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Estuary Islands National Wildlife Area Management Plan [Proposed]

4. Goals and objectives

4.1 Vision

Estuary Islands National Wildlife Area protects habitats that are important for species at risk, priority bird species, particularly colonial seabirds, and other wildlife. Priority bird species are those mentioned in the Bird Conservation Strategy for Bird Conservation Region 14, Quebec Region: Atlantic Northern Forest (Environment Canada, 2013b).

4.2 Goals and objectives

The goals and objectives below elaborate on the vision for the management plan and take into account management threats and challenges. Achieving these goals and objectives will result in the implementation of the actions presented in Table 6 (Management Approaches for Estuary Islands National Wildlife Area), which will be carried out according to the resources available.

Goal 1: Protect and improve habitats that are important to species at risk, priority bird species and other wildlife.

Objectives:

  • 1.1 Protect colonial seabird populations by restricting natural pressures linked to wildlife diseases, abundant animal populations and terrestrial predators;
  • 1.2 Conserve the National Wildlife Area's seabird colonies, and waterfowl and shorebird staging areas by limiting the effects of human activity (disturbances, accidental spills, etc.);
  • 1.3 Implement the management and recovery measures required to protect bird species at risk and priority bird species;
  • 1.4 Prevent the proliferation of invasive plant species;
  • 1.5 Evaluate erosion of the islands and limit its impact.

Goal 2: Reduce the impact of human activities on the National Wildlife Area.

Objectives:

  • 2.1 Adequately mark the National Wildlife Area's boundaries in the field, so as to protect wildlife and plants from the impacts of human activity (disturbances from boaters, hunting, etc.);
  • 2.2 Promote local and public awareness of the National Wildlife Area's mission and applicable regulations to reduce instances of non-compliance;
  • 2.3 Communicate concerns to managers of adjacent lands and waters regarding resource development near the National Wildlife Area;
  • 2.4 Ensure that Environment Canada's facilities, infrastructure and lands (especially on Île Bicquette and Le Pot du Phare) are in good and safe condition.

Goal 3: Consolidate the National Wildlife Area's land holdings and promote the conservation of natural habitats on adjacent islands.

Objectives:

  • 3.1 Incorporate into the National Wildlife Area adjacent, federally-owned lands with significant conservation value;
  • 3.2 Determine which of the islands located near the National Wildlife Area have strong conservation potential and develop an acquisition strategy as required;
  • 3.3 Encourage use of the islands and lands adjacent to the National Wildlife Area in a way that is compatible with the National Wildlife Area's conservation mandate.

Goal 4: Ensure ecological monitoring of the National Wildlife Area's and improve knowledge about its wildlife and their habitats.

Objectives:

  • 4.1 Develop and implement an ecological monitoring plan;
  • 4.2 Determine gaps in scientific knowledge and address those that are identified as priorities.

4.3 Evaluation

An annual review of the steps taken and the results achieved will be conducted depending on the availability of financial and human resources. This review will help to identify future priorities for action and resource investment. The management plan itself will be re-evaluated five years after its initial approval and will be reviewed and updated every decade thereafter.

Table 6: Management approaches for the Estuary Islands National Wildlife Area
GoalsObjectivesActions (Level of priorityq)

Goal 1: Protect and improve habitats that are important to species at risk, priority bird species and other wildlife.

Threats and challenges:

  • Wildlife diseases
  • Habitat degradation
  • Impact of predators
  • Human impact
  • Accidental spills
  • Invasive plant species
Objective 1.1: Protect colonial seabird populations by limiting natural pressures linked to wildlife diseases, abundant animal populations and terrestrial predators.
  • Continue to monitor the estuary’s seabird populations every five years and implement the protection measures recommended by EC Canadian Wildlife Service specialists. (1)
  • Monitor the Common Eider every three years on major islands (especially Île Bicquette, Île Blanche and Île aux Fraises) during significant population declines to avoid losses of birds. (1)
  • Continue to monitor the Common Eider during down collection and attempt to understand the factors that have contributed to the decline in the estuary's population over the past 25 years. (1)
  • Monitor the health of bird populations by annually maintaining the emergency plan in the event of mass bird mortality and respond quickly with collaborators in the event of disease. (1)
  • Evaluate and optimize the quality of forest habitat for nesting of the Common Eider on Île Bicquette. (1)
  • In collaboration with others, evaluate the status of abundant bird populations (cormorants, gulls) as needed and their impacts on habitats, and take appropriate management actions. (3)
  • Control predators (especially the fox) to avoid losses of birds in major seabird colonies. (1)

Goal 1: Protect and improve habitats that are important to species at risk, priority bird species and other wildlife.

Threats and challenges:

  • Wildlife diseases
  • Habitat degradation
  • Impact of predators
  • Human impact
  • Accidental spills
  • Invasive plant species
Objective 1.2: Conserve the National Wildlife Area’s seabird colonies, and waterfowl and shorebird staging areas by limiting the effects of human activities (e.g. disturbances, accidental spills).
  • Produce and post or distribute information posters and pamphlets intended for kayakers and boaters on the piers in Rivière-du-Loup, Kamouraska, Saint-Fabien and Saint-Siméon to limit disturbances to seabirds, waterfowl and shorebirds in the National Wildlife Area. (2)
  • Map the National Wildlife Area’s sensitive wildlife habitats and participate in implementing the EC Canadian Wildlife Service emergency response plan to protect wildlife and sensitive habitats. (2)

Goal 1: Protect and improve habitats that are important to species at risk, priority bird species and other wildlife.

Threats and challenges:

  • Wildlife diseases
  • Habitat degradation
  • Impact of predators
  • Human impact
  • Accidental spills
  • Invasive plant species
Objective 1.3: Implement the management and recovery measures required to protect bird species at risk and priority bird species.
  • Protect the identified critical habitat for species at risk and habitats that are important for priority bird species. (2)
  • Apply the measures suggested in the planning documents for the recovery of bird species at risk that are common in the National Wildlife Area or that nest there (e.g. Peregrine Falcon). (2)

Goal 1: Protect and improve habitats that are important to species at risk, priority bird species and other wildlife.

Threats and challenges:

  • Wildlife diseases
  • Habitat degradation
  • Impact of predators
  • Human impact
  • Accidental spills
  • Invasive plant species
Objective 1.4: Prevent the overgrowth of invasive plant species.
  • Assess the impact of invasive plant species. (2)
  • Implement measures to restrict their growth. (2)

Goal 1: Protect and improve habitats that are important to species at risk, priority bird species and other wildlife.

Threats and challenges:

  • Wildlife diseases
  • Habitat degradation
  • Impact of predators
  • Human impact
  • Accidental spills
  • Invasive plant species
Objective 1.5: Evaluate island erosion and limit its impact.
  • Assess erosion on the shores of the National Wildlife Area’s low-lying islands. (2)
  • Implement adequate measures to reduce island erosion. (3)

Goal 2: Reduce the impact of human activities on the National Wildlife Area.

Threats and challenges:

  • Human impact
  • Facility, infrastructure and land maintenance
Objective 2.1: Adequately post the National Wildlife Area’s boundaries in the field to protect wildlife and plants from the impacts of human activities (disturbances from boaters, hunting, etc.).
  • Improve signage on the National Wildlife Area’s boundaries by making signs more visible and by installing them in strategic locations throughout the National Wildlife Area to prevent people from landing on the islands. (1)

Goal 2: Reduce the impact of human activities on the National Wildlife Area.

Threats and challenges:

  • Human impact
  • Facility, infrastructure and land maintenance
Objective 2.2: Promote local and public awareness of the National Wildlife Area’s mission and applicable regulations to reduce instances of non-compliance.
  • Install regulatory signage inside and outside the National Wildlife Area. (1)
  • Issue public notices of the National Wildlife Area’s regulations in newspapers and share general information about it (in newspapers, magazines, pamphlets, etc.). (1)
  • Share information on the National Wildlife Area’s importance with regional organizations, local communities and the public, in cooperation with different stakeholders. (3)
  • Target the necessity of monitoring, bird and wildlife protection, and law enforcement in the area with regards to prohibiting access and hunting during critical periods. (2)
  • Support area monitoring by Wildlife Enforcement Directorate officers and provincial conservation officers. (2)

Goal 2: Reduce the impact of human activities on the National Wildlife Area.

Threats and challenges:

  • Human impact
  • Facility, infrastructure and land maintenance
Objective 2.3: Communi-cate concerns to managers of adjacent lands and waters regarding resource development near the National Wildlife Area.
  • Participate in regional round tables dealing with resource development around the National Wildlife Area, including fishing, seaweed harvesting and oil and gas exploration and production. (3)

Goal 2: Reduce the impact of human activities on the National Wildlife Area.

Threats and challenges:

  • Human impact
  • Facility, infrastructure and land maintenance
Objective 2.4: Ensure that Environment Canada’s facilities, infrastructure and lands (especially on Île Bicquette and Le Pot du Phare) are in good and safe condition.
  • Assess and perform required maintenance. (1)
  • Characterize and assess the level of risk on contaminated sites, including on Île Bicquette, La Grande Île, Le Long Pèlerin and Île de la Providence, and rehabilitate them, if required. (2)

Goal 3: Consolidate the National Wildlife Area’s land holdings and promote the conservation of natural habitats on adjacent islands.

Threats and challenges:

  • National Wildlife Area fragmentation
Objective 3.1: Incorporate into the National Wildlife Area adjacent, federally-owned lands with significant conservation value.
  • Evaluate whether federally-owned lands could be integrated into the National Wildlife Area. (2)
  • Take the steps required to integrate these lands into the National Wildlife Area. (3)

Goal 3: Consolidate the National Wildlife Area’s land holdings and promote the conservation of natural habitats on adjacent islands.

Threats and challenges:

  • National Wildlife Area fragmentation
Objective 3.2: Determine which of the islands located near the National Wildlife Area have strong conservation potential and develop an acquisition strategy as required.
  • Conduct an analysis of the ecological value and conservation potential of the islands as well as the portions of islands adjacent to the National Wildlife Area. (2)
  • When possible, acquire lands with strong conservation potential. (3)

Goal 3: Consolidate the National Wildlife Area's land holdings and promote the conservation of natural habitats on adjacent islands.

Threats and challenges:

  • National Wildlife Area fragmentation
Objective 3.3: Encourage use of the islands and lands adjacent to the National Wildlife Area in a way that is compatible with the National Wildlife Area’s conservation mandate.
  • Make adjacent land owners aware of the importance of protecting the habitat, especially in the Île Bicquette and Îles de Kamouraska sectors. (2)
  • Work in cooperation with other island owners and users to conserve the estuary’s islands. (3)

Goal 4: Ensure monitoring of the National Wildlife Area’s ecological integrity and improve knowledge about its wildlife and their habitats.

Threats and challenges:

  • Gaps in scientific knowledge
Objective 4.1: Implement an ecological monitoring plan.
  • Determine the indicators and follow-up methodologies for an ecological monitoring plan. (1)
  • Implement the ecological monitoring plan. (1)

Goal 4: Ensure monitoring of the National Wildlife Area’s ecological integrity and improve knowledge about its wildlife and their habitats.

Threats and challenges:

  • Gaps in scientific knowledge
Objective 4.2: Determine gaps in scientific knowledge and address those that are identified as priorities
  • Determine the gaps in scientific knowledge. (2)
  • Support the acquisition of knowledge of prime importance on priority birds, species at risk, stresses, sensitive habitats and threats to the National Wildlife Area based on the knowledge acquisition plan. (3)
  • Use various existing data sources (e.g. École Professionnelle des Ostéopathes du Québec (ÉPOQ), SOS-POP, non-governmental organizations, ornithology clubs, research) to improve scientific knowledge. (3)

q Level of priority: 1 (0-3 years), 2 (4-6 years), 3 (7-10 years or more)
Note: The levels of priority assigned to the actions relate to the implementation schedule and not the significance for resource conservation. They can change depending on the context and the available resources.

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