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Environment Environnement
. Canada Canada C d
ana a
Briefing to Minister's Office Staff
on the Western Chorus Frog
Canadian Wildlife Service
Jul 4 2013
Ta provide information on the Western Chorus Frog (Great Lakes/St.
Lawrence-Canadian Shield population).
To provide information on petitions to recommend an emergency
order pursuant to section 80 of SARA to protect the Western Chorus
Frog in La Prairie, Quebec.
To provide information on media coverage concerning the Western
Chorus Frog in Quebec.
Page 2 - June-3-14
Description of the Western Chorus Frog
The Western Chorus Frog is a small amphibian which measures about 2.5 cm
long and weighs about 1 g as an adult.
The Western Chorus Frog occupies a variety of lowland habitats with an open
or discontinuous canopy ( e.g. clearings, flooded meadows, fallow land,
shrubland, etc.), where slight depressions may allow the formation of
wetlands (e.g. marshes, swamps, drainage ditches) that generally dry out in
From late March to late August, individuals occupy temporary wetlands for the
breeding, namely because predation pressure is lower in wetlands of small
dimension that are generally physically isolated from the hydrologie network.
Foraging and other activities (ex. rest) usually occurs on terrestrial habitats
within a 250 to 300-m radius of breeding habitats.
Page 3 - May 30, 2014.
Distribution of the Western Chorus Frog
The Western Chorus Frog is found in Quebec anq in Ontario.
ln Quebec, the species is found in 2 regions: in the Outaouais region along a
1 OO-km band that stretches east to west along the Ottawa River between
Gatineau and Grand Calumet Island; in the Montrgie region within a 20-km-
wide strip between the municipalities of Beauharnais to the south and
Contrecoeur to the north.
ln Ontario, the Western Chorus Frog (GLSLCS) is more widespread,
extending from the United States border to the Georgian Bay, south of
Algonquin Park in the Frontenac Axis and up the Ottawa Valley to Eaganville.
Populations in Quebec have declined at a rate of 37/o over 10 years and are
expected to continue to decline. Despite there being some areas where chorus
frogs remain evident, surveys of populations in Ontario indicate a significant
decline in abundance of 30/o over the past decade.
Page 4- May 30, 2014
Status of the Western Chorus Frog
The Western Chorus Frog (Great Lakes/St. Lawrence-Canadian Shield
population) was assessed as threatened by the Committee on the Status of
Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) in 2008 because of ongoing
lasses of habitat and breeding sites due to suburban expansion and alteration
in farming practices which have resulted in lasses of populations and isolation
of remaining habitat patches.
The species was listed with the same status on Schedule 1 of the Species at
Risk Act (SARA) in 201 O ..
A national recovery strategy is to be posted on the Species at Risk Public
Registry in 2013. The final posting is expected late fall, after consultations with
Ontario and Quebec and after a public consultation of 60 days.
ln Quebec, the species is listed as vulnerable under the Act respecting
threatened or vulnerable species since 2001. ln Ontario, the species is not
listed under the Endangered Species Act.
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ln the past few months, 2 citizens and Nature Qubec sent petitions to the
Minister to recommend to the Governor in Council that an emergency order
be issued pursuant to section 80 of SARA to protect the Western Chorus Frog
in La Prairie, Quebec (MIN-167227)
The petitions contend that the municipality of La Prairie plans to destroy a
significant portion of the habitat of the Western Chorus Frog for residential
development and raise questions with respect to the Government of Quebec's
actions to protect the species.
To properly assess the status and trend of the Western Chorus Frog and
management actions underway to protect and conserve the species,
information from the province is important. However, the Minister will draw his
independent opinion and will not be bound by the provided by the
Page 6- May 30, 2014
Media Coverage
Nature Qubec released a media advisory in May 2013 concerning their
petition sent to the Minister. Around ten provincial and regional media have
used this information in their communications.
Since the 1990's, there has been broad media coverage in the regions of
Laval, Boucherville, Longueil, St.Hubert and at the national level {The
Gazette, Le Devoir, La Presse, Le Soleil) concerning the loss of wetlands and
the decline of the Western Chorus Frog.
Generally; the media criticized the lack of provincial regulations to preserve
wetlands from the extensive residential development in southwestern Quebec
and the lack of intervention by provincial and municipal to protect the Western
Chorus Frog. Since 2010, a few media also reported on projects undertaken
by municipalities to protect the Western Chorus Frog.
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Annex - Emergency Orders under SARA
section 80
"Recovery'' for a species at risk is typically described in a recovery strategy. The national recovery
strategy for the Western Chorus Frog has not been completed, thus recovery objectives have not
yet been defined for this species. As SARA promotes a precautionary approach to species
conservation, it includes provisions in section 80 for emergency orders in advance of the normal
recovery strategy process. Section 80 requires that, if the competent Minister is of the opinion that
there is an imminent threat to the survival or recovery of a listed wildlife species, the Minister must
recommend to the Governor in Council to make an emergency order to provide for the protection of
a listed wildlife species.
With respect to the use of emergency orders for the protection of a listed wildlife species, the draft
SARA Polic.ies state that the competent Minister will consider whether:
A serious, sudden decline in the species' population and/or habitat that jeopardizes the survival or recovery of the
species is in progress and is anticipated ta continue unless immediate protective acti.ons are taken;
There is a strong indication of impending danger or harm to the species or its habitat, with inadequate or no
mitigation measures in place ta address the threat, such that the survival or recovery ofthe species is at risk; or ,
One or more gaps have been identified in the existing suite of protection measures for the species that will
jeopardize its survival or recovery, and it is not possible ta achieve protection by other means in a timely fashion.
The Governor in Council may consider a broad range of factors, including socio-economic
implications, in determining whether to make an emergency order to provide for the protection of a
listed wildlife species. Information from the province is important to properly assess the need for an
emergency order. Page B - May 30, 2014

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