Scientific Name: Braya pilosa
Taxonomy Group: Vascular Plants
COSEWIC Range: Northwest Territories
COSEWIC Assessment Date and Status Change: May 2013
COSEWIC Status: Endangered
COSEWIC Status Criteria: B1ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v)+2ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v)
COSEWIC Reason for Designation: This plant is restricted globally to a very small area in the Northwest Territories. It is endangered by the loss of habitat through very rapid coastal erosion and saline wash resulting from storm surges, and by permafrost melting. These events appear to be increasing in frequency and severity as a consequence of a significant reduction in sea ice cover on the Beaufort Sea and changes in weather patterns. These indirect impacts of climate change are expected to continue into the foreseeable future.
COSEWIC History of Status Designation: Designated Endangered in May 2013.
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Endangered
Date of Listing (yyyy-mm-dd): 2018-02-02
Please note that this information is provided for general information purposes only. For the most up to date and accurate list of species listed under the Species at Risk Act, please see the Justice Laws Website.
Hairy Braya (Braya pilosa) is a long-lived perennial mustard with one to many stems 4.0-12 cm long, erect to ascending to almost prostrate and moderately to densely hairy. It is distinguished from other Braya species by its large flowers and globose (nearly spherical) fruits with very long persistent styles. Hairy Braya is a narrow endemic of arctic Canada that likely played a crucial role in the evolution of other Braya species. [Updated by COSEWIC- May. 2013]
Distribution and Population
Hairy Braya is only known to occur on Cape Bathurst in the Northwest Territories of Canada. There are 13 populations on the northern portion of Cape Bathurst and on the nearby Baillie Islands. Hairy Braya is restricted to an area that remained ice-free during the Pleistocene and it has apparently been unable to move into surrounding glaciated areas over the millennia since the ice receded. Precise counts of the number of individuals have not been made, but estimates of the number of mature individuals observed in 2011 range from about 12,000 to 16,000. Populations on coastal bluffs subject to rapid erosion are clearly at risk of declining. The total number of individuals in one coastal population plummeted between 2004 and 2011. It can be expected that similar populations on eroding shorelines will be similarly affected. Trends and fluctuations in population sizes on protected sections of the coast and on inland bluffs have not been determined, but population sizes appear to be stable. [Updated by COSEWIC- May. 2013]
Hairy Braya grows on bluffs and dry uplands on patches of bare, calcium-rich sandy or silty soils. It typically grows with Arctic Willow, Entire-leaved Mountain-avens, and various grass species including Richardson’s Fescue, Arctic Wheatgrass, Arctic Bluegrass, and Alkali Grass.These habitats appear to be quite limited on Cape Bathurst. Patches of suitable habitat are often separated by large areas of wet tundra, or by eroded cliffs or salinized soils. Coastal areas southwest of Cape Bathurst are rapidly eroding, and a decrease in arctic sea ice is likely hastening the erosion of Hairy Braya habitat along the coast. [Updated by COSEWIC- May. 2013]
Hairy Braya was lost to science from 1850 to 2004. As a result, very little is known about the biology of the species. However, the large, fragrant flowers suggest that the plant is insect-pollinated, and seeds germinate readily. There is some genetic and morphological evidence that two related species, Smooth Braya and Greenland Braya may have arisen from Hairy Braya, and it is possible that hybridization between these species, both of which overlap in distribution with Hairy Braya, may be ongoing. [Updated by COSEWIC- May. 2013]
The most obvious threat to Hairy Braya is a loss of habitat due to rapid erosion and saline wash of coastline habitat resulting from storm surges and permafrost melting. These events appear to be increasing in frequency and severity as a consequence of a substantial reduction in ice cover on the Beaufort Sea over the past few decades. These impacts of anthropogenic climate change are expected to continue into the foreseeable future, and therefore it is unlikely that coastal erosion rates will decrease. [Updated by COSEWIC- May. 2013]
The Hairy Braya is protected under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). More information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available in the Species at Risk Act: A Guide.
Provincial and Territorial Protection
Status of Recovery Planning
Recovery Strategies :
Name Recovery Strategy for the Hairy Braya (Braya pilosa) in Canada
Status First posting on SAR registry
PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.
8 record(s) found.
- COSEWIC Status Reports (1 record(s) found.)
- Response Statements (1 record(s) found.)
- Recovery Strategies (1 record(s) found.)
- Orders (2 record(s) found.)
- COSEWIC Annual Reports (1 record(s) found.)
- Consultation Documents (1 record(s) found.)
- Related Information (1 record(s) found.)
COSEWIC Status Reports
Response Statement - Hairy Braya (2013-12-18)This plant is restricted globally to a very small area in the Northwest Territories. It is endangered by the loss of habitat through very rapid coastal erosion and saline wash resulting from storm surges, and by permafrost melting. These events appear to be increasing in frequency and severity as a consequence of a significant reduction in sea ice cover on the Beaufort Sea and changes in weather patterns. These indirect impacts of climate change are expected to continue into the foreseeable future.
COSEWIC Annual Reports
COSEWIC Annual Report – 2012-2013 (2013-09-24)Under Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA), the foremost function of COSEWIC is to “assess the status of each wildlife species considered by COSEWIC to be at risk and, as part of the assessment, identify existing and potential threats to the species”. COSEWIC held two Wildlife Species Assessment Meetings in this reporting year (October, 2012 to September 2013) from November 25 to November 30, 2012 and from April 28 to May 3, 2013. During the current reporting period, COSEWIC assessed the status or reviewed the classification of 73 wildlife species. The wildlife species assessment results for the 2012-2013 reporting period include the following: Extinct: 0 Extirpated: 2 Endangered: 28 Threatened: 19 Special Concern: 19 Data Deficient: 4 Not at Risk: 1 Total: 73 Of the 73 wildlife species examined, COSEWIC reviewed the classification of 50 species that had been previously assessed. The review of classification for 26 of those species resulted in a confirmation of the same status as the previous assessment.