Notice of permit

Regional or Local Number: NWT-SCI-17-01

Notice is hereby given that pursuant to the provisions of section 74 of the Species at Risk Act permit no. NWT-SCI-17-01 is issued.

Scientific research for the conservation of the species

The Arctic Program for Regional and International Shorebird Monitoring (Arctic PRISM) was initiated in response to widespread shorebird population declines noted on migration routes through southern Canada and the United States. The objective of the program is to produce population estimates for arctic-breeding shorebirds and then to monitor trends in their populations over time. Surveys started in 2001 and will continue until 2020 in various locations in Bird Conservation Region 3 across the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Arctic PRISM is made up of two types of surveys: Tier 1 surveys are short term surveys (2-3 hours) over a large area and Tier 2 surveys are long term surveys at a few specific sites. The proposed survey methods involve surveying two species at risk, Red Knot rufa subspecies (Endangered) and Red Knot roselaari subspecies (Threatened). Proposed methods include ground based surveys to monitor shorebird nests, measure and weigh shorebird eggs, float shorebird eggs in water to determine stage of incubation and temporarily replace shorebird eggs with dummy eggs as necessary to avoid damage when trapping adults on the nest.

Start Date: 2017-06-02   End Date: 2020-05-01

Issuing Authority: Environment Canada

Authority Used:

  • Migratory Bird Convention Act

Location of Activity (province, territory or ocean):

  • Northwest Territories

Affected Species:

a) Reasonable alternatives to the activity that would reduce impact on species: Arctic PRISM is a peer-reviewed program that was developed by Canadian and American biologists to monitor the population size of shorebird species that breed in the arctic and its methodology has been followed since 2001. The methodology employed follows standard practices for collecting data necessary to estimate demographic parameters such as rates of nest success, survival and site fidelity. The floatation of eggs is one of the most common methods employed for estimating embryo development and reduces the need for frequent nest visits, thus reducing disturbance. Not undertaking the activity will prevent the applicant from obtaining estimates of demographic parameters that may provide insights relevant to conservation planning and address gaps in the Recovery Strategy. b) Feasible measures will be taken to minimize impact of activity on species or critical habitat or residence: Arctic PRISM Tier 1 surveys: Potential impact due to temporary disturbance of nesting Red Knots from the helicopter flying by and from human presence. To minimize disturbance, survey plots will only be visited for two hours on the ground. Aerial surveys will only be conducted opportunistically during travel between plots. Whenever possible, surveyors will follow established travel routes to reduce impacts on habitat. Arctic PRISM Tier 2 surveys: Potential impact due to temporary disturbance of nesting Red Knots from human presence and handling eggs. To minimize disturbance, surveyors will limit disturbing the nest as much as possible. To prevent damage to eggs during trapping by bow-net, eggs will be temporarily replaced with dummy eggs. The stage of incubation will be determined using a method of floating eggs in water (Liebeseit et al. 2007) which is the most common method for estimating embryo development amongst ornithologists and reduces the need for frequent nest visits. No harm to individuals and no damage to habitat are expected as a result of these activities. The methods are well established and peer reviewed and all personnel have experience with these proven methods and species. An animal care certificate has also been obtained from the Environment Canada Western and Northern Animal Care Committee. c) Activity will not jeopardize the survival or recovery of the species: The proposed methods are unlikely to cause any adverse effects on individual Red Knots (rufa and roselaari) or their residence. No individuals are expected to be killed, impaired or taken from the population as a result of this project, survivorship is not expected to be impaired and all individuals from the study are expected to continue to contribute to the population. As necessary, eggs in the nest will be temporarily replaced with dummy eggs while capturing adults, to avoid damage to eggs. Critical habitat has not been identified for these two subspecies; however, results from this study may assist with the identification of critical habitat by determining which subspecies of Red Knot breed on which high arctic islands. In addition, study will address research questions outlined in the Recovery Planning Table of the Recovery Strategy such as: 1) continue to identify important breeding areas in Canada; and 2) continue to determine key demographic parameter estimates throughout the annual cycle.

Other Relevant Information:
The described permitted activities (ground based surveys to monitor shorebird nests, measure and weigh shorebird eggs, float shorebird eggs in water to determine stage of incubation and temporarily replace shorebird eggs with dummy eggs) are also authorized in Nunavut under permit no. NUN-SCI-17-03. Other activities related to this project, including the capture, handling and banding of species at risk are authorized by a Scientific Permit to Capture and Band Migratory Birds issued by the Bird Banding Office.

Contact Person(s)
Ms. Danica Hogan
Habitat Specialist
Environment and Climate Change Canada
P.O. 2310
5019 – 52 St, 4th Floor
Yellowknife, NT
X1A 2P7
Tel: 867-669-4754
Fax: 867-873-6776