Species Profile

Great Basin Gophersnake

Scientific Name: Pituophis catenifer deserticola
Other/Previous Names: Great Basin Gopher Snake
Taxonomy Group: Reptiles
COSEWIC Range: British Columbia
COSEWIC Assessment Date and Status Change: May 2013
COSEWIC Status: Threatened
COSEWIC Status Criteria: A3b
COSEWIC Reason for Designation: This large, non-venomous snake is restricted in Canada to the dry southern interior of British Columbia, where it occurs within landscapes fragmented by roads, orchards, vineyards, and houses. Because of its low reproductive rate and late age at maturity, seasonal migrations, and habit of lingering on warm roads, this snake is especially vulnerable to road mortality. This mortality, together with habitat loss and degradation and intentional and inadvertent killing, are expected to continue and result in population declines over the next 24 years (3 generations).
COSEWIC History of Status Designation: Designated Threatened in May 2002. Status re-examined and confirmed in May 2013.
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Threatened
Date of Listing (yyyy-mm-dd): 2005-01-12

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.

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Quick Links: | Taxonomy | Photo | Description | Distribution and Population | Habitat | Biology | Threats | Protection | Recovery Initiatives | National Recovery Program | Documents

Image of Great Basin Gophersnake

Great Basin Gophersnake Photo 1

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Taxonomy

There are three subspecies of Pituophis catenifer recognized in Canada: the Bullsnake P.c. sayi; the Great Basin Gophersnake P.c. deserticola; and the Pacific Gophersnake P.c. catenifer.

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Description

The Great Basin Gophersnake, Pituophis catenifer deserticola,is the largest snake native to British Columbia. Adults measure up to 2.4 m in total length. The base body colour is grey, cream or yellowish; the underside is white. There is a dark band between the eyes, and two dark bands extending from above the eye to the upper jaw. The back and sides are marked with a series of regularly spaced dark brown or black rectangular blotches that become stripes on the tail. The Great Basin Gophersnake is one of a suite of species vulnerable to development and degradation of native grasslands. (Updated 2017/05/25)

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Distribution and Population

The Great Basin Gophersnake’s range extends from southern British Columbia to Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming. The Canadian portion consists of parts of the dry interior of British Columbia and includes warm, dry grassland valleys of the Thompson and Okanagan rivers, Fraser River Valley from Lillooet north to Big Bar Creek, Lower Nicola River Valley, Similkameen River Valley, from the international boundary to Hedley, and Kettle River Valley from Rock Creek to Christina Lake. The species occurs at elevations from 200 – 1000 m throughout most of its Canadian range but may occasionally be found at elevations up to 1700 m. (Updated 2017/05/25)

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Habitat

To complete their life cycle, gophersnakes require access to foraging, hibernating, and egg-laying habitats that are relatively close together (optimally within approximately 500 m). They forage in a variety of open habitats, including grasslands, dry open forest, edges of cultivated fields, shrubby areas, talus, wetlands, and riparian areas. Gophersnakes shelter in underground burrows, at the base of shrubs, or under rocks, logs or other cover objects. Females lay their eggs in burrows on warm grassy slopes or in fine talus. Gophersnakes hibernate during winter in dens in bedrock crevices, in deep burrows in earth or in road-fill, or in interstitial spaces between rocks in talus slopes. They often share winter dens with other snake species, such as Desert Nightsnakes, Western Rattlesnakes, Western Yellow-bellied Racers, and Terrestrial Gartersnakes. (Updated 2017/05/25)

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Biology

Increasing ground temperatures in spring (March – April) cause gophersnakes to rouse from winter dormancy, emerge from their dens, and travel to summer ranges. Mating takes place shortly after the snakes leave their winter dens. Females lay 2 – 8 eggs in June or July in an underground chamber on a warm slope. Most clutches hatch from late August to early October. Gophersnakes travel back to their winter dens in fall, with some individuals returning as early as August. They usually return to the same winter den year after year but will occasionally switch dens. Females are thought to mature at 3 – 5 years of age, produce 1 small clutch annually or every second year, and may live more than a decade. The generation time is approximately 8 years. Gophersnake populations rely on high adult survivorship for persistence. Gophersnakes are non-venomous. They feed on small mammals and birds, which they kill by constriction. Predators of gophersnakes and their eggs include badgers, coyotes, foxes, skunks, hawks, owls, and eagles. When threatened, gophersnakes may produce a rattlesnake-like display of tail vibration, hissing and striking. This behaviour probably protects them from some predators but also makes them more likely to be killed by people mistaking this harmless species for a venomous one. (Updated 2017/05/25)

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Threats

The greatest threat to gophersnakes in Canada is direct mortality, mainly through roadkill but also from construction, mining, forestry and agricultural machinery. Loss and degradation of grassland habitats from urban, industrial and agricultural sources further threaten populations. Strychnine-based poisons used to control Pocket Gophers in orchard and vineyards can result in mortality of snakes that consume contaminated prey. Fire suppression can lead to habitat degradation through forest encroachment onto grasslands. Human persecution is an ongoing threat. (Updated 2017/05/25)

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Protection

Federal Protection

The Great Basin Gophersnake 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

To know if this species is protected by provincial or territorial laws, consult the provinces' and territories' websites.

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Recovery Initiatives

Status of Recovery Planning

Recovery Strategies :

Name Recovery strategy for Great Basin Gophersnake (Pituophis catenifer deserticola) in British Columbia
Status Broader consultation initiated

Name Recovery Strategy for the Western Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus), the Great Basin Gophersnake (Pituophis catenifer deserticola) and the Desert Nightsnake (Hypsiglena chlorophaea) in Canada
Status Final posting on SAR registry

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Recovery Progress and Activities

Summary of Progress to Date Recovery of the Great Basin Gophersnake is addressed under a Provincial Recovery Plan, a National Recovery Strategy, and by the South Okanagan - Similkameen Conservation Program (SOSCP). Habitat suitability models for this species have been developed for three areas in the Okanagan-Similkameen region. Wildlife Habitat Areas, as part of British Columbia’s Identified Wildlife Management Strategy, have been proposed for known Great Basin Gophersnake hibernacula on Provincial Crown Lands throughout their range in the province. Summary of Research/Monitoring Activities Hibernacula surveys have been conducted in the south Okanagan and lower Similkameen areas of British Columbia. In the south Okanagan area, radio telemetry has been employed to track female Gophersnakes and investigate their survivorship, habitat use, dispersal, and life-history parameters. Mark-recapture studies using passive transponder tags have been carried out to estimate Gophersnake population size at two study sites. A database has been developed to keep track of the data gathered from these and future studies. This information is being used to provide suitable hibernacula, nesting sites, and foraging areas for Great Basin Gophersnakes throughout interior British Columbia. Summary of Recovery Activities Landowner outreach regarding the Great Basin Gophersnake focuses on known Gophersnake habitat areas and aims to increase recognition and appreciation of this species. Many of the activities associated with Gophersnake recovery are included in the South Okanagan-Similkameen Conservation Program. URLs The Reptiles of British Columbia: Great Basin Gopher Snakehttp://www.bcreptiles.ca/snakes/grtbasingopher.htm

Documents

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.

26 record(s) found.

COSEWIC Status Reports

  • COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Gophersnake Pituophis catenifer in Canada (2014-01-08)

    The Gophersnake (Pituophis catenifer) is a large (up to 2 meters total length), yellow or cream snake, with dark spots and a dark line across the face, from the eye to the jaw. Three subspecies are recognized in Canada, the Bullsnake (P.c. sayi), the Great Basin Gophersnake (P.c. deserticola), and the Pacific Gophersnake (P.c. catenifer).

Response Statements

  • Response Statement - Great Basin Gophersnake (2013-12-18)

    This large, non-venomous snake is restricted in Canada to the dry southern interior of British Columbia, where it occurs within landscapes fragmented by roads, orchards, vineyards, and houses. Because of its low reproductive rate and late age at maturity, seasonal migrations, and habit of lingering on warm roads, this snake is especially vulnerable to road mortality. This mortality, together with habitat loss and degradation and intentional and inadvertent killing, are expected to continue and result in population declines over the next 24 years (3 generations).
  • Response Statements - Great Basin Gophersnake (2004-04-21)

    A response statement is a communications document that identifies how the Minister of the Environment intends to respond to the assessment of a wildlife species by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). The document provides a start to the listing and recovery process for those species identified as being at risk, and provides timelines for action to the extent possible.

Recovery Strategies

  • Recovery Strategy for the Western Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus), the Great Basin Gophersnake (Pituophis catenifer deserticola) and the Desert Nightsnake (Hypsiglena chlorophaea) in Canada (2019-09-05)

    The Minister of Environment and Climate Change is the competent minister under SARA for the Western Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus), the Great Basin Gophersnake (Pituophis catenifer deserticola) and the Desert Nightsnake (Hypsiglena chlorophaea) and has prepared the federal component of this recovery strategy (Part 1), as per section 37 of SARA. To the extent possible, it has been prepared in cooperation with the Province of British Columbia as per section 39(1) of SARA. SARA section 44 allows the Minister to adopt all or part of an existing plan for the species if it meets the requirements under SARA for content (sub-sections 41(1) or (2)). The Province of British Columbia provided the attached recovery plans for the Snakes of the British Columbia Southern Interior - Western Rattlesnake, Great Basin Gophersnake and Desert Nightsnake (Part 2) as science advice to the jurisdictions responsible for managing the species in British Columbia. It was prepared in cooperation with Environment and Climate Change Canada.

Orders

  • Order Acknowledging Receipt of the Assessments Done Pursuant to Subsection 23(1) of the Species at Risk Act (2004-04-21)

    This Order acknowledges receipt by the Governor in Council of the assessments of the status of wildlife species done pursuant to subsection 23(1) of the Species at Risk Act (SARA) by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). The purpose of SARA is to prevent wildlife species from being extirpated or becoming extinct, to provide for the recovery of wildlife species that are extirpated, endangered or threatened as a result of human activity and to manage species of special concern to prevent them from becoming endangered or threatened.
  • Order Amending Schedules 1 to 3 to the Species at Risk Act (volume 139, number 2, 2005) (2005-01-12)

    Schedule 1, the List of Wildlife Species at Risk of the Species at Risk Act (SARA), is amended by Order of the Governor in Council (GIC), on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, by the addition of 73 species. This Order is based on scientific assessments by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) and follows consultations with provincial and territorial governments, Aboriginal peoples, stakeholders and the public, and analysis of costs and benefits to Canadians.

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.

Permits and Related Agreements

  • Explanation for issuing permit(#23), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2006-06-01)

    In order to determine local population size, habitat use, and hibernacula locations, the proponents will engage in mark/recapture and radio-telemetry study of Western Rattlesnakes and Great Basin Gophersnakes. The main components of this project are: 1) mark/recapture of up to 75 snakes, and 2) radio-tagging of 6-8 of these snakes. All snakes captured will be sexed, measured, weighed, and PIT (passive integrated transponder) tagged for identification. Snakes selected for radio-tagging will be transported off-site for surgical insertion of radio-transmitters by a trained veterinarian. Radio-tagged snakes will then be released at the point of capture, after a period of recovery.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#39), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2007-04-01)

    A definition of suitable habitat, including key elements such as hibernacula, nesting sites and extent of summer foraging areas, is necessary to meet the recovery objectives for this species. This project consists of two components: a mark and recapture study, and a radio-telemetry study. Up to 100 snakes will be captured using approved, standardized techniques. While captive, snakes will be sexed and marked with a PIT (Passive Integrated Transponder) tag. A subset of 40 animals will undergo an additional surgical implantation of a radio-transmitter. The surgical procedure will be conducted off-site at a local veterinary hospital by a trained veterinarian, after which snakes will be relocated to the place of capture. Radio-tagged snakes will subsequently be tracked to determine habitat use. Data collected will be used to generate GIS models that will help to evaluate habitat availability and selection by gopher snakes over a broader range of its occurrence within the interior of BC.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#59-05-0308), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2005-03-21)

    Following intensive auditory surveys conducted during the spring, the proponents will conduct larval net surveys in all suitable ponds throughout the project area. Captured individuals will be temporarily placed into holding containers, and then returned to the pond once sampling is complete. The results of larval surveys will be compared among years and sites to characterize and monitor trends in populations of Great Basin Spadefoots in the project area. With respect to snake surveys, the proponents will visit known hibernacula locations and conduct search-unit surveys for snakes as they leave the hibernacula. In accordance with the Resources Inventory Standards Committee protocols, they will briefly handle snakes to sex and measure individuals.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#59-05-0309), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2005-03-21)

    Following intensive auditory surveys conducted during the spring, the proponents will conduct larval net surveys in all suitable ponds throughout the project area. Captured individuals will be temporarily placed into holding containers, and then returned to the pond once sampling is complete. The results of larval surveys will be compared among years and sites to characterize and monitor trends in populations of Great Basin Spadefoots in the project area. With respect to snake surveys, the proponents will visit known hibernacula locations and conduct search-unit surveys for snakes as they leave the hibernacula. In accordance with the Resources Information Standards Committee protocols, they will briefly handle snakes to sex and measure individuals.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#59-05-0370), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2005-05-01)

    A definition of suitable habitat, including key elements such as hibernacula, nesting sites and extent of summer foraging areas, is necessary to meet the recovery objectives for this species. This project consists of two components: a mark and recapture study, and a radio-telemetry study. Up to 100 snakes will be captured using approved, standardized techniques. While captive, snakes will be sexed and marked with a PIT (Passive Integrated Transponder) tag. A subset of 10 animals will undergo an additional surgical implantation of a radio-transmitter. The surgical procedure will be conducted off-site at a local veterinary hospital by a trained veterinarian, after which snakes will be relocated to the place of capture. Radio-tagged snakes will subsequently be tracked to determine habitat use. Data collected will be used to generate GIS models that will help to evaluate habitat availability and selection by gopher snakes over a broader range of its occurrence within the interior of BC.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#6), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2006-04-01)

    A definition of suitable habitat, including key elements such as hibernacula, nesting sites and extent of summer foraging areas, is necessary to meet the recovery objectives for this species. This project consists of two components: a mark and recapture study, and a radio-telemetry study. Up to 100 snakes will be captured using approved, standardized techniques. While captive, snakes will be sexed and marked with a PIT (Passive Integrated Transponder) tag. A subset of 40 animals will undergo an additional surgical implantation of a radio-transmitter. The surgical procedure will be conducted off-site at a local veterinary hospital by a trained veterinarian, after which snakes will be relocated to the place of capture. Radio-tagged snakes will subsequently be tracked to determine habitat use. Data collected will be used to generate GIS models that will help to evaluate habitat availability and selection by gopher snakes over a broader range of its occurrence within the interior of BC.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#SARA-PYR-2007-0060), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2007-06-12)

    Description: In order to determine local population size, habitat use, and hibernacula locations, the proponents will engage in mark/recapture and radio-telemetry study of Western Rattlesnakes and Great Basin Gophersnakes. The main components of this project are: 1) mark/recapture of up to 100 snakes, and 2) radio-tagging of up to 20 of these snakes. All snakes captured will be sexed, measured, weighed, and PIT (passive integrated transponder) tagged for identification. Snakes selected for radio-tagging will be transported off-site for surgical insertion of radio-transmitters by a trained veterinarian. Radio-tagged snakes will then be released at the point of capture, after a period of recovery.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#SARA-PYR-2007-0068), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2007-08-01)

    A definition of suitable habitat, including key elements such as hibernacula, nesting sites and extent of summer foraging areas, is necessary to meet the recovery objectives for this species. Efforts to conserve this snake and identify its critical habitats in British Columbia will benefit immensely from the population connectivity data gathered by this study. This project consists of two components: a mark and recapture study, and a radio-telemetry study. Up to 200 snakes will be captured using approved, standardized techniques. The methodologies associated with mark and recapture and surgical implantation of radio-transmitters have previously reviewed (see SARA Permit #39). Additionally, blood will be collected from the caudal vein (in the tail) of captured snakes. Samples will be used to conduct genetic micro-satellite analysis. This work will provide estimates of gene flow across various distances, relatedness within populations, and genetic connectivity within the Okanagan gophersnake sub-populations.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#SARA-PYR-2008-0074), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2008-04-01)

    Radio-Telemetry: 19 adult gophersnakes that are presently implanted with radio-transmitters will be captured upon emergence from hibernation in the spring, and will be brought in to the veterinarian for transmitter removal. No negative effects resulting from capture, processing, surgery or release, were experienced in 2005, 2006, or 2007, and none are expected in 2008. Time in captivity is minimized to a maximum of 48 hours pre and post surgery with the exception of injured animals. Snakes are held in the lab in separate opaque containers and provided with water and a thermal gradient until data can be collected and the snake can be released. If a snake must be held for a period of greater than 7 days (i.e. if a snake is injured) food is provided. In order to further minimize disturbance to snakes while in captivity, the snake is handled on a single occasion to collect data. The animal is then returned to its container to await release at its capture location. All items that come into contact with a snake while in captivity are sterilized before reuse to reduce the risk of disease and parasite transfer using dilute Quatsyl-D Plus as directed by the veterinarian.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#SARA-PYR-2008-0077), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2008-04-09)

    Genetic analysis will be conducted on two reptiles Western rattlesnake, (Crotalus oreganos); Great Basin gophersnake, (Pituophis catenifer deserticola) and two amphibian species namely Great Basin spadefoot, (Spea intermontana) and Tiger salamander (Ambystoma tigrinium). Blood samples of western rattlesnakes and Great Basin gophersnakes will be collected. Capturing of rattlesnakes and gophersnakes will be done with a snake hook and the snakes will be put into a snake bag. The snake is held in a restraining tube during blood collection. Blood will be collected from the caudal vein. Less than 2ml will be collected. The area is sterilized and then blood is drawn using a vacutainer syringe. The blood is stored in a blood preservative. Surveys will be conducted for egg masses of Great Basin spadefoot and only eggs will be collected. Spadefoot eggs will be collected by hand using disposable gloves. Spadefoot eggs will be euthanized with Ms 222 and preserved in a buffer solution for genetic suitable for genetic analysis. Collection of road kill - Great Basin Spadefoots killed on roads will be the preferred source of genetic material. In the case of Tiger Salamander it will be the only source.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#SARA-PYR-2009-0104), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2009-04-01)

    Genetic analysis will be conducted on three reptiles: Western rattlesnake, (Crotalus oreganos); Great Basin Gophersnake, (Pituophis catenifer deserticola); Painted turtle, (Chrysemys picta belli)i; and two amphibian species: Great Basin spadefoot, (Spea intermontana) and Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinium). Capture and blood sampling techniques to be used to collect genetic material from rattlesnakes and gophersnakes snakes (20 samples each; 5 populations) are standard techniques that apparently pose little risk to the animals. From relatively robust populations, 15 Great Basin Spadefoot eggs (5 populations) from egg masses containing >15 eggs will be collected. 20 recently-hatched (15 eggs from robust populations will be collected. Collection of Painted Turtles killed on roads, egg fragments, and a depredated egg is the least invasive method to collect genetic material from this species.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#SARA-PYR-2009-0115), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2009-08-17)

    The proponents will conduct ground surveys of species at risk including, amphibian visual encounter surveys, Oregon forestsnail ground searches, Badger burrow searches, Pacific water shrew habitat ratings, Spotted bat roost searches, snake foraging surveys, Monarch surveys (visual searches for larvae and adults), Great basin spadefoot egg mass surveys and Snake den surveys. No traps will be set and animals will only be handled where it is necessary for species identification and photo documentation. All animals will then be immediately released in the habitat where captured. No animals will be marked.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#SARA-PYR-2009-0125), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2009-12-09)

    Okanagan Transmission Reinforcement (OTR) project activities proposed for the Vaseux-Bighorn National Wildlife Area include removing existing poles and 161V power lines, installing new poles and 260V power lines, removing hazard trees and establishing access roads. Through previous field surveys it has been established that there are SARA listed species present in the area. It is proposed that all SARA species be monitored during the construction season and any that are deemed to be threatened by machinery or work activities be live captured, transported and released on adjacent property by qualified biologists.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#SARA-PYR-2010-0127), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2010-03-01)

    15 Adult Male Western Rattlesnakes (Crotalus oreganus) and 15 Great Basin Gophersnakes (Pituophis catenifer deserticola) will be surgically implanted with radio-transmitters following approved animal care protocol from the University of Guelph Animal Care Committee and the British Columbia Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection, and located 3-4 times per week (Between March-Oct 2010 and 2011). Approximately 100 of each of these 4 species, Western Rattlesnakes , Great Basin Gophersnakes, Nightsnakes (Hypsiglena torquata) and Western Skink (Eumeces skiltonianus )(male and female of all ages) will be part of a mark and recapture program. Individuals will have measurements taken following approved animal care protocol and immediately released back into the wild (Between March - Oct 2010 and 2011). This research will (a) identify densities and travel corridors of Western rattlesnakes (threatened) years 1-2 and Great Basin Gophersnakes (threatened) years 1-2. (b) Identify ovipositian sites of Great Basin Gophersnakes (year 2) (c) Determine a population estimate for Nightsnakes (endangered) and Western skink (special concern skinks are a primary diet item of the Nightsnakes and these species co-occur on talus slopes) year 2.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#SARA-PYR-2010-0129), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2010-03-12)

    The activity is clearing and construction associated with the Senkulmen Enterprise Park. This will include vegetation removal and construction of infrastructure (including a waste water treatment plant, a water tower and wells), roads, and buildings associated with the development.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#SARA-PYR-2010-0147), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2010-06-08)

    15 adult male Western Rattlesnakes (Crotalus oreganus) and 15 Great Basin Gophersnakes (Pituophis catenifer deserticola) will be surgically implanted with radio-transmitters following approved animal care protocol from the University of Guelph Animal Care Committee and the British Columbia Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection, and located 3-4 times per week (Between March-October 2010 and 2011). Approximately 100 of each of these 4 species, Western Rattlesnakes , Great Basin Gophersnakes, Nightsnakes (Hypsiglena torquata) and Western Skink (Eumeces skiltonianus )(male and female of all ages) will be part of a mark and recapture program. Individuals will have measurements taken following approved animal care protocol and immediately released back into the wild (between March - October 2010 and 2011). This research will (a) identify densities and travel corridors of Western rattlesnakes (threatened) years 1-2 and Great Basin Gophersnakes (threatened) years 1-2. (b) Identify ovipositian sites of Great Basin Gophersnakes (year 2) (c) Determine a population estimate for Nightsnakes (endangered) and Western skink (special concern skinks are a primary diet item of the Nightsnakes and these species co-occur on talus slopes) year 2.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#SARA-PYR-2011-0167), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2011-04-26)

    The objective of the project is to conduct scientific research on the Western Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus), Great Basin Gophersnake (Pituophis catenifer deserticola), Desert Nightsnake (Hypsiglena chlorophaea), and Western Skink (Plestiodon skiltonianus), in order to inform the conservation of the species. 34 adult male Western Rattlesnakes and 34 Great Basin Gophersnakes will be surgically implanted with radio-transmitters following an approved animal care protocol from the University of Guelph Animal Care Committee and the British Columbia Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection, and re-located 3-4 times per week (between April 26, 2011 and October 31, 2013). Up to 100 individuals per year of each of these 4 species, Western Rattlesnakes, Great Basin Gophersnakes, Desert Nightsnake and Western Skink (male and female of all ages) will be part of a mark and recapture program. Individuals will have measurements taken following approved animal care protocol and immediately released back into the wild (between April 26, 2011 and October 31, 2013). This research will (a) identify densities and travel corridors of Western Rattlesnakes (threatened) years 1-2 and Great Basin Gophersnakes (threatened) years 1-2, (b) Identify ovipositian sites of Great Basin Gophersnakes (year 2), and (c) determine population estimates for Desert Nightsnake (endangered) and Western Skinks (special concern) year 2 (skinks are a primary diet item of the Desert Nightsnakes and these species co-occur on talus slopes).

Consultation Documents

  • Consultation on Amending the List of Species Under the Species At Risk Act: March 2004 (2004-03-03)

    The Government of Canada proclaimed the Species at Risk Act (SARA) on June 5, 2003 as part of its strategy for the protection of wildlife species at risk. Attached to the Act is Schedule 1, the list of the species that receive protection under SARA, hereinafter referred to as the 'SARA list'. Canadians are invited to comment on whether all or some of the species included in this document should be added to the SARA list.

Recovery Document Posting Plans

  • Environment and Climate Change Canada's Three-Year Recovery Document Posting Plan (2016-07-06)

    Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Three-Year Recovery Document Posting Plan identifies the species for which recovery documents will be posted each fiscal year starting in 2014-2015. Posting this three year plan on the Species at Risk Public Registry is intended to provide transparency to partners, stakeholders, and the public about Environment and Climate Change Canada’s plan to develop and post these proposed recovery strategies and management plans. However, both the number of documents and the particular species that are posted in a given year may change slightly due to a variety of circumstances. Last update December 2, 2021
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