upon listing and through the recovery planning requirements. This RIAS outlines the estimated benefits and costs associated with adding seven species to Schedule 1 of SARA, amending the listing status of two other species and replacing another with two new designatable units.

Upon listing the aquatic species on Schedule 1, individuals of that species under consideration benefit from immediate protection wherever they are found through general prohibitions under SARA. Under sections 32 and 33 of SARA, it is an offence to

  • kill, harm, harass, capture or take an individual of a listed species that is extirpated, endangered or threatened;
  • possess, collect, buy, sell or trade an individual of a listed species that is extirpated, endangered or threatened, or its part or derivative; and
  • damage or destroy the residence of one or more individuals of a listed endangered or threatened species or of a listed extirpated species if a recovery strategy has proposed its reintroduction into the wild in Canada.

With respect to Canada’s fisheries and species listed pursuant to Schedule 1 of SARA, the section 32 prohibition will generally require that a species at risk captured as non-directed catch be released alive and unharmed back to the waters from which it was obtained. In all cases where a fishery is likely to interact with a species at risk in a predictable way, a SARA permit is required, or a SARA compliant authorization, permit, or licence pursuant to other federal legislation is required. However, such a permit is dependent upon several factors, including the biology of the fish, the type of gear used, the nature of the fishery, and that the activity of capturing the species at risk does not compromise survival or recovery of the species. In some circumstances, the interaction of the fishery with the species at risk will result in its mortality and therefore live release is not feasible. Again, in this situation, the issuance of a SARA permit to allow the fishery to interact with the species at risk will be dependent upon the determination that the incidental mortality associated with the capture of the species does not compromise its survival or recovery. Furthermore, in all cases, all reasonable alternatives to the activity will be assessed and all feasible mitigation measures applied to minimize the interaction with the species at risk. In cases where non-directed catch will compromise survival or recovery of the species, pursuant to SARA, no permit can be issued. Under section 32 of SARA, all interaction with the species which constitutes killing, harming or harassing of the species is prohibited. To date, restrictions on non-directed catch are established through SARA-compliant licences issued under the Fisheries Act.

Listing species on Schedule 1 will result in the development and implementation of recovery strategies and action plans or management plans. Recovery strategies must be drafted for all species listed on Schedule 1 as extirpated, endangered or threatened. These are followed by action plans that identify measures to implement the recovery strategy. For species listed on Schedule 1 as species of special concern, management plans are required that include measures for the conservation of the species and their habitat. An assessment of costs associated with the development of management plans and recovery strategies for previously listed species has shown that the average cost for each is approximately $45,000 and $50,000 respectively.

Benefits

For some aquatic species, protection under SARA can lead to direct and indirect economic benefits in the future as populations recover and the commercial or recreational use of the species can be restored. However, protecting species at risk can provide numerous benefits to Canadians beyond direct economic benefits, such as the preservation of essential ecosystem goods and services. Many of the species considered for SARA protection serve as indicators of environmental quality. Various studies show that Canadians place value on preserving species for future generations to enjoy and benefit from knowing the species exist, even if they will never personally see or otherwise enjoy them. Furthermore, the unique characteristics and evolutionary histories of many species at risk make them of special interest to the scientific community.

When seeking to quantify the economic benefits to society provided by a species, the most commonly used framework is the Total Economic Value (TEV). The TEV of a species can be broken down into the following components:

  • Direct use value — refers to the consumptive use of a resource, such as fishing;
  • Indirect use value — includes non-consumptive activities, such as whale watching, which represents recreational value;
  • Option use value — represents the value of preserving a species for future direct and indirect use; and
  • Passive values (or non-use value) — includes bequest value, which is the value of preserving a species for future generations, and existence value, which represents the altruistic value individuals derive from simply knowing that a given species exists, regardless of potential for any future use.

Passive value is typically an important component of the TEV of species at risk. When a given species is not readily accessible to society, existence value may comprise the major or only benefit of a particular species. Passive values can be estimated by stated preferences surveys that estimate willingness to pay — the amount an individual is willing to pay per year to preserve a species.

Quantitative information is limited regarding Canadians’ willingness to pay for the preservation of species included in this Order. However, studies on other at-risk species indicate Canadians do place substantial economic value upon targeted conservation programs, even for species with which they are unfamiliar. Although specific estimates are not available for the species considered here, it is not always necessary to quantify the benefits of protection in order to determine their likely magnitude in comparison to the costs imposed on Canadians. The analysis in this Order uses the best available quantitative and qualitative information to assess expected benefits.

Costs

The costs of protecting and recovering the species in this Order could be borne by several segments of society. For government, major categories of costs attributed to the Order include compliance promotion, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, and enforcement. These costs could arise from the application of SARA, in particular the enforcement of the SARA prohibitions and/or the development and implementation of recovery strategies, action plans, or management plans depending on the classification of the species. Additional costs to Canadians will usually arise from the changes in economic activity that are required to accommodate species protection, for example reduced harvests or the application of best management practices to preserve habitat or avoid incidental mortality.

The magnitude of costs borne by affected parties (including industries, individuals and different levels of government) vary and would be proportional to some key parameters, such as the classification of the species in Schedule 1, threats to the species, population size and distribution, as well as economic activities involving the species. For example,

  • for the Brook Floater, the aquatic species added to Schedule 1 as a species of special concern, the automatic prohibitions under sections 32 and 33 of SARA will not apply. Thus, there are no immediate costs to ensure compliance with legislated prohibitions. Rather, affected stakeholders may incur minimal costs that would stem from the development and implementation of a management plan, as required for species of special concern under SARA;
  • for the species being reclassified from threatened to special concern — Shorthead Sculpin — and the species being reclassified from endangered to special concern — Wavy-rayed Lampmussel — existing prohibitions under SARA will no longer be in effect. Therefore, no new compliance costs are anticipated; and
  • for the species added to Schedule 1 under the extirpated, endangered, or threatened categories, the general prohibitions will be applied automatically upon listing and impacts to Canadians may occur. For these cases, the impacts are detailed below.

Costs arising from the enforcement activities associated with the listing recommendations under this Order are anticipated to be low. While incremental activities related to enforcement costs to DFO are not expected to create a significant additional burden on DFO, the requirement to develop recovery strategies and action plans in accordance with SARA will result in incremental costs.

The benefits and costs to Canadian society from these actions under SARA have been estimated to the greatest extent practical, according to the 2007 benefit-cost guidelines set out by the Treasury Board Secretariat of Canada. Dollar estimates are presented as changes in net economic value (consumer and/or producer surplus) wherever possible. When quantitative estimation was not possible or expected impacts were too low to warrant extensive analysis, the potential impacts are described in qualitative terms.

Aquatic species added to Schedule 1 of SARA

Seven aquatic species (two freshwater fish and five molluscs) are added to Schedule 1. Brook Floater is added as a species of special concern. Two species — Mapleleaf Mussel (Great Lakes — Western St. Lawrence population), Westslope Cutthroat Trout (Alberta population) — are added as threatened. Four species — Eastern Pondmussel, Rainbow Mussel, Mapleleaf Mussel (Saskatchewan — Nelson population), and Spring Cisco — are added as endangered.

Brook Floater

The Brook Floater is a freshwater mussel found in 15 scattered watersheds in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Although it has never been abundant in Canada, it has disappeared from approximately half of its locations in the United States; therefore, the Canadian population now represents an important global stronghold for the species. The major threat to the Brook Floater is aquatic habitat degradation resulting from shoreline development, poor agricultural practices, and other water quality issues. COSEWIC assessed the species as special concern in April 2009.

Consultations

A consultation summary on the Brook Floater was prepared and posted on the Species at Risk Public Registry between December 17, 2010, and February 15, 2011. Public notices were posted in four newspapers in the Gulf Region and six in the Maritimes Region. Letters, including the consultation summary and a response sheet, were sent to First Nations and a range of stakeholders, including watershed groups and non-governmental organizations, agriculture and forestry associations as well as provincial and municipal governments.

In total, the Gulf and Maritimes regions received 11 responses: 6 from watershed groups and ENGOs; 2 from Aboriginal groups; 1 from an agriculture association; 1 from a municipality; and 1 from a member of the public via the Public Registry. Of the 11 respondents participating in the consultations, 8 supported the listing, while 3 were undecided. The provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have indicated support for the listing.

Benefits

In light of the significant decline in occurrence throughout its global range, the Canadian population now represents a key global stronghold for the species. Overall benefits to Canadians include potential ecological benefits that could arise as a result of listing the Brook Floater as special concern. The Brook floater and other freshwater mussels play a key role in maintaining water quality and are key indicators of habitat quality. Listing the Brook Floater will lead to the development of a SARA Management Plan which would guide measures to prevent further decline, range loss or worsened status due to human activities. This could lead to increased research, monitoring and assessment of threats, stewardship and outreach and communication activities. In addition, SARA stewardship funding could be considered to promote recovery efforts and restoration projects.

Costs

As prohibitions under SARA do not apply to species listed as special concern, no significant socio-economic impacts are expected from listing the species. It is anticipated that the listing will not unduly impact sectors (mainly agriculture, forestry and residential development) as the total cost to the industry is anticipated to be minimal. Some costs will be incurred through potential stewardship, outreach and communication activities to increase awareness of the species, improved watershed planning and the implementation of voluntary best management practices.

Rationale

The listing of the Brook Floater as special concern represents the greatest overall benefit to Canadians as it could limit the decline of the species and prevent it from becoming endangered. The total cost to Canadian society of listing the Brook Floater is unknown but is expected to be minimal. The majority of Canadians consulted supported the listing. The investment in a management plan and associated activities could result in important benefits to society and is proportional to the degree of risk.

Westslope Cutthroat Trout (Alberta population)

The Alberta population of the Westslope Cutthroat Trout is restricted to southwestern Alberta, primarily the South Saskatchewan drainage. They tend to inhabit cooler, less productive streams than other closely related species. Native populations have been drastically reduced, by almost 80%, due to over-exploitation, habitat degradation and hybridization/competition with non-native trout. Forestry, hydroelectric development, mining, urbanization and agriculture have all contributed to the loss of habitat. COSEWIC assessed the species as threatened in November 2006.

In addition to the order listing the species as threatened under Schedule I, the GIC, on the recommendation of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, is making a related order under section 76 of SARA to exempt activities authorized under the Fisheries Act from the section 32 prohibitions of SARA for one year after the listing of the Alberta population of the Westslope Cutthroat Trout. This will provide sufficient time for the finalization of the recovery strategy and the completion of other measures by partners in the recovery planning process, including the Province of Alberta.

Consultations

From 2007 to 2008, letters and workbooks were sent to 109 First Nation communities and organizations and 42 stakeholders. Public notices were placed in nine newspaper outlets. The stakeholders contacted directly included 3 academics, 2 agricultural organizations, 10 businesses, 15 non-governmental organizations, 9 municipalities, and 3 recreational fishery organizations.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans received a total of 100 responses, 78 of which supported the listing and 14 of which did not support the listing. Five of the responses were from First Nations, 64 from the general public and 31 from stakeholders. The comments in support of the listing underscored the social, cultural and economic significance of the species. The comments that did not support the listing highlighted concerns about potential impacts on businesses and industry, as well as the recreational fishery. Concerns were focused on access to water and water management. Water diversion occurs well downstream of any Westslope Cutthroat Trout populations. Therefore, additional new restrictions relating to water access and water management, impacting the existing irrigation and hydroelectricity generation industries, are not anticipated. It is anticipated that any impacts could be minimized as the recovery strategy will provide for flexible management, particularly through permits authorized by the Act. Furthermore, in recognition of such concerns, DFO is utilizing a broad consultative approach to recovery planning for this species. Many of the parties who raised concerns were invited to participate in the recovery team and are, and will continue to be, actively involved in the development of the recovery strategy.

None of the comments from First Nations indicated a lack of support for the listing. The Province of Alberta has indicated support for the listing.

With regard to the order issued under section 76 of SARA, this course of action has been discussed as a possible measure on a number of occasions with members of the recovery team, which is composed of a wide array of stakeholders. None of the participants has indicated opposition to this approach, which has been part of the recovery planning discussion from as early as January 2009.

Benefits

The listing of the Westslope Cutthroat Trout (Alberta population) will provide protection pursuant to SARA (section 32 and 33 prohibitions). Canadians will benefit from the new protection afforded to this species, which will be centred on a collaborative effort with all stakeholders — including industry, non-governmental organizations and local and provincial governments — and First Nations. This approach will create synergies for comprehensive action since this species is presently listed as threatened under the provincial Wildlife Act. A detailed recovery strategy, action plan and subsequent actions to recover Westslope Cutthroat Trout throughout their historic range will have positive benefits as existence values are preserved for future generations. Recovery activities for this population undertaken under SARA will generate broader benefits to the ecosystem, which supports other threatened species.

With regard to the order issued under section 76 of SARA, the one-year time period will provide an opportunity for all parties to review and adjust other applicable regulatory tools to ensure compliance with SARA. It will also provide a reasonable window of time to formally approve the recovery strategy with clearly defined exemptions for acceptable activities that would not negatively impact the survival or recovery of the Westslope Cutthroat Trout. This approach ensures that ongoing fishing activities are not unduly impacted while the recovery strategy is being finalized following the listing of the species. This action will not negatively impact the survival or recovery of the Westslope Cutthroat Trout of the species.

Costs

No significant socio-economic impacts are anticipated as a result of the listing. All of the water bodies outside national parks where the species is currently found receive protection under the Alberta Water Act. In addition, many of those water bodies are considered to have a heightened level of sensitivity under codes of practice created from the Water Act which regulate industrial operations in those areas. Since prohibitions and restrictions are currently in place under provincial legislation, incremental costs are anticipated to be low.

There is potential for some increased operating and capital costs due to modifications for forestry, recreational, hydroelectricity and oil and gas activities. However, such costs are expected to be low as the recovery team will work collaboratively to ensure that costs are mitigated to the extent possible. The diverse composition of the recovery team, which includes some of the stakeholders and partners who commented on the listing during the initial phases of the process, will help ensure that subsequent measures are wellbalanced. Furthermore, since the genetically pure stock of this species is now extremely restricted in its distribution and population sizes, potential impacts to ongoing operations will be minimal. Marginal costs to government will arise from compliance promotion and enforcement activities, and from recovery actions.

It is anticipated that recreational fishing will not be significantly impacted within the flexible management approach envisioned under section 83(4) of the Act. Notwithstanding this, if limited closures are deemed necessary under the recovery strategy, they will likely only affect portions of a small number of waterbodies. Given the abundance of other suitable sites for recreational fisheries in the area, these impacts will likely be negligible.

With regard to the order issued under section 76 of SARA, no new financial or environmental costs are expected as a result of this action.

Rationale

The listing of the Westslope Cutthroat Trout (Alberta population) as threatened under SARA should result in a positive net benefit to Canadians. The species will receive protection under the Act, and the development of a flexible implementation approach through the recovery strategy would provide for permitting consistent with recovery goals. Historically important in biodiversity and recreational fisheries, this species is now quite restricted in distribution and population size. A recovery strategy and action plan will produce recovery risk assessments for each of the small, largely isolated populations, thus identifying threats to be mitigated and contributing to reversing trends of decline while providing insight into other species facing similar threats.

The scientific assessment of the potential for the recovery of the species provides for some allowable harm from controlled recreational angling as well as from research activities that are beneficial to the species and that will not jeopardize the survival or recovery of the species. DFO is working with a multi-stakeholder recovery team, which has drafted a recovery strategy for the species, addressing the key threats facing the species. As well, it is anticipated that the recovery strategy will provide for the continuation of the recreational fishery in a manner consistent with the scientific advice.

With regard to the order issued under section 76 of SARA, this has been determined to be the best course of action as it eliminates the potential costs associated with the need to issue additional SARA permits in the absence of clearly defined exemptions within a finalized recovery strategy. The order also fulfills a commitment to other parties interested in the recovery and protection of the species to provide a reasonable opportunity to review and adjust relevant regulatory and non-regulatory tools.

Mapleleaf Mussel (Great Lakes — Western St. Lawrence population)

The Great Lakes — Western St. Lawrence population of Mapleleaf Mussel is confined to larger rivers draining into Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie, including the Sydenham, Ausable, Grand and Thames rivers. Overall, the extent of occurrence in Ontario has declined by nearly 50% of its former range. This mussel is threatened by habitat loss and degradation and invasions by zebra and quagga mussels. The Mapleleaf Mussel is listed as threatened under the Ontario Endangered Species Act, and was assessed by COSEWIC as threatened in 2006.

This listing will require the creation of a recovery strategy and action plans.

Consultation

In 2006–2007, letters and workbooks were sent out to 11 First Nation communities and organizations, 4 Métis Nation organizations and 137 stakeholders. These stakeholders included 3 academics, 3 agricultural organizations, 48 non-governmental organizations, 2 federal organization, 5 commercial fishery organizations, 1 industry, 55 municipalities, 1 professional organization, 2 provincial organizations, 9 recreational fishery organizations, 5 recreation organizations and 3 utilities. As well, public notices were posted in five newspaper outlets.

In total, eight responses were received, seven of which supported listing the species as threatened. One response only acknowledged receiving the information. Respondents included three non-governmental organizations, one municipality, and three citizens from the general public. One other stakeholder acknowledged receipt of the workbook, but did not send specific responses. Of these responses, none were received from First Nations or Aboriginal peoples. The Province of Ontario has indicated support for the proposed listing.

Benefits

Freshwater mussels play an integral role in the functioning of aquatic ecosystems (e.g. nutrient cycling) and as indicators of water quality. Over time, it is anticipated that the present populations of the Mapleleaf Mussel could be stabilized, critical habitat would be protected and recovery actions would be undertaken. This species is already protected in Ontario and the likelihood of species recovery is greater if there are multiple levels of government working together. Recovery will require management and coordination between federal and provincial governments, research and monitoring as well as stewardship, outreach and education. This listing will provide a basis for this type of interjurisdictional collaboration. In addition, stewardship among landowners should be encouraged, especially in areas of intensive agricultural development.

Costs

Minimal to no socio-economic impacts are anticipated as similar prohibitions and restrictions on the activities of stakeholders are already in place under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act, and the Fisheries Act. Impacts to industry are assumed to be negligible as restrictions on the activities of stakeholders (e.g. agriculture, urban development, industrial and infrastructure) are due to existing legislation. There are no additional restrictions for industry stakeholders under SARA.

No incremental costs are anticipated to be incurred by government regarding compliance promotion and/or enforcement as a number of measures are already in place.

Rationale

Recovery of the Mapleleaf Mussel will benefit from the listing. The status and protection provided to this species by listing it under SARA will match the level of protection provided by the Province of Ontario. This will be an important step to supporting the bilateral agreement between the federal government and Ontario and will support the established harmonization committees, which aim to minimize unnecessary duplication and address inconsistencies between the two levels of government.

The scientific assessment of the potential for recovery of the species for Mapleleaf Mussel (Great Lakes — St. Lawrence population) provides flexibility which may allow for the issuance of research or incidental harm permits, providing they do not jeopardize the survival or recovery of the species.

Mapleleaf Mussel (Saskatchewan — Nelson population)

The Saskatchewan — Nelson population of the Mapleleaf Mussel is predominantly found in the Red-Assiniboine drainage system in Manitoba. Decreased water quality due to point and non-point sources (from agriculture, domestic waste, commercial and industrial activities) is the main threat to this mussel. The species was assessed by COSEWIC as endangered in 2006.

Consultation

In 2006–2007, workbooks along with letters were sent out to 16 First Nations, 5 Métis Nations and 11 stakeholders. The stakeholders included 3 non-governmental organizations, six municipalities, 1 agricultural organization and 1 provincial organization. As well, public notices were posted in four newspaper outlets.

In total, six responses were received. Of the six responses, one was received from Métis Nations, one from a non-governmental organization, and four from citizens at consultations held for the general public. Of the responses received, all supported listing the species as endangered under SARA. Of these responses, none were received from First Nations.

Benefits

Freshwater mussels play an integral role in the functioning of aquatic ecosystems (e.g. nutrient cycling) and as indicators of water quality, and these ecosystem values will be preserved if the species is listed.

Recovery of the Mapleleaf Mussel requires management and coordination between federal and provincial governments, research and monitoring as well as stewardship, outreach and education. These measures will be facilitated through the listing of the species. In addition, stewardship among landowners should be encouraged, especially in areas of intensive agricultural development. Canadians and consumers will benefit from listing the species, as the present values of the species will be preserved.

Costs

Limited socio-economic impacts to Canadians, consumers, and First Nations are anticipated for listing the species. There is potential for some costs to industry associated with modifications to urban/industrial development, infrastructure and agricultural activities. These modifications will likely increase operating and capital costs; however, the incremental impacts are anticipated to be low because of current requirements under existing provincial and federal regulations. As well, there will be incremental costs incurred to government for compliance promotion and enforcement. Precise costs are unknown but significant costs are not anticipated in line with previously mentioned estimates.

Rationale

Listing the Mapleleaf Mussel as endangered will provide the basis for additional mitigation measures and protection to address anthropogenic threats that are jeopardizing the survival and recovery of the population. Listing under SARA will provide additional protection by enabling the development of a recovery strategy and action plan by a recovery team. The Mapleleaf Mussel and its habitat continue to be protected by the provincial and federal Fisheries Act and the Manitoba Fishery Regulations.

In addition, listing the species will provide resources to undertake recovery actions (research and monitoring) to gain a better understanding of the species life history requirements, population, distribution, allowable harm and recovery times.

The listing of the species will generate added benefits as it will receive protection pursuant to SARA. The scientific assessment of the potential for recovery of the species has indicated some level of harm could be permitted for this species, providing for the flexibility to issue permits pursuant to section 73 of SARA.

Listing the Mapleleaf Mussel (Saskatchewan — Nelson population) as endangered under SARA is expected to result in overall benefits to Canadians, as listing ensures the benefits of this species are preserved and the costs to stakeholders of listing are expected to be low.

Eastern Pondmussel

The Eastern Pondmussel was one of the most common species of freshwater mussel in the lower Great Lakes prior to the invasion of the Zebra Mussel. The species has declined dramatically and now only occurs as two small, widely separated populations. The Eastern Pondmussel is listed as endangered under the Ontario Endangered Species Act and was assessed by COSEWIC as endangered in 2007.

Consultation

In 2007–2008, workbooks along with letters were sent to 33 First Nation communities and organizations and 12 stakeholders. These stakeholders include 7 non-governmental organizations, 3 municipalities and 2 provincial organizations. As well, public notices were posted in four newspaper outlets.

Of the 11 responses received, 4 were from First Nations, 4 from the general public, 2 from provincial conservation authorities, and 1 from a non-governmental organization. All of the respondents supported the listing of the species as endangered. The Province of Ontario has indicated support for the listing.

Benefits

Freshwater mussels play an integral role in the functioning of aquatic ecosystems through processes such as nutrient cycling, and as indicators of water quality. Such ecosystem values could be maintained at existing levels if the species is listed. As well, the species will still be afforded protection under the Ontario Endangered Species Act, and other provincial, municipal and federal laws.

Over time it is anticipated that the present populations could be stabilized, critical habitat will be protected and recovery actions will be undertaken. The likelihood of species recovery is greater if there are multiple levels of government working together. Recovery will require management and coordination between federal and provincial governments, research and monitoring as well as stewardship, outreach and education. In addition, stewardship among landowners should be encouraged, especially in areas of intensive agricultural development.

Costs

No significant socio-economic costs are anticipated to Canadians, consumers, or First Nations. As well, no incremental costs for compliance promotion and/or enforcement are anticipated to be incurred by the Government. There will be minimal to low impacts to industry as restrictions on the activities of stakeholders (e.g. agriculture, urban development, industrial and infrastructure) are already in place due to Ontario’s Endangered Species Act (and the Fisheries Act). There are no additional restrictions for industry stakeholders under SARA.

Rationale

This species will receive protection pursuant to SARA, and the development of a recovery strategy and action plan will enable the allocation of resources as appropriate to undertake recovery of this species for the enjoyment of future generations of Canadians.

The status and protection provided to this species by listing it under SARA will match the level of protection provided by the Province of Ontario. This will be an important step to supporting the bilateral agreement between federal government and Ontario and supports the established harmonization committees, which aim to minimize unnecessary duplication and address inconsistencies between the two levels of government.

The scientific assessment of the potential for recovery of the Eastern Pondmussel provides for flexibility to allow for the issuance of research or incidental harm permits, providing they will not jeopardize the survival or recovery of the species.

Rainbow Mussel

The Rainbow Mussel is widely distributed in southern Ontario, but has been lost from Lake Erie, the Detroit and Niagara rivers and much of Lake St. Clair due to the invasion of Zebra Mussels. Although it still occurs in small numbers in several watersheds, the area of occupancy and the quality and extent of habitat are declining. In addition to Zebra Mussels, threats include habitat loss and degradation. The Rainbow Mussel is listed as threatened under the Ontario Endangered Species Act. It was assessed by COSEWIC as endangered in 2006.

Consultation

In 2006–2007, consultation workbooks along with letters were sent to 15 First Nations communities and organizations, 5 Métis organizations and 138 stakeholders. These stakeholders included 3 academics, 3 agricultural organizations, 48 non-governmental organizations, 2 federal organizations, 5 commercial fishery organizations, 16 recreational fishery organizations, 54 municipalities, 2 provincial organizations, one professional organization, and 3 utility organizations. As well, public notices were posted in seven newspaper outlets.

Of the 10 responses received, 9 supported listing the species as endangered under SARA, and 1 response was an acknowledgement of receipt of information. Of the responses received, none were opposed to the listing. No responses were received from Aboriginal, Métis, or First Nations groups. The Province of Ontario has indicated support of the listing.

Benefits

Freshwater mussels play an integral role in the functioning of aquatic ecosystems (e.g. nutrient cycling) and as indicators of water quality. Ecosystems values will be maintained at existing levels, which will help support current legislative mechanisms such as Ontario’s Endangered Species Act and the Fisheries Act.

Over time, it is anticipated that the present populations will be stabilized, critical habitat will be protected and recovery actions would be undertaken. The likelihood of species recovery is greater if there are multiple levels of government working together (federal, provincial and municipal). Recovery requires management and coordination between federal and provincial governments, research and monitoring as well as stewardship, outreach and education. In addition, stewardship among landowners should be encouraged, especially in areas of intensive agricultural development.

Costs

No significant socio-economic impacts are anticipated to Canadians, consumers, or First Nations. As well, no incremental costs for compliance promotion and/or enforcement are anticipated to be incurred by the Government. There will be minimal to low impacts to industry as restrictions on the activities of stakeholders (e.g. agriculture, urban development, industrial and infrastructure) are already in place under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act and other legislation. There are no additional restrictions for industry stakeholders under SARA.

Rationale

A recovery strategy and action plan will be developed. This species will receive protection pursuant to the SARA with a negligible and low risk to the department. Listing will provide resources to undertake recovery of this for the enjoyment of future generations of Canadians.

The status and protection provided to this species by listing it under SARA matches the level of protection provided by the Province of Ontario. This is an important step to supporting the bilateral agreement between federal government and Ontario and supports the established harmonization committees, which aim to minimize unnecessary duplication and address inconsistencies between the two levels of government.

As the Rainbow Mussel was assessed by COSEWIC in April 2006, success in the recovery of the species will be determined in part to the speed at which habitat protection and recovery actions are undertaken.

The scientific assessment of the potential for recovery of the Rainbow Mussel provides for some flexibility to allow for the issuance of research or incidental harm permits, providing they do not jeopardize the survival or recovery of the species.

Spring Cisco

The only known population of Spring Cisco in Canada is in Lac des Écorces, Quebec. This species has undergone a drastic decline in abundance in the last 15 years. The main threat is the presence of Rainbow Smelt, an introduced species, as well as habitat degradation (i.e. eutrophication) of the lake. A scientific assessment of the potential for recovery of the species has determined that recovery is feasible. The risk of extinction for the population is high if the threats are not addressed. The Spring Cisco is listed as a species likely to be designated threatened or vulnerable under Quebec’s An Act Respecting Threatened or Vulnerable Species, and was recently assessed by COSEWIC as endangered due to its declining indices of abundance, its limited range, and the endemic character of the population.

Consultation

A public consultation on the addition of the Spring Cisco, a species inhabiting only Lac des Écorces in the Laurentian region, took place between February 12 and April 30, 2010. All participants were in favour of adding the Spring Cisco to SARA.

Consultation workbooks were sent to 26 organizations and municipalities to obtain their views on the Spring Cisco’s addition to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk. The workbook was also posted on the Species at Risk Public Registry, and ads were placed in two local newspapers to inform local residents of the consultations. Three workbooks were returned, all of which were in support of listing the species.

The Province of Quebec has indicated support for the proposed listing. A meeting with representatives of the municipalities of Lac-des-Écorces and Mont-Laurier, the MRC [regional county municipality] d’Antoine-Labelle, and the Comité de bassin versant de la rivière du Lièvre was held on June 16, 2010. Following the meeting, participants spoke out in favour of adding the Spring Cisco to SARA. On August 19, 2010, the MRC d’Antoine-Labelle passed a resolution making this support official among its municipalities.

A consultation workbook was sent to the Kitigan Zibi reserve, who confirmed the community’s support for adding the Spring Cisco to SARA.

Benefits

The population currently has no provincial or municipal protection. The Spring Cisco is not well known, and its addition to SARA will increase existing conservation efforts. Although the population has declined, the main threats to the species’ recovery can be mitigated or eliminated. The introduction of Rainbow Smelt can be managed through large-scale removals during the spawning period. Since the appearance of blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) in Lac des Écorces, water quality degradation has been the focus of provincial and local monitoring and awareness-raising programs. The population’s addition to SARA may help bolster these programs without adding to their costs.

The impacts of listing the Spring Cisco are anticipated to be positive. Any potential resources made available through stewardship programs would result in improvements to the natural environment. The presence in Lac des Écorces of a unique and endangered species may give rise to shoreline and water quality awareness campaigns, and associated improvement to the watershed’s aquatic habitats would represent a net benefit for the community (drinkable water, sport fishing, tourism and recreation activities, shoreline erosion, etc.).

Costs

The potential socio-economic implications of listing Spring Cisco are anticipated to be minimal. Sport and commercial fishing will not be impacted as there are no threats from capture, either controlled or accidental, by sport or subsistence fishers. Stakeholders who may be impacted include holiday resorts, agricultural developers, and housing developers through a more focused application of existing fish habitat laws. The incremental impact is expected to be low as such activities will have to be conducted in compliance with existing legislation.

Minimal incremental costs are anticipated to be incurred by the government regarding compliance promotion and/or enforcement, especially regarding any recovery program implementation costs (scientific research, increased monitoring, awareness-raising, revegetation, etc.).

Rationale

Listing the Spring Cisco under SARA should more effectively reduce threats to its recovery. The large-scale removal of Rainbow Smelt from Lac des Écorces should also help curb the population’s decline. Water quality awareness campaigns and shoreline revegetation programs should help preserve the Spring Cisco’s critical habitat. Such improvements could generate benefits for waterfront properties, improve the quality of sport fishing and help preserve biodiversity of Lac des Écorces.

While it is impossible to assess the population’s abundance at the moment, listing the species will help fill remaining knowledge gaps regarding the Spring Cisco’s biology, habitat and population status. A recovery strategy and action plan will be developed.

Aquatic species whose listing status in Schedule 1 of SARA is reclassified

Two aquatic species (one freshwater fish, one mollusc) are reclassified from threatened and endangered to special concern.

Shorthead Sculpin

Shorthead Sculpin is a small bottom-dwelling freshwater fish that is endemic to the Columbia River basin in British Columbia. The species was listed as threatened on Schedule 1 of SARA when it came into force. COSEWIC’s reassessment as special concern reflects an increase in the estimate of the number of locations in which this species is found. The most serious threat to Shorthead Sculpin is habitat loss and degradation from water flow alteration, drought, and pollution. A recovery strategy was drafted for this species that includes actions necessary to meet recovery objectives and identifies knowledge gaps. Critical habitat was not identified; rather, a schedule of studies was developed to lead to its identification. The draft recovery strategy was not posted to the Species at Risk Public Registry before COSEWIC conducted a reassessment of this species.

Consultation

As Shorthead Sculpin was reassessed by COSEWIC in November 2010, listing consultations were consequently conducted in early 2011. Information was posted on the regional consultation Web site from February 17 to March 14, 2011. During its posting, 143 page views were recorded for the consultation homepage in English, and 20 page views were recorded for the French. A total of 11 page views were recorded for the listing consultation guide.

Along with a consultation Web posting, letters and workbooks were sent out to 28 non-governmental organizations, 21 First Nations groups, and 5 industry groups. A total of two groups submitted feedback; one from industry in favour of down-listing the species as special concern, and one from a First Nations group in favour of retaining the current listing of the species as threatened.

Benefits

Down-listing the species will not reduce the potential for survival of the species. The recovery target in the draft recovery strategy is to maintain the long-term viability of the species, which is likely still feasible under the special concern listing.

The scientific benefits in terms of improved understanding and knowledge of the species will not change as a result of listing, and the species will remain the only sculpin in Canada and biologically unique in northwestern North America. As well, it will still be of interest as one of five similar species in the streams of south-central British Columbia. As a species of special concern, actions will continue to preserve this important component of Canada’s biological heritage.

As this is a non-use species, there are no market benefits.

Costs

No socio-economic impacts to stakeholders, user groups and First Nations are anticipated as a result of a listing at the special concern level. Negligible costs saving are expected as a result of listing the species as special concern. Since there will no longer be a need to identify critical habitat, the schedule of studies that would be described in the recovery strategy would no longer be required. Nevertheless, some of the research may still be undertaken to improve knowledge of Shorthead Sculpin as a species of special concern.

The cost impacts of protecting the species’ critical habitat, if it remained listed as threatened, cannot be measured but can range from negligible to significant. With the down-listing of the species, prohibitions on destruction of critical habitat will no longer apply.

Rationale

The ecological risk to the species is equally low whether it is listed as special concern or threatened. A special concern designation will allow for the development of a management plan, based on the draft recovery strategy, which will outline conservation actions that can be undertaken. These actions will be linked to other recovery efforts for other species in the same geographic area consistent with an ecosystem approach.

Wavy-rayed Lampmussel

This medium-sized freshwater mussel is confined to four river systems and the Lake St. Clair delta in southern Ontario. Although water and habitat quality have declined throughout most of the species’ former range in Canada, there are signs of improvement in some populations. Since the original COSEWIC assessment of endangered in 1999, surveys have identified previously unknown reproducing populations. Threats include invasive mussels, increased siltation and declining water quality. Currently, the species is listed as endangered under Schedule 1 of SARA, but — in light of the new data — COSEWIC reassessed the species in 2010 as special concern.

Consultation

In 2010–2011, workbooks were sent out to 14 First Nations communities, 2 Métis organizations and 131 stakeholders. These stakeholders included 10 individuals who had attended recovery meetings, 35 non-governmental organizations, 70 municipalities, 13 provincial organizations, 1 academic, and 2 recreational fishery organizations. Along with letters and workbooks, public notices were published in 14 newspapers.

One response received was opposed to the down-listing of the species to special concern.

Benefits

Freshwater mussels play an integral role in the functioning of aquatic ecosystems and as indicators of water quality. Negligible benefits are anticipated for the species by revising its status to special concern. Ecosystem values will be maintained at existing levels and this benefit will be realized regardless of the status of the species. It will continue to be afforded protection under the Ontario Endangered Species Act, and other existing legislation.

As a special concern species, the general prohibitions under SARA will no longer apply, and there will also no longer be a requirement to identify critical habitat or to complete an action plan. However, a management plan will be developed to maintain the long-term viability of the species. The SARA Management Plan will reinforce the protection provided by provincial legislation. It is anticipated that the management plan will recommend actions already outlined in the posted SARA recovery strategy.

No benefits are anticipated for industry, Canadians, or government. Currently, there is no information available on Aboriginal social and cultural values associated with this species, but no changes to any current practices are anticipated.

Costs

Since there is no longer a need to identify critical habitat, some cost savings are expected. With the change in status, prohibitions on destruction of critical habitat will no longer apply. Hence, any socio-economic impacts of protecting the species critical habitat will not be realized.

Moving from an endangered status to special concern status is expected to result in negligible costs to industry. These costs would be associated with protection of the species habitat as outlined in the Endangered Species Act and other legislation. There will also be marginal costs to government related to the development/implementation of the management plan.

Since there will be negligible costs to industry, no incremental costs are anticipated for Canadians. The impacts to First Nations communities are unknown as no information is currently available on Aboriginal social and cultural values. However, as no changes to any current practices are anticipated, there would unlikely be any impacts on First Nations communities.

Rationale

Based on the new data, including the discovery of new populations in previously unknown watersheds that has resulted in the COSEWIC reassessment, this species is being listed as special concern. A special concern designation will allow for the development of a management plan by involved government agencies, stakeholders, partners and Aboriginal groups that will include measures to promote the conservation of the species with the intent of continuing the recovery of the species.

Additionally, DFO now has new abundance and distribution information to allow for monitoring of populations. There are no anticipated socio-economic, industry or Aboriginal concerns.

Aquatic species where new designatable units replace another on Schedule 1 of SARA

This Order amends Schedule 1 by striking out one species previously listed as a single designatable unit (Eastern Sand Darter) and adding two new designatable units of the same species in its place (Eastern Sand Darter [Ontario populations] and Eastern Sand Darter [Quebec populations]).

Eastern Sand Darter

The Eastern Sand Darter is currently listed as threatened under SARA. The species is also listed as threatened under both Ontario’s Endangered Species Act and Quebec’s An Act Respecting Threatened or Vulnerable Species. In 2009, COSEWIC reassessed this species and divided it into two designatable units. Both the Eastern Sand Darter (Ontario populations) and the Eastern Sand Darter (Quebec populations) have been assessed as threatened. The official listing process removes the Canadian population from the list of threatened species under Schedule 1 of SARA and add the Eastern Sand Darter (Ontario) and the Eastern Sand Darter (Quebec) to the list of threatened species under Schedule 1 of SARA.

Consultation

No consultations were undertaken as there would not be a change in the protection of the species or a change to the impact on stakeholders, Canadians, industry, First Nations or the Government.

Benefits

The benefits that were afforded to the species as one designatable unit continue to be provided to both population ranges in Ontario and Quebec. No new benefits are anticipated for industry, Canadians, First Nations, or the Government.

Costs

No additional costs are anticipated for industry, Canadians, First Nations, or the Government. The full range of the species (Ontario populations and Quebec populations) was already protected under SARA as threatened, and now that same range is simply protected as two designatable units at the same status.

Rationale

COSEWIC’s decision to assess the species as two designatable units was provided in the status report on the species and was based on the large range disjunction of over 500 km between the Ontario and Quebec populations, with no possibility of exchange between them.

Housekeeping amendment for a terrestrial wildlife species in which there was a change in designatable units on Schedule 1 of SARA

This Order recommends to amend Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act by striking out a terrestrial wildlife species, the Peregrine Falcon anatum. This wildlife species is currently listed as threatened. When this wildlife species was originally added to Schedule 1 in June 2003 as threatened, it was listed as a single designatable unit. In its 2007 assessment on the Peregrine Falcon, COSEWIC assessed the anatum and the tundrius subspecies as one designatable unit instead of two. At that time, the Peregrine Falcon tundrius was not listed on Schedule 1. The Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act, registered June 20, 2012, as SOR/2012-133, added the Peregrine Falcon anatum/tundrius designatable unit as a wildlife species of special concern, in accordance with the COSEWIC assessment. However, it inadvertently omitted to remove the Peregrine Falcon anatum designatable unit, listed on Schedule 1 as threatened. This housekeeping amendment will remove the Peregrine Falcon anatum designatable unit from Schedule 1 as threatened, as it is now part of the Peregrine Falcon anatum/tundrius designatable unit and is currently listed on Schedule 1 as a wildlife species of special concern.

Peregrine Falcon anatum/tundrius

COSEWIC assessed the Peregrine Falcon anatum/tundrius as a wildlife species of special concern in April 2007. The anatum and the tundrius subspecies have traditionally been considered two designatable units of Peregrine Falcon. Newer genetic evidence suggests that prior to the widespread use of organochlorine pesticides, these two designatable units were not distinguishable genetically. In April 2007, COSEWIC therefore assessed the anatum and the tundrius subspecies as one unit instead of two, finding it to be a wildlife species of special concern. Continental populations of the Peregrine Falcon anatum/tundrius have shown continuing increases in size since the 1970s, up to near historic numbers. Population thresholds for downlisting have been achieved for both the former tundrius and anatum designatable units. This recovery has been the result of reintroductions across much of southern Canada, and natural increases in productivity following the ban in Canada of organochlorine pesticides (e.g. DDT) in 1972. These compounds were the primary factor responsible for the historical decline of the species.

Consultation

Consultations were undertaken for the combined Peregrine Falcon anatum/tundrius designatable unit. These consultations began in December 2007 and ended in May 2012. The Nunavut Management Board supported the combined listing of the species. Fourteen comments were received, 7 of which supported the listing of the combined designatable unit. Five comments were received that did not specifically oppose the listing of the new designatable unit, while 1 comment was received against the listing of the new designatable unit. This individual was concerned that the observed increase in population size had not been assessed for a long enough period of time. Peregrines, along with many other raptor species, have been recovering steadily since the use of DDT was banned. With this key threat eliminated, there is no current evidence to suggest that continued recovery will be reversed.

Benefits

The benefit of this administrative amendment will be to reduce the risks associated with continuing to list a wildlife species (Peregrine Falcon anatum designatable unit) as threatened on Schedule 1 that is no longer eligible for listing. It will also reduce risks from having a duplicate listing on Schedule 1, as the anatum/tundrius designatable unit contains the former anatum subspecies designatable unit. The result will be only one listing, of the Peregrine Falcon anatum/tundrius designatable unit. The special concern listing means this wildlife species will benefit from a management plan which will help to conserve this iconic bird of prey for the benefit of the ecosystem and the public.

Costs

No additional costs are anticipated for industry, Canadians, Aboriginal peoples or the Government for removing the Peregrine Falcon anatum subspecies, as there would be no prohibitions to enforce under SARA. Costs will be associated with a management plan for the new Peregrine Falcon anatum/tundrius designatable unit.

Rationale

The Department of the Environment is of the opinion that in accordance with COSEWIC’s assessment of the new Peregrine Falcon anatum/tundrius designatable unit and the Governor in Council’s decision to add the Peregrine Falcon anatum/tundrius designatable unit to Schedule 1, in the Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act, as special concern, the Peregrine Falcon anatum designatable unit should be removed from Schedule 1 as threatened.

Prepublication consultations

On July 7, 2012, a proposed order and RIAS pertaining to the 11 aquatic species considered for addition or modification under Schedule I, as well as other proposed actions relating to 5 other species, were published in Part I of the Canada Gazette for a 30-day public comment period. In regard to these 5 other species, the RIAS also outlined proposed recommendations not to list 3 other aquatic species, those being the Beluga Whale (Eastern High Arctic Population), the Striped Bass (Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence Population) and the Cusk.

Two comments were received following the prepublication period, both of which related to the recommendations not to list one or all of the species referenced above.

A fisheries organization communicated its concurrence with the proposal to not list all three of the species. It indicated that sufficient protection could be provided through other non-SARA tools to help recover the Cusk and the Striped Bass (Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence population), and that it had not identified any threats to the Beluga Whale (Eastern High Arctic/Baffin Bay population).

A marine mammal expert group questioned the recommendation not to list the Eastern High Arctic/Baffin Bay population of the Beluga Whale. In particular, they commented on two of the supporting justifications for this recommendation, the first being the rationale that listing would be of limited benefit to the species and the second relating to the use of new data since the 2004 assessment. These are addressed in detail below.

Firstly, they questioned the rationale that there would be limited benefits to listing this species, as a SARA Management Plan would have limited impact for a species with no known threats in Canadian waters. The marine mammal experts noted the need for management plans for all exploited cetacean stocks, and that the lack of recent data on this population of Beluga Whale or its Canadian habitat makes it difficult to state whether a management plan would have little “impact” on the population. It was also argued that statements from consulted communities implied known but unspecified threats besides hunting. In 2005, DFO consulted with its Inuit co-management partners and Nunavut communities about the possible listing of the Beluga Whale population. Three of the five communities which could harvest from this population provided comments. They did not believe SARA listing was required and they believed the population was stable. These communities indicated that their beluga harvests were low, and that the main threat to this population of belugas was overharvesting by hunters outside Canada. The average combined harvest from these five communities is about 50 beluga whales per year (Nunavut Harvest Study, 1996–2001). COSEWIC’s most recent assessment of this beluga population indicated that the current summer harvest in Canada was believed to be below the maximum sustainable yield, the population did not appear to be adversely affected by overexploitation, and was not subject to any other negative anthropogenic impacts. Therefore, there would be no additional benefit to Eastern High Arctic/Baffin Bay Beluga Whale from a SARA listing, since a Canadian management plan would be unable to address harvesting issues outside its jurisdiction.

The marine mammal experts further commented that listing would have benefited the species by positioning Canada to more effectively protect the species at the international level. However, Canada is already actively engaged in the management of the shared Eastern High Arctic and Baffin Bay population through the Canada/Greenland Joint Commission on the Conservation and Management of Narwhal and Beluga, which was established in 1989. The Joint Commission’s main focus is the sustainable management of Aboriginal subsistence harvests in both jurisdictions and it makes recommendations to both countries regarding research, conservation and management of shared stocks of narwhal and beluga. The scientific working group of the Commission, with representation from both jurisdictions, provides scientific advice and coordinates the exchange of data and collaborative assessment of research results. Through this venue, Canada and Greenland continue to discuss issues related to sustainable hunt management and scientific information needed for stock assessment of shared marine mammal populations.

In the second comment from the marine mammal expert group, they noted the use of more recent information from the Joint Commission in the listing recommendation; however, they questioned whether equal consideration was given to any more recent information on changes to the biophysical environment. The proposed listing recommendation reflects the scientific and Inuit information available since 2004. More recent information about this population is accounted for in the advice provided to the Joint Commission by its scientific working group in 2009 that the Canadian portion of the Eastern High Arctic/Baffin Bay population was no longer declining; and that the decline caused by overharvest outside Canada had been reversed owing to the introduction of Greenland hunting quotas in 2004. In addition, the scientific working group maintains habitat concerns as a standing agenda item for future meetings, owing to increases in human activity in this area. During the 2012 meeting of the scientific working group, acoustic research was reviewed that will assist in determining beluga interactions with emerging fisheries, and the impact of changing environmental conditions. The Joint Commission has also recommended that the North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission address the question of effects of noise and human disturbance on belugas.

Finally, there is always the opportunity for new information to be incorporated in future assessments. Under SARA, COSEWIC reviews the status of species as new information becomes available which might cause it to adjust its assessment of a species. The DFO will consider any new information that will be reviewed by COSEWIC as part of its next assessment of this beluga population.

Implementation, enforcement and service standards

The DFO has developed a compliance strategy for the proposed Order amending Schedule 1 of SARA to address the first five years of implementation of compliance promotion and enforcement activities related to the general prohibitions. Specifically, the compliance strategy will only address compliance with the general prohibitions for species listed as extirpated, endangered or threatened on Schedule 1 of SARA. The compliance strategy is aimed at achieving awareness and understanding of the proposed Order among the affected communities; adoption of behaviours by the affected communities that will contribute to the overall conservation, protection and recovery of wildlife species at risk; compliance with the proposed Order by the affected communities; and to increase the knowledge of the affected communities.

Implementation of the Order amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act will include activities designed to encourage compliance with the general prohibitions. Compliance promotion initiatives are proactive measures that encourage voluntary compliance with the law through education and outreach activities, and raise awareness and understanding of the prohibitions by offering plain language explanations of the legal requirements under the Act. The DFO will promote compliance with the general prohibitions of SARA through activities which may include online resources posted on the SAR Public Registry, fact sheets, mail-outs and presentations. These activities will specifically target groups who may be affected by this Order and whose activities could contravene the general prohibitions, including other federal government departments, First Nations, private land owners, recreational and commercial fishers, national park visitors and recreational users on parks lands. The compliance strategy outlines the priorities, affected communities, timelines and key messages for compliance activities.

At the time of listing, timelines apply for the preparation of recovery strategies, action plans or management plans. The implementation of these plans may result in recommendations for further regulatory action for protection of the species and its critical habitat when identified. It may draw on the provisions of other acts of Parliament, such as the Fisheries Act, to provide the required protection.

SARA provides for penalties for contraventions to the Act, including liability for costs, fines or imprisonment, alternative measures agreements, seizure and forfeiture of things seized or of the proceeds of their disposition. SARA also provides for inspections and search and seizure operations by enforcement officers designated under SARA. Under the penalty provisions of the Act, a corporation found guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction is liable to a fine of not more than $300,000, a non-profit corporation is liable to a fine of not more than $50,000, and any other person is liable to a fine of not more than $50,000, or to imprisonment for a term of not more than one year, or to both. A corporation found guilty of an indictable offence is liable to a fine of not more than $1,000,000, a non-profit corporation to a fine of not more than $250,000, and any other person to a fine of not more than $250,000, or to imprisonment for a term of not more than five years, or to both.

Contact

Susan Mojgani
Director
Species at Risk Program Management
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Telephone: 613-990-0280
Fax: 613-998-9035
Email: susan.mojgani@dfo-mpo.gc.ca