Biodiversity Offsets and Ontario’s Endangered Species Act: We built it, they came, and we can do better.

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Information about Biodiversity Offsets and Ontario’s Endangered Species Act: We built it,...

Published on February 19, 2014

Author: IEUO



Written by Ian Crawford, Manager, Business Partnerships and Outreach, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources

Biodiversity Offsets and Ontario’s Endangered Species Act: We built it, they came, and we can do better.

Ontario’s Endangered Species Act Purpose Identify species at risk based on best available science and ATK Protect species at risk and their habitats, and promote the recovery of species at risk Promote stewardship activities to assist in protection and recovery of species at risk 2 Features Emphasizes science in making decisions Includes species and habitat protection Provides flexibility through tools such as permits and agreements Recognizes Aboriginal interests and knowledge Promotes stewardship activities Includes strong enforcement provisions

Protection tools Agreements, Permits, Regulations and Other Instruments Stewardship Agreements Permits (5 types) – Overall benefit (Ontario’s Biodiversity Offset model). Aboriginal Permits and Agreements Instruments under other acts Regulations for certain species and activities when conditions are followed 3

Overall Benefit Overall benefit to a protected species -undertaking actions that contribute to improving circumstances for the species in Ontario -is more than ‘no net loss’ or an exchange of ‘like for like’ -is grounded in the protection and recovery of the species at risk and must include more than mitigation measures for potential adverse effects 4

Overall Benefit – the first 6 years - - - - 5 Nearly 200 permits Early negotiations regarding Overall Benefit intense Supported by species recovery strategies, science, research, Government Response Statements Over time common activities, approaches became apparent Butternut – planting ratio’s 10:1

Examples – aquatic species •take steps to minimize effects to the species and habitat •provide a benefit to the species (e.g., plant native vegetation to improve water quality) •create and implement a mitigation plan •monitor the effectiveness of the steps you take to minimize effects on — and provide benefit to — the species •create and maintain a monitoring record •report sightings of rare species 6

Example grassland birds •prepare and follow a habitat management plan •create or enhance habitat, and manage that habitat •provide a written commitment to MNR that says you will manage the habitat over time •minimize effects to the protected species (e.g., put access roads outside the habitat) •avoid activities that are likely to affect habitat or the birds between May 1 – July 31 (e.g., do not excavate land or plough fields during this time) •prepare and maintain records that relate to the work and the habitat •report sightings of rare species (and update registration documents, if needed) 7

Eventually - Regulatory approach to address common permits: - 8 Aquatic species Grassland birds Some plants Chimney swifts and barn swallow

Then what happened - - 9 We created a market for stewardship actions Potential stewardship became a commodity

The Market Grows - - - - 10 Developers started asking us to make connections Creative MNR bio’s identified priority habitat – created catalogues Commercial plant growers started asking if they could grow butternut MNR launches our new web site – data accessibility

Land stewards become entrepreneurial Developers become environmentalists - - - Land owner interest in making land available to undertake stewardship action has increased. Land stewards becoming more aware of the opportunities Side issues: - 11 Neighbour impacts Safe Harbour - - - - - Interest in formal exchange mechanism Developers seeking creative solutions Requests for financial alternative to protection Interest in conservation banking Using OB as a marketing tool

Safe Harbour -Encourages landowners to undertake conservation measures, - -Does Habitat restoration Provision of overall benefit requirements not attract additional restrictions under the ESA as a result of those conservation measures, should they wish to modify their land at a later date. 12

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