Response Statement - Western Grebe

January 13, 2015

Common Name: Western Grebe
Scientific Name: Aechmophorus occidentalis

Status assessment by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC): Special Concern

How the Minister of the Environment intends to respond to the assessment: The Minister of the Environment will forward the COSEWIC assessment of the Western Grebe to the Governor in Council as soon as possible after the close of the normal consultation period. The Minister of Environment will consult with the governments of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, Aboriginal peoples, stakeholders, and the public on whether or not the Western Grebe should be added to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk (Schedule 1) under the Species at Risk Act as Special Concern.

Once a species has been assessed as at risk by COSEWIC, further steps must be undertaken before it is added to Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act. For more information on this process, please view The Species Listing Process Under SARA.

Reason(s) for status designation provided by COSEWIC: Although population declines have occurred within this waterbird’s Canadian wintering area on the Pacific coast, this could largely be the result of a southern shift in wintering distribution rather than a true loss in population size. Nevertheless, on a continental scale, wintering populations have undergone a 44% decline from 1995 to 2010 based on Christmas Bird Count data. Some of this decline may also be the result of declines on the Canadian breeding grounds. In addition, this species’ propensity to congregate in large groups, both in breeding colonies and on its wintering areas, makes its population susceptible to a variety of threats, including oil spills, water level fluctuations, fisheries bycatch, and declines in prey availability.

Occurrence: British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba

Competent Minister(s):
Minister of Environment
Minister responsible for the Parks Canada Agency

Province(s) and territory (territories) to be consulted:
British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba

Applicable federal legislation:  This species is protected under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994. When the species is found within national parks of Canada or other lands administered by the Parks Canada Agency, it is protected or managed under the Canada National Parks Act or through measures or management tools available to the Parks Canada Agency under other legislation.

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