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Massasauga Site Fidelity and Translocation Study


The Massasauga rattlesnake has been assessed as Threatened by the Committee on the
Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) due to a historical population decline,
continued habitat fragmentation and loss, and human persecution. It is listed as Threatened
on Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act (SARA), and Threatened provincially in Ontario
under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Canada hosts 8-10% of the global distribution of
this species. The eastern Georgian Bay and Bruce Peninsula Massasauga populations are
believed to be the largest and most secure found anywhere across the species entire range.
The future Highway 69 expansion (from two lanes to four-lanes) from Parry Sound to
Sudbury will be built through the eastern Georgian Bay Massasauga habitat, and as such,
will be one of the most permeable highways in Canada. At this stage of the design, the
Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) is planning to construct 93 eco-passages
(large crossings underneath the highway that provide safe passage for wildlife) which
will include approximately 140 kilometres (km) of fencing designed to keep the animals
off of the roadway and to funnel them towards the eco-passages.
In addition to general habitat and species impacts, the future highway will destroy a large
Massasauga hibernaculum (the Source Site). Figure 1 in the Appendix shows the future
highway design going through the Source Site. Once construction through this area
begins, the animals that currently use the Source Site will no longer have a hibernation
As a requirement under the ESA, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) obtained
a section 17.2(c) permit for the highway project. This permit prescribes extensive
mitigation measures required to construct and operate the highway, and a requirement to
fund scientific research at the Source Site.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
2015 Environmental Achievement Award Nominations
Rogers, T.
Environmental issues, Environmental legislation