WCS Canada Conservation Reports Series are authored by WCS scientists to provide an outlet for timely reports on WCS Canada conservation projects. These documents also include updates on WCS Canada research and key reports led by other organizations that WCS Canada has co-authored.

Beneficial Management Practices for Wildlife Species at Risk on Agricultural Lands in Yukon
The need to follow agricultural practices that are ecologically sustainable is increasingly evident given the current crises of climate change and biodiversity loss. Various approaches to agriculture, such as agro-ecology and diversified farming systems, aim to maintain the biodiversity that provides necessary ecosystem services for the farm economy at various scales, in contrast to the ecological simplification of intensive agriculture (Kremen et al. 2012). These approaches recognize that many native species provide vital ecosystem services and need to be conserved in agricultural landscapes. In this context we propose a set of Beneficial Management Practices (BMPs) for conservation of a suite of wildlife species that live in Yukon’s agricultural landscapes and that provide farmers with valuable ecological services of pest control and pollination. The species in question are all listed at risk under the Canadian National Species at Risk Act because of dramatic population declines in other parts of their range. These are three species of birds (Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica), Bank Swallow (Riparia riparia), and Rusty Blackbird (Euphagus carolinus)), the most common bat in Yukon (Little Brown Bat (Myotis lucifugus)), and four species of bumble bees (Gypsy Cuckoo Bumble Bee (Bombus bohemicus), Suckley’s Cuckoo Bumble Bee (Bombus suckleyi), Yellow-banded Bumble Bee (Bombus terricola), and McKay's Western Bumble Bee (Bombus mckayi)). We have compiled the scientific evidence in support of these Beneficial Management Practices from the published literature and from our own field studies of the species in question undertaken in south Yukon’s agricultural landscapes.
Caribou in Northern British Columbia: An Assessment of Range Condition and Population Status. Prepared for the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, Victoria, B.C., and BC Ministry of Forests, Smithers, B.C. Wildlife Conservation Society Canada Conservation Report No. 16
Most populations of caribou (Rangifer tarandus) in southern British Columbia (BC) have undergone dramatic declines, especially in the last 10-20 years, with seven herds already extirpated and another ten having fewer than 50 individuals. By comparison, information available on caribou numbers in northern BC suggests that populations are typically larger than in the south, but recent population estimates are not available for many herds, and quantitative information on their range condition is lacking. We know from abundant scientific information that caribou have a low tolerance for habitat disturbance, particularly from the combined impacts of anthropogenic (human-caused) habitat disturbance (e.g., from resource extraction activities and associated infrastructure) and fire, which results in changes to predator/prey dynamics. While not believed to be in as precarious a situation as their southern counterparts, there are still considerable concerns about the condition of northern caribou populations and their ranges, particularly due to: continued pressures from resource extraction activities, including mining, oil and gas exploration and development, and forest harvesting; roads associated with resource extraction, which can have wide impacts over large areas; and, limited information available about caribou population sizes and trends. In this report we assess the level of anthropogenic habitat disturbance and fire combined as an indicator of the condition of individual herds and their ranges. We also discuss potential future habitat trends, and review and summarize available information on population sizes and trends. This report is a summary of available technical information only. A much broader understanding of caribou in northern BC would be gained by the addition of Indigenous Knowledge.
Wolverine denning ecology and Ontario’s “Forest Management Guide for Conserving Biodiversity at the Stand and Site Scales”: FAQ and Recommendations
Since the spring of 2018, WCS Canada has engaged with the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MECP) and Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry (NDMNEF) and the forestry industry on habitat management associated with wolverine den sites1 we have found over the course of our wolverine GPS collaring project in Red Lake, Ontario. A number of questions have repeatedly come up through these discussions about how our growing knowledge of wolverine denning ecology can inform current government policies. This document contains our responses to these frequently asked ques-tions (FAQ) accompanied by recommendations. We intend for these comments to inform future den site management plans (DSMP), revisions to the “Forest Management Guide for Conserving Biodiversity at the Stand and Site Scales” (SSG), and the “Boreal Landscape Guide”.
WCS Canada Red Lake Wolverine Project Highlights 2020-2021
A 1-page document summarizing the wolverine field project in Red Lake.
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.
Avian Field Report - August 2021
This field report is part of a current study on the cumulative effects of mining, an anthropogenic disturbance in Yukon. To better understand the cumulative impact of mining sites and roads on wildlife, songbirds were selected as a study species because they are good ecological indicators. We investigated changes to bird biodiversity in relation to disturbance types at different spatial scales.
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.
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