Notice of permit

Regional or Local Number: PPNP-2019-10

Notice is hereby given that pursuant to the provisions of section 73 of the Species at Risk Act permit no. PPNP-2019-10 is issued.

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

Description:
The objective of the Open Marsh, Healthy Marsh Partnership conservation restoration project in Point Pelee National Park (PPNP) is to restore the heterogeneity of open water and edge habitats in sections of the interior of the marsh within the park. This will include the creation of channels and ponds with machinery (aquatic vegetation cutter and aquatic weed harvester) through invasive floating cattail mats (Typha angustifolia and Typha x glauca) as well as targeted removal of Phragmites australis australis (hereafter known as Phragmites) on both the shoreline (use of hand tools and herbicide) and floating cattail mats (use of amphibious cutter). Blanding’s Turtle individuals are at risk of interacting with machinery (aquatic vegetation cutter, amphibious cutter, and aquatic weed harvester) or being captured for safe relocation during initial creation of channels and ponds (entry points to management area channels/ ponds, approximating 11 m2 maximum in width). Similar projects in other marshes using similar equipment indicate that the number of Blanding’s Turtles likely to be caught or harmed during this project will be minimal. Some breaking of American Water-willow stems is expected when removing Phragmites stems from American water-willow patches but with mitigations, the number of individuals impacted is expected to be minimal. This project will restore degraded marsh habitat by increasing open water interspersion and managing invasive plant species thereby creating more suitable habitat for native fauna, including Blanding’s Turtles and American Water-willow.

Start Date: 2021-07-15   End Date: 2026-09-30

Issuing Authority: Parks Canada Agency

Authority Used:

  • Species at Risk Act

Location of Activity (province, territory or ocean):

  • Ontario

Affected Species:

Pre-Conditions:
Alternatives: Alternative locations for opening up the cattail mats were considered and final locations were chosen that will maximize dispersion and control of invasive species while minimizing harm to species and critical habitat within the marsh. Alternatives that were considered as part of this project were to do no restoration action, use herbicides including aerial spraying and manual applications, use of explosives to open channels and ponds, burning of invasive species, manual removal of vegetation and various methods of mechanical removal. A combination of mechanical and chemical methods for removing vegetation was chosen to maximize the effectiveness of vegetation removal within project timelines and limit incidental environmental impact on non-target areas/species. This will involve the mechanical creation of channel/ponds through cattail/Phragmites floating mats with a vegetation cutter and subsequent collection and habitat mound creation with an aquatic weed harvester to increase habitat diversity as well as the removal of invasive Phragmites along shoreline areas with handtools and herbicide (on land only) in order to increase habitat biodiversity. Mitigations: The timing window for vegetation cutting between mid-July to end of September takes into account fish spawning windows, bird nesting windows, and turtle hibernation windows, limiting activities between October 1st and July 15th. Equipment used in the marsh for invasive cattail mat removal will be working on the water's surface avoiding disturbance of sediments and floating/ submerged vegetation, and work in shoreline areas will be conducted on foot or by small floating vessels (canoe/kayak) to avoid soil compaction and disturbance. The aquatic vegetation cutter will be towed to the management areas or have a motor attached to minimize impact as the blades are the method of movement for this machinery. Machinery will be working within an environment where Blanding’s Turtles are expected to occupy the fringes (monoculture floating cattail mat). Therefore, machinery and equipment will make several false starts when commencing work and work slowly allowing fauna to swim away from equipment in motion and as work progresses within management areas. Efforts will be made to limit machinery use/access in areas with higher potential presence of turtles, such as muskrat mounds, smaller cattail stands, areas dominated by rush, water lily, and sedges, as well as 25m from the edge of open water within the cattail stand (where work will take place earlier rather than later in the management season in order to avoid encounters with turtles entering hibernation) (Scott Gillingwater Personal Communication 2020). Cattail/Phragmites habitat mounds will be placed on the newly created cattail mat edges adjacent to where work is occurring, avoiding placement on previously existing cattail edge habitat, with minimal amounts left floating in the newly created channels/ponds. Wildlife searches and data recording (date, time, location, and condition of fauna) will take place before management actions, as well as in the newly opened water areas and searching through the new habitat mounds by layer to determine impacts on individual species. Turbidity curtains will extend at least 3 m along the edge of the mats at each end of the curtain surrounding entry points to management areas. The curtain and temporary turbidity within the management area will dissuade entry to new sites by fauna while work is ongoing until suspended particulate has settled. All materials and equipment will be removed from the site post-management with the turbidity curtains being the last equipment removed, remaining in place until turbidity levels inside the curtain are reflective of those outside the curtain. Herbicide application by backpack spraying will remain at least 2m away from the water’s edge as dictated by the Canada Pesticide Act for glyphosate based herbicide (Roundup Weathermax). Trimming in Tiessen’s Channel will only take place at 80% of the water column depth ensuring that the top of the vegetation is cut and the machine is not dragging along the bottom or cutting the plant roots. Jeopardy to Survival or Recovery: This project will increase overall native habitat diversity within the marsh including suitable habitat for Blanding’s Turtles and American Water-willow. Restoring the marsh at Point Pelee National Park is essential to maintain the presence of Blanding’s Turtles and American Water-willow and is consistent with achieving population and distribution objectives identified in the recovery strategies for both species as well as in the Multi-species Action Plan for Point Pelee National Park of Canada. As such, this project will not jeopardize survival or recovery of the species but will instead be key to achieving the long-term recovery goal for the species.

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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