October 9, 2002
(Tourism, Culture and Recreation)

Official release of the National Recovery Plan for Long�s Braya and Fernald�s Braya

Julie Bettney, Newfoundland and Labrador�s Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, today announced the release of the National Recovery Plan for Long�s Braya and Fernald�s Braya, which outlines the goals, objectives and actions required to ensure recovery and long-term survival of these two plant species.

Long�s braya and Fernald�s braya grow only on the coastal limestone barrens of the Great Northern Peninsula on the Island of Newfoundland, from Port aux Choix to Burnt Cape, and nowhere else on earth. Long�s braya is known to exist in only five locations, while Fernald�s braya is restricted to 14 sites. In 1997, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) designated Long�s braya as "endangered" and Fernald�s braya as "threatened". Both species have since been given legal protection under the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador�s Endangered Species Act.

In 1997, the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador appointed a recovery team consisting of researchers, botanists, resource managers and local residents in order to address conservation of the two braya species. With assistance from RENEW, the national recovery program for species at risk, the team developed a recovery plan for both.

"The recovery team on the Northern Peninsula worked hard to develop the recovery plan for Long�s braya and Fernald�s braya," said Minister Bettney. "This is something that government cannot do alone. We are working with communities, researchers, stakeholders and other government departments to ensure these two plant species continue to survive."

The plan identifies six primary strategies to help secure the long-term survival of Long�s and Fernald�s brayas: scientific research, population monitoring, protection of the habitat that is critical for their survival, education and stewardship, development and maintenance of off-site collections of live specimens, and habitat restoration and species reintroduction. The plan emphasizes the relationship between the survival of these unique species and the conservation of their rare habitat - the coastal limestone barrens of the Great Northern Peninsula. This habitat is also home to many other rare plant species, including the "endangered" barrens willow for which a recovery strategy is currently being prepared.

"Partners have already started work to ensure the survival of the Long�s and Fernald�s brayas," said Minister Bettney. "During this past year various partners have dedicated almost $90,000 and more than five person-years to the recovery of these species." Partners include the World Wildlife Fund, the Canadian Wildlife Service, Memorial University, MUN Botanical Garden, the Newfoundland and Labrador departments of Tourism, Culture and Recreation and Forest Resources and Agrifoods, Parks Canada, Agriculture Canada, Forestry Canada, the Conservation Corps and the Town of Flower�s Cove.

The partners are working with local residents on a number of stewardship initiatives for the conservation of Long�s braya and Fernald�s braya and their habitat. Research is being conducted on population biology, habitat requirements, and threats posed by insect predators and habitat loss. Populations are being mapped and monitored. Agencies are working on protection of critical habitat. Living plants from both species are now housed and grown at MUN Botanical Garden for study and future reintroduction.

"This plan represents one step in the process of recovery," said Minister Bettney. "We are committed to working with the recovery team, local residents and other stakeholders to ensure that these species not only survive, but recover to a point where they are no longer considered to be at risk of extinction."

Media contact: Vanessa Colman-Sadd, Communications, (709) 729-0857.

2002 10 09                                       1:15 p.m.

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