Terms of Reference
Evaluating the Ecological Benefits and Risks of an Experimental Eastern Sand Darter (Ammocrypta pellucida) Reintroduction in Ontario
Regional Peer Review - Ontario and Prairie Region
April 3-6, 2023
Chairperson: Gilles Olivier
Reintroduction is commonly identified in species recovery strategies or management plans as a potential method for improving the survival or recovery of species listed under the Species at Risk Act (SARA). This includes Eastern Sand Darter (Ammocrypta pellucida), a small-bodied freshwater fish species that has experienced extirpations across its Canadian range. The recovery strategy for Eastern Sand Darter (Ontario populations) identified reintroduction as a potential action that can help achieve population and distribution objectives (Fisheries and Oceans Canada 2012; Lamothe et al. 2021); however, reintroduction has yet to occur (Lamothe et al. 2019). A national CSAS process recently provided guidance on how to evaluate the potential ecological benefits and risks of reintroduction to the survival or recovery of SARA-listed freshwater species and broader ecosystem components (Lamothe et al. 2022). For the current request, the recently developed national guidance document will be used to evaluate the potential change in survival or recovery of Eastern Sand Darter through an experimental reintroduction to a formerly occupied ecosystem in southwestern Ontario, including the uncertainty of factors that may influence the outcome of different reintroduction scenarios. Ultimately, this request will provide guidance for management regarding the use of reintroduction for Eastern Sand Darter recovery and will serve as a model for how to use the existing national guidance document to inform future decisions on the use of species reintroduction for improving the survival or recovery of other SARA-listed freshwater species.
- Evaluate ecological factors that could influence successful reintroduction of Eastern Sand Darter in candidate recipient locations (Big Otter Creek; Ausable River) from candidate source populations (Grand River; Thames River);
- Evaluate the ecological risks associated with reintroduction of Eastern Sand Darter, both for the species and broader ecosystem at source and recipient locations; and
- Evaluate the change in survival or recovery of Eastern Sand Darter resulting from the re-establishment of a population in a formerly occupied location.
- Science Advisory Report
- Research Document
- Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO)
- Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF)
- Other invited experts
- DFO [Fisheries and Oceans Canada]. 2012. Recovery strategy for the Eastern Sand Darter (Ammocrypta pellucida) in Canada: Ontario populations. Species at Risk Act Recovery Strategy Series, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ottawa. vii + 58 pp.
- Lamothe, K.A., Drake, D.A.R., Pitcher, T.E., Broome, J.E., Dextrase, A.J., Gillespie, A., Mandrak, N.E., Poesch, M.S., Reid, S.M., and Vachon, N. 2019. Reintroduction of freshwater fishes in Canada: a review of research progress for SARA-listed species. Environ. Rev. 27(4): 575-599.
- Lamothe, K.A., Morris, T.J., and Drake, D.A.R. 2023. Decision support framework for the conservation translocation of SARA-listed freshwater fishes and mussels. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Res. Doc. 2022/064. In press.
- Lamothe, K.A., van der Lee, A.S., Drake, D.A.R., and Koops, M.A. 2021. The translocation trade-off for eastern sand darter (Ammocrypta pellucida): balancing harm to source populations with the goal of re-establishment. Can. J. Fish. and Aquat. Sci. 78: 1321-1331.
Participation to CSAS peer review meetings is by invitation only.
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