Notice of permit

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Regional or Local Number: J15-094

Notice is hereby given that pursuant to the provisions of section 74 of the Species at Risk Act permit no. J15-094 is issued.

Purpose:
Activity affecting the species is incidental to the carrying out of the activity

Description:
At the Mount Edith Cavell day use area in Jasper National Park, the Parks Canada Agency will be rehabilitating infrastructure and rerouting a road damaged in a flood event in 2012, expanding the parking lot to reduce congestion along the road, and repairing and adding to the trail network to contribute to visitor experience and reduce off-trail wandering and associated negative impacts. The project falls within high elevation critical habitat for the Tonquin subpopulation of Woodland Caribou (Southern Mountain Population), which occurs within the Jasper-Banff Local Population Unit as described in the 2014 recovery strategy for the species. Whitebark Pine also occurs within the project area, and areas where trail work will occur likely meet the criteria of regeneration critical habitat as described in the draft recovery strategy for the species.

Start Date: 2016-09-19   End Date: 2019-09-19

Issuing Authority: Parks Canada Agency

Authority Used:

  • Species at Risk Act
  • Canada National Parks Act

Location of Activity (province, territory or ocean):

  • Alberta

Affected Species:

Pre-Conditions:
a)All reasonable alternatives to the activity that would reduce the impact on the species have been considered and the best solution has been adopted: The current access road is in a flood zone, which poses a risk to visitor safety; therefore, a no action alternative is not considered feasible. A study was completed on the potential of offering a shuttle from the base of the Cavell road and only repairing the existing infrastructure and re-routing the road outside of the flood zone, instead of increasing parking capacity; however, it was deemed to be unsustainable. Not completing repairs is expected to result in risks to visitor safety. b)All feasible measures will be taken to minimize the impact of the activity on the species or its critical habitat or the residences of its individuals: The one Whitebark Pine seedling that occurs within the parking lot expansion area will be relocated by Parks Canada staff and monitored once annually for three years post-project. A five metre buffer will be maintained around any Whitebark Pine that are found during pre-construction surveys, to ensure that they are not impacted by project activities. Work will not occur during the delayed access period specified by Parks Canada to protect Woodland Caribou (November 1 to February 15). Handrails will be restricted to viewpoints and areas where visitor safety is a concern to avoid physical barriers and “fencing’ effects on caribou. Speed limits will be posted and special care will be taken during any access to the site in the spring when caribou may be present along the Cavell road. Any observations (sightings, signs) of caribou in the project area or on the Cavell road will be reported to Parks Canada biologists. Two changes are being implemented to the Meadows trail to offset impacts from this project: a re-route of the final endpoint of the trail to the top of a scree slope to provide an endpoint that is visually satisfying, thereby reducing random wandering and disturbance of caribou; and installation of interpretive signage related to species at risk issues. Both will be complete by the date of project completion. Increased access to snowpatches and windy ridges for caribou, mediated by concentrating human use, will constitute gains in the Cavell Meadows area and a gain for caribou in the Tonquin Valley subpopulation. c)The activity will not jeopardize the survival or recovery of the species: The draft population and distribution objective for Whitebark Pine is to establish a self-sustaining, rust-resistant population of Whitebark Pine throughout the species' range that demonstrates natural seed dispersal, connectivity, genetic diversity and adaptability to changing climate, and this project will not jeopardize these objectives. The relocation of one seedling and small loss of regeneration habitat will be offset by the planting of 20 two-year-old rust resistant seedlings in other areas of Whitebark Pine range within Jasper National park in 2017. The population and distribution objectives in the 2014 Recovery Strategy Woodland Caribou, Southern Mountain Population are to stop the decline in both size and distribution of all local population units; maintain the current distribution within each local population unit; and increase the size of all local population units to self-sustaining levels. The project is expected to increase disturbance footprint in high elevation critical habitat for the Tonquin subpopulation (one of four subpopulations in the local population unit) from 4.1% to 4.2%, which is not expected to delay or prevent attainment of the recovery objectives. The primary threat to the Tonquin subpopulation of caribou is not availability of habitat. Threats to the subpopulation are associated with predation and long-term changes in predator/prey dynamics in the park’s main valleys. This project is not expected to increase either of those threats.

Contact Person(s)
Parks Canada
Species Conservation and Management
Natural Resource Conservation
Parks Canada
30 Victoria Street 3rd floor
Gatineau, QC
J8X 0B3
Tel: 888-773-8888
Fax: 819-420-9273
pca_sar.registrycomments@pc.gc.ca

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