Canada Gazette, Part I, Volume 153, Number 12: Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act

March 23, 2019

Statutory authority

Species at Risk Act

Sponsoring department

Department of the Environment

REGULATORY IMPACT ANALYSIS STATEMENT

(This statement is not part of the Order.)

Issues

Biodiversity is rapidly declining at all scales, from local to global, as a result of a variety of human activities that increase the rates of species extinction. footnote 1 Current extinction rates are estimated to be between 1 000 and 10 000 times higher than the natural background rate. footnote 2 Higher species diversity positively supports healthy and productive ecosystems that are more resilient to disturbances, and, given the interdependency of species, a loss of biodiversity can lead to a declining resilience of ecosystem functions and services (e.g. natural processes such as pest control, pollination, coastal wave attenuation, pharmaceutical products, temperature regulation and carbon fixing). footnote 3 These services are vital to the health of all Canadians and are important for Canada’s economic well-being. Biodiversity loss can therefore result in adverse, irreversible and broad-ranging effects on Canadians.

The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), an independent body of scientific experts established under the Species at Risk Act (SARA), has assessed the following 32 wildlife species as being at risk:

After a COSEWIC assessment for a species is provided to the Minister of the Environment, the Minister must make a recommendation to the Governor in Council (GIC). The GIC, on the Minister’s recommendation, may (1) accept the assessment and add the species to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk; (2) decide not to add the species to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk; or (3) refer the matter back to COSEWIC for further information or consideration. If the GIC does not make a decision within nine months from the GIC’s receipt of the COSEWIC assessment and the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, then the Minister of the Environment must amend the List in accordance with COSEWIC’s assessment.

Background

Canada’s natural heritage, wildlife species and ecosystems form an integral part of our national identity and history, and contribute to the world’s heritage. footnote 4 Wildlife is valued by Canadians for aesthetic, cultural, spiritual, recreational, educational, historical, economic, medical, ecological and scientific reasons. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) is mandated, among other things, to contribute to a clean and healthy environment and sustainable aquatic ecosystems through habitat protection, oceans management and ecosystems research. The Department of the Environment is mandated, among other things, to preserve and enhance the quality of the natural environment, including water, air, soil, flora and fauna. The Parks Canada Agency (PCA) is mandated to protect and present nationally significant examples of Canada’s natural and cultural heritage, and foster public understanding, appreciation and enjoyment in ways that ensure the ecological and commemorative integrity of these places for present and future generations. Although the responsibility for the conservation of wildlife in Canada is shared among all orders of government, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the Department of the Environment and the Parks Canada Agency play leadership roles as federal regulators in the administration of SARA in order to facilitate the purposes of SARA, which are to prevent wildlife species from becoming extinct or extirpated from Canada; to provide for the recovery of wildlife species that are extirpated, endangered or threatened as a result of human activity; and to manage species of special concern to prevent them from becoming endangered or threatened.

SARA is a key tool in the ongoing work to protect and recover species at risk. By providing for the protection, survival and recovery of listed wildlife species at risk, SARA is one of the most important tools in the conservation of Canada’s biological diversity. It complements other laws and programs of Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial governments, and supports the efforts of conservation organizations and partners working to protect Canadian wildlife and habitat.

Wildlife species considered to be at risk in Canada are assessed by COSEWIC, an independent scientific advisory body. COSEWIC bases the species’ assessments on the best available scientific, community and Aboriginal traditional knowledge. The assessment results trigger the SARA ministerial response process, followed by legal listing decisions by the GIC, upon recommendations from the Minister of the Environment.

SARA provides the following definitions for classifications of wildlife species at risk:

Prohibitions under SARA

Once an aquatic species is added to Schedule 1 of SARA as threatened, endangered or extirpated, the general prohibitions under sections 32 and 33 of SARA automatically apply, making it an offence to

Species listed as species of special concern are not subject to the general prohibitions of SARA.

When a species is listed on Schedule 1 of SARA as threatened, endangered or extirpated, the preparation of a recovery strategy and of one or more action plans, and the identification and protection of critical habitat are required. Critical habitat is defined in SARA as “the habitat that is necessary for the survival or recovery of a listed wildlife species and that is identified as the species’ critical habitat in the recovery strategy or in an action plan for the species.” For species listed as species of special concern, there is a requirement under SARA for the preparation of a management plan, which must include measures for the conservation of the species that the competent minister considers appropriate.

The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans is the competent minister for aquatic species, other than for those individuals found in or on federal lands administered by the Parks Canada Agency, for which the Minister of the Environment, as the Minister responsible for the Parks Canada Agency, is the competent minister. The Minister of the Environment is also the competent minister with respect to all terrestrial species, including migratory birds. In addition to being the competent minister, as described above, the Minister of the Environment is also responsible for the overall administration of SARA.

When COSEWIC completes an assessment of the status of a wildlife species, it provides the Minister of the Environment with a copy of the assessment and the reasons for it. Upon receipt of a copy of a COSEWIC assessment, the Minister of the Environment must, within 90 days, include in the Species at Risk Public Registry a report on how the Minister intends to respond to the assessment and, to the extent possible, provide timelines for action.

As the Minister responsible for the overall administration of SARA, the Minister of the Environment provides listing recommendations to the GIC with respect to all species. However, prior to making a recommendation to the GIC with respect to aquatic species, the Minister of the Environment is required by SARA to take into account the assessment of COSEWIC, consult the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans as competent minister for aquatic species, and, if a species is found in an area in respect of which a wildlife management board is authorized to perform functions in respect of a wildlife species, consult the wildlife management board. When consulted, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans then provides the Minister of the Environment with his or her advice as to whether or not an aquatic species should be added to Schedule 1 of SARA, or reclassified, or whether the matter should be referred back to COSEWIC for further information or consideration. Where the Minister of the Environment is also a competent minister for the species, the advice of the Minister of the Environment, as the Minister responsible for the Parks Canada Agency, is also sought.

In preparing listing advice to present to the Minister of the Environment in relation to each aquatic species, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans considers the following, as appropriate:

Pursuant to section 27 of SARA, receipt of assessments by the GIC for species that are not currently listed on Schedule 1 of SARA engages a nine-month legislated timeline requiring the GIC, on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, to render a final decision on whether or not to list a given species under Schedule 1 of SARA; or refer a species back to COSEWIC for further information or consideration. If none of these decisions is taken within the nine-month timeline, then the Minister of the Environment is required by SARA to amend Schedule 1 in accordance with the COSEWIC assessment.

As per the Fisheries and Oceans Canada Species at Risk Act Listing Policy and Directive for “Do Not List” Advice, DFO has adopted the Default Listing Position to provide a common and consistent starting point in the consideration of all COSEWIC assessments for aquatic species. According to the Default Listing Position, DFO will advise that the List be amended for a species in accordance with the COSEWIC assessment, unless it can provide a compelling reason not to do so. The preamble to SARA also recognizes the precautionary principle; that is, where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage to a wildlife species, cost-effective measures to prevent the reduction or loss of the species should not be postponed for a lack of full scientific certainty. The Default Listing Position is aligned with this principle, as it requires “do not list” advice to be compelling and based on rigorous, structured, comprehensive and transparent analysis.

Where the GIC decides not to add a species to the List, the prohibitions and the requirement to prepare a recovery strategy under SARA (for species classified as threatened, endangered or extirpated), including the identification and protection of critical habitat, would not apply. Instead, the species would be managed using the existing framework of legislative (e.g. the Fisheries Act or the Canada National Parks Act) and non-legislative (e.g. government programs, actions by non-governmental organizations, industry, Indigenous peoples, and Canadians) tools that apply to aquatic species. Where the GIC decides not to add a species to the List that has been classified by COSEWIC as a species of special concern, the requirement to prepare a management plan would not apply.

Recovery planning

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 subsection 41(1) of SARA, the recovery strategy must, for those species whose recovery is considered technically and biologically feasible, address the threats to the survival of the species identified by COSEWIC, including any loss of habitat. The recovery strategy must also include: a description of the species and its needs that is consistent with information provided by COSEWIC; an identification of the threats to the survival of the species and to its habitat (consistent with information provided by COSEWIC) and a description of the broad strategy to address those threats; an identification of the species’ critical habitat, to the extent possible, based on the best available information (including the information provided by COSEWIC) and examples of activities that are likely to result in its destruction; a schedule of studies to identify critical habitat (where available information is inadequate); a statement of the population and distribution objectives that will assist the recovery and survival of the species and a general description of the research and management activities needed to meet the population and distribution objectives; and a statement about whether additional information is required about the species. The recovery strategy must also provide a timeline for the completion of one or more action plans. Pursuant to subsection 42(1) of SARA, the competent minister must include a proposed recovery strategy in the Public Registry within one year after the wildlife species is listed as an endangered species, and within two years in the case of species listed as a threatened or extirpated species.

Under section 47 of SARA, one or more action plans are required to be prepared, based on the recovery strategy, for species listed as extirpated, endangered or threatened. Pursuant to subsection 49(1) of SARA, action plans must include, with respect to the area to which the action plan relates, the following: an identification of the species’ critical habitat, to the extent possible, based on the best available information and consistent with the recovery strategy and examples of activities that would likely result in its destruction; a statement of the measures that are proposed to be taken to protect the species’ critical habitat, including the entering into of agreements under section 11 of SARA; an identification of any portions of the species’ critical habitat that have not been protected; a statement of measures that are to be taken to implement the recovery strategy, including those that address the threats to the species and those that help to achieve the population and distribution objectives for the species and an indication as to when these measures are to take place; and the methods to be used to monitor the recovery of the species and its long-term viability. These action plans also require an evaluation of their socio-economic costs and of the benefits to be derived from their implementation. It may not always be possible to identify all of the critical habitat in a recovery strategy or an action plan, and, in those cases, a schedule of studies outlining the activities required to obtain the information necessary to complete the identification of critical habitat must be included in an amended recovery strategy or action plan.

Under section 65 of SARA, management plans are required to be prepared for species listed as species of special concern and their habitat. A management plan must include measures for the conservation of the species that the competent minister considers appropriate. Pursuant to subsection 68(1) of SARA, the competent minister must include a proposed management plan in the Public Registry within three years after the wildlife species is listed as a species of special concern.

SARA requires that recovery strategies, action plans and management plans be prepared in cooperation with the relevant provincial and territorial governments, other federal government departments, wildlife management boards, Indigenous organizations and appropriate stakeholders. SARA also has specific consultation requirements in the preparation of recovery strategies, action plans and management plans.

The preparation of recovery strategies and action plans envisions coordinated action by responsible land management authorities wherever the species are found in Canada. Improved coordination among authorities increases the likelihood of species’ survival or recovery. The preparation process also provides an opportunity to consider the impact of measures to recover the species and to consult with stakeholders and Indigenous peoples. The measures in action plans may be accentuated by actions from local governments, stakeholders and/or Indigenous peoples to protect species and habitats through, for example, projects funded by the federal Habitat Stewardship Program for Aquatic Species at Risk, which requires non-federal support and matching contributions. These projects enhance the ability to understand and respond effectively to the conservation needs of these species and their habitats.

Protection of critical habitat

SARA provides several tools to establish legal protection of critical habitat for listed species, including publishing descriptions in the Canada Gazette, and orders. Critical habitat is defined in SARA as the “habitat necessary for the survival or recovery of a listed wildlife species and that is identified as the species’ critical habitat in the recovery strategy or in an action plan for the species.”

For aquatic species listed as endangered, threatened or extirpated, unless the species’ critical habitat is found in an area described in subsection 58(2) [that is, a national park of Canada named and described in Schedule 1 to the Canada National Parks Act, the Rouge National Urban Park established by the Rouge National Urban Park Act, a marine protected area under the Oceans Act, a migratory bird sanctuary under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994, or a national wildlife area under the Canada Wildlife Act], critical habitat must be protected within 180 days after the recovery strategy or action plan that identified the critical habitat is included in the Public Registry. It must be protected by provisions in, or measures under, SARA or another Act of Parliament, including agreements under section 11 of SARA, or by the application of subsection 58(1) of SARA. For aquatic species, protection may be accomplished by an order made by the competent minister under subsections 58(4) and (5), which triggers a prohibition in subsection 58(1) against the destruction of any part of the critical habitat.

Management of species of special concern

The inclusion of a species of special concern on Schedule 1 of SARA is an early indication that the species may become threatened or endangered because of a combination of biological characteristics and identified threats. If a species is listed as a species of special concern, section 65 of SARA requires that the competent minister prepare a management plan for the species and its habitat. The plan must include measures for the conservation of the species that the competent minister considers appropriate and it may apply with respect to more than one species.

In addition, SARA requires that the management plan be prepared in cooperation with the relevant provincial and territorial governments, other federal government departments, wildlife management boards, Indigenous organizations and appropriate stakeholders. SARA also has specific consultation requirements in the preparation of management plans. Management plans must be posted within three years of the species being listed.

Species that are reclassified on the List from a special concern status to a higher risk status under SARA will trigger all SARA prohibitions and require the preparation of recovery strategies, action plans and the identification and protection of critical habitat.

SARA agreements and permits

According to section 73 of the Act, the competent minister may enter into an agreement with a person, or issue a permit to a person, authorizing the person to engage in an activity affecting a listed wildlife species, any part of its critical habitat or the residences of its individuals. The agreement may be entered into, or the permit issued only if the competent minister is of the opinion that

An agreement may be entered into, or the permit issued only if the competent minister is of the opinion that the following pre-conditions set out in subsection 73(3) have been satisfied:

Section 74 of SARA allows a permit, a licence, an order or other similar document issued by the competent minister (e.g. Fisheries Act authorizations) and authorizing a person or organization to engage in an activity affecting a listed wildlife species, any part of its critical habitat or the residences of its individuals to have the same effect as an agreement or a permit under section 73 of SARA, provided the requirements of subsections 73(2) to (6.1) are met. Among other things, the other authorization must contain terms and conditions considered necessary for protecting the species, minimizing the impact of the authorized activity on the species and providing for its recovery.

The general prohibitions do not apply to a person who is engaging in activities that are permitted in a recovery strategy or an action plan, and who is also authorized under another Act of Parliament to engage in that activity.

Objectives

The objective of the proposed Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act (the proposed Order) is to help maintain Canada’s biodiversity and the health and resilience of Canadian ecosystems by preventing wildlife species from being extirpated from Canada or becoming extinct and contributing to their recovery.

Description

Pursuant to section 27 of SARA and on the recommendation from the Minister of the Environment, the GIC is proposing the Order Amending Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act to add or reclassify 32 species (Table 1 below) to Schedule 1 of SARA.

A description of each species, its range and threats is found in Annex 1 of this Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement (RIAS). Additional information on these species can also be found in the COSEWIC status reports. footnote 7

Table 1: Proposed decisions to add or reclassify 32 species on Schedule 1 of SARA

Species proposed to be added to Schedule 1 of SARA (18)

Common population name

Scientific name

COSEWIC status

Range

Fishes

Lake Sturgeon (Southern Hudson Bay – James Bay populations)

Acipenser fulvescens

Special concern

Man., Ont., Que.

Silver Lamprey (Great Lakes – Upper St. Lawrence populations)

Ichthyomyzon unicuspis

Special concern

Ont., Que.

Bull Trout (Western Arctic populations)

Salvelinus confluentus

Special concern

Alta., B.C., N.W.T., Yk.

Bull Trout (South Coast British Columbia populations)

Salvelinus confluentus

Special concern

B.C.

Cutlip Minnow

Exoglossum maxillingua

Special concern

Ont., Que.

Unarmoured Threespine Stickleback

Gasterosteus aculeatus

Special concern

B.C.

Giant Threespine Stickleback

Gasterosteus aculeatus

Special concern

B.C.

Northern Sunfish (Great Lakes – Upper St. Lawrence populations)

Lepomis peltastes

Special concern

Ont., Que.

Rainbow Smelt (Lake Utopia large-bodied population)

Osmerus mordax

Threatened

N.B.

Silver Shiner

Notropis photogenis

Threatened

Ont.

Plains Minnow

Hybognathus placitus

Threatened

Sask.

Bull Trout (Saskatchewan – Nelson Rivers populations)

Salvelinus confluentus

Threatened

Alta.

Black Redhorse

Moxostoma duquesnei

Threatened

Ont.

Rainbow Trout (Athabasca River populations)

Oncorhynchus mykiss

Endangered

Alta.

Molluscs

Threehorn Wartyback

Obliquaria reflexa

Threatened

Ont.

Fawnsfoot

Truncilla donaciformis

Endangered

Ont.

Hickorynut

Obovaria olivaria

Endangered

Ont., Que.

Lilliput

Toxolasma parvum

Endangered

Ont.

Species proposed to be reclassified in Schedule 1 of SARA (10)

Legal population name

Scientific name

Proposed status change

Range

Fishes

Pugnose Minnow

Opsopoeodus emiliae

Reclassify from special concern to threatened

Ont.

Pugnose Shiner

Notropis anogenus

Reclassify from endangered to threatened

Ont.

Salish Sucker

Catostomus sp. cf. catostomus

Reclassify from endangered to threatened

B.C.

Striped Bass (St. Lawrence River population)

Morone saxatilis

Reclassify from extirpated to endangered

Que., Atlantic Ocean

Spotted Gar

Lepisosteus oculatus

Reclassify from threatened to endangered

Ont.

Molluscs

Mapleleaf (Great Lakes – Upper St. Lawrence population)

Quadrula quadrula 

Reclassify from threatened to special concern

Ont.

Rainbow

Villosa iris

Reclassify from endangered to special concern

Ont.

Eastern Pondmussel

Ligumia nasuta

Reclassify from endangered to special concern

Ont.

Mapleleaf (Saskatchewan – Nelson Rivers population)

Quadrula quadrula 

Reclassify from endangered to threatened

Man.

Rocky Mountain Ridged Mussel

Gonidea angulata

Reclassify from special concern to endangered

B.C.

Aquatic species where one previously listed species is proposed to be replaced with new designatable units (DU) in Schedule 1 of SARA (4)
Channel Darter (being split into three unique DUs): Original DU currently listed as threatened under Schedule 1 of SARA

Legal population name

Scientific name

Proposed status change

Range

Channel Darter (Lake Ontario populations)

Percina copelandi

Endangered

Ont.

Channel Darter (Lake Erie populations)

Percina copelandi

Endangered

Ont.

Channel Darter (St. Lawrence populations)

Percina copelandi

Special concern

Ont., Que.

Silver Chub (being split into two unique DUs, one of which is proposed for listing): Original DU currently listed as special concern on Schedule 1 of SARA

Silver Chub (Great Lakes – Upper St. Lawrence populations)

Macrhybopsis storeriana 

Endangered

Ont.

In addition, various minor administrative amendments to Schedule 1 of SARA are being proposed to address the following:

Benefits and costs

Analytical framework

The quantitative and qualitative incremental impacts (benefits and costs) of the proposed Order were analyzed. Incremental impacts are defined as the differences between the current situation and the situation in which the proposed Order is implemented. The current situation includes ongoing activities where a species is found and incorporates any projected changes over the next 10 years that would occur without the proposed Order in place.

In terms of incremental costs and benefits, the following factors were considered, where applicable:

It is important to note that the incremental costs of implementing action plans for threatened, endangered and extirpated species and management plans for species of special concern have not been estimated due to lack of information on the specific management measures that may be contained in these action plans and management plans.

DFO conducted a preliminary assessment of the costs and benefits of the proposed modifications to Schedule 1 for all species. A summary of these incremental impacts (i.e. costs and benefits) on Indigenous peoples and stakeholders of the proposed Order is discussed below. A species-by-species analysis is provided in Annex 1 of this RIAS.

Incremental benefits

Under SARA, the critical habitat of threatened, endangered and extirpated species must be identified when preparing recovery strategies and action plans. The implementation of recovery strategies is achieved through measures that are to be taken as set out in the action plans. These measures are aimed at addressing the threats to the species and helping to achieve the species’ population and distribution objectives. In addition to the applicable SARA prohibitions for threatened, endangered and extirpated species, SARA also provides for additional means for addressing the identified threats, thus enhancing DFO’s ability to respond effectively to the survival and recovery needs of these species and their habitats.

As mentioned in sections above, listing a species as a species of special concern under SARA serves as an early indication that the species requires increased attention due to a combination of biological characteristics and identified threats, and facilitates management of the species, which maximizes the probability of recovery and potentially prevent costlier measures in the future. The preparation, implementation and monitoring of activities set out in management plans for species of special concern highlight the need for appropriate management of the species in a manner that would prevent its further decline.

The recovery strategies, action plans and management plans for species listed in SARA are an integral part of species management aimed at ensuring the species’ survival and recovery, maintaining biodiversity in Canada and conserving Canada’s natural heritage. More diverse ecosystems are generally more stable and resilient to change, and thus the benefits (goods and services) they provide are also more stable over time. footnote 8

As a consequence, the proposed Order is expected to benefit the Canadian environment, society and culture as a result of the requirement for the preparation and implementation of recovery strategies, action plans and management plans for species that are newly listed in SARA or for species reclassified in SARA. This general conclusion is supported by two studies footnote 9, footnote 10carried out to estimate the willingness to pay (WTP) values of Canadians for aquatic species at risk in Canada. The first study estimated Canadian passive use benefits footnote 11 associated with the protection and recovery of a representative rockfish species using a stated preference approach. The results of the study show that household WTP values for management actions were sensitive to the scope of recovery, which indicated that respondents were willing to pay more for greater degrees of species improvement. While none of the species in the proposed Order are rockfish species, it is reasonable to assume that the WTP values associated with an increase in the scope of species protection and recovery would generally be valid across species.

The second study, published in 2016 and based on three choice experiment surveys commissioned by DFO in 2011, quantified the non-use values for improvements in the risk status of little-known riverine species at risk in southern Ontario. One of these surveys included two of the species proposed for listing in this Order — Lake Sturgeon and Pugnose Shiner. The details of the results for these two species are discussed in Annex 1. In general terms, this study estimated a mean WTP value for little-known riverine species of $10–$20 (in 2011 Canadian dollars) per household per year for improvements in the listing status. While this translates to a present value range of $340–$679 million (discounted at 7% in 2017 Canadian dollars) across 4.9 million households in Ontario (and likely higher if extrapolated across Canada), it is not possible to categorically state if these benefits would accrue to Canadian society, as the WTP values were associated with specific improvements in species at risk status. In the absence of information on the recovery potential of the species following the implementation of the action plans and management plans, it is not possible to categorically state if the magnitude of benefits to Canadian society would be similar.

In summary, although the WTP value cannot be estimated for all species recommended for listing in the proposed Order, it would be reasonable to assume that there would be some benefits to Canadian society as a consequence of the proposed Order. Estimating these benefits would require detailed information on the management measures set out in recovery strategies, action plans and management plans and information on the biological outcome for these specific species as a result of the management measure. This information is currently unavailable and time and resource constraints prevent the undertaking of further studies to better estimate the WTP values for all the species proposed for listing in the proposed Order. The above discussion is solely for the purpose of illustrating the magnitude of the benefits that could result from the proposed Order.

Incremental costs

1. Listing as species of special concern, or reclassifying endangered or threatened species to species of special concern

Nine species are proposed for listing on Schedule 1 as species of special concern and are as follows:

Three species are proposed for reclassification to species of special concern under Schedule 1 of SARA:

As indicated previously, SARA’s general prohibitions and the requirement to identify and protect critical habitat do not apply to species of special concern; therefore, this proposed listing of species of special concern would not result in any incremental costs to Indigenous peoples or stakeholders. However, a management plan must be prepared and published within three years of listing or reclassifying these species.

The incremental cost of preparing the management plans for all species in this category is expected to cost the Government of Canada approximately $0.18 to $0.23 million. As there are no prohibitions for species of special concern, no compliance promotion and enforcement activities are required. However, the reclassification of the three species to species of special concern will no longer signify enforcement costs for threatened or endangered species; as a consequence of the scaling back of the enforcement activities, there will be a saving of $0.07 to $0.11 million (discounted at 7%) over a 10-year period.

2. Reclassification from threatened to endangered or endangered to threatened and extirpated to endangered

Four species are proposed for reclassification from threatened to endangered, or from endangered to threatened designations and one species is proposed for reclassification from extirpated to endangered on Schedule 1. These species are

SARA’s general prohibitions and the obligation to identify and protect critical habitat apply equally to endangered and threatened species — as does the requirement to prepare recovery strategies and action plans. The only difference between the two statuses is the mandated timelines to publish the proposed recovery strategies, which is one year for endangered species and two years for threatened species. Action plans are prepared within the time frame outlined in the recovery strategy. Therefore, these reclassifications do not result in incremental costs to Indigenous peoples or stakeholders.

Slight updates to recovery strategies and action plans for these species may be required following reclassification. However, the cost of updating these documents would be less than the preparation of new recovery strategies and action plans. The present value of the incremental costs to Government of updating recovery strategies and action plans for the three species in this category is estimated to be approximately $0.10 to $0.12 million over a 10-year period. No additional costs will be carried for compliance promotion and enforcement as the regulatory requirements for threatened, endangered and extirpated species are similar and will continue with the reclassification. The costs associated with implementing the management measures contained in the action plans cannot be estimated until such time as the details of the specific measures are available.

3. Listing as threatened or endangered and reclassifying from species of special concern to threatened or endangered

Twelve species are being proposed for addition to Schedule 1 as new listings as threatened or endangered. These are

Three species are being proposed for reclassification from species of special concern to endangered or threatened under Schedule 1 of SARA:

For the Lake Utopia Rainbow Smelt (large-bodied), it is anticipated that there will not be any significant incremental costs as a result of adding the species to Schedule 1 of SARA. Additional administrative costs related to issuing permits under SARA are possible for industry and governments.

For the Silver Shiner, it is estimated that there will be negligible incremental costs since the species is afforded protection under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act, 2007, and occurs in an area where other SARA-listed species co-occur.

For the Plains Minnow, it is estimated that the incremental costs would be negligible since there is no current activity and no activity planned in the future in the area. The species is also not currently fished.

For the Bull Trout (Saskatchewan – Nelson Rivers populations) and Rainbow Trout (Athabasca River population), it is estimated that there will be negligible incremental costs since the species are already afforded protection under the Fisheries Act (through the fisheries protection and pollution prevention provisions of the Act), and the Canada National Parks Act (as the species is found within Banff National Park, which is under the administration of the Parks Canada Agency and is regulated in accordance with the Canada National Parks Act), and under the Province of Alberta’s Wildlife Act, Water Act and Forests Act.

Channel Darter is currently listed as threatened under Schedule 1 of SARA as one designatable unit (DU); however, COSEWIC’s recent assessment of the species, split the species (reassigned it) into three DUs. Two out of the three DUs, the Lake Ontario populations and the Lake Erie populations, are being proposed for addition to Schedule 1 of SARA as threatened. Given that the prohibitions of SARA apply similarly to threatened and endangered species, there will be no incremental impacts associated with listing the species as endangered under Schedule 1 of SARA.

For the Threehorn Wartyback, Silver Chub (Great Lakes – Upper St. Lawrence), Black Redhorse, Hickorynut, Lilliput, Fawnsfoot and Pugnose Minnow, it is estimated that the incremental costs would be negligible since these species are already afforded protection by the province under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act, 2007, which would be very comparable to that under SARA.

For the Rocky Mountain Ridged Mussel, it is estimated that there will not be any incremental costs to businesses as the majority of development that could harm the species would require a Fisheries Act review. The information required for such a review and a SARA permit is similar enough that no incremental administrative costs would be attributed to listing. However, individuals and municipalities may carry limited costs to avoid the prohibitions associated with Rocky Mountain Ridged Mussel being listed as endangered. In particular, activities such as dock creation or maintenance by homeowners may require a SARA permit. Activities such as relocation of individuals of the species — which is sometimes required to avoid killing them when such projects are undertaken — would require a SARA permit; therefore, in these cases there would be incremental administrative and mitigation costs anticipated.

The present value of the incremental costs to the Government for developing new and updating existing management scenarios, recovery strategies and preparing associated action plans with respect to all of these species is estimated to be in the range of approximately $1.01 to $1.27 million (discounted at 7%) over a 10-year period. The present value of compliance promotion and enforcement costs to Government is estimated to range between $0.36 and $0.60 million (discounted at 7%) over a 10-year period. The incremental costs associated with implementing the management measures contained in the action plans cannot be estimated until such time as the details of the specific measures are available.

4. Overall incremental cost of the proposed Order

Based on the analysis above, the overall incremental costs to the Government of Canada of listing and reclassifying these species are anticipated to be low and the incremental costs to stakeholders are anticipated to be negligible. Government costs would arise from the preparation of recovery strategies, action plans or management plans that are required when a species is listed under SARA, and from compliance promotion and enforcement activities. Based on the list of species included in the proposed Order, the overall costs to Government are summarized in Table 2 below. The incremental costs for the preparation of recovery strategies, action plans or management plans are estimated at $1.28 to $1.61 million (present value discounted at 7%) over 10 years. In addition, compliance promotion and enforcement costs are estimated to be in the range of approximately $0.42 to $0.70 million (present value discounted at 7%) over 10 years for all proposed amendments in this Order. The total incremental cost to the federal government is thus estimated to be in the range of approximately $1.70 to $2.30 million (present value discounted at 7%) over the 10-year analysis period. The incremental costs associated with implementing the management measures contained in the management plans and action plans cannot be estimated until such time as the details of the specific measures are available. The incremental cost to Canadian society and economy as a result of listing the species in this proposed Order are estimated to be negligible.

Table 2: Incremental government costs table ($ millions — Discounted over 10 years)
  Low Cost High Cost

Listing as species of special concern

Management plan development

0.18

0.23

Compliance promotion and enforcement (cost savings)

(0.07)

(0.11)

Reclassification from threatened to endangered or vice versa

Action plan and recovery strategy development

0.10

0.12

Compliance promotion and enforcement

0.00

0.00

Listing as threatened or endangered

Action plan and recovery strategy development

1.00

1.26

Compliance promotion and enforcement

0.48

0.81

Total costs

1.70

2.30

Figures may not add up to totals due to rounding.

The potential incremental impacts of SARA critical habitat orders, if required in the future, have not been evaluated. The incremental impacts of critical habitat orders would be evaluated at the time such orders are proposed by the competent minister. Nonetheless, the incremental impacts are anticipated to be negligible, and no additional compliance costs or administrative burden on the part of Canadians and Canadian businesses is anticipated. Threats to critical habitat are managed and would continue to be managed through existing measures under federal legislation. There could be some implications for projects footnote 12 required to undergo an environmental assessment (hereafter referred to as EA) by or under an Act of Parliament. However, any costs are expected to be minimal relative to the total costs of performing a federal EA. Once a species is listed on Schedule 1 of SARA, under any classification, additional requirements under section 79 of SARA are triggered for project proponents and government officials undertaking a federal EA. These requirements include notifying the competent minister in writing of the project if it is likely to affect a listed wildlife species or its critical habitat, identifying all adverse effects that the project could have on the listed wildlife species and its critical habitat and, if the project is carried out, ensuring that measures are taken to avoid or mitigate those effects and to monitor them.

“One-for-One” Rule

The “One-for-One” Rule does not apply because the proposed amendments to Schedule 1 of SARA would not impose new administrative costs on businesses.

Small business lens

It was determined that the proposed Order would not impose annual nationwide costs over $1 million, nor would they have a disproportionate impact on a few small businesses. As a result, the small business lens would not apply to the proposed Order.

Consultations

The 32 proposed aquatic species were assessed by COSEWIC during meetings held between April 2008 and April 2017.

Detailed consultation results for each of the species are provided in Annex 1.

Public consultations and consultations with Indigenous groups on the proposed amendments to Schedule 1 of SARA were conducted by DFO following the respective COSEWIC assessments of the 32 species proposed for listing or reclassification. Consultations were facilitated through online surveys, mail outs, emails, faxes, public notices, public meetings, and consultation documents along with supporting documents that were made available during these events on the Species at Risk Public Registry and other government websites. Information packages were provided as part of the public consultation process, which included the biological descriptions of the species, location information, population and distribution objectives, reasons for the proposed classification, a cost and benefit analysis and an overview of the listing process. Information packages were distributed to fish harvesters, industry sectors, recreational fishers, Indigenous groups, environmental organizations, resource users, environmental non-governmental organizations, provincial and territorial governments and the public. As well, where required under SARA, the Department of the Environment consulted directly with implicated wildlife management boards.

The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Minister of the Environment will take into consideration comments and any additional information received following publication of the proposed Order and this RIAS in the Canada Gazette, Part I.

Rationale

Biodiversity is crucial to ecosystem productivity, health and resiliency, yet is rapidly declining worldwide. The proposed Order would support the survival and recovery of 32 species at risk in Canada by mandating recovery and conservation planning, thus contributing to the protection of biodiversity in Canada. In the case of the 20 species proposed to be listed or reclassified as threatened or endangered, they would be protected through the general prohibitions of SARA, including prohibitions on killing, harming, harassing, capturing and taking individuals of the species. In addition, these species would benefit from the preparation and implementation of recovery strategies and action plans that, among other things, identify the main threats to species survival, as well as identify, to the extent possible, the habitat that is necessary for their survival and recovery in Canada (critical habitat). Critical habitat must also be protected. The 12 species proposed to be listed or reclassified as species of special concern would benefit from the preparation and implementation of a management plan, which includes measures for the conservation of the species.

A review of the literature suggests that Canadians are willing to pay for improvements in the risk status of aquatic species. In particular, one study estimated a willingness to pay value for little-known riverine species in Ontario to range from $340 to $679 million (in present value terms over 10 years) across all households in Ontario. Thus, it would be reasonable to assume that Canadian society would benefit from the implementation of the recovery documents for endangered, threatened and extirpated species and the implementation of the management plans for species of special concern.

The costs to the Government of Canada are anticipated to be in the range of $1.70 million to $2.30 million and are as a result of the preparation of recovery strategies, action plans and management plans, and as a result of compliance promotion and enforcement. The incremental costs to businesses of compliance with the SARA prohibitions are anticipated to be negligible. The incremental costs to other stakeholders resulting from the implementation of the action plans and the management plans cannot be estimated until such time as the details of the management measures aimed at the conservation of the species are available.

The proposed Order would help to protect Canada’s biological diversity and fulfills a commitment made by Canada under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. The proposed amendments to Schedule 1 of SARA also have direct links to the 2016–2019 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS) by supporting the goal “Healthy wildlife populations” and the target “By 2020, species that are secure remain secure and populations of species at risk listed under federal law exhibit trends that are consistent with recovery strategies and management plans.” This proposal will also contribute to fulfilling a commitment made by Canada under the 2011–2020 Strategic Plan for Biodiversity (United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity) regarding Aichi target 12: “By 2020 the extinction of known threatened species has been prevented and their conservation status, particularly of those most in decline, has been improved and sustained.”

Implementation, enforcement and service standards

Following listing, DFO and the Parks Canada Agency will implement a compliance promotion plan that includes compliance promotion initiatives. 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. Potentially affected stakeholders and Indigenous peoples would be contacted to

These objectives would be accomplished through the creation and dissemination of information products that contain general information on the species as well as explain the new prohibitions and where they relate to some of those 32 species, the recovery and management planning process that follows listing and how stakeholders and Indigenous peoples can become involved in the implementation of recovery actions. These resources will be posted on the Public Registry, but direct mail outs and presentations to targeted audiences may also be considered at the latter stages of the SARA cycle as appropriate.

In protected heritage places administered by the Parks Canada Agency, footnote 13 front-line staff are given the appropriate information regarding the species at risk found within their sites in order to inform visitors on prevention measures and engage them in the protection and conservation of species at risk.

Subsequent to listing, the preparation and implementation of recovery strategies, action plans, management plans and, with respect to endangered and threatened species, the identification and protection of critical habitat, may result in recommendations for further regulatory action for the protection of wildlife species.

SARA provides for penalties for contraventions to the Act, including fines or imprisonment, seizure and forfeiture of things seized or of the proceeds of their disposition. Agreements on alternative measures may also be used to deal with an alleged offender under certain conditions. 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.

The Permits Authorizing an Activity Affecting Listed Wildlife Species Regulations, which came into effect on June 19, 2013, impose a 90-day timeline on the Government of Canada to either issue or refuse permits under section 73 of SARA that, if issued, will authorize activities that may affect listed wildlife species. The 90-day timeline may not apply in certain circumstances. These Regulations contribute to consistency, predictability and transparency in the SARA permitting process by providing applicants with clear and measurable service standards. DFO measures its service performance annually, and performance information is posted on the Department website footnote 14 no later than June 1 for the preceding fiscal year.

Contact

Julie Stewart
Director
Species at Risk Program
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
200 Kent Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0E6
Email: SARA_LEP@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Annex 1 — Description of species being added or reclassified to Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act

Lake Sturgeon (Southern Hudson Bay – James Bay population)

COSEWIC reassessed and confirmed the Southern Hudson Bay – James Bay designatable unit (DU) as a species of special concern in April 2017.

About this species

The Lake Sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) is a member of the family Acipenseridae. As a group, sturgeons are considered living fossils, having changed little from their ancestors of the Devonian period. Lake Sturgeon is the only strictly freshwater species of sturgeon in Canadian waters. It also is one of the largest, longest-lived, freshwater fish species in Canada and requires extensive habitat. The Southern Hudson Bay – James Bay DU is found in Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec.

Lake Sturgeon is a bottom-dwelling fish found in large rivers and lakes, at depths generally between 5 and 10 m, sometimes greater. Spawning occurs in the spring in fast-flowing water at depths between 0.6 and 5 m over hardpan clay, sand, gravel and boulders.

Lake Sturgeon feeds on a variety of benthic organisms depending on the season, location and substrate. Some food items include small benthic fishes, insect larvae, molluscs, crayfish, and on occasion, fish eggs. They may also feed in the water column on pelagic zooplankton such as daphnia, and occasionally on insects at the surface. Large adults are also known to consume fishes.

Consultations

From 2007 to 2008, DFO contacted (by sending workbooks and a letter to solicit feedback) 372 First Nations communities and organizations and 519 stakeholders (12 academics, 24 agricultural organizations, 108 non- governmental organizations [NGOs], 34 businesses, 9 industries, 34 commercial fisheries organizations, 133 municipalities, 48 provincial agencies, 6 federal agencies, 37 recreational businesses/organizations, 2 international organizations, 1 professional organization, 52 tourism operators/organizations, and 19 utilities).

In June 2010, follow-up letters were sent to those First Nations who either were missed in the first mail out, or had not provided a response to the first mail out.

Of the 98 responses, 61% of respondents supported listing and 9% were opposed. Of the 98 responses, 39 were from First Nations 6 of which supported listing, 7 were opposed and the rest (26) either provided information, requested additional information or remained undecided.

Following the latest COSEWIC assessment of the species in 2017, positions of the stakeholders were confirmed. In August and September 2017, a total of 224 key stakeholders were contacted: 38 NGOs, 23 municipalities, 2 industries, 86 individuals that commented during the first consultation period and 75 Indigenous communities.

Five responses were received. Four were from Indigenous groups: two did not provide a position and two Indigenous groups supported listing. The last response was from Hydro-Quebec indicating their support to list.

One First Nation asked how listing would protect fish and water in the face of expanding natural resource industries (there are no prohibitions when listed as a species of special concern).

Another Indigenous group described perceived impacts to aquatic biodiversity (including Lake Sturgeon abundance), which they feel has resulted from water level fluctuations induced by hydroelectric generating facilities.

There is one wildlife management board (WMB) that has authority for this DU under their Land Claim Agreement: the Hunting, Fishing and Trapping Coordinating Committee (HFTCC). DFO consulted with the HFTCC in 2008 and again in 2017. The Minister of the Environment consulted with the WMB in February 2018. The HFTCC confirmed their support to listing this DU.

Listing rationale

Listing the species as a species of special concern would not trigger the section 32 or 33 prohibitions under SARA; therefore, there would be no anticipated socio-economic impacts for Canadians and businesses upon listing. However, SARA requires the preparation and implementation of a management plan subsequent to listing a species as a species of special concern. The management plan would include measures to address the identified threats for the conservation of the species. Listing the species as a species of special concern and the preparation and implementation of the management plan by DFO and stakeholders may result in some benefits through voluntary changes in activities that pose a threat to the species.

A study published in 2016 estimated the willingness to pay (WTP) value of Lake Sturgeon in southern Ontario based on three choice surveys commissioned by DFO in 2011. footnote 15 These surveys considered the general Lake Sturgeon population with varying levels of risk status. In addition, the surveys were aimed at assessing the WTP value associated with reductions in recovery time rather than improvements in risk status. The WTP for Lake Sturgeon for reducing recovery time from 170–300 years to 50–95 years was estimated at $52 (in 2017 Canadian dollars) per household per year or an aggregate of approximately $203 million (in 2017 Canadian dollars) per year. A reduction in recovery time to 19–33 years increased the mean WTP to $71 (in 2017 Canadian dollars) per household per year or an aggregate of approximately $273 million (in 2017 Canadian dollars) per year. Estimating the WTP value for the 4.9 million households in Ontario, this translates to a present value range of $1,630 million to $2,207 million (in 2017 Canadian dollars and discounted at 7% over a 10-year period), respectively. It is important to note that these values do not reflect the WTP value for the Southern Hudson Bay – James Bay population of Lake Sturgeon because it is representative of the WTP in Ontario and the WTP values were associated with specific improvements in the species’ risk status. However, it would be reasonable to assume that if these values were extrapolated to the Canadian society, the incremental benefits would likely be higher. As such, the WTP values are illustrative of the potential magnitude of benefits that could accrue if the implementation of the management plan for this species was to result in recovery of the species. Therefore, the specific benefits associated with the implementation of the management plan cannot be evaluated until such time as the details of the management measures for the conservation of species are known.

The present value of incremental costs to Government is anticipated to be in the range of $0.017 million and $0.022 million (discounted at 7%) over the 10-year period, and is limited to the development of a management plan. There may be some incremental costs to stakeholders for implementing the management plan; however, these cannot be evaluated until the details of the management plan are known.

It should also be noted that the species is already listed as threatened under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act, 2007, which is one of the three provinces where this DU occurs.

Silver Lamprey (Great Lakes – Upper St. Lawrence populations)

COSEWIC assessed this species as a species of special concern in May 2011.

About this species

The Silver Lamprey (Ichthyomyzon unicuspis) is 1 of 11 species of lamprey in Canada. It is an eel-shaped freshwater fish found in Ontario and Quebec and specifically within the Great Lakes–St. Lawrence River system. Silver Lamprey from the Great Lakes and Upper St. Lawrence population have been documented in 41 streams and 8 lakes: Lake Ontario, Lake Huron, Lake Superior, Lake Erie, Lake St. Clair, Lake Nipissing, Lac Saint-Pierre, and Lac Saint-Louis.

The Silver Lamprey spawns in rivers and streams and requires unrestricted migration to spawning habitat. Spawning habitat includes gravel and sand for building nests, clean fast-flowing water, and a small amount of silt-free sand or other materials on which the eggs can adhere. Spawning occurs only once in their lifetime and the adults die shortly afterward.

Threats to the Silver Lamprey include methods used to control the invasive Sea Lamprey in the Great Lakes (e.g. the application of lampricides or the construction of low head barriers to block spawning migrations), pollution, habitat alteration, dam construction, siltation, water fluctuations, and competition from other species. While most of these threats occur broadly across the Silver Lamprey’s range, the impact of measures to control Sea Lamprey is limited to Silver Lamprey nursery streams in the Great Lakes that receive lampricide treatments or have Sea Lamprey barriers.

Consultations

Public consultations were held from December 2011 to January 2012. In December 2011, two consultations were held: one in Ontario and the other in Quebec.

In Ontario, letters along with an information package were sent out to the Province of Ontario, 54 Indigenous communities and organizations, 1 Métis organization and 25 stakeholders. These stakeholders included municipalities, utilities, commercial fishery organizations, recreational fishery organizations, bait fishery organizations, tourism organizations, and non-governmental organizations. Public notices were placed in 14 news outlets.

A total of 21 responses were received: 1 from the Province of Ontario, 5 from four First Nations, 6 from municipalities, 1 from a utility, 1 from a recreational fishery organization, 1 from a commercial fishery organization, 1 from a fishery commission, 1 from an international organization and 4 from individuals of the public.

The Province of Ontario did not provide a position at the time of consultations because the species was under assessment to be added on their Endangered Species Act, 2007. Since the 2011 consultations, Ontario has listed this species as a species of special concern under their Act. Listing as a species of special concern under SARA would be in keeping with the Ontario designation.

Of the five responses from First Nations, one community supported listing; the remaining four responses did not indicate support or opposition to listing.

Of the remaining 15 responses, 4 supported listing; 3 opposed listing; the others did not indicate support or opposition.

In Quebec, letters were sent along with an information summary in December 2011 to stakeholders including 7 Indigenous communities and 1 First Nations organization, 58 environmental organizations, 66 municipal organizations, 1 wildlife organization (fishing and hunting), 1 business (Hydro-Quebec), and to the Province of Quebec. The consultation was publicized via the DFO Quebec region internet sites and Twitter. In addition, a public notice was placed in two major newspapers: La Presse (French) and The Gazette (English).

A total of 10 responses were received: 1 from the Province of Quebec, 3 from First Nations groups, 1 from Hydro-Quebec, and 5 from individuals of the public.

The Province of Quebec supported listing along with five other responses of support from individuals from the public.

Of the responses received from the First Nations groups, one supported listing and two requested more information.

Hydro-Quebec opposed listing on the premise that listing the species would have a significant impact on the organization’s operations. However, species of special concern do not trigger the automatic prohibitions of SARA; therefore, listing would not significantly impact the company’s operations.

Listing rationale

Listing the species as a species of special concern would not trigger the section 32 or 33 prohibitions under SARA; therefore, there would be no anticipated socio-economic impacts for Canadians and businesses upon listing. Additionally, no impacts to existing recreational fisheries and food, social, or ceremonial fisheries are anticipated. However, SARA requires the preparation and implementation of a management plan subsequent to listing the species as a species of special concern. The management plan would include measures to address identified threats for the conservation of the species. Listing the species as a species of special concern and the preparation and implementation of the management plan may result in some benefits through voluntary changes in activities that pose a threat to the species. The net present value of incremental costs to Government is anticipated to be in the range of $0.017 million and $0.022 million (discounted at 7%) over the 10-year period, and is limited to the development of a management plan. It should also be noted that the species is already listed as a species of special concern under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act, 2007.

While there may be incremental costs and benefits associated with the implementation of the management plan, these cannot be evaluated until the details of the management measures for the conservation of the species are known.

Bull Trout (Western Arctic populations)

COSEWIC assessed this species as a species of special concern in November 2012.

About this species

The Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus) is a slow-growing and late-maturing species of the salmon and trout family (Salmonidae). It thrives in cold, pristine waters and requires long unimpeded migratory routes joining spawning habitats to adult habitats. They are viewed as an indicator species of general ecosystem health.

Bull Trout are found in western North America with its Canadian distribution extending throughout British Columbia and western Alberta, with a northern limit into the southern Yukon and the central portion of the Northwest Territories. In the western Arctic, Bull Trout are broadly distributed; however, populations are not abundant and many areas are showing evidence of population decline.

Habitat loss through degradation and fragmentation, interaction with introduced species, and overexploitation are the primary threats to the Western Arctic Bull Trout population. Increased development (e.g. oil and gas development, forestry, mining, transportation infrastructure and hydroelectric projects) may disrupt migration, or increase water temperatures and siltation, rendering the species vulnerable. Displacement by, or hybridization with, Brook Trout is also of particular concern. Increased road access to previously remote populations, high catchability, and similar appearance to Dolly Varden render them vulnerable to exploitation as a result of misidentification as well.

Consultations

Public consultations were held online from November 2013 to December 2013. Letters were mailed, emailed or faxed to wildlife management boards and Indigenous groups in the species’ range requesting input on this proposed listing and offering an opportunity to meet bilaterally with DFO. Letters were also sent via email to the Province of British Columbia, Province of Alberta, Yukon and the Northwest Territories, environmental interest groups, and stakeholder groups in the species’ range. In early 2014, additional groups were identified and provided an opportunity to submit comments on the potential listing of Bull Trout.

A total of 17 responses were received including 7 comments from online submissions. Of those comments, 5 were in support of listing as a species of special concern, 1 was against listing as a species of special concern, and 1 did not express an explicit position.

The remaining 10 comments were submitted through letters or emails; 3 were in support of listing as a species of special concern, 1 was against listing as a species of special concern, and 6 did not express an explicit position.

The province of Alberta, the province of British Columbia, and the Northwest Territories all offered their support for the listing of the species. Yukon did not oppose listing and indicated that it would like to participate in the preparation of the management plan.

Two mail outs to request comments on the proposed listing decision were sent out to Indigenous stakeholders in Alberta and the Northwest Territories. The first was in July 2013 and the second was in February 2014. No responses were received.

Two wildlife management boards (WMBs), the Sahtú Renewable Resources Board (SRRB) and the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board (YFWMB), have authority for this wildlife species under Land Claim Agreements. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans consultations with the SRRB and YFWMB took place in 2013 and 2014. The Minister of the Environment consulted formally with these boards in September 2017. Both boards indicated support for listing.

Listing rationale

Listing the species as a species of special concern would not trigger the section 32 or 33 prohibitions under SARA; therefore, there would be no anticipated socio-economic consequences for Canadians and businesses upon listing.

Further impacts on the Bull Trout and its habitat are anticipated in the near future, including an obstruction of passage (dam) along its migratory route. This population is one of the fish species that will be impacted by the Site C Clean Energy dam and reservoir project under construction on the Peace River by the British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority. Since fish ladders have been proved ineffective for Bull Trout, proposed mitigation includes trapping and trucking these fish around the dam. It is unknown at this time what impact this activity will have on the populations.

SARA requires the preparation and implementation of a management plan subsequent to listing the species as a species of special concern. The management plan would include measures to address the identified threats to the conservation of the species. Listing the species as a species of special concern and the preparation and implementation of the management plan by stakeholders may result in some benefits through voluntary changes in activities that pose a threat to the species. The net present value of incremental costs to Government is anticipated to be in the range of $0.017 million and $0.022 million (discounted at 7%) over the 10-year period, and is limited to the development of a management plan and enforcement costs. While there may be incremental costs and benefits associated with the implementation of the management plan, these cannot be evaluated until the details of the management measures for the conservation of the species are known.

Bull Trout (South Coast British Columbia populations)

COSEWIC assessed this species as a species of special concern in November 2012.

About this species

The Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus) is a slow-growing and late-maturing species of the salmon and trout family (Salmonidae). It thrives in cold, pristine waters and requires long unimpeded migratory routes joining spawning habitats to adult habitats. They are viewed as an indicator species of general ecosystem health. Adult South Coast Bull Trout are anadromous and feed in near-shore waters, which is a behaviour found only in southwestern British Columbia. In Canada, South Coast British Columbian populations inhabit the Skagit, Squamish, Ryan, Lillooet, Pitt and Lower Fraser rivers, the Pitt, Birkenhead, Chilliwack, and Chehalis lakes, and Phelix and Ure creeks.

Populations were never abundant in these waterbodies but there is no overall evidence of declines in abundance or in distribution.

Habitat loss through degradation and fragmentation, introduced species, and overexploitation are the primary threats to South Coast British Columbia populations. Increased development (e.g. oil and gas development, forestry, mining, transportation infrastructure and hydroelectric projects) may disrupt migration, or increase water temperatures and siltation, rendering the species vulnerable. Bull Trout compete with Brook Trout and are vulnerable to hybridization with native Dolly Varden and introduced Brook Trout. Increased road access to previously remote populations, high catchability, and similar appearance to Dolly Varden also render Bull Trout vulnerable to exploitation as a result of misidentification.

Consultations

Regional consultations were held online via an online comment form available to the public in November and December 2013. Letters were mailed, emailed or faxed to 3 wildlife management boards and 171 First Nations in the species’ range requesting input on this proposed listing and offering an opportunity to meet bilaterally with DFO. Letters were also sent via email to the Province of British Columbia, 174 environmental interest groups, and 177 stakeholder interest groups in the species’ range. In early 2014, additional groups were identified and provided an opportunity to submit comments on the potential listing of Bull Trout.

In total, 39 responses were received: 23 were in support of listing the species as a species of special concern, 4 were against listing the species as a species of special concern, and 12 did not express an explicit position.

Three wildlife management boards (WMBs) are authorized to perform functions with respect to this wildlife species under their Land Claim Agreements: the Tsawwassen Joint Fishery Committee, the Tla’amin Joint Fishery Committee and the Maa-nulth Joint Fishery Committee. DFO consulted the three WMBs: the Tsawwassen Joint Fishery Committee and the Tla’amin Joint Fishery Committee did not respond to DFO; the Maa-nulth Joint Fishery Committee indicated they would not participate in the consultations since the species is not found in their traditional territory.

Under SARA the Minister of the Environment must consult these WMBs before making a listing recommendation to the GIC. The Department of the Environment sent a consultation letter to the three WMBs in August 2017 and then, followed up with the boards multiple times via email and telephone. The Department of the Environment did not receive any response from the WMBs.

Listing rationale

Listing the species as a species of special concern would not trigger the section 32 or 33 prohibitions under SARA; therefore, there would be negligible socio-economic impacts anticipated for Canadians and businesses upon listing. However, SARA requires the preparation and implementation of a management plan subsequent to listing the species as a species of special concern. The management plan would include measures to address the identified threats for the conservation of the species. Listing the species as a species of special concern and the preparation and implementation of the management plan may result in some benefits through voluntary changes in activities that pose a threat to the species. The net present value of incremental costs to Government is anticipated to be in the range of $0.017 million and $0.022 million (discounted at 7%) over the 10-year period, and is limited to the development of a management plan and enforcement costs. While there may be negligible incremental costs and benefits associated with the implementation of the management plan, these cannot be evaluated until the details of the management measures for the conservation of the species are known.

Cutlip Minnow

COSEWIC assessed this species as a species of special concern in November 2013.

About this species

The Cutlip Minnow (Exoglossum maxillingua) is a small freshwater fish in the minnow family (Cyprinidea). It can reach a length of about 160 mm and can be distinguished from all other fish species by its stout body, silvery sides with a greenish purple sheen and tri-lobed lower lip.

In Canada, the Cutlip Minnow is found in the St. Lawrence River watershed, from Ivy Lea, Ontario, to Saint-Pascal, Quebec. In Ontario, the species is now found in only three of the seven waterbodies where it was historically present. In Quebec, it is found in 79 of the 206 waterbodies where it was historically present. The species is more widespread in Quebec.

The Cutlip Minnow is found primarily in clear or tea-coloured rivers and streams with little current, channel substrate composed of cobbles, gravel, sand, mud and aquatic vegetation. It is a bottom feeder, consuming a variety of aquatic invertebrates.

Little is known about threats to the Cutlip Minnow. The species may be intolerant of persistent turbidity and excessive siltation, both potential consequences of some agricultural and urban activities. The Round Goby and the Tench, two invasive species known to negatively impact native fishes, may also have adverse effects on the Cutlip Minnow. Since 2002, the species was collected in only 82 of the 213 Ontario and Quebec waterbodies where it was present.

Consultations

Regional consultations were held from November 2014 to February 2015. Notification of the consultation included sending letters to key interest groups and posting advertisements on the DFO website and social media. Direct mail outs were sent to groups directly affected by the consultation, including the provinces of Quebec and Ontario, communities, 15 Indigenous groups, and 117 interest groups (environmental, municipal and industrial).

A total of eight responses (seven in Quebec, one in Ontario) and three information requests were received from the public and interest groups.

With the exception of the Province of Quebec, all the responses were in favour of listing the species, including the Province of Ontario. The species is already listed as threatened under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act, 2007 and a recovery strategy is in place. The Province of Quebec opposed listing, stating that it already has the legal tools and regulations necessary to protect freshwater species in the province.

Listing rationale

Listing the species as a species of special concern would not trigger the section 32 or 33 prohibitions under SARA; therefore, there would be no anticipated socio-economic impacts for Canadians and businesses upon listing. However, SARA requires the preparation and implementation of a management plan subsequent to listing the species as a species of special concern. The management plan would include measures to address the identified threats for the conservation of the species. Listing the species as a species of special concern and the preparation and implementation of the management plan may result in some benefits through voluntary changes in activities that pose a threat to the species. The net present value of incremental costs to Government is anticipated to be in the range of $0.017 million and $0.022 million (discounted at 7%) over the 10-year period, and is limited to the development of a management plan and enforcement costs. While there may be incremental costs and benefits associated with the implementation of the management plan, these cannot be evaluated until the details of the management measures for the conservation of species are known.

Unarmoured Threespine Stickleback

COSEWIC assessed this species as a species of special concern in November 2013. The species is currently listed as a species of special concern under Schedule 3 of SARA.

About this species

The Unarmoured Threespine Stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus), also known as the Charlotte Unarmoured Stickleback, is a small (approximately 65 mm in length) freshwater fish, likely descended from the marine Threespine Stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus). Freshwater Threespine Sticklebacks typically have three dorsal spines, an anal spine, two pelvic spines and bony plates on the sides of their bodies. The Unarmoured Threespine Stickleback is one of a few populations across the global range of Threespine Stickleback that exhibit extensive loss of defensive spines.

Unarmoured Threespine Stickleback occurs only within Boulton, Rouge, and Serendipity lakes on Graham Island in Haida Gwaii, British Columbia. These lakes represent a significant proportion of the Canadian and global range of the Unarmoured Threespine Stickleback. The number of mature individuals is thought to be in the high thousands for Rouge Lake, the low tens of thousands for Serendipity Lake, and the low hundreds of thousands for Boulton Lake.

In general, the species likely requires sustained productivity in open water and near-shore habitats, including natural near-shore vegetation, the absence of invasive species, the maintenance of natural aquatic plants for nesting and juvenile rearing, and gently sloping sand and gravel beaches.

The key threats to Unarmoured Threespine Stickleback are the introduction of invasive species and anthropogenic disturbances that alter the species’ habitat. Specific potential threats include changes in predator regimes, rural and industrial activities, erosion, severe winter conditions, and habitat changes caused by introduced beavers.

Consultations

Listing consultations were undertaken from November to December 2015. Given that Unarmoured and Giant Threespine Sticklebacks face similar threats and have a similar biology and distribution, the same list of contacts was used and consultations were held at the same time.

Consultation notification letters were sent via direct mail out, email and/or fax to the following groups: 72 environmental non-governmental organizations; 61 industry and recreational fishing contacts; 14 First Nations contacts; 12 federal government, Province of British Columbia, and municipal government contacts; and 7 academics. Consultation material was posted on the Public Registry.

Six responses were received, one of which was from an Indigenous group, and all respondents supported listing the species as a species of special concern.

Listing rationale

Since the species is currently only found in three very small remote lakes, it could quickly become at risk of becoming endangered, especially if invasive species were to be introduced, as has been observed in other stickleback populations.

Listing the species as a species of special concern would not trigger the section 32 or 33 prohibitions under SARA; therefore, there would be negligible socio-economic impacts anticipated for Canadians and businesses upon listing. However, SARA requires the preparation and implementation of a management plan subsequent to listing the species as a species of special concern. The management plan would include negligible cost measures to address threats identified for the conservation of the species. Listing the species as a species of special concern and the preparation and implementation of the management plan may result in some benefits through voluntary changes in activities that pose a threat to the species. The net present value of incremental costs to Government is anticipated to be in the range of $0.017 million and $0.022 million (discounted at 7%) over the 10-year period, and is limited to the development of a management plan and enforcement costs. While there may be negligible incremental costs and benefits associated with the implementation of the management plan, these cannot be evaluated until the details of the management measures for the conservation of the species are known.

Giant Threespine Stickleback

COSEWIC assessed this species as a species of special concern in November 2013. The species is currently listed as a species of special concern under Schedule 3 of SARA.

About this species

The Giant Threespine Stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) is a freshwater stickleback that is of unusually large size and, globally, is currently known to exist in only two small, remote lakes: Drizzle and Mayer lakes on Graham Island in Haida Gwaii, British Columbia, making it a highly endemic species.

The number of mature individuals is thought to be in the high tens of thousands for Mayer Lake and greater than 100 000 for Drizzle Lake. The species typically lives up to four years in Mayer Lake and eight years in Drizzle Lake. The species requires sustained habitat productivity in open water and near-shore habitats, including natural near-shore vegetation, absence of invasive species, maintenance of natural aquatic plants for nesting and juvenile rearing, and gently sloping sand and gravel beaches. The species spends spring and summer in near-shore areas for spawning, and moves to deeper waters in winter.

The key threats to the species are the introduction of invasive species and anthropogenic disturbances that alter its habitat. Other potential threats include changes in predation regimes (e.g. from Coastal Cutthroat Trout and/or the Common Loon), forestry operations, and habitat changes caused by introduced beavers.

Consultations

Listing consultations were undertaken from November to December 2015. Given that Giant and Unarmoured Threespine Sticklebacks face similar threats and have a similar biology and distribution, the same list of contacts was used and consultations were held at the same time.

Consultation notification letters were sent via direct mail outs, email and/or fax to the following groups: 72 environmental non-governmental organizations; 61 industry and recreational fishing contacts; 14 First Nations; 12 federal government, Province of British Columbia, and municipal government contacts; and 7 academics. Four responses were received, including one from an Indigenous group, and all responses supported listing the species as a species of special concern.

Listing rationale

Since the species is currently only found in two very small remote lakes, it could quickly become at risk of becoming endangered, especially if invasive species were to be introduced as has been observed in other stickleback populations.

Listing the species as a species of special concern would not trigger the section 32 or 33 prohibitions under SARA; therefore, there would be negligible socio-economic impacts anticipated for Canadians and businesses upon listing. However, SARA requires the preparation and implementation of a management plan subsequent to listing the species as a species of special concern. The management plan would include measures to address the identified threats for the conservation of the species. Listing the species as a species of special concern and the preparation and implementation of the management plan may result in some benefits through voluntary changes in activities that pose a threat to the species. The net present value of incremental costs to Government is anticipated to be in the range of $0.017 million and $0.022 million (discounted at 7%) over the 10-year period, and is limited to the development of a management plan and enforcement. While there may be incremental costs and benefits associated with the implementation of the management plan, these cannot be evaluated until the details of the management measures for the conservation of the species are known. A review completed in August 2015 by the British Columbia Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations determined that no Water Licences, Timber Licences or Mines Tenures were found near either of the lakes in which the species is found.

Rainbow Smelt (Lake Utopia large-bodied population)

COSEWIC assessed this species as threatened in November 2008.

About this species

The Lake Utopia Rainbow Smelt, large-bodied population (Osmerus mordax), is part of a genetically divergent sympatric pair (i.e. a pair of species evolved from a single ancestral species while inhabiting the same lake) of Rainbow Smelt that also includes a small-bodied population. The sympatric pair is endemic to Lake Utopia in southwestern New Brunswick and has a small index of area of occupancy (6 km2). Genetically distinct sympatric populations of Rainbow Smelt, as observed in Lake Utopia, are rare and known only to occur in a few other lakes in Canada.

In general, Rainbow Smelt are small (typically less than 30 cm in total length), slender pelagic fish that vary in colour. Rainbow Smelt are north temperate fish capable of living in both freshwater and saltwater, but in Lake Utopia they are restricted to freshwater. Lake Utopia is a relatively small, cold, and oligotrophic lake. Large-bodied Lake Utopia Rainbow Smelt tend to occupy cool, deeper waters of the lake, except during the spring spawning season when they move into specific tributaries.

The large-bodied population is limited by a highly restrictive range and the finite availability of suitable spawning habitat. Threats to Lake Utopia’s large-bodied smelt include impacts to habitat and water quantity, the degradation of water quality, the introduction of native predatory fishes to enhance the salmonid sport fishery, and the introduction of non-native species into Lake Utopia. Dip-net fisheries and the loss of spawning habitat through fluctuations in water levels are other potential threats to the large-bodied population.

Consultations

Public consultations were held from March to April 2012. Consultation workbooks were sent to 58 potentially impacted groups, including the fishing industry, provincial government departments, and indigenous organizations, as well as to potentially interested parties (e.g. non-governmental organizations, stewardship groups, and academics). Public notices announcing the consultation period were published in three newspapers in New Brunswick, and the consultation materials were posted on the Public Registry. Bilateral meetings were held with two indigenous organizations.

DFO received seven responses: three provinces, one environmental organization, one private individual and two Indigenous people councils. All responses were either neutral or in support of listing the species as threatened.

Listing rationale

The Lake Utopia Rainbow Smelt, large-bodied population is part of a genetically divergent sympatric pair of Rainbow Smelt endemic to a single lake in Canada. The species pair is of considerable scientific interest and value because of its unique and recent evolutionary history. In addition, because the species spawns in only three small streams in the watershed, it could quickly become extinct.

Subsequent to the species being listed as threatened, the Lake Utopia large-bodied Rainbow Smelt would benefit through the application of SARA prohibitions as well as the preparation of a recovery strategy and implementation of the management measures outlined in an action plan. The action plan would include, among other things, measures to address the identified threats to the species. The federal government would incur some costs for the preparation of the recovery strategy and action plan. The net present value of incremental costs to Government is anticipated to be in the range of $0.10 million and $0.13 million (discounted at 7%) over the 10-year period, and is limited to the development of the recovery strategy and the action plan, and enforcement costs. While there may be incremental costs and benefits associated with the implementation of the action plan, these cannot be evaluated until the details of the management measures for the conservation of the species are known.

Potential benefits cannot be fully assessed at this time, as the impacts of populations and distribution targets have not been analyzed. However, given that Canadians value the preservation and conservation of aquatic species in a general way, some level of incremental benefit is expected. Listing the large-bodied population would also complement current and ongoing recovery measures for the Lake Utopia Smelt small-bodied population, which is currently listed as threatened.

Silver Shiner

COSEWIC assessed this species as a species of special concern in April 1983. The status was re-examined and confirmed in April 1987. The species is currently listed as a species of special concern under Schedule 3 of SARA. COSEWIC re-examined and designated the species as threatened in May 2011.

About this species

The Silver Shiner (Notropis photogenis) is a small riverine fish with a Canadian distribution limited to six locations in southwestern Ontario, where it is found in tributaries of lakes St. Clair (Thames River), Erie (Grand River) and Ontario (Bronte Creek).

Silver Shiner is threatened by habitat loss and degradation, poor water quality including the introduction of contaminants or other toxic substances, dams and other barriers, channelization, introduced species, sport fish stocking (e.g. Brown Trout), and bait harvesting. In Canada, the species is found in rivers adjacent to agricultural land, with a small, but increasing, urban population. As a result of poor land management practices, physical changes to Silver Shiner habitat and to water quality caused by siltation, high nutrient concentrations, and contaminants are the greatest threat to the species.

Consultations

From January to April 2013, DFO sent letters and workbooks to 17 indigenous communities and organizations, 48 municipalities, 15 non-governmental organizations, 7 conservation authorities and conservation areas, 6 fish and game organizations, 2 agricultural organizations, and 1 government organization. During that period, public notices were also included in seven daily English newspapers and two French newspapers in Southern Ontario.

A total of 15 comments were received: 13 supported listing and 2 did not state a position; no responses were received from indigenous groups or communities.

Listing rationale

This small riverine fish is found at fewer than 10 locations and has a small area of occupancy. The susceptibility of the species to continuing habitat loss and degradation with growing development pressure increases its risk of extinction or extirpation.

There is expected to be negligible incremental cost to the federal government, Canadians and businesses, as a result of listing Silver Shiner under Schedule 1 of SARA. This species is already afforded protections under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act, 2007; therefore, reclassifying the listing status of the Silver Shiner as threatened under SARA would complement the existing provincial legislation.

Once listed as threatened, the Silver Shiner would benefit through the application of SARA prohibitions as well as the preparation of a recovery strategy and implementation of the management measures outlined in an action plan. The action plan would, among other things, include measures to address the identified threats to the species. The federal government would incur some costs for preparing a recovery strategy and an action plan for the species. The net present value of incremental costs to Government is anticipated to be in the range of $0.09 million and $0.12 million (discounted at 7%) over the 10-year period, and is limited to the development of a recovery strategy, an action plan, and enforcement costs. While there may be incremental costs and benefits associated with the implementation of the action plan, these cannot be evaluated until the details of the management measures to be undertaken for the conservation of the species are known.

Pugnose Minnow

COSEWIC assessed this species as a species of special concern in April 1985. The status was re-examined and confirmed in May 2000. The species is currently listed as a species of special concern under Schedule 1 of SARA. COSEWIC re-examined and designated the species as threatened in May 2012.

About this species

The Pugnose Minnow (Opsopoeodus emiliae) is a small-bodied species that inhabits river, stream and lake habitats. The species has a restricted distribution in southwestern Ontario, where it is found in the Detroit River as well as in Lake St. Clair and its smaller tributaries. The species is believed to be extirpated from the Thames River system, and may also be lost from the MacDougall Drain.

Pugnose Minnow inhabit warm, turbid, and slow-moving streams with little to no aquatic vegetation and silt/clay substrates, as well as slow-moving side channels of large rivers with abundant vegetation.

The size of the Canadian population of Pugnose Minnow is unknown. Existing evidence is insufficient to determine any population trend, but it is assumed to be declining. The extirpation of the species in the Thames River system has dramatically affected the distribution of the species.

Factors that limit the survival of the Pugnose Minnow include habitat loss, habitat degradation from nutrient and sediment loading, climate change and invasive species. The most significant threats are related to physical changes to the species’ habitat and to water quality.

Consultations

In November 2013, DFO sent letters and workbooks to 16 Indigenous communities and organizations. In December 2013, the Department sent letters to 35 stakeholder organizations, including 9 municipalities, 11 non-governmental organizations, 7 conservation authorities and conservation areas, 5 fish and game organizations, 2 port and harbour organizations, and 1 utility company. Public notices were also included in one daily English newspaper (Chatham Daily News), one English weekly newspaper (Wallaceburg Courier Press), and one French newspaper (Le Rampart) in Southern Ontario.

Eleven comments were received during consultations: six from First Nation communities (three supported, one opposed, two did not state a position) and five from stakeholders. Overall, four supported reclassification, four opposed reclassification, two did not state their positions, and one requested additional information.

Listing rationale

Pugnose Minnow is a small-bodied fish with a limited and declining distribution. The overall level of threat has been assessed as high.

There is expected to be negligible incremental cost to the federal government, and negligible socio-economic impact, as a result of listing Pugnose Minnow under SARA. The species is afforded protections under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act, 2007; therefore, listing the species as threatened under SARA would complement the provincial legislation.

Subsequent to being listed as threatened, Pugnose Minnow would benefit through the application of SARA prohibitions as well as the preparation of a recovery strategy and implementation of the management measures outlined in an action plan. The recovery strategy would build on the management plan prepared and implemented for Pugnose Minnow as a species of special concern, and the associated action plan, among other things, would include measures to address the identified threats for the conservation of the species. The net present value of incremental costs to the federal government is anticipated to be in the range of $0.09 million and $0.12 million (discounted at 7%) over the 10-year period, and is limited to the development of a recovery strategy and an action plan, and enforcement costs.

While there may be incremental costs and benefits associated with the implementation of the action plan, these cannot be evaluated until the details of the management measures for the conservation of the species are known. However, given that Canadians value the preservation and conservation of aquatic species, some level of incremental benefit is expected.

Plains Minnow

COSEWIC assessed this species as threatened in May 2012.

About this species

The Plains Minnow (Hybognathus placitus) is a small, silvery minnow that is the most geographically restricted of the four species within its genus in Canada. The Canadian range of the Plains Minnow is part of the distinctive Missouri River fauna at the most northern portion of a distribution that extends to the Gulf of Mexico.

The Plains Minnow has a restricted distribution and is only found in Rock Creek and a portion of one of its tributaries (Morgan Creek) in Saskatchewan. The creeks pass through the East Block of Grassland National Park and through private ranch land. The species favours moderate to shallow depths in areas of mainly slow, turbid water with sandy or silty substrates. Most of the streams occupied by the Plains Minnow have naturally unstable hydrographs and vary in size from fairly large rivers to small creeks of the Great Plains.

The greatest threat to the Plains Minnow is the fragmentation of rivers by impoundments, diversion dams, stream dewatering and any other alterations to the natural flow regime. Habitat degradation and fragmentation of flowing river habitat has resulted in the decline or extirpation of Plains Minnow from other portions of the species’ range.

Consultations

From November 2013 to February 2014, DFO sent letters along with workbooks and information sheets to two First Nations and three rural municipalities that overlapped with the species’ range. Two meetings were held. During that time, public notices were placed in the Regina Leader Post (English) and L’Eau vive (French) in Saskatchewan.

Six comments were received in total, all of which were supportive of listing. Respondents included a representative of a group in a First Nations community, the Province of Saskatchewan, and four individuals of the general public.

Listing rationale

The Plains Minnow is a small fish that occurs at only one or two locations in Canada, both of which are small streams subject to drought. The species requires long stretches of flowing water to complete its life cycle and may quickly become more at risk by the fragmentation of rivers. Further threats to water supply from additional irrigation dams and excessive drought would increase risks to this species.

Subsequent to being listed as threatened, the Plains Minnow would benefit through the application of SARA prohibitions as well as the preparation of a recovery strategy and implementation of the management measures outlined in an action plan. The action plan would include, among other things, measures to address the identified threats to the species. The federal government would incur some costs for the preparation of the recovery strategy and action plan. The net present value of incremental costs to Government is anticipated to be in the range of $0.10 million and $0.13 million (discounted at 7%) over the 10-year period, and is limited to the development of a recovery strategy and an action plan, and enforcement costs.

While there may be incremental costs and benefits associated with the implementation of the action plan, these cannot be evaluated until the details of the management measures for the conservation of the species are known. However, given that Canadians value the preservation and conservation of aquatic species, some level of incremental benefit is expected.

Bull Trout (Saskatchewan – Nelson Rivers populations)

COSEWIC assessed this species as threatened in November 2012.

About this species

The Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus) is a popular sport fish that belongs to the salmon and trout family (Salmonidae) and is part of the char subgroup. It is viewed as an indicator species of general ecosystem health. Bull Trout are native to western Canada, where they are generally restricted to interior drainage; however, they reach the Pacific Coast in southwest British Columbia. Their range has become restricted over the last century, particularly in Alberta, where populations have become more fragmented and isolated. Based on genetic analysis, there are five designatable units of Bull Trout. The Saskatchewan – Nelson Rivers populations occur in Alberta and are the only part of the Bull Trout assemblage in Canadian watersheds found in the Hudson Bay drainage. Historical range contractions now limit this DU to the foothills and east slopes of the Rocky Mountains, likely in response to habitat deterioration and reduced habitat connectivity through damming of the larger rivers.

The most serious threats to Bull Trout are from human disturbance, including habitat loss through degradation and fragmentation; commercial forestry; hydroelectric, oil, gas and mining development; agriculture; urbanization; road development; and climate change. The introduction of non-native species also strongly influences the local distribution and abundance of Bull Trout. The species is especially vulnerable to hybridization with introduced Brook Trout in areas where the two species co-occur.

Consultations

Online consultations were conducted by DFO between April and July 2015. Consultation notifications were emailed to various stakeholders and posted on the Alberta Outdoorsmen Forum (an online forum for information related to outdoor recreation in Alberta), and posted on social media websites by Trout Unlimited Canada. The Province of Alberta was consulted.

In addition to the online consultation, Indigenous peoples and Metis were contacted by direct mail outs. Telephone calls were also made to Aboriginal and Metis groups inviting comments on the proposed listing.

A total of 380 responses to the survey were received: 340 online responses were in favour of listing; 19 online responses were not in favour of listing; 19 online responses were undecided; 2 online responses did not provide an opinion; and 1 mailed response was received from an Indigenous group in favour of listing.

The Province of Alberta conditionally supports listing with the provision that the recreational catch and release fishery could be exempted.

Listing rationale

The Bull Trout is a slow-growing and late-maturing species that thrives in cold, pristine waters, and many populations require long, unimpeded migratory routes joining spawning habitat to adult habitat. Therefore, the species is particularly vulnerable to habitat degradation, fragmentation of river networks by dams, negative effects from the invasion of the non-native Eastern Brook Trout, and overharvesting. Listing the species may provide additional resources that can be used to undertake management and actions that can benefit the species. Proper management of the species is anticipated to provide for the continued enjoyment and use of the species by future generations of Canadians.

Bull Trout habitat is already protected under the Fisheries Act and the Canada National Parks Act, and the Alberta Wildlife Act, Water Act and Forests Act. The Province of Alberta conditionally supports listing the species as threatened under SARA as it is in line with Alberta’s threatened provincial designation. Exemptions to the prohibition for the Province of Alberta would be put in place, through the species’ Recovery Strategy, to allow continuation of the recreational fishery for Bull Trout (catch and release). Exemptions are possible where the activity being permitted will not be contrary to the objectives of the Recovery Strategy (for example, the activity, which must be authorized under another Act of Parliament, will not jeopardize the survival or recovery of the species). In this case, the recovery potential assessment provides scope for allowable harm that will still enable recovery of the species. Therefore, it is anticipated that there would be negligible incremental impacts on stakeholders.

Subsequent to the species being listed as threatened, the Bull Trout (Saskatchewan – Nelson Rivers population) would benefit through the application of SARA prohibitions as well as the preparation of a recovery strategy and implementation of the management measures outlined in an action plan. The action plan would include, among other things, measures to address the identified threats to the species. The federal government would incur some costs for the preparation of the recovery strategy and action plan. The net present value of incremental costs to Government is anticipated to be in the range of $0.10 million and $0.13 million (discounted at 7%) over the 10-year period, and is limited to the development of a recovery strategy and an action plan, and enforcement costs.

While there may be incremental costs and benefits associated with the implementation of the action plan, these cannot be evaluated until the details of the management measures for the conservation of the species are known.

Pugnose Shiner

Pugnose Shiner was designated by COSEWIC as a species of special concern in April 1985. In November 2002, COSEWIC re-examined and designated the species as endangered. In June 2003, Pugnose Shiner was listed as endangered under Schedule 1 of SARA. COSEWIC reassessed the species in May 2013 as threatened.

About this species

The Pugnose Shiner (Notropis anogenus) is a small, slender fish whose distribution in Canada is limited to Ontario. The species is found in the Old Ausable Channel and a tributary of the Saugeen River in the Lake Huron basin, Walpole Island, Mitchell’s Bay, St. Clair National Wildlife Area, and four tributaries in the Lake St. Clair basin, the Detroit River, the Canard River and Long Point Bay in the Lake Erie basin, the Trent River, Wellers Bay, West Lake, East Lake, the Black River, and Waupoos Bay in the eastern Lake Ontario basin, and the St. Lawrence River between Eastview and Lancaster. Historically, the Pugnose Shiner occurred in Point Pelee National Park and Rondeau Bay in the Lake Erie basin.

The Pugnose Shiner is typically found in clear, quiet areas of lakes, stagnant channels, and large rivers. This species is almost always found in association with submerged and emergent aquatic vegetation over substrates containing muck, sand, marl and, occasionally, silt and clay.

Little is known of the life history of Pugnose Shiner. Its small size, elusive nature and preference for areas with dense vegetation make it difficult to sample.

Degradation and loss of preferred habitat, including removal and control of aquatic vegetation, habitat modification, and sediment and nutrient loading, are the greatest threats to the Pugnose Shiner. Introduced non-native species, including fishes and aquatic plants, may also negatively impact the Pugnose Shiner.

Consultations

In July 2014, DFO sent letters, consultation questionnaires and a species fact sheet to 18 Indigenous communities and organizations, and 50 stakeholder organizations (13 municipalities, 20 non-governmental organizations, 8 conservation authorities and conservation areas, 6 fish and game organizations, 2 port and harbour organizations and 1 utility company).

Three comments were received during consultations from one Indigenous community, one stakeholder, and one member of the Canadian public. All three respondents supported listing the species as threatened.

The Province of Ontario supports listing of Pugnose Shiner as threatened under SARA given that doing so will provide better consistency in protection, as well as the opportunity to work collaboratively with neighbouring jurisdictions on ways to protect and recover the species.

Rationale for reclassification

Under SARA, a recovery strategy has already been prepared for the Pugnose Shiner and several recovery measures have been implemented to support the species, such as plantation of riparian vegetation, stabilization of banks or restriction of livestock access to water banks. In addition, an aquatic ecosystem-based recovery strategy for the Essex-Erie region has also been prepared. Stewardship and outreach/awareness programs to reduce identified threats are ongoing. In addition, the species and its habitat are already afforded protections under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act, 2007. However, the species has a small area of occupancy and consists of numerous small populations, many of which may not be viable. At least two populations have been extirpated. In addition, habitat degradation and loss continues to threaten populations, particularly in the western part of their distribution in the Lake Huron, Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie watersheds.

The species would continue to benefit from the implementation of the recovery measures subsequent to reclassifying the species as threatened. The action plan will, among other things, build on the ongoing management measures to address the identified threats to the species.

A study published in 2016 estimated the willingness-to-pay (WTP) value of Pugnose Shiner based on three choice surveys commissioned by in 2011.footnote 16 The surveys were aimed at assessing the WTP value associated with improvements in risk status — from endangered to threatened. The WTP for improvement in the risk status ranged from $12 for some improvement (defined as “remains an endangered species”) to $25 for large improvements (defined as “status improves to threatened”). Estimating the WTP value for the 4.9 million households in Ontario, this translates to a present value range of $407 million to $849 million (in 2017 Canadian dollars and discounted at 7% over a 10-year period). If extrapolated to all of Canada, the incremental benefits would likely be higher. The incremental benefits can only be ascribed to the proposed listing Order if the implementation of the action plan results in a large improvement in the risk status of the species. Therefore, the specific benefits associated with the implementation of the action plan cannot be evaluated until the impact of the action plan on the risk status of the species is evaluated. Nonetheless, the WTP value for Pugnose Shiner provides a more concrete example of the magnitude of the potential benefits of reclassifying the status of the species on Schedule 1 of SARA.

As there is no difference in SARA prohibitions for threatened and endangered species, no incremental impacts associated with reclassification of this species to threatened are anticipated for stakeholders. However, the federal government would incur some incremental costs associated with updating the recovery strategy and action plan. The net present value of incremental costs to Government is anticipated to be in the range of $0.019 million and $0.023 million (discounted at 7%) over the 10-year period, and is limited to amending the recovery strategy and action plan, and to enforcement costs.

While there may be incremental costs and benefits associated with the implementation of the action plan, these cannot be evaluated until the details of the management measures for the conservation of the species are known.

Threehorn Wartyback

COSEWIC assessed this species as threatened in May 2013.

About this species

The Threehorn Wartyback (Obliquaria reflexa) is a medium-sized mussel that is found only in North America. It is also the only member of the genus Obliquaria found in Canada.

In Canada, Threehorn Wartyback historically occurred in the Great Lake drainages, including Lake St. Clair, the Detroit River, western Lake Erie and the Sydenham, Thames and Grand rivers. It is now believed to be extirpated from the Great Lakes, although small populations remain in three locations: the Sydenham, Thames and Grand rivers in Ontario.

The Threehorn Wartyback prefers large river habitats with moderate currents and firm bottoms (substrates) of gravel, sand and mud. It is typically found at depths of up to 6–7 m.

Remaining Threehorn Wartyback mussels are significantly threatened by pollution related to urban and agricultural activities. Specifically, sediment loading can clog the mussel’s gill structures, while nutrient loading and contaminants degrade water quality and overall habitat. Infestations of aquatic invasive species, including Zebra and Quagga mussels, also remain a threat. Zebra and Quagga mussels are largely responsible for the loss of Threehorn Wartyback populations within the Great Lakes and connecting channels. By attaching to the Threehorn Wartyback by the hundreds, Zebra Mussels interfere with the native mussel’s ability to feed, move, breathe and reproduce. In addition, Round Goby are currently impacting native fish communities, including fish hosts that support native mussels. Human recreational activities, such as driving all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) over fragile mussel beds in the Sydenham River, are also a known threat.

Consultations

In July 2014, DFO sent letters, a consultation guide, and a survey questionnaire to provide the opportunity to comment on the potential listing of Threehorn Wartyback under SARA to 17 potentially affected Indigenous communities and organizations and 30 stakeholders (9 municipalities/counties/towns, 13 non-governmental organizations, 4 conservation authorities and conservation areas, 3 fish and game organizations, and 1 drainage association). In September 2014, email contact was made with all 17 Indigenous communities and organizations to follow up on the mail outs.

Four comments were received during consultations: one from a First Nation community with no stated position, two comments of support from the general public, and one comment of support from a conservation authority.

In addition, the Province of Ontario supports listing of the Threehorn Wartyback.

Listing rationale

This rare species historically occurred in the Great Lakes drainages but has not been found in some areas since 1992. In Lake St. Clair and in the Detroit River, the species is thought to be extirpated due largely to the impacts of Zebra and Quagga mussels. Pollution related to urban and agricultural activities is a continuing threat at the three remaining locations.

There is expected to be negligible incremental costs to the federal government, and negligible socio-economic impact, as a result of listing Threehorn Wartyback under SARA. The species is already afforded protections under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act, 2007, and listing the species as threatened under SARA would complement the provincial legislation.

Subsequent to the species being listed as threatened, the Threehorn Wartyback would benefit through the application of SARA prohibitions as well as the preparation of a recovery strategy and implementation of the management measures outlined in an action plan. The action plan would include, among other things, measures to address the identified threats to the species. The federal government would incur some costs for the preparation of the recovery strategy and the action plan. The net present value of incremental costs to Government is anticipated to be in the range of $0.10 million and $0.13 million (discounted at 7%) over the 10-year period, and is limited to the development of the recovery strategy and the action plan, and to enforcement costs.

While there may be incremental costs and benefits associated with the implementation of the action plan, these cannot be evaluated until the details of the management measures for the conservation of the species are known.

Salish Sucker

The species was designated by COSEWIC as endangered in April 1986. This status was re-examined and confirmed by COSEWIC in November 2002. The species was listed as endangered under Schedule 1 of SARA in 2005. COSEWIC reassessed the species as threatened in November 2012.

About this species

The Salish Sucker (Catostomus sp. cf. catostomus) is a small fish (<25 cm). Globally, the Salish Sucker is found only in the Puget Sound area of Washington State in the United States, and in the Fraser Valley of southwestern British Columbia, Canada. The Canadian population is dispersed among 11 watersheds (Salmon River, Little Campbell River, Bertrand Creek, Miami Creek, Chilliwack Delta, Agassiz Slough, Mountain Slough, Pepin Brook, Fishtrap Creek, Salwein Creek/Hopedale Slough, and Elk Creek/Hope Slough).

In British Columbia, the Salish Sucker is found in coastal streams and small rivers in the Fraser Valley. Deep pool habitat (<70 cm) is preferred for adult and juvenile feeding and rearing, whereas shallow pools (<40 cm) and glides are typically used by the young of the year.

Key threats to Salish Sucker include hypoxia, physical destruction of habitat, habitat fragmentation, toxicity, sediment deposition, seasonal lack of water, increased predation, and riffle loss to beaver ponds.

Consultations

Consultations were not undertaken since the reclassification would not change the application of the prohibitions.

Rationale for reclassification

Salish Sucker is a small fish that has a restricted and fragmented range in southwestern British Columbia where it is susceptible to a continuing decline in habitat quality. An improvement in status from endangered is the result of an increase in the number of known locations (from 9 to 14 locations), including 1 location where the species was thought to have been extirpated, and some improvements in quality of habitat in areas subject to restoration.

Subsequent to the species being down listed to threatened, Salish Sucker would continue to benefit from the implementation of the recovery measures identified in the existing action plan. Recovery measures outlined in the current action plan would, among other things, continue to address the identified threats to the species. As there is no difference in SARA prohibitions for threatened and endangered species, no incremental impacts are anticipated on stakeholders associated with down-listing this species. The net present value of incremental costs to the federal government is anticipated to be in the range of $0.019 million and $0.023 million (discounted at 7%) over the 10-year period, and is limited to amending the recovery strategy and the action plan, and to enforcement costs.

Fawnsfoot

COSEWIC assessed this species as endangered in April 2008.

About this species

The Fawnsfoot (Truncilla donaciformis) is a small freshwater mussel that is found throughout central North America, occurring in 23 American states and in Ontario, in the Great Lakes drainage of southern Ontario. Historically, this mussel was reported in lakes Huron, St. Clair and Erie and some of their tributaries. Currently, its distribution is restricted to the lower Thames River and to a single site in the St. Clair delta, a single site in Muskrat Creek (Saugeen River drainage), a single site in the lower Sydenham River, and the lower Grand River.

The Fawnsfoot is generally found in the lower portions of medium to large rivers, at depths ranging from less than 1 m to over 5 m. This mussel is usually associated with substrates of mud, soft sand or even gravel.

The establishment of invasive Zebra and Quagga mussels is the most important factor contributing to the decline of the Fawnsfoot. Available habitat is further limited by the fragmented distribution of fish host and is impaired by declining water quality due to increased water mixing, chemical contaminants and nutrient loading resulting from agricultural sources and urban influences.

Consultations

In 2008–2009, DFO sent letters and workbooks with information on the consultation to 8 First Nations, 5 Metis organizations, 3 agricultural organizations, 17 environmental non-governmental organizations, 15 municipalities, 8 provincial conservation authorities, and 5 recreational fishery organizations. During that time, public notices were placed in 18 newspaper outlets.

A total of 10 responses were received, including 9 responses of support and 1 response in opposition of listing. The one Indigenous response was in support of listing.

Listing rationale

This freshwater mussel is widely distributed in central North America, with the northern portion of its range extending into the Lake Erie, Lake St. Clair and lower Lake Huron drainages of southwestern Ontario. The Fawnsfoot appears to have always been a rare species in Canada, representing less than 5% of the freshwater mussel community in terms of abundance wherever it occurs. Approximately 86% of historical records are for waters that are now infested with Zebra mussels and are therefore uninhabitable. Zebra mussels, which were accidentally introduced into the Great Lakes, attach to the shells of native freshwater mussels, causing them to suffocate or die from lack of food. Fawnsfoot has declined dramatically since the introduction of Zebra mussels and has been lost from four historical locations, resulting in a 51% reduction in its range. Fawnsfoot is now found in only five widely separated locations, two of which represent single specimens. In two locations, the species’ distribution may be limited by the presence of dams that restrict the movement of Freshwater Drum, the presumed host fish of juvenile Fawnsfoot mussels. Poor water quality resulting from rural and urban influences poses an additional ongoing threat.

There is expected to be negligible incremental costs and negligible socio-economic impact as a result of listing this species under SARA. The species is already listed as endangered under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act, 2007, and listing the species as endangered under SARA would complement the provincial listing. In addition, its known range overlaps with the critical habitat of other mussel species currently listed under SARA.

Subsequent to the species being listed as endangered, the Fawnsfoot mussel would benefit through the application of SARA prohibitions as well as the preparation of a recovery strategy and implementation of the management measures outlined in an action plan. The action plan would include, among other things, measures to address the identified threats to the species. The federal government would incur some costs for the preparation of the recovery strategy and the action plan. The net present value of incremental costs to Government is anticipated to be in the range of $0.10 million and $0.14 million (discounted at 7%) over the 10-year period, and is limited to the development of the recovery strategy and the action plan, and to enforcement costs.

While there may be incremental costs and benefits associated with the implementation of the action plan, these cannot be evaluated until the details of the management measures for the conservation of the species are known.

Rocky Mountain Ridged Mussel

COSEWIC assessed this species as a species of special concern in November 2003, and it was subsequently listed under Schedule 1 of SARA with this status. In November 2010, COSEWIC reassessed it as endangered.

About this species

The Rocky Mountain Ridged Mussel (Gonidea angulata) is a large freshwater mussel and the only living species of the genus Gonidea. Globally, this freshwater species occurs from southern British Columbia to southern California, and eastward to southern Idaho and northern Nevada. British Columbia is the northern limit of the range; this species is limited to the Okanagan basin in southern British Columbia, which represents less than 5% of the global distribution.

The Rocky Mountain Ridged Mussel is found in various sizes of lakes and streams with a constant flow, and in a variety of substrates. In the Okanagan basin, the mussel is confined to the Okanagan River watershed from the northern edge of Okanagan Lake and south to Osoyoos Lake, with small aggregations observed in the Okanagan River and Vaseaux Lake. In the Okanagan basin, Rocky Mountain Ridged Mussel have been found in large cobble, gravel and sandy openings, muddy sediments with sparse vegetation, cobble and gravel over sand and areas where sediment becomes turbid when disturbed. The species prefers areas with stable habitat conditions and appears to avoid areas with shifting substrates, periodic dewatering, extreme water level fluctuations, seasonal low oxygen levels or murky, nutrient-rich water. The host fish for the parasitic larval stage of this mussel (glochidia) is unknown.

The Rocky Mountain Ridged Mussel is threatened by the destruction and degradation of its habitat, including foreshore and riparian areas. Like all members of this family of mussels, it is highly sensitive to changes in its environment, such as those affecting the temperature or composition of the water. In addition, because mussels filter large volumes of water in order to feed, they are susceptible to dissolved pollutants building up in their bodies. Currently, the introduction and proliferation of invasive species such as Zebra and Quagga mussels are the most serious potential threat to the species, as these invasive species could quickly overtake the mussel’s habitat, smother Rocky Mountain Ridged mussels and compete for food resources.

Consultations

Several opportunities for consultation were provided, including online consultations that were held from October 2011 to November 2011; a face-to-face meeting that was held on October 18, 2011, in Penticton, British Columbia, with 12 stakeholder groups to discuss the reclassification of the species; a face-to-face meeting that took place between DFO management and the Okanagan Basin Water Board to discuss specific aspects of the reclassification of the species; letters that were sent to the Province of British Columbia requesting its input into the reclassification of the species; and consultation emails and letters sent to stakeholders, including 54 environmental non-governmental organizations and other interested parties as well as 23 Indigenous groups.

In total, 17 responses were received. Eight responses were received in support of listing the species as endangered, including responses from a municipality, environmental organizations, First Nations and individuals; and nine responses (a municipality, water governance body, individuals) indicated opposition to listing the species as endangered. Opposition was mainly due to fear of anticipated increases in the management costs of Eurasian Water Milfoil (an invasive aquatic plant), where rototilling is used to eliminate the plant. However, management costs are not expected to change significantly as a result of the listing of this mussel. Typically, the same areas are treated each year and the mussel is unlikely to be present in areas where rototilling has already occurred. For new areas that would require rototilling to eliminate the invasive plant, an environmental assessment would be required under the legislative requirements of the Fisheries Act, which has administrative, information and mitigation requirements similar to those required for species listed under SARA. Therefore, incremental costs for Milfoil control attributable to reclassifying the species to endangered under SARA would be negligible.

The Province of British Columbia expressed concern and requested information about the identification of critical habitat that would be associated with an endangered status listing for this species. DFO responded that the identification of critical habitat is not undertaken until after a listing decision has been made. A recent check-in (spring 2016) with the Province indicated that it was supportive of the listing even though it would like more clarity about the critical habitat and impacts on future development should listing be proposed.

Listing rationale

The Rocky Mountain Ridged Mussel, one of only a few species of freshwater mussel in British Columbia, is restricted in Canada to the Okanagan basin. Historically, channelization and water regulation in the Okanagan River affected mussel beds and caused population reduction. Currently, Zebra and Quagga mussels are the most serious potential threat to the native mussel. Ongoing foreshore and riparian development, and some methods of control of invasive Eurasian Water Milfoil in new areas, also reduce habitat and affect water quality.

There may be some costs associated with reclassifying this species as endangered, due to the application of the SARA prohibitions; costs are not currently quantifiable, but are expected to be low. Potential stakeholders include shoreline-located tourism and recreational business (e.g. marinas, hotels), governments (e.g. roads), those undertaking Milfoil control (i.e. the Okanagan Basin Water Board) and individual homeowners.

The Okanagan Large Lakes Foreshore Protocol (OLLFP) identifies areas of important aquatic habitat, including specific areas around where Rocky Mountain Ridged Mussel have been located; within these areas, a qualified environmental professional (QEP) may be required to undertake an environmental impact assessment for large (e.g. marinas, developments) and small (e.g. private docks) projects, and certain activities may be restricted. The information and mitigation requirements for large projects being considered for a permit under SARA are similar to the requirements for a Fisheries Act permit and for compliance with the OLLFP. Private docks, which constitute the largest number of projects in Okanagan Lake, may not require review by DFO; however, the OLLFP may require an environmental impact assessment by a QEP in specific areas. For large and small projects that could harm mussels, incremental costs may result from the need for underwater surveys to ensure the absence of the mussel outside of mussel areas identified in the OLLFP. In the presence of mussels, if a SARA permit is required, there could be small incremental administrative and compliance costs to project proponents.

Subsequent to being listed as endangered, the Rocky Mountain Ridged Mussel would benefit through the application of SARA prohibitions as well as the preparation of a recovery strategy and implementation of the management measures outlined in an action plan. The recovery strategy would build on the management plan developed and implemented for Rocky Mountain Ridged Mussel as a species of special concern, and the associated action plan would, among other things, include measures to address the identified threats to the species. The federal government would incur some costs for the preparation of the recovery strategy and action plan. The net present value of incremental costs to Government is anticipated to be in the range of $0.09 million to $0.13 million (discounted at 7%) over the 10-year period, and is limited to amending the management plan in order to develop the recovery strategy and action plan, as well as to enforcement costs.

While there may be incremental costs and benefits associated with the action plan, these cannot be evaluated until the details of the management measures for the conservation of the species are known.

Hickorynut

COSEWIC assessed this species as endangered in May 2011.

About this species

The Hickorynut (Obovaria olivaria) is a freshwater mussel species. Historically, the Hickorynut was widely distributed along the large river bottoms of the Mississippi River drainage system and the Great Lakes–St. Lawrence basin. While still broadly distributed in the Mississippi drainage of the United States, the Hickorynut is imperiled or lost from most of the American Great Lakes states. In Canada, populations are now only found in certain rivers and their tributaries within the Great Lakes–St. Lawrence drainage system, from Lake Huron in southern Ontario to the city of Québec in the east. These rivers include the Mississagi River, Ottawa River, St. Lawrence River and Saint-François River.

Hickorynut are typically found in the sandy bottoms (substrates) of large, wide and deep rivers (2–3 m or deeper) with moderate to strong currents. They are fairly long-lived mussels, with a lifespan between 7 and 14 years.

The Hickorynut filters its food from the water. Bacteria and algae are its primary food sources.

The introduction of Zebra and Quagga mussels in the 1980s and 1990s wiped out the Hickorynut in the Detroit and upper St. Lawrence rivers, and these mussels continue to threaten the remaining Hickorynut populations. The invasive mussels attach to Hickorynut shells by the hundreds, preventing them from eating, breathing, moving and reproducing. Dams along the large river habitats of the Hickorynut are another serious threat, as its suspected host fish, the Lake Sturgeon, are unable to traverse them. With fewer hosts, the chances of enough larvae reaching their free-living stage to maintain the population are greatly reduced. Pollution from industry and agriculture also threatens the Hickorynut and its host by decreasing the water quality of the habitat.

Consultations

Public consultations were conducted by DFO from April to June 2014 in Ontario and Quebec using the online consultation tool available on the DFO website, direct mail outs and notifications in newspapers. In Ontario, letters were sent to 19 Indigenous groups, 16 municipalities, 8 environmental non-governmental organizations and 17 stewardship organizations. In Quebec, letters were sent to 15 Indigenous groups, 41 municipal organizations, 8 regional branches of the Quebec ministry of transportation, 3 port authorities, 10 university biology departments and 42 stewardship organizations.

A total of 28 responses were received in Ontario: 14 supported listing (2 Aboriginal, 3 academic, 4 general public, 2 government, 2 non-profit organizations, and 1 wildlife management board); and 5 opposed listing (1 academic, 2 general public, 1 government, and 1 private business). Nine indicated they were undecided. Respondents were generally supportive of listing the Hickorynut as endangered.

A total of six responses were received in Quebec: five supported listing (four Aboriginal, one academic) and one opposed listing (Société Hydro-Québec).

At the time of consultation, the Province of Ontario and Ontario Hydro supported listing, Hydro Québec expressed concerns about potential impacts to its activities, and the Province of Quebec opposed listing. However, following the consultations, Hickorynut was listed on the list of species that could potentially be designated as a threatened or vulnerable species in Quebec under the provincial act (An Act respecting threatened or vulnerable species).

Listing rationale

This freshwater mussel lives in mid-sized to large rivers in southern Ontario and Quebec. There has been a historical decline in the species’ distribution; entire populations have been lost in the Detroit and Niagara rivers. Other locations are threatened by the ongoing invasion of Zebra and Quagga mussels. In addition, the one known host of this mussel, the Lake Sturgeon, is at risk and may be declining in some locations where the mussel is known to still occur. The species is also affected by degraded water quality in many freshwater systems in southern Ontario and Quebec.

Incremental costs and socio-economic impacts are expected to be negligible as a result of listing this species under SARA. The species is already listed as endangered under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act, 2007 and listed as threatened or vulnerable under Quebec’s An Act respecting threatened or vulnerable species. Listing the species as endangered under SARA would complement the provincial legislation.

Subsequent to being listed as endangered, the Hickorynut would benefit through the application of SARA prohibitions as well as the preparation of a recovery strategy and implementation of the management measures outlined in an action plan. The action plan would include, among other things, measures to address the identified threats to the species. The federal government would incur some costs for the preparation of the recovery strategy and action plan. The net present value of incremental costs to Government is anticipated to be in the range of $0.10 million to $0.14 million (discounted at 7%) over the 10-year period, and is limited to the development of a recovery strategy and an action plan, and enforcement costs.

While there may be incremental costs and benefits associated with the action plan, these cannot be evaluated until the details of the management measures for the conservation of the species are known.

Silver Chub (Great Lakes – Upper St. Lawrence population)

COSEWIC considered this species as a single population and designated it as a species of special concern in April 1985. The status was re-examined and confirmed in May 2001. Based on its previous assessment, the Silver Chub was listed under SARA as a species of special concern. However, in May 2012, COSEWIC split the species into two separate populations. The Silver Chub (Great Lakes – Upper St. Lawrence populations) was designated as endangered and the Silver Chub (Saskatchewan – Nelson Rivers populations) was designated as not at risk.

About this species

The Silver Chub (Macrhybopsis storeriana) is a small-bodied fish and a member of the minnow family. The range of the Silver Chub Great Lakes – Upper St. Lawrence DU is limited to Ontario and extends from the Great Lakes basin to Lake Erie, Lake St. Clair and the extreme southern portion of Lake Huron. Recent studies also suggest that the population numbers have dropped substantially in the past decade, and the risk of extirpation is high.

The Silver Chub was considered common in Lake Erie until the 1950s. Its rapid decline in the 1960s coincided with habitat degradation and eutrophication (excessive richness of nutrients in a lake or other body of water) caused by urban and agricultural runoff. The effects included poor water quality, extensive algal blooms and depleted oxygen levels in the water. Adverse effects on invertebrate populations reduced prey sources. Although some threats have decreased in recent years (e.g. nutrient loading in Lake Erie), many still exist. Recent threats include aquatic invasive species, baitfish harvesting and climate change.

Consultations

In January 2014, DFO sent letters and workbooks to 16 Indigenous communities and organizations as well as 45 stakeholder organizations (13 municipalities, 14 non-governmental organizations, 10 conservation authorities and conservation areas, 5 fish and game organizations, 2 port and harbour organizations, and 1 utility company).

Public notices were also included in one English daily newspaper (Chatham Daily News), three English weekly newspapers (Wallaceburg Courier Press, Port Dover Maple Leaf, and Lake Erie Beacon), and one French newspaper (Le Rampart).

Eight comments were received during consultations. Of these, five supported listing (one conservation authority, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and three members from a First Nation), one opposed listing (a member of the same First Nation), one requested additional information, and one did not indicate their position.

Listing rationale

This small-bodied fish is native to the middle Great Lakes and has a small distribution range in Canada. Its abundance has declined substantially over the past 10 years. Moreover, the longest consecutive time series of lowest abundance has been observed over the last 5 years. The species is assessed at high risk of extirpation from several threats, including habitat degradation, competition with invasive non-native species, and climate change. This species is considered at risk in several border states, including Michigan and New York.

It is anticipated that listing Silver Chub (Great Lakes – Upper St. Lawrence) as endangered under SARA would result in negligible socio-economic impacts. Silver Chub was assessed by COSEWIC as a single DU and classified as a species of special concern in 2001. During this time, a management plan was developed for the species and has been in place since 2010. In addition, the species is afforded protection under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act, 2007; therefore, listing the species as endangered under SARA would complement provincial legislation.

Subsequent to being listed as endangered, the Silver Chub (Great Lakes – Upper St. Lawrence) would benefit through the application of SARA prohibitions as well as the preparation of a recovery strategy and implementation of the management measures outlined in an action plan. The recovery strategy would build on the management plan developed and implemented for Silver Chub as a species of special concern, and the associated action plan would include, among other things, measures to address the identified threats to the species. The net present value of incremental costs to Government is anticipated to be in the range of $0.09 million to $0.13 million (discounted at 7%) over the 10-year period, and is limited to amending the management plan in order to develop the recovery strategy, preparation of the action plan, and enforcement costs.

While there may be incremental costs and benefits associated with the implementation of the action plan, these cannot be evaluated until the details of the management measures for the conservation of the species are known.

Striped Bass (St. Lawrence River population)

The St. Lawrence River population of Striped Bass was classified by COSEWIC as extirpated in Canada in 2004 (it was at that time called the “St. Lawrence Estuary population”). It was listed under SARA as extirpated in June 2011. In November 2012, COSEWIC re-examined the DU and reclassified its status from extirpated to endangered.

About this species

The Striped Bass (Morone saxatilis) is a large-bodied, anadromous fish that uses a wide variety of habitats depending on the life stage, including freshwater, saltwater, estuaries and coastal waters. Spawning, incubation and early larval development occur in freshwater or slightly brackish water in the spring. The young subsequently move downstream to brackish water and then into saltwater, where they feed and grow until they reach maturity.

Available knowledge about the quality of the habitat and its use by Striped Bass in the St. Lawrence River is still limited. In the recovery strategy published in September 2011, an area in Anse Sainte-Anne, in La Pocatière, was identified as critical habitat due to a high concentration of juveniles during that period. Since then, the basin of Rivière du Sud in Montmagny and other important habitats have been identified, which will help with the identification of critical habitat that will be published in updated recovery documents.

The St. Lawrence Striped Bass population was heavily exploited by commercial and sport fishing, which may have contributed to its extirpation in the late 1960s. Moreover, the disposal of dredged material in a section of the seaway is believed to have contributed to confining immature Striped Bass to a limited area along the south shore, where fishing subsequently became concentrated.

In 2002, the ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune du Québec launched a major Striped Bass reintroduction program and banned the sport and commercial fishing of this species. Dredging could still pose a threat to the species; however, dredging practices are considered to have improved considerably over the last few years, as dredged material is now deposited in designated areas, chosen according to their dispersion capacity. Other threats, such as disturbance of habitat, contamination, and invasive species, could also affect the survival and recovery of the species.

Consultations

No consultations were undertaken as there is no change in the prohibitions with reclassification from extirpated to endangered.

Listing rationale

This population was assessed by COSEWIC as extirpated in 2004 and is the subject of a re-introduction effort, using fish from the Miramichi River, which has resulted in natural spawning, some increase in abundance, and an increase in distribution. It is, however, unclear if the population is self-sustaining without continued supplementation. The St. Lawrence population is susceptible to by-catch in commercial fisheries, and although the threat of dredging has been reduced, it still exists.

The prohibitions that are currently in place as a result of the original listing as extirpated under SARA will remain should the status of the species be revised to endangered.

A recovery strategy prepared with the Government of Quebec and key stakeholders was published in the SARA Public Registry in 2011. This recovery strategy would still be valid should the status of the species change to endangered.

The species will continue to benefit from the implementation of the recovery measures in the updated action plan subsequent to reclassifying the species as endangered. The action plan would build on, among other things, the ongoing management measures to address the identified threats to the species. As there is no difference in SARA prohibitions for extirpated and endangered species, no incremental impacts associated with reclassification of this species are anticipated for stakeholders. The net present value of incremental costs to Government is anticipated to be in the range of $0.02 million to $0.03 million (discounted at 7%) over the 10-year period, and is limited to the development of a recovery strategy and an action plan, and enforcement.

While there may be incremental costs and benefits associated with the implementation of the action plan, these cannot be evaluated until the details of the management measures for the conservation of the species are known.

Lilliput

COSEWIC assessed this species as endangered in May 2013.

About this species

The Lilliput (Toxolasma parvum) is a freshwater mussel species. It is a rare and small mussel, typically less than 4 cm in length and occasionally reaching sizes of 5.5 cm. Lilliput is only found in North America, where it is widely distributed from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes basin. Lilliput has a fairly restricted range in Canada, and is currently found in the Sydenham River, lower Thames River (Baptiste Creek), Ruscom River, Belle River, Grand River, Welland River, Jordan Harbour (20 Mile Creek) and Hamilton Harbour (Sunfish Pond, Cootes Paradise and Grindstone Creek); these areas represent less than 60% of its historical range in Canada.

Lilliput is found in a variety of habitats, from small to large rivers, to wetlands and the shallows of lakes, ponds and reservoirs. It prefers to burrow in soft substrates (river and lake bottoms) made of mud, sand, silt or fine gravel.

Like all species of freshwater mussels, Lilliput filters its food from the water. Bacteria and algae are its primary food sources.

Major threats for Lilliput include habitat loss and the increasing pollution of the waters where it lives and feeds. Municipal, agricultural and industrial activities can result in higher levels of sediment, nutrients and contaminants that clog mussel gills, disrupt breathing, movement and reproduction, and degrade habitat quality. Other possible threats include habitat destruction and mussel removal by riverbed dredging for transportation and shipping purposes, as well as continued residential and commercial development and dam construction along Lilliput habitat. Invasive Zebra and Quagga mussels can colonize on the Lilliput in large numbers, restricting feeding, breathing, moving and reproduction. The invasive Round Goby may also out-compete Lilliput for prey, as well as compete with its host fishes.

Consultations

In July 2014, DFO sent letters, a consultation guide, and a survey questionnaire to provide the opportunity to comment on the potential listing of Lilliput under SARA to 17 potentially affected Indigenous communities and organizations and 38 stakeholders. Included in this number were 8 municipalities, counties and towns, 18 non-governmental organizations, 7 conservation authorities and conservation areas, 4 fish and game organizations, and 1 drainage association. In September 2014, email contact was made with all of the Indigenous communities and organizations to follow up on the mail outs, and an electronic copy of the information that was sent by mail was attached to enable further dissemination within these communities and organizations.

Six comments were received during consultations: one from a First Nations community, three from the general public, one from a conservation authority, and one from a naturalist club. Of these, five supported listing and one did not state its position (First Nations community).

The Province of Ontario supports listing and has listed this species under its own provincial Act, the Endangered Species Act, 2007.

Listing rationale

This species has a fairly restricted range in Canada, confined to tributaries of Lake St. Clair, Lake Erie, and Lake Ontario. Populations once found in the open Canadian waters of Lake St. Clair, Lake Erie and the Detroit River have disappeared. Overall, the species has lost 44% of its former range in Canada. The invasion of freshwater habitat by Zebra and Quagga mussels, combined with pollution and sedimentation from urban development, contributed to the disappearance of historical populations and range reduction of the species.

Incremental costs and socio-economic impacts are expected to be negligible as a result of listing this species under SARA. The species is already listed as endangered under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act, 2007 and there is an overlap in distribution with other mussel species currently listed under SARA. Listing the species as endangered under SARA would complement the provincial legislation.

Subsequent to being listed as endangered, the Lilliput would benefit through the application of SARA prohibitions as well as the preparation of a recovery strategy and implementation of the management measures outlined in an action plan. The action plan would include, among other things, measures to address the identified threats to the species. The federal government would incur some costs for the preparation of the recovery strategy and action plan. The net present value of incremental costs to Government is anticipated to be in the range of $0.10 million to $0.14 million (discounted at 7%) over the 10-year period, and is limited to the development of a recovery strategy and an action plan, and to enforcement.

While there may be incremental costs and benefits associated with the implementation of the action plan, these cannot be evaluated until the details of the management measures for the conservation of the species are known.

Northern Sunfish (Great Lakes – St. Lawrence populations)

COSEWIC assessed this species as a species of special concern in 2016.

About this species

The Northern Sunfish was previously assessed by COSEWIC as the Longear Sunfish but has since been recognized as a distinct species. In 2016, COSEWIC split Northern Sunfish into two designatable units. The Northern Sunfish (Great Lakes – Upper St. Lawrence populations) was assessed as a species of special concern and the Northern Sunfish (Saskatchewan – Nelson Rivers populations) was assessed as not at risk.

The Northern Sunfish (Great Lakes – Upper St. Lawrence populations) is distributed throughout southern and eastern Ontario and southwestern Quebec in the waters flowing into Georgian Bay, and lakes Huron, St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario, as well as watersheds including the Detroit, Thames, Sydenham, Ausable, Saugeen, Grand, Maitland, Trent, Moira, Ottawa and St. Lawrence rivers.

Trends for these populations of Northern Sunfish are poorly understood because sampling has been sporadic. However, it is believed that the species was never common in Canada.

The main threat affecting Northern Sunfish is habitat degradation, which is mostly caused by eutrophication, siltation and contaminants where the intensity of agriculture and other forms of development such as urbanization is high. Other potential threats are invasive species, collection for the ornamental fish trade, and bycatch in the bait and recreational fisheries.

Consultations

Public consultations took place between June and August 2017. An email containing a link to the online consultation was sent to potentially affected Indigenous communities and organizations as well as other (non-Indigenous) stakeholder organizations. A total of 111 Indigenous groups, 57 government agencies, 19 conservation authorities, 36 environmental and sustainable development organizations, 2 organizations in the agricultural sector and commercial and sport fisheries, 8 academic institutes and 1 industrial stakeholder were contacted.

The Department received a total of six responses during that consultation period. Four comments were received from the general public, one from an Indigenous organization, and one comment from an academic. Three of the six comments supported listing Northern Sunfish as a species of special concern, two comments were neutral, and one comment opposed the proposed listing decision.

An email was received from a First Nation Council indicating it neither supported nor opposed the potential listing. Another neutral email was received from a member of the general public.

The Province of Ontario supports the proposed listing of Northern Sunfish as a species of special concern.

The Province of Quebec (ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec) indicated that it does not support the listing of Northern Sunfish as a species of special concern. Concern was expressed that the listing of this species might interfere with commercial fisheries in Lac Saint-Pierre. This concern is based on the assumption that listing the species would impose prohibitions on activities (i.e. commercial and recreational fishing) in the areas where the species occurs. Listing species as species of special concern does not trigger the general prohibitions of sections 32 and 33 of the Act.

Listing rationale

Listing the species as a species of special concern would not trigger the section 32 or 33 prohibitions under SARA; therefore, there would be no anticipated socio-economic impacts for Canadians and businesses upon listing. However, SARA requires the preparation of a management plan subsequent to listing the species as a species of special concern. The management plan would include measures to address the identified threats for the conservation of the species. Listing the species as a species of special concern and the preparation and implementation of the management plan may result in some benefits through voluntary changes in activities that pose a threat to the species. The net present value of incremental costs to Government is anticipated to be in the range of $0.017 million to $0.022 million (discounted at 7%) over the 10-year period, and is limited to the development of a management plan and enforcement.

While there may be incremental costs and benefits associated with the implementation of the management plan, these cannot be evaluated until the details of the management measures for the conservation of the species are known.

Black Redhorse

COSEWIC assessed this species as threatened in 2005 and again in 2015.

About this species

Black Redhorse is a member of the Moxostoma genus of the Catostomidae family (suckers). Despite extensive sampling over the last 15 years, there are still a number of knowledge gaps in terms of population sizes and abundance estimates.

Black Redhorse is most commonly found in moderate to fast flowing sections of warm water streams within riffle and pool habitats. Within Canada, this species is known to occur in tributaries of Lake Erie, Lake St. Clair, and Lake Huron in southwestern Ontario. The species continues to persist throughout most of its historical distribution; however, populations within the Sauble River and Catfish Creek are now considered extirpated. In addition, the species has not recently been detected in the Bayfield River or Gully Creek, which could be an indication of population decline or an artifact of insufficient sampling or species dispersal patterns. Overall, there is believed to be a continued decline in the quality of habitat available to Black Redhorse, while a number of demographic indices such as population sizes and trajectories and the number of mature individuals are currently unknown.

Within Canada, Black Redhorse faces threats including pollution and habitat degradation, increased urbanization and industrialization leading to poor water quality, agricultural runoff, contaminant spills, eutrophication from wastewater effluent, dams and impoundments, and climate change and extreme weather. Additional potential threats to Black Redhorse include invasive species and baitfish collection.

Consultations

In April 2017, DFO sent letters and a species profile inviting 18 potentially affected Indigenous communities and organizations to comment on the potential listing of Black Redhorse as threatened under SARA. In addition, Indigenous groups were contacted by email following the commencement of the online consultations in May 2017 on the Species at Risk Public Registry. Public consultations took place between May and July 2017. The email contained an electronic link to the consultation page and survey, which was provided to enable further distribution within the communities and organizations.

Email notifications providing an opportunity to comment online were also sent at the same time to stakeholders, including 8 conservation authorities, 44 municipalities, counties and towns, 2 government agencies and 20 environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

A total of five respondents commented during the consultation period: four online responses and one written response. Three supported listing, one did not support and one was unsure.

The Department of National Defence (DND) provided two responses: one by sending a letter and the other through the online tool. DND indicated its support of the proposed listing of the species.

One Indigenous group indicated support for the proposed listing, as the Black Redhorse is viewed as a culturally significant species to it.

One online respondent that identified its main sector as “construction” stated concern about significant cost increases resulting from requirements to avoid the species during bridge and culvert repairs or replacements; however, standard mitigation and best practices required under other existing federal and provincial legislation (e.g. the Fisheries Act, Ontario’s Endangered Species Act, 2007) are not expected to change following listing. A SARA permit or Fisheries Act authorization compliant with SARA may be required upon listing; however, similar requirements under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act, 2007 already exist, and efforts are being made to harmonize processes where possible.

The Province of Ontario (Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry) supports the proposed listing decision, as it would provide better consistency in protecting the species as well as opportunities for collaboration with neighbouring jurisdictions on ways to protect and recover the species.

Listing rationale

It is estimated that the incremental costs as a result of listing the Black Redhorse under SARA would be negligible. The species is afforded protection under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act, 2007; therefore, listing the species as threatened under SARA would complement provincial legislation. Subsequent to listing the species as threatened on Schedule 1, the Black Redhorse would benefit through the application of SARA prohibitions as well as the preparation of a recovery strategy and implementation of the management measures outlined in an action plan. The action plan would include, among other things, measures to address the identified threats to the species. The federal government would incur some costs for the preparation of the recovery strategy and action plan. The net present value of incremental costs to Government is anticipated to be in the range of $0.10 million to $0.13 million (discounted at 7%) over the 10-year period, and is limited to the development of a recovery strategy and action plan, and compliance promotion and enforcement.

While there may be incremental costs and benefits associated with the implementation of the action plan, these cannot be evaluated until the details of the management measures for the conservation of the species are known.

Rainbow Trout (Athabasca River populations)

COSEWIC assessed this species as endangered in 2014.

About this species

The Rainbow Trout, a salmonid, is an obligate resident of clear, cold flowing water in the upper Athabasca River drainage of Alberta. The total population size of Athabasca Rainbow Trout is unknown, but populations have been assessed in several streams within the Athabasca drainage. Across all sampled streams in the drainage, 54% of streams had a reduction in population size recently. A meta-analysis of trends in abundance through time demonstrates that Athabasca Rainbow Trout are declining at a rate of 96.5% over three generations (15 years). Quantitative sampling over the last two decades demonstrates that the majority of sites are declining in abundance, with a decline estimated at >90% over three generations.

In Canada, Rainbow Trout (Onchorhynchus mykiss) is native primarily to the western drainages of the continent. There are only three drainages east of the continental divide known to contain native populations of Rainbow Trout: the Peace, Liard and Athabasca drainages. Rainbow Trout (Athabasca River populations) [herein Athabasca Rainbow Trout] are not considered a distinct subspecies but qualify as a single designatable unit (DU).

Athabasca Rainbow Trout are found throughout the headwaters of the Athabasca River system and its major tributaries in western Alberta. In general, the distribution of Athabasca Rainbow Trout is strongly influenced by water temperature, and these fish are commonly found in streams between 900 and 1 500 m above sea level. They are primarily found in small, cold headwater streams. Athabasca Rainbow Trout spawn in the spring in streams with fine gravel (free of silts and clays) and moderate flow rates. In the winter, the largest and deepest pools in any occupied stream reach are commonly used for over-wintering; therefore, habitat connectivity is important for Athabasca Rainbow Trout. The total estimated extent of occurrence is 24 450 km2 and the index of area of occupancy is 2 560 km2 for Athabasca Rainbow Trout, not including the two headwater tributaries in Jasper National Park.

Athabasca Rainbow Trout are threatened by several anthropogenic factors, including impacts of invasive species, introgression with non-native fishes, introgression with stocked fishes and industrial effluents. In addition, industrial development, agriculture and forestry effluents and recreational activities also threaten Athabasca Rainbow Trout through altered thermal regimes, altered water quantity and delivery schedules, and effects of climate change and glacial drawdown over sequential seasons on late summer flows.

Consultations

Online public consultations were conducted by DFO in January and February 2016. In January, DFO also sent letters, an information guide, and a survey questionnaire to 34 potentially affected Indigenous communities and organizations. Three subsequent letters were sent out in February 2016, August 2016 and June 2017. Follow-up telephone calls and emails were made to determine if the packages were received and if there were any questions or concerns that could be addressed. DFO also sent emails to stakeholders: 11 municipalities, counties and towns, 5 industry associations, and 2 non-governmental organizations.

The national public consultations garnered 177 responses, with 156 (88%) supporting listing the species as endangered under the SARA.

Five responses were received from the Indigenous communities indicating requests for in-community consultation on the proposed listing, and one response was received from an Indigenous group. In addition, follow-up was attempted with the communities via letters, emails and telephone calls in summer 2017. One Indigenous community requested a teleconference to discuss listing. The community was interested in the listing process and had concerns about its right to harvest but did not express opposition to listing.

In addition, written comments on the proposed listing were received by email from five members of the public, five industry groups and two NGOs. Comments from the general public and the NGOs supported listing; the industry groups questioned the validity of COSEWIC’s assessment.

Athabasca Rainbow Trout is listed as threatened under Alberta’s Wildlife Act.

Listing rationale

Incremental costs and socio-economic impacts are expected to be negligible as a result of listing this species under SARA. The species is already listed as threatened under Alberta’s Wildlife Act. Listing the species as endangered under SARA would complement the provincial legislation. Alberta has stated support for listing. It is anticipated that Alberta will desire prohibition exemptions related to a continued recreational fishery for Athabasca Rainbow Trout with no harvest or retention (catch and release only).

Subsequent to listing the species as endangered, the Athabasca Rainbow Trout would benefit through the application of SARA prohibitions as well as the preparation of a recovery strategy and implementation of the management measures outlined in an action plan. The action plan would include, among other things, measures to address the identified threats to the species. The federal government would incur some costs for the preparation of the recovery strategy and action plan. The net present value of incremental costs to Government is anticipated to be in the range of $0.10 million to $0.14 million (discounted at 7%) over the 10-year period, and is limited to the development of a recovery strategy and action plan, and compliance promotion and enforcement.

While there may be incremental costs and benefits associated with the implementation of the action plan, these cannot be evaluated until the details of the management measures for the conservation of the species are known.

Spotted Gar

COSEWIC assessed this species as threatened in November 2000 and May 2005. COSEWIC reassessed this species as endangered in 2015. The species is currently listed as threatened under Schedule 1 of SARA.

About this species

The Spotted Gar (Lepisosteus oculatus) has a limited distribution and is found only in three shallow, heavily vegetated coastal wetlands of Lake Erie: Point Pelee National Park of Canada, Rondeau Bay, and Long Point Bay (including Big Creek wetland). Point Pelee National Park of Canada receives protection under the Canada National Parks Act. Protection for Long Point Bay and Big Creek National Wildlife areas within Long Point Bay is established under the Canada Wildlife Act. In addition, the protection of Rondeau Bay Provincial Park is established under the Ontario Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act, 2006.

Single specimens have been recorded from Hamilton Harbour and East Lake (Prince Edward County) within the Lake Ontario watershed. In Canada, the Spotted Gar is at the northern extent of its range and has never been common or abundant. The greatest threats to the species include overall habitat loss (due to dredging, filling and harbour improvements), sediment and nutrient loading, invasive species, barriers restricting movement, climate change and possibly fishing pressure (commercial and recreational incidental harvest). The limited distribution and abundance of this species within Canada, paired with the ongoing impacts from the aforementioned threats, are the reasons COSEWIC reassessed the species from threatened to endangered in 2015.

Consultations

Changing the classification of this species under Schedule 1 of SARA from threatened to endangered will not affect the protection already afforded to it under the Act, and will not add any additional burden on stakeholders; therefore, no public consultations were undertaken.

Listing rationale

Incremental costs and socio-economic impacts are expected to be negligible as a result of listing this species under SARA. The species is already listed as threatened under the provincial Endangered Species Act, 2007. Listing the species as endangered under SARA would complement the provincial legislation. The prohibitions under SARA apply equally to threatened and endangered species, and since the species is already listed under schedule 1 as threatened and the prohibitions already apply to it, no incremental impacts associated with reclassification of this species to endangered are anticipated for stakeholders.

However, the federal government would incur some incremental costs associated with updating the recovery strategy and action plan. The net present value of incremental costs to Government is anticipated to be in the range of $0.02 million to $0.03 million (discounted at 7%) over the 10-year period, and is limited to amending the recovery strategy and action plan, and enforcement.

While there may be incremental costs and benefits associated with the implementation of the action plan, these cannot be evaluated until the details of the management measures for the conservation of the species are known.

Mapleleaf (Great Lakes – Upper St. Lawrence population)

COSEWIC assessed this species as threatened in 2006. COSEWIC reassessed it as a species of special concern in 2016. The species is currently listed as threatened under Schedule 1 of SARA.

About this species

The Mapleleaf (Quadrula quadrula) is a medium to large freshwater mussel in the family Unionidae. It is named after its square-shaped shell, which resembles a mapleleaf.

The Great Lakes – Upper St. Lawrence population is confined to coastal areas and medium to large rivers draining into the Lake Huron, Lake Ontario, Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie watersheds, including the Sydenham, Ausable, Grand and Thames rivers. Overall, the extent of occurrence of this mussel in Ontario has declined by nearly 50% of its former range.

The Mapleleaf is threatened by habitat loss and degradation due to agricultural runoff, industrial and urban pollution, and the presence of dams and reservoirs. In Ontario, invasions by Zebra and Quagga mussels (Dreissena polymorpha and D. bugensis) in the lower Great Lakes and connecting channels have also adversely impacted this species, along with most other freshwater mussels.

Consultations

DFO held online public consultations between March and May 2017. An email containing the link to the online consultation was sent to 23 potentially affected Indigenous communities and organizations and 37 stakeholder (non-Indigenous) organizations or individuals. Only one response was received: the Department of National Defence (DND) indicated that the changes will not have any impact to their department and did not have any comments to provide.

The Province of Ontario had deferred commenting until it could form an official opinion during its endangered species meeting. Nevertheless, it is anticipated that the Province will support this change in status of the Mapleleaf (Great Lakes – Upper St. Lawrence population), as it has with other similarly proposed SARA status changes (e.g. the Rainbow Mussel).

Listing rationale

The proposed reclassification is the result of increased sampling effort, newly discovered locations, and evidence of recent gene flow across Lake Erie. This population is estimated to be large and stable at more locations than previously estimated. The proposed decision to reclassify the species from threatened to special concern on Schedule 1 of SARA will remove the prohibitions and other protections afforded by SARA (i.e. the identification and protection of critical habitat) because prohibitions apply only to listed threatened, endangered and extirpated species.

No incremental impacts associated with reclassification of this species to a species of special concern are anticipated for stakeholders. Furthermore, the reclassification of the species means that enforcement costs will no longer be incurred; as a consequence of the scaling back of the enforcement activities, there will be a cost saving of $0.01 million to $0.03 million (discounted at 7%) over the 10-year period.

While there may be incremental costs and benefits associated with the implementation of the management plan, these cannot be evaluated until the details of the management measures for the conservation of the species are known.

Rainbow

COSEWIC assessed the Rainbow as endangered in 2006 and reassessed it as a species of special concern in 2015. The species is currently listed as endangered under Schedule 1 of SARA.

About this species

The Rainbow (Villosa iris) is a small mussel that gets its common name from the shimmering, iridescent inside of its shell. In Canada, the Rainbow occurs only in Ontario where it is now found in low numbers in the St. Clair River delta and the Saugeen, Maitland, Bayfield, Ausable, Sydenham, Thames, Grand, lower Trent, Salmon and Moira rivers. The Maitland River supports the largest population of Rainbow. Overall, this mussel has been lost from 30% of its historical Canadian range.

The introduction and spread of Zebra and Quagga mussels continues to be a serious threat to the Rainbow, especially in Lake St. Clair. In rivers, the combined impacts of urbanization and agriculture threaten the Rainbow through sediment and nutrient loading, changes to natural water flow (“flow regimes”) from dams and channel alterations, contaminants and toxic substances, habitat alterations as well as any activity that threatens the species’ host fish. The introduction of invasive fish species, such as the Round Goby (Neogobius melanostomus), could also indirectly affect the Rainbow by disrupting the relationship with its host fish.

Consultations

Online public consultations for the Rainbow were held by DFO between February and April 2017. An email containing the link to the online consultation was sent to 17 potentially affected Indigenous communities and organizations as well as to 42 stakeholder (non-Indigenous) organizations or individuals.

Four comments were received (three individuals and one ENGO) indicating their support for maintaining protection for the Rainbow (and thus appeared to oppose the proposed changes to the species’ status). Several noted that the current level of protection had additional environmental benefits (e.g. policy to protect primary recharge zones) that would be lost if the species was reclassified to a lower-risk category.

The Province of Ontario supports the change in SARA status for the Rainbow; in June 2017, the Province down-listed the species from threatened to species of special concern under the provincial Endangered Species Act, 2007.

Listing rationale

Surveys since the 2006 assessment of the Rainbow mussel population’s status have found large numbers of individuals in previously unknown localities, and strong evidence of recent recruitment in six of seven subpopulations examined.

The change of classification under Schedule 1 of SARA of this species from endangered to special concern will remove the prohibitions and other protections afforded by SARA (i.e. the obligation to identify and protect critical habitat) because prohibitions apply only to listed threatened, endangered and extirpated species.

No incremental impacts associated with reclassification of this species to a species of special concern are anticipated for stakeholders. Furthermore, the reclassification of the species means that enforcement costs will no longer be incurred; as a consequence of the scaling back of the enforcement activities, there will be a cost saving of $0.01 million to $0.03 million (discounted at 7%) over the 10-year period. While there may be incremental costs and benefits associated with the implementation of the management plan, these cannot be evaluated until the details of the management measures for the conservation of the species are known.

Nonetheless, the Rainbow mussel will continue to receive protection as the species is listed under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act, 2007.

Eastern Pondmussel

COSEWIC assessed this species as endangered in 2007 and reassessed it as a species of special concern in 2017. The species is currently listed as endangered under Schedule 1 of SARA.

About this species

The Eastern Pondmussel (Ligumia nasuta) was once among the most common species of freshwater mussels in the lower Great Lakes, prior to the invasion of Zebra and Quagga mussels in the mid-1980s. It is a member of the family Unionidae.

In Canada, the Eastern Pondmussel is only known to be from the Great Lakes region of Ontario. Following past declines in abundance, it appears to have been extirpated from the offshore waters of lakes Erie and St. Clair, but is currently found in the delta area of Lake St. Clair and in a small tributary of the upper St. Lawrence River, Lyn Creek, near the outlet of Lake Ontario. Its preferred habitat is sheltered areas of lakes or slow streams in substrates of fine sand and mud at depths up to 4.5 m. The Eastern Pondmussel remain buried until sexual maturity, estimated to be between 6 and 12 years. The most important threat to the Eastern Pondmussel is Zebra Mussels and Quagga Mussels. Since the mid-1980s, over 90% of the area once occupied by the Eastern Pondmussel has become infested with Zebra and Quagga mussels. Phragmites (an invasive wetland plant) and water pollution are also identified as important threats. In addition, lowered water levels resulting from climate change are expected to reduce the amount of available habitat.

Consultations

DFO held online public consultations in August and September 2017. Emails regarding the consultation were sent to 20 potentially affected Indigenous communities and organizations and 44 stakeholder (non-Aboriginal) organizations or individuals. Four responses were received during online consultations (two individuals, one Indigenous organization, and the Department of National Defence [DND]). One individual and the Indigenous organization supported the reclassification to species of special concern, the other individual opposed it (noting their preference for maintaining protections for the species listed as endangered), and the DND did not provide a position.

It is anticipated that the Province of Ontario will support this change in status, as it has with other similarly proposed SARA status changes (e.g. the Rainbow Mussel).

Listing rationale

The change in the Eastern Pondmussel classification is attributed to the results of recent surveys in Lake St. Clair, which were conducted as a collaborative effort between the Department of the Environment and the Walpole Island First Nation and which identified a significant refuge for this species within First Nation territory. There are areas where the Eastern Pondmussel is surviving the Zebra Mussel invasion. The refuge is being managed by the Walpole Island First Nation for the protection of this and other aquatic species at risk with which it co-occurs.

The change of classification under Schedule 1 of SARA of this species from endangered to special concern will remove the prohibitions and other protections afforded by SARA (i.e. the identification and protection of critical habitat) because prohibitions apply only to listed threatened, endangered and extirpated species.

No incremental impacts associated with reclassification of this species to a species of special concern are anticipated for stakeholders. Furthermore, the reclassification of the species means that enforcement costs will no longer be incurred; as a consequence of the scaling back of the enforcement activities, there will be a cost saving of $0.01 million to $0.03 million (discounted at 7%) over the 10-year period. While there may be incremental costs and benefits associated with the implementation of the management plan, these cannot be evaluated until the details of the management measures for the conservation of the species are known.

Nonetheless, the Eastern Pondmussel will continue to receive protection as the species is listed under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act, 2007.

Mapleleaf (Saskatchewan – Nelson Rivers population)

COSEWIC assessed this species as endangered in 2006. It was reassessed and designated as threatened in 2016. The species is currently listed as endangered under Schedule 1 of SARA.

About this species

The Mapleleaf (Quadrula quadrula) is a medium to large freshwater mussel in the family Unionidae. It is named after its squared-shape shell, which resembles a mapleleaf.

In Manitoba, populations have been documented in the Red River, the lower reaches of the Assiniboine and Roseau rivers, and recently in the Bloodvein River on the east side of Lake Winnipeg. This mussel is in decline and may no longer exist in the Roseau River.

This population occurs in areas that are heavily populated. The Mapleleaf is threatened by habitat loss and degradation due to agricultural runoff, industrial and urban pollution, and the presence of dams and reservoirs. In Manitoba, deteriorating water quality due to non-point source nutrient enrichment associated with extensive agriculture is a major concern. In addition, the arrival and establishment of invasive Zebra Mussel in the Red River and Lake Winnipeg in 2013 represents a new threat of likely high severity.

Consultations

Consultations were not undertaken since the reclassification from endangered to threatened would not change the application of the prohibitions.

Listing rationale

Subsequent to reclassifying the species to threatened, the Mapleleaf (Saskatchewan – Nelson River population) will continue to benefit from the implementation of the recovery measures identified in the existing action plan. Recovery measures outlined in the current action plan would continue, among other things, to address the identified threats to the species. As there is no difference in SARA prohibitions for threatened and endangered species, no incremental impacts associated with down-listing this species are anticipated for stakeholders. The net present value of incremental costs to the federal government is anticipated to be in the range of $0.019 million to $0.023 million (discounted at 7%) over the 10-year period, and is limited to amending the recovery strategy and action plan, and enforcement.

Channel Darter (Lake Ontario populations and Lake Erie populations)

In 2002, COSEWIC assessed the Channel Darter as a threatened species. The 2002 assessment considered the channel darter as one designatable unit (or population). Subsequently, the species was listed as threatened under Schedule 1 of SARA. In 2016, COSEWIC split the channel darter into three separate designatable units: the Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, and St. Lawrence populations. The channel darter populations of Lake Ontario and Lake Erie were both assessed as endangered.

About this species

The Channel Darter is a small-bodied bottom-dwelling fish that is found in low abundance throughout its range. The Channel Darter inhabits both river and lake habitats. The adult Channel Darter typically lives in small to large rivers with moderate current and coarse bed material. In lakes, the Channel Darter is predominantly found on sand and gravel beaches with moderate wave action.

The Lake Erie designatable unit consists of the St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair, Detroit River, Lake Erie Western Basin, Lake Erie Central Basin (likely extirpated) and Lake Erie Eastern Basin (likely extirpated).

The Lake Ontario designatable unit consists of the Trent River, the Moira River system and the Salmon River.

The Channel Darter is particularly sensitive to habitat changes during spawning. Areas of suitable spawning habitat are diminishing due to naturally occurring and human-induced flow modifications, the presence of barriers, and increased suspended sediment. The invasive Round Goby has become established in the Great Lakes area and likely competes with the Channel Darter for resources. Silt-laden, muddy water may also affect the ability of the species to feed and limit the availability of larval prey. In some areas, there has been extensive sedimentation as well as contaminant input as a result of poor agricultural practices and urban land use.

Consultations

Online public consultations were held in April 2017. An email containing the link to the online consultation was sent to 23 potentially affected Indigenous communities and organizations and 37 stakeholder (non-Indigenous) organizations.

One comment was received from the Department of National Defence indicating the proposed changes to the species’ status would have no impact on them.

It is anticipated that the Province of Ontario will support this change in status for these populations of Channel Darter, as the species is currently listed under the Endangered Species Act, 2007.

Listing rationale

This species exists in low numbers where found, and its habitat is impacted by siltation and fluctuations in water temperature.

For the Lake Erie designatable unit, the fact that the species occupies nearshore lake and river habitats that are undergoing major shoreline modifications and the negative impacts of the invasive Round Goby have resulted in likely extirpation from large areas of Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair.

For the Lake Ontario designatable unit, the species is limited to three small watersheds. The primary threat is the invasive Round Goby, which is now found throughout the Trent River and has resulted in declines in the abundance of this population. For the time being, populations along the Moira and Salmon rivers are largely unaffected by Round Goby. However, introductions upstream of dams via bait bucket transfers are considered likely.

There is expected to be little to no incremental impacts as a result of listing these two endangered populations of the Channel Darter under SARA. The proposed listing would not change the prohibitions and level of protection afforded by SARA for these two reassigned populations of the species, since the prohibitions apply similarly to threatened and endangered species listed under the Act.

The species is already listed under the Ontario Endangered Species Act, 2007. However, the federal government would incur some incremental costs associated with updating the recovery strategy and action plan. For both DUs, the net present value of incremental costs to Government is anticipated to be in the range of $0.04 million to $0.06 million (discounted at 7%) over the 10-year period, and is limited to amending the recovery strategy and action plan, and to enforcement.

While there may be incremental costs and benefits associated with the implementation of the action plan, these cannot be evaluated until the details of the management measures for the conservation of the species are known.

Channel Darter (St. Lawrence populations)

In 2002, COSEWIC assessed the channel darter as a threatened species. The 2002 assessment considered the channel darter as one DU. Subsequently, the species was listed as threatened under Schedule 1 of SARA. In 2016, COSEWIC split the channel darter DU into three separate DUs: the Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, and St. Lawrence populations. The channel darter, St. Lawrence population, was assessed by COSEWIC as a species of special concern.

About this species

The Channel Darter is a small-bodied bottom-dwelling fish that is found in low abundance throughout its range. The Channel Darter inhabits both river and lake habitats. The adult Channel Darter typically lives in small to large rivers with moderate current and coarse bed material. In lakes, the Channel Darter is predominantly found on sand and gravel beaches with moderate wave action.

The St. Lawrence DU consists of 30 locations in eastern Ontario and western Quebec. The Channel Darter inhabits both river and lake habitats. Adult Channel Darter typically live in small to large rivers with moderate current and coarse bed material. In lakes, the Channel Darter is predominantly found on sand and gravel beaches with moderate wave action.

The Channel Darter is particularly sensitive to habitat changes during spawning. Areas of suitable spawning habitat are diminishing due to naturally occurring and human-induced flow modifications, the presence of barriers, and increased suspended sediment. The invasive Round Goby has become established in the Great Lakes area and likely competes with the Channel Darter for resources. Silt-laden, muddy water may also affect the ability of the species to feed and limit the availability of larval prey. In some areas, there has been extensive sedimentation as well as contaminant input as a result of poor agricultural practices and urban land use.

Consultations

Public consultations on the Species at Risk Public Registry were conducted for the Channel Darter (St. Lawrence) in April 2017, to gather opinions, comments and suggestions on the potential ecological, cultural and economic impacts that may result from these changes to SARA. An email regarding the consultations was sent to 7 Indigenous organizations and communities and 83 agencies and stakeholders (such as municipalities, non-governmental organizations [NGOs], the hydroelectric industry and the agricultural sector).

During the consultation period, six responses were received from the following stakeholders: one from a First Nation individual, one from an Indigenous community, one from a member of the general public, and three from NGOs. The comments received stated that the threatened status should be maintained. They did not mention any significant benefits or costs, or the reclassification. In August 2017, the Province of Quebec indicated that it does not support the reclassification of the species and would maintain the current status, i.e. threatened. The species is currently listed as vulnerable under the Act Respecting Threatened or Vulnerable Species in Quebec.

Listing rationale

The change of classification under Schedule 1 of SARA of the Channel Darter (St. Lawrence populations) from endangered to special concern will remove the prohibitions and other protections (i.e. the identification and protection of critical habitat) afforded by SARA because prohibitions apply only to listed threatened, endangered and extirpated species.

No incremental impacts associated with reclassification of this species to a species of special concern are anticipated for stakeholders. However, the federal government would incur some incremental costs associated with updating the recovery strategy to a management plan. The net present value of incremental costs to Government is anticipated to be in the range of $0.017 million to $0.022 million (discounted at 7%) over the 10-year period.

While there may be incremental costs and benefits associated with the implementation of the management plan, these cannot be evaluated until the details of the management measures for the conservation of the species are known.

PROPOSED REGULATORY TEXT

Notice is given that the Governor in Council, pursuant to subsection 27(1) of the Species at Risk Act footnote a, proposes to make the annexed Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act.

Interested persons may make representations concerning the proposed Order within 30 days after the date of publication of this notice. All such representations must cite the Canada Gazette, Part I, and the date of publication of this notice, and be addressed to Julie Stewart, Director, Species at Risk Program, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0E6 (fax: 613‑990‑4810; email: SARA_LEP@dfo-mpo.gc.ca).

Ottawa, February 28, 2019

Jurica Čapkun
Assistant Clerk of the Privy Council

Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act

Amendments

1 Part 1 of Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act footnote 17 is amended by striking out the following under the heading “Fish”:

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

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

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

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

6 Part 3 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by striking out the following under the heading “Fish”:

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

8 Part 3 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by striking out the following under the heading “Molluscs”:

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

10 Part 4 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by striking out the following under the heading “Fish”:

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

12 Part 4 of Schedule 1 to the Act is amended by striking out the following under the heading “Molluscs”:

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

Coming into Force

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