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(Eco)Justice for the Sage Grouse
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(Eco)Justice for the Sage Grouse

[caption id="attachment_37532" align="alignleft" width="150"] Stephen Hazell, Director of Conservation and Legal Counsel.[/caption] The Federal Court of Canada has decided to grant Nature Canada and other nature groups, represented by Ecojustice, the status of intervener in a law case that will test the constitutionality of the Species at Risk Act (SARA) for the first time. The City of Medicine Hat in Alberta and LGX Oil & Gas initiated an application for judicial review asking that an emergency order protecting the endangered Greater Sage Grouse, and sections of SARA be declared unconstitutional. Having intervener status will allow the nature groups and Ecojustice file a written argument, and make a brief oral argument at the court hearing. The emergency order being contested was issued in 2013 to impose restrictions to protect the habitat of the Greater Sage Grouse on provincial and federal Crown lands in Alberta and Saskatchewan. At the time, Environment Canada reported that there were fewer than 150 birds remaining in the two Canadian provinces where they are found (Alberta and Saskatchewan) and that the bird’s population had fallen 98 per cent since 1988. The Greater Sage Grouse is listed as endangered under the federal Species at Risk Act, and must remain as such to stabilize its population and continue its recovery.

A future for the Sage Grouse

As it stands, Ecojustice is looking to ensure that the judges hear why emergency orders and SARA are valid law, and that they are critical to the future of the Greater Sage Grouse and many other wildlife species across Canada.
For more information on this case, please consult the following media reports CBC News on June 2, 2016: LGX Oil + Gas blames sage grouse protection order for insolvency CBC News on September 17, 2013: Endangered sage grouse to be protected by emergency order
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Barn and Bank Swallows Legally Listed as Threatened
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Barn and Bank Swallows Legally Listed as Threatened

[caption id="attachment_31795" align="alignleft" width="150"]Image of Megan MacIntosh Megan MacIntosh, Purple Martin Project Coordinator[/caption] Not long after fall songbird migration wrapped up for another year, two familiar summer residents, the Barn Swallow and Bank Swallow, were officially listed as threatened species under Schedule 1 of the 2002 Species at Risk Act (SARA) in Canada. This moment came many years after COSEWIC, the scientific advisory committee, made the recommendation (2011 for Barn Swallow and 2013 for Bank Swallow). Nature Canada congratulates the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, for pushing these listings through. With natural habitat significantly altered over the past century, swallows, in an incredible demonstration of resilience, have adapted to rely on human structures for breeding habitat. As migratory birds, they are protected under the Migratory Birds Convention Act (1994), and have been included in various multi-species action plans at historic sites and conservation areas across Canada. Provincially, Barn Swallow and Bank Swallow are listed as threatened in Ontario and endangered in Nova Scotia, and the Purple Martin, North America’s largest swallow, is listed as special concern in British Columbia. What does this mean? How can it be that the Barn Swallow, the most abundant and widely distributed species of swallow in the world, came to be threatened? Image of Barn Swallow Let’s start with the glaringly obvious bad news: Their populations’ are in trouble, and their disappearance is part of larger trend impacting songbirds – a distress signal from ecosystems widely out of balance. Over the past 40 years, swallows and other birds that rely on a diet of flying insects have undergone steeper declines than any other birds in Canada - some by more than 90%. While scientists are still working to understand more about the cause, threats such as climate change, use of pesticides, decreased insect prey availability, loss of wetland and foraging habitat, industrial activities, competition from invasive species, and increased predation pressure all play a role. If nothing is done, it is possible that we could lose these wonderful species, and with them, their beautiful songs as a symbol of spring. The good news is that SARA was enacted precisely for this purpose – to prevent the disappearance of species at risk. Through SARA, definitive actions and resources can be set in place to get these birds some of the special attention they need. For example, the government is now required to produce a federal recovery strategy for the Bank Swallow and Barn Swallow within 2 years of the date they were listed. A recovery strategy serves as a detailed management plan that includes an assessment of the species and its needs, identifies threats and critical habitat, and sets priorities and approaches towards stopping and reversing their decline. In the meantime, we cannot rely on this as our only plan.  For species so closely connected with humans, a strong stewardship effort is needed to help provide a safe place for swallows while they raise their young in our backyards. Anybody can help. Learn more about Nature Canada’s Purple Martin program, or discover resources by our partners at Bird Studies Canada. To see the full list of scheduled species to SARA, visit https://www.registrelep-sararegistry.gc.ca/default.asp?lang=en&n=24F7211B-1

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Imperiled Insectivores: What We Know and How We Can Learn More
Purple Martins pair at bird house complex
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Imperiled Insectivores: What We Know and How We Can Learn More

[caption id="attachment_33785" align="alignleft" width="150"]Image of sean feagan Sean Feagan, Guest Blogger[/caption] This post was written by guest blogger Sean Feagan. An aerial insectivore is a behavioural term used to describe species that feed almost exclusively on insects while on the wing. In regards to birds, they are comprised of species belonging to four bird families: swifts, swallows, flycatchers and nightjars. In addition to being beautiful, these birds help control insect populations. Despite being protected under the federal Migratory Birds Convention Act, aerial insectivore bird populations are declining rapidly. This is a serious problem. For example, Tree Swallow (note the striking iridescence) as pictured below, has declined by an estimated 2.25 percent per year from 1966 to 2015. Figure 1 at the end of this blog presents the species of aerial insectivore that breed in Canada, including information on whether they are currently listed as part of  Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA), as well as their estimated population trend for 1966-2015 and 2005-2015. The trend data are derived from the North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) and are specific to Canada. [caption id="attachment_34594" align="alignright" width="421"]Image of a Tree Swallow Tree swallow, of striking iridescence, has declined by an estimated 2.25% per year from 1966 to 2015. © Sean Feagan[/caption] Why are these declines happening? It is believed these declines are likely happening through a variety of interacting mechanisms, which may vary by species. Previous research suggested that declines were highest in the northeast of North America[i], a result that correlated with geographic gradients in industrialization and urbanization, which led researchers to believe these trends are driven by the decline of insect prey. However, recent Canadian research using BBS data has indicated that the decline of some aerial insectivores’ species has not followed this trend. It also found that species appeared to respond to large-scale environmental conditions, varying regionally and by species.[ii] For example, Chimney Swift declined at a lower rate through the industrialized northeast, while  Northern Rough-Winged Swallows declined primarily in the west. These results brought into question whether the explanation for why aerial insectivores as a guild are declining is as simple as fewer insect prey. The truth may just be that it’s complicated, and more research is needed. How can you help? Various citizen science initiatives exist for you to contribute to the understanding of aerial insectivore declines. You can help provide information regarding long-term population and distribution trends by . You can also use apps like eBird or NatureHood to record your observations while you are out and about. In addition, Nature Canada’s Purple Martin Project is a project to track and monitor populations and important habitat of swallow species in Canada. It also promotes the installation and stewardship of Purple Martin artificial nesting houses. SwiftWatch is a Bird Studies Canada’s monitoring and conservation program aimed to help the Chimney Swift. This program, active in Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritimes, involves monitoring of swift nest and roost sites to promote the understanding of the species distribution, demographics, and life history.


Figure 1: A list of aerial insectivores in Canada with their status and population trend. [custom_table style="1"]
Family Species SARA Status Trend, 1966-2015 (% change / year) Trend, 2005-2015 (% change / year)

Hirundinidae

(Swallows & Martins)

Bank Swallow not listed1 -7.56 -3.49
Barn Swallow not listed1 -3.32 -1.48
Cliff Swallow not listed -2.81 0.60
Northern Rough-winged Swallow not listed -2.35 -1.02
Purple Martin not listed -0.693 4.783
Tree Swallow not listed -2.25 -1.24
Violet-green Swallow not listed -0.76 -0.32

Apodidae

(Swifts)

Black Swift not listed 2 -6.643 -5.403
Chimney Swift Threatened -5.34 -5.73
Vaux's Swift not listed -2.493 -2.073
White-throated Swift not listed -0.073 -0.183

Caprimulgidae

(Nightjars)

Chuck-will's-widow not listed N/A N/A
Common Nighthawk Threatened -3.413 -1.013
Common Poorwill not listed N/A N/A
Eastern Whip-poor-will Threatened -0.253 -2.193
1. Species designated as Threatened by COSEWIC, but has not been added to Schedule 1 of SARA. 2. Species designated as Endangered by COSEWIC, but has not been added to Schedule 1 of SARA 3. Species BBS data set contains deficiencies (e.g. low abundance, small sample size, imprecise)
[/custom_table] It is important to note that the trends are presented as average percent change per year, rather than a cumulative trend for the entire sample period.
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Acknowledgment: [i] Declines of aerial insectivores in North America follow a geographic gradient. [ii] Differences in spatial synchrony and interspecific concordance inform guild-level population trends for aerial insectivorous birds.

Multi-species plans: A new approach to species recovery in Canada
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Multi-species plans: A new approach to species recovery in Canada

[caption id="attachment_33785" align="alignleft" width="150"]sean feagan Sean Feagan, Guest Blogger[/caption] This blog is written by guest blogger Sean Feagan.  The primary cause of the decline of wild species in Canada is the loss and degradation of habitat. Given this, the protection and management of habitat is central to the recovery of species at risk. The federal Species at Risk Act legislates the listing, protection and recovery of species at risk, including the prohibition of destruction of “critical habitat” on federal land, and establishes requirements for species recovery. Under SARA, recovery planning is a two-step process, which first involves the development of a Recovery Strategy that includes the identification of critical habitat, and a subsequent Action Plan to identify measures to protect or enhances the critical habitat. To date, this recovery planning framework has largely been undertaken on a species-by-species basis. However, there is a trend towards multi-species recovery planning in which proposed management actions target multiple species at risk simultaneously. The Species at Risk Act Policies (2009) suggests multi-species recovery planning could increase the overall efficiency and/or effectiveness of conservation efforts, particularly in situations where multiple species co-occur in the same habitat, are affected by similar threats or are similar taxonomically. This suggestion is supported by economic analyses on multi-species planning which employed optimization models. Multi-species approaches may also streamline consultation efforts, reduce conflict between species at risk, address common threats, promote thinking on a broader scale, and reduce duplication of effort in conservation planning. greater sage grouse The Environment Canada Protected Areas Strategy (2011) outlines two main approaches to conservation:

  1. Stewardship initiatives promoting land management beneficial to wild species habitat; and
  2. The securing of land for the protection of biodiversity.
Within each of these approaches, multi-species action plans are currently being implemented for species conservation in Canada. South of the Divide: A multi-species action plan dependent on private stewardship The South of the Divide (SOD) Action Plan (2016) targets nine federally listed species at risk inhabiting the Milk River basin of southwestern Saskatchewan. The nine species, largely dependent on short-grass native prairie habitats, are Black-footed Ferret, Burrowing Owl, Eastern Yellow-bellied Racer, Greater Sage-Grouse, Loggerhead Shrike, Mormon Metal Mark, Mountain Plover, Sprague’s Pipit and Swift Fox. Critical habitat within the region was first defined independently for each species, then these areas were combined into a single layer.

The action plan employs spatial analyses to prioritize and direct conservation efforts within the region. A spatial threat analysis was performed to classify the overlapping area of the species’ critical habitat into three threat classes (low, medium, high) by assessing the combined impact of existing and potential threats (e.g. industrial activity, roads, capability to support agriculture) in the region. Lands within and in proximity to the provincial community pastures, and the region between the east and west blocks of Grasslands National Park were identified as high threat areas. The action plan also contains a suite of conservation activities to promote the recovery of these species.

Parks Canada Multi-Species Action Planning

Under the Canada National Parks Act, the maintenance or restoration of ecological integrity is the first priority in all aspects of park management, a key element includes maintaining the composition and abundance of native species, notably species at risk. Within their 2013-14 Report on Plans and Priorities, the Parks Canada Agency stated they will work to recovery priority species at risk through the implementation of site-based (eg. for a particular park or conservation area) action plans using the multi-species approach. Eleven site-based multi-species action plans have been finalized for National Parks, National Marine Parks, and National Historic Sites throughout Canada, with an additional twelve plans proposed. These action plans target species differ taxonomically, but together exist within the site. These plans focus on species listed under SARA, by COSEWIC, under provincial legislation, or that are of particular significance to indigenous peoples. [caption id="attachment_33812" align="alignleft" width="300"]Lewis' Woodpecker Lewis' Woodpecker[/caption] The action plans assess the potential of the site to contribute to the national recovery of each species, identify of critical habitat within the site, list monitoring needs for each species, and include recovery activities aimed to sustain or recovery species populations within the site. While some of the suggested management activities target single species, others will potentially benefit multiple species. For example, within the proposed Multi-species Action Plan for Jasper National Park, controlled burns to maintain early successional post-fire communities will promote multiple species at risk, including Common Nighthawk, Half-moon Hairstreak, Lewis’s Woodpecker, Olive-sided Flycatcher, and Whitebark Pine Conclusion Multi-species planning represents a potentially effective tool for species conservation. The effectiveness of these plans will be assessed through their implementation, ensuring these policy remain adaptive and evidence based. Hopefully they will act to promote the preservation and recovery of Canada’s many fascinating and beautiful species at risk!
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Our voices were heard! Barn and Bank Swallows are going to be protected by government
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Our voices were heard! Barn and Bank Swallows are going to be protected by government

This blog was written by Pierre Sadik, our Senior Advisor, Species at Risk. After many years of silence and delay the federal government appears to have heard our voice and the voicesImage of Barn Swallow of others in the conservation community who have been calling for the listing of Barn and Bank Swallows under the Species at Risk Act (SARA). Hundreds of you sent letters or signed our petition to the Environment Minister and she has listened and finally, after considerable delay, moved to protect Barn and Bank Swallows. The government has given formal notice that these majestic little birds are going to be listed as 'threatened’ under SARA. This will begin to offer them some protection as the government must, under the Act, start the process of preparing a plan for the recovery of these species across the country. Nature Canada will be keeping a watchful eye on government to ensure that it acts as quickly as possible and takes the steps that scientists and naturalists have identified as necessary to stop the precipitous four decade decline of these once ubiquitous birds. We will also continue to press governments on other species of swallow, including the Purple Martin, which is likewise showing worrying signs of population decline in eastern Ontario and southern Quebec. Together, we can make continue to sure our voices are heard just as we did for the Barn and Bank Swallow!

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New Species added to the Species at Risk Act
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New Species added to the Species at Risk Act

[caption id="attachment_22916" align="alignleft" width="150"]Image of Samantha Nurse Samantha Nurse, Web and Social Media Coordinator[/caption] Congratulations to the federal government for adding 11 new species to the Species at Risk Act! Last week, the federal government added these new species to the list and they will now receive some protection under the Act. In the next steps forward, the federal government will start to work on recovery planning with provinces, territories, Indigenous communities and stakeholders. Here are the species recently added: [caption id="attachment_31470" align="alignright" width="300"]Image of "Collared Pika (2) - Ochotona collaris" by National Park Service, Alaska Region is licensed under CC BY 2.0. "Collared Pika (2) - Ochotona collaris" by National Park Service, Alaska Region is licensed under CC BY 2.0.[/caption]

  1. Olive Clubtail
  2. Okanagan Efferia
  3. Dune Tachinid Fly
  4. Horned Grebe (Western population)
  5. Buff-breasted Sandpiper
  6. Baird’s Sparrow
  7. Batwing Vinyl Lichen
  8. Crumpled Tarpaper Lichen
  9. Peacock Vinyl Lichen
  10. Collared Pika
  11. Magnum Mantleslug
However, this is only one small step in the protection of species at risk in Canada. There is now a backlog of up to five years of 100 of species scientifically declared to be at risk that has not yet been legally listed under the Species at Risk Act. The species that are waiting to be legally listed include the Barn Swallow, Narwhal, Western Grizzly Bear and the Loggerhead Sea Turtle. How can you help? Write a letter to your local editor with our free template to raise awareness on the importance of these at risk species!
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Get to know our Endangered Species
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Get to know our Endangered Species

[caption id="attachment_22916" align="alignleft" width="150"]Samantha Nurse, Web and Social Media Coordinator Samantha Nurse, Web and Social Media Coordinator[/caption] How much do you know about the species at risk in Canada? Species at risk are species whose members are declining and at risk of extinction. This often happens due to a number of factors like environmental or human-induced changes to their habitats. Once the species are listed on the Federal Species at Risk list, they are under legal protection in hopes to both conserve and recover the species. Currently there are over 300 wild plants and animals protected by the Species at Risk Act (SARA)! There are several profiles of species at risk on our website with the basic "need to know" facts and the various ways in which you can help. Recently, we have just added to 2 more species profiles: Sei Whale and Common Nighthawk. [separator headline="h3" title="Sei Whale"] [caption id="attachment_24861" align="alignright" width="300"]A photo of a Sei Whale mother and her calf A photo of a Sei Whale mother and her calf[/caption] Many people haven’t heard of a Sei Whale before but it is actually the 3rd largest baleen whale in the world! Their average length is about 15 meters which is approximately 50 feet! The Pacific population of this species is listed as Endangered and is found off the coast of British Columbia. The Sei Whale has been impacted through human activity over the years, such as noise pollution and human sourced pollution like contaminated run-off. There are however, many ways in which Canada is working towards protecting the species and many ways that you can help them too! There are volunteer monitoring programs in place, and we have a few tips on just how you can help to protect the Sei Whales. Read more here. [separator headline="h3" title="Common Nighthawk"] [caption id="attachment_24723" align="alignleft" width="300"]Image of a Common NIghthawk Image of a Common NIghthawk[/caption] The Common Nighthawk is listed as Threatened and they are found in Canada during the warmer months. The habitats this species calls home are generally grasslands, sand-dunes, riverbanks and marshes! Why is it at risk? There are two main factors: habitat loss and agricultural development. Due to this, monitoring has concluded that their population has been dropping over the past few years. But, there are ways that you can help this species! Be sure to report any sightings of the Common Nighthawk in our NatureHood App as it helps reveal patterns that can aid local scientists in their work to protect the species. Read more facts and learn other ways in which you can help this species here! Wild plants and animals give humans so much – from food and medicine, to healthy ecosystems and spiritual nourishment. Wild species clean the air and water, nourish the soil, maintain the carbon balance in the atmosphere, remove pollutants and prevent waste accumulation. The benefits, what some call ecosystem services, are essential to human life on this planet and every species plays some kind of essential role in an ecosystem.

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Protecting Canada’s Fish and Wildlife Habitat
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Protecting Canada’s Fish and Wildlife Habitat

[one_half] [caption id="attachment_22697" align="alignleft" width="150"]Image of Stephen Hazell Stephen Hazell
Director of Conservation
and General Counsel[/caption] The new Liberal government has promised to strengthen environmental protection provisions removed from the Fisheries Act  by the previous government. Nature Canada is pleased to endorse several key amendments proposed by Prof. Martin Olszynski to protect fish habitat across Canada. Nature Canada thinks that wildlife habitat needs more protection as well. That is why we are also proposing amendments to the Canada Wildlife Act to protect National Wildlife Areas from oil and gas and mining exploration and development. Now we just need Parliament to get to work! [/one_half] [one_half_last][box style="1"]Summary of Key Environmental Law Changes Since 2011, the federal government has made the following changes:

  • Replaced the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act with the weaker CEAA 2012, which scrapped over 3,000 environmental reviews, limits what gets considered in assessments and restricts the public’s right to participate.
  • Gutted the Fisheries Act by weakening fish habitat protection, removing protection over some fish species and broadening government’s powers to allow harm to fish and fish habitat.
  • Handed environmental oversight of major energy and pipeline projects to the National Energy Board.
  • Amended the Species at Risk Act by removing mandatory time limits on permits allowing impacts to threatened and endangered species.[/box]
Edited from the Canada's Track Record on Environmental Laws 2011-2015 Document by West Coast Environmental Law and the Quebec Environmental Law Centre. [/one_half_last] Email Signup

Scientific committee fingers climate change in latest species at risk assessments
Polar bear by Regehr Eric, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
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Scientific committee fingers climate change in latest species at risk assessments

Alex MacDonald, click for contact informationAfter an unexpected delay earlier this month, the Committee on the Status of Wildlife in Canada, or COSEWIC, released its latest assessments of the status of species threatened with extinction in Canada. COSEWIC's assessments provide the scientific basis for the listing of species under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA), and for this reason they are often called "recommendations". The Committee, which is made up of scientists and wildlife experts from academia, the private sector, NGOs and government representatives, assessed the status of 19 species at its late November meeting here in Ottawa. Of the species reviewed, 4 were assessed as Endangered (e.g., Nuttall's Sheep Moth) , 9 as Threatened (e.g., Gray Fox, Louisiana Waterthrush),  and 5 as Special Concern (e.g., Flooded Jellyskin lichen). A British Columbia plant species, Giant Helleborine, was reassessed as Not at Risk. COSEWIC's report includes 'positive' news for 6 species that were reassessed as being in a lower risk category, including the Peary Caribou, found in Canada’s High Arctic, being downlisted from Endangered (assessed in 2004) to Threatened status, and the Lake Erie Watersnake going from Endangered (assessed in 2006) to Special Concern. But downlisting doesn't mean that the threats have disappeared, nor does it rule out the role of citizens in the conservation and stewardship of a species. In fact in some cases it is the very involvement of Canadians, through actions like expanded survey efforts, that sheds light on previously unknown occurrences or populations of a species at risk – thereby helping COSEWIC better understand its status in Canada. Image of a glacierWhile Canada's growing number of species at risk is newsworthy enough, the biggest and most timely news in COSEWIC's recommendations is the "recurring theme" among the species assessed: climate change. And climate change is not only a direct threat to some of these and other species at risk — COSEWIC notes that in some cases it is actually compounding the intensity of threats they already face, such as degrading wetland habitats or allowing destructive invasive species to expand farther northward over time. The delay in COSEWIC's climate change-linked release proved to be heraldic given the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, also known as COP21. Canada has shown ambitious leadership during these climate talks, widely considered to global leaders' last chance to get the planet on a 'reasonable' trajectory with respect to future climate impacts. Indeed, Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna announced during COP21 meetings on Sunday night that Canada would support a goal of just 1.5° C of future global warming coming out of the Paris Agreement. That support sends a strong signal that Canada is taking climate change seriously. This couldn't come at a better time, because it is almost too late. Ladybug on red maple leafI congratulate COSEWIC for using its latest species assessment report to draw attention to climate change*. At very least it importantly provides context and immediate relevance to what could be pessimistically dismissed as the 'routine', semiannual work of COSEWIC. But in the bigger picture this approach demonstrates how the effects of climate change have far-reaching policy and legal implications. On that note Nature Canada and other environmental groups recently issued a joint letter calling on the new federal government to provide better support to COSEWIC in carrying out its scientific responsibilities.  As well, we are asking that the government fill vacancies on COSEWIC’s Species Specialist Subcommittees, and reinstate its former policy of authorizing COSEWIC to recommend new COSEWIC members to the government. Action on these matters would support the renewed federal focus on the role of science in decision making. [caption id="attachment_24207" align="alignleft" width="300"]Peary Caribou standing on the frozen tundra; barren ground caribou; Arctic Peary Caribou, now considered "Threatened" in Canada based on COSEWIC's latest assessment.[/caption] Now that COSEWIC has delivered its species status assessments to Minister McKenna, a 'legal clock' has begun ticking down on an official response: a Response Statement must be published on the SARA Public Registry within 90 days. The Minister's Statement must indicate how she/he will respond to each species' assessment and how consultations with the affected governments and parties will be undertaken for each species; for example, the January 2015 Plains Bison Response Statement is available here. Once this indefinite consultation period has ended for each species, the Minister then presents COSEWIC's assessments, and her/his recommendations regarding them, to Cabinet and the Prime Minister, who then have nine months to decide to:

  1. Add the species to the 'official' list of species at risk in Schedule 1 of the SARA (this triggers legal protections);
  2. Decide not to add the species to the official list; or,
  3. Send a species assessment back to COSEWIC for more information or reconsideration.
You can find the detailed version of COSEWIC's November 2015 Wildlife Species Assessments here, including the rationale for the status assigned to each species. And once again, the Committee's latest press release entitled "Climate Change Matters for Species at Risk" can be found here. I encourage you to have a look at the release, which captures the cautious optimism of what may come out of COP21 Paris on Dec 11th while adding an important reminder that conserving our "species at risk and rich and valuable biodiversity" depends on all of us.
*In the interests of full disclosure, Nature Canada is one of the original NGO partners, including WWF Canada and the Canadian Wildlife Federation, that helped to establish COSEWIC. In recognition of this history, Nature Canada and the other groups have standing "Observer" status at the Committee's meetings. We do not participate in discussions or decision making at the meetings.
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Saved by Popular Demand?
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Saved by Popular Demand?

[caption id="attachment_22697" align="alignleft" width="150"]Image of Stephen Hazell Stephen Hazell
Director of Conservation
and Legal Counsel[/caption] A new day may have dawned for Canada’s species at risk. Nature Canada is very pleased that Prime Minister Trudeau  has directed Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, to “enhance protection of Canada’s endangered species” as a top priority. Implementing the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA) is critical to this work. Last week, Nature Canada and seven other nature groups wrote a joint letter to Minister McKenna outlining some of the pressing shortcomings in implementing SARA including:

  • Clearing up the backlog of  scientifically assessed species at risk  not yet declared to be legally at risk
  • Getting caught up in preparing Recovery Strategies for threatened and endangered species
  • Better supporting the work of  COSEWIC, the scientific advisory committee on species at riskImage of Barn Swallow
The previous federal government fell behind badly in legally listing species recommended for at risk status by COSEWIC. The backlog goes back four years, and includes more than 100 species, including Barn and Bank Swallows and the western Grizzly Bear population. Preparing recovery strategies for endangered, threatened and extirpated species at risk—including identification of critical habitat--is another priority. The preparation of recovery strategies needs to be an objective, scientific exercise to identify broad strategies to ensure species’ survival and recovery. You can save endangered and threatened species by encouraging the Minister and the new government to act by Popular Demand!

Here's how you can help today:

Please consider signing Nature Canada’s petition requesting that the Minister immediately list the Barn and Bank Swallows as threatened.

Learn More Here:

To learn more about protecting endangered species, check out these news articles from the Ottawa Citizen: Triage in the wild: Is it time to choose which species live and which die out? Canada, once a global leader in conservation, is among the world’s biggest cheapskates when it comes to spending to save disappearing wildlife. To learn more about biodiversity targets, click here. Email Signup

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