Fri. Mar 1st, 2024

An endangered Magdalen plant, according to COSEWIC

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The Gulf of Saint Lawrence aster, whose scientific name is Symphyotrichum laurentianum, is a plant found only in New Brunswick, the Magdalen Islands and Prince Edward Island .

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The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) recently changed the status of the Gulf of St. Lawrence aster from “threatened” to “endangered.”

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">The Gulf of Saint Lawrence aster is an annual plant that grows in coastal environments, where the sand is brackish, particularly around lagoons or coastal ponds isolated by the sea.

In Quebec, it is only found in the Madelinot archipelago. It is present, among other places, in the wetland of the bay of Havre aux Basques and on the island of Grande Ouverte.

According to COSEWIC, the The Gulf of St. Lawrence aster population has declined by 90.3% in the Magdalen Islands over the past 15 years.

Habitat modification by violent storms and sea level rise associated with climate change as well as human modification of drainage systems are the main threats to this plant species in the archipelago, indicates COSEWIC in its assessment report.

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The Canadian government created a recovery strategy for the Gulf of St. Lawrence aster in 2012. (File photo)

Across Canada, the Gulf of St. Lawrence aster currently has 12 subpopulations, including four in the Magdalen Islands, three in Prince Edward Island and five in New Brunswick.

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Certain subpopulations of Gulf of Saint-Aster Laurent may have disappeared in the Magdalen Islands between 2000 and 2008, according to COSEWIC.

Thirteen other subpopulations have not been observed for at least 15 years and are probably extinct, including five in the Magdalen Islands, according to COSEWIC .

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COSEWIC has designated the Gulf of St. Lawrence aster listed as Special Concern in 1989, then upgraded to Threatened in 2004 and Endangered in 2023.

Before officially reclassifying the Gulf of St. Lawrence aster as an endangered species under the Species at Risk Act, Environment and Climate Change Canada is conducting a consultation period until May 16.

Canada's Minister of Environment and Climate Change will then make a recommendation, but it is up to the Governor in Council to decide whether to accept or not this change in COSEWIC status.

Extinct in 2000, the Gulf of St. Lawrence aster is reborn in Kouchibouguac National Park

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