Reports

Red Lake Wolverine Project Field Report 2019-2020

Wildlife Conservation Society Canada (WCSC) initiated a wolverine field study in Red Lake in the spring of 2018 that has continued through the winter and summer of 2020. We describe the rationale for the study, the methods associated with our research objectives, and descriptive information about our initial findings. Wolverines are listed as threatened under the Ontario Endangered Species Act, 2007. The Ontario government’s primary rationale for listing wolverines is that there are fewer than 1000 individuals in Ontario. Scientists drafted a Wolverine Recovery Strategy (2013) in response to their listing and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) followed with a Government Response Statement (2016) that prioritized research and conservation measures for wolverines in Ontario. Our project is designed to address 3 high-priority action items in the Government Response Statement including: 1) producing data that quantifies wolverine abundance in Red Lake and across the Ontario shield (Action #1); 2) determining wolverine habitat use and den-site selection in response to industrial disturbance (Action #2); and 3) developing best-management practices for human activities in wolverine habitats (Action #7). Our field work centres around documenting wolverine movement, distribution, and abundance in Red Lake, Ontario with the use of live traps, GPS collars, and run poles. Project funders include the W. Garfield Weston Foundation, the Ontario Species at Risk Stewardship Fund administered by the MNRF, Evolution, and Domtar. The field crew is comprised of seasonal technicians, WCSC scientists, and local trappers.

Standard national pour l’identification des zones clés pour la biodiversité au Canada

Le présent document constitue le Standard KBA national pour le Canada – une adaptation du Standard KBA mondial qui est pertinent au contexte canadien et qui élargit le champ d’application de l’identification des KBA dans ce pays. Le Standard KBA national comprend officiellement les définitions, les critères et les seuils connexes. Elle contient également des sections sur les procédures liées aux KBA appliquées dans un contexte canadien, telles que la délimitation et le processus d’examen des KBA au Canada. Le Standard KBA national doit être utilisée parallèlement au Standard KBA mondial et aux Lignes directrices KBA mondiales. Il ne sera peut-être pas possible de déterminer si un site répond aux critères mondiaux ou nationaux tant que les analyses ne seront pas terminées; c’est pourquoi nous présentons les critères et les seuils mondiaux parallèlement aux critères et aux seuils nationaux à la section VIIII. Les lignes directrices KBA mondiales servent à appliquer le Standard KBA national et doivent être examinées avant de procéder à l’identification et à la délimitation des KBA. Des lignes directrices supplémentaires propres au Canada figurent dans les annexes du présent document et dans d’autres publications de l’initiative KBA canadienne accessibles sur le site Web de KBA Canada.

Conservation of Lakeshore Zones in the Northern Boreal Mountains: State of Knowledge, and Principles and Guidelines for Planning and Management. WCS Canada Conservation Report No.14.

The lakes and their shores of northwest Canada deserve more planning and management attention to sustain their diverse ecological values and the numerous benefits they provide to people. In this mountainous boreal region, lakes and ponds, and the shore zone ecosystem spanning water and adjacent land, are essential for 8% of mammals, 43% of birds, 72% of fishes, and 100% of amphibians, as well as substantial proportions of insects and plants. Lakes are highly valued by people as sources of fish for food, and water for drinking, industrial production, and irrigation. Along with their shore zones, they are prime places for residential development and recreation. In Yukon and northern British Columbia, growing numbers of people and increasing extraction of natural resources are intensifying threats of water pollution, over-fishing, loss of shorelines to development, and disturbance to wildlife. An overheating climate layers on new threats of warming and more-acidic water plus siltation and loss of shorelines to permafrost melt. In this Report we summarize scientific information about the various types of lakes in this region, how lake and lake shore ecosystems function, and the threats they face. We advocate for more explicit attention for these ecosystems in regional land use planning, as well as in local area planning and environmental impact assessments. We lay out a number of principles for planning and management of lakes and lake shores at regional, and single-lake scales, along with Guidelines for applying those principles. This approach covers issues ranging from protection of a representative selection of different lake and shore zone types, zoning of lake shores with respect to types and intensities of allowable human activities, protecting critical habitats for focal species whose habitat needs are easily impacted by people, and providing guidelines for stewardship of lake shores by private land holders.

Is Canada's Impact Assessment Act Working

The Impact Assessment Act (IAA) came into force in August 2019, replacing the widely criticized Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012. Is the IAA meeting the government’s commitment to new legislation that would “restore robust oversight and thorough environmental assessments of areas under federal jurisdiction”? In this report, implementation of the IAA is compared to 12 “essential elements of next generation environmental assessment” established by leading Canadian experts and thought leaders. Findings are based on a detailed analysis that compares IAA implementation against key indicators under each of these 12 elements. The analysis includes the projects that have been designated for assessment under the IAA through the end of 2020, as well as the regulations, policies and guidance developed to date to support the IAA. The report also analyzes the several regional and strategic assessments initiated under the IAA.

La Loi sur l’évaluation d’impact du Canada fonctionne-t-elle

Largement critiquée, la Loi canadienne sur l’évaluation environnementale (2012) a été remplacée en août 2019 par La Loi sur l’évaluation d’impact (LÉI). La LÉI respecte-t-elle l’engagement du gouvernement promettant la création d’une nouvelle loi qui « rétablirait une surveillance robuste et des évaluations environnementales approfondies des domaines de compétence fédérale » ?1 Dans ce rapport, la mise en œuvre de la LÉI est comparée à douze « éléments essentiels de la prochaine génération de l’évaluation environnementale » établis par des experts et des leaders d’opinion canadiens de premier plan.2 Les conclusions sont fondées sur une analyse détaillée comparant la mise en œuvre de la LÉI aux indicateurs clés de chacun de ces douze éléments. L’analyse comprend les projets qui ont été désignés pour évaluation dans le cadre de la LÉI jusqu’à la fin 2020, ainsi que les règlements, les politiques et les orientations élaborés à ce jour pour soutenir la LÉI. Le présent rapport analyse également les différentes évaluations régionales et stratégiques lancées dans le cadre de la LÉI.

A National Standard for the Identification of Key Biodiversity Areas in Canada

This document is the National KBA Standard for Canada – an adaptation of the Global KBA Standard that is relevant to the Canadian context and expands the scope of KBA identification in this country. The Canadian National KBA Standard is formally considered to include definitions, the criteria, and associated thresholds. It also contains sections on KBA-related procedures applied in a Canadian context, such as delineation and the Canadian KBA review process. The National KBA Standard should be used hand in hand with the Global KBA Standard and Guidelines.

North American Boreal Terrestrial Ecosystem Biomass: A Spatial Data Review

Boreal forests, wetlands, and soils hold substantial amounts of carbon in the form of plant material, alive and in various stages of decay (herein “biomass carbon”). Governments, scientists, industry, and civil society organizations are increasingly interested in identifying where and how much biomass carbon is held in North American boreal ecosystems to help prioritize stewardship actions, inform adaptive planning, proactively mitigate climate change, and harness new investments in ecosystem services. This report surveys publicly available spatial data quantifying biomass carbon in various subsets or pools (aboveground, below-ground, within soil, wetland, and permafrost) across the North American boreal. This report provides recommendations on the most useful data sources and data sets for each of the pools of biomass carbon.

The Greater Muskwa-Kechika - Building a better network for protecting wildlife and wildlands. WCS Canada Conservation Report Report No.13.

Wildlife Conservation Society Canada conservation scientist John Weaver has developed a bold plan to build on the existing array of protected areas scattered across the Greater Muskwa-Kechica. The network of new areas recommended for protection is based on Dr. Weaver’s analysis of the results from detailed studies by provincial and university biologists. The plan has been carefully shaped to minimize conflict with resource industries while maximizing protection for the core habitats of keystone species, such as caribou, stone sheep, bull trout and moose. This expansion would ensure the Greater Muskwa-Kechika remain a stronghold for wildlife in a world being swept by an extinction crisis.

Fire and Insects - Managing Naturally Disturbed Forests to Conserve Ecological Values. WCS Canada Conservation Report No. 12.

WCS Canada has developed a detailed scientific report on the values of burned and beetle killed forests in Yukon and how we can shape timber harvest (including biomass harvesting) in these areas to protect these values.

Watching, Listening, and Learning to Understand Change - Developing a Community-Based Monitoring (CBM) Initiative in Ontario's Far North

Ontario’s Far North is one of the world’s largest most intact expanses of boreal forest and wetlands. The region has almost no industrial development today. Far from being a frontier for new mines, all-weather roads, and transmission, the region is the homeland of Cree and Ojibway Indigenous peoples. They rely on the land, freshwater, air, fish and wildlife for traditional economies and cultural and spiritual values. They are also engaged in environmental planning for new industrial development and climate change. As such, impacts of climate change and development decisions on communities and their traditional territories, must be monitored. Our report develops the rationale for the design and implementation of a community-based monitoring approach in Ontario’s Far North and looks at examples from across Canada and around the world in order to support First Nations in their roles and responsibilities in taking care of the land, water, fish, and wildlife.
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