The proposal to build the residential development has the potential to adversely affect Butternut, Blanding’s Turtle and Least Bittern as well astheir habitat. The proposed permit conditions would provide benefits that exceed the adverse effects on the species as well as their habitat.
Butternut is listed on the Species at Risk in Ontario (SARO) list, in Ontario Regulation 230/08 of the ESA, as endangered. Blanding’s Turtle and Least Bittern are both listed as threatened.
Subsection 9(1) and 10(1) of the ESA provides for the protection of endangered, threatened (and extirpated) species on the SARO list and their habitat.
The ESA allows some activities to proceed under a clause 17(2)(c) permit with specific conditions if: avoidance and reasonable alternatives have been considered; adverse effects will be minimized; and an overall benefit will be achieved for the species in Ontario. Providing an overall benefit to a protected species under the ESA involves undertaking actions to improve circumstances for the species in Ontario. Overall benefit is more than “no net loss” or an exchange of “like for like”. Overall benefit is grounded in the protection and recovery of the species at risk and must include more than mitigation measures or “replacing” what is lost.
The Minister may issue a permit under clause 17(2)(c) of the ESA that authorizes a person to engage in an activity that would otherwise be prohibited by section 9 or 10 of the ESA if the Minister is of the opinion that:
(i) an overall benefit to the species will be achieved within a reasonable time through the conditions of the permit;
(ii) reasonable alternatives have been considered, including alternatives that would not negatively affect the species, and the best alternative has been adopted; and,
(iii) reasonable steps to minimize negative effects on individual members of the species are required by conditions of the permit.
KNL intends to build a residential development on Part of Lots 7, 8 & 9, Concession 2; and Part of Lots 8 & 9, Concession 3 in the Geographic Township of March (South March Highlands). The Corporation is seeking a permit under clause 17(2)(c) of the Endangered Species Act, 2007 (ESA) to;
• Remove up to 120 Butternut trees occurring on the 140 hectare (ha) site as well as damage and destroy the habitat of these trees;
• Kill, harm and harass Blanding’s Turtle as well as destroy up to 124 hectares of Blanding’s Turtle habitat, and;
• Kill, harm and harass Least Bittern as well as damage up to 10.9 hectares of Least Bittern habitat in order to construct a residential development in the City of Ottawa.
Reasonable alternatives are being considered, including ones that would not adversely affect the species, and may include:
• Using alternate methods, equipment, designs, etc. for carrying out the proposed activity; and
• Altering the development footprint and layout to avoid removing and harming individual members of the species.
Potential approaches to minimize adverse effects on protected species at risk may include:
• Retaining a qualified professional forester or biologist to supervise and assist with the implementation of the conditions of the permit.
Potential approaches to minimize adverse effects on individual members of each species may include:
• Avoiding the removal of some trees located on-site;
• Fencing and marking any Butternut trees to be retained during construction to avoid harming retainable trees;
• Minimize the amount of habitat damage and destruction ;
• Avoid undertaking activities that may impact the species during sensitive times of year (nesting, hibernating);
• Fencing and marking any habitat to be retained during and after construction to reduce harming individual turtles; and
• Keeping travel corridors used by the species in tact to avoid isolation.
• Designing the storm water pond(s) to decrease risk of water level fluctuations; and
• Avoiding certain works in proximity to sensitive habitat during the nesting season.
Potential approaches to achieve an overall benefit for each species may include:
• Archiving Butternut trees that demonstrate resistance to the Butternut canker disease;
• Collecting seeds from Butternut trees that demonstrate resistance to the Butternut canker disease;
• Planting and tending Butternut seedlings and native companion seedlings; and
• Supporting recovery efforts through improving the capacity to accommodate an increase Butternut archiving.
• Creating nesting and overwintering habitat near or adjacent to suitable wetland habitat;
• Decreasing road mortality and improving adult survivorship for this population of Blanding’s Turtles;
• Supporting a Research project that will track and monitor the movement and use of remaining and created habitat by Blanding’s Turtles over time
• Creating new wetland habitat; and
• Undertaking a research project to monitor the use of retained original habitat and newly created habitat by Least Bitterns before and after construction.
Please note that the posting of this proposal on the Environmental Registry does not imply that a permit will be approved; an overall benefit permit may only be issued where the legal requirements set out in clause 17(2)(c) of the ESA have been satisfied.
The following web-links provide additional information.
MNRF’s Species at Risk website
Endangered Species Act, 2007
Species at Risk in Ontario (SARO) List, Ontario Regulation 230/08
General regulations and species-specific habitat regulations under the ESA, Ontario Regulation 242/08