Executive Summary – Recovery strategy for the Dense Blazing Star in Ontario

Prepared by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. Adoption of Recovery Strategy for the Dense Blazing Star (Liatris spicata) in Canada (Environment Canada 2014).

The Endangered Species Act, 2007 (ESA) requires the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry to ensure recovery strategies are prepared for all species listed as endangered or threatened on the Species at Risk in Ontario (SARO) List. Under the ESA, a recovery strategy may incorporate all or part of an existing plan that relates to the species.

The Dense Blazing Star (Liatris spicata) is listed as endangered on the SARO List. The species is also listed as endangered under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA ). Environment Canada prepared the Recovery Strategy for the Dense Blazing Star in Canada in 2014 to meet its requirements under the SARA . This recovery strategy is hereby adopted under the ESA. With the additions indicated below, the enclosed strategy meets all of the content requirements outlined in the ESA.

The Critical Habitat section of the federal recovery strategy provides an identification of critical habitat (as defined under the SARA). Identification of critical habitat is not a component of a recovery strategy prepared under the ESA. However, it is recommended that the areas of critical habitat identified in the federal recovery strategy be considered when developing a habitat regulation under the ESA.

Executive Summary – Recovery strategy for the Dense Blazing Star (Liatris spicata) in Canada

Prepared by Environment Canada (2014).

Dense Blazing Star (Liatris spicata) is an herbaceous perennial reaching up to two m in height with a dense, showy spike of purple (occasionally white) flowers. Flowering occurs from mid-July to mid-September. Cultivated strains of the species have been bred for use in the floral trade and as ornamentals in gardens.

There are at least 10 extant native populations of Dense Blazing Star in Canada, comprised of over 70 000 plants in total, and a number of additional populations have been planted from native seed stock. All populations are in southwestern Ontario. At least 13 additional populations are considered historical or are presumed to be extirpated. There are also at least seven populations that have originated from human-influenced dispersal mechanisms and/or that are of introduced origin in Ontario and Quebec. Introduced populations cannot be considered for recovery if the seed source is unknown because, without genetic analysis, it is unknown whether the individuals carry the native genotype adapted to Ontario habitats or if they carry traits that could weaken the survival of the species in Canada. The species is listed as threatened on Schedule 1 of the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA ). It is also listed as threatened in Ontario under the Endangered Species Act, 2007 (ESA, 2007).

Loss of habitat due to development and agriculture and a decline in habitat quality resulting from fire suppression and alteration of the hydrologic regime are primary threats to Dense Blazing Star. Other threats include invasive plants, fenced exclosures, herbicide use, maintenance activities (mowing and vegetation clearing), picking, trampling, off-road vehicle use, and hybridization with other species of Blazing Star. Given that the species is found at the northern edge of its range and has a naturally limited distribution in Canada, it will likely always be vulnerable to human-induced and natural stressors.

There are unknowns regarding the feasibility of recovery of Dense Blazing Star. In keeping with the precautionary principle, this recovery strategy has been prepared as per section 41(1) of SARA , as would be done when recovery is determined to be feasible. The population and distribution objective is to maintain, or to increase to the extent that it is biologically and technically feasible, the current overall abundance of Dense Blazing Star (of native genotype) in Canada across at least 10 populations within its native range. Broad strategies to be taken to address the threats to the survival and recovery of Dense Blazing Star are presented in the section on Strategic Direction for Recovery.

Critical habitat for Dense Blazing Star is partially identified in this recovery strategy, based on the best available data. Critical habitat for Dense Blazing Star is located entirely on non-federal land. As more information becomes available, additional critical habitat may be identified and may be described within an area-based, multi-species at risk action plan developed in collaboration with the Walpole Island First Nation.

One or more such action plans for Dense Blazing Star will be posted on the Species at Risk Public Registry by December 2021.