Environment and Conservation
April 29, 2015

Protecting Our Environment for Future Generations

Nine Species Protected Under the Province's Endangered Species Act

In an effort to conserve and protect rare plants and animals, the Honourable Dan Crummell, Minister of Environment and Conservation, today announced that the Provincial Government has added nine species under the Endangered Species Act and designated them as either Endangered, Threatened or Vulnerable.

"By listing these species, we are acting to ensure the protection of rare species in the province and to conserve biodiversity for the benefit of current and future generations."
- The Honourable Dan Crummell, Minister of Environment and Conservation.

As noted below, two bird species and six plants species have been added to the list following assessments by the provincial Species Status Advisory Committee (SSAC). In addition, one lichen has been added based on an assessment by the national Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC).

Listed as Endangered
Species listed as Endangered face imminent extirpation or extinction:

  • Gmelin's Watercrowfoot (Ranunculus gmelinii)
  • Griscom's Arnica (Arnica griscomii subsp. griscomii)
  • Wooly Arnica (Arnica angustifolia subsp. tomentosa)

Listed as Threatened
Species listed as Threatened are likely to become Endangered if nothing is done to reverse the factors limiting their survival:

  • The Newfoundland Gray-cheeked Thrush (Catharus minimus minimus),
  • Sharpleaf Aster (Oclemena acuminata)
  • Tradescant's Aster (Symphyotrichum tradescantii)

Listed as Vulnerable
Vulnerable species are those considered to be to be particularly sensitive to human activities or natural events:

  • Blue Felt Lichen (Degelia plumbea),
  • Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus)
  • Water Pygmyweed (Tillaea aquatica)

The provincial SSAC is made up of species experts and those with local or traditional knowledge. COSEWIC is comprised of species experts, traditional knowledge experts and federal, provincial and territorial government representations.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank the current and former members of our provincial Species Status Advisory Committee. The members of this committee have contributed immensely to creating awareness of the species needing protection and several members, both current and former, have spent countless hours working towards recovering these species. I would particularly like to thank Dr. Luise Hermanutz who is stepping down from the committee after 11 years. There is no doubt that she has been one of the backbones of species at risk conservation in the province since the enactment of the act. Her knowledge, experience and dedication, and that of all committee members, is invaluable to the conservation of species in the province."
- Minister Crummell

Additional information on the nine species can be found in the backgrounder below.


  • Nine species have been added under the provincial Endangered Species Act as Endangered, Threatened or Vulnerable.
  • The provincial Species Status Advisory Committee has been asked to re-evaluate the status recommendation for the Shaved Sedge (Carex tonsa var. tonsa) because of additional sites and significant numbers identified in recent botanical surveys in Labrador.
  • Currently, the total number of species, subspecies and populations listed under the province's Endangered Species Act is 52 - 24 Endangered, 13 Threatened and 15 Vulnerable species.
  • The 2014 Endangered Species Permit report is also available online at www.env.gov.nl.ca/env/wildlife/endangeredspecies/permits.html

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Media contact:

Jennifer Collingwood
Director of Communications
Department of Environment and Conservation
709-729-2575, 689-8605

Nine Species Added to the Province's Endangered Species Act

The following nine species have been added to the Endangered Species Act. Photos are available on the Department of Environment and Conservation website, www.env.gov.nl.ca/env/wildlife/endangeredspecies/plants.html

Blue Felt Lichen is a large, blue-grey, leafy lichen that is fairly robust and clings tightly to its substrate. This lichen grows most often on yellow birch in moist sites, and more rarely on trembling aspen, white spruce, or rock. It has also been found on non-native trees. In Canada, this species is also found in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. In Newfoundland and Labrador, this species is known to approximately 24 locations on the Island within four general areas: the Bay d'Espoir area, the central Avalon Peninsula, Terra Nova National Park, and southwest Newfoundland.

Bobolink is a medium-sized songbird found in grasslands and hayfields. The males are distinctly coloured, with a black face and underparts, white to gray shoulders and lower back to rump, and a back of the head that is straw-coloured. Females are much less conspicuous, with buffy underparts and black streaks on their sides, back and under their tail. In Newfoundland, Bobolink are rare and limited to specific habitats such as farmland, salt marshes, and grassy fields. Decline in habitat availability and quality are potential drivers of decline in the province.

Gmelin's Watercrowfoot is a small aquatic plant of shallow river backwaters with a muddy bottom. Its leaves form mats underwater and its small, yellow buttercup-like flowers project out of the water. In Newfoundland and Labrador, it is known from only one location on the west coast of the Island near the Robinson's River.

Griscom's Arnica is a member of the sunflower family with toothed oval to egg-shaped leaves and produces one single yellow, daisy-like flower head per stem. It is most often found on limestone on ledges of partially shaded cliffs. This subspecies is endemic to the Gulf of St. Lawrence region and is found only on the Island of Newfoundland and in Québec. In Newfoundland and Labrador, it is known to occur at only three locations on the west coast of the Island.

Newfoundland Gray-cheeked Thrush is a migratory bird species with brownish-olive upperparts and flanks, a cream washed breast and chestnut edging on its wings and tail. This subspecies breeds in boreal forests in Newfoundland and the south coast of Labrador and is most commonly reported from the Northern Peninsula, the northeast coast and the Avalon Peninsula. Breeding Bird Survey Data indicates a decline of over 90 per cent in this species over the past 35 years and might be attributed to loss of habitat, nest predation, and mortality during migration and overwintering.

Sharpleaf Aster is an inconspicuous white-flowered aster with upper leaves that are found in a whorl distributed around the stem. This plant flowers in late summer and early fall. Sharpleaf Aster is found in shaded woodland habitats. In Newfoundland and Labrador, it is only currently known from J.T. Cheeseman Provincial Park.

Tradescant's Aster is a small, perennial aster with an open, branched flower cluster that produces five to six small, white daisy-like flower heads. It is a plant of shoreline habitats that can survive periods of complete inundation in wet years. The species is endemic to eastern North America and also occurs in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Québec. In Newfoundland and Labrador there is only one known current location on the west coast of the Island, near the head of St. George's Bay.

Water Pygmyweed is a tiny semi-aquatic, succulent annual plant that often grows in mats; the plants are so small that 1,000 individuals could grow within a square meter. It often appears reddish in colour and produces tiny white flowers. This species grows on sandy shores of rivers or ponds and sandy margins of vernal pools in coastal areas with a distinct marine influence. This species has been recorded in other provinces. In Newfoundland and Labrador, there are six known locations of Water Pygmyweed on the Avalon and Burin Peninsulas.

Wooly Arnica is a member of the sunflower family and produces one single yellow daisy-like flower head per stem. It has long, narrow leaves and the entire plant is covered with wooly hairs. The species most often grows in small clusters on limestone and has limited ability to multiply or colonize new areas. In Newfoundland and Labrador, it is currently known to only two locations near Port au Choix and the western Port au Port Peninsula.

2015 04 29                              10:20 a.m.