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Notice of permit

Regional or Local Number: BPNP_17-03_Singing_Sands_Parking_Lot

Notice is hereby given that pursuant to the provisions of section 74 of the Species at Risk Act permit no. BPNP_17-03_Singing_Sands_Parking_Lot is issued.

Purpose:
Activity affecting the species is incidental to the carrying out of the activity

Description:
A new 88 car parking lot is being developed at the Singing Sands visitor node in Bruce Peninsula National Park. The new lot will be located off Dorcas Bay Road across from the current site access. The current 45 spot gravel parking lot near the beach will be removed along with the other infrastructure in this area so the site can be restored to a more natural state. The new lot will be a stabilized gravel surface and will be accessed using a grated bridge to minimize impacts to sensitive habitats. A stabilized permeable trail leading from the lot to the crosswalk on Dorcas Bay Road is being built for pedestrian access to the site. This project will affect individuals and/or critical habitat for Dwarf Lake Iris and Massasauga.

Start Date: 2017-02-20   End Date: 2017-11-01

Issuing Authority: Parks Canada Agency

Authority Used:

  • Species at Risk Act
  • Canada National Parks Act

Location of Activity (province, territory or ocean):

  • Ontario

Affected Species:

Pre-Conditions:
Alternatives: Four alternatives were assessed during the development of this project and the best alternative for the species was chosen. The use of the existing parking lot was not the best alternative because it has been significantly undersized for a number of years and has created a dangerous overflow parking situation on Dorcas Bay Road, raising concerns from the local municipality. Other lot locations were considered and determined to be unsafe. A smaller parking lot that requires a shuttle service from Tobermory was considered but a shuttle service was not possible at this time. The chosen alternative enables the restoration of an area of Great Lakes coastal habitat, better connections between the fen and beach ecosystems, the development of new infrastructure to better manage visitors and address some of the ecological impacts that are currently occurring and the development of a new interpretive offer that will better connect and educate visitors about the ecology of the area. Mitigations: All feasible measures will be taken to minimize the impact of the activity on the species and its critical habitat: - All construction crews will be told how to identify SAR snakes and provided with the protocols detailing who to contact, information to document and actions to take when a SAR snake is found (e.g., all work temporarily stopped until advised by the biologist). Protocols will be provided during the initial construction meeting. - Only trained park staff will handle snakes. - To limit the potential to disturb hibernating snakes, tree stumps will not be removed until May 15th, when above ground conditions are acceptable for their emergence. - The edge of the parking lot will be armoured to limit the creep of gravel outside the parking area. - A medium sized (<10 ton), wide tracked harvester will be used to clear trees from the lot. A medium sized machine has a sufficient reach to clear the site with minimum movement. - The harvester will only need to travel across areas twice (i.e., once in and once out). To limit the potential for impacts to these areas, this work will occur in the winter when the ground is frozen and/or snowfall present. Brush will be laid down over sensitive areas (i.e., Dwarf Lake Iris plants) along the access route to limit compaction. - The parking lot layout is designed to avoid impacting suitable habitat for Dwarf Lake Iris plants. - Where the parking lot overlaps a significant Dwarf Lake Iris cluster it will be raised (>12”) and have an open grate surface to maintain as much suitable habitat as possible. - Any Dwarf Lake Iris individuals that are in the project footprint and would be destroyed will be transplanted to suitable habitat nearby or that will be created as a result of the project (i.e., parking lot perimeter, vegetated islands in the parking lot, lot embankments). - Clean fill (i.e., fresh crushed) will be used to mitigate introduction of invasive plants. - A temporary bridge may be required to enable heavy machinery access to the site during construction to avoid impacting sensitive areas where Dwarf Lake Iris grows until the final structure entry structure is completed. - Sensitive areas near the project footprint will be flagged using pink tape and shown to construction crews prior to work commencement. The tape is to be removed following project completion. - Any woody material to be chipped material and left on site (<10%) will not be placed over areas where Dwarf Lake Iris grows. Jeopardy to Survival or Recovery of the Species: Massasauga: The park’s population and distribution objective for the Massasauga is to maintain area of occupancy in 46 2x2 km grid cells (Parks Canada Agency, 2016). This project will have no impact on the park’s ability to achieve this objective. The project footprint is approximately 0.4 ha and represents 0.03% of the area within which critical habitat may occur in BPNP. The existing parking lot will be restored to be suitable for Massasauga. The park will be taking steps to mitigate the impacts of roads and vehicle traffic, which are a far more significant source of population stress for the Massasauga and other herptiles on the peninsula due to vehicle mortality and genetic isolation (Parks Canada Agency 2012). This mitigation will include the installation of two eco-passages, 1 kilometre of exclusion fencing, and signs to raise awareness of roadkill to visitors. These measures will be installed along the section of Dorcas Bay Road used to access Singing Sands. These mitigations, along with restoration of the existing parking lot, will ensure that this project will not jeopardize survival or recovery of the species. Dwarf Lake Iris: The park’s population and distribution objective for the species is to maintain an area of occupancy within the park at 25km2 (Parks Canada Agency, 2016). This project will have no impact on the park’s ability to achieve this objective as the project will not directly destroy any populations within the 1km x 1km grid cell it occupies and the few plants that will be impacted will be transplanted. In addition, more occurrences of the species continue to be found as the park completes more inventory work and acquires new lands. The species has been re-assessed as Special Concern as new populations are being found in Ontario. The species thrives in open areas such as road shoulders throughout the Peninsula and there is potential for the plant to increase in the area as a result of this disturbance.

Contact Person(s)
Parks Canada
Species Conservation and Management
Natural Resource Conservation
Parks Canada
30 Victoria Street 3rd floor
Gatineau, QC
J8X 0B3
Tel: 888-773-8888
Fax: 819-420-9273
pca_sar.registrycomments@pc.gc.ca