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NLIS 4
July 31, 2006
(Environment and Conservation)
 

Minister releases management and recovery plans for vulnerable species

Clyde Jackman, Minister of Environment and Conservation, today announced the release of management plans for seven species that have been listed as vulnerable under the province’s Endangered Species Act. The act requires management plans for each of the listed vulnerable species. They include the banded killifish (fundulus diaphanous), barrows goldeneye (bucephala islandica), boreal felt lichen (erioderma pedicullatum), fernalds milk-vetch (astragalus robinsii var. fernaldii), harlequin duck (histrionicus histrionicus), ivory gull (pagophila eburnea) and the polar bear (ursus maritimus).

"Management plans outline a course of actions primarily aimed at ensuring that a vulnerable species does not become threatened or endangered," said the minister. The minister also released a recovery plan for the endangered red crossbill (loxia curvirostra percna). Recovery plans are a requirement under the act for listed threatened and endangered species and outline a series of actions identified as necessary for the recovery of the species. All management plans are available on the government web site located under the Department of Environment and Conservation

The minister noted that the plans for the banded killifish, harlequin duck, ivory gull and the red crossbill must undergo a review and approval process under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). "Once that process is complete and final versions of the documents have been posted on the species at risk public registry, the province will replace the current drafts with finalized versions of the plan," said the minister. "In the meantime, the drafts of these four reports are considered acceptable by the province for the purposes of identifying goals, objectives and strategies for the conservation of these species."

The management plan for the polar bear was prepared in collaboration with the Nunatsiavut Government. The boreal felt lichen management plan was prepared with significant input from a boreal felt lichen working group that was established by the Wildlife Division, and the red crossbill recovery plan was prepared in conjunction with the red crossbill recovery team. The minister acknowledged and thanked the working groups and recovery teams for their valuable input and efforts. He also recognized the federal departments of Fisheries and Oceans and Environment for partnering and taking the lead in the development of plans for the banded killifish, harlequin duck, ivory gull and the red crossbill.

"I am very pleased to release these plans today," said Minister Jackman. "All of these management and recovery plans are living documents which means they can be amended and updated as new information becomes available."

For further information about these plans contact Joe Brazil, Senior Manager, Endangered Species and Biodiversity, Wildlife Division, 709-637-2356 or visit the department’s web site at www.gov.nl.ca/env/wildlife/wildlife_at_risk.htm

For information about federally managed species contact Derek Osborne, federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (banded killifish), (709) 772-5087 or email osborned@dfo-mpo.gc.ca, and Terri Green, federal Department of Environment (red crossbill, harlequin duck and ivory gull) (902) 426-9168 or Terri.green@ec.gc.ca.

Media contact: Diane Hart, Communications, (709)729-2575, 685-4401

BACKGROUNDER

Polar bear

  • Polar bears in Newfoundland and Labrador are part of the Davis Strait sub-population.
  • Polar bears are only found in the northern part of the northern hemisphere and feed primarily on seals.
  • It is unknown how many polar bears are residents or transients in the province.
  • There are about 15,000 polar bears in Canada; 20,000 - 25,000 in the world.
  • Hunting quota for Labrador is six bears per year with all of the licences going to the Labrador Inuit.
  • The Wildlife Division is part of national technical and advisory committees which review jurisdictional quotas.
  • The management plan is a joint effort between the province and the Nunatsiavut Government.
  • Listed as a vulnerable species in July 2002.
  • There currently is a study ongoing to determine the status of the Davis Strait polar bear sub-population. The study is being led by Nunavut and the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador is a partner.
  • Management actions include identifying and protecting important habitat, determining what percentage of the population is resident, where denning occurs, determining a fair and equitable quota for the Labrador Inuit.
  • Barrows goldeneye

  • It is a small seaduck.
  • Primary management responsibility rests with the Canadian Wildlife Service.
  • It is the eastern North American population that is listed as vulnerable (July 2002).
  • There are about 4,500 birds in eastern North America.
  • Most if not all birds winter and nest in Quebec although there may be some nesting elsewhere. There are a number of molting sites in Labrador.
  • Most threats are on the bird’s breeding and wintering grounds in Quebec.
  • Primary role of the province is to protect important habitat.
  • Banded killifish

  • It is a relatively small fish, found at only seven sites in Newfoundland and is not known in Labrador, and is secure elsewhere in Canada.
  • The seven locations in Newfoundland are isolated from each other which is one of the reasons for its vulnerability.
  • Some of the threats to habitat can be mitigated by allowing for larger buffer zones around streams, rivers and lakes such as is being done in the Indian Bay watershed.
  • Listed as a vulnerable species – July 2002.
  • Ivory gull

  • Medium-sized gull that breeds in the high Arctic.
  • Part of the population winters in the cold waters off the province.
  • Primary management responsibility rests with the Canadian Wildlife Service.
  • Province’s role in terms of management is relatively limited to keeping records of sightings and some possible enforcement.
  • Populations in the high arctic have been dramatically declining and the species may be up-listed.
  • Listed as a vulnerable species – July 2002.
  • Harlequin duck (eastern population)

  • Primary management responsibility rests with the Canadian Wildlife Service.
  • A small duck which breeds in fast flowing rivers and winters in coastal areas.
  • Originally assessed as endangered but downlisted to vulnerable in 2001.
  • Listed as a vulnerable species – July 2002.
  • Labrador is an important breeding area with some breeding also occurring in Newfoundland.
  • A small per cent of the eastern population winters off Cape St. Mary’s.
  • There appears to be a wintering population of 1,800 – 2,000 birds.
  • Wintering populations can be threatened by oil spills and dumping. Breeding populations can be affected by the loss of breeding habitat and disturbance.
  • The province can play a role in protecting important breeding, molting and wintering habitat.
  • Red crossbill, percna subspecies

  • Primary management responsibility rests with the Canadian Wildlife Service.
  • The percna subspecies is unique to Newfoundland. It has a larger bill than most other subspecies.
  • Listed as an endangered species.
  • Population is estimated to be between 500 and 1,500 birds.
  • There has been a steep population decline since the mid 1900s.
  • Causes for the decline remain speculative. Research has been identified to investigate causes as well as determine current status.
  • It feeds on the seeds from the cones of coniferous trees.
  • Fernald’s milk-vetch

  • Less than 5,000 plants, which is approximately 10 per cent of the world population and is within Newfoundland and Labrador.
  • It is an herbaceous perennial plant that grows in exposed limestone habitats.
  • It is endemic to the Strait of Belle Isle area.
  • Only two sites thought to belong to this variety are found within the province, at the Québec-Labrador border and on the highlands of St. John and Great Northern Peninsula.
  • The milk-vetch genus is a difficult one to differentiate and taxonomic studies will be done to clarify the species concept.
  • Management will mainly consist of habitat protection and monitoring before the results of the taxonomic study will be available.
  • It is possible that the species concept of fernald’s milk-vetch will change based on the study and the management plan will be adjusted to reflect this.
  • Listed as a vulnerable species – July 2002.
  • Boreal felt lichen

  • Newfoundland has more than 95 per cent of the world population of this lichen.
  • Humid balsam fir forests with trees at least 40 to 60 years old are the primary habitat.
  • This photosynthetic partner of this lichen is a cyanobacterium, and these cyanolichens are generally very sensitive to environmental conditions.
  • The reproductive mechanism of this lichen is especially sensitive since in addition to mature lichen individuals acting as spore sources, it depends on several other organisms, including trees of older age classes, liverworts growing on the trees, cyanobacteria, and invertebrates acting as spore dispersal agents.
  • The species has been observed throughout southern Newfoundland but the greatest concentrations are found in the Bay d’Espoir area and on the Avalon Peninsula.
  • Large population declines have recently been observed at several sites on the Avalon Peninsula.
  • Many anthropogenic activities and natural factors, often acting in combination, threaten this lichen.
  • Many of the management challenges are in part due to the lack of knowledge about the ecology of the lichen and the plan identifies research topics and a monitoring approach to address this issue.
  • Several areas where this lichen occurs are subject to resource management conflicts and therefore the plan was developed with input from a working group composed of managers, researchers and stakeholders.
  • Listed as a vulnerable species – July 2002.
  • 2006 07 31                                      10:30 a.m.


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