Can Offsets Be Used to Achieve Recovery Objectives for Species at Risk?
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Can Offsets Be Used to Achieve Recovery Objectives for Species at Risk?

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Written by David Browne: Candian Wildlife Federation

Written by David Browne: Candian Wildlife Federation

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Can Offsets Be Used to Achieve Recovery Objectives for Species at Risk? Can Offsets Be Used to Achieve Recovery Objectives for Species at Risk? Presentation Transcript

  • Can Offsets Be Used to Achieve Recovery Objectives for Species at Risk? David Browne Candian Wildlife Federation CanadianWildlifeFederation.ca FederationCanadiennedelaFaune.ca
  • Goals of Biodiversity Conservation: Keep common species common Make threatened and declining species common again CanadianWildlifeFederation.ca FederationCanadiennedelaFaune.ca
  • 1. Applicability to species at risk will be limited. 2. Where offsets are found to be applicable the program must be driven by the recovery strategy and be subject to a much higher burden of proof than for common species. 3. Not all activities are able to be offset. When they cannot be and the species is jeopardized we must be transparent about net loss situations. CanadianWildlifeFederation.ca FederationCanadiennedelaFaune.ca
  • Why limited? 1. Working within the risk level of impacts that are not able to be offset. 2. Some types of tools are likely not applicable: in-lieu fees; averted loss will in many cases not be consistent with recovery. 3. Knowledge of species and restoration techniques is poor. CanadianWildlifeFederation.ca FederationCanadiennedelaFaune.ca
  • Characteristics of Species at Risk: • Little or no evidence that we can restore the habitat or reintroduce the species • Long generation times or require mature old growth habitats • Complexities around what is the unit of measure; species or ecosystem Pilgrim et al. 2013 CanadianWildlifeFederation.ca FederationCanadiennedelaFaune.ca
  • Many species at risk lie within the zone of low likelihood of success and high conservation concern Where success likelihood is a function of:  Residual impact magnitude  Offset opportunity  Offset feasibility Pilgrim et al. 2013 CanadianWildlifeFederation.ca FederationCanadiennedelaFaune.ca
  • In the species at risk context:   In-lieu fees are payment for net loss not an offset Averted loss assumes a declining habitat baseline and would only be applicable in specific scenarios. CanadianWildlifeFederation.ca FederationCanadiennedelaFaune.ca
  • In the species at risk context:   In-lieu fees are payment for net loss not an offset Averted loss assumes a declining habitat baseline and would only be applicable in specific scenarios. CanadianWildlifeFederation.ca FederationCanadiennedelaFaune.ca
  • In the species at risk context:   In-lieu fees are payment for net loss not an offset Averted loss assumes a declining habitat baseline and would only be applicable in specific scenarios. CanadianWildlifeFederation.ca FederationCanadiennedelaFaune.ca
  • History of fish and wildlife biology and restoration ecology is that common species and habitats, often with some type of human use, are the most studied and understood. For species at risk: Basic biology of many species is not known thus uncertainty is very high and multipliers will be correspondingly high:   Missing knowledge: for example 38% of recovery strategies have no information on population trend High uncertainty: Review of restoration of old growth habitat suggests multipliers of 20:1 to 100:1 would be most appropriate given uncertainty of outcomes. (Curran et al. 2014) CanadianWildlifeFederation.ca FederationCanadiennedelaFaune.ca
  • Burrowing Owl Recovery Strategy Knowledge Gaps: “Several important knowledge gaps still exist for Burrowing Owls in Canada. Currently, information that is unknown but required to adequately address threats and recovery objectives includes” 1) Locations of the majority of Burrowing Owl nests in Canada; 2) Survival rates of the owls at life stages for which adequate data currently does not exist (e.g. juveniles during migration, adults during all seasons); 3) Extent and impact of between-year dispersal by juveniles and adults; 4) Quantitative habitat associations of Burrowing Owls, at multiple scales, during all seasons; 5) Quantitative assessments of any relationships between habitat loss and population decreases; 6) Best methods, numbers, and distribution for release of captive-bred owls to establish a selfperpetuating population in British Columbia and Manitoba; 7) Effects of a variety of environmental contaminants on reproduction and survival during breeding and non-breeding seasons; 8) Migratory routes used and winter range of “Canadian” owls; and 9) Improved survey methods for both breeding and wintering populations. CanadianWildlifeFederation.ca FederationCanadiennedelaFaune.ca
  • If offsetting is embedded in and contingent upon the Recovery Strategy and Action Plan process and subject to an effective and enforceable monitoring and evaluation program. Recovery Strategy: 1. Clearly define the recovered state 2. Assess the applicability of offsets to achieving recovery objectives ◦ Techniques exist that provide greater than 95% certainty that habitat restoration or creation, or species reintroduction will be successful at meeting population metrics ◦ Opportunities for both impact and offset exist within the same conservation unit such that there can be a net gain to the species CanadianWildlifeFederation.ca FederationCanadiennedelaFaune.ca
  • If offsetting is embedded in and contingent upon the Recovery Strategy and Action Plan process and subject to an effective and enforceable monitoring and evaluation program. Action Plan:  Sets out the framework for offsets  Set criteria for permitting harm (eg. that an offset must be shown to be functional before harm is undertaken)  Designate and describe acceptable techniques  Set standards for monitoring and evaluation CanadianWildlifeFederation.ca FederationCanadiennedelaFaune.ca
  • U.S. ESA Conservation Bank guidance document: an appropriate function of conservation banks is the preservation of existing habitat with long-term conservation value to mitigate loss of other isolated and fragmented habitat that has no long-term value to the species. CanadianWildlifeFederation.ca FederationCanadiennedelaFaune.ca California red-legged frog core areas map
  •   Actions that jeopardize the recovery of a species by, for example, protecting one area of habitat while destroying another are not offsets they are a threat to the species. Not all impacts will be able to be offset. When they cannot be and the species is jeopardized we must be transparent about net loss situations and use the language of penalty for harm to the species. CanadianWildlifeFederation.ca FederationCanadiennedelaFaune.ca
  • Can Offsets Be Used to Achieve Recovery Objectives for Species at Risk? CanadianWildlifeFederation.ca FederationCanadiennedelaFaune.ca
  • Can Offsets Be Used to Achieve Recovery Objectives for Species at Risk? Perhaps In specific cases under strict conditions where the net gain is clearly quantifiable and consistent with the recovery objective.   At present there is insufficient evidence globally to determine whether offsets will or will not work for species at risk in Canada. On the other hand progress to date on recovering species in Canada, particularly on private land, has been minimal and new approaches are needed CanadianWildlifeFederation.ca FederationCanadiennedelaFaune.ca
  • CanadianWildlifeFederation.ca FederationCanadiennedelaFaune.ca