Species at Risk
Why protect Fernald’s
Quarrying and road construction are serious threats to
this species. However, since Braya grows well in disturbed areas, it may colonize
the abandoned portions of quarries or the gravel shoulders of highways and
airfields! In turn, these new sites can be damaged by quarry operation, grading,
or excessive road traffic.
There are many reasons why a plant such as Fernald’s Braya
should be saved:
- It contributes to the Earth’s biodiversity.
It has a unique genetic make-up and is found nowhere else.
- It is part of a group of rare plants adapted to extreme environments
- It is one of the few plants that can colonize bare limestone soil.
- It beautifies limestone barrens.
- It fascinates nature lovers.
Before Fernald’s Braya was listed as a threatened species, few people
realized how fragile its habitat
was and how much damage it had suffered in the past 25 years.
The plant’s designation as a threatened species prompted Newfoundlanders
to set up the Limestone Barrens Habitat Stewardship
Program. Today, all elements of this ecosystem
benefit from recovery
efforts targeting Fernald’s Braya.
What is Parks Canada doing to save Fernald’s Braya?
Parks Canada is a member of the Limestone Barrens Species at Risk Recovery
Team, which consists of representatives of the federal and provincial governments,
universities and concerned members of the general public. This team works
to protect limestone barrens plants, like Fernald’s Braya, and their
- Parks Canada and its partners on the Recovery Team:
- monitor Braya population and their health;
- study the braya’s ecological requirements;
- assess the impact of herbivores and diseases on braya populations and
test methods of protecting the plants;
- support the Memorial University of Newfoundland Botanical Garden in developing
cultivation and propagation techniques for the plant and maintaining a seed
bank and braya nursery to provide a backup source of specimens;
- compare brayas from different populations to determine whether there
are any physical differences among them; and
- supply braya seeds to the Canadian National Seed Bank.
With its habitat stewardship partners, Parks Canada:
Scientists carry out an inventory of Fernald’s
Braya populations. © Dulcie
House / Limestone Barrens Habitat Stewardship Program
- carries out interpretation and public education activities at the Port
au Choix National Historic Site;
- supports public awareness and education activities carried out by young
people on the Port au Choix Green Team;
- cooperates with a fishermen’s committee to manage access to limestone
barrens at Port au Choix;
- supports efforts to sign a stewardship agreement with the municipality
of Port au Choix;
- helps to develop educational material about limestone barrens (posters,
brochures, Web site, meetings and art project); and
- produced interpretation panels about the limestone barrens for Port au
Choix National Historic Site (geology, climate, vegetation, and where to
see other limestone barrens).