Notice of permit

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Regional or Local Number: 19-HCAA-00700

Notice is hereby given that pursuant to the provisions of section 73 of the Species at Risk Act permit no. 19-HCAA-00700 is issued.

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

Phragmites australis is an invasive species that is expanding exponentially in Long Point Bay and Rondeau Bay, displacing native species and limiting critical habitat for numerous species at risk. A method that has been used in the United States but is relatively new to Canada includes applying a custom made herbicide, RoundUp (active ingredient glyphosate), with AquaSurf (a surfactant), which has been shown to be effective at reducing Phragmites density and spread. This project is an extension of the works that the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (OMNRF) conducted in 2016, 2017 and 2018 in Long Point Bay and Rondeau Bay as part of a 5-year pilot project to determine the effectiveness of this method in Canada. The current proposal is to treat a total of 48 hectares in the following locations in Rondeau Bay and Long Point Bay by ground application: Rondeau Provincial Park (10 ha), Long Point Bay (5 ha), Turkey Point Region (1 ha), Lower Big Creek Marshes (6 ha), Big Creek Watershed (20 ha), North Shore of the Inner Bay (6 ha), and as required where regrowth is observed in Long Point Bay. This activity may result in the incidental harm, harassment, or death of Eastern Pondmussel (Ligumia nasuta), Round Pigtoe (Pleurobema sintoxia), Lake Chubsucker (Erimyzon sucetta), Pugnose Shiner (Notropis anogenus), Kidneyshell (Ptychobranchus fasciolaris), Rainbow (Villosa iris), Round Hickorynut (Obovaria subrotunda), Mapleleaf (Great Lakes – Upper St. Lawrence River populations) (Quadrula quadrula), Spotted Gar (Lepisosteus oculatus), or Eastern Sand Darter (Ammocrypta pellucida) (Ontario populations) resulting from the application of herbicide, use of heavy equipment for spraying by ground, or oxygen depletion from vegetative die-off.

Start Date: 2019-08-06   End Date: 2019-10-31

Issuing Authority: Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Authority Used:

  • Species at Risk Act

Location of Activity (province, territory or ocean):

  • Ontario

Affected Species:

a) Alternatives: Previous efforts using alternative mechanical means (e.g., cutting, burning, and rolling) for eradicating the invasive Phragmites australis have been unsuccessful in preventing the spread, and wet (open water) areas continue to be dominated by high-density stands. Effective control must include a combination of mechanical and herbicide application. Control efforts in the United States using herbicide approved for use in both dry and wet environments have been successful, and studies show that effective control must include a combination of mechanical and herbicide application. The Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) has approved the use of RoundUp Custom (glyphosate) and Aquasurf (a surfactant) to be applied on Phragmites stands (but not over open water). b) Measures to minimize impact: The spraying will be via ground treatment, and the movement of machinery will be limited to dense Phragmites stands when possible. Travel between the sites will be restricted to one pass only in an effort to avoid injuring fishes that may use depressions created by the equipment. The custom formula of RoundUp approved by the PMRA poses low risk to the environment and aquatic organisms. Spraying is to be conducted only in stands of Phragmites, and not over open waterbodies, and will be conducted by experienced licensed applicators. Monitoring for fish mortality/distress as well as potential off-target impacts will be conducted after spraying. In addition, if large numbers of fishes are observed to be in distress and/or dying, work will cease and Fisheries and Oceans Canada will be contacted immediately. Measures to avoid and mitigate effects to species at risk will include working outside of the spring timing window, storing the herbicide offsite to reduce opportunities for spillage, ensuring machinery is in accordance with the Clean Equipment Protocol for Industry, operating machinery above the high water mark, and storing machinery offsite to prevent deleterious substances from entering the water. Monitoring of fish species will be conducted by qualified fisheries professionals, who will conduct surveys for dead or distressed fishes in the Big Creek National Wildlife Area in three paired untreated sites to three treated sites using twenty 10 m-long shoreline transects. These sites will be surveyed four times (one to three days pre-treatment, at 24 hours, two to three days post-treatment, and thirty days post-treatment) to evaluate whether any aquatic species at risk were affected by the application of the herbicide and surfactant. OMNRF will work in collaboration with Environment and Climate Change Canada and the University of Waterloo to monitor and analyze many aspects pre- and post-herbicide application, including effects on water, sediment, and aquatic biota. Monitoring of the effects on critical fish habitat (direct and non-target) will occur at the proposed treatment areas, and an additional 125 m buffer surrounding them, using high-resolution drone imagery in late July or early August, prior to any herbicide application, three-four weeks post herbicide application, and late July or early August the following year. c) Effects on survival and recovery: There is the potential for incidental harm to aquatic species at risk through contact with the herbicide. However, this custom formula of RoundUp has been tested on aquatic species not considered to be sensitive, and if applied as directed, it should not kill freshwater biota, including algae, macrophytes, invertebrates, or fishes. Results from the 2016 monitoring at three and 30 days after spraying indicated that there were few fish mortalities (n=24 in treated ponds, including two Warmouth [Lepomis gulosus]) in Long Point Crown Marsh, and none observed in Rondeau Bay. Monitoring in 2017 was conducted at Long Point Crown Marsh at 24 hours, three days, and 30 days after treatment, and five mortalities were observed (Brown Bullhead [Ameiurus nebulosus], Central Mudminnow [Umbra limi], and Noturus sp.). Monitoring in 2018 was conducted at Long Point Crown Marsh at 1-9 days and 43 days after treatment, and one mortality was observed at a control pond (Bowfin [Amia calva]).There is the potential to affect critical habitat as a result of spray drift and movement throughout the wetland by ground equipment; however, there are mitigation measures in place to reduce and avoid these effects. Additionally, harm to species at risk could occur as a result of oxygen depletion in certain isolated ponds. However, the mitigation measures listed previously will be employed to reduce or eliminate these potential effects, and it is expected that there will be little impact, if any, to species at risk.

Contact Person(s)
Melanie Toyne
Regional Manager, Species at Risk Program
Freshwater Institute, Ontario and Prairie Region, Fisheries and Oceans Canada
501 University Crescent
Winnipeg, MB
R3T 2N6

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