Section 10 of the Endangered Species Act, 2007 (ESA 2007) prohibits the damage or destruction of the habitat of species classified as endangered or threatened on the Species at Risk in Ontario (SARO) List in Ontario Regulation 230/08.
Under the ESA 2007, “habitat” is defined as either an area on which a species depends directly or indirectly to carry on its life processes (based on the general definition in clause 2(1)(b) of the Act) or the area prescribed for the species in a habitat regulation (clause 2(1)(a)).
The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations prescribing an area as habitat of a species that is listed as extirpated, endangered or threatened on the SARO list. A habitat regulation can prescribe an area as the habitat of the species through the description of boundaries, features of an area, or by describing the area in any other manner. Given the central role of habitat protection in species conservation, Ontario intends to regulate habitat with the goal of protecting habitat that promotes the survival and recovery of endangered and threatened species.
The government of Ontario made a commitment to regulate the habitat for the following ten species at risk by June 30, 2009: American Badger, Barn Owl, Eastern Prairie Fringed-orchid, Engelmann’s Quillwort, Few-flowered Club-rush, Jefferson Salamander, Peregrine Falcon, Western Silvery Aster, Wood Turtle, and Woodland Caribou (forest-dwelling boreal population).
This proposal is related to the proposed regulation to prescribe the habitat for the following nine species:
- American Badger
- Barn Owl
- Eastern Prairie Fringed-orchid
- Engelmann’s Quillwort
- Few-flowered Club-rush
- Jefferson Salamander
- Peregrine Falcon
- Western Silvery Aster
- Wood Turtle
Details on these species habitat and the draft content of the proposed regulation for these species at risk were developed based on the best available scientific information. To provide a level of certainty to areas that are protected, in some cases the proposed regulation has been defined on specific features, geography and known and historic occurrences. To the extent possible the government would like to protect the habitat of species where it occurs and is interested in perspectives that would provide additional details on locations that could be protected outside those identified in the current proposal. For more specific details on the proposed content for the regulation and other related information on these species and the Act, see web links below.
Woodland Caribou (Forest-dwelling boreal population) will be addressed through a subsequent regulation proposal notice.
The purpose of this proposal is to provide the public with an opportunity to review and comment on the proposed regulation to prescribe the habitat of these nine species.
In addition, questions on the proposal or written comments can be submitted as follows:
• By email: SAR.email@example.com
• By fax: (705) 755-1788
• By mail to:
Species at Risk Biologist - Habitat,
Ministry of Natural Resources
300 Water Street, 4th Floor
Peterborough, ON K9J 8M5
The following web links provide supporting information about this notice:
This proposal was posted for a 31 day public review and comment period starting May 15, 2009. Comments were to be received by June 15, 2009.
All comments received during the comment period are being considered as part of the decision-making process by the Ministry.
Please Note: All comments and submissions received have become part of the public record.
Letters are being sent to all identified landowners or land managers for the areas considered proposed habitat for these species to provide the landowners or land managers with the opportunity to comment on this proposal. Due to the sensitivity of the species to poaching, landowners or land managers for the areas considered proposed habitat for Wood Turtle were not contacted directly. The proposed habitat regulation content for Wood Turtle is available to the public through this posting and will be discussed at a provincial stakeholder session in Toronto in May.
Local stakeholders and planning agencies (upper tier municipalities and conservation authorities) will also be sent letters notifying them about this regulation proposal notice.
Provincial stakeholders are being invited to a provincial stakeholder session in Toronto in May.
Letters are being sent to Aboriginal communities with the provision of additional opportunities for input.
The environmental consequences of the proposed regulation are anticipated to be positive as it increases the likelihood of survival of the species, maintains the biological diversity of the habitat in which they are found and promotes a healthy environment for a healthy economy.
While the habitat regulation has the potential to affect some industry stakeholders, these industries may be able to use the Act’s flexibility tools (e.g., permits, agreements) to proceed with some approved activities. This may require some industries to adjust their practices, or abstain from operating in specific locations of habitat of species at risk. Activities that are compatible with habitat protection (i.e., they do not damage or destroy the habitat) will not be affected.
Regulating habitat is an appropriate tool for improving the species’ chance of survival. Regulations provide an open, consistent and enforceable mechanism for protection.